Commonwealth Club moves to the home of the former Press Club of San Francisco

555 Post Street, San Francisco

San Francisco (January 7, 2015)— The Commonwealth Club of California is moving its offices and programs to 555 Post Street, former home of the San Francisco Press Club, in downtown San Francisco.   Programs are expected to launch there in February 2015. This will be the Club’s location while construction on its new home at 110 The Embarcadero takes place.

The president and CEO of The Commonwealth Club, Dr. Gloria Duffy remarked, “We have chosen the former Press Club because it is centrally located and has ideal spaces for the Club’s programs. We are looking forward to making the transition as seamless as possible for our members and the public at large.  And we look forward to carrying on the tradition of bringing people together for debate and discussion  at 555 Post Street as we have done for nearly 112 years.”

In January of 2015, The Commonwealth Club will move from its current location at 595 Market Street to its interim location at 555 Post St., near Union Square, where the Club headquarters will be until the new building project is completed in 2016. The Club's proposed new building has just successfully completed the planning approval process with the City, with a positive recommendation from the City Planning Department followed by two 7-0 approval votes from the San Francisco Planning Commission. The Club hopes to start construction on its permanent home in early 2015 and complete the new building in mid-2016. While construction is underway, the Club will continue to host a complete slate of programming at 555 Post Street, as well as at many offsite venues around San Francisco, in Silicon Valley, the East Bay, and Marin County.

The New Permanent Headquarters: Together with architects Leddy, Maytum, Stacy the Club has designed a headquarters that will be functional for the Club’s activities, recognize the historic significance of the site, and be environmentally sustainable. The Club’s LEED Gold or Platinum building will feature an innovative ventilation system utilizing Bay air for cooling. The main auditorium and lobby will feature reclaimed wood from the current structure.  In addition to auditorium spaces, the building will have multiple gathering spots for Club members and the community, a roof terrace that overlooks the Bay, and an informative and interactive digital media presence throughout the building. The new site will be accessible on foot from downtown San Francisco and by many means of transportation.  It is across the street from the Ferry terminal, three blocks from the Embarcadero BART station, a few blocks from the new TransBay Terminal, right on Muni bus and trolley lines, and near onramps to major freeways and the Bay Bridge.

The Temporary Headquarters:  555 Post Street was originally constructed in 1922. For 46 years, until 1997, the historic building housed the Press Club of San Francisco. It is reported that the funds that enabled the Press Club to acquire the building from the Union League Club in 1951were derived from revenues it generated while operating a press room during the 1939-40 World's Fair on Treasure Island.  Among many key events, the Press Club of San Francisco was known for hosting Robert F. Kennedy’s  May 21, 1968 presidential campaign speech about the Vietnam War.  

The Club is renting 15,000 square feet of space on the ground level, second floor and mezzanine of the building, including large and small meeting rooms comparable to its current quarters, a library, reception areas and office space.  The building was extensively renovated in 2000 with additional upgrades in 2010. The building is located within walking distance to Muni and BART. It is also situated in close proximity to Union Square's shops, restaurants and hotels. There is a parking garage located next door. The historic Bohemian and Olympic clubs are across the street.


The Current Headquarters: The Commonwealth Club has been headquartered at 595 Market Street for the past 28 years. At this site, the Club has hosted guests from presidents and activists to scientists and chefs. The interim location will serve as a busy base of operations as the construction project at 110 Embarcadero moves ahead to completion.

Founded in 1903, The Commonwealth Club of California is the nation’s premier public affairs forum, with more than 22,000 members. Based in San Francisco with a second office in San Jose, the Club hosts over 450 speeches, debates and discussions each year on issues of regional, national and international significance. In addition to its traditional forums, the Club hosts the Climate One project on climate change and Inforum, the Club’s division oriented to younger community members.  It has sponsored public policy projects over the years ranging from early 1900s studies and reports leading to environmental and social legislative and policy innovations, to more recent efforts to improve state governance in California.  The Club has produced a PBS film, published books and publishes a bi-monthly magazine, The Commonwealth.


At least one million people hear The Commonwealth Club’s weekly radio broadcasts on more than 230  public and commercial stations across the country. The Club’s videos also appear on the California Channel, C-SPAN,, and YouTube, where they have been viewed millions of times. For the past century, The Club has fostered free speech and civic dialogue on wide-ranging topics, addressing key issues in society, culture, politics, the economy and more.  For more information, visit


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