Real estate forum highlights hot Peninsula market

The Bay Area real estate market continues to heat up and a surge of new office and residential projects are in San Mateo’s pipeline. “This is the north [San Mateo] county’s time,” said Mike Moran of DTZ as he kicked off the Peninsula Development Forum presented by The Registry.

Janice Thacher is a partner with Wilson Meany, the company developing Bay Meadows, and was a featured panelist. “There’s been an evolution at Bay Meadows,” noted Thacher. “Now, we have people living there, families in the parks, kids studying in the high school and residents meeting in the community garden.”

Also on the panel was Alan Talansky of EBL&S Development, which just sold its 12-acre Station Park Green site to Essex Property Trust. The site, at Delaware Street and Concar Drive, is slated for an approximately $300M four-building project comprising 599 residential units, parks, 10,000 square feet of office and 25,000 square feet of retail.

Palo Alto-based Essex was drawn to the site in part due to its central location.

“It’s a core mid-peninsula location, and we’d been looking for a deal for quite some time between San Francisco and San Jose,” said John Eudy, the executive vice president of development for the residential real estate investment trust.

Bay Meadows site

Bay Meadows site

Mike Moran lauded Wilson Meany for being “very, very smart to build on a spec basis at Bay Meadows,” referring to Bay Meadows Station 4. This Class A office building of 210,000 square feet is the first of five such buildings in the community and will be tenant-ready in June 2016.

Between the transformation that Bay Meadows is leading, the Essex project and a forthcoming 300,000 square foot office project from developer Hines, this submarket – adjacent to Caltrain and the freeway – is taking off. “The biggest amenity,” noted Talansky, “will be not having to commute an hour and a half to work.”

As jobs grow in the region, an amenity within reach for Peninsula dwellers is the five-minute commute. From Redwood City to Burlingame, there have been 25,000 new jobs created over the past five years (190,000 jobs in the greater Bay Area).

And the thirst for office in the mid-Peninsula appears unquenchable. With costs reaching an average of $4.20 per square foot for Class A office space, high-growth companies continue the hunt for large-scale space that will attract a talented workforce.

Moran of DTZ noted some indicators his brokerage is seeing:

  • Tenants in the life sciences are circling for property.
  • Companies are leaving the city in search of large-scale space.
  • Tenants are looking for new construction that is built to suit.
  • Companies are hungry for amenities that will help them attract talent, such as locations near transit and a vibrant, urban-style environment.

“The folks that had started work in the dot-com boom era are now in their 30s. They’re coming out of the city, raising kids,” noted Steve Dostart of Dostart Development. “They want space to raise a family in.”

Janice Thacher added, “People are craving community. They want to live where they can walk and bike to activities. We have a community garden [at Bay Meadows] and people want to get out of their homes and be among their neighbors.”

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The vibrant Bay Meadows Town Square will be the ideal gathering place with ground floor retail, outdoor dining, pop-ups and more. Modeled after European plazas, it will include a large central fountain as the focal point and will serve as an energetic and dynamic urban core with plenty to keep you occupied. Once Caltrain is electrified, the platform will be elevated and grade separations will be installed on 31st and 28th Avenues, which means the Town Square will be the perfect place to relax outside for a glass of wine or an ice cream after a day of shopping at Hillsdale Mall.