Autodesk is reducing its Marin County, San Francisco offices as employees prefer a hybrid workplace

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Autodesk is reducing its physical presence in San Francisco and Marin County, another sign of how some large Bay Area employers are reconfiguring their workplace plans during the pandemic.

Autodesk recently decided to consolidate some of its offices around its headquarters in San Rafael and San Francisco, according to a spokesperson. The software developer is moving out of two locations — 3900 Civic Center Drive north of San Rafael and 300 Mission St. in San Francisco — and consolidating employees into surrounding buildings.

“Rather than a departure, these two closures represent a redirection of Autodesk’s investment in the San Francisco market,” Stacy Doyle wrote in an email. “We remain committed to our presence in the Bay Area.”

Hiring at companies during the pandemic has increased due to company growth and revenue, which is believed to be below the industry average, Doyle wrote. But the company has ramped up its “flexible workplace” program in recent months, relying on quarterly contributions from workers.

“Based on information obtained through direct employee surveys, there is a growing preference for performing one-to-one work remotely and holding team meetings or collaborative work in offices,” Doyle wrote. This preference was more than half in some of these polls.

Autodesk announced the opening of the 117,000 square foot office at 300 Mission last year, and the lease for the nearly 47,000 square foot 3900 Civic Center building began in early 2020, according to the San Francisco Business. Times and North Bay Business Newspaper Reports.

According to its latest annual report, the company’s facilities in San Rafael consisted of approximately 162,000 square feet under leases with expiration dates ranging from December 2021 to December 2024, and its facilities in San Francisco consisted of approximately 284,000 square feet. square feet of leases expiring December 2022 through June 2026. Corporate real estate totaled 2.1 million square feet in 100 locations across the United States and globally.

In its fiscal third quarter report, released in early December, the company said it expects to take an impairment charge of about $180 million for adjustments to its real estate due to the pandemic.

While larger employers in the Bay Area and Marin are generally more cautious about their plans to reoccupy their offices, a number of smaller businesses have huddled together in their corporate spaces, according to Whitney Strotz, who oversees the company. commercial real estate Cushman & The San Rafael location of Wakefield.

“This recent omicron spike seems to put things on hold in the short term, as we go through a relatively large spike in cases,” Strotz said of big business plans to expand their local real estate. But rather than give up on those goals, these employers tend to slow down their searches on the site, he said.

A trend in these site searches that has gained momentum in the pandemic is the shift from central offices in urban areas to a hub-and-spoke model, with a smaller central office there and even smaller satellite locations in the surrounding suburbs closer to the employees. ‘ houses, according to Strotz.

He currently works with a handful of San Francisco businesses that are looking for multiple locations of around 4,000 to 5,000 square feet in the Bay Area suburbs.

“Sales organizations have had success with this model for a long time,” Strotz said. This arrangement typically includes a regional office with management, human resources and operational support, and then smaller offices in surrounding markets. “What’s different now is that we’re seeing other kings of organizations looking for a similar space.”

Haden Ongaro, who leads Newmark’s commercial real estate brokerage team in North Bay from San Rafael, said the rebound in rents and occupancy rates in upper-class Silicon Valley office space, “the view” of San Francisco (with views of the windows above the surrounding buildings) and the southern prime Marin complexes are signs that the market for these spaces is picking up.

“We are seeing a flight to quality in the Bay Area,” Ongaro said. “Buildings in South Marin have performed well and maintained high rental rates and low vacancy rates – in some cases less than 5% available (for rent).”

One company that gave away significant office space in Marin County earlier in the pandemic was online job marketplace Glassdoor, which moved its headquarters to a San Francisco skyscraper as part of a consolidation of the Bay Area. But the company’s 40,000-square-foot former headquarters at 160 Shoreline Parkway in Mill Valley is in advanced negotiations with three undisclosed companies in various industries to occupy the space, according to Ongaro, who is part of the team that negotiates the agreements. And one of those companies is also interested in adding an additional 15,000 square feet to an adjacent building.

Still, the 3900 Civic Center space that Autodesk is moving to could see a tougher time in the market, according to Strotz.

“Bigger blocks of space haven’t seen this much action since COVID,” Strotz said. “It’s a weak point in the market. The medium and small (sized) sequels have seen the most action over the past 24 months. Hopefully, as we move from pandemic to endemic soon, we will see bigger blocks attract more interest again.

Jeff Quackenbush covers wine, construction and real estate. Prior to The Business Journal, he wrote for Bay City News Service in San Francisco. He graduated from Walla Walla University. Contact him at [email protected] or 707-521-4256.

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