new_transbay_01.pngSan Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials today celebrated completing the demolition of the old Transbay Transit Terminal in the city’s South of Market neighborhood to make way for a new transit center there in 2017.

Standing on the construction site for the new $4.1 billion Transbay Transit Center near First and Natoma streets, Lee said the project “represents the future of our city.”

The center will eventually serve as the hub for 11 transit operators and the terminus for the planned high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Lee said when the first part of the project is completed in October 2017, “it will be such a transformation of the whole downtown.”

Supervisor Jane Kim, whose district contains the center, said it will be “a bustling center of activity, our Grand Central here in San Francisco.”

Kim said the project is providing jobs, “something our city desperately needs.”

The project is expected to create more than 27,000 permanent jobs in the operation and maintenance of the center and from private development in the Transit Center District, which will also contain 200,000 square feet of new retail space, more than 6 million square feet of new office space and nearly 4,400 new residential units.

Demolition began in December on the old terminal, which was built in 1939 but declared seismically unsafe after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

To celebrate the completion of the demolition, Lee, Kim and former Mayor Willie Brown today signed a large metal bar that will be part of the new center’s structure.

Now that the old structure is demolished, crews will begin the installation of shoring to allow them to de-water and excavate the site.

Construction of the center’s below-grade structures, including the rail levels to serve Caltrain and the proposed high-speed rail, is set to begin sometime late next year.

Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, the agency in charge of the project, says it is “on budget, and on schedule.”

Once finished, the transit center is expected to serve more than 100,000 passengers each weekday and more than 45 million passengers per year.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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