The San Francisco Business Times recognized their real estate deals of 2020 at a virtual event attended by leaders from the San Francisco real estate industry and the domestic market. Award winners shared videos and provided live commentary on the state of the industry, challenges and opportunities, while investors steer the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the market.
Mogul Michael Shvo accepted the San Francisco Business Times’ 2020 Deal of the Year in recognition of its acquisition of the Transamerica Pyramid
Michael Shvo, founder and CEO of real estate investment and development company SHVO, accepted the Real Estate Deal of the Year Award in recognition of his company’s record-breaking acquisition of Transamerica Pyramid. The deal was the largest commercial real estate acquisition in the US during the pandemic. Shvo and his investment partners – Deutsche Bank and Bayerishce Supply Chamber (BVK) – became the second owners of the legendary pyramid.
“Just like in San Francisco itself, people have paid tribute to the pyramid’s past and envisioned its amazing future. With the entire city block of Redwood Park and the genius of the building’s visionary architect, William Pereira, Transamerica will always be the beacon of the San Francisco skyline, ”said Shvo. “We are planning a major investment to renew, refresh and redefine it for a glorious tomorrow. The best is yet to come for the Transamerica Pyramid, and we welcome you all there. “
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Business has become more complex with the pandemic that delayed the closing process and raises questions about the durability of the sale in a turbulent commercial real estate market.
Following Shvo’s declarations of acceptance, event moderator and editor of the San Francisco Business Times, Doug Fruehling, asked if Shvo had ever considered the deal because of the pandemic. He answered with a resounding no. Shvo highlighted the importance of the deal and added, “Was it by far the toughest deal we have ever made? Absolutely.”
Looking ahead, Shvo also talked about the long-term nature of the business. “We’re not buying this building today so we can renovate it tomorrow, rent it out and sell it in five days. There’s no reason to ever sell this building because nothing can replace it. When Shvo pushed for details about the much anticipated renovation, he replied, “I can’t tell you who the architect is yet. We’re in the process of finalizing a competition between three of what are probably the greatest architects in the world. “
Shvo recalled that the previous owners of the pyramid, Dutch insurance company Aegon NV, invited him to tour the building and that he planned to come to San Francisco the next day – a Sunday. “Nobody wants to show a building on a Sunday,” said Shvo. “But I insisted. The truth is, you don’t even have to step into the property, just come around the corner and stare at this incredible piece of architecture. “
Shvo explained his company’s plans for the building: “Not only are we going to improve the beauty of the site itself, Redwood Park and associated assets, this property deserves to be the center of San Francisco as always. We are going to bring this property to the height of the market here. “
Spring also invited Shvo to share why he had decided to buy the building. “When I first saw it from the ground,” Shvo replied. He remembered his admiration for the building as a child when he visited San Francisco and saw the Transamerica pyramid: “I couldn’t imagine owning this building 40 years later.”
The San Francisco Business Times also recognized other notable deals, including the Four Seasons Private Residences and Burlingame Point. Carol Galante, Faculty Director and I. Donald Terner Professor of Affordable Housing and Urban Planning at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation, also received a Lifetime Achievement Award.