Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, Developer Of Salesforce Transit Center: Part Three Of Her Story

Mara Ayerdi Kaplan TJPA Executive DirectorMara Ayerdi Kaplan TJPA Executive Director
(Last Updated On: November 6, 2018)

Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, Developer Of Salesforce Transit Center: Part Three Of Her Story as told to Zennie62Media > Part One > Part Two > Part Three > Part Four > Part Five > Part Six > Part Seven > Part Eight.

As shared with Zennie62Media.

Having passed Proposition H, Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan took the Transit Center show on the road. In the early years, it was just Ms. Ayerdi and her laptop. Maria hired students to develop graphics and videos of her vision of what the new Transbay Station could look like. As digital communications technology improved, she had more sophisticated renderings developed and over the 18 years in charge of the Project (15 years as the Executive Director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority), Ayerdi Kaplan never ceased conducting outreach for the Project.

Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan captivated audiences around the world (United States, Europe, China) with a combination of charm, wit, and more often than not a smile, in additions to presentations of the Project, and her vision for the new Transit Center. A picture is worth a thousand words, and when Maria travelled to Washington DC and Sacramento looking for funding, or when she was meeting with stakeholders to gain their support, the renderings and how she presented her vision for the new station carried the day.

Ms. Ayerdi was always passionate about the project and believed strongly in her vision of the new Transit Station. This often proved contagious. Maria always went into a meeting or a presentation confident about the importance of the project. In fact, she maintained a positive attitude through the almost two decades in charge of the Project no matter how many naysayers or critics she encountered. Each day, she visualized the new Transit Center open for business.

Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan Creates The Transbay Joint Powers Authority

Next, Maria created the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) in 2001 and convinced elected officials from the East Bay, Peninsula, San Francisco, and Caltrans to sign on. For the ensuing two years, she worked at City Hall, serving as both the Executive Director of the Project and as a board member of the TJPA representing Mayor Brown. In December of 2003, Ayerdi-Kaplan severed from the City and set up the TJPA’s own human resources, so she could work for the TJPA. She moved from City Hall to 201 Mission Street (current TJPA office site) one rainy night by herself with a dolly and all the project boxes and began to hire staff.

The management structure she set up was a Board representing the main tenants of the Transit Center, San Francisco, and Caltrans and a staff of TJPA employees. The first Request for Proposal (RFP) she advertised was for a Program Management/Program Controls team and entered into a contract with URS which later became AECOM. They were like staff to Ms. Ayerdi and assisted with oversight management, project coordination, contract administration, scheduling, cost controls, etc.

In 2006, Ayerdi-Kaplan released an international design competition request for proposals for the architects, engineers and subject matter experts necessary to design the new Station and the developer who would build the new adjacent high rise now known as the Salesforce Tower.

After seeking public input on the various designs submitted for the new station and tower, Pelli Clark Pelli was selected as the architect for both the Center and the high rise. Ayerdi-Kaplan originally selected Gerald D. Hines as private sector developer for what would become Salesforce Tower. The final purchase and sale agreement for a record land sale price at the time of $192 million dollars, which Ms. Ayerdi negotiated, included Boston Properties as 95% owner and Hines at 5%.

Ms. Ayerdi awarded a contract to Webcor/Obayashi as the TJPA’s Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) early in the process to ensure that what the architects were designing could in fact be built and to work closely with the designers on vetting the costs of the project. Because she strongly believes in having peer review and experts oversee each other’s work, Ms. Ayerdi also hired Turner Construction to oversee the work and activity of the CM/GC.

At the end, thanks to Ms. Ayerdi’s tireless efforts, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority had thousands of people working on the design, engineering, financial, legal, public relations, lobbying, and construction activities. Ms. Ayerdi managed and led all of them with the assistance of her staff.

On the construction side, by the end of March of 2016 (close to when Ayerdi Kaplan retired from public service) the TJPA had over 14,000 people across 34 states working in construction and the manufacture and fabrication of the materials and components for the new station. In fact, Ms. Ayerdi created a map of the country showing the significant number of jobs by state that she used to help bring in funding for the project because it demonstrated that the project was benefiting all political aisles.

By the time Ms. Ayerdi left the TJPA, she had created construction and non-construction related jobs through the award of 88 professional service contracts at a value of more than $350 million dollars and 51 construction contracts at a value over $907 million.

Stay tuned for Part four.

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Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media

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Zennie Abraham
Zennie Abraham is the CEO of Zennie62Media