Called “a statement of western progress and foresight,” The Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company opened 140 New Montgomery in 1925. The office tower was adorned with soaring terra-cotta piers, dozens of Bell System symbols and eight giant eagle statues perched atop what was then the tallest building on the west coast.
Often categroized as Neo Gothic or Art Deco, 140 was one of the early works of celebrated Bay Area architect Timothy Pflueger. Pflueger went on to design or consult on many of San Francisco’s landmark projects, including the Castro Theater, Union Square, and the Treasure Island World Exposition. 140 New Montgomery was the first significant skyscraper in San Francisco and became well-known world-wide. During a visit
in 1929, Winston Churchill made one of the first trans-Atlantic phone calls.
In 2007, after sitting vacant for many years, Stockbridge Capital Group purchased the 26-story, 295,000 square-foot tower. Their intention, with the help of developer Wilson Meany, was to convert it into luxury residential condominums but those plans were put on hold when the economy plunged into a recession. Then in early 2012, following a surge in office demand, the developers shifted their focus back to office use.
Today 140 New Montgomery is undergoing a major renovation, including all new building systems and a complete seismic upgrade. The project is being led by the San Francisco office of architects Perkins + Will. The timeless building will be restored into the quintessential San Francisco office space, blending timeless design and expansive Bay and City views with state-of-the-art interior building systems. It’s expected to reopen to office tenants in the summer of 2013.
Photo Credit: Lane Hartwell