San Francisco’s new $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center — envisioned as the “Grand Central Station of the West” — closed abruptly Tuesday after a fissure was discovered in a support beam, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Upon inspection, officials found a second cracked beam, meaning that the terminal, which opened to the public just over a month ago, will stay closed at least through the end of the week.
The transit center sits next to Millennium Tower, a 58-story luxury residential development that has sunk 18 inches since opening in 2009. The high-rise has since been dubbed a “leaning tower of lawsuits” because taxpayers will be responsible for at least $15.7 million in lawyers’ fees; Developer Millennium Partners and homeowners claim that Transbay construction contributed to tower’s sinking and tilting.
Officials said the cracked beams were localized, however, with no impact to neighboring developments.
“We apologize for this inconvenience to the public and commuters,” Mark Zabaneh, Executive Director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, said in a statement. “I would like to assure the public, this is a localized issue within the transit center and there is no impact to any adjacent properties.”
The Transbay center will eventually be a hub for trains as well as buses, if plans go ahead as scheduled.
As Next City has covered, the center features a rooftop park designed by PWP Landscape Architecture that includes 12 gardens and more than 400 trees. Like so many spaces in San Francisco — and New York and London — it’s privately managed, a distinction that can raise thorny questions about who is allowed to linger there and what kinds of gatherings are allowed on its grounds.
Rachel Dovey is an award-winning freelance writer and former USC Annenberg fellow living at the northern tip of California’s Bay Area. She writes about infrastructure, water and climate change and has been published by Bust, Wired, Paste, SF Weekly, the East Bay Express and the North Bay Bohemian