The History of Ryan Tower

Ryan Tower was built in 1949 and has been family-owned by Michael J. Ryan & Associates since inception. The third apartment building conceived by Michael J. Ryan, Ryan Tower was a bold development; Michael and his wife Elva set their sights on developing “San Mateo’s Most Modern luxury 11 story high-rise” located at 120 West 3rd Avenue, which remains today, offering 104 beautiful apartment homes with spectacular views of the Bay, San Francisco, and Peninsula hillsides.
Michael J. Ryan was born in 1897 in San Francisco.  He was a naval architect and designed ships for Getty Oil, U.S. Navy, and other large shipping firms.  In 1935 he developed 150 West 3rd Avenue, now known as The Monterey Garden Apartments, which remains in place today offering 16 luxurious apartment homes with hardwood floors, high ceilings, and large hallways as you might expect from a building built in the late 30’s.
Michael J. Ryan engaged renowned San Francisco architect Angus McSweeney to design Ryan Tower. The building is of reinforced concrete construction and fireproof throughout. This ultra modern building of its era featured a central heating plant of ample capacity supplying hot water heat to all apartments, a double deck garage with space for 100 cars, and a large basement offering storage space for residents.
Ryan Tower, as described in a 1949 marketing brochure, “is located in the Baywood Residential District in San Mateo which has long been known as an exclusive place to live on the Peninsula – with it beautiful country-like environment, mildness of climate and close proximity to downtown San Mateo. The nearness of bay, hills and suburban developments have combined to attract people with preferences for good living.”
Michael J. Ryan & Associates remains a family owned corporation and has passed through four generations. The family recognizes the importance of maintaining this landmark building and is committed to continually improving the building to offer residents stylish homes with spectacular views and modern amenities.