Mat Honan / BuzzFeed News

Marc Benioff (left) and former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown at the opening of the new Salesforce Tower.

As noon approached, an Orthodox priest, a rabbi, a Zen Center reverend, an imam, an Episcopal bishop, a Catholic archbishop, and a leader from the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Center stood on a stage in downtown San Francisco, clasped hands, and said a prayer: “Bless this magnificent edifice,” they intoned, “the Salesforce Tower.”

It was a bit ridiculous. But the Salesforce Tower itself, which opened to the public on Tuesday, is no joke. For San Francisco, it is a literal monument to the wealth and power of tech, and its grand opening brought together a nexus of powerful forces in modern-day California: the technology industry, Democratic politics, and the housing crisis.

It was also a chance to show off a fancy new building. The massive 1,070-foot structure looms over the rest of the city, where the second-highest structure, the Transamerica Pyramid, tops out 200 feet below it. It adds 1.4 million square feet of office space to a city busting at the seams. (And all of it rented out the day it opened.) Much like Google or Facebook, the Salesforce Tower is unprecedented in its scale, and it is hard not to think of the building as a manifestation the radical transformation wrought upon San Francisco by the tech industry.

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