Transamerica Transformed: Significant Redevelopment to Transform Entire City Block
SHVO, the luxury real estate development and investment firm, announced a $250 million renovation of the iconic Transamerica Pyramid Center in San Francisco by world renowned architects Foster + Partners. The biggest renovation in its 50 year history, this redevelopment is the largest investment in downtown San Francisco since the pandemic to one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, the second tallest building in the city. An additional $150 million will be allocated to expanding and upgrading the adjacent Three Transamerica (545 Sansome) to a contemporary high-design office building.
The selection of Pritzker Laureate Lord Norman Foster, known for a prolific expertise in melding historic architecture with contemporary design, followed an invited competition including celebrated international architectural firms Bjarke Ingels Group and David Chipperfield Architects.
Located in one of the world’s premier gateway cities, and a symbol of San Francisco’s ambition, the Transamerica Pyramid Center encompasses an entire city block in the Financial District. The Transamerica Pyramid, designed by celebrated futurist architect William Pereira and completed in 1972, is emblematic of the skyline. The broader site consists of two additional buildings – Two Transamerica (505 Sansome Street) and Three Transamerica (545 Sansome Street), and the famed central Redwood Park.
The new Foster + Partners design seeks to revitalize and restore the historic Redwood Park, while tying all three buildings together through a series of strategic interventions at ground level, creating a vibrant new destination in the heart of San Francisco while respecting and celebrating the unique heritage of the site.
SHVO and Foster + Partners are committed to conceiving high performance office spaces which enhance wellbeing. The office is reimagined as a living space, with a sophisticated emphasis placed on comfort, hospitality, and flexibility for tenants and guests. In addition to the on-site private members club CORE, hospitality grade amenities and service elevate the offering. Further incentivizing the return to the office, retail is carefully curated and two floors in the middle of the tower are dedicated to wellness, a lounge and conferencing facilities—all with panoramic city views. Additionally, the top floor below the spire culminates these amenities with an enchanting private bar and lounge.
Redwood Park – which consists of nearly 50 mature redwood trees transplanted from the Santa Cruz Valley to the site in 1974 and now over 100 feet tall – will also be upgraded and additional landscape will activate the site perimeter. Adding seasonal color to the space, Mark Twain Street – the alleyway from Sansome Street – will be lined with plum blossom trees, leading up to the base of the pyramid featuring curated cafes, shops and restaurants. The project is slated to be completed by the middle of 2023.
Distinguished architectural historian Paul Goldberger, an advisor to SHVO for Transamerica Pyramid Center, said: “The Foster team, known for the sensitivity of its juxtapositions of historic and modern structures, conceived a design highly responsive not only to Pereira’s spectacular original architecture, but to the nature of downtown San Francisco: not a generic redo of a 1970’s tower, but a unique project intended to celebrate a unique modern building, making the most of its exclamation point on the skyline and its presence on the street, uniting the two to become a place like no other.”
Lord Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners, added: “This is an exceptional opportunity to restore the unique Transamerica Pyramid Tower and its historic Redwood Park, to create a very special destination in the heart of San Francisco. The existing buildings and new additions are tied together by generous landscaping which will breathe new public and community life at the sidewalk level. The previous office areas are reborn as new living spaces, with an emphasis on wellbeing. Working in collaboration with Michael Shvo and his team, we look forward to reinvigorating this truly iconic building.”
“Norman Foster is renowned for his brilliant treatment of historic buildings and I am thrilled to partner with his team on the important task of redeveloping this extraordinary city block and reinforcing the Transamerica Pyramid as one of the greatest buildings in the world,” said Michael Shvo, Chairman & CEO. “The Pyramid is synonymous with San Francisco, representing the city’s optimism and forwardthinking nature. We have worked closely with the Foster team to respect the Center’s existing history and complement that with contemporary interventions that will only strengthen this magnificent building that stands as a beacon on this city’s skyline.”
SHVO, which acquired the Transamerica Pyramid Center in October 2020, is committed to making significant investments to further cement the building’s status as one of the most essential buildings in the world while creating an inviting new destination for San Francisco and its inhabitants.
SHVO is a real estate development and investment firm built on the vision of Chairman & CEO Michael Shvo to create culture-defining experiences in iconic properties.
Headquartered in New York City with offices in Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, SHVO owns and operates a national portfolio with more than $8 billion in assets under management and 4.5 million square feet across commercial office and retail space, hospitality, and luxury residential assets.
The firm’s selective portfolio of architecturally significant properties, from innovative ground up new developments to revitalized landmarks that define skylines in the world’s leading cities, includes the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco, The Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach, 333 South Wabash Avenue (‘The Big Red’) in Chicago, Mandarin Oriental Residences at 9200 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, Mandarin Oriental Residences Fifth Avenue in New York City and the AMAN New York Hotel and Residences at the Crown building.
Renowned for its expertise, SHVO is fully integrated with highly diversified industry experience in every aspect of acquisitions, finance, development, design, sales, leasing, property management, hospitality, and sustainability.
For more information visit www.shvo.com.
About Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners is a global studio for architecture, urbanism and design, rooted in sustainability, which was founded over fifty years ago in 1967 by Norman Foster with his late wife, Wendy. Since then, he and the team around him have established an international practice with a worldwide reputation for thoughtful and pioneering design, working as a single studio that is both ethnically and culturally diverse. The studio integrates the skills of architecture with engineering, both structural and environmental, urbanism, interior and industrial design, model and film making, aeronautics and many more – our collegiate working environment is similar to a compact university. These diverse skills make us capable of tackling a wide range of projects, particularly those of considerable complexity and scale. Design is at the core of everything that we do. We design buildings, spaces and cities; we listen, we question, and we innovate.
The studio has established an international reputation with buildings such as the Hearst Headquarters in New York, 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as The Gherkin, in London, Millau Viaduct in France, the German Parliament in the Reichstag, Berlin, The Great Court for the British Museum, Headquarters for HSBC in Hong Kong and London, the ME Hotel in London, Commerzbank Headquarters in Frankfurt, the Metro Bilbao, the Carré d’Art Nîmes, the sustainable Masdar development in Abu Dhabi, and research centres for Stanford University, California. Recent work includes the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Samson Pavilion for CWRU and Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Duo Central Park in Sydney, Apple’s headquarters in California, Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London and the Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia. Currently, the practice is involved in projects such as the New Slussen Masterplan in Sweden, Kuwait International Airport, and 425 Park Avenue in New York.