Your eyes do not deceive you: the surface parking lot at the corner of 9th and Francisco Streets is no more.  With a $39 million taxpayer subsidy in hand, Shanghai's Greenland Real Estate Group has officially commenced work on the first half of the long-awaited Metropolis development.  A skeleton crew quietly kicked off on the $1 billion project yesterday morning, stripping asphalt from the phase one site.  The dirt lot seen above will eventually birth high-rise towers of 19 and 38 stories, creating 350 hotel rooms and 308 condominium units above street-level retail space.  San Francisco-based Webcor Builders, general contractor for the Metropolis development, has fortunately installed a construction camera directly across 9th Street.  Take your progress updates every fifteen minutes in glorious HD.

The Greenland Group is currently in the planning stages for a more grandiose phase two of the project, which would create larger buildings near the intersection of 8th and Francisco Streets.  Gensler-designed plans filed with the city call for a total of 1,250 condominium units and 67,000 feet of commercial space.  An updated rendering of Metropolis from brokerage firm Douglas Elliman portrays the second phase with two additional towers, featuring glass exteriors and sloping roof lines (see below).