Renoir Hotel Fire (c) SocketSite.com

Built in 1909 and slated to re-open later this year as a hip four-star hotel, the historic Renoir Hotel building at 45 McAllister Street caught fire this afternoon and reached a four-alarm-level blaze before the fire was contained.

Early reports of welding work having started the blaze haven’t changed, but the fire appears to have started on a lower floor and worked its way up, rather than having started on a higher floor as was first reported by KCBS.

Having closed on their purchase of the Renoir early last year, The Kor Group, developer of the trendy Viceroy Hotels and Resorts,  is in the midst of a $30 million renovation of the 135-room Renoir.  Plans for the property include a number of new restaurants and bars on the ground floor as well as a 4,500-square-foot roof deck and lounge.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by BTinSF

    How often does it happen that “welding work” causes fires? It happened on the City Hall restoration and recently in Mission Bay. You’d think they’d be much more careful and vigilant.

  2. Posted by BTinSF

    PS: I think this building has “great bones” and I really want to see it restored to gem-like status. I really hope this fire doesn’t do permanent damage. PLEASE–anybody with current info update this story.

    • Posted by Bay Guy

      BTinSF, If you are in San Francisco at this time, you can turn to the early news on Channel 7 (ABC affiliate). They ALWAYS cover events such as this on the early news.

      Just a thought, and good to see (read) you again… since Skyscraper pages.

  3. Posted by anon94123

    30 million does not seem like a lot of money for reconstruction of such a large building into a hipster hotel. It must have been only “cosmetic”.

  4. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: While not yet extinguished and traffic is still a mess, the fire has officially been contained. No word on the extent of the dammage to the building.

  5. Posted by Anna

    Working down the street, I’ve been watching the renovation and the materials they were bringing into the building. Looked amazing. Sadly they’re now watering top floors (I went down for a peek) so I’m sure this puts a kink in their opening plans.

    • Posted by seriously

      Does the exterior look OK? Hopefully they can recover quickly!

  6. Posted by MidMarketFan

    Exterior looks fine but they have been dumping water into the building all day. Hard to believe there will be a quick recovery, too much water and smoke.

  7. Posted by Jerry of San Fran

    ARSON!!

  8. Posted by Invented

    Great potential for a striking flatiron. If a lot of damage and opportunity to reconsider site — put a glassy flatiron tower on it. Set back a bit .

    • Posted by emanon

      But there’s already a flatiron tower on the lot.

  9. Posted by noemom

    What is the zoning here? If they have to demolish, how high can they go? Fires caused by welding mishaps are not only unfortunate, they are very peculiar. Too bad.

    • Posted by Markklinnllik

      This building was self-insured by the builder. I hope they stay solvent.

  10. Posted by redseca2

    There is about the ugliest donut shop in San Francisco taking up the only sliver of this triangle block that is not the hotel. I wish they could buy that and add it to the hotel. They could do a lot of things to really bring that hotel up: A proper port cochere at grade for guest arrivals and departures, modern elevators, exit stairs aimed at eliminating some of the fire escapes, and wherever they decide to top out they could put a swimming pool – all easily done with a new steel frame.

  11. Posted by Peter Gerhaeuser

    Based on research I did in 2011 while I was employed at the Renoir Hotel, the historic information (probably taken from the Kor Group’s website) is incorrect. The origins of the Renoir Hotel go actually back to the years 1900-1904 when famous San Francisco architect Albert Pissis (1852-1914), designed and built the Callaghan Building, originally as a six story office building, at the gore of Market and McAllister at Jones Street… Just across the street from the Hibernia Bank at 1 Jones Street, another National Landmark also designed by Pissis, together with the Flood Building and the Emporium.

    The 1906 earthquake and fire completely destroyed the Callaghan Building just like the nearby City Hall. However, it was soon rebuilt as a two-story building on the same foundations (1100-1112 Market Street) for office use with ground-level stores and boutiques.

    In 1926/27, the lower floors were totally remodeled and five additional stories were added under the plans of H. A. Minton, the successful architect of the Bank of Italy Building in San Jose, which is considered to be one of the Bay Area’s first “earthquake-proof” constructions.

    The new building reopened as a first class four star property under the name “Hotel Shaw.” In the 1930’s and 1940’s, the hotel catered to the rich and well-to-do. Located at a major Market Street intersection in the heart of San Francisco’s vibrant Theater District, it was one of the places to be in San Francisco. The hotel was named the Hotel Shaw up until December 31, 1982 when June Enterprises sold it to a group of overseas investors (Hotel Shaw, Inc.).

    After a $1.5 million renovation the name was changed to “Hotel Miramar” and it was put up for sale six months later. The hotel was finally acquired by the Hotel Group of America
    (now Personality Hotels) who renamed it “United Nations Plaza Hotel.”

    Since 1986 the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Market Street Theatre and Loft District, which is comprised of 131 acres containing twenty contributing buildings.

    The property was purchased by the Yee Family in 1993. The new proprietors renovated the lobby to its neo-classical ambience and renamed the property “Renoir Hotel.” On February 16, 2012 the Kor Realty Group purchased the Renoir Hotel and it was closed on April 16, 2013 to begin a major renovation.

  12. Posted by Renoir

    The hotel killed at least one employee. This could be by the ghost…

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