With the San Francisco Tennis Club at 645 5th Street having been fenced and Alexandra Real Estate Equities poised to break ground for the 243-foot-tall, 775,000-square-foot “88 Bluxome” Street development to rise on the Central SoMa site, over half of which Pinterest had pre-leased, demolition permits have been issued for the 598 Brannan Street site across the street as well.

And in addition to having already secured approvals, building permits and an office space allocation for the first phase/building of the modern three-building development to rise up to 150 feet in height on the Brannan Street site, which will yield over 920,000 square feet of new office space and 65,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and/or Production Distribution and Repair (PDR) space when completed, Tishman Speyer is positioned to receive an office space allocation for the second phase/building of the development next week.

78 thoughts on “Neighborhood Changing Development(s) Poised to Break Ground”
  1. Great news for SF’s economic future. The general population will be vaccinated well before these buildings open. Smart for the developers to keep pushing through the storm.

    Any news on when/if Transbay Parcel F (which I believe has already been approved & is partially pre-leased by Salesforce) will be breaking ground on the 800 ft tower?

          1. While Parcel F has been approved by Planning, the project requires some minor zoning changes which are still pending at the BoS. So it’s not really “approved” yet.

  2. Imagine how great San Francisco will be when the general eyesore and squalor that is SoMA has been fully transformed into a properly designed mixed use neighborhood with 3X the foot traffic, landscaping, lighting, activated alleys and hopefully park-like medians separating the way-too-wide streets.

    It will take another sixty years at minimum, but it’s going to be fun to watch. We are well on our way.

    1. SF Planning should amend the Central SOMA plan to allow for taller residential buildings. More 20-30 story buildings would be appropriate for an area that’s so transit & jobs rich. People could simply walk to work and wouldn’t need cars. Currently, at least 50% of the Plan area is only 45, 65 or 85 ft height limits. Way too short for that area.

      Even Former D6 Supervisor Jane Kim admitted towards the end that Central SOMA should’ve allowed for more tall, residential buildings when the plan was in its final innings. Matt Haney should lead this effort if he wants to beef up his pro-housing credentials.

          1. An expensive private tennis club promoted racial inclusivity? I think you’ve had more than two beers.

          2. I guess you didn’t know that the head tennis coach at Bay Club SF was black. There were also several black coaches and trainers there too.

          3. Rocco, so you are saying they had Black employees, so too historically have many country clubs that serve a primarily white membership. How many Black members did they have? Moreover, even if they had some Black membership, it wouldn’t mean that an elitist, expensive private club promotes racial equality.

          4. Preserving the status-quo is racism. Gentrification can not be defeated by keeping the buildings the same. We need new housing to keep the people here and prevent displacement. It’s about people not aesthetics.

        1. Don’t know if I’d call them people, but I’m sure they had some amount of overnight kennel program at K9 Playtime.

          Think of the puppies!!!

    1. Startups can flourish anywhere now, which is great for a more diversified workforce.

      No need to ever be concentrated in this 7×7 ever again.

      1. Tech companies don’t start in SF because they’re required to, they start here because there is a strong community of skilled engineers. After the pandemic there will be much less pressure for people to move here if they choose to live elsewhere, but at the same time the community that is here isn’t going anywhere.

        1. Most (all) of the tech-workers do not have familial bonds to SF Bay Area proper. The relationship is largely 2D transactional — financial progression + lifestyle choices. If an alternative emerges that can enable these two dimensions at a relatively better cost OR for the same or higher cost but better progression with the desired lifestyle choices, population will shift.

          As far as I can tell, SF is doing everything to limit financial progression (for the bulk of) and in many cases enable financial regression. And the falling quality of lifestyle doesn’t help.

          Tech companies got started in SF because of overflow from Silicon Valley (which fundamentally was funded by 3-letter agencies by way of Stanford / UC System) + lack of relative lifestyle choices. SF without Silicon Valley has really nothing to offer for the tech community.

          1. Your posts are devolving into vague ramblings now. Plenty of people have put down roots. Plenty of people enjoy the uniqueness of this unique region’s unique capital. “If” another similar locale comes into being? That’s a big if.

            SF is limiting financial progression. SF is blowing it in terms of local politics, leadership, infrastructure.

            SF has nothing to offer tech? not true. Overflow from Silicon Valley? Not really apt. See again city + cultural capital of region.

          2. I am tempted to comment that S.F. is in no way “limiting financial progression”, but I won’t because I can’t discern what “financial progression” means.

          3. @Brahma .. I might have slipped up on my word salad there. What I hoped to convey was that it is difficult for people in general (and non-tech people specifically) — the incumbent residents — to improve their financial state/health with the current housing situation in SF. Of course this won’t apply to those few making above average salaries.

            I believe the benefit of increasing RE prices isn’t distributed evenly across different economic classes. Some classes appear to have benefited disproportionately. I am loathe to interpret this belief through a moral lens on this site. But from an economic standpoint, I don’t see how this can be sustained. But of course if money bags keep pouring into SF because of their belief of profits to be had — then yes, price inflation can be sustained — for how long is anyone’s guess. Maybe that is it — SF depends on external capital inflows for its RE growth rather than local growth.

          4. You are correct. SF is not the center of tech or start-ups. It is the SV that is such and SF’s status as a tech center is due to spillover from the SV. As tech exits SF it will be tech moving out of the region altogether but some will be a consolidation of tech to the SV and a relocation to the East Bay. A project can apply for a demolition permit but, in terms of actually building, this project will not move forward anytime soon – if it ever does in its current form.

          5. Salesforce (San Francisco company) just bought Slack (San Francisco company) for $28 billion.

          6. @SFRealist — that is an interesting acquisition. I thought M$ Teams was about to have Zoom’s and Slack’s collective lunch. Sometimes these acquisitions are a method to transfer shareholder wealth wrapped in fat investment banker fees. A friendly bailout, maybe?

          7. I don’t know SFDC’s motivation. I’m just pointing out some holes in the whole ‘San Francisco is dead’ theme.

        2. Absolute nonsense. Qualified engineering talent is worldwide, produced by top universities everywhere.

          The dated notion that they all had to be ensconced here was dying even before the pandemic.

          1. And Dropbox is expected to announce a move to Austin. Their CEO just purchased a home there. They will keep satellite offices in places like SF. A huge loss of high paying job that will further worsen SF’s economic situation.

          2. It would actually be better for the local market if CRM had acquired a non-SF-based company as the acquisition will likely result in a RIF of now duplicative admin, management and other local jobs (and resultant office space needs). But it’s certainly better than either of the companies relocating out of the area.

          3. In terms of jobs, HP will consolidate its remaining Bay Area force into its current SV headquarters. Assuming HP has a footprint in SF it will disappear and more space will be put on the sublease market.

          4. I see your point, Socketsite. But at the same time if you take it at base level it is going to be that X amount of Slack employees just made X amount of money. It’s marginal of course but we all know that SFRE trades in the margins …

          5. And another VC/Tech investor also bailed on SF: “”I think San Francisco is just so massively improperly run and managed that it’s impossible to stay here,” Rabois said. He believes he is not alone in giving up on the Bay Area, a place he has called home for two decades. He cited anecdotal evidence about many people in his social circles leaving, and noted, “COVID sort of masks this stuff. It’s not quite as obvious where people are moving to and if they’ve actually moved since everybody’s working remotely.”

          6. You can add high-flying start-up Brex which is set to decamp from SF. The pandemic was a white swan event that accelerated an existing macro trend and that is the relative decline of the SV as the tech center of the world to other emerging tech centers. Like those of Texas. It does not mean the SV won’t remain the dominant center for a long time to come but that SV’s dominance will decline over time. What makes this problematic for SF is that it will lose tech jobs not only to other states but within the BA and California itself. Brex moving to LA for instance or Stripe to SSF.

          7. Why do posters such as yourself, Dave, continue to pretend that companies moving to SSF matters in terms of San Francisco real estate? That does not. If anything it only strengthens nicer southern SF neighborhood real estate.

          8. @Ohlone – my comment had nothing to do with home prices. It addressed the exodus from the Bay Area of tech and within that the exit of tech from SF to other BA locations of which Stripe is an example..

          9. Well, a couple things spring to mind. One is to ask what is this site meant to be about? The second is the odd “leaving” status you’re giving that. Blink and you’re in South City. Quite a reach IMO.

            SF has problems and lots of them tho, that’s true. So does Seattle.

          10. Years ago Dave was banging on the Oakland drum, that Oakland was going to be the future of tech. Then it was Seattle. Now it’s apparently Texas. He’s also advocated for Atlanta, Phoenix, and Boise, and surely others that I don’t remember.

          11. SFDC has, of course, purchased non-San Francisco based companies. Tableau (Seattle), Demandware (Massachusetts), ExactTarget (Indianapolis), etc.

          12. HP never had a footprint in San Francisco. It is a very mature Silcon Valley that seems to be looking to cut costs with its headquarters, while constructing a new corporate campus. It already announced there will be no layoffs of existing workers. HP’s corporate relocation to Houston makes sense since back in 2002 it acquired Compaq, which was founded and headquartered in the Houston metro area. HP kept a huge workforce in Houston after the merger, so it already has a very large footprint in the area.

          13. @Chris — HP is still the largest server company in the world. There are several partners that are clustered around HP Palo Alto. Some notable examples are SAP, VMware — and several 100s of large, medium and small partners clustered in Silicon valley. Typically partner alliance management and partner development programs are run from the corporate headquarters since these really have to be sponsored/backed by executive engagement.

            It’ll be interesting to see how this will evolve in post-pandemic/WFH environment. I imagine, the C-suite and their attendant staff will have to relocate to Houston at a minimum. If they do, then they are going to draw executive staff from their partners (at least to an extent) to Houston as well. If this happens it is going to put some downward pricing pressure on housing in Silicon Valley. If another company/sector can fill this vacuum — then its moot. If not, then I expect the downward pressure to continue.

            Another possible outcome is how talent head hunting venues can shift. For instance, companies like GOOG, FB, AMZN etc poach qualified executives/staff from established companies like HP. If the qualified staff in HP move to Houston, then companies interested in hiring those folks can provide a choice of residency in Houston/Austin or pay fat relocation stacks.

            Keep in mind older an employee — harder it is for them to move. There is only so much momentum start ups can realize with fresh ideas and energy from fresh college graduates. For large scale growth/world-wide management/hierarchical process/staff management — experience is still the key.

          14. Hold the phones. AirBnB just popped. How many SF souls just got minted? Advance note, pretend it’s nothing if you like. But the imminent collapse commenters of 2017 and 2018 are noticeably absent from this website.

          15. Airbnb’s owners got minted. That won’t filter down to sf or the majority of it’s workers. Plus, we’ll see how well this does long term. uber stock popped hard for a week or two.

          16. @Ohone – Didn’t you spend like a year playing this whole millions of millionaires game with Juul, Lyft & Uber? And that all turned into a big IPO effect nothingburger.

            Anyways, why wouldn’t anyone who got a payout just up and leave like everyone else is doing?

          17. I posted a response with a link and it was awaiting moderation, then deleted.

            Anyway, everything you said is wrong. You rattle off three unlike scenarios, and you pretend they didn’t have any impact. It’s all totally wrong. I mean Uber was up to like $55 last week. I’m not going to describe what the Juul event was and was not for the 80th time. That’s on you if you don’t want to know things like some weird Trump supporter or something.

            [Editor’s Note: Despite the weird Trump Jr. style whinge, while the referenced comment did trip a spam filter and was still awaiting moderation, having been posted 15 minutes prior, it was never deleted.]

  3. theres a nice article in SF Business TImes today on the booming biotech business and need for more space depite the fact that over 4M sq ft currently under construction in Brisbane, and South san francisco. Thought this quote was particularly interesting for readers here, regarding conversion of typical office space:

    “Conversions “oftentimes don’t work out all that well,” Alexandria Chairman Joel Marcus told analysts last month. Nevertheless, the developer, which has a foot in both camps, is considering its own biotech conversion at 88 Bluxome St. in San Francisco after Pinterest pulled out of a massive lease to anchor the 1 million-square-foot project.”

    1. Ah.The biotech bubble. For the save. For RE.

      I expect you’re right, and many projects in the pipeline will get repurposed as biotech as the techxodus continues its furious pace.

      Class war never sleeps.

      Gentrification is racism.

      1. biotech is tiny compared to tech, so doubt its for the save. the biotech industry in SSF is 50x bigger than in SF and prices have to come way down in SF to make it attractive

      2. Biotech is tiny compared to the general tech of 2008-2020 (rip) and requires a vastly different footprint (think sprawling campus) that a vertical block in a city usually cant provide at scale.

        1. @Ken m — is this because of the Cooling & Seismic requirements? (Mrs Cave Dweller is bio-tech research scientist). I can imagine refrigeration & temperature control for labs. I am guessing centrifuges (micro and large) can be very sensitive to ‘sway’ than can occur in vertical buildings either due to wind or seismic activity.

          For similar reasons IT data-centers are located at ground or below level rather than above.

        2. It is smaller and bio-tech has already passed on SF and settled, Bay Area-wise) in SSF. Of note – Genentech recently modified it’s master plan for SSF increasing the amount of build-out to about 9 million feet of space. Beyond that, Boston is giving SSF a run for its money as the bio-tech center of the US.

          1. @Dave (Seattle dude) — is that because of MIT & Harvard? If so, then between UCSF, Stanford, UCB & UCSC, SSF/Bay Area can maintain its lead and stay competitive. The great thing about Bay Area in general is the amount of qualified high quality technically skilled labor it can produce. I think this level of output is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.

          2. @Cave Dweller – yes the educational institutions around Boston have helped fuel its rise as a biotech center. SSF is okaying massive amounts of essentially bio-tech space to allow/accommodate the biotech industry to remain/expand there. The Badlands office development (again basically biotech) will itself have about 9 million feet of space in relatively short buildings designed for bio-tech’s needs. Without a doubt SSF is doing what needs to be done to guarantee its biotech dominance.

          3. Boston is now the biotech center. it passed SSF a few years ago. Boston, Cambridge and Mass in general have provided much more incentives to the industry than Bay Area or California. The high cost of living here has also made it tougher to get people to jump from Boston to SF

          4. @jimbo – yeah. Just checked and median home prices in Boston are about half of that of SF. Anecdotally, a couple friend who both worked for Genentech transferred from SSF to their Boston office about a year ago. They were starting a family and couldn’t a home in San Mateo County that met their desires and that they could also afford.

  4. @Ohlone Californio — I stand corrected. UCSF has a pretty intensive R&D which does contribute to bio-tech.
    However, I am not aware of a single research backed program supported by Universities/Schools in San Francisco that is making (or has made) fundamental contributions to Computer Science. Are there any?

    Is there a comparable source in SF of highly qualified and highly skilled technical labor that likes of Stanford and UC Berkeley generate? Can you point me to a single tech personality that has arisen from SF University/School system?

    I should have been careful around the comment about people putting down roots. Agree some people have put down roots. But, how do the school districts in SF compare to school districts in Silicon Valley? How do they rank compared to rest of California and the nation?

    I know of many people who’ve moved out of SF or out of California for better school districts. However, I do not know of a single family who’ve chosen to move to San Francisco for its schools. But of course this is anecdotal.

    Feel free to add data if you disagree.

    1. But it does not matter that they come from SF proper. Berkeley and Stanford aren’t going anywhere, they’re nearby, and San Francisco remains the cultural capital of the region. I don’t follow why you feel as if those two schools being nearby but not precisely within the city is relevant.

      Schools? The neighborhood school thing is coming back in a big way in SF. Stay tuned. There are good schools in San Francisco, by the way. I just went through the process myself and my kid got into a great school.

      1. @Ohlone Californio — see my post above. And I have the following questions:

        #1 What is SF doing to attract new talent/new businesses/new capital post-pandemic?
        #2 What is SF doing to improve the quality of life issues?
        #3 What is SF doing to improve the local school districts?
        #4 What is SF doing to alleviate the existing housing affordability crisis?
        #5 What is SF doing to improve access/transport?

        San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda have done a great job with #1-#4 above. #5 is systemic to the general region. I see SF a laggard in relative comparison despite huge revenues+budget.

        Other than a variety of lifestyle choices, I really do not see a whole lot of reasons to immigrate to SF.
        Look, I love San Francisco. And I would very much like my kids to grow up in the City. But I just do not see it happening.
        I am not trying to put you or anyone on a spot. I am just trying to better understand and tease out information that I may not be considering or aware of.

        1. agree with all 5 above. SF is not DOING much about those 5. They are certainly meeting a lot and have a lot of committees to work on them, and they have a bloated staff to work on these issues. Their productivity is horrible, and if a business wouldve failed long ago.

          I have a decision to make in June of whether to open an office here or in SSF. I would love it to be here to avoid a commute, but the city is doing everything wrong and hard to make these decision to be in SF. Our kid is 3, and we love our pre-school, but looking more and more like we will be leaving in 2 years. SF does everything to show they dont care about kids.

          1. “SF does everything to show they dont care about kids.”

            Well, yes, SF doesn’t care about families.

            Most of the city’s RE projects of the last ten years have been geared towards early-20s tech kids who code pizza delivery apps in “creative”(sic) office space (i.e. open floorplan! exposed brick! lime green couches! foosball!) and lived in kitchenless confining covid cubicles.

            How many 3BRs have been built in this period? And a good number of the office and residential projects were built on the site of former PDR buildings that employed local working class family breadwinners.

            Give us your young coders who will spend 50% of their income on rent and the rest on fusion restaurants, trendy bars, and boba tea. To hell with families, especially working class families.

          2. agree that new housing for families is an issue, but even housed families dont want to stay with general decreasing QoL in the city and very poor investment and mgmt in education planning. spending 3x as much per homeless person as per kid not particularly appealing to parents

        2. Far from putting me on the spot, rather, it’s hard for me to respond to you when you insert falsehoods into the very questions you ask.

          We are not in a post pandemic world. That question is moot. If you meant that SF’s prop L was a stupid move, I agree.

          You somehow assert that Alameda county has done a great job with quality of life, local schools, housing/affordability? Santa Clara has done a great job with quality of life? affordability? San Mateo, affordability? These are not based in any sort of reality I observe from a 25+ year Bay Area resident perspective.

          SF has begun to look at some big changes wrt schools.

          1. @Ohlone Californio — the context is SF relative to the neighboring region.You can certainly disagree with me, But when you claim that I am inserting falsehoods — you are attacking me rather than address the questions / claims in context.

            Of course we are not in a post-pandemic situation. But you’ll agree growth is an outcome of planning and strategy. It is clear the current situation has exacted a toll on the city. The question then is, what is the City doing to right this if the situation persists or when it improves?

            Alameda has issues, no doubt. But in relative context of revenues, budget and development are they doing a better job than SF? I think so. If you disagree, show me the data and I will educate myself accordingly.

            Affordability crisis is a California state-wide situation. Again consider it in relative context.

            If SF does well, I support that. I want SF to be a thriving, happy, eclectic, beautiful, economically sound, technologically leading, morally striving, exuding positive vibes and a romantic city.
            This is my hope and desire for SF.

            But I’d be naive to ignore obvious issues at hand.

          2. You’d need to provide any data showing me where Alameda is doing better than SF, I think. You made that claim.

          3. Also, can you dispense with the “attacking me” type of thing? I did no such thing. I questioned your choices of language.

      2. Stanford and Berkeley aren’t the only names in the game anymore. Carnegie Mellon, Rice, Georgia Tech, Emory, CalTech, MIT, all with programs at least on par with the tired old guard. And Cal Berkeley is broke.

        And it’s cute, you’ve got the earnestness of a new parent at a tony little SFUSD elementary. Wake me when you actually send your kid to middle school here and don’t abscond to Marin Day like so many before you.

  5. Berkeley and Oakland (two core cities in Alameda County) are certainly doing well with the “Quality of LIfe” issues. Berkeley’s streets are worthy of a failed state in Central America, and the entire southern part of Shattuck Avenue has been allowed to become a linear festering homeless camp. Despite vast sums spent “planning” for the crisis. Oakland faces similar issues. Those bemoaning the decline of downtown San Francisco have probably not visited Broadway or Telegraph Avenue lately. COVID shuttered storefronts totally dominate. Not to mention the sharp increase in homicides. But of course, getting rid of the police and allowing the “community” will solve that!

    The idea that Alameda County is doing so well outside a few affluent suburbs seems very questionable to me.

    1. We’re not really going to degenerate into having a debate about which large city or county in the Bay Area has the worst homeless problem, are we? If we’re honest, they are all bad (leaving affluent places like Marin out of it). I haven’t seen any attempts to quantify how much any of the cities named has the “worst” squalor due to homelessness.

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