A former data center from the days of the dotcom boom is up for sale in San Francisco, California. It potentially offers more than 26MW in a constrained market.

Via LoopNet, Alioto Real Estate Group is offering 466 Townsend Street as up for sale.

466 Townsend St San Fran - Alioto Real Estate Group via LoopNet
466 Townsend is available to be a data center again – Alioto Real Estate Group via LoopNet

Set on just under an acre, the three-story building totals 113,435 sq ft (10,540 sqm). Built around 1915 as a warehouse, it was renovated in 1999.

The building, previously used as a data center, reportedly has 25.9MW available from PG&E, with the potential to upgrade to 38.8MW.

The site comes with a single 1.25MW generator and a 5,600-gallon diesel tank. There are 11 Liebert/Trane cooling systems of ‘various sizes’ on the first floor.

Historical fiber providers include SBC, MCI, Qwest, Sprint, Time Warner, Level 3, and ICG Telecom.

The site was previously used as a data center during the dotcom boom, which the listing notes was its “last legal use,” but for nearly 20 years it has been used as a university building without permission from city officials.

Acquired around 2005 from Markley San Francisco LLC, for-profit art school the Academy of Art University partly converted the data center into sound stages and acting studios for its cinema department.

But in 2016, 466 Townsend Street was one of a group of buildings San Francisco accused the academy of using illegally against their allowed purpose.

Founded in 1929 and one of the largest real estate owners in San Francisco, the city said the university was violating state and local laws across its real estate holdings, accusing it of breaking rules around building uses, zoning laws, building codes, and historical preservation requirements.

The former data center and office was one of more than 30 buildings the academy was using improperly.

After settling in 2016, the academy was required to pay more than $50 million to the city, much of it funding new affordable housing builds. The university retrospectively filed to legalize the conversion from a data/telecommunications facility to educational services for classrooms, labs/art studios, an art store, and student and faculty lounges. The building is still listed on the academy’s website.

Between the 1940s and 1950s, 466 Townsend was occupied by a wholesale grocer, followed by house furnishing manufacturers until the late 1960s. By 1978, the building was occupied by Frontier Management Corp., and owned by real estate firm San Francisco Partners by 1987.

In 2000 the site was occupied by multiple tenants, including ISP First World Communications, and circa the millennium, First World operated data centers in Glendale, San Diego, Santa Clara, Irvine, and Denver. After delays in building out the facility, it seems Global Communications took over the space at 466 Townsend around 2001.

Though not part of this listing, Alioto notes 460 Townsend Street, an 18,000 sq ft (1,670 sqm) adjacent industrial building and also owned by the university, is available for potential acquisition and expansion.

That two-story building, built in 1915 and once occupied by the ALFA lighting company, had been used by the academy's interior architecture and design studio.

US data center firm Novva is developing a 28MW data center around five miles south of 266 Townsend. The CIM-owned site was previously described as the first new purpose-built facility in San Francisco for a decade.

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