Maven Commercial, a boutique real estate firm from San Francisco will open its first branch outside of the Bay Area.
Maven Commercial will open a new office at 325 W Huron Street in Chicago, according to the company’s website. The office will be led by Lorraine Adney, a friend and industry ally of Maven’s executive team, the Chicago Business Journal reported.
“We’d actually planned for this just a few days before the pandemic, but it’s finally coming into fruition now,” Maven’s managing broker Santino DeRose told the Business Journal. “When you’re in a city like San Francisco that has not been as welcoming to new businesses, it’s an incredible edge to have another market to draw clients from.”
DeRose said the market in San Francisco has shifted since the pandemic. The company noted that earlier in the pandemic — about seven months in — about half of its transactions were for restaurants. Now about 75 percent of the company’s deals are made up of restaurants and retail, suggesting the market is shifting from being more restaurant-heavy to being more even.
Maven has also noticed that people are negotiating leases differently. With adjustments to force majeure language, tenants now have more flexibility with landlords than before. Another trend the company touched on is the available office space being located above vacant retail space. DeRose said that can deter potential office tenants, meaning landlords will want to fill those spaces quickly, which is a good opportunity for retailers looking for space.
“Landlords want to see their spaces filled,” DeRose said. “Not for cash flow but to really have something in the building to attract the occupants upstairs.’’
As for the Chicago market, Adney says the historic Gold Coast district is still very residential, compared to Union Square in San Francisco and Chicago’s Loop financial district has struggled to land tenants, but other areas have been very active.
“While we have international tourism, we’re more of a very, very regional destination for the Midwest,” Adney told the Business Times. “If you’re living in Michigan, Wisconsin [or] Kansas, Chicago is a mecca.”
[CBJ] — Victoria Pruitt