650 Delancey Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Cross Street: Brannan
Number of Units: 66
Located in the South End Historic District, lofts in this building are among the most coveted of conversion loft addresses in all of San Francisco. Originally built in 1867 for the Pacific Mail Steamship Co, the first company to establish regular service for people, mail, and goods between the US and Asia, it served as the storage and distribution point for imports including tea, rice, and silk. Prior to the opening of the immigration facility on Angel Island, the Oriental Warehouse was also part of a building complex that housed and processed Asian immigrants, the majority of them Chinese, many of whom arrived on a Pacific Mail steamship.
When it was built, the Oriental Warehouse sat directly on the San Francisco Bay. Behind the building was a slip for docking ships, with a water depth of about 28 feet. As you might expect, ships loaded and unloaded their cargo from this dock directly into the Warehouse. The warehouse was sold several times in the coming decades, and was used up until the 1970’s as a warehouse. AA Gingel was the last company to use the building as a warehouse.
Although it survived the great quake and fire of 1906, it didn’t fare so well in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. As a result of damage from the 1989 quake, the city declared the building unsafe to occupy. Several years later, a four alarm fire caused additional damage, including the destruction of the northwest corner of the outside brick wall. In true San Francisco fashion, debate raged for years about what to do with the property. Fortunately for all of us, it narrowly avoided becoming a parking garage when in 1995 the city’s Redevelopment Agency approved a plan to convert the Oriental Warehouse into a live-work loft project.
The developer for the loft conversion project was Reliance Development Company, the Architect was Fisher Friedman Associates/Stavi Architects, and the general contractor was Cannon Construction. Lofts for sale feature exposed brick and timber details, open living spaces, and many have been updated with high-end fixtures and finishes in the kitchen and baths.