Will crypto be bigger than the Gold Rush for San Francisco real estate?

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September 4, 2018

By: Brittan Hawken,Vice President, JLL

Bitcoin, like gold, isn’t a company but it sure is spawning lots of business. Centred around just this one digital currency are wallet providers, exchanges, payroll and payment service providers, venture capitalists, software developers, coin ‘mining’ pools, even ATM manufacturers. They all have a couple of things in common:  they need talent…and they need space. 

Many of these companies are out of necessity looking for exactly the same kind of talent as the big name digital employers based and operating in the Bay Area.  For example, Bitcoin.com, the online community for “all things Bitcoin” is seeking an embedded systems engineer in San Francisco to help develop the site’s new Hardware Wallet. That means a growing need for already pricey Bay Area office space in an ever-tightening market.

Small spaces are easier to find in SF these days

Luckily for start-ups, the space race is at its most intense at the upper end of the market where major companies are competing for a dwindling supply of large blocks of Class A space – those over 100,000 square feet – in popular submarkets such as the North and South Financial Districts.  However, with overall vacancy among Class A, B and C office properties in those submarkets still above 10 percent there are clearly opportunities for start-ups to lock up smaller spaces.

More options in outer markets

That’s also true too in slightly less expensive submarkets such as Jackson Square, the North Waterfront and Showplace Square, although space availability is a little tighter there. Further out submarkets like the Van Ness Corridor offer more options at some of the lowest rents in the city, so start-ups that don’t need high finish, creative space and access to lots of amenities might find a home here.

Crypto and blockchain-based start-ups looking for space in San Francisco should be as flexible and nimble as possible in order to ensure their real estate costs don’t get ahead of their business plan. 

About me

Brittan Hawken

I am committed to helping technology company clients successfully navigate the complexities of the San Francisco real estate market to find creative space that inspires them and that fits their unique company culture. Some of the clients we’ve successfully represented: Square, Lyft, Weebly, Heap Analytics, AirWare, Amplitude, Envoy, FicTiv, Fundbox, Buoyant, Abe, Menlo VC, Spark Capital, etc.

You can contact me by email at brittan.hawken@am.jll.com.


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