Urban Land covers a lot of ground in this issue—and it happens to be some of the best-loved ground in the United States, the area surrounding San Francisco Bay. Beginning October 5, San Francisco will host ULI’s 2015 Fall Meeting, and that affords us the opportunity to look at how the area is dealing with a broad swath of issues that are important to ULI members.
Technology is a subtext throughout most of our stories. The tastes of tech companies are driving design, attracting people, and dominating the office leasing market. The technologies being invented around the Bay (along with research hubs around the world) will bring about new ways of living, and in not too many years could thoroughly upend how we live, particularly in urban areas. Consider just one of these revolutionary new technologies—autonomous vehicles that will be able to zip around town without humans at the wheel. How that might change our lives is almost unimaginable, but not quite. Anyone hoping to build for this future must at least try to imagine how this revolution will play out. We offer some far-ranging ideas from researchers and real estate professionals in the article that begins on page 134, and the topic will be discussed extensively at the Fall Meeting.
This issue also presents a close-up look at San Francisco’s great mixed-use development, the Transbay Transit Center and surrounding district. Not only will it sport the city’s tallest building, the Salesforce Tower, now under construction, but also the ambitious development will tie together transit, office space, retail shops, and housing while crafting a ribbon of elevated parkland stretching nearly five blocks through the city. Ron Nyren’s article begins on page 74.
Working on this issue, I could not shake the too-often quoted words of baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra: “Nobody goes there anymore; it’s too crowded.” The Bay Area’s popularity is posing significant challenges to residents’ quality of life. As noted in the article on page 272, the housing market is one of the most expensive in the United States, and the area struggles with some of the nation’s most severe traffic congestion. Bay Area leaders are taking those challenges head-on through some of the projects presented in this issue. New developments are being created with a special emphasis on providing new low-income housing and better transit while preserving the city’s diversity and charm.
Berra, the famed New York Yankees catcher, left his own mark on San Francisco, helping his team defeat the San Francisco Giants in 1962 in a seven-game World Series that ended at Candlestick Park. That ballpark was demolished just a few months ago; retail and housing are planned for the site.
For years, Candlestick was also the home field of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers. Last year, the team left the city for Levi’s Stadium in suburban Santa Clara, about 40 miles (64 km) to the south. As the city of Santa Clara had hoped for in response to its investment in the $1.2 billion arena, mixed-use development of the surrounding area is on the way. Kevin Brass’s article on developer Related’s plans for a $6.5 billion mixed-use development near the stadium begins on page 88.
In October, after all, what else comes to an American’s mind but baseball, football, and the ULI Fall Meeting?
Editor in Chief