555 California Street, formerly Bank of America Center, and locally known as Triple Nickel, is a 52-story, 779 ft (237 m) skyscraper in San Francisco, California. It is the second tallest building in the city and a focal point of the Financial District. Completed in 1969, the tower served as the world headquarters of Bank of America until the 1998 merger with NationsBank, when the company moved its headquarters to the Bank of America Corporate Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A 70 percent interest was acquired by Vornado Realty Trust from foreign investors in March 2007 with a 30 percent limited partnership interest still owned by Donald Trump, while continuing to be managed by the Shorenstein Company.
555 California Street was meant to be a deliberate and unambiguous display of the wealth, power, and importance of Bank of America. To that end, the center was handled by the architecture firms Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, with architect Pietro Belluschi consulting. The structural engineering was performed by the San Francisco firm H. J. Brunnier Associates. The skyscraper incorporates thousands of bay windows thanks to its unique design, meant to improve the rental value and to symbolize the bay windows common in San Francisco residential real estate. At the north foot of the skyscraper is a large plaza named in honor of Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini that is often shaded during the day, leading to it being criticized as cold and windswept by many.
Within the plaza is the 200-ton black Swedish granite sculpture "Transcendence" by Masayuki Nagare that, while resembling a liver, is locally and derisively known as the "Banker's Heart". Nearly the entire block—the skyscraper, the banking hall, the plaza, the stairways, and the sidewalks—is clad in costly polished or rough carnelian granite. An exclusive restaurant, the "Carnelian Room", was located on the 52nd floor. The elevator to this restaurant is one of the few publicly accessible high-speed elevators in San Francisco. Due in large part to the late–2000s economic recession, however, the restaurant closed at midnight New Year's Eve 2009.
In 1971, 555 California Street, then just two years old, was featured at the beginning of the film Dirty Harry. It was from the roof of the building that the killer shoots his victim in the, now closed down, pool atop what is currently the Hilton Financial District hotel on Kearny Street. The film shows wide panoramic views of San Francisco taken from the roof of the building. In 1974, 555 California Street was again used extensively for filming of a box-office hit, this time The Towering Inferno, in which the outside plaza substituted for the film's fictional skyscraper, the infamous Glass Tower. The rooftop setting of the building used in Dirty Harry was also used a decade later in the Chuck Norris film An Eye for an Eye (1981).
Together with the Transamerica Pyramid, 555 California Street is evidence of the direction San Francisco's downtown was moving during the 1960s before numerous campaigns against high-rise buildings in the 1970s and 1980s forced development to move south of Market Street.
's sculpture "Transcendence", locally referred to as "Banker's Heart"
555 California Street from street level