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PR firm contributes to Elks Tower restoration

Architect Peter Dennenfelser, left, and Edelman PR’s general manager, Steve Telliano, are working to renovate the Elks Tower.
Architect Peter Dennenfelser, left, and Edelman PR’s general manager, Steve Telliano, are working to renovate the Elks Tower. aseng@sacbee.com

One of the area’s largest public relations companies is planning an expansion with two big impacts: It could ultimately nearly double the firm’s staffing in Sacramento and help continue a remarkable restoration at one of the city’s architectural jewels.

Edelman, a global firm with 70 offices, was a pioneer of sorts, moving into downtown’s historic Elks Tower a decade ago shortly after the building was acquired by local investor and steel company executive Steve Ayers.

It was a leap of faith. The 14-story building had been blighted by an ill-conceived 1970s remodel that included installation on several floors of hanging “T-bar” acoustic ceilings to create “modern” office space. Obscured were ornately painted cement-plaster ceilings and 18-foot-high arched windows.

But work by Ayers and his architect, Peter Dannenfelser, restored much of the original look, especially in the second-floor dining room where Edelman ended up with some of the city’s most eye-catching space.

Now the same sort of fix-up is about to begin in an adjacent room that was once the “women’s parlor” for Elks events.

Steven Telliano, Edelman’s general manager, was instrumental in the company’s original move to the Elks Tower and he said it’s exciting to take another step to “help bring the building back to its spectacular glory of the 1920s.”

The restoration challenge this time is a little different. The T-bar ceiling in that area was removed a decade ago, and replaced by artsy “metal ceiling clouds” to partly hide at least 50 gaping holes, said Dannenfelser, whose firm has occupied the room in recent years.

The effort to patch, paint and restore the room to its original condition should be done by early next year, he said.

Telliano said Edelman’s expansion was prompted by company growth that’s increased revenue fourfold, to $4 million, since the company’s move into the Elks Tower.

The new space will allow for a new conference room and work areas for up to 20 more people on top of the 28 now employed there.

Telliano said the local office has benefited from being part of an international company with 350 staffers in California alone.

Besides offering local expertise, “we can take the experiences of our company, nationally and worldwide, see what works and bring it here,” he said.

Among local clients are Kaiser Permanente, the state of California and Sacramento County. One Edelman project you’ve probably noticed: an anti-stigma campaign for the county that shows people from different walks of life coping effectively with emotional disorders and the tagline: “Mental Illness: It’s not always what you think.”

Hot property

There’s a new owner of the East Sacramento Mercantile building, which houses a bevy of boutique shops on Folsom Boulevard.

The Gantenbein family, which has owned the building since it opened 60 years ago, recently sold it to local investor Jeffrey Berger for $1.125 million, according to Colliers International broker David Herrera, who represented buyer and seller.

There were multiple offers.

“That area is always desirable but more so now,” Herrera said, noting several recent office and restaurant leases on the blocks near the Mercantile building at 3257 Folsom Blvd.

Berger said he intends to make immediate improvements in the second-floor “work-live” spaces in the 6,400-square-foot building but has no immediate plans for changing any of the uses on the ground floor.

He said he’s open to keeping the same tenants if “they want to participate in stepping up the image” of the property.

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