What works as creative space can be volatile

550 KearnyA recent article in the San Francisco Business  Journal announces the successful conversion and lease up of a marble clad mid rise to creative office.

Hot tech firms take space at renovated 550 Kearny – San Francisco Business Times.

Why did the owners of this building convert and market itself as creative office?  Because that is the space that is leasing and selling.  As many parts of the economy grow slowly and even  shrink–new media and technology continues to grow.  New media and technology desire creative office.  In many cities–office owners and architects are spending hours at the drawing board trying to figure out how to position their properties as creative office.  550 Kearny was neither in the best area for tech or was the best building for a conversion.  It was, though,  a poured in place concrete building with decent ceiling height.  But most important–it was in the middle of a city going through another technology industry boom.  These buildings are known as soft creative: conventional offices converted to creative by exposing their natural structural elements.  Typically, creative office buildings are converted warehouses that have the ceiling height, windows, and structural elements of more traditional creative office.

Creative office is one of few office products with a growing demand, and all owners want on to this life boat.  However, eventually, the number of conversions could capsize the boat.  After the dot com bust,  owners converted  many of these soft conversion back into traditional office space (at $50 to $60 a turn–ouch!).

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