Developer plans renovation, conversion of historic Hearst Building to 170-room hotel

hearst building image
Image of the Hearst Building from a photo collection on the Hearst Building website (

The San Francisco Planning Commission has approved a proposal to convert the historic Hearst Building on Third Street into a 170 room hotel.

The project’s developers say they plan to preserve most (but not all) of the additions to the tower dating back to 1909. Architect Julia Morgan designed several additions to the building including an ornate lobby in 1938.

Developer JMA Ventures president Todd Chapman testified on April 25 that “the project will enhance public viewing and enjoyment of the building,” as a hotel will allow more residents and visitors to see the building’s interior, now visible mostly just to those who work there.

The current structure replaced the original building, constructed in 1989 by William Randolf Hearst to house the San Francisco Examiner, after it was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake

Documents submitted to the planning commission say the existing 13-story, 161,108 sq. ft. structure will be rehabilitated, with conversion of approximately 119,237 of office space converted to the hotel on the second through the 12th floors, along with 964 sq. ft. of net new floor area.

As well, there will still be 5,960 sq. ft. of office space on  the second and third floors, and approximately 11,393 sq. ft. of retail space on the basement and ground floors. The developers plan to retain the historic lobby, while a new hotel entrance will be created on Stevenson street.

Approximately 5,920 square feet of office use will remain on the second and third floors, with approximately 11,393 square feet of retail space maintained on the basement and ground floors. The historic lobby will be retained and a new hotel entrance will be created on Stevenson Street.

The planning paperwork mentions that “portions of the existing penthouse structures on the 13th floor would be demolished,” but commissioner Kathrin Moore said the building areas to be demolished are “small and not at all indicative” of the original architectural vision.

The new hotel still needs approval from the Board of Supervisors because the planned project requires a zoning change.


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