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Cashing In on the Omni's History as a Banking Center

Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it's no longer there, maybe it's been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in Bay Area history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.

San Francisco's Omni Hotel is one of the swankiest in town, and has the luxury to prove it. Not very surprising, considering the building once housed a financial center building. When it was built in 1927, 500 California was known as "a corner anchor for the entire financial district." The building was designed by Frederick H. Meyer and Albin R. Johnson (of Elks Club and 2950 Broadway fame) in the Florentine Renaissance revival style.


The original lobby was really colorful, leaving the architects afraid that people would think it too loud and "like a theater lobby." Lucky for them, it was a big hit. The walls were polished Botticini marble, with elevator openings in carved marble and cast bronze doors.

The building remained offices until 2002, when it was converted into the Omni Hotel, retaining lots of the original features.