San Francisco’s office space market has in past years set pricing records, in part due to it being at the center of the boom of the tech industry. The price of commercial real estate rents went sky high across all neighborhoods. However in recent months the price of office spaces has started to flatten out. In addition to being a driving force behind economic growth, San Francisco and the Bay Area are known for rolling hills, varying architecture, competitive tech and finance communities, and famous landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf. Colonists from Spain founded the city in 1776 and named it after St. Francis of Assisi.
Though San Francisco is a popular tourist destination, it’s also home to many. In fact, it’s the 13th-most populous city in the nation. Today, neighborhoods across San Francisco and the Bay Area serve as Northern California’s commercial and financial hub. It houses numerous academic institutions such as the University of San Francisco, University of California, and San Francisco State University. Many big-name public and private companies have headquarters or offices there, including Gap Inc., Fitbit, Dropbox, Airbnb, Reddit, Yelp, Pinterest, Twitter, Uber, Lyft, Craigslist, Weebly, and Salesforce. Contact us to start your search for San Francisco office space.
San Francisco Office Space | Lease Data and Trends
|Office Space for Lease||Class A||Class B|
|North Financial District||$90/sf||$83/sf|
|South Financial District||$92/sf||$89/sf|
|North Waterfront/Jackson Square||$92/sf||$80/sf|
If you’re in the search for office space for rent, San Francisco and the surrounding area have plenty available. The city boasts 85+ million square feet of office space inventory, with a vacancy rate of around 7.6% as of 2020. Because of COVID-19 office leasing activity has slowed in San Francisco — the amount of available offices for lease has increased over the past 12 months. Average asking rents for office space in San Francisco hover around $90 per square foot for Class A properties and $77 per square foot for Class B spaces.
2018 was a significant year for San Francisco’s commercial real estate industry. More than 3 million square feet of new construction came to market. In 2019 there were a few more space additions via new construction projects. But new properties under construction in 2020 have been delayed due to the economic shutdown in the area.
Potential tenants will be able to find a decent range of options in Class A, Class B, and Class C buildings. Of course, lease prices also vary by neighborhood, proximity to public transportation, building age, and amenities.
2017 and 2018 were record years for the San Francisco commercial real estate industry. 2018 saw 21 leases of greater than 100,000 square feet, eclipsing 2017’s record of 18. Notable leases include Google at 1 Market and Two Harrison Street, Twilio at 101 Spear, WeWork at 400-430 California Street, StitchFix’s 38,700 square foot lease at One Montgomery Street, and Strava’s 34,000 square foot lease at 208 Utah Street.
Popular Neighborhoods to Rent San Francisco Office Space
San Francisco’s neighborhoods are as diverse in character and opportunity as the city’s technology startups. For those on the search for a new office, this popular world city includes everything from Fortune 500 companies, to a famous shopping district, to a neighborhood that used to be a landfill. Here is a brief description of some of its most popular areas for office space rental.
Downtown San Francisco
Downtown San Francisco has a cosmopolitan feel and features a variety of cultural attractions. This bustling urban center also includes SoMa (South of Market) and the Financial District. The Financial District is the city’s central business district and houses most of the area’s insurance companies, real estate firms, banks, and corporate headquarters. SoMa, on the other hand, is full of industrial warehouses and museums, though it also serves as office headquarters for dozens of tech companies as well.
This Financial District, sometimes shortened to “FiDi,” is San Francisco’s business and financial center. All six of the city’s Fortune 500 companies are here: McKesson, Wells Fargo, PG&E, Gap, Charles Schwab, and Salesforce. There is nearly 55 million square feet of office space in the San Francisco Financial District, with the average asking rent hovering around $91 per square foot for Class A space. The Financial District can be split into north and south neighborhoods where the price of office property in the area can vary.
SOMA includes sub-neighborhoods South Beach, Mission Bay, and Rincon Hill. Many of San Francisco’s technology companies have headquarters or offices in this neighborhood, such as Foursquare, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Yelp, Uber, and AirBnb. The commercial space vacancy rate is 5.7%, and space-seekers can expect to pay an average of $96 per square foot for Class A properties and $75 per square foot for Class B office spaces.
Presidio Heights is an upscale, luxury neighborhood located close to some of San Francisco’s most beautiful hiking trails and parks. Residents that live here will find breathtaking skyline views, a family-driven community, and a more relaxed atmosphere. Most people that move to this neighborhood stay for a long time.
Union Square is a public plaza where visitors can find shopping, hotels and the theater district in the surrounding area. This puts San Francisco’s Union Square on the map as one of the world’s foremost shopping districts and a popular tourist destination. Office spaces are available in this area for $85/sf for Class A listings and $69/sf for Class B spaces.
This new sub-neighborhood in SoMa began as an industrial district but has undergone lots of new construction that has filled it with hospitals, luxury living spaces, and made it a center for biotechnology research firms. Those lucky enough to find available office space in Mission Bay will find plenty of bars, restaurants, and other local amenities, and will feel at home among the many young professionals in the neighborhood.
Built on a former landfill, much of this neighborhood lies along the San Francisco Bay shoreline. Residents can find excellent views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. The area attracts a lot of young professionals and is known for its shopping, tourist attractions, and small business community.
What Our Brokers Say About San Francisco Office Space
San Francisco overlooks the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, Treasure Island, and Angel Island. As was aforementioned, the city is known for its topography of rolling hills; there are more than fifty, and some of the city’s neighborhoods are named after the hill they surround.
Much of San Francisco and the Bay Area’s reputation for technology innovation comes from Silicon Valley, which stretches into the city and surrounding areas. Named for the number of silicon chip manufacturers in the valley, the Silicon Valley houses 39 Fortune 1000 companies and thousands of tech startups. More than one-third of the nation’s venture capitalism happens there. The area attracts high numbers of young entrepreneurs and startups from all over the world. More than half of San Francisco residents have a four-year degree.
Software isn’t the only booming industry in San Francisco. Financial services, tourism, consulting, biotechnology, medical research, education, and healthcare are also important and popular industries among the neighborhoods there. San Francisco’s financial roots stretch back to the California Gold Rush in the twentieth century. The city’s Financial District even has a street called the “Wall Street of the West.”
With a high number of tech entrepreneurs in San Francisco and the Bay Area, it is not surprising that there are a lot of coworking spaces available across the city’s neighborhoods. For professionals on a search for coworking or flex space listings, there are many options in terms of location, size, amenities and price that will suit teams and freelancers alike.
Getting to, From, and Around San Francisco
San Francisco ranks third in the country for the number of residents that commute to work via public transit. The city’s most popular public transportation option is the San Francisco Municipal Railway, which locals call Muni. Muni offers a subway system, a light rail, a bus system, a trolley coach network, and a historic streetcar line. Other public transportation options include the Bay Area Rapid Transit; Caltrain, a commuter rail system; Amtrak California Thruway Motorcoach; and ferry services San Francisco Bay Ferry and the Golden Gate Ferry.
Those who want to travel to and from the city by air can choose from the nearby San Mateo County, San Francisco International Airport or the Oakland International Airport across the bay.
Many San Francisco residents also like to walk or bicycle to work. The city is the second most walkable large city in the U.S. behind New York, and was rated 86 out of 100 by Walk Score. Unfortunately, despite the overall drop in pedestrian traffic fatalities, the number of cyclists injured and killed in traffic accidents remains high as the city builds the necessary infrastructure to better accommodate cycling.