The intersection of tech and real estate

The MBA Real Estate Club visited the West Coast for its inaugural San Francisco career trek, where we saw firsthand how technology is heavily influencing commercial real estate development.


The MBA Real Estate Club inside Google HQ in San Francisco.

The MBA Real Estate Club inside Google HQ in San Francisco.

Google HQ (San Francisco)
We all know Google is driving high-tech innovation, but touring the company’s San Francisco headquarters really highlighted the firm’s workplace innovation. Josh Myerberg (MBA ’04) executive director at Morgan Stanley – which owns the Hills Plaza property where Google is located – gave our group a look behind the scenes of the tech giant.

Treadmill desks, massage chairs and cafes offering a wide variety of gourmet food are just a few of the many amenities peppered throughout the office. The space also has a number of flex seats to accommodate staff based at Google’s Mountain View campus who wish to work in the city a few days a week. These new design concepts support the flexibility and work-life balance desired by the millennial work force.

Salesforce Tower
Salesforce has made a significant commitment to maintaining office space in the city in order to attract and retain top talent. Salesforce Tower will comprise an entire city block and stand 61 stories tall – half of which will be occupied by Salesforce. The building will include a 100-foot tall lighting feature atop the 61 occupied floors, making it the tallest building on the West Coast and a defining feature of the San Francisco skyline. Boston Properties, the co-developer of Salesforce Tower along with Hines, hosted our club in the tower’s marketing space providing a multimedia learning experience and a bird’s eye view of the construction site.

One of Salesforce Tower’s most coveted amenities is the connection to the new Transbay Transit Center and City Park, which will provide employees with easy access to public transportation, retail and entertainment.

The San Francisco skyline. Photo by Chris Zhu (MBA ’17)

The San Francisco skyline. Photo by Chris Zhu (MBA ’17)

Transbay Transit Center
Just steps outside of Salesforce Tower is Transbay Transit Center, which will replace the existing Transbay Terminal. The new modernized hub will connect eight Bay Area counties through 11 transportation systems, helping to relieve a large portion of the traffic congestion experienced by commuters every day. Unique to this Transit Center will be a 5.4 acre rooftop city park that will include a variety of communal space, including an amphitheater, gardens, trails, play spaces for children, retail and dining. The Transbay Transit Center is an example of how an integrated transit design can not only serve the needs of a growing city, but also provide those that work and live in the area with access to desired community amenities.

Google HQ, Salesforce Tower and the Transbay Transit Center are just a glimpse of the developments being driven by changing demographics in the San Francisco Bay Area. As this tech hub continues to grow, we expect that commercial real estate will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the millennial work force – including flexible workspaces with amenities that support a healthy work-life balance.

By Hailey Boushey (MBA ’17) and Robbie Saclarides (MBA ’17)