Arc Light Co.
San Francisco, California
Arc Light Co.
San Francisco, California

Every space is a possibility waiting to happen. With Arc Light, we helped transform the old into the new. Giving it life. Making it home. Creating meaningful stories out of empty, unused space. Homes with character and purpose.

Arc Light Co., a renovated 19th century electric company warehouse, is an adaptive re-use of an historic building that benefits from HUD-insured financing as well as added public funds from the Recovery Act, Prop 1C grant and state money for site cleanup, transforming an underutilized and distressed site into a vibrant member of the rapidly emerging South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco.

The Vision

The designers were faced with the challenge of incorporating the historic brick expression with four additional stories of new construction in a way that revitalized the site, but didn’t overpower the existing structure. They worked closely with the owner/developer (Martin Building Company) to design a clean, modern glass expression that respectfully contrasts the brick while keeping the industrial feel of the former electric company warehouse. The street façade of the live/work units on the ground floor and main entrance was given large glass openings to carry the glass expression down and further integrate the historic elements with the modern-day design.

The Design

The renewed development features 94 contemporary lofts – a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units – in a six-story building, featuring two stories of restored brick façade topped by a four-story glass and metal structure that complements the historic context. The Arc Light Co. building is an engaging blend of past and present, resonating with residents and neighbors for its ability to evolve yet retain its original character.


Green Design 
Committed to unparalleled excellence in design using sustainable building standards, Arc Light Co. is the first residential building in San Francisco to receive LEED for Homes Mid-Rise Platinum certification, in addition to its participation in the California Multifamily New Homes Program, the Go Solar SF Program and the New Solar Homes Program. This certification was achieved through numerous open spaces and courtyards, solar roof panels, energy-efficient appliances, locally produced glass, insulated windows, bicycle storage areas, recharging stations and the transit-accessible location. The project is within walking distance to multiple Muni lines and Caltrain, and provides easy access to both BART and the freeway.


Historical Context
Arc Light Co. originally served as the historic California Electric Light Company, Station B. The building was designed to house arc and incandescent lights used to generate electricity for light service. The arc light preceded Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb and was used for lighting streets and commercial buildings. By 1888, California Electric Light Company was satisfying San Francisco’s flourishing demand for electricity. Arc Light Co. is listed as a contributory building to the South End Historic District.

“It’s an amazing location in one of the hearts of San Francisco. It’s intended to be an extremely stable asset for a long period
of time.”
|  Patrick McNerney, President, Martin Building Company   |