In the early 1900s, the building at 888 Brannan St. in South of Market was a factory for what was at the time a high-tech device: batteries. Over the years, it was used by a paper distribution business and a wholesale jewelry mart, which is still housed in a portion of the site.
But now the cavernous, window-lined structure that sits next to Interstate 80 will once again house a high-tech tenant: Airbnb, the company that allows people to list and find temporary housing online.
On Tuesday, CEO Brian Chesky, along with the project developers, gave a tour of the space to Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim, who represents the neighborhood, among others.
Standing on the fifth floor under arching skylights, Chesky said the building remodel is much in the spirit of Airbnb.
“We like to repurpose and find new use for everything,” he said.
Daniel Kingsley of SKS Investments, a co-developer on the building with Vantage Property Investors, said the roughly $35 million renovation stripped the historic building down to its shell to make way for modern electricity, heating and cooling systems, as well as plumbing for the 300,000-square-foot office space. The project also included an upgrade to the jewelry mart.
Lee hailed the revamped structure, which sits across the street from Zynga’s headquarters and down the block from Pinterest, as a behind-the-scenes economic success.
“This is another great repurposing,” Lee said of the building. “And we are looking forward to some of the technology companies to fill all of these wonderful old buildings, and not necessarily having to have a crane to represent success.”