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505 Montgomery Street facts for kids

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505 Montgomery Street
505 Montgomery (24969396594).jpg
505 Montgomery Street from Portsmouth Square
General information
Type Commercial offices
Location 505 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California
Coordinates 37°47′38″N 122°24′12″W / 37.793963°N 122.403409°W / 37.793963; -122.403409
Completed 1988
Roof 100 m (330 ft)
Technical details
Floor count 24
Floor area 333,000 sq ft (30,900 m2)
Design and construction
Architect Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Main contractor Dinwiddie Construction

505 Montgomery Street is a 24-storey, 100 m (330 ft) class-A office building in the financial district of San Francisco, California. The 98-foot (30 m) spire perched atop the building is thought to be a replica of the Empire State Building, but that association is mainly due to the publicity stunt during the opening of the building, which involved an inflatable 40-foot (12 m) gorilla perched on the spire.


505 Montgomery was developed by the Empire Group of San Francisco. Empire assembled ten contiguous parcels in 1978, and filed their initial design study on 7 January 1983 with the San Francisco Department of City Planning. The initial design called for a 28-story building, 416 feet (127 m) high including a 16-foot (4.9 m) mechanical penthouse and ground-floor commercial space. The design was revised to a 24-story building based on floor area ratio calculations, and the final conditional use authorization was granted in June 1984. During construction, Mitsui Fudosan acquired a controlling interest in the unfinished building from The Empire Group and development was completed under the management of AMB.

Retrofitting projects, including a 1994 lighting retrofit, earned the building an Energy Star label. The building was subsequently sold by NOP to RREEF in 2005.


505 Montgomery was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in homage to the Art Deco skyscrapers of the 1930s. It features a stepped-back trapezoidal (mansard) roof and the exterior is clad in polished Barre Gray granite.

Empire Park

Empire Park is located at 642 Commercial Street, and was provided by the developers of 505 Montgomery as a privately owned public space. The initial building design included a pedestrian arcade at the site of 505 Montgomery connecting Sacramento and Commercial streets. However, the arcade would have been rather small, expensive, shaded, and the commercial atmosphere was thought to be unwelcoming for the neighboring community of Chinatown. Therefore, the public open space was moved to a nearby property, which also freed up additional leaseable floor space in 505 Montgomery.

The park originally was named Grabhorn Park, for the Grabhorn Press, the fine printer located on the site from the early 1930s to the early 1940s.

Empire Park is on the former site of the Eureka Lodgings, where Emperor Norton lived from late 1862 / early 1863 until his death in January 1880.

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