SoMa So Hip
August 1, 2010
By Michael Fitzhugh

San Francisco's South of Market, sandwiched between Mission Bay and the Financial District, is blossoming

San Franciscoâ??s South of Market district, the hottest place for startups to call home before the 2001 dot-com bust, is regaining luster as both early-stage and established technology companies cautiously spread their wings. Two factors are driving leasing growth in the area, a once-gritty but now-polished ground zero for startups, says Mike McCarthy, senior vice president of the SoMa team at Colliers International: a cultural synergy that makes SoMa a good fir for teach workers and flight from pricier Silicon Valley locales.

â?¦ In the last nine months, tech  companies Twitter Inc., Yelp Inc., Ubisoft Entertainment SA and UStream Inc. have all rented significant amounts of space or broadened their footprints in SoMa. Ubisoft, one of the worldâ??s largest video game developers, signed a seven-year lease renewal for 42,000 square feet at 625 Third St. where it has been housed since 1996 and will expand to a total of 62,000 square feet by the end of the year, according to Studley, a tenant-advisory broker that represented Ubisoft in the transaction.

â?¦ Meanwhile, less tech-centric outfits are also finding SoMa attractive. International law firm Greenberg Traurig earlier this year signed a nearly 30,000 square foot sublease for space at 153 Townsend St., and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency leased just more than 23,000 square feet at 651 Brannan St. in the first quarter, according to Studley. ...