What The Bay Area Read Most As It Weathered A Tough 2022
2022 was a tumultuous year for the San Francisco commercial real estate market, dominated by bad news for the city’s office segment. As the rest of the country inched back to in-person work, the Fog City’s tech segment held firm to its hybrid and remote work policies.
Bisnow’s readers were most interested in stories that focused on the city’s distressed asset classes, as well as the myriad layoffs that hit the Bay Area’s tech industry throughout the year. Additionally, readers clicked on stories that focused on the pains of the Bay Area housing market.
Here are some of the most-read Bisnow stories and topics in the San Francisco market.
Office Vacancies And Remote Work Dominated The Conversation
23andMe’s departure from its 155K SF space in Sunnyvale, relocating to South San Francisco in June, set the tone for a year of office footprint downsizing and relocations. The company moved into a location roughly half the size of its former space, with the company telling Bisnow its 155K location “no longer made sense.”
PayPal’s departure from its downtown San Francisco office location in April was yet another harbinger of things to come. While the company attributed the shutdown of its spaces at 425 Market St. to a shift to remote work, its struggling stock prices suggested other factors may have been at play.
The hushed tones of concern about the city’s office market persisted throughout the year but came to a head when the city itself expressed concern about the long-term viability of in-office work in San Francisco.
A report from the city on the long-term implications of remote work in San Francisco illustrated “major shock” from city officials as remote work went from being a trend to a permanent fixture.
The report, released in the fall and titled "The Persistence of Pandemic-Era Remote Work" laid out familiar data about the return-to-work effort, or lack thereof, and signaled a first step by the city to deal with the longer-term implications of the trend.
The shift in office leasing trends was a big hit with readers, as tenant improvement packages climb and owners scramble to get tenants in the door.
Tech Industry Layoffs Throughout The Year
What started as a slow rumble in the early parts of 2022 exploded into the third and fourth quarters, with news coming sometimes several times per week of a new swath of layoffs taking place at the Bay Area's tech companies.
Companies from PayPal to Meta and beyond instituted massive employee dismissals, citing cost reductions and attempts to shore up the bottom line, leaving thousands without jobs.
Not Even House Boat Residents Are Safe
As the commercial real estate industry scrambled for new or overlooked investment opportunities, interest grew in marinas around the Bay Area, with big companies such as Kilroy Realty Corp. planning redevelopment. But, the interest in marinas created side effects of frustration and displacement for the people living on boats floating in those marinas.
In a region where housing costs have long been beyond the scope of affordability for many, stories about the area's pricey housing market and the government's efforts to rein it in were popular among readers.
Lab Campuses Were All The Rage
Life sciences campuses were among the most-clicked, as Alexandria Real Estate snatched up land in San Bruno, California, part of a plan to build a 2M SF site in the city.
Redevelopment of the 44-acre site could also bring upward of 1,000 homes to the area.
The company also picked up an office portfolio for $446M early in the year, with plans to build a campus in Palo Alto, California.
Don't Forget Twitter
Other stories that captivated our readers included the ongoing drama surrounding Twitter and Elon Musk. The winding road that led to Musk's eventual $44B takeover of the social media platform took most of the year, including his attempts to back out of the deal. In the end, half of the company's staff lost their jobs as Musk sought to cut costs.