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TMG, Alexandria JV on Brannan Street Office Development

18 May 2015, 4:30 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

With San Francisco’s office market holding its ground as one of the strongest in the country, developers are clamoring to secure as many opportunities as possible. A case in point is the TMG Partners-Alexandria Real Estate Equities joint venture to acquire an office development site in the proximity of Moscone Center, the largest convention and exhibition complex in the city.

The joint venture acquired 505 Brannan St., a fully entitled site that will accommodate as much as 135,000 square feet of space. The site comes with Prop M office allocation, which was secured back in 2014. When developed, the project is set to feature tenant-friendly characteristics such as large floor plates and a side core design, in a location that offers a host of retail and residential spots. According to TMG Partners’ chief investment officer, Matt Field, the property also has “great transit access, with the Cal Train station a block away and a new Central Subway stop less than half a block away.” The developers pointed out that their expectations for the project are high, with strong demand projected for 505 Brannan.

Alexandria Equities is adding to its Mission Bay – SoMa cluster with the development of this asset. The company’s assets are currently fully leased, while its “near-term development pipeline comprising 723,000 square feet is also 100 percent leased to high-quality disruptive technology companies,” according to Stephen Richardson, Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ COO & regional market director for San Francisco.

University of the Pacific Wraps SoMa Redevelopment

7 May 2015, 6:42 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The University of the Pacific has wrapped up a $151 million redevelopment project in the South of Market district. The university’s new facility at 155 Fifth St. will be the home of the university’s Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, as well as graduate programs in audiology, music therapy, data analytics and food studies. The 40-year-old South of Market building was acquired by the university in 2011 for $47 million.

The renovation added a glass curtain wall façade featuring energy-efficient fritted glass. The campus, which was used in the past as a financial services data center, has been certified LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

SmithGroupJJR designed the 395,000-square-foot campus. Plant Construction Co. was the general contractor, and Nova Partners Inc. served as construction manager.

The property’s first floor includes building’s Great Hall, which features an event space, café, lounge area, lecture hall and the 15,000-square-foot University of the Pacific Center, which houses four graduate programs.

The second and third floors house patient clinics that offer general dental care, as well as huddle rooms. The fourth floor is reserved for faculty offices and research labs, while the fifth floor consists of seminar rooms, labs and a dental simulation lab for first-year students. The sixth and seventh floors consist of office space that will be leased to various tenants.

Funds for the project were provided by a fundraising campaign, the sale of two university-owned assets in Pacific Heights assets and commercial lease revenues.

East Span’s Design Wins Fresh Acclaim

1 May 2015, 9:03 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

The San Francisco—Oakland Bay Bridge East Span is the recipient of the American Council of Engineering Companies’ 2015 Grand Conceptor Award. The honor was recently announced during the Engineering Excellence Awards Dinner and Gala held in Washington, D.C. Attended by around 600 people, the black-tie event acknowledged the accomplishments of some 170 engineering projects worldwide.

The East Span is the world’s longest single-tower, self-anchored suspension bridge, as well as the current holder of the Guinness World Record for the world’s widest bridge. The span follows in the footsteps of such past Grand Conceptor Award winners as the Wacker Drive/Congress Parkway reconstruction in Chicago; the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo.; the Lake Borgne Storm Surge Barrier in New Orleans and the Hoover Dam Bypass. A vital link in the Bay Area’s transportation network, the bridge handles some 300,000 vehicles daily.

The western span had been previously retrofitted, but retrofitting the eastern span, which was severely damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, would have been prohibitively expensive.

A joint venture of T.Y. Lin International and Moffatt & Nichol designed the 2.2-mile-long structure to withstand the maximum credible earthquake that experts say could strike the region during the bridge’s lifetime. One standout seismic safety feature is the design of a 525-foot tall tower with independently-moving steel legs that provide shock absorption. Also of note, the bridge’s 1.2-mile-long, twin-viaduct Skyway incorporates expansion joints that allow sections of the span to move several feet in a temblor.

Lucas Moves Forward on $150M Affordable Housing Project

25 Apr 2015, 2:49 am

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

George Lucas is planning to bankroll the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest affordable housing project, an estimated $150 million development at the Grady Ranch site in Marin County to specific groups of people such as firefighters, teachers and nurses.

According to the proposal submitted to local authorities, the entertainment magnate would build 120 two-and three-bedroom workforce housing units designated for service professionals like firefighters, teachers and nurse. Another 104 one- and two-bedroom residences would be set aside for seniors. Community amenities would feature a community center, pool, a small farm and an orchard. Transportation infrastructure would include interior roads and a bus stop.

As early as 2012, the Marin Community Foundation announced that it was working with the “Star Wars” franchise creator on an affordable housing project, after local opposition scuttled Lucasfilms’plans for a major production studio. Developing a community of residents making far less than the Marin County average of $90,000-plus annually was seen as detrimental to local property values. Some have since speculated that the affordable housing project was as a form of retaliation against Lucas’ neighbors.

However, Lucas defenders were quick to point out his extensive philanthropic activity. Lucas is a member of Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge initiative, which commits some of the world’s wealthiest people to donate least half of their estates to charity.


Pipeline Grows in Jack London Square

17 Apr 2015, 10:00 pm

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor

Austin Group has submitted plans to develop 48-unit apartment community on the site of Duke’s R&B club in Oakland’s Jack London Square, across the street from the Ellington condo building.

The development would take shape three blocks away from the waterfront, adding a residential element that is somewhat lacking in an area where the redevelopment pipeline consists mostly of dining spots and cafes.

Along with its market-rate apartments, the seven-story building would feature a 3,000-square-foot brew pub. It will most likely take the developer a few years from initial pitch to groundbreaking, The San Francisco Business Times reports.

Jack London Square is becoming a hotbed of development, such as Carmel Partners’ planned 330-unit residential project. A more controversial proposal by developer Ellis Partners for a 26-story residential high-rise is raising concerns in the neighborhood over zoning.

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