140 New Montgomery

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140 New Montgomery
PacBell Building, northeast corner.jpg
The northeast corner
140 New Montgomery is located in San Francisco
140 New Montgomery
Location within San Francisco
140 New Montgomery is located in California
140 New Montgomery
140 New Montgomery (California)
140 New Montgomery is located in the US
140 New Montgomery
140 New Montgomery (the US)
Alternative namesPacific Telephone Building
PacBell Building
Record height
Preceded by225 Bush Street
Surpassed byRuss Building
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Architectural styleArt Deco
Location140 New Montgomery
San Francisco, California
Coordinates37°47′13″N 122°24′00″W / 37.787°N 122.4°W / 37.787; -122.4Coordinates: 37°47′13″N 122°24′00″W / 37.787°N 122.4°W / 37.787; -122.4
Construction started1924
OwnerStockbridge Real Estate
Antenna spire140.2 m (460 ft)
Roof132.6 m (435 ft)
Top floor125.9 m (413 ft)
Technical details
Floor count26
Design and construction
ArchitectMiller and Pflueger
Perkins + Will
DeveloperWilson Meany Sullivan

140 New Montgomery Street, also known as The Pacific Telephone Building, and, after 1984, as The Pacific Bell Building or The PacBell Building, in San Francisco's South of Market district, is an Art Deco office tower located close to the St. Regis Museum Tower and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.[1]

The 26-floor building was designed to consolidate numerous smaller buildings and outdated offices into a modern headquarters for The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co.[3] When it opened in 1925, The Pacific Telephone Building was San Francisco's first significant skyscraper development, and was the tallest building in San Francisco until the Russ Building matched its height in 1927.[1] The building was the first high-rise south of Market Street, and along with the Russ Building, remained the city's tallest until it was overtaken by 650 California Street in 1964. AT&T sold the building in 2007, and as of 2013, Internet company Yelp is the main tenant.[4][5]

Construction and original tenant[edit]

At the time of its construction, it housed The Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Co., a member of the Bell System. The building once had a bell motif in many places on its façade, most notably surrounding the arch over the main entrance doors on New Montgomery Street. After the breakup of the Bell System (AT&T) in 1984 and the formation the regional so-called Baby Bell companies, Pacific Telephone changed its name to "Pacific Bell.[6]

Statues of eight eagles (each 13 feet in height) perch atop the tower's crown.[7][8] The building has an L-shaped floor plan, and the architecture decoratively incorporates spotlights to show the exterior's terra cotta ornamentation day and night.[9]

In 1929, Winston Churchill visited the building and made one of the first transatlantic telephone calls.[10]

For 44 years until 1978, the top of the roof was used to convey official storm warnings to sailors at the direction of the US Weather Bureau, in the form of a 25 foot long triangular red flag by day, and a red light at night.[11]

In the 21st century[edit]

In 2007, the PacBell Building was sold by AT&T to Stockbridge Capital Group and Wilson Meany Sullivan for US$118 million.[12] In 2008, the new owners filed plans to convert the tower into 118 luxury condominiums. However, those plans were put on hold during the 2008 financial crisis, and the building sat empty for nearly six years.[13]

Following a surge in office demand in 2010–2011, Wilson Meany Sullivan changed the plans back to office space.[13] Major renovation work began in February 2012 to improve the building's seismic performance, install all-new mechanical, electric, plumbing and fire sprinkler systems, and preserve and restore the building's historic lobby, at an estimated cost of $80–100 million.[14] In 2012, Yelp announced it had signed a lease on the building's 100,000 square feet of office space through 2020.[15] After two expansions, the company held a total of almost 150,000 square feet on 13 floors as of fall 2015.[4]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c 140 New Montgomery at Emporis
  2. ^ "140 New Montgomery". SkyscraperPage.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  4. ^ a b Sharon Simonson: Yelp Occupies 140 New Montgomery. The Registry SF, August 19, 2013
  5. ^ "Russ Building". Emporis. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  6. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1984/01/01/us/bell-system-breakup-opens-era-of-great-expectations-and-great-concern.html
  7. ^ Bevk, Alex (8 March 2012). "Pacific Telephone Building Scraps Plans For Condos, Moves On To Office Space". Curbed San Francisco. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  8. ^ Dineen, J.K. (22 August 2013). "Sneak peek: Yelp's new San Francisco HQ set to open". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2013-12-07.
  9. ^ Smith, Richard C. (September 1925). "The News Letter and the Telephone". San Francisco News Letter Diamond Jubilee Edition. Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  10. ^ http://140nm.com/pdf/churchill.pdf
  11. ^ http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Pac-Bell-Rings-In-70th-Birthday-of-S-F-3022020.php
  12. ^ Haeber, Jonathan M. "An Abandoned Skyscraper: The Pac Bell Building". Bearings Magazine. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  13. ^ a b Poletti, Therese (2012-03-07). "New Call by Developer on Historic Tower". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2012-12-09. A historic skyscraper in downtown San Francisco, the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph building, empty for almost six years, is about to become a hub of construction activity as a US$50 million-plus modernization project begins. ... This is a new strategy from the developer, which in 2008 filed plans to turn the tower, also known as the Telephone Building, into 118 luxury condominiums, at an estimated cost of $80 million to $100 million.
  14. ^ "140 New Montgomery". 2012. Retrieved 3 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Yelp signs Pacific Telephone Building lease to 2020", San Francisco Chronicle, May 9, 2012