Salesforce Tower

Salesforce Tower – San Francisco’s Skyline Standout

The Salesforce Tower is a colossal skyscraper in San Francisco that towers above all others. For this reason, you may wonder about the Salesforce Tower’s height or the Salesforce Tower’s number of floors, so this article will answer the question: just how tall is the Salesforce Tower? This will be answered among other queries and questions, such as the history of the Salesforce Tower and what its connection is with the Chicago-based Wolf Point Tower.



A Look at the Salesforce Tower

ArchitectCésar Pelli (1926 – 2019)
Date Constructed2018
FunctionCommercial office space
LocationSan Francisco, California, United States

The Salesforce Tower in San Francisco is a gigantic tower hurtling high above the San Francisco skyline as it renders practically everything around it miniscule in comparison. This tower was ultimately completed in 2018 after spending just over a decade in the more conceptual and construction phase of its existence. The name of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco comes, as you may expect, from Salesforce.

Street view of the Salesforce TowerSalesforce Tower street view; Tahakarsli, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


What Is Salesforce?

Salesforce is a tech company that focuses on things like CRM (or customer relationship management) software with a specific focus on a number of related aspects of the customer relationship aspect of business. Salesforce focuses on sales, automation of marketing, customer service in general, and aspects of software management, such as analytics and application management.

Salesforce was a company founded by the former Oracle executive, Mark Benioff. Oracle is one of the biggest tech companies in the world, so Benioff used his experience there to turn Salesforce into one of the biggest tech companies in the world too. This is why Salesforce was able to become big enough to take most of what would become known as Salesforce Tower for itself.

History of the Salesforce TowerPhotograph of Marc Benioff taken in 2013; TechCrunch, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Salesforce Tower in San Francisco was actually originally called the Transbay Tower as it is situated at 415 Mission Street in the Financial District of San Francisco, and this location is opposite the old Transbay Terminal. However, when you have the money that Salesforce has in its possession, you can become the principal occupant of a tower just like this and have it renamed in your honor. Below, we will look at the Salesforce Tower’s height and the Salesforce Tower’s number of floors by asking: how tall is the Salesforce Tower? After that, we will have a look at the history of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco as well as the seemingly strange connection it has with a seemingly random place in Chicago called Wolf Point Tower.


How Tall Is the Salesforce Tower?

Just how tall is the Salesforce Tower anyway? The building is a 61-story skyscraper in downtown San Francisco. However, that only answers the question concerning the Salesforce Tower’s number of floors. You see, the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco is a little different to an ordinary skyscraper. The answer to the question of the Salesforce Tower’s height is a little different.

The Salesforce Tower’s height is 326 m (or 1,070 ft), although that was not the originally planned height. Instead, the tower was meant to be 370 m (or 1,200 ft) but was reduced once construction started and the conceptual phase ended.

Height of the Salesforce TowerHeight of the Salesforce Tower relative to other buildings in the San Francisco skyline; Dead.rabbit, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

So then, why claim that there is a difference of some kind between the floor number and the height? Well, because while it may take 1,762 steps to reach the top of the Salesforce Tower without an elevator (if you wanted to do that for some reason), the tower doesn’t stop at the top floor. Instead, the Salesforce Tower has another trick up its sleeve.


The Salesforce Tower’s Nightly Light Show

At the very top of the Salesforce Tower, there’s a peculiar thing. Instead of a normal roof, there’s an art installation. This art installation acts as something of a crown atop the Salesforce Tower and adds extra height than the floor number may otherwise suggest. This art installation is also a light sculpture installation.

This light sculpture was designed by Jim Campbell and is titled “Day for Night.” Jim Campbell also designed the 2010 “Scattered Light” installation in Madison Square Park Conservancy in New York City. However, the installation on top of the Salesforce Tower is a little different.

Firstly, because it was, at the time of its activation on 21 May 2018, the world’s tallest public art piece. Secondly, the “Day for Night” installation collects video from around the city and plays it at night. The installation projects this low-quality video for all to see by using 11,000 LEDs and it can be seen from up to 30 miles away. It’s a rather marvelous sight, but also one that is not universally appreciated.

Lights on the Salesforce TowerView of the San Francisco skyline with Salesforce Tower at night; Cgbriggs19, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It would be easiest to understand why it is not universally appreciated by knowing that Salesforce occasionally has the installation do an impression of the Eye of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings. However, for a massive tech company to have a literal Eye of Sauron watching over a city is a little too on the nose for some people. It does also make one understand why the Salesforce Tower does not have a particularly appreciated history or reason for existence.



The History of the Salesforce Tower

The Salesforce Tower may be a gigantic skyscraper that lords over the rest of San Francisco, but it had to be built somehow. In the case of this particular building, it was designed by César Pelli after he won a design competition to do so in 2007. It was also one of the last buildings he ever designed, and you may recognize his work from his other designs, like the National Museum of Art in Osaka or the World Financial Center in New York City.

Salesforce Tower ArchitectPhotograph of César Pelli taken in 2010; Casa Rosada (Argentina Presidency of the Nation), CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pelli himself stated that he wanted to make something that was big and tall but was “still polite and appropriate.” This is a bit of a strange way for many to describe a building, but upon looking at the end result, it certainly is polite. It doesn’t have an artsy, ostentatious design and appears very corporate.

The Salesforce Tower was designed to have an obelisk shape that could withstand earthquakes. It needed to be designed in such a way because it was built on reclaimed land that is particularly subject to earthquakes. Furthermore, Salesforce Tower was designed to be as environmentally sustainable as possible and is therefore considered to be a green building.

The area that is now occupied by the Salesforce Tower was previously dilapidated. It had served as the ground-level entrance to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal (hence the original name of the tower being the Transbay Tower). However, that terminal was demolished in 2011 to make way for the 2013 groundbreaking of the site in preparation for the Salesforce Tower’s construction.


The Construction of the Salesforce Tower

When construction started, there was no major leaseholder. This meant that Hines Interests Limited Partnership, the original owner of the property, was building this thing without knowing whether or not it would be rented out. But of course, it would be rented out, and it was announced on 11 April 2014 that Salesforce would take up most of the space. This was also when it was renamed from the Transbay Tower to the Salesforce Tower.

Construction of the Salesforce TowerSalesforce Tower under construction in 2017; Cullen328, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Salesforce Tower officially finished construction in early 2018 and the first tenants started moving in on 8 January of that year. Salesforce, obviously, took up most of that space with an estimated 10,000 employees in the building. So, the Salesforce Tower has been in operation ever since.

When the tower first started on its construction, the property was owned by Hines Interests Limited Partnership, but it was later bought up by Boston Properties. This company serves as the current owner of the Salesforce Tower, but judging by the name, most would likely assume that Salesforce owns the building, or at least has more control over it than anyone else.


Reception of the Salesforce Tower

However, just because the Salesforce Tower was built and still stands as a gigantic Eye of Sauron on occasion, not everyone is particularly fond of it. Firstly, there are those, as previously mentioned, who take issue with the more tech monopoly aspect of the Salesforce Tower. It serves as a gigantic symbol of tech power that thought it was a good idea to use the recognizable symbol of an evil monster who watches all his minions from its roof.

Salesforce Tower from AboveSalesforce Tower seen from above; InvadingInvader, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Not all detractors take issue with that side of things. There are also architectural critics who claim that the building is very similar to Pelli’s other towers, like the International Finance Center in Hong Kong and the Gran Torre Santiago in Chile. But these detractors clearly didn’t have a say in the voting committee for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, because they named the Salesforce Tower the “Best Tall Building Worldwide” in 2019.

The Salesforce Tower, regardless of the lovers and detractors, is here to stay. It is an earthquake-proof symbol of tech power and it stands high above every other building in San Francisco. So, don’t expect it to go anywhere soon.



Wolf Point Tower

At last, we come to this seemingly random addition. What is the Wolf Point Tower in Chicago? How is it related to the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco? Well, the answer is quite simple actually. It’s because Wolf Point Tower is the Salesforce Tower.

Chicago Salesforce TowerWolf Point/Salesforce Tower Chicago under construction in 2022; Chris Rycroft from Madison, Wisconsin, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

That little statement at the end was a little bit of a misdirect. It may be better to say that Wolf Point Tower is one of three planned towers in Chicago that have yet to be fully constructed. Then, in 2018, Salesforce decided to buy up the naming rights. So, Wolf Point Tower, or more specifically Wolf Point South Tower, would become Salesforce Tower Chicago.

This tower is not yet completed, but construction is well underway. This means that the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco is no longer the only Salesforce Tower in existence. Perhaps there will one day be Salesforce Towers all over the place, but at least for the time being, or at least at the time of writing, there is only one Salesforce Tower.



Here Are Some Extra Salesforce Tower Facts

  • The Salesforce Tower is 61 stories tall, so it is the tallest structure in San Francisco. We already know this though. However, this height also means that it is the second-tallest structure in California.
  • The Salesforce Tower uses brise soleil. This is a method used to deflect sunlight. The tower uses this sun-shading technique to reduce the buildup of heat in the building.
  • The Salesforce Tower’s top floor is unique. Instead of being yet more office space, the top floor of the tower is known as the Ohana Floor. This floor is an observation deck and lounge for all employees and visitors of Salesforce.

Architectural Detail Salesforce TowerThe brise soleil on the Salesforce Tower; HaeB, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


This concludes our discussion of the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco. Why it’s called Salesforce Tower at all, how tall the structure is, what the building’s history is, and why it has a connection to Wolf Point Tower in Chicago have all been answered. While a tower like this may not seem as illustrious as many of the ancient structures we often look at, it can be beneficial to see what architecture is being designed now and why it is made.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Salesforce Tower in San Francisco?

The Salesforce Tower is a large office building. The reason the tower is named after Salesforce isn’t that it was built by the tech company, but rather because it is the primary occupant of the gigantic structure.


How Many Floors Does the Salesforce Tower Have?

The Salesforce Tower’s number of floors is not as high as its height would suggest. It has 61 floors. However, the whole building is capped with a light installation, and that makes it look even taller than it really is. The light installation allows it to beam light throughout the city from atop its 61 stories.


What Is the Salesforce Tower’s Height?

The Salesforce Tower stands at an impressive 326 m (or 1,070 ft). This means that it is, by far, the tallest building in San Francisco. It towers high above everything else in the city, and serves as a tall monument to Salesforce.


What Is Wolf Point Tower?

The Salesforce Tower in San Francisco will not always be the sole Salesforce Tower. What is currently known as Wolf Point Tower in Chicago will eventually become Salesforce Tower Chicago, seeing as Salesforce decided to move in and buy the naming rights.