After nearly 20 years as a tenant in the Empire Building at the west end of Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa, the Sonoma County Bar Association moved on Dec. 29 to new offices at 111 Santa Rosa Ave.
The bar association was the last tenant in the Empire Building, acquired by developer Hugh Futtrell in July 2016 for $2.2 million. Futtrell plans to turn the iconic building into a boutique hotel on the reunified square. The building has about 20,600 square feet.
The bar association has about 1,000 members, according to Peter Steiner, executive director for about a decade. On moving day Thursday, Steiner was already in the new office space in the building that houses the Westamerica Bank branch in downtown Santa Rosa. There was a copier being installed, but no phone, no food, no pets, no computers, no desks.
“It’s about 3,500 square feet,” Steiner said of the new space, down from roughly 4,400 on the first floor of the Empire Building. The association has five staff members. Inside the office, the association will have two rental units.
“One is already rented out,” Steiner said, to David Collier, who handles real estate and estate planning, including trusts. Collier previously had his office at 37 Old Courthouse Square, the Empire Building. Collier had partially moved into his office. “He wanted to move in before us,” Steiner said.
The Empire Building was owned by three attorneys, including Patrick Grattan, a partner in the Geary, Shea, O’Donnell, Grattan & Mitchell firm. The law firm had its offices in the Empire Building for many years before moving to 90 South E St.
Steiner has asked a committee of the bar association to chronicle its history in the Empire Building.