The Salesforce Tower is everywhere.
The business-software company’s future headquarters is the tallest building in San Francisco, and now easily its most prominent. Compared with the rest of the city’s skyscrapers, it looks like the kid in sixth grade who went through puberty early. No matter where you are in the Bay—Marin, Japantown, Hayward, Oakland—you see this thing, seemingly half again as tall as every other building.
The TransAmerica Pyramid, the putative architectural signature of the city, seems insubstantial. Sutro Tower, the knowing local’s choice for city symbol, needs the boost of the natural terrain just to remain within range. There is every other building, and then there is the Salesforce Tower. Salesforce ran a social-media campaign called #ISpySalesforceTower, which is hilarious because it is the second-most noticeable thing in the sky after the sun.
Cities change. The novelist Colson Whitehead has said that “you are a New Yorker when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now.” By that standard, we are all people of the Bay now, even the people who only got here last year, or in February.
For a time, two cranes matched its height, seeming to sprout from its bulk. It was as if a robot was gestating in the center of the city. It was impossible not to stare at it, watching the unfinished top of the building morph as the light changed. This will be how I remember the tower and the city, at sunset, from the flats of the Port of Oakland, looking across the water:
Then the cranes came down. The building’s exterior was finished. At 61 floors and 1,070 feet, it’s roughly as tall as the Eiffel Tower. Underground, it extends another 318 feet. The building weighs 368 million pounds. During the peak of construction, 800 humans a day would help this thing go up.