San Francisco Chronicle

S.F.’s Transamerica Pyramid will soon reopen, with a new restaurant and notable conference in tow

Laura Waxmann , Jun 12, 2024

The Transamerica Pyramid is seen from Jackson Street in San Francisco in May. Gabrielle Lurie/The Chronicle

With the $400 million remake of San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid entering its final stretches, its new owner has disclosed when the iconic skyscraper will reopen to the public — and announced key partnerships meant to help activate it.

While the 48-story pyramid-shaped office tower, one of the most distinguishing features of the city’s skyline, has been opening up to the public in phases — its sleek new lobby has been completed and has been accessible for several months — a grand opening ceremony scheduled on Sept. 12 will officially mark the culmination of months of renovation work, owner Michael Shvo confirmed to the Chronicle.

Come September, a private bar and lounge will debut on the pyramid’s top floor, and a members-only core club featuring a restaurant will open on its first four floors.

The pyramid’s overhaul also includes the restoration of a redwood tree park at its base and the redevelopment of two smaller, adjacent commercial buildings. Chef Brad Kilgore will spearhead a new restaurant — his first outside Miami — inside one of those adjacent buildings.

A rendering of the redeveloped park outside the Transamerica Pyramid, which will be completed as part of the property’s updates. SHVO

Shvo’s team has also forged a partnership with TEDAI, TED’s global artificial intelligence conference that is taking place in venues across San Francisco on Oct. 22-23.

The conference is expected to draw up to 1,500 attendees and 60 speakers to the city for talks and workshops related to the artificial intelligence industry, which has seen accelerated growth in San Francisco over the past year. The pyramid will serve as TEDAI’s “hospitality partner,” meaning that it will provide programming for attendees consisting of live demonstrations, interactive exhibits, food and entertainment.

Shvo — the New York-based developer whose eponymous real estate firm Shvo and several partners bought the pyramid in the early months of the pandemic for $650 million — said that the TEDAI partnership reinforces the building’s position as “a home for the world’s greatest minds.”

“This building has always been ahead of its time, and there is no better place to explore the significant opportunities that AI presents for the world than here, in the innovation capital of the world,” he said.

Sam De Brouwer, co-founder of TEDAI, said, “I can think of no better home to welcome our attendees on the first night of the conference, providing them with an inspiring backdrop to celebrate and discuss the future of AI innovation.”

The pyramid’s silhouette is now featured as part of the 2024 TEDAI logo.

Excavation work is continuing on the once-overgrown redwood park at the base of the building — Transamerica’s “gift” to the city when the pyramid was completed in 1972. On Wednesday, Shvo filed an application with the city’s Planning Department to expand the park by adding a public seating area in the footprint of Transamerica Three, a historic office building on the pyramid property that was once known as 545 Sansome St.

The nine-story building’s restoration, designed by renowned architect Foster + Partners, includes adding six stories. This building will ultimately house Kilgore’s new restaurant, details of which have not been disclosed.

During an interview with the Chronicle last month, Shvo said that he believes the pyramid will help shift San Francisco’s “center of gravity” north, as much of the city’s downtown remains in recovery mode in the wake of the pandemic.

“When we open in September to the public, and introduce the new shops and restaurant and everything that we’ve been doing there, it will totally change the neighborhood,” Shvo said. “It will give it a big boost, and essentially extend the Jackson Square neighborhood into the Transamerica Redwood Park.”