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The Three Hottest Retail Stories to Watch

San Francisco Retail

We crashed an SRS Real Estate Partners team meeting at their downtown office to get the scoop on what's new in Bay Area retail. (The company is expanding its landlord rep biz.) Sitting: Randol Mackley, Ross White, Tyler Walker, Bob Berndt; standing: Dominic Nava, Debbie Harrison, Sarah Edwards, Tom Power, and Andrew Lindsey.

1) Mission Street's Slow Ascent

Tyler, a 15-year pro baseball vet (here during his Giants days), transitioned into real estate this year, and his plan is to build up the Mission. Retailers want to be on the already-gentrified Valencia, not Mission Street that's just a block away—despite rents being less than half the price, at $3/SF. One reason is Mission's neighborhood groups standing in the way. Transforming Mission Street will take time, he says, and Maximus' 16th and Mission housing development will be a benchmark for future projects.

2) Pop-Ups Are Popular, But Not Preferred

As e-commerce goes the brick-and-mortar route, the pop-up fad is alive and well. This summer, Amazon Web Services took over a space in Midmarket, which is craving retail right now (we hear the pop-up loft is returning this fall). But those leases don't have much of an impact on the market, says Andrew. Landlords are always after that 10-year tenant, he says. He's helping fill Market Street Place, which just broke ground (rendered above).

3) The Loss of Line Cooks

Ross is a restaurant guy, helping Artis Coffee expand in Hayes Valley and Fillmore; BevMo and Five Guys are also clients. One gripe from S.F. restaurateurs he's hearing is there's a shortage of line cooks and dishwashers who are finding it too expensive to live in the city. Instead, the back of the house is taking jobs in up-and-coming East Bay and Berkeley restaurants, where it's more affordable.