New + Notable

Jamestown Acquires San Francisco’s Famed Ghirardelli Square

Jamestown continued its expansion on the west coast with the purchase of Ghirardelli Square, located at San Francisco’s famed Fisherman’s Wharf.

Read more about our client’s plans for repositioning the property below and in the San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg News, and the San Francisco Business Times

Jamestown Acquires San Francisco’s Famed Ghirardelli Square

Leading real estate investment firm will reposition the world-renowned property, restoring its legacy as a retail and restaurant destination

SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 26, 2013) – Leading  investment and management firm Jamestown has acquired Ghirardelli Square, a 100,394-square-foot lifestyle and entertainment-oriented retail complex located at San Francisco’s vibrant Fisherman’s Wharf, from the owner for an undisclosed sum. The retail portion of the asset was 55 percent leased at the time of sale and includes the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Company’s U.S. flagship location and numerous boutique shops and restaurants.

“Jamestown’s acquisition of Ghirardelli Square, one of San Francisco’s most cherished landmarks, is a significant investment in our great City,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.

“Ghirardelli Square is an American landmark visited by people from around the world. We are excited to acquire such a distinctive and historic asset and look forward to the opportunity to enhance the property’s appeal to both tourists and locals,” said Jamestown COO Michael Phillips, noting that of the 16.5 million visitors annually to San Francisco, 75%, or 12.4 million, visit the area.

Located at 900 North Point Street, Ghirardelli Square encompasses 12 distinct buildings bounded by North Point, Beach, Polk, and Larkin streets. The property also includes a 10-level, 283-space subterranean parking garage, and a separate two-level above-grade parking structure located across from the complex.

Jamestown plans to implement a multi-million dollar renovation program over the next two years to stabilize the asset and add new retail concepts and amenities that will distinguish this world-renowned property as both a neighborhood and vacation destination.

“Ghirardelli Square is a very important part of our company legacy,” said Yvo Smit, vice president of Ghirardelli’s restaurant and retail division. “We are excited that a firm of Jamestown’s caliber is acquiring  this asset, and the planned renovation focuses on not only ensuring that this iconic property endures well into the future, but also on generating further prosperity for neighborhood businesses and companies.”

Ghirardelli Square’s original structures were built over a 100-year period, beginning in 1864, and then retrofitted and significantly updated between 1966 and 2009. The iconic architecture, including its vivid brick buildings, grew out of an industrial past, first housing the Pioneer Woolen Mills and later the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company’s production facility. The electric rooftop sign, which spells out Ghirardelli in 15-foot -high letters, was added in 1915.

“In renewing the property’s stature, we will work with historic consultants and community stakeholders to create a lively mix of tenants that fulfill the needs of a modern market while honoring Ghirardelli’s storied past,” stated Phillips, emphasizing that “great care will be taken to preserve the historic nature and character of the buildings.”

Nicholas Bicardo and Mark Damiani, brokers in the San Francisco office of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P., represented the seller.

Jamestown has a celebrated reputation for restoring and enhancing high profile, historic real estate, with an affinity for retail assets and a deep focus on exceptional user experiences.  Examples of successful projects include:

  • Chelsea Market in New York City – an upscale urban retail, dining, and commercial complex that preserves the property’s industrial origins as the former home of the National Biscuit Company. Tenants include Google, the Food Network, MLB Digital Media, NBC Universal, and EMI Entertainment.
  • PonceCity Market – previously a Sears, Roebuck & Co distribution center and the largest brick building in the Southeastern United States, the project is a historic 10-story, 2.1 million square-foot structure located in Atlanta, GA. As the largest adaptive reuse project in the city’s history, Jamestown is restoring the building as a mixed-use development housing best-in-class office, retail, and residential spaces.
  • The Newbury Collection – a portfolio of 28 mixed-use properties that encompass more than 219,000 square feet of street-level retail, office, and residential space located in Boston’s historic Back Bay neighborhood, in one of the world’s most renowned retail districts.

Jamestown plans to continue to expand its presence in San Francisco and other West Coast urban coastal markets, according to Phillips, who noted that the company has already invested in multiple assets in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Luis Obispo, and plans to pursue acquisitions in Seattle, Portland, and San Diego.



Founded in 1983 with headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. and Cologne, Germany and offices in New York City, San Francisco, Ca. and Washington, D.C., Jamestown is a leader in acquisitions and value added management. Over 30 years, Jamestown has generated approximately $8 billion in strategic investments. The company is focused across the risk spectrum with core, core-plus and opportunistic funds in two primary markets: 24-hour cities and Sunbelt territories with strong demographic growth. For more information, visit