From Grain Warehouse to Luxury Living—140 Years in the Making

Seventy2 Townsend, San Francisco, CA
From Grain Warehouse to Luxury Living—140 Years in the Making

Bay Area General Contractor Thompson Builders is finalizing construction on Seventy2 Townsend, a luxury nine-story building located in San Francisco's South Beach/SoMa district. The building provides residents with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay and a neighborhood mix of nightlife, shopping and culture steps away from AT&T Park.

The urban infill site consists of a condominium with 74 units of plush apartments and lofts, street-front retail space and two levels of garage parking. But the design/build of this mid-rise glass and steel frame tower actually begins with its historic low-rise structure.

Condo Conversion

In 1875, proprietor John Jennings opened the South End Grain Warehouse, a 28,000-square-foot building specializing in the California grain trade of the time period. By 1899, a restaurant and saloon were added to the Townsend side of the warehouse.

As a testament to its foundational strength, the entire structure survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires, making it the oldest one-story warehouse in the South End district.

“When digging up the foundation, we came across railroad spikes, horseshoes, hair tonic glass bottles,” says Thompson Builders project manager Conor Thompson. “It was really interesting seeing the history of San Francisco captured this way.”

By hollowing out the warehouse but preserving the building’s historic perimeter walls during the construction process, current owner KB Home, SB Architects and Thompson Builders were able to safeguard an industrial landmark from the city’s past.

“We were able to salvage the roof tresses from the old warehouse,” says Conor. “We’re incorporating that material into wood shelves and cabinets in the lobby.” Current owner KB Home is also planning to make furniture using the original roof timbers to help encapsulate the modern interpretation of the condo conversion.

“So far it’s been great collaborating with KB Home. It’s a whole new experience for us—and a new project for them in the city. We’re working well together, so it’s a good relationship.”

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