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San Francisco Unveils New City Administration Building at 49 S. Van Ness

Written by: Juliana Choy Sommer
Published: August 7, 2020
Category: Featured Clients

In 2019, Pankow working together with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Architects, selected Priority Architectural Graphics for signage fabrication and installation at 49 South Van Ness, the new headquarters for the San Francisco Planning Department, SF Department of Building Inspection and the City’s Department of Public Works. Priority Graphics was particularly pleased to have been selected for this project which was based on the San Francisco signage company’s track record fabricating and installing the City of Berkeley’s Permit Office in 2017.

The 530k square foot steel structure office building at 49 South Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, includes two levels of below-grade parking and a 16-story office tower with over 430k of space reserved for the City of San Francisco including the San Francisco Permit Center, located on the 2nd floor. The Permit Center includes 70+ public counters, 15 conference rooms, 3 break rooms and 7 small “focus” rooms. Sign installation work for the 49 South Van Ness project began in mid-May and will continue through August, with floors gradually being released to the client for public-facing service delivery.

The scope of work for Priority Graphics initially included interior and exterior room ID, wayfinding and code signage as well as parking garage graphics for the base building of 49 SVN. Working closely with teams at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the fit and finish and installation specifics for this project were very tightly adhered to and required detailed project coordination and communications between the SOM and PAG teams.

Despite San Francisco’s shelter-in-place requirements effective in mid-March, project deadlines and milestones stayed on the original project roadmap with a production team located on-site in order to complete necessary stages of progress. Also complicated by the pandemic, ADA code signage which needed to be approved by the Lighthouse for the Blind had to be shipped in stages at 100 signs per week. The Lighthouse for the Blind offices were only open one day a week during San Francisco’s shutdown due to COVID-19 which complicated coordination. After over all 800 ADA code signs were reviewed by Lighthouse staff, Priority was proud they were able to report an almost 100% approval rate on their submissions.

In Spring 2020, the signage project scope for Priority Architectural Graphics further expanded from an initial building sign package to a second round of sign work including adding privacy film and more significantly, a 27 x 44-foot pavilion wall with a 9 by 30-foot LED display positioned mid-wall and surrounded by an oversized wallpaper graphic (fabricated by Priority). Priority Graphics was also asked to produce specialized, overhead signage for the Permit counters.

Project lead Michelle Savage-Conley notes, “The detailed requirements for the Permit Office’s wallpaper wall has really challenged our team at Priority to raise even further our already high standards for exacting design specification through installation planning. We’re proud that our partners at SOM have complimented us on our work to date on the 49 South Van Ness project. That means the world to our team at Priority Architectural Graphics, especially during these challenging times.”

Pankow Project Manager, Yusef Masjedi notes “Homegrown talent and keeping opportunities local is an important part of how we build the communities in which we work. Priority Architectural Graphics is a special contributor to the details that make this project shine. Their local knowledge base was paramount to the timely jurisdictional reviews required to ensure our doors opened on time. And now when I drive through the city’s Bay View district another industrial facility shines a little brighter knowing our friends at PAG are inside working on the small things that go a long way in making our City intuitive and accessible for all.”

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