LORD Green Strategies: China Basin, San Francisco

Noteworthy Properties: China Basin

Nov 15, 2022

LORD Green Strategies: China Basin, San Francisco

t its core, China Basin is a I 00-year-old South Pacific Railroad banana depot, that evolved into a 1,032,800 SF technology and life sciences campus. Fitwel Partner and Technical Advisory Board member, LORD Green Strategies, along with owner, JP Morgan Asset Management, Inc. chose Fitwel because of its focus on people over materials, suitability for unique property types, and extensively research-supported strategies. Additionally, China Basin’s proximity to Mission Bay provides easy access to nature, as well as walkability, which made it an ideal candidate for Fitwel certification from the start.

The team took action to prioritize employee health by ensuring employees have control over their workspaces with active workstations, blinds, office plants, and more. The whole campus has stair access to increase opportunities for fitness throughout the day and access to alternative forms of transportation, such as the local free shuttle and bountiful bicycle parking.


China Basin increases community involvement within the campus through on-site social and wellness events. Along with being a resource for the community through their ground floor tenant, UCSF Health, and its primary care facility in the building.


China Basin was part of a Greenbuild International Conference & Expo tour showcasing exemplary projects in San Francisco’s master-planned redevelopment areas.

China Basin received a 2-star rating under Fitwel’s Multi-Tenant Base Building Certification.

LYFT Signs Lease On New China Basin Headquarters

April 13, 2016
Author: Brock Keeling

Lyft, the Diet Coke to Uber’s Diet Pepsi, just signed a lease on a new larger headquarters next door to AT&T Park. Their new space will be at 185 Berry Street at China Basin Landing — also the former home of Dropbox (and, many moons ago, SF Weekly) — located in the burgeoning Mission Bay neighborhood.

“The new space will give us three-times more space to grow into, as we continue fueling our incredible momentum and working toward our vision of reconnecting people and communities through better transportation,” notes Lyft corporate communications manager Alexandra LaManna in a press release.

As for a move-in date, LaManna tells Curbed SF, “We will be moving in over the next several months.”

This year alone Lyft saw a sweet $1 billion round of funding come their way, including a $500 million investment from General Motors.

While the riding-sharing industry has helped alleviate the suffocating dearth of cabs in San Francisco — back in the day it was nearly impossible to call for a timely taxi, especially if you lived in the Outer Richmond, Bayview, or the Outer Sunset — it’s also been subject to controversy. Just this week, the San Francisco Chronicle reports on a harrowing Uber-involved chase that resulted in the death of a pedestrian on city streets.

Sharing-economy legalities notwithstanding, we cannot wait to see what the new Lyft headquarters will look like. If their current space on Harrison Street is any indication, which you can view below, the new one should be equally astounding, in rosy shades of blush and bashful.

Northern California SPIRE Members Tour China Basin Building and Learn About the Giants’ Plans for Mission Rock


AUGUST 21, 2014
Published in: SPIRE

On Thursday, August 14th, SPIRE members had the opportunity to tour McCarthy Cook’s China Basin development and learnabout the Giants’ plans for Mission Rock.

Mike Freeman and Richard Hayes of McCarthy Cook shared a 30-minute presentation about their project and the history of the China Basin area and Mission Bay. The two building campus contains a total of 930,000 SF in the six-story Wharfside building and the five-story Berry Building. The Wharfside Building was built in 1922 as a warehouse to support shipping operations of the port. Over time the buildings converted to traditional office uses. From the 1960’s through the 1980’s the area languished as the Mission Bay area declined in shipping prominence and was overlooked as an attractive development area. This changed in the late 1990’s with the construction of the San Francisco Giants’ new ballpark and The University of California San Francisco committing to building a campus and biotechnology hub in the area. McCarthy Cook has managed the property since 1997, when it acquired the buildings with partners. Being a desirable area to live, work, and play the China Basin property has seen tremendous demand for tenants and is 99% occupied.

Following the presentation, the SPIRE group toured the tenant spaces of Western Union Digital Ventures, UCSF research labs, and the headquarters of Dropbox.

Dropbox has several suites and floors at their headquarters and we were able to tour their main suite, which is a total of 85,000 SF on one continuous floor. This floor includes workstations, a karaoke bar, conference rooms, gaming areas, and an impressive gourmet kitchen and restaurant. Dropbox serves three meals a day to their employees and the chef has never repeated a meal. The SPIRE members were impressed with the openness of the work area and the abundance of natural light. Additionally, the design encourages interactivity and provides many areas to collaborate.

Following the tour the group walked two blocks for dinner at 25 Lusk, which was transformed from a 1917-era meat packing plant and smokehouse into a nearly 10,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant with a dining room and bar. The meal was held in a private room surrounded by concrete and exposed wood beam décor, which was a great venue for dialog and discussion amongst the SPIRE members. SPIRE member Hans Galland commented “The SPIRE China Basin event showed a great example of how the multifaceted personality of a locality is being expressed across different times and uses.”

Fran Weld (MBA ‘11), Director of Real Estate for the San Francisco Giants, discussed the Mission Rock Development at

Seawall Lot 337 and Pier 48, 24 acres adjacent to the ballpark. The Giants’ plan is to develop the property in phases over the next several years. This mixed-use development will include a large public park, residential units and commercial and

retail. The Mission Rock development site has been owned by the same ownership group as the Giants and includes many longtime San Francisco residents. The owners are motivated to build a sustainable development that enhances the local community and the City of San Francisco.

Marge Blaine (AB ‘55) commented, “It was a wonderful event. I particularly enjoyed the look at the unique features of the China Basin building, especially the Dropbox Headquarters. Fascinating. Dinner was wonderful, but as always, it was

exceeded by the excellent company – always so interesting to share ideas with others in the business of real estate.”

We hope to see more SPIRE members at an upcoming event in Northern California!

Dropbox Has Grand Opening of China Basin Offices


November 16, 2012
Published in: SF Gate, Hearst Newspapers
Author: Casey Newton

Dropbox has grand opening of China Basin Offices

Amid growing competition for companies that manage users’ digital lives, San Francisco startup Dropbox on Wednesday showed off brand-new offices in China Basin where it hopes to grow into a global powerhouse.

“I can’t think of a better place in the world to start a company,” said Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, who founded the company with Arash Ferdowsi in 2007. “We’re really proud to put down roots here.”

Dropbox has more than 50 million users, who use its service to store and synchronize files between a wide range of devices. Users get 2 gigabytes of storage for free and can pay for more space.

In October the company raised $250 million at a reported valuation of $4 billion. Houston has said it is already profitable.

But the company is under increasing pressure from technology giants like Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, which all offer free storage services. Google, whose Drive service was in development for more than five years, finally released it to the public Tuesday, offering users 5 gigabytes of free storage.

Mayor Ed Lee, who attended Wednesday’s grand opening, acknowledged Dropbox’s many competitors in an address to employees and reporters.

“You’re part of a really competitive world right now,” Lee said. “People are starting other entities that are competing with you because they know you’ve got a great model.”

Houston said Wednesday that he has tried out Google’s service but remained confident that Dropbox’s growth would continue.

“I still feel really good about the stuff we’re building,” he said.

The new office occupies 87,000 square feet – “or two acres,” Houston said – near Fourth and Berry streets. It represents a significant upgrade from the 12,000 square feet Dropbox’s 100 employees occupied up until last month, when they moved in to the new space.

Local architects, designers and contractors built Dropbox’s space, which includes a cafeteria, gym and conference room filled with Legos. In keeping with the flat hierarchies now fashionable in Internet startups, no one at the company has an office. Conference rooms are named after company in-jokes (“Bromance Chamber,” “Breakup Room”), and one corner features a stuffed panda strapped to the back of a velociraptor sculpture.

One of the more popular spaces in the new office is its music room, Houston said. The room is filled with guitars, a piano and other instruments, and is home to regular jam sessions after the company’s Friday all-hands meetings.

“The Dropbox band is coming together,” Houston said.

San Francisco’s Mayor Lee Drops by Dropbox’s New Headquarters

SF Business Times

April 25, 2012
Published in: SF Business Times
Author: Patrick Hoge, Reporter

San Francisco’s Mayor Lee drops by Dropbox’s new headquarters

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee visited the new China Basin headquarters of the super popular online content storage and sharing sensation Dropbox Inc. Wednesday in his continuing effort to embrace and tout the city’s booming tech sector.

Dropbox opened the doors of its new 87,000-square-foot digs in the China Basin Landing Building at 185 Berry St., just across Third Street from the San Francisco Giants ballpark, and CEO Drew Houston gave the mayor a tour and an opportunity to address employees.

“We’re proud to call San Francisco our home; there’s no better place in the world for creative thinkers and builders,” Houston said.

Houston founded Dropbox in 2007 with Arash Ferdowsi. The web service stores documents, photographs and videos and syncs them across different devices and platforms for more than 50 million users.

The panda riding the dinosaur to the left, by the way, was a birthday gift to an engineer from her boyfriend that subsequently got adopted by the staff. The creature is listed as an engineer on the “Our Team” page of the Dropbox website, which says, “Panda joins us from Sichuan University. When not coding, she enjoys wrestling and bamboo. Panda is a proud supporter of the WWF.”

Dropbox also has a thing for dinosaurs because Jon Ying, a Dropbox designer and artist who helped with marketing materials, draws them.

Ying is described as a native Kansan who graduated from UC San Diego who in his free time likes writing music, playing DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) and cooking.

Patrick Hoge covers technology for the San Francisco Business Times.

McCarthy Cook Has a New Financial Partner at Hot China Basin


January 20, 2012
Published in: San Francisco Business Times
Author: J.K. Dineen

Longtime China Basin owner/operator McCarthy Cook and new financial partner JP Morgan have purchased China Basin for about $390 million, a recapitalization that doesn’t change the management or operation of the property.

The purchase price valued the 930,000 square-foot, two-building property at $420 a square foot, according to brokerage sources. JP Morgan is the fifth in a series of investment firms that have owned a stake in China Basin along side McCarthy Cook, which has managed the property for 15 years. JP Morgan essentially takes the California Public Employees’ Retirement System out of the property. CalPERS had invested in China Basin as part of the CalSmart fund, which was managed first by RREEF and, starting last may, by Canyon Capital Realty Advisors.

The transaction comes at a time when China Basin has been on absolute fire. The property completed 350,000 square feet of new leases in 2011, including most of the 175,000 square feet that was added in 2007 and sat empty during the recession. The two newest tenants are Dropbox, which took 85,600 square feet, and GREE, a Japanese social gaming company, which grabbed 41,000 square feet. China Basin is now 95 percent leased, with about 40,000 square feet available in the two buildings, although McCarthy Cook is in active negotiations on much of that space.

“The tech boom has certainly come our way,” said Richard Hayes, who handles leasing of the property for McCarthy Cook. “People are calling all the time and asking ‘are you sure you don’t have anything left? Is there something you might have overlooked’”

Dropbox Shows Off Sleek New San Francisco Headquarters


April 26,2012
Published in: Los Angeles Times
Author: Jessica Guynn

Dropbox shows off sleek new San Francisco headquarters

The booming tech firm gives the city’s tech-friendly mayor a tour of the work site, which includes a cafe, gym and music lounge.

SAN FRANCISCO — Dropbox can now tick off one of the major benefits of being a booming tech firm — fabulous new digs, complete with cafe, gym and music lounge.

Founder and Chief Executive Drew Houston gave the city’s tech-friendly mayor a tour of the company’s sleek new headquarters that sports major-league views of the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark and the San Francisco Bay.

The tour came just a day after Google introduced its own competing cloud storage service that lets users load photos, documents, and videos and access them from Web-connected devices. If Houston was sweating the competition from yet another industry giant, he wasn’t showing it.

“Google has been on the horizon since we founded the company,” Houston said Wednesday. “I am still feeling really good about the stuff we are building and the stuff we have cooking.”

In his trademark hoodie and jeans, he showed Mayor Ed Lee around the 2 acres on a single floor of premium San Francisco commercial real estate.

It’s the latest start-up Shangri-La, perks-filled cocoons designed to keep workers at their desks building the next big thing. No one at Dropbox has an office, not even Houston; there’s just a rolling tundra of desks. The cafe is set to open as soon as the company completes a nationwide hunt to hire a chef.

A big draw for musicians at Dropbox is a music lounge lit by chandeliers and outfitted with a grand piano, guitars and drums for Friday night jam sessions. A guitarist, Houston used to play ’90s covers with alternative rock band Angry Flannel in Boston and originally dubbed his company “Even Flow” after one of his favorite Pearl Jam tunes.

Whimsically named conference rooms include the “Bromance Chamber,” for some one-on-one time, and “The Breakup Room,” presumably for some alone time. One conference room has been set aside for building elaborate Lego sculptures, and another is appropriately called “First World Problem.”

“Doorman Drew” is named not after Houston, but the doorman at Dropbox’s previous digs, 12,000 square feet of far more modest space in an older building on a seedy stretch of Market Street.

Houston called the airy 87,000-square-foot headquarters, which has exposed duct work and 21st century “Mad Men” minimalist decor, an “upgrade.” It also makes a significant bet on Dropbox’s future — it has enough room to accommodate 550 staffers. The company currently has 120.

“I can’t think of a better place in the world to start a company,” Houston said. “I am really proud to put down roots here.”

Dropbox has enjoyed a storybook rise to success, quickly growing to more than 50 million users despite competition from Apple and Microsoft. Last year the company raised $250 million in venture capital funding, including celebrity investments from U2’s Bono and his bandmate, the Edge, giving Dropbox a valuation of $4 billion and making it one of an elite group of San Francisco start-ups such as Airbnb and Square that have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars at sky-high valuations.

The mighty explosion of tech start-ups not seen in San Francisco since the height of the dot-com boom more than a decade ago has created tens of thousands of jobs and set off a mad scramble for pricey apartments. City officials are banking on companies like Dropbox to breathe life into the economy and help clean up stubbornly blighted stretches. They have doled out tax breaks and other incentives.

Lee is the tech industry’s cheerleader in chief as more companies set up shop in San Francisco. Influential start-up investor Ron Conway promoted the mayor’s election campaign with a music video filmed on the deck of Conway’s Pacific Heights pad featuring Twitter cofounder Biz Stone and Giants pitcher Brian Wilson to the refrain of rapper and tech entrepreneur MC Hammer’s “Too Legit to Quit.”

Lee credited the growth of companies like Dropbox in helping San Francisco survive cuts to state and federal funding. And he called on Dropbox employees to help the city think outside the box and find creative solutions to the paucity of low-income housing and the plight of the homeless.

“San Francisco is ground zero for innovative companies like Dropbox,” Lee said.