[Noisebridge-discuss] New Noisebridge Space

Bill Pollock bill at nostarch.com
Sun May 3 15:26:28 PDT 2009


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Hello All,

I've been following the discussion about finding a new space for
Noisebridge. I'm really excited to see that Noisebridge is growing and
thriving and I'm writing to weigh in on that discussion. (I've been
following the commercial real estate market for almost seven years now.)

The commercial real estate market is soft. There's a ton of available
space out there. It's really a buyer's (or renter's) market right now.

I don't pretend to know what's good for the Noisebridge community, but I
thought I'd share some thoughts on the space that's been reported on
over by 17th street. (I haven't seen the space, btw, and for all I know
it's a great space.)

* The commercial real estate market is pretty efficient. When you find a
deal there's usually a reason. That doesn't mean that deals are a bad
thing, but it's important to know why something is a deal.

* Renting commercial is very different from renting residential. You're
not likely to find renters lined up, chasing after commercial space
because there is so much space on the market. If you don't get this one
you'll get another one.

* It's harder to rent the larger spaces than it is the small ones. That
means there's often more room to negotiate on the larger ones.

* 8' foot ceilings are low. (Legal height is 7'6" so that's just a bit
over the legal height limit for what's considered rentable space.) Very
few businesses would consider a space with a ceiling that low. (I know
we wouldn't touch it.) Wouldn't it be great to be in a space like the
one occupied by Cell Space? Those spaces are around.

* Light and air matter, especially if you're planning to hang out in a
space. Ceiling height matters, too, as does neighborhood.

* You'll find many listings for commercial space at loopnet.com. Have a
look. There are lots of spaces listing for $12.00/sf/year -- about
$1.00/sf. Figure these rents are negotiable, and you should be able to
negotiate improvements as well. Search Industrial as well as Office.

* Check realtor sites directly. HCM has a lot of commercial space:
http://www.hcmcommercial.com/

* Consider hiring a commercial realtor. I can recommend an excellent
one: Rob Maccarone with TRI Commercial. His phone is 415.268.2277. He
knows me well. (I didn't buy through him but I should have.)

* Check the crime maps
(http://www.sfgov.org/site/police_index.asp?id=3D23813). Mission and 17th
is a center of drug activity. (I was told as much by the police
department when I was considering buying a "deal" in that area.)

* Finally, beware of expanding too quickly. The last thing you want is
to be kicked out of your next space because your cashflow drops and you
can't cover the rent.

Bill
- --
William Pollock, Founder
No Starch Press
+1 415.863.9900
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