Opower, an Energy Efficient Software Company, is PMI’s Newest Tenant at Harrison Property in San Francisco

Our newest tenant on the second floor of 642 Harrison in San Francisco has a goal to make the world more energy-efficient.  It’s a pretty lofty goal for a company only founded in 2007.  Opower is a software as a service company that partners with utility companies to promote energy efficiency.  According to their website, Opower is a new customer engagement platform for the utility industry.  It reinvented the way utilities interact with customers—from the quality of the information provided to the way it’s presented and delivered.  It helps people use energy more efficiently and ultimately save money on their energy bills.  And it vastly improves the overall customer experience by making energy use personally relevant.  For example, when monthly invoices arrive at a customer’s home, they can see the average utility bill cost in their neighborhood, along with suggestions on how to reduce their energy consumption.  If they are well over the average compared to other homes in the area, they then have Opower’s suggestions right at their fingertips to help alleviate some of their energy costs.

Opower decided to PMI Properties’ 642 Harrison would be a great candidate for their next office because of its size and prime location.  Opower’s decision to choose Harrison in the competitive SoMa market was featured in this article as well: Big Race for Space in SoMa, Wall Street Journal, January 26 2012.

They also have established an online presence with social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as having their own, “Hey, it’s OPOWER!” blog.  Their website has many interesting and innovative ways to share information about their vision and what the company has accomplished.  There is an “OMeter” page that keeps a running tab on how many kilowatt-hours Opower has saved, and lists some interesting facts on what could be done with all that energy.  Opower also finds ways to engage and entertain their employees.  Their website lists activities such as a quarterly company outing, innovation day, soccer and ping-pong teams, and the ability to bring your dog to work.

Photo courtesy of Opower's website.

Opower was founded in 2007 by long-time friends Dan Yates and Alex Laskey.  When they started their company, lots of people were excited about cleaner energy production using renewable energy sources, like the sun and wind.  Dan and Alex knew that these sources wouldn’t be tapped in the short-term, even though they are important.  Their answer to reducing carbon emissions right now was curbing wasteful use of the types of energy produced today.  By utilizing the 1.4 billion utility bills that are mailed to customers each year, they would be able to send energy-saving ideas to hundreds of millions of households.  After creating a prototype, they went to two of America’s major energy markets, California and Texas.  The amount of interest they received from utilities, state legislators, and environmental groups soon led to first round venture capital funding from MHS Capital.

Photo courtesy of Opower's website.

They have garnered support from other green centered companies, as well as President Barack Obama. He visited their headquarters in Arlington, Virginia in 2010 and praised their work ethic and success during the hard economic times in addition to their ability to provide clean energy jobs.  They have been featured in articles from The Wall Street Journal, Techcruch, CNN, and Green Tech Media, to name a few.

You can visit Opower’s website at http://www.opower.com. You can read their blog at www.heyitsopower.com and follow them on Twitter @Opower and Facebook: www.facebook.com/heyitsopower

Wall Street Journal Spotlights PMI Properties’ Harrison Building

PMI Properties’ newest acquisition, 642 Harrison in San Francisco, was featured in a Wall Street Journal article last month.  The article spotlights the burgeoning SoMa district in San Francisco and the rapid growth that buildings in the area are experiencing within the last year.

PMI Properties was able to snag Harrison before the prices started to rise in SoMa. Compared to other agencies who paid $330 and $423 a square foot, PMI was able to purchase Harrison at $265 a square foot. The early mover’s advantage definitely was key in this transaction.

In order to attract new tenants to the space at Harrison, we renovated the second floor, created new PMI Properties banners for the outside of the building, and appealed to tech and digital media companies with vintage Time magazine posters of a young Bill Gates and Steve Jobs in the foyer. With the diminishing vacancy rate in the SoMa district, businesses are searching frantically to lease space.  The pricing game has become increasingly competitive as well, as evidenced by PMI’s recent lease negotion process with our newest tenant, Opower.

Overall, SoMa has blossomed into a tech and digital media mecca, with PMI’s Harrison right at the center. We are thrilled to be providing space to creative tenants who continue to cultivate amazing ideas and innovations.

To read the entire Wall Street journal article, please click here.

Designing Offices for Digital Technology Companies

We rent office space on the Westside of Los Angeles and in San Francisco to digital technology companies.  Our tenants include or have included Twitter, Google, DoubleClick, Yammer, Scribd, Applied Semantics, Microsoft, and Eventbrite.  Much has changed from the dot-com days.  Today, the three factors that are important for the design of these spaces are creative environments, densification, and collaboration.  Spaces are open to allow for the ability to scale to densities of up to 10 people per 1000 square feet.  Although the company may start out at 4 people per 1000 square feet, the ability to scale within the space will enable to firm to expand without taking on additional space and without moving.  To allow this densification, the space should have good light, open areas, and a lot of power and outlets.  Higher ceiling volumes with open structural elements help reduce the feeling of being cramped into a tight area.  Although liner table arrangements are the most efficient, undulating plans have also worked and reduce monotony.

Diagram from the dot-com days.

Creatively remodeled office space.

In the dot-com days, designers used circular and angle offices to create visual interest.  Today, these designs reduce the efficiency of the floor plan.  Designers now use the natural beauty of the physical structure, colors, textures, and lighting to create visual interest.

Large, high partition work stations have given way to interconnected non-partitioned tables where groups of designers sit together in close proximity.  Email, texts, and social networking have replaced audio phone use and hence eliminated the need for partitions.  Enclosed spaces are used primarily for conferences, group meetings, and other collaborations.  These enclosed meeting spaces average about 1 per 1000 square feet.

Yammer Collarboration Area at PMI's 410 Townsend in San Francisco.

Collaboration spaces have become more important in offices today.  People are used to collaborating in cafés; now designers are incorporating the “café look” into the office design.  Today workers come from the Starbucks generation where coffee houses are iconic symbols of collaborative settings.

Kitchens have expanded into highly designed café settings in very visible locations.

Kitchen at PMI's 3525 Eastham in Culver City.

Kitchen at TechCrunch at PMI's 410 Townsend in San Francisco.

This is a refreshing contrast to the kitchens of the past, relegated to a hidden enclosed corner with vinyl floors and fluorescent lights.  Several companies, some as small as 40 people, have dining areas that can fit much of the company’s employees.  They also require company lunches several times a month or even a couple times a week.  Other examples of collaborative settings could involve a game room or juice lounge.   Instead of just one kitchen, there may even be multiple areas with sinks, refrigerators, and snacks.  This gives a modern spin to the popular water cooler meeting spot that all offices seem to share.

All in all, there are many designs and combinations that can be created for all the different types of tenants we house.  For PMI, we strive to meet all of our tenant’s requests and see to it that creativity continues to flourish among our properties and tenants.  Scroll down to see more examples of the creative space we have produced for our outstanding tenants!

Kitchen at Mitch Kapor's offices at 543 Howard in San Francisco.

Mahalo's Kitchen at PMI's 3523 Eastham in Culver City.

Eventbrite's former space at PMI's 410 Townsend in San Francisco.

Afar Media at PMI's 394 Pacific in San Francisco.

Past and Present PMI Tenants– Join the Ranks of the Best

Ever since it’s inception, PMI Properties has been home to many up and coming creative companies.  From video games and film to advertising and software designers, we’ve had the pleasure of housing all types of creative companies.   A social networking company exploded into society’s consciousness from our offices. They now have over 300 million users and changed the way we communicate in 140 characters or less online.  They also reinvented the meaning to the word, “tweet.”  That company is none other than Twitter.  Applied Semantics, producer of software applications for the online advertising, domain name, and enterprise information management markets, invented AdSense in a PMI Property office space.  AdSense has since been acquired by Google, and is now responsible for over 25% of their revenue.

It’s been said that our Properties Motivate Innovation.

A few more you may have heard of include Columbia Pictures, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s Project Greenlight, HBO Entertainment, Google, Wes Craven, Summit Entertainment, Sony Electronics and Ubisoft.

To gain a larger sense of our scope and variety of amazing tenants, check out our complete list of past and present PMI tenants below.

Entertainment

  • Bruce Lee Enterprises
  • Concrete Pictures
  • Franklin and Waterman (Film)
  • Imperial Entertainment
  • Infinite Monkey Entertainment
  • Nalin (Film)
  • Public Interest Films (Film Production)
  • Sony Pictures
  • Strand Releasing (Movie Distribution)
  • Trimark Films (Film/Merged with Lionsgate)
  • David Koz (Musician)
  • Domo Records (Music Publishing)
  • John Erhlich (Music Editing)
  • Music Choice (Internet Music)
  • Rick Knowles (Music Production)
  • Tonos (Music Website/Carol Bayer Sager)
  • Varese Sarabande (Music Publishing)
  • Vibe (Music Publishing)
  • Fox Entertainment
  • Gurin Company (Television Production)
  • Millionaires Club (Television)
  • Mixed Signals (Interactive Television)
  • Termite Art (Television Production)

Production 

  • Tangerine Entertainment (Commercial Production)
  • Halon Entertainment (Pre Production)
  • Animal Logic (Post Production)
  • At The Post (Post Production)
  • Goodspot (Post Production)
  • Jack Fx (Post Production)
  • King and Country (Post Production)
  • Liquid (Post Production)
  • Moxie Pictures (Post Production)
  • Propeller (Post Production)
  • Radium (Post Production)
  • Rex Edit (Post Production)
  • Safehouse (Post Production)
  • Sol Design (Post Production)
  • Superior Assembly (Post Production)
  • On Line Off Line (Video Production)

Software

  • Applied Semantics
  • Apture (Web Software)
  • Codehost (Software)
  • Coding Technologies (Software)
  • Double Click (Web Advertising Software)
  • Epoch-Paycom (Digital Payment Web Software)
  • Guardian Edge (Web Software)
  • Ingrooves (Web Music Software)
  • Insync (Web Music Software)
  • IOTA (Web Music Software)
  • Jaspersoft (Software)
  • Limelight (Software)
  • Opendns (Software)
  • Outlook
  • Playdom (Software)
  • Radar (Web Software)
  • Retix (Software)
  • Supersig (Web Software)
  • The Brain (Software)
  • Xobni (Web Software)
  • Yammer (Saas Collaborative Software)
  • Yola (Web Software)
  • Zendesk (Web Software)

Advertising

  • Bright Design
  • Bush Communications
  • Click Media (Digital Advertising)
  • DCA
  • Deep Focus
  • Domozog
  • Expert Communications
  • Grange Advertising
  • Ideology
  • McElroy
  • Murphy Obrien
  • Point Blank
  • PR 21
  • Rocket Studios
  • Spelling Communications
  • Woo Advertising

Video Gaming

  • Outspark
  • Playdom
  • Six Degree Games
  • Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Sulake
  • Ubisoft
  • Workshop Entertainment

Digital Marketing & Publishing

  • AZ Razorfish (Digital Marketing)
  • Carbon Five (Digital Marketing)
  • Maholo (Digital Publishing)
  • Scribd (Digital Publishing)
  • Techcrunch (Digital Publishing)
  • Threshold (Digital Marketing)

Web

  • Eventbrite (Web Ticket Sales)
  • Google (First LA Offices/AdSense)
  • Motoreyes (Website)
  • Top Tutor/Idealabs (Education Website)
  • http://www.com (Website)

Miscellaneous

  • Dunket–Shaquille O’Neal (eCommerce)
  • Savings.com (eCommerce)
  • Sony Electronics (Electronic Consumer Hardware)
  • Diamond Multimedia/Rioport (Electronic Hardware)
  • NatureEner (Green Technology)

Here’s a First: San Francisco Rescinds Parking Requirements on two PMI Buildings

PMI recently applied for a variance which would reduce the parking requirements on two of its office buildings in the SoMa district of San Francisco.  The City granted the variance on 625 Third Street and 539 Bryant citing that San Francisco has substantially improved its public transit in the area.  The City also recently changed the parking zoning requirement from a minimum number of spaces required to a maximum number of spaces allowed.  Both properties are of easy walking distance to the Caltrain and within a block of municipal transit which runs every four minutes for a ten minute ride to BART.  Transit options will exponentially increase for the two properties.  The City has commenced construction on the new fourth street subway which will connect Caltrain SoMa with Chinatown with a stop near BART.  PMI has also contributed to the transit-friendly situation.  At PMI’s buildings, arrangements have been made with a garage near the Embarcadero BART Station for tenants to park their bikes at the garage overnight.  Tenants can then take the BART into the city and ride their bikes the rest of the way to work.  At 410 Townsend in SoMa, near Caltrain, PMI made arrangements for Zipcar, a car sharing company, to keep cars in its garage for the benefit of their tenants.

PMI Properties is an owner and investor in creative office buildings on the Westside of Los Angeles and in San Francisco.  Availabilities include 2,000 square feet in Santa Monica and Marina Del Ray and up to 18,000 square feet in Culver City.   For more information, go to http://www.pmiproperty.com.