Triple Nickel

555 California Street (“Triple Nickel”), formerly known as the Bank of America Center, was completed in 1969. At that time, it was the tallest building in the U.S. west of the Mississippi. The bank was originally the Bank of Italy, founded in a converted saloon by A. P. Giannini in 1904. Having made several investments in the smaller Bank of America,

2020-12-16T18:03:19+00:00 Happenings|

My Daughter, the Engineer

Once upon a time, there was an iconic clock tower that guarded the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge. It was erected in 1940 and designed by Louis P. Hobart, who also designed Grace Cathedral, the California Academy of Sciences, and Macy’s on Union Square, as well as many other structures. This structure initially displayed

2020-11-23T19:57:18+00:00 Happenings|

Iconic Ferry Terminal

Back in the day--that would be 1898 when the Ferry Terminal was opened--the Terminal was the second busiest transit terminal in the world (ferry service was the only way to get from North Bay to the City), second only to London Charing Cross station. Then came construction of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, both completed in the 1930s, and

2020-10-26T17:29:16+00:00 Happenings|

By The Numbers

Oracle Park—aka AT&T Park, Pacific Bell Park and SBC Park—is where the San Francisco Giants hold court, and where a statue of Willie Mays adorns the entrance at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, which is surrounded by 24 palm trees, in honor of Mays’ number, 24. The ballpark opened March 2000, replacing Candlestick (“The Stick”) as

2020-09-25T18:46:43+00:00 Happenings|

Da Mayor’s House

The San Francisco City Hall, bathed here in Golden State Warriors blue, is a Beaux-Arts beauty with a rotunda taller than the U.S. Capitol building by 42 feet. It’s the place to attend Planning Commission hearings, confer with da mayor and district supervisors, obtain all sorts of licenses, and be featured in multiple films like Raiders

2020-08-24T19:48:24+00:00 Happenings|

Sobering Up

Since we left you last month with “One More Saloon Please,” it seems appropriate to focus on a more sobering subject like Grace Cathedral. However, before leaving the topic of saloons, please allow me to share this pic with important words from The Tonight Show host and philosopher Johnny Carson. Grace Church, the ancestral parish

2020-07-31T16:46:24+00:00 Happenings|

One More Saloon, Please!

The Four Seasons Hotel at 757 Market Street was first to combine condominiums and a hotel, followed in 2005 by the St. Regis. The Four Seasons property came online in September 2001 and was slow to sell. It went on to have the highest resale price per square foot in SOMA, and became a refuge

2020-06-30T14:29:09+00:00 Happenings|

What Does It Take to Last 100 Years?

In large cities, transformation is inevitable. Structures are built, repurposed, remodeled, and leveled regularly. However, some cities have a few structures that stand for decades. I believe the "secrets to longevity" can be whittled down to three components: 1) Quality design and construction; 2) Multiple "face lifts" and adjustments to meet client needs; 3) Location.

2020-06-15T17:49:26+00:00 Happenings|

Living Walls and Freud

When someone mentions psychology, you think of Freud, right? I do, although I admit I may be a bit crazy! The living walls at Jasper, at the corner of 1st Street and Harrison, caught my attention many moons ago. You can see them here, adjacent to a gas station, which has recently been demolished for a

2019-06-10T16:29:31+00:00 Happenings|

100 Years of History

There is a big, new 40-story building going up at the corner of Mission and South Van Ness. It is currently referred to as 1500 Mission (Related California is the developer) and, while it hasn’t been named yet, I’m thinking that it might be called the Coke Building, to the chagrin of everyone except those

2019-05-12T23:01:12+00:00 Happenings|