HKS-Built Arc Light Co. at 21 Clarence Place Opens to New Tenants

SAN FRANCISCO – HKS’s latest residential building, Arc Light Co. – a renovated, 19th century electric company warehouse located at 21 Clarence Place in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood – started leasing in April 2012.

Arc Light Co. is an adaptive re-use of a historic building that benefits from HUD-insured financing by CBRE as well as added public funds from the Recovery Act, Prop 1C grant, and state money for site cleanup, allowing for the transformation of an underutilized and distressed site into a vibrant member of the rapidly emerging South Beach neighborhood.  The project was developed by Martin Building Company. HKS Architects, Inc. provided architecture services and local residential building expertise from its San Francisco office.

The renovated development features 94 contemporary lofts – a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units – in a six-story building, featuring two stories of restored brick façade topped by a four-story glass and metal structure that complements the historic context. Amenities include a north- and south-facing roof deck with a custom spa, grilling area and fitness center, elaborate interior courtyards, basement and enclosed garage parking, and a two-story restaurant located within the historic brick walls.

“The Arc Light Co. building resonates with local residents because of its innovative new architecture, historic preservation and LEED Gold certification, offering many eco-minded amenities including abundant bicycle parking, electric car-charging stations and exclusive use of City CarShare vehicles parked on premises,” says HKS designer Adaeze Cadet.

“We had the challenge of incorporating the historic brick expression with four additional stories of new construction in a way that revitalized the site, but didn’t overpower the existing structure,” Cadet continued. “To do this, we worked closely with Martin Building Company to design a clean, modern glass expression that respectfully contrasts the brick, while still keeping the industrial feel of the former electric company warehouse,” Cadet continued. “We also designed the street façade of the live/work units on the ground floor and main entrance with large glass openings that carry the glass expression down from above to further integrate the historic elements with the modern-day design.”

Committed to unparalleled excellence in design using sustainable building standards, Arc Light Co. is the first residential building in San Francisco to receive LEED™ for Homes Mid-rise Gold certification, in addition to its participation in the California Multifamily New Homes Program, the Go Solar SF Program and the New Solar Homes Program. This was achieved through numerous open spaces and courtyards, solar roof panels, energy-efficient appliances, locally produced glass, insulated windows, bicycle storage areas, recharging stations and its transit-accessible location. The project is within walking distance to multiple Muni lines and Caltrain, and provides easy access to both BART and the freeway.

Arc Light Co. originally served as the historic California Electric Light Company, Station B. The building was designed to house arc and incandescent lights used to generate electricity for electric light service. The arc light preceded Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb and was used for lighting streets and commercial buildings. By 1888, California Electric Light Company was satisfying San Francisco’s flourishing demand for electricity. Arc Light Co. is listed as a contributory building to the South End Historic District.

“It’s an amazing location in one of the hearts of San Francisco. It’s intended to be an extremely stable asset for a long period of time,” said Patrick McNerney, Martin Building Company’s president.

HKS Architects, Inc. has an extensive residential portfolio in San Francisco. It is responsible for The Beacon, Avalon at Mission Bay, Bridgeview, Pacific Place, The Potrero and the soon-to-open Potrero Launch, which also was developed by the Martin Building Company. In addition, HKS designed the interior renovation of the new GSA Region 9 headquarters building at 50 United Nations Plaza, which will achieve LEED Platinum Certification when it opens in 2013.

HKS, Inc. is a leading architectural design firm ranked among the top five architectural engineering firms, according to Building Design+Construction magazine. Since its founding in 1939, HKS has completed construction projects totaling more than $73 billion in more than 1,178 cities located in 77 countries. The firm operates from 29 offices worldwide. For more information, visit

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