How will S.F.’s tallest buildings fare in the next big earthquake? Report expresses concerns

San Francisco’s tall buildings may be at risk of damage during the next big earthquake, a study released by research nonprofit Applied Technology Council (ATC) last week warns.

The 36-page report outlines vulnerability concerns over outdated building standards and provides a strategy for proactive safety checks.

The study’s release comes just days after cracks were found in two steel beams of San Francisco’s newly minted $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center, and as Millennium Tower next door continues to sink and tilt. Last year, the late Mayor Ed Lee commissioned the report, which was prepared by a group of engineers.

The report probed the city’s 156 tallest buildings — either constructed or permitted for construction — that are at least 240 feet high, primarily located in San Francisco’s Financial District. About 60 percent of these buildings house business and office space, while the rest are zoned residential.

 

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SF considers barring offices from Union Square ground floor

Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s plan would reserve shopping district spaces for retail.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Aaron Peskin made a bid to squeeze big-ticket office space out of the Union Square shopping district, introducing new legislation that would reserve ground floor space in Union Square for retail establishments.

“Office space is in high demand and frankly out competes retail and threatens those spaces currently occupied by retailers,” said Peskin, citing the plight not just of shopping hubs around Union Square but also the likes of “tailors, design professionals, and life sciences.”

 

 

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Co-working space costs nearly 15% more than office space, study says. Is it worth it?

More than 1.7 million people will work in co-working spaces by the end of 2018, according to the Global Coworking Survey, and a staggering 29 percent of such spaces were opened over the last year.

Growth of this new workplace trend is most impressive in San Francisco, the city of seemingly infinite startups, many of which aren’t large enough to warrant an office space, but too big for the CEO’s living room.

San Francisco has 51.45 co-working spaces for every 100,000 people — more than any other city in the country — according to a new survey from business development tool SimpleTexting. The study compiled data from Yelp, the U.S. Census Bureau and multiple office-space rental websites.

The cost of co-working space for a single employee is actually more expensive than traditional office space, by about $400 a year in San Francisco, the study found. A years-long co-working pass in the city is about $4,572, compared to $4,200 in an office. Nationally, co-working rent costs an average 14.8 percent more per employee than traditional office space.

 

 

 

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Exclusive: Amazon adds more space in 525 Market St. in San Francisco

E-commerce giant Amazon continues expanding its San Francisco footprint with a lease for space in a Financial District tower. 

After taking a big chunk of office space in 525 Market St. last year, Amazon plans to nearly double its footprint in the building.

The ecommerce behemoth added 143,000 square feet of office space in the tower after grabbing 176,000 square feet in 2017, according to sources familiar with the deal.

The building, owned by the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System affiliate, consists of about 1.1 million square feet in 38 stories with about 28,500-square-foot floorplates. Other tenants include Wells Fargo Bank, Zurich North America Insurance, and cosmetics retailer Sephora, which has a lease expiring in 2021.

 

 

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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.

 

 

Read more on Bisnow SF

 

 

 

 

 

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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