555 California Street
|555 California Street|
|Former names||Bank of America Center|
|Preceded by||44 Montgomery|
|Surpassed by||Transamerica Pyramid|
|Location||555 California Street
San Francisco, California
|Elevation||35 ft (11 m)|
|Owner||Vornado Realty Trust (70%)
The Trump Organization (30%)
|Management||HWA 555 Owners LLC|
|Roof||779 ft (237 m)|
4 below ground
|Floor area||1,500,000 sq ft (140,000 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Wurster, Benardi and Emmons
|Structural engineer||H. J. Brunnier Associates|
|Main contractor||Dinwiddie Construction|
555 California Street, formerly Bank of America Center, is a 52-story 778 ft (237 m) skyscraper in San Francisco, California. It is the second tallest building in the city, the largest by floor area, and a focal point of the Financial District. It is the joint 67th tallest building in the United States equal in height to One Worldwide Plaza in New York City and just 2 feet shorter than the 66th tallest building in the USA, which is also owned by Bank of America, the Bank of America Center in Houston, Texas at 780 ft (238 m), and just 3 feet shorter that the 65th tallest building in the USA, 30 Hudson Street in Jersey City, New Jersey at 781 ft (238 m). Some sites round the heights of all four buildings to 780 ft (238 m) making those four buildings tied as the 66th tallest buildings in the country.
Completed in 1969, the tower was the tallest building on the West Coast (until the completion of the Transamerica Pyramid in 1972, and 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, managed by the Vornado Realty Trust.
Colloquially known as "Triple Five", 555 California Street was meant to display the wealth, power, and importance of Bank of America. Design was by Wurster, Bernardi and Emmons and Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, with architect Pietro Belluschi consulting; structural engineering was by the San Francisco firm H. J. Brunnier Associates. The skyscraper has 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. The irregular cutout areas near the top of the building were designed to suggest the Sierra mountains. At the north foot of the skyscraper a plaza named in honor of Bank of America founder A.P. Giannini is usually in shadow during the day and is criticized as cold and windswept.
In the plaza the 200-ton black Swedish granite sculpture "Transcendence" by Masayuki Nagare resembles a liver but is 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. A restaurant, the "Carnelian Room", was on the 52nd floor. The elevator to this restaurant is one of the few publicly accessible high-speed elevators in San Francisco. The restaurant closed at midnight New Year's Eve 2009.
In 1971, 555 California Street, then just two years old, appeared at the beginning of the film Dirty Harry, where it is the roof from which Scorpio snipes a woman in the now-closed pool atop what is now the Hilton Financial District hotel on Kearny Street. The film shows panoramic views of San Francisco from the roof of the building. In 1974, 555 California Street was again used for a box-office hit, this time in Irwin Allen's blockbuster The Towering Inferno, in which the outside plaza substituted for that of the film's fictional skyscraper, the infamous Glass Tower which on the night of its dedication, catches on fire. Many scenes were also filmed in the interior ground-floor lobby. The granite stairs coming up from California Street to the A.P. Giannini plaza were used for several key specific scenes including the opening dedication ceremony, the arrival of fire trucks and the final scene on the steps with the characters played by Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. 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).
The southeast corner of California and Kearny is about 35 feet (11 m) above sea level, so the top of the building is over 800 feet (240 m). With the Transamerica Pyramid, 555 California Street shows the direction San Francisco's downtown was moving during the 1960s before campaigns against high-rise buildings in the 1970s and 1980s forced development to move south of Market Street. The Transamerica Pyramid is taller, but because of its top spire, 555 California has the highest habitable space.
The corner of California and Montgomery is built on landfill and the lowest level of the parking garage is below the level of the bay, so pumps, audible from the garage, keep water out. The building is built on two huge Teflon slabs meant to slide over each other in case of an earthquake, state of the art design when it was built.
- Bank of America
- Barclays Capital
- Centerview Partners
- Dodge & Cox
- Goldman Sachs
- Fenwick & West
- Jones Day
- Kirkland & Ellis
- KKR Financial
- McKinsey & Company
- Morgan Stanley
- Robert W. Baird & Co.
- Sandler O'Neill + Partners
- Sidley Austin LLP
- UBS AG
- Wells Fargo Advisors
- "555 California Street". CTBUH Skyscraper Database.
- 555 California Street at Emporis
- 555 California Street at SkyscraperPage
- 555 California Street at Structurae
- "Comments and Responses on Draft EIR: Transit Center District Plan and Transit Tower" (PDF). San Francisco Planning Department. 2011-09-28: C&R-38. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
The Bank of America Building is at an elevation of about 35 feet, SFD, so its roof is some 814 feet in elevation.
- "Largest Office Buildings in San Francisco". San Francisco Business Times. 2013-10-18. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
- "Bank of America in Charlotte Center City Branch - Hours & Locations". www.banksnearyou.com. Retrieved 2016-03-04.
- Joseph Machnow (March 16, 2007). "Vornado to Acquire 70% Controlling Interest in 1290 Avenue of the Americas and 555 California Street". Vornado Realty Trust. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
- Food and Wine Staff (3 September 2009). "Carnelian Room Calling it Quits". The San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
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