First new office project since 2020 breaks ground in San Francisco

Urban Land Development starts on 50K sf industrial chic building in Central SoMa

Urban Land Development's Susan Sagy and 531 Bryant Street (LinkedIn, Handel Architects, iStock)
Urban Land Development's Susan Sagy and 531 Bryant Street (LinkedIn, Handel Architects, iStock)

A local developer has broken ground on the first new office building in San Francisco since the pandemic dawned in 2020.

San Francisco-based Urban Land Development began tearing down a two-story brick industrial building at 531 Bryant St. in South of Market, to be replaced by a 49,300-square-foot office building, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The mixed-use project, designed by New York-based Handel Architects, will include pandemic-inspired features such as outside air circulation and outdoor terraces with trees, and panoramic views of San Francisco.

A 20-foot-tall ground floor is expected to create a loft-like experience for 2,900 square feet of shops and restaurants on the ground floor, opening up to a rear courtyard and sculpture garden.

The industrial-chic building, with brushed metal framing floor-to-ceiling windows, is expected to cost $14 million, according to SFYimby. Construction is expected to be completed in July 2023.

Susan Sagy, managing director at Urban Land Development, touted the project’s proximity to South Park and existing venture capital and tech firms in a former industrial neighborhood that is now an epicenter of tech and innovation.

“Tech firms want to be there, and will always want to be there,” Sagy told the Chronicle

The building’s smaller size makes it a good fit for a single tenant that wants total control over the building’s interior design and amenities, she said. There’s space for meetings, dining and leisure, such as a yoga room.

The long-delayed Central Subway project is also slated to open this fall and includes a station at Fourth and Brannan streets, a few blocks from the project, which will help link it to Market Street and the rest of the city.

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The building includes two retail areas: one facing Zoe Street with two small microunits suitable for entrepreneurs and another on Bryant St. that could house a restaurant or cafe.

Sagy said remote work policy “will sort itself out” and that she expects that companies will continue to seek office space, even if workers stay home for part of the time.

“San Francisco is a great city. It will continue to be a great city,” Sagy said.

The city’s last major project to start construction was the San Francisco Giants and Tishman Speyer’s $2-billion-plus Mission Rock, whose first phase is nearing completion on 28 acres on the south shore of China Basin across from Oracle Park. Visa signed a lease for a new headquarters at the project before the pandemic in 2019.

Since then, San Francisco’s office vacancy rate has soared from 6 percent to a record high of nearly 24 percent, according to CBRE.

Major projects near 531 Bryant St. in Central SoMa have yet to start construction. Tech firm Pinterest paid $90 million to cancel a major lease at one of the unbuilt projects at 88 Bluxome St.

It’s also a block away from 725 Harrison St, a 15-story, 40,000-square-foot office and housing project revised last month by Boston Properties.

[San Francisco Chronicle] – Dana Bartholomew

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