SHVO Makes Progress on Repositioning of 545 Sansome in San Francisco

SHVO, 545 Sansome, Gensler, Aegon, Transamerica Pyramid Center, Foster & Partners, San Francisco, Three Transamerica
Courtesy of Gensler

By Meghan Hall

SHVO is moving ahead with ambitious plans to revamp a number of San Francisco’s iconic towers. At 545 Sansome, the international developer is running with plans to add more office square footage, despite a general sleepiness that has pervaded the neighborhood since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

SHVO purchased the tower, along with others at the Transamerica Pyramid Center, for $650 million in 2020. The seller was Aegon, parent company of Transamerica Corp. At the time, SHVO beat out more than 40 bidders for the property.

Aegon already had plans in motion at 545 Sansome, which SHVO has maintained in its efforts to reposition the asset. The current building, constructed in the1930s, totals 55,759 square feet.

Records on file with the City indicate that SHVO would demolish an adjacent, single-story retail building at 501-505 Washington Street to create a concrete-capped, below-grade story at 517 Washington and a new, 49,999 square foot office addition. 2,419 square feet of ground floor retail would also be added. The project will also provide for 7,103 square feet of open space, and 6,103 square feet of private open space for the building’s future tenants. 

Designs by Gensler show that the historical facades of the building will be maintained and complemented by a mix of masonry and metal panels. When complete, the project will be called Three Transamerica.

In another recent announcement, the firm hired architecture firm Foster + Partners to spearhead the revamp of the Transamerica Pyramid Center. The $250 million project will be one of the largest in the building’s 50-year history.

“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,” said Lord Norman Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman of Foster + Partners, in a statement. “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.”

The project will also revamp the adjacent Redwood Park and tie all buildings on the property together in a cohesive manner. The buildings will feature hospitality-grade amenities, carefully curated retail, and multiple floors of space specifically dedicated to wellness. SHVO hopes that its efforts at the property will incentivize potential tenants to return to the office.

“The Pyramid is synonymous with San Francisco, representing the city’s optimism and forward-thinking nature,” said Michael Shvo, Chairman & CEO. “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 is headquartered in New York City, but the firm has a presence in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. According to a statement from the firm, SHVO operates a national portfolio of more than $8 billion, and has 4.5 million square feet as part of its portfolio. Its properties span across numerous property types, including hospitality and luxury residential real estate.

As of this writing, SHVO had not yet responded to The Registry’s request for updated comment.

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