Macromedia is to acquire a new $55 million HQ – a sign of its renewed confidence following a successful first quarter.

The company plans to acquire San Francisco's historic Baker and Hamilton building, as well as two adjacent properties. Macromedia's corporate, marketing and R&D staff will begin moving in in the latter half of 2004.

The three properties are the Baker & Hamilton building at 601 Townsend Street; 625 Townsend Street, a recently completed building adjacent to the Baker & Hamilton building; and 650 King Street, a recently completed six-story parking garage that serves these two buildings.

A slice of US history

The Baker Hamilton Building was constructed in 1905 for Pacific Hardware & Steel Company. It escaped San Francisco's disastrous 1906 earthquake and fire and its early owners enjoyed several prosperous years, becoming one of the largest hardware firms in the western US.

The building was originally designed by the San Francisco firm of Sutton & Weeks and offers many unique structural and architectural details. It was part of the first wave of economic development in the city's South of Market district. In the 1930's Baker and Hamilton invented its "model store" concept, which showed hardware retailers new ways to display products in their stores.

Historic features, 21st Century design

With entrances on both Seventh and Townsend the brick and timber constructed building redevelopment now offers spaces that can be customized to create different office environments. It also boasts a large skylight that provides natural light to the central portion of the property. Original features have been preserved by the developers – Macromedia's new HQ retains the grand Seventh Street entrance, a large interior lightwell that illuminates the centre of the building and original rooftop signs. It also offers an outdoor terrace and courtyard.

Project Architect Tanner Leddy of Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects says: "The Baker Hamilton Building is a significant example of early twentieth century industrial architecture. The renovation design respects the past, optimistically reflects our current times, and preserves the building for future generations."

It offers over 200,000 square feet of multi-media office workspace and 65,000 square feet of basement storage. Office amenities include fiber optic cable, a high-capacity electrical system and climate control. The new HQ is well-served by public transport links, with both Muni and Bart line subway stations nearby, as well as a train station.

Recovering Internet economy?

The move signals an upturn for Macromedia. It returned a net profit of $6.7 million in its just-gone quarter, indicating improved fortunes for the Internet sector. For this quarter Macromedia expects to return revenues of between $85 million to $90 million, and aims for revenue growth of between 10-20 per cent for its fiscal year which ends March 2004.

Chairman and CEO Rob Burgess said: "Macromedia has touched a lot of lives around the world from our home base in San Francisco. I'm excited to be extending our commitment to our employees – and future employees – and the community by establishing our long-term home in this beautiful building.

"We're all very excited about all the new software and solutions we are bringing to market to streamline the process of making great digital experiences."

Macromedia shares climbed 3.16 per cent yesterday, closing at $20.90 (up 64 cents). Company stock has been trading at between $5.90 and $24.99 over the last 12 months.