The newest member of San Francisco’s iconic skyline is officially open for use.
The new tower opened in May and is notable because it houses one commercial tenant, Facebook, and 55 multi-million-dollar residences, including a five-bedroom $US42 million penthouse that’s still under construction.
Developers held high expectations for how fast the condos would sell -expectations that would seem to have borne out, since the first condo just sold for $US15 million. The sale of the 3,326-square-foot, three-bedroom unit breaks the city’s record for highest price-per-square-foot sale for a condo, as reported by the San Francisco Business Times.
Construction on the mixed-use tower at 181 Fremont began in 2013. It can be spotted in the skyline by its striking spire and encasement of beams criss crossing along the exterior, designed to act as shock absorbers in the event of an earthquake.
The developers and designers behind the high rise set out to make the establishment the embodiment of state-of-the-art luxury living and world-class engineering.
Business Insider toured two of its model residences designed by renowned designers Orlando Diaz-Azcuy and Charles de Lisle and the Sky Lounge exclusive to residents, as well as captured the panoramic views of the sprawling city of San Francisco afforded to the building’s occupants. Take a look at what it’s like inside.
Say hello to the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi River.
Those zig-zagged beams you see comprise an aluminium exoskeleton that serves as the building’s foundation, acting as giant shock absorbers essentially, improving its survival odds in the case of an earthquake. The elevators are actually designed as an emergency evacuation route.
“We joke that if there is a seismic event, people would run into the building,” said Matt Dietsch, senior director of developments at The Mark Company, which provided sales and marketing services for the establishment.
The tower stands adjacent to the infamously sinking Millennium Tower and catty corner from the Salesforce Tower. The power trio looms over passerby on the footpaths below.
Grandeur exudes from the building the moment you step inside. Tufts of gold hang in the form of a chandelier upon entering the residential lobby.
Above a seating area in the lobby is this dome, also emblazoned in gold.
Mirrors and wall hangings in the lobby and throughout the building are cast in, you guessed it, more gold. These Orlando Diaz-Azcuy-designed gold sconces were crafted through various steps: each piece of the nest-like ornament was sculpted, hand-painted and laden with sand for an extra texture before being set in place.
Source: 181 Fremont Residences
Up the elevator and 500 feet to the 52nd floor sits the Sky Lounge, a common area and bar available only to residents and their guests.
Restrooms and cosy seating areas are also available.
And arguably the best part is the spectacular views of the city that can be seen from any point on the floor’s terrace.
Which wraps all the way around the floor.
It was sunny and bright with perfect weather when we toured, but we can imagine the views are just as stunning when San Francisco’s notorious fog creeps in.
Elements like light dimmers and glass-beaded wallpaper echo the rest of the building’s lavishness.
Two weddings in the space are already booked by residents. The space is large but not enough for traditionally big weddings, so these will most likely be more like 20-guest, intimate affairs.
Residents can visit the in-house fitness room, which is situated on the Sky Lounge floor as well. Note the not one, but two Peloton spin bikes available.
The Sky Lounge on the 52nd floor separates the building’s commercial space from the residential space: below the Sky Lounge is where Facebook’s operations will be located …
… and above will be the tower’s residents. The floors directly above the Sky Lounge house four condos each. The higher floors house fewer condos, with each unit gaining square footage: from four units per floor, to three to two until the 57th floor, which is where the single, 7,000-square-foot penthouse is. It spans the entire top floor and will sell for $US42 million, or the highest bid.
There are two bedrooms and three bedrooms units available, averaging over 1,880 square feet and 2,100 square feet, respectively. There are also 12 extra suites that can only be purchased by original owners, who can use them as space for staff, guests, or in whichever way they choose.
The penthouse won’t be completed until later this year, but two model units are completed and ready for purchase. One of them was designed by Charles De Lisle and is listed for $US4.8 million.
The other was designed by Diaz-Azcuy through his firm, ODADA, and costs $US6.4 million.
It includes this view as the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning.
A unique characteristic throughout the residences are its hovering walls.
Matt Lituchy, chief investment officer of the building’s developer, Jay Paul Company, told Business Insider in a 2016 interview that the floating walls were costly, but Diaz-Azcuy liked the element of lightness they added.
“It’s one of the first things designers want and developers throw out,” Lituchy said. But the developer easily folded. “Whatever [Diaz-Azcuy] said, we went along with,” he added.
The building’s designers travelled to France to work with artisan Daniel Podva to install these brass handles on the front doors of the residences.
Polished Calacatta Carrara marble was carved out of Italian quarry cliffs to adorn the bathroom walls.
A powder room is accessible near the entrance of each unit.
And select units have these sliding oak panels that can be shut to separate the kitchen from the eating nook.
The design in both units is contemporary and airy.
And included in each unit are automatic draw shades to block the room from the afternoon or morning sun.
Salesforce employees next door and the building’s Facebook employees have access to the Transbay Transit Center, but owners at 181 Fremont are the only residents in the city to have direct access to it. They can take the elevator to the seventh floor and access the sky bridge that leads directly into the transit center, which will take them basically anywhere they need to go.
Though with views like this, they may never want to leave.
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