Back in 2007, developers Wilson Meany Sullivan (of Ferry Building and One Powell fame) acquired the Timothy Pfleuger art deco skycraper at 140 New Montgomery Street. Known as the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Building, the tower was one of the tallest skyscrapers on the West Coast at the time it was constructed in 1925. The developers had grand plans to renovate the building into luxury condos, and even got through the permitting and entitlements labyrinth in 2008. Unfortunately for them, the plans were hatched right before the recession, and the loss of funding cause the project to stall out for the past four years. 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 be ready for occupancy in the summer of 2013.
· New Call by Developer on Historic Tower [Wall Street Journal]
· 140 New Montgomery [Wilson Meany Sullivan]
· 140 New Montgomery: Inside an Art Deco Masterpiece [SFist]
· Photo essay of the Pac Bell Building [Terrastories]
· Past coverage of Timothy Pflueger [Curbed SF Archives]