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Salesforce Tower in S.F. will be tallest in the West, for a while

House BuildingSony Corp.Boston Properties IncorporatedAmazon.com Inc.

Salesforce.com announced Friday that it will be the main tenant in a 61-story building under construction in San Francisco.

When completed in 2017, "Salesforce Tower" will be the tallest office building west of the Mississippi River. However, the building will eventually be eclipsed in height by the 73-story Wilshire Grand in Los Angeles, which will be a mix of hotel, office and retail space. 

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"It will fundamentally transform the skyline of San Francisco," said Burke Norton, chief legal officer for Salesforce. "It will dramatically increase the size of our company here in San Francisco."

The tower is already under construction by owners Boston Properties, which decided to build it on spec, betting it could eventually find tenants in a region experiencing a major tech boom.

"Salesforce Tower is a reflection of our mutual confidence in the city of San Francisco and the South Financial submarket as a home to successful companies that seek to employ today’s highly educated and highly motivated worker," said Mortimer B. Zuckerman, executive chairman of Boston Properties, in a statement. "Salesforce.com’s commitment further demonstrates the desirability of high-quality, well-designed, first-class office space to today’s premier technology companies."

The announcement that Salesforce had signed a lease was made at a ceremony Friday that featured such luminaries as Mayor Ed Lee and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco). 

"It's not just about an expanding company," Lee said. "It's about a company that has faith in our city and is demonstrating that. And has faith in the kind of values we try to teach our kids about giving back."

The ceremony came just a couple of days after Salesforce.com co-founder Marc Benioff announced a $100-million gift to the region's Children's Hospitals. With more than $250 million in donations to the city's social causes and healthcare organizations, Benioff has emerged as a dominant philanthropic force in San Francisco. 

Part of that commitment has also been to keep and grow his company in the city, even as other major companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple build large, sprawling campuses to the south in Silicon Valley. The new Salesforce Tower is adjacent to the Transbay Transit Center, which will be a future hub for the region's public transportation, including a possible high-speed rail train.

Salesforce, which makes online customer management tools, has grown into San Francisco's largest tech company since its founding in 1999. When it moves into the new tower, it will be one of three adjacent office buildings occupied by the company.

Including the 700,000 square feet Salesforce will lease in the new building, the company will have 2 million square feet of office space in the city. The company currently has 14,000 employees, including 4,000 in the Bay Area, most of whom work in the city.

Lee noted that Salesforce signed its latest lease without asking for or receiving any tax breaks or economic incentives from the city.  

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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