Fast forward to today and the office market has started to boom again, so the developers have redirected the project. With a $50 million-plus modernization project about to begin, the new rehabilitation will include a major seismic retrofit and upgrading the skyscraper’s 280,000 square feet of available office space to house potential tech start-ups, venture-capital firms and others. According to the project website, the space will included high-end amenities like a private
outdoor tenant garden, showers, bike parking and repair rooms, and first-class ground-floor dining. Are you listening, future fancy tenants?
Designed by local superstar architect Timothy Pflueger (art deco mastermind behind the Transbay Terminal, New Mission Theater, CCSF, and the Paramount Theater in Oakland), it has soaring terra-cotta piers, art deco details and 13-foot-tall eagle statues at the top – not to mention a pretty fierce marble lobby. There’s also a 26th floor auditorium (sure, why not?), complete with bas reliefs with a snake charmer, elephants and other animals. According to the plans, WMS seeks to maintain the architectural integrity of the building – vintage light fixtures in the lobby will be restored, original bronze medallions on the elevator doors replicated, and the old mail chute retained.
It won’t be all historic sentimentality though, as the plan also include measures to modernize and add safety features to the building. They will replace 1,300 of the building’s 1,700 steel-frame windows, install seismic bracing and modernize the elevators. The developer also plans to create two new retail or restaurant spaces off the restored main lobby. According to the Wall Street Journal, the building should beready for occupancy in the summer of 2013.
UPDATE**** YELP Moving in
Yelp has given San Francisco a five-star rating, committing itself to stay in its hometown through at least 2021.
The popular online review site, one of the first dot-coms to set up shop in the city after the Internet bubble burst, will announce Thursday that it has signed a roughly 100,000-square-foot lease at the Pacific Telephone Building, an Art Deco classic of the city’s skyline.
Pac Bell Building (Photo credit: jgatts)
“We’ve grown up here in the city, and it’s fair to say that Yelp wouldn’t have been as successful had we not started in a city like San Francisco,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, chief executive of Yelp, in describing why the company decided to keep its headquarters here. “It’s a very dynamic cultural scene, lots of restaurants and nightlife, and all those things feed nicely into what Yelp is about.”
Contributing factors included the deepening design and engineering talent pool in the city, the convenient commute to that slice of South of Market and the unique character of 140 New Montgomery St., he said.
Designed by prominent architect Timothy Pflueger in the 1920s, the Pacific Telephone Building is considered one of the finest Art Deco skyscrapers in the city, routinely praised in local architecture guides.
Yelp will relocate from its current space at 706 Mission St. in the fall of 2013. The new space will accommodate around 800 employees, room to grow from the roughly 500 San Francisco workers Yelp has today.