Daredevils leap from Michael Shvo’s Transamerica Pyramid to open APEC

Three daredevils rappelled off Michael Shvo’s 48-story Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco to mark the opening of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

While the New York investor wasn’t among them, he was the ultimate stuntman after leading his group in 2020 to buy San Francisco’s iconic tower at 600 Montgomery Street and two buildings next door for $650 million — then launching a $400 million renovation, recounting it in an interview with The Real Deal.

During the pandemic. As tenants were fleeing offices from San Francisco to New York. As more than a third of San Francisco offices would become vacant during an enduring shift to remote work.

The two-phase upgrade of the Transamerica Center in Jackson Square would bring it “into the next century,” Michael Shvo, chairman and CEO, told the San Francisco Business Times. 

The 853-foot Transamerica Pyramid, designed by architect William Pereira, has been a San Francisco icon since it was built in 1972. Its smaller siblings at 505 and 545 Sansome Street have been dubbed 2 and 3 Transamerica.

In March of last year, Shvo began the first phase of the center makeover – a $250 million renovation of the 523,000-square-foot Transamerica Pyramid at 600 Montgomery and the 191,000-square-foot office building at 501 Sansome Street.

The Pyramid will get a top-floor tenant lounge, fitness and wellness spaces. The offices at 505 Sansome will get a new lobby, a new storefront and a restored entrance facing the redwood park. London’s Foster + Partners has designed the renovations.

The next month, Shvo proposed a $150-million upgrade to the 9-story office building at 545 Sansome Street, which would double its size while adding a park and open space for outdoor restaurant seating.

Plans call for adding six stories to the building and pushing its footprint north to the property line on Washington Street – adding a total of 55,600 square feet. Of those, 50,000 square feet would go to office space, and 5,600 square feet of ground-floor shops and restaurants.

The Shvo firm also proposed adding a 1,250-square-foot privately owned public park next to Transamerica Redwood Park, while adding another 1,800 square feet of open space to accommodate outdoor seating for new restaurant tenants.

Construction is expected to take 18 months.

Last year, Shvo says the $1 billion investment in Transamerica Center began to pay off, with 150,000 square feet of new leases at rents of more than $100 per square foot.

On Monday, three people in orange attire rappelled down the fog-cloaked Transamerica building during a planned stunt documented on video during APEC. NBC Bay Area captured the artists suspended 48 stories above the ground, before they began their choreographed descent at noon.

The global trade summit is expected to draw more than 20,000 guests, including executives, politicians and diplomats, to Downtown during the week of Nov. 12.

— Dana Bartholomew

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