First look inside Transamerica Pyramid’s tenant-only spaces

Landlord SHVO reveals new renderings of amenities they say drive rents over $200 psf

Michael Shvo and rendering of Transamerica Pyramid’s tenant-only rooms

Michael Shvo and rendering of Transamerica Pyramid’s tenant-only rooms (SHVO, Boyero Visualizers)

Michael Shvo’s namesake development firm has revealed new renderings of the Transamerica Pyramid’s tenant-only amenities, which it says have been key to convincing companies to pay some of the highest office rents in San Francisco.

Amenities have been essential to bringing new tenants and premium pricing to the pyramid, according to Chris Roeder of JLL, the leasing agent for the office tower. 

“The five leases that have been signed at the top of the building are all over $200 per square foot, which has never been achieved outside of New York, that I’m aware of,” Roeder said. “The rents have doubled for that building since Shvo bought it [in October 2020] and the market hasn’t more than doubled even for the high-end buildings. So it is absolutely, 100 percent, because of what they’re developing there.” 

A rendering of Transamerica Pyramid’s tenant-only rooms (SHVO/DBOX)
A rendering of Transamerica Pyramid’s tenant-only rooms (SHVO/DBOX)

The design for the $400-million renovation is led by British architect Norman Foster and “Norman’s” is rumored to be one of the names in consideration for the new 48th-floor bar space. SHVO said no name has been chosen yet. The space originally served as part of the offices for Transamerica before the insurance company and the three-building block were sold in 1999 to Dutch conglomerate Aegon, which turned it into a boardroom that could be rented out by the building’s tenants.

Shvo told TRD in a previous interview that turning the top floor of the tapering tower into a bar for all tenants was a better use than making it a private space for one company.

“Everyone wants to go up there so we want everyone to have the pleasure of being on the top of that building,” he said at the 50th anniversary celebration of the tower, designed by William Pereria. It was the tallest building in San Francisco from its completion in 1972 until it was surpassed by Salesforce Tower in 2018.

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Core, a members-only club, will bring its high-end dining, fitness and other services to 45,000 square feet on the building’s lower floors but TRD is the first to publish new renderings SHVO revealed for its free-to-tenants fitness center and conference rooms on the 26th floor, as well as the reimagined outdoor spaces in the Redwood-dotted courtyard. The amenities should start to open at the end of this year and into early next year, according to SHVO.

The fact that SHVO has control of not just the building but the courtyard, as well as the retail and restaurants going into the other two buildings it owns and is renovating on Mark Twain Place, has also been attractive to tenants, Roeder said.

“They’re basically going to touch every finish on that block,” he said. 

He added that the north financial district, particularly Jackson Square, has seen a lot more interest recently due to health, safety and amenity concerns in SOMA — a big change after decades of financial services firms moving south. 

“In the 1990s and early 2000s, the wealth of the city moved to the south side of Market Street and I think what we’re seeing is a resurgence in the north side,” he said. 

Shvo said his company is “betting big on San Francisco,” with a total investment of $1 billion in Transamerica and its surrounding buildings. 

“By working together we can reimagine not just the Transamerica Pyramid but all of downtown as a place that continues to attract the world’s brightest minds and a vibrant community for years to come,” he said. 

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