San Francisco's ornate Hibernia Bank sits vacant 1-year after hitting market

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The owners of the historical Hibernia Bank, located in downtown San Francisco have been trying to lease the space for more than a year.

Still vacant, now they are breaking up the building to rent, floor by floor.

Hibernia Bank was built in 1892 and flourished as one of San Francisco's earliest examples of the Beaux Arts style.

It graced the corner of Jones and McAllister streets for more than a century before closing in 1985.

For years, it remained vacant until a developer bought it in 2008 for nearly $4 million. The architectural wonder underwent extensive renovations and hit the market more than a year ago, but so far, no potential tenants have bitten.

"I think it is an overwhelming piece of property they see the history of this wonderful city and they often find challenges in envisioning a modern office in the building," Santino DeRose, president of the brokerage firm, DeRose & Appelbaum, Inc.

DeRose, who heads the brokerage firm for One Jones Street, has decided to lease the 40,000 square foot space floor by floor.

"It could be a restaurant, it could be a law office it could be a department store it has all sorts of flexibility," said DeRose.

KTVU received a tour of the building: the main floor of the old bank is marbled with ornate stained-glass skylights and gilded moldings. An expansive vault sits at the back wall with the words Hibernia Bank inscribed above it in emerald-hued marble.

The second floor boasts plush carpets, a fireplace and several rooms for offices.
On the top floor, there's a unique rotunda and a light-filled large room complete with an outdoor terrace.

On the ground floor, exposed brick walls give the space an industrial feel. An old safety deposit box area made of mahogany booths make you feel as though you're stepping back in time. There's also a large vault that survived the 1906 earthquake and fire, but required a month of cooling off before it could be opened again.

"We're looking for an innovative tenant who appreciates the building," said DeRose. That means someone who can inject vitality into the up and coming mid-market corridor.

"It's not going to be easy to rent it out, it's not your ordinary office space or your performance space but I think there's going to be an innovative idea coming soon we'll invite some investor to come in and occupy that space in a positive way," said SF Mayor Ed Lee.

With Twitter and Zendesk nearby, the 19th century landmark may appeal to those in the tech industry. Others envision a nightclub or entertainment venue.

With more buildings now under renovation, city leaders hope it will become the bustling hub it once was more than a 100 years ago.

For $8,000 a month, you can rent a large portion of the penthouse.