Landmark Becomes San Francisco’s First Historic Building to Earn LEED Silver Certification

San Francisco, CA – 111 Sutter was opened on March 1, 1927 and stood as one of San Francisco’s first skyscrapers.  Today, this historic landmark has been awarded LEED Silver certification for its efforts to create a green and sustainable building for the new century.

111 Sutter has played a unique role in the growth and development of San Francisco as a world-class city and economy.  Some highlights of what the building has seen include:
  • In the 1930s and for decades after, NBC radio created and broadcast radio dramas from the building’s 22nd floor.
  • Legendary San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto kept his law offices on the 21st floor, even during his mayoral tenure.  His offices also featured a gold plated ceiling.
  • Tenants through the years have included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Francisco’s own Dean Witter investments after the market crash of the early 1930s, Crocker National Bank in the 1970s, and Wells Fargo after it acquired Crocker.
  • But the building’s most famous tenant is none other than Sam Spade, hero of Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon.”  His occupancy was traced through clues left throughout the novel and his presence is still felt and seen in the building today.
The twenty-two story landmark is located at Sutter and Montgomery streets in the heart of San Francisco’s Financial District.  It features an intricately decorated interior and exterior including historic painted ceilings in the lobby and visible decorative motifs on its exterior, some that look down on the city from the top of the building.  Ellis Partners undertook significant effort and expense to restore some of the original accents when it acquired the building in the late 1990s. 111 Sutter is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has received the BOMA San Francisco Earth Award for the past 2 consecutive years.
“Given the building’s historic role in San Francisco’s rise as a home to business and innovation, it’s no accident that 111 Sutter will begin the new millennia as a truly green and sustainable multi-tenant office building,” said Kathy Wells, Senior Vice President and Asset Manager for Ellis Partners who oversaw the certification process for the building along with the building management team at CAC Real Estate Management.
She added, “We have completed a nearly top-to-bottom renovation of the building and it is amazing that everything old can be renewed again.  What we found was that old construction can sometimes be more efficient and more sustainable than new construction.”
Ellis Partners has completed new tenant improvements on every floor, installed a new electrical distribution system, and new plumbing.  However, 111 Sutter earned the distinction not as a product of massive capital improvements, but by carefully auditing its practices.  It found that due to its legacy of highly efficient mechanical systems and important choices made in its management and refuse practices, it already had enough points to earn the LEED Silver certification. Ellis Partners remains committed to exploring ways to improve the building and earn even higher LEED certifications.
“As a gold certified tenant of 111 Sutter, the Natural Resources Defense Council couldn’t be more proud of the building’s achievement of the silver LEED certification,” said Johanna Wald, a senior attorney with the NRDC, a national environmental organization that occupies the 20th and 21st floor of the building. “NRDC knows from its own experience that it takes time and a strong commitment to earn LEED certification and is delighted that there will be efforts to achieve higher levels going forward.”
The LEED standard, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program for certifying energy efficient “green” buildings and is overseen by the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC).  It is the nationally recognized standard for the operation of high performance green buildings.
“The strength of the USGBC has always been the collective strength of our leaders in the building industry,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair of the U.S. Green Buildings Council.  “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, Ellis Partners has demonstrated their leadership through their LEED certification on 111 Sutter.
For leasing information, please contact Christopher T. Roeder and Ted Davies at Jones Lang LaSalle at (415) 395-4900.
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About the U.S. Green Building Council:
The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation.  Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other non-profit organizations.  Since USGBC’s founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 14,500 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED green building rating systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry’s popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo ( and a network of 77 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups.  For more information, visit