SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – The press got a sneak preview of the Salesforce Transit Center on Wednesday, taking in a new structure that is destined to become a San Francisco landmark.

After eight years of construction, the transit center boasts a $1 million mosaic floor, a six-story tall skylight supported by massive beams, an LED poetry wall and a nearly three-block-long park on its roof.

“This will be like the modern airport,” said San Francisco Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru

At a cost of over $2 billion — more than a half a billion dollars over budget — it may cost as much as an airport

Nuru said that the additional costs were not unexpected.

“There were new requirements,” explained Nuru. “Security requirements, cost of construction, changing times, cost of doing work in the city.”

In addition to the roof park with a restaurant and amphitheater, there is also a shell of the train station in the basement. But no trains will be using the space for another decade or two.

“We still have a ways to go to get the trains in here,” said Nuru. “You know, one step at a time, but we’ll get there.”

There is also approximately 100,000 square feet of space for retail businesses that have not moved in yet.

In the meantime, commuter buses coming in from the East Bay will now have their own ramp on and off the bay bridge as well as a bridge over all the city traffic.

“We can increase the ridership from just over 13,000 to 24,000 per day,” said AC Transit Media Affairs Manager Robert Lyles

But there are additional unexpected features to that part of the transit center.

“When the bus comes in they actually trigger the fountain to spray water,” said Nuru.

Such sophisticated elements raise some questions about the fancy new space.

When asked how much it was going to cost to maintain the transit center, Nuru replied, “You are talking about a huge center you are talking when it is eventually done — six levels and four city blocks — so it’s going to be quite a bit of money.”

When pressed for a specific figure, Nuru admitted it would be “in the millions.”

The Salesforce Transit Center will be hosting a free public block party this Saturday, August 11, at 12 p.m. that will tours of the grounds, feature food trucks, live music and more.

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