The board of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) made it official Thursday, granting naming rights for the new Transbay Transit Center to Salesforce. This means that the word "transbay" has actually been stripped from the two defining projects in what has been known as the Transbay District, with the Transbay Tower becoming Salesforce Tower after the company became the majority leaseholder and got naming rights there, and now the bus and eventual train terminal with its rooftop park becoming the Salesforce Transit Center. As the Chronicle reports, it's a 25-year sponsorship deal worth $110 million, and the company now gets to put its name or logo on 177 signs throughout the building though it's unclear if they'll be naming the rooftop park Salesforce Park.
Also this means that the financially stressed transit center project has filled an important funding gap that might have impeded its opening it comes with a lump-sum payment of $9.1 million when bus service begins at the terminal next year, as well as annual payments that begin in the fourth year of operation starting at $3.28 million which will help offset the building's estimated $20 million a year operating budget.
SFMTA head Ed Reiskin, who serves on the TJPA board, didn't mince words at Thursday's meeting, per the Chronicle, about the awkward position they're in, begging for change from corporate sponsors. "I find it distasteful, philosophically, but I get it, logically," he said. "Every dollar we get privately helps us fulfill our public mission."
The one thing that Salesforce looks to not be getting in the deal is total control over the public hours of the rooftop park. Supervisor Jane Kim called it "completely unreasonable" that Salesforce should be dictating the park's hours, and the board then agreed to revise the language in the sponsorship agreement to allow park hours to be extended in the future though, to start, it sounds like Salesforce gets its wish, which is closing the park down at 9 p.m. in summer and fall, and at 8 p.m. from November to April.
If you've been keeping up with local news over the last several years, you know that there have been multiple moments when public officials and the TJPA have decried cost overruns on the transit center project which is really, to be fair to critics, just going to be a very fancy bus station for at least a decade, or however long it takes to extend the Caltrain system underground from Townsend Street, the $2.6 billion Downtown Rail Extension project referred to with the shorthand DTX. The TJPA had to move some money around to cover a $300 million budget shortfall before construction even began in 2013, and the city had to bail out the project with a $260 million loan in April of last year. Some of the funding for the terminal and the DTX is coming from a Mello-Roos tax assessment district, in which developers of all the big high-rises going up in the area have agreed to chip in money over a number of years, but you can rest assured that the budget drama over this albeit very pretty complex will likely come up again.