How Transbay Transit Center deal’s collapse would alter S.F.

By John Coté and J.K. Dineen : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco could be left with a very expensive bus station or a new skyline minus a few towers depending on how threatened lawsuits over the city’s plan to fund a new downtown transit hub billed as the “Grand Central station of the West” play out.

The plan was thrown into flux Tuesday, when the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of a community benefit district with a tax structure opposed by a number of developers, some with projects already under construction.

The most damaging impact of any lawsuit — two or three are being considered — is expected to be to the $2.6billion plan to extend the rail tracks from the Caltrain station at Fourth and King streets to the new $1.9billion Transbay Transit Center under construction along Mission Street.

“What’s really threatened is not Transbay, it’s the Caltrain extension,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the urban think tank SPUR. “There is no point to having built the Transbay terminal if we don’t get Caltrain there. … The good news, if you could call it that, is that there is still time to work it out.”…

The special tax zone, known as a Mello-Roos district, was conceived during the economic boom of 2006 and 2007, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the city proposed a tax rate for the district: 0.55 percent of assessed value, or, at the time $3.33 per square foot….  (more)

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