Cyrus Sanandaji’s Presidio Bay Ventures navigates commercial real estate’s choppy waters

Sanandaji emphasized the importance of viewing relationships with tenants as partnerships,

Presidio Bay Ventures buys 11-story office building in Downtown SF for $41M
Presidio K. Cyrus Sanandaji and 60 Spear Street, San Francisco (Crunchbase, Google Maps)

Presidio Bay Ventures, a San Francisco-based real estate development firm, is navigating the challenges and opportunities in the Bay Area real estate market. 

The company’s managing principal, Cyrus Sanandaji, highlighted the tension between property owners eager to secure tenants and discerning tenants seeking the right spaces in a Q&A with the San Francisco Business Times. According to Sanandaji, changes are needed on the landlord side to address the supply and demand dynamics in the market.

Presidio Bay Ventures recently completed Springline, a mixed-use project in Menlo Park, and acquired the troubled Charleston Plaza retail center in Mountain View for $72 million, signaling its active involvement in the region. Sanandaji anticipates a trend of turnkey and speculative projects among developers, suggesting a potential increase in dynamic real estate activity.

Sanandaji emphasized the importance of viewing relationships with tenants as partnerships, rather than a traditional landlord-tenant dynamic focused solely on rents and revenue projections. He pointed out that in the current market, where conditions are soft, pushing the envelope on this dynamic helps differentiate projects. The success of Springline, designed to resemble a large resort, relied on symbiotic relationships between the landlord, residents, office tenants, and restaurant partners.

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Addressing skeptical landlords who may question the value of investing in additional amenities and services, Sanandaji acknowledged the outsized dollar investment and strict limits faced by institutional investors. However, he argued that property owners who invest in extra effort are outperforming the broader market in terms of absorption and vacancy rates.

Discussing the evolving conversations in the industry since the beginning of the pandemic, Sanandaji noted that tenants are willing to pay well beyond value for properties that fit a certain profile. With tech leaders advocating for hybrid work, he predicts an increase in office tenants looking to upgrade their spaces, prompting landlords to enhance their offerings. Sanandaji believes that views alone will no longer suffice, and amenities and surrounding area offerings will play a crucial role in attracting tenants.

Dispelling misconceptions about the Bay Area, Sanandaji addressed the notion that the region is facing challenges similar to San Francisco’s well-publicized issues. He emphasized the ongoing innovation and technology developments in the Bay Area, cautioning against betting against the region’s continued significance in the real estate market.