Siemens Takes Two Floors at the MET in Orange County’s South Coast Metro Area

July 21, 2022
South Coast Metro Alliance

Siemens Takes Two Floors at the MET in Orange County’s South Coast Metro Area – South Coast Metro

SIEMENS has recently signed a 53,746 square feet lease (2 & ½ floors) at The MET office campus located at 535 Anton Blvd. in Costa Mesa in the heart of South Coast Metro in Orange County, California.

SIEMENS is a global leader in power generation and distribution, intelligent infrastructure, and distributive energy systems. For nearly 175 years, it has developed technologies that support American manufacturing, energy, healthcare, and infrastructure.

The MET Costa Mesa is a completely re-imagined office campus for today’s diverse and innovative workforce that offers a differentiated tenant experience and creates a true sense of place.  With meticulously planned amenities and project-wide enhancements, The MET offers a balanced work and social experience, enhancing the daily lives of tenants and guests.

“We are delighted to welcome SIEMENS to The MET, an experiential campus in the thriving South Coast Metro, the lifestyle, corporate and cultural center of Orange County,” said Edward Cook, Co-President, Co-Chief Investment Officer & Co-Founder of McCarthy Cook & Company, a Los Angeles commercial real estate investment and management firm.

McCarthy Cook invests in major office, mixed use, life science and technology properties in major metropolitan markets in the western US.

Michael Coppin, Senior Vice President for McCarthy Cook & Co, represented The MET ownership, while Casey Hilbun and Chris Houston of Newmark, represented SIEMENS, in this historic lease transaction.

The MET Costa Mesa offers one of the best-in-class workspace and experiential office campus environments in Orange County today,” said Coppin.  “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome SIEMENS, an extraordinary global enterprise to their new corporate campus home. Today’s dynamic tenant requires a flexible ecosystem of both work and social areas to enhance their employees’ working experience while inspiring wellness and productivity. This is exactly what The MET  offers to a global enterprise like SIEMENS and we are delighted to partner with them as our valued tenant customer for years to come.”

SIEMENS is a perfect match for South Coast Metro where environmentally friendly, balanced workplaces as found in The MET combine state-of-the-art technology, quality construction, and distinctive interior design,” said Diane Pritchett, Executive Director of the South Coast Metro Alliance.

SIEMENS is committed to accelerating adoption of sustainable technologies striving towards a low-carbon future offering a wide range of future-oriented solutions for the work of tomorrow.

California Pizza Kitchen Moving Headquarters to Orange County’s ‘Restaurant Row’

Dining Chain Relocating Corporate Operations From Los Angeles After Financial Restructuring

By Lou Hirsh
CoStar News

April 1, 2021 | 6:50 AM

California Pizza Kitchen is moving its headquarters from Los Angeles to Costa Mesa, California, where it would join a “Restaurant Row” of more than a dozen major dining industry companies that have already made Orange County their corporate home over the past several decades.

A company spokeswoman told CoStar News that California Pizza Kitchen, which also goes by CPK, plans to move in early June from its current headquarters office in Los Angeles’ Playa Vista neighborhood to the office complex known as The Met in Costa Mesa.

CoStar data shows CPK this month signed a lease for 37,875 square feet that runs through December 2024 at The Met, located at 575 Anton Blvd., where it plans to employ 252.

“The move to Costa Mesa makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons: it fits with our strategic goals for our new phase of growth; it places us in an important trade area near a high concentration of our CPK restaurants; and our new location delivers against our needs for an open, collaborative, tech forward and COVID safe office space,” CEO Jim Hyatt said in a statement.

Officials said moving plans are contingent on the easing of local business operating restrictions tied to the coronavirus pandemic. The relocation comes as the full-service, casual dining chain with 155 restaurants employing 7,500, emerges from a July 2020 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing after a debt restructuring aided by its private equity owners.

The restaurant chain was founded in Los Angeles County in 1985. The decision to move comes only about half a year after CPK had signed an almost 34,000 square-foot deal to move its headquarters from near Los Angeles International Airport to the fifth floor of an office building at 12181 Bluff Creek Drive in Playa Vista, a prominent tech hub in Los Angeles’ so-called Silicon Beach. The nine-year deal signed in August 2020 was a sublease from Fox Interactive Media, which had leased more than 43,000 square feet at the complex in 2009 but never fully occupied the space, according to the Los Angeles Times. CPK did not disclose its plans for the Playa Vista space.

Company executives said the new Orange County location is expected to house the company’s restaurant support center and serve all of its corporate, domestic and global franchise businesses. The company is retaining its “culinary innovation kitchen” used to test menu concepts in Redondo Beach near Los Angeles.

More than a dozen national and regional restaurant operators have moved their headquarters to the Orange County region over the past several decades.

Among the latest and highest-profile was Chipotle Mexican Grill, which announced in May 2018 that it would be moving its longtime headquarters from Denver to the coastal city of Newport Beach. It formally relocated in 2019, entering the home turf of three big direct competitors in Mexican-style fare that had settled in Orange County years earlier: Taco Bell, Del Taco and El Pollo Loco.

Orange County Appeal

Orange County is also home to the headquarters of major chains such as In-N-Out Burger, Wienerschnitzel, Johnny Rockets, Sizzler, B.J.’s Restaurants and Pick Up Stix. Orange County economic development leaders note the region is the corporate home to at least 20 large restaurant companies.

“I don’t think it’s been specific business incentives, but the companies in that industry have definitely been choosing to locate here,” said Wallace Walrod, chief economic adviser for the Irvine-based Orange County Business Council, a regional nonprofit research and advocacy group, in a 2018 interview with CoStar News. “In the [economic development] industry, they call it conglomeration — in other words, business clustering.”

Walrod said that Orange County cluster over the years has come to attract highly trained restaurant industry professionals, and also support companies that specifically serve the restaurant industry, including advertising agencies, consulting firms, and accounting and law firms.

The well-known beach lifestyle vibe of Orange County has also attracted restaurant companies looking to be associated with that lifestyle branding. Also not hurting, at least prior to the pandemic, was the region’s strong tourism industry, led by top visitor generators such as Disneyland. In more normal times, that makes the region a good place to test out dining and menu concepts on a broad audience.

“There’s a big contingent of international tourists, so that helps to make this a great place for companies that operate restaurant industry focus groups to have their operations,” Walrod said.

According to its website, the Costa Mesa office complex known as The Met, built in 1985 and owned since 2015 by McCarthy Cook & Co., has recently been redesigned around food-centric elements.

The complex features a “Food Truck Runway” serving office tenants with a rotating mix of offerings from locally based vendors.

South Coast Shake-up CPK In, Veritone Out

South Coast Shake-Up:
CPK In, Veritone Out


Artificial intelligenc software company Veritone Inc. has closed its Costa Mesa office and relocated its headquarters to a smaller location in Denver, moves that come as the company, valued at about $1.1 billion, is reported to be considering a sale. The departure of Veritone, which had been among Orange County’s most valuable publicly traded tech companies, has provided an opportunity for the area to expand its base of well-known restaurant chains that call OC home. California Pizza Kitchen is taking over Veritone’s old offices at Costa Mesa’s The Met complex, and will move its headquarters from Los Angeles to the city, the Business Journal has learned. Privately held CPK is set to become the largest restaurant chain to move its base to Orange County in three years, since Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) moved to Newport Center from Veritone’s new home of Denver. The move to Costa Mesa “makes a lot of sense for a variety of reasons: it fits with our strategic goals for our new phase of growth; it places us in an important trade area near a high concentration of our CPK restaurants; and our new location delivers against our needs for an open, collaborative, tech forward and COVID safe office space,” Chief Executive Jim Hyatt told the Business Journal. Sales Rumors The rush of events last week came just days after Veritone (Nasdaq: VERI), run by brothers Chad Steelberg and Ryan Steelberg, reported that revenue reached record highs in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2020, while predicting further strong growth this year. It earned $57.7 million in 2020, up 16.2% from a year earlier. About 29% of its 2020 revenues came in the final three months of the year. Veritone said in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was relocating its corporate headquarters to a building in Denver where it already leases space. It leases about 17,000 square feet in Denver; its Costa Mesa headquarters was nearly 38,000 square feet. Veritone still has a small office in Newport Beach, regulatory filings indicate. Most of its local workforce—reported to be about 135 people as of January—have been working remotely during the pandemic. It’s not known if the Steelberg brothers, who have started several media and tech-focused companies in the area over the years, would be moving to Denver. The company did not comment on the reasons behind the change of headquarters. Exploring Options The change comes as Bloomberg News reports that Veritone is considering a sale. Veritone “is exploring options including apotential sale or outside investment after receiving takeover interest, according to people familiar with the matter,” Bloomberg reported on March 9. Potential buyers were undisclosed in the report, which did not cite any Veritone officials confirming that such a deal was being considered. The company’s shares went up 19% on thenews and closed the day up 5.1% at $30.40 per share with a market cap of just under $982 million. Veritone, the creator of the aiWare operating system for artificial intelligence, is also working with a financial adviser, according to Bloomberg. It said “larger technology companies have expressed takeover interest.” The Bloomberg report came with the caveats that no final decision has been made and the company could opt to remain independent. Asked about the Bloomberg report of a possible sale, Veritone said in a statement to the Business Journal: “We don’t comment on speculation.” In January, Veritone’s market cap topped $1 billion for the first time in three years. Veritone’s stock has seen a wild ride since its initial public offering in 2017, as the company worked to prove the relevance of its artificial intelligence. Its shares were trading under $2 for parts of2020, well below its prior heights. Veritone’s aiWare operating system helps analyze unstructured public and private audio, video and text data for clients in a variety of markets, including media, entertainment, legal, compliance, energy and government to provide actionable intelligence in a searchable database. CPK to Costa Mesa Back in Costa Mesa, Veritone’s former headquarters along the San Diego (405) Freeway are being sublet to California Pizza Kitchen, regulatory filings indicate. Representatives of the restaurant company tell the Business Journal the Costa Mesa spot will serve as the new home for CPK’s corporate, domestic and global franchise businesses. CPK posted about $620 million in 2019 sales, according to estimates from trade publication Restaurant Business. That would have put it among the top seven restaurant chains based in OC last year, based on systemwide sales. 2020 figures for the company haven’t been reported, but are assumed to be well off 2019 levels. CPK, which had more than 200 restaurants going into 2020, was hit hard by restaurant closures during the pandemic and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July. It restructured its debt, ended leases for some locations and emerged from bankruptcy in November. It now counts 195 resturants in seven countries. Its former headquarters in the Playa Vista area of L.A. ran about 33,000 square feet, according to reports. The new location adds CPK to the country’s largest hub for restaurant chain operators, with Chipotle, Taco Bell Corp., In-n-Out Burger and numerous others based in OC (see El Pollo Loco story, page 1). Veritone’s regulatory filings with the SEC indicate CPK will sublease 37,875 square feet of space at 575 Anton Blvd., in a deal that runs through the end of 2024. Monthly rents for CPK start at $2.50 per square foot. The three-floor lease includes ground-floor space at The Met office complex; it’s not
known if a restaurant is in store for that portion of the location.  Costa Mesa  The Met: Costa Mesa office complex getting CPK as new tenant

Jim Hyatt
California Pizza
n FOUNDED: 2014
n HEADQUARTERS: moving from Costa
Mesa to Denver
n CHAIRMAN/CEO: Chad Steelberg
n PRESIDENT: Ryan Steelberg
n BUSINESS: artificial intelligence
135/286 as of January
n NOTABLE: subleasing former HQ space to
CPK, as sale reportedly being considered


5 Amenities That Are Worth the Investment: Featuring The MET Outdoor Workspace

5 Amenities That Are Worth the Investment | Gensler

Gensler 2019


Data and insights from the Gensler Research Institute find that amenities that support effective work habits are crucial to an office’s overall productivity.


Today’s companies are constantly looking for amenities that give them an edge attracting and retaining top talent. While many office perks are useful signifiers of a company’s culture and values, the amenities that have a measurable upshot on people’s experience and effectiveness at work are those that give people a choice of workspaces.

Gensler’s 2019 U.S. Workplace Survey found that the spaces that deliver the greatest impact connect directly to people’s most salient needs and preferences: quiet places to perform focused or individual work, and spaces connected directly to collaboration and group innovation. Amenities with a non-work focus, such as lounges and break rooms, deliver the smallest performance gains.

In fact, choice itself can be an important amenity. In today’s work-everywhere culture, having a variety of spaces to choose from is directly connected to a great workplace experience. An innovation hub or maker space, for example, can offer an alternative setting to one’s daily workstation, as well as an opportunity to work with a different set of tools and skills.

When evaluating which workplace amenities are worth the investment, there’s one key factor to remember: the most effective amenities aren’t meant as an escape. Rather, they’re designed to support workers’ freedom to be productive where they like, while instilling in them a sense of pride for the values, heritage, and future of the company.


A few people standing in front of a large screen.

1. Innovation Hub: Accenture Innovation Hub — Tokyo
With a variety of spaces to support innovation, Accenture’s Innovation Hub in Tokyo is designed to accelerate the launch of services and strategies to market.

A person working on a project.

2. Maker Space: Intel Innovation Lab — Heredia, Costa Rica
Inspired by the process of discovery, Intel’s Innovation Lab includes a robotic lab, and other spaces for interactions, idea generation, and technology exploration.

A person sitting at a table in a library.

3. Quiet/Tech-Free Zone: Digital Hyundai Card Pixel Factory — Seoul
Hyundai Card’s Pixel Factory includes a variety of flexible, alternative work settings, including a library for quiet space.

A group of people sitting on benches.

4. Outdoor Space: The MET — Costa Mesa, California
With an event green, outdoor social lounge, “Food Truck Runway,” and spacious courtyard that functions as a collaborative outdoor workspace, The MET is an amenity-rich office campus that offers a differentiated tenant experience.

A person standing next to a person sitting on a laptop.

5. Focus Room: Hudson River Trading — New York
Hudson River Trading’s multi-level headquarters in 4 World Trade Center features a variety of amenities, including dedicated rooms for focus work and privacy.


The MET Video

OC Gets its 1st Permanent Food-Truck Lot at The MET Costa Mesa

2017 – OC WEEKLY

March 14 2017
Published: OC WEEKLY
Author: Cynthia Rebolledo

OC Gets its 1st Permanent Food-Truck Lot at The MET Costa Mesa

While the SanTana City Council is trying to ban taco trucks (#carneasadaisnotacrime), the city of Costa Mesa is welcoming Orange County’s first permanent food truck park at The MET, a vertical creative campus consisting of three 12-story office towers and a three-story 24 Hour Fitness Sport facility.

“We are looking to provide a daily diverse, and vibrant culinary experience doe tenants and visitors with the ‘Food Truck Runway’ here at The MET”, says owner and manager, McCarthy Cook & Co.

They have hired Karen DiEugenio, a luxe lonchera Bacon Mania to curate the daily truck rotation as well as operate Verde Kitchen, the new on-site café lounge that will compliment the selection of food trucks on campus. DiEugenio looks to assure that there will be a variety of trucks from Orange County (as well as possibly hosting visiting trucks from LA and IE) along with organizing special events like farmer’s/artisan markets, concerts, movies, and tap takeovers to create an exciting experience for tenants as well as visitors to the campus.

“The Food Truck Runway as The MET will finally give Orange County food trucks a stage on which to shine,” says DiEugenio. “truck parks like this create a stabilizing effect on the industry, and provide opportunities for food trucks to be seen by people who might not be truck chasers or brewery patrons or concert goers. This translates into catering gigs, more profitability, and truck longevity.”

Connected to the Runway will be three comfortable seating and social areas offering a shaded outdoor dining retreat for tenants and visitors. Each seating area will also feature urban planter beds with fresh vegetable and herb gardens growing produce for Verde Kitchen to be offered in their daily select “Farm to Fork” menu items.

There will be permanent bays for three food trucks, one of those spots each day will be occupied by a resident food truck and the remaining two spots each day will be filled on a rotating basis from a pool of food trucks like Hobo Pizza, White Rabbit, Piaggo on Wheels, SOHO Taco, Dogzilla and many more.

The whole community is encouraged to visit the Food Truck Runway and enjoy all that the campus at the MET has to offer. Parking is available for outside guests (a 15-minute grace period), and the new Verde Kitchen will validate parking for café and food truck visitors. The expansive 15-acre campus along the 405 freeway is slated for a grand opening in Summer 2017. In the meantime visitors are welcome to visit and grab a bit from the rotating collection of trucks serving lunch daily from 11 a.m. – 2p.m. See you there!

California Architects: Keeping Up with a Shifting Landscape

2016 – California Buildings News
September/October 2016
Q & A with Michael F. Malinowski

California Architects: Keeping Up with a Shifting Landscape
Q & A with Michael F. Malinowski
President of American Institute of Architects, California Council and President of Applied Architecture Inc., Sacramento

Q What are the biggest public affairs challenges architects face from proposed and existing state and federal laws, regulations and recent court rulings? How does AIACC propose they be resolved?

A Keeping up with the ever shifting landscape of regulation and legislation is a challenge for California architects. We are fortunate at the AIACC to have a very experienced staff in Paul Welsh, our exec director and Mark Christian and Kurt Cooknick Assoc. AIA, bolstered by our consultants. They work in concert to keep AIACC leadership in the loop. This year there have been a few “shooting comets” that got a lot of attention only to have since dropped to the background-one example was the proposed sales tax on services. This was a proposal which would have had major negative impacts on the com-petitiveness and service model for all California architects, and major fallout for citizens and institutions statewide as a result. We are quick to move when new proposals come to light; we take a “big picture” view in analyz-ing the impacts not just for our profession, but on citizens, the environment, on business and on sustainability. We use that lens to craft positions that we believe in most cases become the prudent course that prevails. We con-sider this work part of our calling to be “stewards” of the built environment.

One area that has been of interest to me for several decades is Permit Streamlining. I was leader of an entity in Sacramento called the Development Oversight Commission, and in that volunteer role got to see first-hand what it took to move a building department from dead last in “customer service” surveys to number one. Since the recession, the challenges for both building departments and design professionals is that we all have to find ways to do “more with less.”

Having founded a local program over a decade ago called “code conversations” has helped build an environment of trust and communication with region-al code officials. That open channel brought some serious dividends for both sides of the counter, to focus on common ground: a shared interest in high-performing buildings that com-ply with modern design standards: life safety codes, energy-efficiency goals, and sustainability objectives. For a small task force of local architects and code officials, the “win win” result after rolling up our sleeves for about six months: the PASS Program (Prequalified Architectural Submittal System). PASS increases efficiency and effectiveness of the plan review process, with minimal change to normal business practices of design professionals, with the result that citizens enjoy high performing modem buildings quicker, with lower cost, and increased public safety and code conformance. PASS boosts economic development, at little to no cost. It’s not surprising given the win-win foundation of PASS as an innovative approach to the regulatory process that is already in use by 16 jurisdictions including the City of Sacramento, Folsom, Elk Grove, the County of Sacramento and more -the first such regionally consistent program in the country. A companion program “One and Done,” which eliminates wasteful and costly excessive plan review cycles, is in beta test now.

Renewing Older Buildings
Greener…But Less Costly?

Repurposing older buildings via design and construction retrofits can be much greener and less costly. Making the right calculation is complicated, it must be assessed on a project-by-project basis, and there is disagreement about the entire process. But, given the fact that the overwhelming majority of all commercial stock already exists and comparatively few new buildings are erected each year, repositioning or retrofitting makes sense if the structure fits the tenant’s needs.

In planning and budgeting, owners should ask if energy and environmental upgrades are financially feasible, compared to those planned in new construction. What are the government codes considerations? How long will it take to gain government approvals for a new facility, raze it and construct it-and how much money will be lost in the meantime when less time-consuming retrofits can be achieved? Retrofitting can significantly reduce costs, but is the older building’s structure sound and appropriate for longer-term uses?

Repurposing Older Buildings is Greener

A groundbreaking study, published a few years ago, concluded, “Building reuse almost always offers environ-mental savings over demolition and new construction. Moreover, it can take between 10 and 80 years for a new, energy-efficient building to overcome, through more efficient operations, the negative climate change impacts that were created during the construction process. However, care must be taken in the selection of construction materials in order to minimize environmental impacts; the benefits of reuse can be reduced or negated based on the type and quantity of materials s elected for a reuse project.”

The study, The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse, said “Utilizing a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) methodology, the study compares the relative environmental impacts of building reuse and renovation versus new cons truction over the

course of a 75-year life span. LCA is an internationally recognized approach to evaluating the potential environ-mental and human health impacts associated with products and services throughout their respective life cycles .” The study was published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and The Summit Foundation, with the sup-port of companies like the Skanska Group.

Brenden McEneaney, director of the U.S. Green Building Council Northern California, says , “A lot of energy and embodied carbon goes into building materials. As new buildings us e energy more efficiently, an increasing part of a building’s environmental impact is embedded in all the materials required to build it. To reduce that impact, retrofitting old inefficient buildings can make a lot of sense. The Empire State Building avoided the cos t of a new chiller by investing in efficiency. Older buildings often were designed with sustainability, using natural day-light and ventilation, and are often located near trans it. In Silicon Valley, Sharp Development has retrofitted office equipment. Energy savings of 50-75% can be achieved in commercial buildings that makes mart us e of energy-efficiency measures, says IPCC.

But is Retrofitting a Good Investment?

The historic Western Metal Supply Building incorporated into the design of Petco Park in San Diego (front and back views). Photos courtesy of Heritage Architecture & Planning.

McCarthy Cook SVP Brian Harnetiaux, this year’s chairman of BOMA International, says his company is “currently is repositioning a fifteen-acre campus in Costa Mesa that will be rebranded The MET Costa Mesa. (See rendering above.) New commercial buildings are being constructed in this market, but rather than tear down three perfectly good office buildings, we decided to update the campus and add new amenities in order to remain competitive and attract the best tenants.

“This decision makes good business sense: in our market, new construction costs almost 70% more per square foot than the cos t of our refresh. This cost savings will allow us to achieve a return on our investment much more quickly. Simply by announcing this campus refresh, our occupancy level increased from 68% to 78%-and that was before we even lifted a shovel! While the updates to the campus are driving interest with potential new tenants, we also are working with our current tenants to make sure their businesses are not interrupted during the construction. New amenities will include modernized lobbies and common areas, conference center, a new fitness loop, food truck runway and outdoor recreational areas complete with free WIFI.”

Some developers and building owners are unsure about the value of greenfield versus retrofit buildings. There are numerous considerations. A comprehensive McGraw-Hill study in 2011 showed mixed results:

  • Operating cost improvements for new green buildings was 13.6% against 8.5% for retrofitted green buildings
  • Building value increased 6.8% for greened renovated buildings compared with 10.9% for green projects in new buildings
  • AND YET … the return on investment was higher for retro versus new buildings: $19.2% versus 9.9%
  • That said, new buildings experienced higher occupancy (6.4% versus 2.5%) and higher rents (6.1% versus 1%).

There is, however, no question that retrofitting older buildings with energy and lighting upgrades is invariably a good investment. For instance, ENERGY STAR-certified buildings have 13.5% greater value than those whose owners have not taken the same steps to upgrade their facilities. Their utility use is 10% less, they get 4.8% higher rents and 1 % greater occupancy, to cite a few advantages. For instance, retrofitting the aging iconic Empire State Building reportedly received a payback from its energy retrofits in less than four years-and can count on substantial net savings in the future. Government grants and other financial incentives take a lot of the pain out of funding the energy upgrades of older buildings.

Tarrah Beebe of Killefer Flammang Architects, says, “With KFA’s long history of working on 40+ adaptive Teuse projects in Southern California, we have paid homage to the historic construction methods and elegant designs by infusing today’s culture into the durable and distinctive structures. These classic buildings that we left vacant throughout Los Angeles during the recession of the 90s, have become bustling, and even iconic trademarks of this constantly evolving city. The level of coordination and consideration required to develop these projects and add modern building systems is far more detailed and laborious than that of a new project, but carries the reward of a product that is transformative, beautiful, and holds the story of the city. We seek to reveal, and in many cases uncover, the original grandeur of these storied buildings by giving them a more current presence in the urban landscape.”

Retrofitted Buildings’ Historic, Aesthetic Value

Preserving the past is both architecturally and emotionally satisfying to people. Eclectic cityscapes are valued for their cultural significance.

One of California’s most dramatic examples of repurposing a traditional building, is the old San Francisco Federal Reserve, designed by George W. Kelham, a facility whose doors opened in 1924. A grand structure in the heart of the Financial District, it features a prominent beaux-arts ionic colonnade paired with an art-deco style that serves as one of the early incantations of the fashionable streamline modern style of the late 1920s and early 30’s. Inside, the Banking Hall was designed in a temple style, and features murals by Jules Guerin, the artist who created the palette for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exhibition. The building itself is a work of art. (Photos featured on the cover of this issue.)

The Federal Reserve did business in it for nearly six decades before it outgrew the building and moved to its Market Street facility. After a brief stint as a law firm, the old SF Fed was acquired by Bently Holdings, which converted its upper floors to LEED Platinum office space. Its lower floors are rented for elegant special events, business meetings and conferences. These spaces represent one of San Francisco’s greenest special event venues, as well as some of the West Coast’s most acclaimed spaces. The building is also included in the National Register of Historic Places and is and one of San Francisco’s significant cultural landmarks.

Other such historic conversions abound throughout California.

“We find that older buildings are usually better designed and detailed than most structures built in the last 50 years. Our job as preservation architects is to polish them up, make sensitive upgrades, and get them back into service. Oftentimes, the only way to save a building from demolition is to find a new use for it. Some buildings are easy to adaptively reuse-like hotels into apartments or warehouses into open office spaces. The biggest challenge is finding a compatible new use for unique building types, like the 1930s police facility called The Headquarters that we helped transform into retail and restaurants in downtown San Diego,” says David Marshall, president of Heritage Architecture & Planning.

SB Architects Principal Bruce Wright says, “At 72 Townsend, we were able to create an exciting new high-rise residential project for San Francisco, while preserving an important piece of San Francisco’s architectural heritage. Our contemporary structure sits on top of a single-story warehouse indicative of the city’s South End Historic District, rich in maritime history. By setting the new structures back from the building’s original footprint, we were able to maintain the street’s single-story character, and also create deep terraces. The modulated structure steps back away from the main thoroughfare, further reducing the scale and giving the architecture a sense of rhythm and movement.”

72 Townsend in San Francisco makes use of a former single-story warehouse. Photo credit: Chelsea Olson, SB Architects.