A big part of the excitement of this neighborhood are the exceptional number of office buildings in the pipeline. San Francisco voters passed Proposition M in 1986 which places an 875,000 square foot annual limit on large office space (i.e. buildings with more than 49,999 sqft) and 75,000 small office space (i.e. 25,000-49,999 sqft) growth. According to SF Planning as of December 31st, 2019 for large projects there is current availability of 786,993 of current availability and -4,351,08 sqft of pipeline availability. This means that projects currently contemplated will take years to make it through the approval process. The Central SOMA plan prioritized development in this neighborhood by upzoning building heights which means that much of new high rise construction planned for the near future will occur here. As with much in life what is planned is different than what is announced which is different than what will ultimately be built. As always following local real estate blogs like SocketSite and Curbed SF provides the most current information.

Flower Market

This will be one of the biggest high rise developments west of the Hudson in recent memory. A series of towers rising up to over 200 feet tall will offer potentially two million square feet of office space, along with 80,000 sqft of retail/restaurant space and hundreds of parking spaces. By comparison the Embarcadero Center development is approximately 3.3 million sqft of space. This development will truly pull the center of downtown towards Central SOMA and change the face of the city.

Tennis Club

Across the street from the Flower Market is a redevelopment of the 41-court San Francisco Tennis Club into a 200+ foot building with 840,000 sqft of office space, a 30,000 sqft recreational center, a 12-court underground private tennis club (most likely it will become a Bay Club outpost), 16,000 sqft of restaurant space, air space for 118 below market residential units, and a 13,000 sqft public park along Bluxome. The easternmost building at 88 Bluxome is anticipated to be occupied by Pinterest.

Pinterest Building

505 Brannan, aka the Pinterest Building is just a couple years old, but was designed to have a future growth spurt. The existing building has approximately 130,000 sqft (that’s about one Wal-mart Supercenter) of space and the proposal is to add another 165,00 sqft of space which will bring the total to just under 300,000 sqft of office space at a height of 240 feet.

490 Brannan Building

Almost kitty-corner to the Pinterest Building is a planned 160 foot tall 340,000 sqft building that will replace a Walls Fargo/Starbucks branch (along with a parking lot) that formerly sat on the side. Part of what is interesting about this building is that it will have a squat nine story lower segment which will almost mirror the adjacent The Palms condo building in size, along with a central tower which will stretch another seventy feet into the air. This project will also include 17,000 sqft of production, distribution and repair (aka PDR) space and 3,800 sqft of retail.

Harrison Gardens

This project on a prime location between the Avalon building and I-80 combines two phases with a total of 800,000 sqft of office space stretching up to 185 feet in height. It will also have 29,100 sqft of PDR space, a 3,000 sqft child care center and a mid-block space scheduled to have a 100,000 sqft building supporting 140 affordable housing units. Drawing show a pretty copper colored facade with big square windows.

400 2nd Street

This building, part of the larger 1 Vassar development including housing on the same block, would bring 433,000 sqft of office space, 11,200 of PDR space along with the requisite nominal car parking and more generous bike parking. This site is interesting, because like 725 Harrison a block away it is tucked between Harrison and the freeway. It is also kitty corner from the historically significant Clocktower condo building and across the street from the VA building. Will be interesting to see whether people who work here will walk west or east for amenities and food; it is relatively close, of course, to the Whole Foods.

Jones Lang Lasalle Report

Commercial real estate broker Jones Lang Lasalle wrote a fascinating report on Central SOMA which mirrors many of the ideas expressed here. While a few of its numbers are different, it also recognizes the growth potential in the neighborhood citing 8,800 residential units and 31,000 jobs. They also share our perspective that neighborhood boundaries stretch in a rectangle from Second to Fifth and almost over definition with from Market to Townsend.

TRI Commercial article

While considerably less interesting than the JLL report this article describes two neighborhood properties which sold for a collective $14m. It is clear that Central SOMA is on the radar screen of the real estate world!

What are we missing?

There are probably other office developments, but wow…if my math is right that’s about 5.8 million square feet of proposed offie space against the strict limits put in place by Prop M. Several other large parcels in the neighborhood remain underdeveloped, e.g. the current location of K&L Wine and the former Mike’s Bikes location on Brannan not to mention several large parking lots, i.e. the large lot between 4th and Brannan adjacent to the Brickhouse restaurant. As we learn of new developments, we’ll add them here. Please tweet us if we’re missing something—because we probably are.