WeWork brings its newest office model to San Francisco to chase mid-size companies

WeWork is putting a twist on its co-working model with HQ, a new concept aimed at medium-sized companies that offers more privacy.

Co-working space operator WeWork is bringing a new concept aimed at medium-sized companies to San Francisco.

The fast-growing company eased 17,500 square feet in 800 Market St. for its first location of the new model, known as HQ, outside of New York City.

WeWork’s HQ is geared toward businesses with 11 to 250 employees that need office space, but don’t want to sign a traditional lease or don’t need the common areas the company provides in its co-working location.

“Since launching HQ By WeWork, we have been inundated with inquiries from businesses looking for private, flexible, cost-efficient spaces that allow them to reflect their identity,” said David Fano, the company’s chief growth officer, in a statement. “San Francisco was the obvious next destination.”

The company already runs six HQ locations in New York totaling more than 400,000 square feet, with the goal of reaching 1 million square feet within the next year.

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How Salesforce Transit Center helped transform a blighted neighborhood

At the start of the economic recovery, San Francisco’s Transbay District was speckled with underused parking lots and very few options for housing and offices.

Now, the neighborhood holds the city’s largest office and mixed-use towers, residential high-rises and 100K SF of retail at the $2.4B Salesforce Transit Center that will soon open.

“Salesforce Transit Center has become a reality that generated a building boom in that area,” Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Mark Zabaneh said. “The minute the developers saw the transit center under construction, they started developing the parcels.”

The Aug. 11 opening of the transit center’s rooftop park, Salesforce Park, marks the end of the center’s initial transformation. The bus terminal will open to full operations on Aug. 12.

“It’s going to be a really significant achievement that surpassed expectations,” Zabaneh said. “The park is a big attraction. There is very limited quality public space and the park provides 5.4 acres of really quality public space.”

He said there has been a lot of enthusiasm for the rooftop park and the most-asked question has been about the park’s opening date.

 

 

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Square Inc. expands Mid-Market headquarters office in one of San Francisco’s biggest office leases this year

Payments processing company Square Inc. added another 104,135 square feet to its Mid-Market headquarters in San Francisco.

The company will now occupy a total of 469,056 square feet in 1455 Market St., a 1 million-square-foot office building.

The deal was one of the largest of the second quarter for landlord Hudson Pacific Properties (NYSE: HPP), which reported earnings Wednesday.

“We had a strong second quarter, particularly in terms of leasing,” said Victor Coleman, Hudson Pacific Properties’ chairman and CEO, in a statement. “Already standout West Coast market fundamentals continued to improve.”

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey started Square in 2009 with 10 employees. The company’s technology enables business owners to process credit card payments and makes a credit card reader for cell phones. The company reported revenue of $809 million in 2017 and now has about 2,300 employees in San Francisco, Canada, Japan, Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Square first moved into 150,000 square feet in 1455 Market in 2012 with plans to expand into 327,423 square feet over time. The company was among a wave of tech companies that flooded into Mid-Market during a revitalization of the area that is still in process.

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Embarcadero Center kicks off office renovations

Embarcadero Center is getting a facelift.

In the coming weeks, the center’s owner Boston Properties will start renovations to build new lobbies on the second floors of 1,2, and 3 Embarcadero, while the lobby in 4 Embarcadero Center will be redesigned.

The new lobbies — about 2,000 square feet each — will make it easier for tenants and visitors to find where they’re going and encourage meetups, said Doug Zucker, principal in charge of the project for architecture firm Gensler.

They will also provide a layer of security to office buildings that, in their current form, can be accessed by anyone from the elevator bank.

“We’re looking at how to create an entry experience for these office buildings that are buried on the second floor of a retail center,” Doug Zucker said.

Although the Embarcadero towers have cut across the Financial District skyline since their construction began in the 1970’s, accessing offices from the retail portion of the center can be confusing. To change that, the escalator and stairs between the second and third floor will be removed, leading people directly up to the new lobby spaces from the ground floor.

 

 

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San Francisco delays decision on retail-to-office conversions

The owners of 220 Post St. spent $75 million to buy the Union Square property in 2016. The goal: to attract a luxury tenant to the five-story building. Too bad few of those exist.

City Center Realty Partners shelled out nearly $75 million for Union Square’s 220 Post St., the former Saks Fifth Avenue Men’s Store, with the goal of attracting a luxury tenant to the five-story space. That goal has been more difficult than expected.

Nearly as difficult for the owners has been convincing city planners that retailers are no longer interested in space above the ground floor.

Seven proposals to convert upper-level retail into office space have been filed with the San Francisco Planning Department, including 220 Post’s. Most of those properties are in Union Square. Earlier this year, the city decided to freeze those applications for 18 months. That meant that 220 Post, which was supposed to be heard by the planning commission this month, is waiting indefinitely for a decision pending the creation of permanent rules.

What’s at stake is the future of the city’s retail heart. City officials are hesitant to give up the sales tax revenue and jobs that retail generates, but landlords say empty space accomplishes nothing. Instead, landlords argue that adding more office space would not only help them fill buildings, but alleviate the extreme shortage of office space that is sending small businesses and nonprofits to Oakland.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution by District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin in May that imposed temporary rules banning conversions for an 18-month period. Planning Department spokesperson Gina Simi said the department has postponed hearings for properties located within the city’s downtown retail area.

The controls don’t apply to properties located south of Market Street or for applications that have already been approved, such as the former Macy’s Men’s store.

 

 

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The era of big leases is over as San Francisco awaits next crop of towers

The era of massive office leases — including the likes of Salesforce, Dropbox and Facebook — is coming to a halt now that most of San Francisco’s pipeline of new office buildings is spoken for. Robust demand for office space has filled up buildings months or years ahead of completion, but development is drying up.

In May, another company declared it had signed the “biggest office lease ever” in San Francisco. The trend of going bigger and bigger started with Salesforce taking 714,000 square feet in Salesforce Tower at 415 Mission St. in 2014 followed by Dropbox taking 736,000 square feet in 2017 in the Exchange in Mission Bay. Then Facebook topped both with a deal to gobble up the entire, 750,000-square-foot Park Tower.

But, the era of massive office leases is coming to a halt — at least for the next few years — now that most of San Francisco’s pipeline of new office buildings is spoken for. Robust demand for office space has filled up buildings months or years ahead of completion, but development is drying up.

Some industry insiders say more building would be going on if it weren’t for Proposition M, a 1986 voter-approved law that limits how much office space can be approved in a given year. Still, others say that factors such as the lengthy city approval process and availability of development sites has also put the brakes on office development.

 

 

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Amid office space crunch, Google grows in San Francisco

As its fellow tech giants jockey for space in downtown San Francisco, Google has signed another office lease in the southern Financial District, The Chronicle has learned.

The Mountain View company is taking an additional 57,299 square feet at Hills Plaza at 2 Harrison St., according to real estate data company CoStar. That brings the total in the complex, where Google has had an office since 2007, to more than 400,000 square feet.

Google did not respond to a request for comment. Architecture firm Gensler occupied the space before recently moving to 45 Fremont St. A Morgan Stanley investment fund owns Hills Plaza.

Google is also in talks to sublease space from Salesforce, two sources said. The potential deal could be up to 228,000 square feet at Rincon Center at 101 Spear St. No contract has been signed.

Salesforce is one of the few large tech tenants vacating space as it consolidates workers into Salesforce Tower, which opened in January, and adjacent buildings. Salesforce, the city’s largest tech employer with 7,500 employees, is also subleasing space at the Landmark building at One Market Plaza.

Google’s expansion follows office leases by Facebook, Dropbox and other fast-growing tech companies, which have broken records for size and made San Francisco one of the priciest and tightest office markets in the country.

The office vacancy rate in San Francisco’s southern Financial District, which includes the area around the Transbay Transit Center, is 4.6 percent, down from 6 percent in the first quarter, according to CoStar.

“The new development has pretty much been snatched up,” said Jesse Gundersheim, CoStar’s San Francisco market economist. “Opportunity like sublease space from Salesforce is pretty rare.”

Read more on The San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

Millennial migration favors San Jose despite cost of living, says census

The Bay Area is getting more mixed messages on the seemingly perennial question of if and how quickly residents are fleeing the region and the state.

The finance company Smart Asset released a report Friday claiming that San Jose is one of the most popular destinations for millennials on the move despite its high cost of living.

Smart Asset economist Derek Miller sorted through U.S. Census data to figure out which U.S. cities got the greatest inflow—i.e., the margin of new residents relocating to a city over the number of those moving away—with the ever-topical millennial demographic, here defined as anyone between the ages of 20 and 34 in 2016.

Suffice to say, San Francisco did not acquit itself well with the trend, despite previous census analyses revealing that the city’s median age is gradually getting younger with each passing year. Instead, millennial movers reportedly favored San Jose, which came in seventh place on Miller’s list, the only California city to break the top ten.

 

 

Read more on Curbed SF

 

 

After two projects sank, can San Francisco find developers for decaying waterfront?

The new effort is one of the largest but also potentially costliest redevelopment opportunities in the city.

The Port of San Francisco is seeking ideas for new uses at 13 historic waterfront piers, in one of the largest but also potentially one of the costliest redevelopment opportunities in the city.

The agency wants proposals from both large developers and smaller tenants such as nonprofits, arts groups and retailers to revive the piers, which are now vacant or used for parking or storage.

Some previously renovated piers have been financial successes. Waterfront offices at the Ferry Building and Piers 1 1/2, 3 and 5 have signed tenants for rents over $100 per square foot. Control of the Piers later sold for $103 million in 2016, and the Ferry Building is expected to be sold to Hudson Pacific Properties for around $300 million, according to sources tracking the market.

But two recent redevelopment efforts failed because of the high costs of rehabilitating and seismically protecting piers. A study for the Port found that $74 million to $10 million would be required to bring a single pier up to code. Last year TMG Partners and Premier Structures, Inc. exited an office, event and restaurant space proposal at Pier 38 after the cost to repair the pier was expected to be as high as $122 million.

 

 

 

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Exclusive: Nordstrom to close Stonestown location, leaving S.F. mall anchor-less

Nordstrom is preparing to close one of its San Francisco locations amid monumental shifts in the retail market that have upended the traditional department store model. 

The Seattle-based retailer is set to vacate its 174,000-square-foot location at Stonestown Galleria, according to Retail West Principal Matthew Holmes and another source with knowledge of the decision, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of pending lease negotiations at the property.

Holmes said the plan is for Nordstrom to close the location, which it has leased for the past three decades, leaving GGP another opportunity to backfill it with smaller tenants.

“It was never the grand Nordstrom like it is downtown,” Holmes said of the retailer’s 350,000-square-foot Market Street location. “They do so much more business in downtown, because it’s a showcase store for them. They’ve realized they don’t need two stores in San Francisco.

A Nordstrom spokeswoman said in an email that the retailer did not have any store closures to announce. Stonestown Mall operator General Growth Properties’ Darren Iverson, a senior general manager, declined to comment.

 

 

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