• Property: The Landmark at Union Square
  • Location: San Francisco
  • Cost of Renovation: $24 million
  • Scope of Project: Adaptive reuse of the Home Telephone Co. office building.

Everyone deserves a second chance—even a dormant office building. And the Home Telephone Co. building at 333 Grant St. near San Francisco's Union Square got just that.
Transformed from foreclosure to for-sale, this grande dame is the city's first office-to-residential conversion. The transformation sets a high standard for similar projects in a town where housing is at a premium and architectural details are sacrosanct.

MAKING DO: Original features such as interior brick walls and a detailed façade add character to this office-to-residential conversion. The brick walls add urban character to the stylized interiors, while balconies and modern windows and doors maintained the façade's integrity.
MAKING DO: Original features such as interior brick walls and a detailed façade add character to this office-to-residential conversion. The brick walls add urban character to the stylized interiors, while balconies and modern windows and doors maintained the façade's integrity.

Now called The Landmark at Union Square, the building's renaissance is the hallmark of a revitalization effort afoot in the neighborhood. Featuring 39 luxury condos and 8,550 square feet of street-level retail, the property provides much-needed residential inventory for professionals in search of a short commute and upscale buyers who want a weekend or vacation pied-à-terre within walking distance of the financial district and tourist attractions.

“The Landmark project seemed like a good opportunity to acquire an undervalued property and try to take advantage of it,” says Paul Pruitt, senior vice president for Indianapolis-based Maefield Development, the project's developer and owner.

“Many infill office buildings have interesting floorplates,” notes Richard Gollis, founder and principal of The Concord Group, a real estate advisory firm in Newport Beach, Calif. “They're often obsolete for office use because they don't gross up or subdivide well. They're typically small with big glass and high ceilings, which make them convert well to residential. The scale of these older buildings lends to a residential platform or configuration well.”

A previous investor attempted to renovate the former Home Telephone Co. building, constructed in 1908, for modern office use. But the economic downturn and the building's floorplate kept the project from being completed and thrust the building into foreclosure. The property got its second chance when Maefield picked up the property for $13 million in 2002.