Yet another software company is hanging its shingle in San Francisco’s booming mid-Market Street tech hub. Software support company Zendesk quietly moved into a restored 1909 building in mid-Market that once housed a turn-of-the-century furniture store.
The building, which was originally opened by a silver baron, once housed the Eastern Outfitting Company.
“When we found this building it had been ridden pretty hard over the last 40 or so years,” said Bob Basso, part of the development team Cannae Partners.
The building has long stood out on Market Street with its colonial columns and chiseled sign reading “furniture and carpets.”
In rehabbing the building, developers removed graffiti and hauled away tons of trash, which included a ceiling full of pigeon carcasses. Along with adding many modern touches, Basso’s team discovered, from an old postcard, the building was originally draped in sparkling lights. After 40 years in the dark, the lights were re installed.
“We thought to ourselves, 'wouldn’t it be cool to reignite those lights and maybe signify a rebirth on Market?'" Basso said.
The illumination continued when Basso brought in Illuminate the Arts CEO Ben Davis, whose Bay Lights project adorns the Bay Bridge, to add some art to the building. Each night, a slide show plays on the side of the building under a giant banner that reads “Let there be…”
“Arts are always key in the healthy resurgence of any area,” Davis said.
Rapidly expanding Zendesk added its own touches to the building, including a living moss wall, and furniture bearing the company’s signature green strokes. The company is keeping other staff in a nearby building it already occupies, and moving additional employees to the the Market Street location, which includes a basement kitchen and amphitheater open to neighborhood groups.
“San Francisco’s always celebrated it’s quirkiness,” said Tiffany Apczynski, Zendesk’s Director of Social Responsibility. “It’s a city of compassion, it’s a city of innovation and no neighborhood demonstrates that better than the mid-Market, Tenderloin neighborhood.”