Evan Ducharme/THe S.F. ExaminerArtist Cliff Garten

Renovation complete at 50 United Nations Plaza

Vacated for renovations during the Great Recession, the Depression-era 50 United Nations Plaza has reopened as a historic piece to The City’s burgeoning mid-Market Street corridor.

The building, completed in 1936, had lasted 74 years without a major renovation and survived the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The structure is part of the Civic Center complex, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Authorities later decided to restore the courthouse at the center and the federal building was upgraded to the highest environmental standards.

“This was sort of the missing link, and here we are now,” U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by dignitaries on Wednesday.

Within a couple weeks, more than 500 employees of the U.S. General Services Administration’s Pacific Rim Regional headquarters will move into 50 United Nations Plaza, preserved with its historic features but also upgraded with 21st-century technology. It is anticipated to receive LEED Platinum certification. The government at one point planned to lease out the building, but ultimately decided against it.

“On the eve of Veterans Day, it really makes a lot of sense to reopen the building,” GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said.

A ribbon design in the courtyard by artist Cliff Garten incorporates plans by the original architect, Arthur Brown Jr., the mastermind behind City Hall and three other Civic Center landmarks.

The $122 million renovation was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

At the ceremonial opening, Mayor Ed Lee recalled the building’s groundbreaking and juxtaposed the past with the present.

“At that time, we looked across Market Street. It was three years ago and there was a 30 percent vacancy rate, a darkness to it. People hurried down the street to be avoided,” he said. “I will always reference this as one of the biggest stimulus projects.”

Fifteen companies have since moved into the mid-Market area and 5,500 residential units have been built, with 26 percent set aside as affordable. While companies such as Twitter have been an emblem, the revitalized corridor has not been limited to technology businesses, Lee said.

“We’re going to see this building complement all of what we do in Central Market and it will be sustained,” he said, adding that the building is “symbolic of the renewed way we do things with public and private partnerships.”Bay Area News

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Roots & Tings build community through music

Lateef the Truthspeaker, Jah Yzer and Winstrong call for voting as a form of healing

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Most Read