Presidio Bay sells out 6-acre urban village in Downtown Menlo Park

Springline leased all its 231K sf of offices and all 25K sf of shops and restaurants

Presidio Bay Ventures’ K. Cyrus Sanandaji with 1300-1302 El Camino Real and 550 Oak Grove Avenue (Presidio Bay Ventures)
Presidio Bay Ventures’ K. Cyrus Sanandaji with 1300-1302 El Camino Real and 550 Oak Grove Avenue (Presidio Bay Ventures)

Add buzzy eateries and they will come — office workers, shopkeepers and apartment tenants, who are filling up a new urban village in Downton Menlo Park.

Presidio Bay Ventures has leased out all of its offices and storefronts at its Springline complex at 1300-1302 El Camino Real and 550 Oak Grove Ave., the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

As it applies the finishing touches, the San Francisco-based developer has leased all of the 231,000 square feet of office space, all of its 25,000 square feet of retail and 40 percent of its 183 apartments.

The $245-million complex on 6.4 acres in Downtown Menlo Park has bucked the new work-from-home ethos of Silicon Valley, which has left nearly 17 percent of offices on the Peninsula vacant or available for sublease, according to CBRE.

Greenheart Land broke ground on Springline in 2017, but Presidio Bay took over the project in late 2020 and sought to create a “city within a city” to meet changing living and working needs of residents.

Its winning formula: offer good deals to top restaurants and retailers in order to draw premium office and luxe apartment tenants.

Its offices have drawn tech, venture capital, finance and law tenants. They include Wells Fargo, which has been ditching offices and trying to sell a building in San Francisco, but leased 40,000 square feet for a new innovation group.

Other office tenants include the law firm Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, Norwest Venture Partners, Symphony Technology Group, Canopy, a co-working company and Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories.

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The features that make Springline work — a walkable Downtown location near Caltrain — were in place before the pandemic. Its apartments can get high rents, with some three-bedroom units going for $15,000 a month, while 20 units below-market rate.

But what made the development stand out for businesses was its focus on food and creating a community far beyond the workplace, said Newmark broker Christian Prelle, who represented Presidio Bay in its leases.

Rather than look at the retail space as a profit center, Presidio Bay saw it as a way for office tenants to lure workers back to the office, he said.

Offering low rents and generous renovation subsidies, Presidio Bay worked out a deal with Che Fico, the hot Italian draw in San Francisco, which will be opening a restaurant and high-end market. Then came Burma Love, Andytown coffee, a Barebottle brewery, Proper Food and Mirame, a contemporary Mexican hit from Los Angeles.

All of the food venues have outside seating with tables that spill onto a public square called the Plaza, which will feature a 1950s Citroen beer truck, concerts, performances, lectures and art openings.

Steve Mohebi, who founded Canopy, said the promise of the Plaza and its hip food spots has been a huge selling point.

In March, Presidio Bay paid $72 million for a struggling shopping center between Palo Alto and Mountain View, with plans to redevelop it into a life sciences campus.

In July, it paid $34 million for an industrial complex in San Carlos, which it aims to redevelop into a 410,000-square-foot life science campus.
— Dana Bartholomew

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