AKA: P, G & E Company Office Building, Downtown, Oakland, CA; Museum of Children's Arts, Downtown, Oakland, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings

Designers: Dickey, C.W., Architect (firm); Charles William Dickey (architect)

Dates: constructed 1921-1922

8 stories, total floor area: 42,000 sq. ft.

1625 Clay Street
Downtown, Oakland, CA 94612

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The P, G & E Oakland Tower was located on the southwest corner of Clay Street at 17th Street.


Architect Charles W. Dickey (1871-1942) designed a steel and reinforced concrete frame to support the Pacific Gas and Electric (P, G & E) Building.

Building History

P, G & E occupied this entire building from 1922 until it moved from the highrise in 1975. Thereafter, the building remained vacant into the 1980s. An 1980s renovation effort failed, and Aegis Realty Partners bought the office building in 1996. According to a 2002 article in the San Francisco Business Times, "The building's most distinctive features are its elegant lobby, operable windows and a penthouse floor with soaring ceiling heights that the utility used for annual shareholder meetings." Aegis first considered turning the office building into loft apartments, but this proved too difficult. According to the same article: "When Aegis took over control of the property, the original plan called for a conversion to residential lofts. A complete seismic upgrade was begun in 1999. But in early 2000, Aegis decided to ditch the loft idea and revert the building back to office space. ...Some of the complexities of doing a residential project proved too cumbersome, and besides, Aegis' expertise was in office development, and the Oakland office market was roaring back at the time." (See San Francisco Business Times, "Oakland's former PG&E building reborn, again," accessed 09/19/2016.) Aegis, founded in 1994 by Terrence (Terry) McGrath, was renamed McGrath Properties in 2006. Ten years later, it continued to own the building which was 100% leased to companies that included the Turner Construction Company, Omnicom, and Tom Sawyer Software.

Building Notes

In 1938, Lee H. Newbert was the Manager of P, G & E's Oakland main office.

In 2016, the Museum of Children's Arts occupied some of the building at 1625 Clay Street. Tel: 510.465.8770 (2016). The Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educationand Environmental Design (I-SEEED) also occupied Suite #600 in the former P, G & E Building in 2016.


A complete renovation occurred in 1999-2000. The Oakland Heritage Alliance said of this renovation: "A gorgeous renovation of this handsome, 1920s brick and terracotta, Renaissance Revival building with its high arched entry which was built as the new "downtown" PG&E headquarters. This National Register building was designed by Charles Dickey, Architect, who also did the Claremont Hotel and Rotunda Building. The restoration shows good attention to detail with its sensitive use of new materials, lovingly restored copper window sills, repair and hand repainting of the glazed terra cotta of the first level." (See McGrath Properties, "1625 Clay Street, Oakland, CA," accessed 09/19/2016.)

PCAD id: 14543