Finalist — 650 Townsend

News & Awards.

TMG Partners has won awards for many projects
including honors for “Best Mixed Use,”
“Best Office,” and “Best Historic Rehabilitation”.

December 1, 2008
San Francisco Business Times Real Estate Deals
Finalist — 650 Townsend

650 Townsend St. has had several incarnations - as a wholesale fashion mart and dot-com office hub - but never quite thrived.

But new owners saw untapped potential in the 645,000 square feet of space at the corner of 8th Street in SoMa.

TMG Partners, with financial partner Farallon Capital Management, bought the building for $117 million in 2006 and pumped more than $10 million into renovating it.

The renovation opened up a new entrance on Townsend Street, which provides direct street access to the project's central feature, a 65-foot-tall sky-lit atrium. In addition, the renovation added three new elevators, carved retail space out of unused lobby space at the 8th Street entrance, and remodeled the large atrium lobby with furniture, plantings and flat-panel TVs. LED signs on the roof were also renovated to allow for tenant advertising and to make the building more visible from Highway 101.

When TMG Partners bought the building, only half of the square footage was approved for office space. They subsequently secured San Francisco Planning Commission approval to rezone 375,000 square feet of the project for office uses, increasing leasing and investor opportunities, said David Cropper, managing director at TMG.

"We thought we could make a significant improvement to its life as an office building," said Cropper. "This is a value play."

Construction began in mid-2007 and wrapped up in the summer of 2008. There is now a total of 16,400 square feet of retail space in the project.

Cropper said 40 percent of the building is now leased and that TMG is in discussions with various tenants on 100,000 to 160,000 square feet of space. Current tenants include Nokia, IBM, The Federal Home Loan Bank, Schawk, G-4 Media, Citrix, Union Bank of California and Common Sense Media.

"The story for us is that we took an under-appreciated and under-used asset and by making creative changes we've made it more attractive to tenants," said Cropper.

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