Convene to open flex event venue at 100 Stockton

“Not a traditional lease” with landlord to provide 65K sf for facilitator’s flagship location

Convene's Brian Holland with 100 Stockton Street (LinkedIn, Convene, Gensler, Jason O'Rear)
Convene's Brian Holland with 100 Stockton Street (LinkedIn, Convene, Gensler, Jason O'Rear)

Working with developer Blatteis & Schnur, event facilitator Convene will open its first San Francisco location at 100 Stockton Street in Union Square, the companies announced Wednesday.

“This is not a traditional lease,” said Brian Holland, vice president of real estate at Convene, via email. “Rather, Convene is bringing this location to market through a partnership with landlord Blatteis & Schnur.”

Holland could not disclose further details of the arrangement, he said. Cushman & Wakefield brokered both sides of the transaction, with the firm representing Convene and Cushman’s Kazuko Morgan representing the owners along with Ashley Brown of Blatteis & Schnur.

Convene will take 65,000 square feet of the mixed-use redevelopment’s fourth and fifth floors and plans to open an event venue “in the back half” of next year, a few months after the building itself, Holland said. It will have a dedicated lobby and elevators, as well as exterior building signage on the corner of Stockton and O’Farrell streets.

Convene has 26 locations in the U.S. and the U.K. and its first San Francisco location will have six reconfigurable meeting rooms to accommodate everything from classes to social events. Convene also provides its spaces with an event production team for planning and setup; on-site kitchens, chefs and staff for catering; and a dedicated AV team for in-room and hybrid tech support, which Holland thinks will set it apart from other flex offerings that already exist in the city.

“San Francisco is one of the top-requested markets from existing Convene clients,” Holland said. “We tend to draw heavily from Fortune 500s in other markets like New York City and London, but also anticipate attracting lots of smaller tech and life sciences companies in San Francisco.”

Earlier this year, Convene worked with a consulting firm to get a handle on how companies plan to use space coming out of the pandemic, Holland said. What stood out in interviews with more than 200 companies was that many plan to have a higher share of their meetings in San Francisco in the future compared to pre-pandemic levels, “particularly large, hybrid-enabled events,” he said.

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With “very little supply of high-end meetings space” to accommodate that need, Convene canvassed the city before choosing the ground-up rebuild of the former Macy’s Men’s Store for what Holland called its “first flagship location.”

Morgan Stanley and Blatteis & Schnur purchased the 250,000-square-foot building from the department store for $275 million in 2016 and Gensler redesigned its former Brutalist concrete facade.

Construction began in January 2019 on a remodel that includes a full seismic retrofit of the early 1970s building, a mostly glass facade and the conversion of the upper floors from retail into office space. The seven-story mixed-use building will host retail and restaurants. Its first high-profile tenant, Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Chotto Matte, signed a lease for 17,000-square feet of eighth-floor rooftop space in September 2021.

Flex office and meeting spaces have been popular in the city this year as companies continue to sort out their back-to-work plans. The Giants and Tishman Speyer said that the demand for flex space caused them to convert 30,000 square feet of an apartment building in the first phase of their Mission Rock development into Tishman’s Studio and Gather coworking office and flex event spaces.

Flex space is “a compelling option” as companies figure out their long-term real estate plans and try to entice their employees back to the office, Holland said.

“The bar to bringing employees back to the office has never been higher,” he added. “What we’re seeing is that employees want a sense of purpose from the office, and that’s the backbone of our vision at 100 Stockton — to create a place where companies and teams can foster meaningful connection.”

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