AKA: Emporium-Capwell Company, 835 Market Street Department Store, ; Bloomingdale's Department Store, 835 Market Street, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - department stores

Designers: Lansburgh and Joseph, Architects (firm); Pissis, Albert, Architect (firm); Bernard Julius Joseph (architect); Gustave Albert Lansburgh (architect); Albert Pissis (architect)

Dates: constructed 1906-1908

total floor area: 775,000 sq. ft.

San Francisco, CA

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Building History

In 1907-1908, Albert Pissis (1852-1914), the architect of the first Emporium Department Store destroyed by the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 04/18-19/1906, erected this second, grand commercial building for the Emporium Company. Pissis's second design for the Emporium Department Store #2 on Market Street in San Francisco, CA, mirrored the first, sharing the same details and proportions covering the central third of its block on Market Street and having an airy, double-height first floor, an arched window over the main entry and a colonnade of engaged columns on the upper portion of the facade. Emporium operated in this building from 1908-1927, when it merged with Oakland-based Capwell Company, to form Emporium-Capwell Company; the merged entity operated its own stores, Emporium on the west side of the Bay, Capwell on the east, until 1969, when the Southern California chain Carter Hawley Hale (CHH) Stores purchased it.

In 1979, CHH rebranded all stores as "Emporium-Capwell" outlets to cut costs and operated with that name between 1979-1990, when the title was shortened to "Emporium." When the nine-story San Francisco Centre mall opened in 1988, the Emporium-Capwell Store was opened to merge with it. The collapse of CHH between 1991-08/1995, led to a takeover by Cincinnati, OH-based Federated Department Stores, Incorporated, who owned the Macy's and Bloomingdale's names. For a decade, Federated kept the 835 Market Street store closed while it figured out how to rebrand and renovate the huge building. Following extensive remodeling and seismic upgrading, Federated reopened the venerable Emporium on 09/28/2006 as a Bloomingdale's; the new Bloomindale's featured a renovated atrium skylight, comparable to the skylight featured in the contemporary City of Paris Department Store (1909) on Union Square. (This skylight was the only feature remaining of the City of Paris building when Philip Johnson and John Burgee rebuilt the location as a Neiman Marcus in 1982.)

Building Notes

While construction on this building took place, a temporary Emporium Store operated on Van Ness Avenue.


The Emporium Store #2 was remodeled and added onto many times between 1908-1996. San Francisco architectural firm Lansburgh and Joseph participated in the post-1906 remodeling of the Emporium flagship store.

In 12/1949, the Emporium Company of San Francisco announced plans to make a large addtion to its San Francisco store. An item in the "In the News" column of Architect and Engineer, 12/1949, said: "The Emporium Company of San Francisco will soon start construction of a new $10,000,000 addition to their present department store facilities. The new building will be built between 4th and 5th streets on Mission Street, according to Hall & Pregnoff, structural engineers on the project, and will consist of a six story and basement, class A-1 building, 380' by 160'." (See "In the News: Large San Francisco Store to Expand," Architect and Engineer, vol. 179, no. 3, 12/1949, p. 44.)

PCAD id: 14453