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555 California Street
Bank of America Tower San Francisco.jpg
Former names Bank of America Center
Record height
Preceded by 44 Montgomery
Surpassed by Transamerica Pyramid
General information
Status Complete
Type Commercial offices
Location 555 California Street
San Francisco, California
Elevation 35 ft (11 m)
Completed 1969
Owner Vornado Realty Trust (70%)
The Trump Organization (30%)
Management HWA 555 Owners LLC
Height
Roof 779 ft (237 m)
Technical details
Floor count 52
4 below ground
Floor area 1,969,979 sq ft (183,017.0 m2)
Lifts/elevators 38
Design and construction
Architect Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Wurster, Benardi and Emmons
Structural engineer H. J. Brunnier Associates
Main contractor Dinwiddie Construction

555 California Street, formerly Bank of America Center, is a 52-story 779 ft (237 m) skyscraper in San Francisco, California. It is the fourth tallest building in the city, and in 2013 was the largest by floor area.

Completed in 1969, the tower was the tallest building west of the Mississippi River until the completion of the Transamerica Pyramid in 1972, and the world headquarters of Bank of America until the 1998 merger with NationsBank, when the company moved its headquarters to the Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Background

Transcendence - The Banker's Heart
Masayuki Nagare's sculpture Transcendence, locally referred to as Banker's Heart
Bank of America Center (San Francisco)
555 California Street from street level

Colloquially known as "Triple Five" and/or "Triple Nickel", 555 California Street was meant to display the wealth, power, and importance of Bank of America. Design was by Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, with architect Pietro Belluschi consulting; structural engineering was by the San Francisco firm H. J. Brunnier Associates. It is the 75th tallest building in the United States (upon completion), one foot taller than One Worldwide Plaza in New York City and just 1 foot shorter than the 68th tallest building in the US, which is also owned by Bank of America, the Bank of America Center in Houston, Texas at 780 ft (238 m), and just 2 feet shorter than the 67th tallest building in the US, 30 Hudson Street in Jersey City, New Jersey at 781 ft (238 m). Some sites round the heights of all four buildings to 780 ft (238 m) making those four buildings tied as the 67th tallest buildings in the country.

The skyscraper has thousands of bay windows, meant to improve the rental value and to symbolize the bay windows common in San Francisco residential real estate. The irregular cutout areas near the top of the building were designed to suggest the Sierra Nevada. At the north side of the skyscraper is a broad plaza named in honor of Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini.

In the plaza the 200-ton black Swedish granite sculpture "Transcendence" by Masayuki Nagare is known as the "Banker's Heart". Nearly the entire block—the skyscraper, the banking hall, the plaza, the stairways, and the sidewalks—is clad in costly polished or rough carnelian granite. A restaurant, the "Carnelian Room", was on the 52nd floor. The elevator to this restaurant is one of the few publicly accessible high-speed elevators in San Francisco. The restaurant closed at midnight New Year's Eve 2009.

The southeast corner of California and Kearny is about 35 feet (11 m) above sea level, so the top of the building is over 800 feet (240 m). With the Transamerica Pyramid, 555 California Street shows the direction San Francisco's downtown was moving during the 1960s before campaigns against high-rise buildings in the 1970s and 1980s forced development to move south of Market Street. With its top spire, the Transamerica Pyramid is taller; but 555 California has the higher habitable space.

In April 2018, the United States Geological Survey included 555 California Street in a list of 39 high-rise buildings in San Francisco constructed during a period when welding techniques were employed that may jeopardize structural integrity during a strong earthquake.

A 70 percent interest was acquired by Vornado Realty Trust from foreign investors in March 2007 with a 30 percent limited partnership interest still owned by Donald Trump. In 2019, the building generated $86 million in net operating income ($60 million going to Vornado and $26 million to Trump), and it had $543 million of debt attached to it in 2020. Trump's stake in 555 California Street is one of his largest holdings as of 2020. Forbes estimates that Trump owes 162 million to an unknown creditor for this object alone; the loan comes due in 2021. At least one tenant in this building whose rent benefits Trump, the Qatar Investment Authority, is an empty office as of 2020.

Major tenants

  • AllianceBernstein
  • Bank of America
  • Bank of India
  • Barclays Capital
  • Centerview Partners
  • Dodge & Cox
  • EY-Parthenon
  • Fenwick & West
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Jones Day
  • Kirkland & Ellis
  • KKR Financial
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Microsoft
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Qatar Investment Authority
  • RE:UP San Francisco
  • Robert W. Baird & Co.
  • Sandler O'Neill + Partners
  • Scality
  • Servcorp
  • Sidley Austin LLP
  • UBS AG
  • Wells Fargo Advisors
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