SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Several city officials on Tuesday joined Salesforce employees in a triumphant ribbon cutting ceremony for the massive 61-story building that has already become an iconic part of the city's skyline.
Although the building's anchor tenant, Salesforce, moved into the building earlier this year, Tuesday marked its official opening.
Co-developed by Boston Properties and Hines, the Salesforce Tower, located at 415 Mission St., will not only house the Salesforce headquarters, but also includes housing, hotels, retail space and a gondola lift that will lead to the Salesforce Park, a 5.4-acre public rooftop park on top of the new Transbay Terminal.
Hundreds of people attended the morning ceremony, including a handful of San Francisco supervisors, Mayor Mark Farrell and former Mayor Willie Brown, who hosted the event.
"It took some ambitious minds and hearts, some may call it stupidity or brilliance, but it really was hope and optimism that brought Hines and Boston Properties to the table and said 'we will build a thousand and seventy feet into the sky and there will be tenants when we open,'" Supervisor Jane Kim said. "So many years later, it is such a pleasure to stand here today at a building that is fully tenanted."
"When we passed the Transbay Transit plan a few years ago, we were in a recession and unemployment was at 10 percent here in the city of San Francisco. And of course how far have we come today," Mayor Mark Farrell said. "Like the Transamerica pyramid before, the Salesforce tower is going to dominate and highlight San Francisco's skyline for decades to come."
"Yes today is a beautiful celebration, but even more I hope it's an opportunity for deep reflection about who we are in this city and where we need to go as a community. We all know that this is now the tallest building. But what does that really mean?" Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said.
"We see extraordinary wealth... but also grinding poverty in the shadow of this very building. And we see companies unleashing incredible innovation, but also families in deep distress, struggling to survive every day," he said.
According to Benioff, Salesforce has pledged $1.5 million to the Hamilton Family Center, a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that helps families struggling with homelessness. Furthermore, Benioff said he and his wife were going to match the gift, making for a total donation of $3 million.
"We have an obligation to make this city as beautiful as can be," Benioff said. "There is a lot more to do in this city and we shouldn't have to look up at buildings like this to be inspired."
The tower stands on land that was purchased from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority for around $192 million. The project broke ground in 2013, and Salesforce signed on as the anchor tenant in 2014.
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