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Historic Downtown Adam Grant Building Lists for $155 Million

Nearly 50 percent hike from high-profile 2013 sale to Credit Suisse

If you’re in the market for a truly historic Beaux-Arts building in downtown San Francisco and/or wondering what to do with that stray $155 million nest egg, look no further.

The Adam Grant Building at 114 Sansome Street is on offer, according to the Registry, as Credit Suisse looks to improve on its $105 million purchase of the 14-story office high-rise from three years ago.

At the time of that high-profile buy, the Swiss financial services company called the building a "premier landmark" and praised its "security" and "significant upside potential."

That upside is looking like a 47.6 percent appreciation over three years, if they can hook a buyer for the 189,900 square foot building that’s over 90 percent occupied and sits at the corner of Sansome and Bush streets.

The Adam Grant Building (not to be confused with the Grant Building at 1095 Market Street) has been through a lot in its 108-year history. Named for a dry goods merchant who built the first structure on the lot, the circa 1868 version of the AGB was a four story brick ensemble that was reinforced with 250 tons of iron, earning architect John Gaynor special honors for his earthquake-resistant design.

Then the 1906 earthquake struck and destroyed it. Of course.

The new building (financed by Adam Grant’s son, Joseph Grant) appeared in 1908, constructed as something resembling its present version but measuring only six stories. The extra floors were later added by a Lewis P. Hobart-helmed expansion in 1926, along with most of the brown brick building's beaux Arts style. Most notable are the iconic giant urns at the four corners of its inset upper floors, which are nine feet tall and, in their original form, weighed 1,500 pounds.

The old urns were plucked down in 1973 over seismic concerns, with the prevailing wisdom being that the last thing a busy downtown street needs in a major earthquake is three quarters of a ton of ornamental terracotta crashing down onto four different intersections.

In fact, a lot of Hobart’s work was ruined in the middle of the century, when some genius thought it was a good idea to sand the garland off the front of the building and remove the barrel vault entryway for no good reason.

And so, in the 2000s, when the building was teeming with dot-coms, it was remodeled yet again, back to something mostly matching its Jazz Age beauty, including restoring the entryway and the marble floor based on their 1926 plans, and replacing the urns with fiberglass reproductions by Michael H. Casey Designs.

Of course, by the time all this work was done the building was mostly empty on account of the bursting dotcom bubble. But at least they left the old place looking good. The present $155 million price tag is more than $810 per square foot.