Office Market Shows Signs of Life

•June 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

That sound of air rushing out of the financial district is a collective sigh of relief from the folks at Tishman Speyer. Regulatory filings for the company’s Australian-based US office property investment fund show that the office market may be on track to a recovery. Two of the fund’s properties are located here in San Francisco: One Bush Street and 595 Market.

Independent valuations place the value of One Bush at roughly $100 million, or $331 per square foot, while 595 Market appraised for roughly $124 million, or $289 per square foot. All of this is meaningless, however without context. These current appraisals put both properties four percent above 2009 values. Despite this good news, One Bush remains nearly 30 percent below its 2008 peak, while 595 Market is a much more modest eight percent below 2008. Tishman originally bought One Bush for $339 per foot in 2003, showing some hole left to dig out of.

The brokerage community also let out some air this month, as Ellis Partners closed on the acquisition of 303 Second Street for $287.26 per square foot, representing the first non-distressed office property to change hands in over a year.

SF Business Journal


Foundry Square Adds a Feather to Its Glass Cap

•June 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

There is a whole bunch of back slapping going on at Wilson Meany Sullivan, as the company’s Foundry Square development earned the Urban Land Institute’s Award for Excellence in Economic Transformation this month. SOMA has seen a rash of development over the past decade, and projects such as Foundry Square have helped transition it from an industrial cityscape to a grab bag of luxury condo developments. While it seems the market may have overran that trend, the 1.6 million square foot Foundry Square development certainly represents an improvement on the area, “activating the streets” with its “human-scale architecture”, all the while replacing an area “hemmed in on all sides by ramps and rail lines…consequently suffering a lack of character and pedestrian street life”.

ULI Awards for Excellence

Cole Valley Mixed Use Adds Seller Financing

•June 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Having spent nearly a year on the market, 4400 17th Street is hanging tough. Listed at $1,699,888, the mixed-use Cole Valley project features 1,196 square feet of commercial space, a 1,006 square foot basement and two-car garage, and 1,598 square feet of second floor living space. For those looking to score an extra buck, there is also an unwarrented 538 square foot in-law. Priced at a $391.86 per square foot, the project hits a 6.14% cap rate based on market rents. The owners plan to deliver it totally vacant, which would explain their offer to carry $1,000,000 at a “favorable rate” for ten years, considering the current status of neighborhood retail.

4400 17th Street [Loopnet]

SPUR Continues with the Good Fight

•June 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The San Francisco Planning & Urban Research Association, known to most as SPUR, took another brazen stab at common sense with this month’s publication of their monthly news letter, The Urbanist. In something of a departure from the good government and public policy editions of the past, June’s issue focuses on the design-side of planning. Executive Director Gabriel Metcalf makes a lot of sense:

New buildings need to be well designed–meaning they should meet the street in a human and open way while also contributing something of aesthetic value to the city. We hold out the hope that better-designed buildings will someday be met with more excitement (and less opposition) [parenthesis his].

Too ugly to live?

If there is one thing that SPUR has historically been long on, it is hope. The Urbanist focuses on the absence of designers in the urban planning process, often resulting in drab, uninteresting buildings that solicit the fewest complaints. It can also result in outright pandering, in which a church bell tower is grafted on to a Nob Hill condo building.

In other SPUR news, the Association recently put out a new white paper crying out for the creation of a well funded economic development agency, working to attract and retain business in the city. By their own admission, we have tried this before, with each incarnation suffering due to lack of a dedicated funding. With this year’s budget battles sure to be contentious, I wish them the best of luck.

Linkage: Bay Bridge Ferris Wheel Edition

•June 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

No more Fast Pass? But the bright colors gave me something to look at while waiting for my nonexistent bus. [MUNI Diaries]

Santa Clara residents vote “Yea”. Somewhere, a Lennar executive groans audibly. [SFGate]

Dear John King: In the future, less handwringing, more bridge porn. [SFGate].

Analyzing tourist behavior through geotagging; apparently they enjoy the Wharf and views of the Gate–who knew? [Burrito Justice].

Port officials lower rents along the waterfront, acknowledging that yes, it’s a down market. [Examiner]


•March 7, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Like most cities, San Francisco is an urban quilt, showcasing a variety of neighborhood flavors, all stitched together by the various corridors and structures that define our skyline. Unlike most cities, each of this quilt’s kooky squares has an ear on the Planning Commission.