Designed by Arthur Brown Jr. of Bakewell & Brown and City Hall fame and built for Hibernia Bank in 1924, an addition to the concrete and steel reinforced building on the northwest corner of Valencia and 22nd Street was added along the bank parcel’s Valencia Street frontage in 1995 and the now 12,700-square-foot structure was leased to the government for use by the Social Security Administration which has occupied the building(s) ever since.

While the GSA’s lease runs through July of 2022, the government doesn’t have an option to renew and the corner site is zoned for development up to 55 feet in height. That being said, the original building – which features multi-story windows, an open lobby and mezzanine office space – has been identified as a historic resource.

And with all that in mind, the 1098 Valencia Street building and parcels have just hit the market with a $9.99 million price tag and touting “excellent redevelopment potential,” but “buyers should consult with a qualified architect and the City’s Planning Department to confirm development feasibility and allowable uses” as well.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Notcom

    I know this is going to sound crazy – so feel free to shoot down the idea – but wouldn’t it really be something if one of the banks bought it and turned it into …wait for it…a bank ??
    Probably a million reasons why this wouldn’t work – they’d have to gut the interior to perform a seismic evaluation, or the teller cages (if they’re even still there) aren’t ADA compliant, or whatever – but it just seems like an irresistibly madcap concept to float.

    • Posted by DCArch

      Have you noticed that banks don’t open stand alone branches anymore?

      • Posted by Notcom

        I think it depends a lot where you live: areas where lot’s of wealthier, older people live – who for obvious reasons tend to favor both teller services and personal relationship services – still have a lot of them; of course while “older and wealthier” would probably describe many SF neighborhoods, this probably isn’t one of them.
        I’m not clear on what you mean by “stand alone branch”: aren’t all bank branches “stand alone” ?? what would they otherwise be a part of ??

        • Posted by anon2.5

          I went into a standalone branch once in the last year to draw a large amount of cash. It was a terrible experience. The line took a half hour to clear. You have some people who you can just tell are stretching out their transactions as long as possible because it’s the only item on their agenda for the day.

        • Posted by Gary

          Many “branches” are embedded in grocery stores, for instance.

          • Posted by Notcom

            I see, thanks. I think those would be described as “mini-branches” tho, as they wouldn’t have things like safe deposit boxes, and presumably lessened abilities in exotics like foreign currencies.

    • Posted by Just My Opinion

      Large stand-alone banks are history. Many will be closed. Others will be greatly downsized and be largely ATMs and video conferencing with a “virtual” teller.

      • Posted by Brian M

        Once the off-shoring and automation and “task rabbiting” of the workforce is fully engaged, not many people will have the jobs and money needed for banking service anyway.

        • Posted by Just My Opinion

          Jobs are not being eliminated faster than jobs are added. Jobs are changing. In fact jobs are being added. San Francisco is at virtual full employment with a jobless rate of less than 4%.

  2. Posted by curmudgeon

    It’s a nice historic bank building, and it’s always been sad to see it used as Social Security administration. Hopefully it will be reused with a more public facing use. There are great examples of retail and restaurant uses in old bank buildings.

  3. Posted by Alan Lyons

    How about about a smaller version of a Ferry Building type multi-vendor market ? Anything but a boutique, restaurant, or fitness center.

    • Posted by Frisco

      A small Ferry Building concept is still pretty close to that generic boutique/restaurant idea, isn’t it? It’s also being tried at the “Food Hall” at 16th & Valencia with debatable success. I feel like a co-working space or makers/startup factory is one of the only modern uses that’s feasible in these large old buildings.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        There is an outdoor market a half block away on Bartlett and 22nd.

        • Posted by Notcom

          The site of the notorious “Demon in the Belfry” murders? That must allow for interesting promo tie-ins (particularly @ Halloween).

        • Posted by NoeNeighbor

          I am not sure how the existence of a once a week market impacts what goes in here; in any case that Farmers Market is pretty limited and doesn’t seem to draw many people.

          Rather than the “Food Hall” idea; I would prefer something more like a bi-rite — where one can actually buy a range of actual grocer items not just fancy snacks and booze.

  4. Posted by stevenj

    I was recently inside the building for a Social Security appointment. The original exterior still looks fantastic but the inside has very little of what I remember when I had a Hibernia bank account. When it was a bank the open lobby featured high ceilings (slightly taller than the windows) and big crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. SS remodeled the lobby area and walled off about half of it. The mezzanine offices are still there but only accessible through a locked door to keep employees separated from the public. One chandelier remains in the waiting area.

    • Posted by Karl (not the fog)

      Hopefully the original features are still there behind the walls and drop ceilings.

  5. Posted by Just Me

    If anyone thinks they’re gonna tear that building down, they are dreaming or high on opioids.

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