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140 New Montgomery
PacBell Building, northeast corner.jpg
Northeast corner of 140 New Montgomery
Former names
  • The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company Building
  • The Pacific Bell Building
Alternative names
  • The Pacific Telephone Building
  • The Telephone Building
  • Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. Coast Division Offices
Record height
Preceded by 225 Bush Street
Surpassed by Russ Building
General information
Type Mixed-use
Architectural style Art Deco
Location
Coordinates 37°47′13″N 122°24′00″W / 37.7868194444444°N 122.399905555556°W / 37.7868194444444; -122.399905555556
Current tenants Yelp
Construction started January 1, 1924; 98 years ago (1924-01-01)
Completed 1925
Opened May 30, 1925
Renovated 1980s (façade)
Cost US$4 million (equivalent to $48.62 million in 2018)
Owner Pembroke Real Estate Inc.
Height
Architectural 435 feet (132.7 meters)
Tip 460 ft (140.2 m)
Antenna spire 460 ft (140.2 m)
Roof 435 ft (132.6 m)
Top floor 413 ft (125.9 m)
Dimensions
Other dimensions 147.00 ft (44.81 m) length x 160.00 ft (48.77 m) width
Technical details
Structural system steel
Floor count 26
Floor area 295,000 sq ft (27,400 m2)
Lifts/elevators 10
Design and construction
Architect
  • James R. Miller
  • Timothy L. Pflueger
  • A. A. (Alexander Aimwell) Cantin
Architecture firm Miller and Pflueger
Designations
  • San Francisco Category I Historic Building
  • LEED Gold

140 New Montgomery Street, originally known as The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Company Building, and, after 1984, as The Pacific Bell Building or The PacBell Building, in San Francisco's South of Market district, is an Art Deco mixed-use office tower located close to the St. Regis Museum Tower and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The 26-floor building was designed to consolidate numerous smaller buildings and outdated offices into a modern headquarters for The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., and as a result, was designated as the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co. Coast Division Offices by the company, though referred to colloquially as The Telephone Building. When it opened on May 30, 1925, The Pacific Telephone Building was San Francisco's first significant skyscraper development, and was the tallest building in San Francisco, until the Russ Building matched its height in 1927 at the time of its completion. The building was the first high-rise south of Market Street, and along with the Russ Building, remained the city's tallest until it was overtaken by 650 California Street in 1964. It was the first high rise located on the west coast to be occupied solely by a single tenant.

AT&T sold the building in 2007, and as of 2013, Internet company Yelp is the main tenant.

Construction and original tenant

At the time of its construction, it housed The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., a member of the Bell System. The building once had a bell motif in many places on its façade, most notably surrounding the arch over the main entrance doors on New Montgomery Street. After the breakup of the Bell System (AT&T) in 1984, and the formation the Regional Bell Operating Companies, also known as the Baby Bells, Pacific Telephone changed its name to Pacific Bell.

Statues of eight eagles (each 13 feet (4.0 m) in height) perch atop the tower's crown. The building has an L—shaped floor plan, and the architecture decoratively incorporates spotlights to show the exterior's terra cotta ornamentation day and night.

In 1929, Sir Winston Churchill visited the building and made his first transatlantic telephone call, phoning his London home.

For 44 years until 1978, the top of the roof was used to convey official storm warnings to sailors at the direction of the United States National Weather Service, in the form of a 25 feet (7.6 metres) long triangular red flag by day, and a red light at night.

In the 21st century

In 2007, the PacBell Building was sold by AT&T to Stockbridge Capital Group and Wilson Meany Sullivan for US$118 million. In 2008, the new owners filed plans to convert the tower into 118 luxury condominiums. However, those plans were put on hold during the 2008 financial crisis, and the building sat empty for nearly six years.

Following a surge in office demand in 2010–2011, Wilson Meany Sullivan changed the plans back to office space. Major renovation work began in February 2012, to improve the building's seismic performance, install all–new mechanical, electric, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems, and preserve and restore the building's historic lobby, at an estimated cost of US$80–100 million. In 2012, Yelp announced it had signed a lease on the building's 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of office space through 2020. After two expansions, the company held a total of almost 150,000 square feet (14,000 m2) on 13 floors in the fall 2015.

In April 2016, Pembroke Real Estate Inc., a Boston–based REIT, acquired 140 New Montgomery as part of its portfolio — its second acquisition in San Francisco. According to property records, Pembroke paid US$284 million for the property, at around US$962 per square foot.

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