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Tech Growth Bodes Well For Office Players With A Long-Term Approach

San Francisco's Jay Paul Co. prides itself on building sustainable projects that the company holds for the long term.

With typical deals ranging between $500M and $1B+, Jay Paul Co. Managing Director of Capital Markets Preston O'Connell said the self-financed firm has distinct advantages over its competitors.

181 Fremont

"We’re owned by one individual, and a small group of us make investment decisions," O'Connell said. "We can move pretty quickly, and we don’t need to go raise outside capital."

Another advantage for the firm is being in the Bay Area, where so many of the largest tech companies in the world are, O'Connell said.

"We design our projects so we can meet their mission statement as it relates to sustainability and, for us, it’s something we think is highly important to do," O'Connell said. 

One such example is 181 Fremont in San Francisco.

The project, which is 800 feet tall and 70 stories high, with 67 luxury residences and 432K SF of Class-A+ office space, was designed with the most robust foundation system for a high-rise anywhere on the West Coast, he said.

This is something that would come in especially handy in the event of an earthquake.

"What we try and do is do things like that — take a long-term perspective and build the highest-quality project we can that’s still very functional," O'Connell said.

Jay Paul Co. Managing Director Preston O’Connell (above center with his wife, Casan, and Don Moses of Arena) at a previous Bisnow event

As far as office in general is concerned, he said his firm is confident about the future because demand has picked up in the last six to 12 months.

"Some tech companies have gone through a huge growth spurt over the last six to 12 months," O'Connell said. "We think the demand is the strongest it’s ever been, and we think it will continue. We feel very confident about that component."

He said there are concerns about rising construction costs and land values. Jay Paul Co. has seen yield on investment drop to historic lows and is highly selective right now regarding the developments the company does.

The company is taking a wait-and-see approach, though still actively looking for projects.

O'Connell and other experts will talk more about office trends at the Bisnow Big West Coast Office Expo on Sept. 19 in San Francisco.