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  • Writer's pictureTrudy Stambook

Office Skyscraper Gets a Major Facelift

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

New vs. Old: Hammer Ventures is renovating the two-tower complex at 1st and Broadway. Pictured left is the completed exterior of the annex next to the old tower. Pictured right is a rendering of the completed office project. (Courtesy/Tower 180)

As Published by San Diego Union Tribune:

January 5, 2019 | 6:00 AM

A dated downtown skyscraper is getting a major facelift courtesy of local developer Hammer Ventures, which expects to debut its high-end office product at 1st Avenue and Broadway later this year.

Dubbed Tower 180, the project consists of a 25-story tower and low-rise annex, spanning a total of 360,000 square feet, including some ground-floor retail, at 180 Broadway Ave.

The building, originally constructed in 1963, was purchased by Hammer Ventures in June 2016 for $54.4 million. The privately held real estate investment firm declined to share how much it’s spending on improvements, but the firm took out an $82 million loan to finance the acquisition and renovations, according to information from real estate tracker CoStar.

Construction, which started in the summer of 2017, is ongoing with the exterior of the eight-story annex complete. The project is expected to be ready for occupancy by summer, said Lawrence Howard, the director of development at Hammer.

Building upgrades include floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a 13,000-square-foot full-service gym and a large rooftop deck. When completed, the renovated, Class A towers will also offer tenants a host of amenities, including panoramic views of the waterfront, valet parking, electric charging stations and outdoor WiFi-enabled areas.

Howard boasts that Tower 180 has a distinctive look, which he characterized as bold and progressive.

“(The look is) intended to bring a world class design to this exceptional location, complemented with extensive outdoor space, amenities, and curated retail aimed at redefining the working lifestyle,” Howard wrote in an email.

Started in 2000, Hammer Ventures specializes in acquiring and renovating properties across Southern California. The firm’s recently completed Muse La Jolla project at 1020 Prospect St. turned a 36,636-square-foot office building into 16 high-priced condos. The developer also owns the vacant Midway postal complex and has outlined plans to build “The Post,” or an urban-meets-coast campus with 230,000 square feet of office space.

Hammer’s pricey downtown office redo will presumably compete for elite tenants with a number of in-progress and recently completed buildings, most notably neighboring projects The Campus at Horton and Manchester Pacific Gateway.

The latter development will introduce more than 1 million square feet of all new office stock as part of Manchester Financial Group’s $1.5 billion mixed-use project along Pacific Highway, with space currently being leased and ready for occupancy in 2020. Meanwhile, real estate investor Stockdale Capital Partners has proposed turning Horton Plaza’s 900,000-square-foot retail center into a campus for top tech firms. That endeavor will require city approval, but the developer would like to turn it around for occupancy in around two years.

Tower 180’s ocean views, high ceilings and outdoor space will set it apart, Howard said, adding that the building should appeal to traditional tenants such as law firms and professional services companies, as well as technology firms. The project is currently 15 percent leased.

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