San Francisco isn’t dying, despite tech departures

San Francisco will stage a comeback. I was in SOMA as early as 2003 when the creative offices were considered toxic economic real estate and were being purchased by residential developers to convert into apartments. What helped San Francisco turn the corner were the lifestyle, restaurants, bars, Giants, Warriors, Tech Conferences, Tech parties, tech meetings, tech socializing, tech exhibits. This attracted a flood of young software engineers into the City to experience that lifestyle. Then the employers followed.   An example of SF lifestyle is what happens to SOMA during a Giants game during the work week when SOMA shuts downs and everyone is walking to the stadium. All of that is shut down now. I agree that SF pricing got ahead of itself and perhaps rents will need to fall and slowly recover to allow a catch up. But the City has a lot to offer. Once the politicians switch horses (including the progressives) and help the recovery as they did in after 2005 (took a while to come along)–the recovery can gain some steam.

Source: San Francisco isn’t dying, despite tech departures

Parallel Systems Moves Into Coveted Creative Office Space in Culver City

PMI Properties is excited to announce that Parallel Systems, the company building autonomous zero-emissions freight transportation, has moved into an 8,700 square foot office space at 8673 Hayden Place. This creative office space, with 22-foot high glulam beam ceilings and skylights, is located in the Hayden Tract in Culver City and is situated in between corporate offices for both Nordstrom and Apple’s Beats Electronics. James Wilson and Dave Wilson of Lee & Associates West represented the landlord, and Jake Zacuto of the Zacuto group represented the tenant for this two year lease.

8671 - 8673 Hayden with spec&rate

Parallel Systems, newly founded in 2020, is designing an autonomous, zero-emissions freight transportation system. They believe the future of freight transportation should be fast, inexpensive and clean, while also reducing congestion on the highways. They both design and manufacture electric vehicles as well as write software.

This office space at Hayden offers tenants prime access to all of Culver City and even Culver City Park.

Work From Home and the Office–It’s Too Soon to Tell

There is enormous speculation about the impact of work from home (“Work From Home”) on the office market. Although tech progress and Covid practices will have a long term impact on Work From Home and office utilization–it is too soon to draw any significant conclusions. At the moment, office space is considered to be toxic and therefore very harmful to your health. It is also illegal for non-essential workers to utilize. Therefore, the office right now is a very tough sell. Next, the City is shutdown–no restaurants, bars, jazz clubs, sport games, concerts, museums, festivals, theatre. Indeed, the City is like Disneyland but you can’t go on any rides, see any shows, or attend any parades–a very tough sell. These distorted conditions are causing distorted behaviors. We cannot and should not draw long term inferences from behaviors during these conditions.

I will let you into a little secret:: the office market gets crushed in every recession. Office space is the luxury good of the work world. It gives that boost during expansions. It does really well in long expansions. Office space is not a big expense at 3 to 5% of revenues when a firm is in growth mode. It get cut back in recessions.

We will have a lot to learn about how to integrate Work From Home and our offices. How do we integrate the video conference with remote workers with workers physically around the table? Do we use large screens throughout the room or does everyone have a small screen around the table (which may be better for my favorite application –“share the screen mode”). I believe we will use Work From Home to relieve congestion, long commutes, and allow more homeownership. That will in turn make offices and cities more enjoyable. Offices will be made more productive and collaborative and serve as a tool to give a business an edge during the expansions. These trends are not new. I have attached my blog from 1996 where I discussed both Work From Home and the Collaboration Office evolution.

What I Have Learned About Face Mask Protection Against COVID-19

After much experimentation, I have found that face masks can be improved and provide better protection from the coronavirus. It’s common to see medical professionals wearing surgical masks; surgical masks have high filtration properties against the coronavirus but suffer from a loose fit around the edges, especially the nose. The surgical mask can be greatly improved by supplementing it with a brace that will attempt to better seal the edges. Former Apple mechanical engineers created such a brace that you can buy at Here is a good video on how to wear this brace: See picture below:

Fix The Mask also provides a Do it Yourself brace using rubber bands, which inspired my own DIY brace that uses two 7 inch long rubber bands. To make this yourself, take one rubber band, cut it, and tie it to the other rubber band on two sides. The cut rubber band serves as a head band and the uncut part fits around your face mask. See pictures below:

Do It Yourself Rubberband Face Mask Brace

If you achieve a good fit, you should be breathing through the mask instead of around the edges of the mask. See video below:

The best masks are N95 masks, with priority use by healthcare workers. There is one brand that is freely available to the public made by Chinese producer Guangzhou Harley (NiOSH tested), sold by You can also buy NPPTL tested KN95 masks by Guangzhou Powecom on Amazon. As an additional option, I recommend the HaloLife mask, which has an insertable 99% filter, rubber and wire nose band, and provides a great fit along with breathability. This mask has proved effective at capturing over 99% of airborne particulates and pathogens down to 0.1 microns. By comparison, the COVID-19 virus measures approximately 0.125 microns in diameter.

This list of masks is far from exhaustive, as there are also many cloth masks out there. The Canadian government has published a good guide to choosing among the cloth masks: Canadian Guide on Masks. They recommend a tightly woven, 3 ply mask where one of the layers includes an insertable, non-woven, polypropylene fabric filter. Consumers should be aware that many cloth masks provide a PM2.5 carbon filter; although good for filtering pollution (at as small at 2.5 microns), this PM2.5 filter does not provide adequate filtration against COVID-19 particles (which are smaller than 2.5 microns). You can buy non-woven polypropylene fabric filters at Etsy to insert in your mask instead the PM2.5 filter. Many companies today are selling many washable filtered masks with non-woven polpropylene fabric filters, such as the Everbrand Mask :

Once you have selected a mask, make sure to adjust and improve the fit. The mask should include a wire guide to fit around your nose and you can supplement with a brace as shown above. You can also add a nose bridge pad seal to prevent fogging and leakage, available at Amazon Bridge Pads.  For KN95 masks, I have also taken a 7 inch rubber band, cut it, and stapled it on to the two sides of the mask near the ear-loops to create a headband for a tighter fit. For an improved fit around the nose, you can attach an additional metal nose bridge strip (click here) on top of the one sewn into the mask (top center on the mask). I recommend putting a small strip of adhesive tape over the metal.

Good ways to test your mask include the following:

  • Better masks can hold water on the inside without dripping through.
  • If you hold the mask up to the light, you should not be able to see small holes through it.
  • You should not be able to blow out a candle while wearing your mask.
  • You should be able to spray air fragrance mist into the air and not smell it while wearing your mask.
  • Your glasses should not fog nor should you feel any air outside the mask.

With good filtration and fit, you can protect others against the virus while protecting yourself. Remember – a mask is to be used in conjunction with social distancing, not as a substitute.

Venture Capital Funding–a Glass Half Full

The good news is that unlike 2001 and 2009–venture capital funding did not come to a screeching halt. Instead, venture capital funding is just down 10 to 20% off its peak. The world is awash in liquidity. Technology is the future. Some companies will fail; others will be acquired; and new disrupters will appear.

Source: North America Q2 Venture Report: Funding Down As Expected – Crunchbase News

PMI: Properties Motivating Innovation: Tenant Quantgene Aims to Bring 12-Hour COVID-19 Testing to the Mass Market



Quantgene, a tenant at our Santa Monica Digital Bungalow Property, typically offers AI-powered blood test systems to consumers and healthcare providers to provide early detection for up to eight types of cancer. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has persisted, Quantgenei has pivoted its focus to helping individuals identify if they have coronavirus. Quantgene launched 12-hour coronavirus testing last week and, since then, has already signed about 10 companies up to test their employees daily, weekly, as often as necessary, to stop another viral outbreak before it starts.

Source: Quantgene Aims to Bring 12-Hour COVID-19 Testing to the Mass Market | Built In Los Angeles

It’s Not All Bad: Urban Problems of Housing Costs and Congestion Will Be Improved, and Productivity Could Explode

We are now forced to learn how to use technology, and we will be more productive. To do many tasks and forms of work–we do not have to be physically present at a particular location. Workers and consumers will be able to do more things and do them faster through video conferencing and digitization. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Face the Nation explains: “One way to think about this is that this one month, two months period has brought forth 10 years of forward change. So all of a sudden, the Internet is no longer optional. It’s fundamental to doing business, to operate, to live our lives, all sorts of much higher expectations as a result…” For example, students are learning how to learn through Zoom classes versus attending classes. More students can have access to great universities or professor in less time and for less cost.

Housing Costs: Workers will now be able to live in different cities and far out suburbs and still work for companies based in super cities. Eric Schmidt said recently on Face the Nation: . “we’ve had this situation where people move to super cities in these incredibly concentrated ways. That will change in the next few years. You don’t need to be in the super city in order to participate in the ex- excitement of these super cities.” This counter-trend will drive down rents and housing prices in super-cities or otherwise retard their rate of increase. Agglomerations economies requiring physical presence will be diminished.

Congestion: Workers will have more flexible hours or work schedules. On some days–workers will work from home. Some workers will work from home most of the time or in remote locations or other cities and not drive into work. More people will shop on line and not need to travel to the store. More doctor appointments will be done remotely. “80 percent of the visits to doctors are right now in tele-health. People have been wanting this to happen for years. Now using remote monitoring, we can actually measure everybody and do it remotely. And then only if you have to, you go in to see the doctor”– says Eric Schmidt. Thus, there will be less cars on the road.

Productivity: we have been forced to use technology to become more efficient and do more things digitally from signing documents to using digital project management tools. Instead of spending two days attending an out of town meeting–a person can spend 2 hours in a video conference. We will be able to do more work more effectively in less time as a result of this digital transformation.

LA City Council Voted to Freeze Los Angeles Rents For Over One year

The City Council voted to freeze rents for 12 months and to prohibit eviction until after the Mayor’s emergency order is terminated.  However, the Mayor can open up almost all activity without technically terminating the order.  There is a proposal to limit rents to 60% of the CPI and a State referendum to eliminate vacancy decontrol.    There are a group of political activists who are using the pandemic to deprive owners of all benefits of their ownership.  Property owners must start to become engaged and united as a wave of tenant legislation sweeps the State. If you cannot raise rents on any units (even vacant units) but need to pay rising expenses–WHO REALLY OWNS YOUR PROPERTY.   Contact the California Apartment Association to become engaged in saving your property.   Contact CAA