Hakkasan Selects One Kearny

By Sharon Simonson

Hakkasan, the upscale international Chinese restaurant chain with its flagship location in London, has chosen the second floor of San Francisco’s One Kearny for the site of its first Bay Area restaurant.

A spokeswoman for Hakkasan said executives were not yet releasing details about West Coast plans, but Viet N’Guyen confirmed the worldwide fine-dining company plans to open outlets in Los Angeles and Las Vegas as well as San Francisco.

She did not confirm the One Kearny address.

However, according to sources with direct knowledge, Hakkasan plans a 180-seat restaurant in the not-quite 10,000 square-foot space, which overlooks both Market and Third streets. The restaurant is expected to open later this year.

Earlier this month, Bay Area-based general contractor, construction manager and design-build company Terra Nova Industries secured a permit from the city and county of San Francisco to allow the removal at One Kearny of a “barrier … to provide [a] new accessible elevator to serve 2nd floor restaurant space,” according to public records. The cost was estimated at $200,000.

The permit notes that authorization to complete tenant improvements would be done “under separate permit.” No such permit has yet been issued, according to public records. An executive at Terra Nova said he was not at liberty to comment.

The location, in one of the city’s earliest skyscrapers, is a stone’s throw from the huge, and hugely popular, Moscone Center, which draws on the order of a million exhibitors and attendees each year. It is also adjacent to the thriving South of Market district and the Yerba Buena Gardens.

“Having one of the largest convention venues a hundred yards from your front door—that is a huge advantage” for a restaurant, said Meade Boutwell, a senior vice president for CB Richard Ellis in San Francisco. Boutwell represented architecture firm Perkins Eastman when it selected One Kearny as its new home last year.

More than 20 percent of San Francisco’s population, or not quite 175,000 people, is of Chinese descent or origin, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the largest such concentration in the country relative to the city’s population as a whole among cities with more than 250,000 residents. Fremont, Daly City and Sunnyvale also have sizable Chinese-American populations.

Hakkasan is opening its first New York location in Manhattan next week, N’Guyen said. It is the company’s seventh restaurant worldwide. It also opened a new restaurant late last year in Dubai. Its flagship restaurant and first location is in London at Hanway Place, which opened in 2001. Since then, it has opened a second London location as well as locations in Abu Dhabi, Mumbai and The Fontainebleau Miami Beach.

The Hakkasan group is owned by Abu Dhabi’s property investment company Tasameem, which also owns dim sum restaurant Yauatcha in London, according to a news release issued in October by Hakkasan in anticipation of the Manhattan opening.

The Manhattan restaurant was designed by Paris-based architect firm Gilles & Boissier, which also developed the interiors for the Miami and Abu Dhabi locations.

One Kearny, with its signature red-tile mansard roof, was built before the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Its steel structure, a cutting-edge construction approach at the time, saved it from collapse.

Its current owners, One Kearny LLC, bought it and a 1964 annex, in 1993. In 2009, they completed a $30 million restoration and 60,000 square-foot addition designed by San Francisco architect Charles Bloszies. That work more than doubled the size of its floor plates.

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