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!