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Is Silicon Valley going to change the way we build CRE?

From the end of World War II in the mid-1940s until just a few years ago, there was a surge in productivity throughout the United States economy, giving rise to what has often been called the “productivity miracle.”

Throughout this period, nearly every industry in the US — from retail to manufacturing to agriculture — became not only less expensive, but also much more mechanized and faster, leading to increased efficiency.

One industry, however, failed to come on board with this trend – construction. In fact, productivity in construction has not only not increased, but it is also actually lower today than it was in the late 1960’s.

In other words, the way that most commercial real estate buildings are built hasn’t changed much in the last 50 years or so. The process goes by the name “design – bid – build” – but it isn’t nearly as simple or straightforward as it sounds. First, the developer or owner needs to hire an architect, who drafts a rough design. In order to do this, he or she must bring in various outside consultants, such as structural engineers and landscape architects. Next, the owner puts the design out for bids from various general contractors and then hires one (usually the least expensive bid). From there, the general contractor subcontracts the work out, with the architect and the general contractor working together closely to make sure the project is completed as close as possible to budget and on schedule.

If the system sounds complicated, well, that’s because it is. Having so many cooks in the kitchen, so to speak, often leads to misunderstandings, placing blame on others, or worse. The combination of volatile prices for materials and an observed shortage of skilled labor has created an industry that is primed for disruption.

 

 

Read more on NAI Global

 

 

 

Bay Area tops U.S. in new office space, but lags in housing starts

 The Bay Area is a hot place to build cubicles, conference rooms, and office suites. But don’t look for as many hammers pounding out new homes, condos, and apartments.

The region is expected to open 18.2 million square feet of office space in 2018 — tops in the nation and more than New York City and Dallas combined — while home, condo and apartment building has grown only modestly.

More work space, more jobs and more people chasing a limited supply of homes is expected to add more steam to the pressure cooker of the Bay Area housing market.

“It’s encouraging that so many respected employers are investing in Bay Area jobs and immigration growth” said Carl Guardino, CEO of the business-backed Silicon Valley Leadership Group. “But we all recognize that jobs need a place to go home and sleep at night.”

The region created six times as many jobs as housing units between 2010 and 2015, according to a study by the leadership group and the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The increased housing pressure has forced lower-income workers out of the region at much faster rates than higher paid workers, even as jobs go unfilled.

The run up in commercial development is led by major office openings in the South Bay, according to a survey from real estate data company Yardi Matrix. The big projects in 2018 include the official, complete opening of the 2.9 million square foot Apple Park in Cupertino, Park Tower at Transbay and The Exchange on 16th in San Francisco totaling 1.5 million square feet, and Facebook’s MPK 21, a half-million-square-foot campus designed by Frank Gehry in Menlo Park.

Other major developments underway include the Voyager property developed by Nvidia in Santa Clara, Microsoft and Google projects in Mountain View, the Stoneridge Mall Road project in Pleasanton, and Moffett Towers in Sunnyvale, according to Yardi Matrix.

The real estate data firm estimates that commercial openings in Santa Clara County are up 6.5 percent over the same period last year. The San Francisco and Oakland metro has seen three times as much commercial space open up this year compared to last year.

 

 

Read more on The Mercury News

 

 

Why Hudson Pacific’s development plans near San Jose airport could be a big deal

The nine-story development would add to the developer’s already extensive portfolio in North San Jose, an area of the city that’s experiencing a flurry of commercial real estate activity.

Hudson Pacific Properties Inc. is looking to expand on a slew of existing office campuses it owns near Mineta San Jose International Airport by building a nine-story office building paired with a big parking garage.

The Los Angeles-based developer submitted a proposal to the city of San Jose last month that lays out a plan to build a new 350,000-square-foot office building and a 1,052-spot, five-story parking garage on 5.29 acres along Technology Drive that are vacant. A single-story office building appears to be attached to the proposed garage in a rough rendering that was submitted to city planners in September.

Hudson Pacific is calling the project “Cloud 10.” The site at 1601 Technology Drive is already entitled for either a 350,000-square-foot office or a 400-room hotel, per a city-approved general development plan for the land. It appears Hudson Pacific has opted to go with office space over the hotel.

 

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

Milpitas’ Great Mall unveils major revamp as Silicon Valley shopping centers up the ante

As retail sputters in some places around the country, Silicon Valley retailers and property owners are facing a different challenge: How to compete in a market where investment is still hot in the retail sector.

The Great Mall in Milpitas is one of those looking for a competitive edge in a region where the traditional malls are either going by the wayside or upping the ante to create a space that offers not just shops, but experiences.

Indianapolis-based Simon, an international shopping center and mixed-use property owner, last month wrapped up an extensive, two-year renovation project for the massive shopping center, which has more than 200 stores. (For fun facts about the revamp, click through the slideshow above.)

The revamp added or expanded some of its stores, but also redesigned what it is calling a “dining pavilion” that has 10 restaurants.

“Our goal is to provide the best shopping and entertainment experience for our guests and this transformative renovation makes that possible,” Angela Pyszczynski, general manager at the Great Mall, said in a statement.

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

 

Business fees to fund housing will be studied in San Jose

The concern, even for some council members who voted for the study, is that despite its housing shortage, San Jose still has many more residents than jobs, which is the opposite of the situation in many surrounding cities.

The imposition of commercial linkage fees to fund below market-rate housing is still alive in San Jose after Tuesday’s 9-2 City Council vote to add a discussion of them to next week’s agenda.

The vote came on an item of how the city should respond to a Santa Clara civil jury report issued in June that included among its findings that the fees are overdue and would increase housing.

Five council members, including Mayor Sam Liccardo, wrote memos changing the staff-authored response of disagreement with the finding to say the city would consider a study to confirm the causal relationship between job creation and an increased need for housing and a second study of the feasibility of enacting fees.

 

 

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

 

Facebook breaks ground on community hub devoted to nonprofits

Facebook will soon break ground on its latest development, but this time the social media company isn’t building offices — it is creating a nonprofit community hub.

The 12K SF community hub will provide much-needed space for nonprofits educating the community and youth about tech and coding. It is expected to open in early 2019.

Large tech companies and organizations have been devoting community spaces for nonprofits and events as part of their campus or office developments. Salesforce has devoted the top floor of Salesforce Tower, the ohana floor, for community and nonprofit events after hours. Google opened a free 8,500 SF workspace for nonprofits at its Embarcadero office in 2017.

Large tech companies and organizations have been devoting community spaces for nonprofits and events as part of their campus or office developments. Salesforce has devoted the top floor of Salesforce Tower, the ohana floor, for community and nonprofit events after hours. Google opened a free 8,500 SF workspace for nonprofits at its Embarcadero office in 2017.

Facebook’s Menlo Park Community Hub will be for local nonprofits focused on internships and workforce training, coding and technology courses and community development. The space is reservable for nonprofits, entrepreneurs and community events when not used for classes.

 

 

Read more on Bisnow Silicon Valley

 

 

Getting downtown ‘right’ in San Jose has been a trial-and-error process

The plan for San Jose’s downtown is years old. What’s new is that Google has bought into that vision.

The critical challenge of getting things right in the next iteration of downtown San Jose has been a hot issue at least since the 1980s, when downtown was torn up and many businesses suffered and died during construction of the Valley Transportation Authority’s light rail system.

Downtown’s future was a central focus of the thousands of people who participated in the four years of work that in 2011 produced the city’s latest general plan, Envision San Jose 2040, that anticipated Diridon’s status as a transit hub amidst 40,000 new jobs.

“This is not a novel idea we just came upon because Google came around last year,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said.

Kim Walesh, San Jose’s deputy city manager and economic development director, said the plan always envisioned “having an anchor developer who would do a cohesive master planned development in that central area.”

That doesn’t mean, however, that latest round of planning efforts and community engagement sparked by Google’s development announcement last year has pleased everyone who will be affected by what happens around Diridon.

 

 

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

 

Tech tenants continue to compete for limited Silicon Valley office space

The Silicon Valley office market continues to perform well, with tech tenants quickly grabbing up space, particularly larger blocks that are hard to come by in the tight market.

The recent 274K SF lease by Roku at Coleman Highline reflects the strength of the San Jose market. Google’s plans for an 8M SF campus in San Jose have driven a lot of activity in that city’s downtown.

But even beyond a bustling San Jose, the greater Silicon Valley office market has had strong fundamentals for the first half of the year, according to Savills Studley.

In Q2, there was more than 2.6M SF of office leased in Silicon Valley, adding up to 5.8M SF leased in the past 12 months, Savills Studley reports. Availability in the core markets of Menlo Park, Palo Alto and Sunnyvale/Cupertino remains in the single digits, while the region’s overall availability has decreased to 15.8%, down 130 basis points from a year ago.

At the same time, rents are rising, reaching $50.94 overall asking rent for the region in Q2, up 4%. Class-A rents were up 1.7% to $52.51. Tech tenants continue to drive the market.

 

Read more on Bisnow Silicon Valley

 

 

 

As San Jose boosts job growth, the challenge will be where to house new employees

With the potential for Google to add around 15,000 employees at its planned 8M SF Google Transit Village, San Jose is presented with an ongoing challenge: How can a city grow jobs in a largely undersupplied housing market?

In the next 10 years, San Jose will benefit from more development and have a vastly different skyline, but also increase its population.

“We’re just going to have more humans,” Swenson Senior Director Josh Burroughs said during Bisnow’s Silicon Valley State of the Market event Thursday. “I think that’s the biggest change.”

He said in the next 10 years, downtown and the immediate area around Diridon and Midtown from Valley Fair and Santana Row to Downtown will be more crowded with people.

The current pipeline has 6,000 units nearing or waiting for entitlement with 4,000 units under construction.

“There is a demand for those 10,000 units today,” Burroughs said. “If Google builds and adds 15,000 employees where are they going to live? We have a constant need for housing.”

In addition to the impact Google would have on the multifamily market, panelists discussed rising interest in the North San Jose and Milpitas office and mixed-use market and the benefits of investing in those markets. The Bisnow event was held at DivcoWest’s Century Plaza office complex in Foster City.

Swenson is currently working on a 260-unit off-campus student housing project near San Jose State University. Burroughs said what makes the project naturally affordable is that students pay by the bedroom instead of by the unit.

One of the biggest challenges developers and cities face is ongoing opposition to much-needed housing.

 

Read more on Bisnow Silicon Valley

 

 

 

Should California’s Costa-Hawkins rent control act be repealed?

Debating the pros and cons of rent control at the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute of San Francisco held a public forum at the Google Community Space Tuesday night debating Proposition 10, the November ballot initiative that would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act and allow California cities to potentially expand their rent-control ordinances.

Arguing in favor of Proposition 10 and potential rent-control expansion was Amy Schur, the director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.

John Eudy, co-chair of the “no” campaign Californians for Responsible Housing (and also a vice president at Essex Property Trust) argued against repeal.

David Garcia, a policy director at UC Berkeley’s Terner Center For Housing Innovation, appeared as a third-way party; however, since Garcia appeared to nominally oppose Costa-Hawkins repeal, he often functioned as a second anti-Proposition 10 voice.

All three parties agreed that the state’s goal should be more housing production. They also agreed that Costa-Hawkins as it exists now is ineffectual at protecting renters and that the status quo won’t do in the future.

 

 

Read more on Curbed SF