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The SoHo of SF?

San Francisco

Between arts, tenants and retail, Midmarket is shaping up to be a mini-New York. Colliers' Cecile Taylor tells us more.

1. Union Square vs. Midmarket

Cecile, here below a Midmarket map in her office, is the new property manager of 1019 Market—home to Zendesk's brand new 73k SF space. Cecile's been managing Union Square buildings for the past five years, which by comparison to her feels old and more stable. In Midmarket, every building seems to have a story, whether it's for sale, recently leased, or entitled for something new. Tech tenants have a 24/7 work lifestyle and crave an urban campus. Zendesk, which held an opening party last week, has an amphitheater, presentation space in the basement, and kitchens on every floor. 

2. Pop Ups are Popping Up

Amazon Web Services had a temporary pop-up loft at 925 Market that wrapped in late June. The locale was successful (above) and is being tested in various markets. Cecile thinks the "" concept could really get legs in that area. Colliers offers other pop-up examples around the world: Bob Dylan pop-up stores in LA, London and other cities to coincide with his album release to a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder shop in Tokyo. Locally, under a partnership between eBay and Westfield Labs, digital storefronts at Westfield San Francisco Centre for Rebecca Minkoff, Sony and TOMS were open for several months through January. 

3. Ravenous for Retail

Young professionals want more food and shopping options, but that may take time in Midmarket. The night of the Zendesk party, some nearby landlords had a retail tour, offering tenants just $1/SF for ground floor retail. That dirt cheap rent has its drawbacks, however. There's lots of space, but vast difference between institutional buildings with renovated space and 40-year old product that needs tons of work. 

4. Rise of the Arts

Soho started out as an arts district, and Midmarket appears to be following suit. Ben Davis, the visionary behind the Bay Bridge light show, just debuted his new "Let There Be" creation at 1019. At this impromptu blue piano on the sidewalk, folks sit down and start playing (Zendesk CEO Mikkal Svane Tweeted a video, above). Cecile hopes Midmarket develops that kind of character, and thinks it will because of the passion new inhabitants show for community. 

5. What's Still Missing

While smaller artisan Ferry Building-type concepts are showing interest along Market, she thinks there's a dearth of bigger grocers, restaurants and even coffee shops. (You have to walk up to the 1200 block to get a Starbucks latte.) She thinks closing off cars—a concept popular in Europe—could bring Market more international tourists and foot traffic.