Adaptive Reuse Driving San Francisco's Tech Boom

Tech firms have taken over more than three million square feet of existing office and industrial space in San Francisco—nearly the equivalent of New York City's new 1 World Trade Center building.

"It has gone widely unremarked, maybe because it’s so obvious to people here, that tech firms in San Francisco have not (yet) been moving into new buildings; they’ve been taking over old ones," writes Michael Kimmelman of the tendency of tech companies in San Francisco to practice adaptive reuse.

"So much media attention has focused on the multibillion-dollar suburban campuses by celebrity designers in Silicon Valley, among them Norman Foster’s doughnut-shaped headquarters for Apple, that adaptive reuse has pretty much slipped under the radar."

For instance, "Twitter has leased a onetime furniture mart on Market Street, and AirBnB has renovated a century-old industrial warehouse south of Market. Yelp occupies part of 140 New Montgomery downtown, the magnificent Art Deco former Pacific Telephone tower from the 1920s, lovingly revamped by Cathy Simon, an architect with Perkins & Will, and the developers Wilson Meany Sullivan."

Kimmelman goes on to detail some specific instances of NIMBY opposition that necessitates, in some cases, adaptive reuse as an architectural stopgap.

Full Story: Urban Renewal, No Bulldozer

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