At some point in 2023, the iconic Transamerica Pyramid is set to emerge from a $250 million renovation, with new public amenities at its base, including restaurants and a revamped redwood park.
New York-based developer Michael Shvo, who purchased the building and several adjacent properties for $700 million in 2020, has been out publicizing his project in recent weeks, following an event two weeks ago celebrating the building's 50th anniversary.
Shvo explained in a Chronicle op-ed this week that he first laid eyes on the building as a seven-year-old child in 19779, coming to the U.S. as an immigrant with his Israeli parents, and learning from his father that the building was completed the same year he was born.
"For a kid who grew up in Israel in a house with no running water or electricity, seeing the skyscraper was like seeing the future," Shvo writes. "It changed me. I knew that there was something special about San Francisco, and the buildings and people that brought it alive."
Shvo's renovation and redevelopment project, which includes the addition of a new, Norman Foster-designed luxury office building that will be dubbed "3 Transamerica," not yet under construction, got a lot of publicity earlier this year for the exclusive private club Shvo is opening inside. As SFist earlier reported, the members-only Core club, which opened its first location in Manhattan 17 years ago, will be occupying 45,000 square feet of the renovated Pyramid, across three floors. Amenities for wealthy members will include private guest suites, meeting rooms, a fitness club, theater, three bars, and three restaurants.
"Founding" memberships at Core, of which there are reportedly only 20 available at the San Francisco location, come initiation fees of $15,000 to $100,000, and regular annual dues of $15,000 to $18,000 on top of that.
We also know there will be a bar on the tower's top floor, which will be open exclusively to tenants in the building.
But Shvo is trying to emphasize the public spaces at the ground level as a kind of gift back to the city. (The last restaurant to be open at Transamerica's ground level was called Vertigo, back in the 1990s.)
"While we own the building, the building really belongs to the people of San Francisco," Shvo says in the interview below with The Real Deal. "We're merely [the] custodian of this true icon."
Shvo also says the building is already about 80% leased, but "don't hold me to that."
Completion and opening dates aren't yet being discussed. But Shvo writes in his Chronicle piece, "Once we have completed our work, the Transamerica Pyramid will be home to a beautiful park to spend your weekends amongst its redwood trees and a place where you can enjoy the kind of unique neighborhood retail experiences that make this city so special."
Also, Shvo is doubling down on Downtown SF boosterism, saying, "My confidence in San Francisco’s recovery isn’t just anecdotal. Economic data shows that the city is at the beginning of a great American comeback story."
And as Mayor London Breed said at the 50th anniversary event, "In San Francisco, our resiliency stems from our past and our ability to come back stronger from things like earthquakes and pandemics. This building pays homage to that, but it also acknowledges what San Francisco will be over the next 50 years. It starts with investments like this."
Previously: Just What Downtown SF Needs: A New Private Club For the Ultra-rich
Top image: Denys Novozhai