Downtown SF Project Offers Everything but Lot Line

A tight lot line required the use of a crane in one of the most logistically challenging sites in San Francisco.
Unearthed on the project, this safe most likely predates the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
One Kearny has it all: history, aesthetics, functionality and a prime location.

Logistically challenging, the “One Kearny” project, located at the heart of downtown San Francisco, is short on lay down area but long on opportunities to prove technical expertise

Rarely does one come across a project like the “One Kearny” project, which has it all—history, aesthetics, functionality and a prime location. Situated at the corner of Market and Kearny streets in San Francisco’s Financial District, One Kearny is a Class A redevelopment combining three buildings that represent three distinct architectural periods dating back to 1900.

“This is exactly the type of complex project we love to build at DPR, one that challenges our building expertise while delivering a high-end quality product for our customer,” said Jerry McKinley, DPR’s project manager for the $30 million, 60,000-sq.-ft. new addition to the project. “One Kearny includes the demolition of an existing three-story building, ground-up seismic construction of an 11-story high rise on one of the most logistically challenging sites in the city, the historical and seismic renovation of an existing 12-story building constructed in 1902, and the modernization of a building designed by famous architect Charles W. Moore.”

Team Players

Project: One Kearny

Client: One Kearny Street, LLC

Architect: Charles F. Bloszies, AIA, Ltd.

When completed in January 2009, the three adjoining buildings—the new 60,000-sq.-ft. building, the historic 1902 64,000-sq.-ft. building and the Charles W. Moore “annex,” which was added to the 1902 Building in 1956—will become one, with a shared opening between the three different addresses, and offer boutique office space and retail space on the ground floor.

“One Kearny is like three projects in one,” said McKinley. “On the outside, One Kearny features three distinct architectural facades; on the inside, it will have all of the features and amenities of a modern office complex.”

Demolition of the existing three-story building began in August 2007 and construction started on the new 11-story addition in November 2007. With zero lay down area and only 800 sq. ft. of parking lane to deliver materials, the project team has had to employ a tower crane, set 240 ft. above one of San Francisco’s busiest intersections, to immediately pick up materials and place them into the building.

Along with the tight Market Street location, the construction team is challenged with maintaining the integrity of the two historic buildings, while constructing the attached contemporary steel-framed addition designed by San Francisco architect and structural engineer Charles Bloszies. The project also includes a complete state-of-the-art seismic renovation, ADA compliant upgrades throughout the development, and installation of the latest telecommunications and security systems. In addition, new elevators and a new, energy-efficient curtain wall, which must look exactly the same as the old curtain wall to maintain the structure’s historical building status, will be installed for the annex project.

Also adding to the complexity of the project is building around an existing tenant, which is operating a full-service bank on the ground floor throughout construction.

“We’re delighted to be able to prove the depth of our technical expertise on this project,” said McKinley, “and it’s equally as exciting to preserve and protect a significant piece of San Francisco’s history.”

In addition to providing DPR with the challenging work upon which it thrives, the project also has included a little drama. During excavation, the team unearthed an old safe about four feet below the slab and foundations of the demolished building. An historical archaeologist was immediately brought in to monitor the excavation. According to the consultants brought in, the safe was most likely in an older building destroyed during the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Using a combination of a bandsaw, torch and hoe-ram, the team cracked the safe, streaming the entire event by web cam. The contents? A few musty old papers, and a few 100-year-old gold coins.

For more information on the One Kearny property, please visit