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SAN FRANCISCO-An eight-story, 49,000-sf triangle-shaped building across from San Francisco Centre has changed hands for $22.76 million, or $465 per sf. The long-time location of California Savings Bank was acquired by an entity of Los Angeles-based brokerage firm Blatteis & Schnur, which plans to convert the lower levels into a flagship retail location.

The bank, which has occupied the building for the past 45 years, is moving the office operations on the upper floors to 345 California St. in the Financial District. The retail bank branch on the street level is moving to an as yet unnamed location in the Financial District. The bank has leased back 800 Market for about four months.

Tim Maas, the Colliers International broker who handled the sale with partner Tony Crossley, tells GlobeSt.com that the likely scenario with the building is that the basement, first, mezzanine and second levels will be converted to a 24,000-sf flagship retail location while floors three through eight are kept as office.

The new ownership plans to invest another $15 million or so to renovate and reposition the lower floors as a flagship retail location, which should take about 18 months. The work would bring the total investment to between $35 million and $40 million, or between $700 and $800 per sf.

The 24,000-sf retail space created on the lower levels likely will command a blended rate of about $100 per sf. “I think the competition will be pretty good for it,” Maas says. “It’s not a fashion retail location like Post Street or Upper Grand; it’s definitely more main street retail.”

Speaking of fashion retail, Blatteis & Schnur in May paid $1,575 per sf ($12.6 million) for a vacant but well-located corner building between San Francisco Centre and the high-end Union Square retail and cultural district. The three-level structure was acquired in partnership with Washington, DC-based ASB Capital Management. The building occupies the northeast corner at Powell and O’Farrell streets, one block off Union Square and two blocks from San Francisco. The building shares the intersection with Starbucks and H&M, a hip UK-based clothing retailer.

“We believe it’s one of the top vacant corners in all of San Francisco; it’s the only available premiere location I’m aware of in lower Union Square where someone can have full-building identity,” Sam Brownell, director of acquisitions for Blatteis & Schnur, told GlobeSt.com in May. “Historically, Powell Street has delivered lesser tenancies; in the last couple of years, however, it is seemingly the hottest retail street in San Francisco.”

Similar to its latest investment, Brownell says the business plan includes a full interior and exterior renovation. Among other things, the building will receive a full seismic renovation and the historical facade will be uncovered and restored to its luxury art deco design. Architect Charlie Kridler, a principal at Gensler, will head up the design team. Ultimately, the space will be leased to a premier retailer looking for a flagship location, he says.

Ground floor space on Union Square, one block to the north, goes for over $400 per sf per year, according to local brokers. Given that, a blended rate for Blatteis & Schnur’s Powell & O’Farrell corner could be $250 per sf.

Blatteis & Schnur is known as a national brokerage firm focused on national tenant representation and upscale project representation. Using equity from ASB, the company only recently began to buy properties and currently owns about 12 properties in the top urban retail districts in the country. Those locations include Union Square in San Francisco, Beverly Hills, Michigan Avenue in Chicago and, outside of the ASB relationship, the Grand Wailea Shops in Maui.

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