PHOTOS: Transbay Transit Center Hardhat Construction Tour

To call the new $4 billion Transbay Transit Center development anything less than spectacular would be a gross understatement. The sheer magnitude and scale of the project is staggering and the cutting edge building and engineering processes being implemented will make your head spin.

The Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) which oversees the project, generously offered to give the USGBC’s Northern California Chapter a behind the scenes construction tour, which followed an extremely informative powerpoint presentation.  Due to overwhelming demand, the tour was available only to current members of the USGBC’s Northern California Chapter and registration for the free event closed in less than one day. (Click here for information about joining our chapter.)

Sustainable design and construction is at the center of the project and comes with its own set of challenges due to the size of the development. As Brian Meinrath from environmental design consultant Atelier Ten explained, some laws didn’t even exist to allow some of the things they wanted to do, such as recapturing graywater from sinks to flush toilets. They worked with local government to create standards and permit its use.

The project is truly an engineering marvel requiring unprecedented levels of communication and cooperation amongst firms and agencies.

The project team is clearly world-class and the USGBC’s Northern California Chapter couldn’t be more thankful for their time and expertise. Thanks again!

TJPA: Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan
Transbay PMPC team: Joyce Oishi
Turner Construction: Jack Adams
Atelier Ten: Brian Meinrath
WSP: Wayne Gaw
Integrated Environmental Solutions: Mark Knipfer

San Francisco’s Mid Market and the “Twitter Effect”

twitterSo who’s to thank for surging rents in San Francisco’s Mid Market corridor? The technology sector, naturally, whose epicenter has steadily been migrating from Silicon Valley to downtown San Francisco.  Operating the business to be closer to the tech talent pool is a trend that represents a shift in the thinking behind where a company decides to set up shop.

The Bay Area’s talented engineering and programming labor pool doesn’t live in suburbia – they live in San Francisco.  So to attract and retain this highly sought after demographic companies have been migrating to or launching in SoMa, Mid Market, Yerba Buena and the Financial District.  Now the City is in the throws of a commercial real estate boom that’s being fueled by technology tenants (who were single-handedly responsible for leasing over 1/2 of the 10.9 million square feet leased in 2012).

As SoMa quickly began filling up, developers and landlords set their sights on the short stretch of Market Street from 5th to Van Ness, and began to buy.  What kicked off “The Twitter Effect”, however, was Shorenstein’s purchase of 1355 Market and their following announcement of Twitter’s relocation to their new acquisition.  The eponymous technology company also took advantage of an attractive rental rate and the Board of Supervisors’ 6-year payroll tax exemption.  They now call 215,000 SF at Market Center their home and have invoked “The Twitter Effect” by attracting many other notable tenants to the area such as Square, Call Socket, Dolby, Pinterest, One King’s Lane and Yammer (who signed a 79,000 SF lease at $48.00 per foot – 60% higher than Twitter’s $30.00).

Other  San Francisco tech leases tightening the market include:

  • – 440,000 SF at the upcoming 350 Mission St.
  • Square – 327,432 SF at 1455 Market St.
  • Meraki – 110,000 SF at 500 Terry Francois Blvd.
  • – 98,144 SF at 140 New Montgomery St.
  • Splunk – 92,000 SF at 250 Brannan

So what’s an existing San Francisco tenant to do when their occupancy costs could potentially double upon their lease renewal?

Read: “Help! My Landlord Wants to Double My Rent!”