Aralon Properties Submits Application for 75,000 SQFT Adaptive Reuse Project in San Francisco

San Francisco, Union Square, Aralon Properties, OTJ Architects, The Whittier Trust Company

By Jack Stubbs

With convenient access to transportation and major companies, San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood has become an increasingly desirable location for developers. One project proposed for the area comes from San Francisco-based developer Aralon Properties, which has plans to redevelop and expand an existing five-story building at 838 Market Street – located at the intersection of Ellis Street and Market Streets – which currently comprises retail on the lower two floors and office space across the top three floors. 

An application detailing the project, which was submitted on Feb. 21, according to the City’s website, provides further insights into the developer’s intended plans alongside OTJ Architects – namely that the applicant plans to add a total of 10,000 square feet for a total floor area of 75,095 square feet. 

In total, the project will include just over 45,400 square feet of commercial space and 29,680 square feet of retail space. 

The proposed redevelopment undertaking will look to preserve many of the building’s existing features, according to the proposal. The project team will look to retain retail use at the basement, first- and second-levels, and will also modernize the third, fourth and fifth levels for office use. Additionally, the proposal calls for the addition of a sixth floor – dedicated to office space – along with a rooftop-level green terrace. 

“The additional floor level aligns with the current massing to maintain the street plane and create a crown element on the facade,” the proposal states. A new office entrance and retail service access is proposed along Ellis Street, and a retail patron entrance is proposed along Market Street.

New York City-headquartered OTJ Architects has several proposed design changes suggested for the adaptive reuse project as well. The firm has plans to revamp the building’s exterior materials, further emphasize the “crown element” of the facade” and cover the retail space with a combination of a new window wall and stone.

According to the plans, the applicant is looking for permission on various fronts in order to achieve approval for the project. Some of these include an Office Allocation (for new office use), Conditional Use Authorization and a Major Permit to Alter authorization.

Aralon Properties has owned the 838 Market St. property since mid-June, as The Registry reported. The Whittier Trust Company, based in Reno, sold a pair of commercial assets – located at 838 and 842 Market Street – for a combined $30 million, or about $553 per square foot, to a venture between Aralon Properties, the Ward Family Trust and 838 Market Exchange LLC.

In general, Aralon Properties has a significant portfolio with properties located throughout the Bay Area. The company, which is headquartered just south of Rincon Hill and SoMa, develops office, life science and mixed-use properties throughout San Francisco and the Peninsula.

West Coast Commercial Real Estate News