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555 Cali: The New SoMa?

San Francisco

Vornado's 555 Cali is almost fully leased, and the types of tenants interested in the skyscraper might surprise you. (Unless you watch The Walking Dead. Then nothing will surprise you.)

The 52-story tower is now 98% leased, with anchor Bank of America recently agreeing to a longer renewal and a big tech name close to signing on floors two and three. We caught up with Vornado's Paul Heinen, Edward Riguardi, David Greenbaum, Glen Weiss, and CAC Group's Bill Cumbelich Tuesday night, hanging out on the top floor following the building's 7th annual tree lighting downstairs. Paul is used to bitter cold (he's based in Chicago), but says he regretted only sporting a suit and tie for the chilly ceremony. The floor we were on used to house the Carnelian Room; it will welcome a popular gaming company in the future.

Former San Fran Mayor Willie Brown did the tree lighting honors, and the VIP after-party atop the iconic address included a private performance by pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, wintery cocktails, a UCSF Medical Center fundraiser, and photo ops with 49ers girls and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott. Tenants and their tweens were also invited to the shell space to enjoy sweeping city views and Carly, who sang her hit track "Call Me Maybe" with a timely side of "Let It Snow." (Property managers, on the other hand, requested warm weather and that you stop calling them.) CAC Group has been leasing out 555 Cali since Vornado bought the trophy asset in '07.

Real estate runs in Bill's family; this week, we interviewed his baby brother John. Bill is seeing a convergence in San Francisco between what tech and traditional companies are looking for: open space, flexibility, and collaboration, to name a few. At 555 Cali, 30k SF floor plates, high ceilings, and stellar views fit into those tenant wish lists. Gone are the days when tech companies limit themselves to renovated warehouses, especially as startups grow and SoMa space gets scarce.