In 1988, following successful architectural career stops in NYC and Chicago, San Francisco (Sutter Street in particular) became the next destination on my professional path.
One reason I chose to live in San Francisco was its location as a travel hub to the Pacific Rim and because it was one of the few California cities where one could reside without a car.
Joining a smaller firm when I first arrived in town helped me get my feet on the ground in this compact yet complex city. I spent a few years with a firm, helping it grow from 25 employees to more than 200 across three separate locations in California. With this growth came moves to larger quarters around the City, but my tenure started at the 1918 Hallidie Building on Sutter Street – the first glass curtain wall building in America, and the AIA SF headquarters. This street has always remained dear to me.
Then in 2009, a firm I’d been following for some time, Dreyfuss + Blackford Architecture became my next professional home. After a decade of successful business development experience, I had built up work for the firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was slow and difficult at first, but it was steady. From working at my home office in the Miraloma Park neighborhood, to our first shared office at Jackson Square along the Embarcadero, work began to grow in SF for D+B.
Last spring, our Jackson Square building was suddenly sold to a Japanese developer group and we needed to find a new office quickly. After much negotiating at different properties with no success, our broker finally mentioned “there is this place on Sutter Street; needs some work though…” In November our office moved to 575 Sutter Street into an historic 1919 building down the street from my original landing spot over 30 years ago. Each move in the City with D+B has brought a new neighborhood to explore and the ability to double the staff, bringing us now to eight. I am excited about the team we have grown here in The City and the diverse set of skills each team member brings to the table.
I frequently walk the couple of short blocks between my two Sutter Street locations and think about my time in this great, ever-reinventing city of San Francisco and my serendipitous return to Sutter Street. It’s good to be back.