Finished in 1907, having been under construction during the great quake of 1906, the now landmark Columbus Tower/Sentinel Building at 916 Kearny Street was purchased by Francis Ford Coppola in the early 70s and is currently configured as six floors of office/film studio space over the ground floor Café Zoetrope, with a private 8th-floor penthouse residence.

But as envisioned by Sofia Properties, which is headquartered in the Flatiron-styled building along with American Zoetrope, and to which the property was deeded in 1992, the majority of the landmark building could soon be converted into a hotel.

While the café, second floor office spaces and private penthouse unit would survive the conversion, as would the basement screening rooms, floors three through seven of the landmark building would become a boutique 15-room hotel with a slightly enlarged lobby on Kearny, and a major interior remodel, but no proposed changes to the building’s historic exterior.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by TheRobin

    Is it just me, or does only 3 room per floor seem under-utilized?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      The triangular floor plates of the Sentinel Building aren’t the most efficient. And as envisioned, the 15 hotel suites would average around 300 square feet apiece.

  2. Posted by Hunt

    Bummer of a conversion – the offices in the upper floors have tons of original detailing, doors, etc. that I’m sure will be lost to combine them into big suites.

    • Posted by Notcom

      I would think it would require a seismic upgrade, that would probably require removing much of the interior anyway.
      (of course whether it goes back – or not – would be the difference)

  3. Posted by Dixon Hill

    I recall that the Nixon reelection campaign office was in this building in 1972.

    • Posted by Laura Foster

      Good memory! Per Herb Caen, the building was owned by the Kingston Trio before FFC bought it.

  4. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    For an iconic building that’s associated with so many classic films, become a boutique hotel is probably a better fate than turning into private condos. I hope they will put a wall of movie poster to honor the films created here.

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