As it happens, all that noise last fall from several of the big developers involved in the Transbay district over the special assessment taxes they have to pay to the city was just bluster. As the Chronicle reports, threats of a lawsuit against the city have quietly fizzled as the one-month deadline for objections to the tax district has passed.
The controversy was over the so-called Mello-Roos tax district, in which developers of all the new construction in the area would be subject to a special, per-square-foot tax that is meant to fund public infrastructure and transit improvements, to the benefit of all. The district had been proposed and set up by the Board of Supervisors as a way to help fund both the Transbay Transit Center project specifically the rooftop park and the Downtown Rail Extention (DTX) that will connect the existing CalTrain tracks to the new hub.
Developers called the situation a bait and switch, having verbally agreed to the tax district in 2012 at a cost of $3.33 per square foot, and finding that two years later, because of a rise in land values, that rate had shot up to around $5 a square foot. Developers Hines and Boston Properties, who are developing the Salesforce Tower, are on the hook for an extra $100 million as a result, so they were among the loudest objectors, hiring a team of lawyers and consultants Willie Brown included to try to get out of paying that bill.
Continued construction of the transit center hung in the balance, as did questions about where else the money for the DTX would come from.
But as of late December, eight of the developers involved in the proposed district, including city and state agencies who are property owners, voted to approve the district. The developers threatening to sue, which also included Golub & Co., had 30 days to object. But they did not.
And that is that.
The Transit Center, and the tower, are scheduled for completion in 2017.