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Google to Expand San Francisco Office Space in Two Deals

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Spear Tower in the One Market Plaza Complex
At the Spear Tower building, Google Inc. will occupy floors two through 16, according to the person with knowledge of the lease. Source: Jones Lang LaSalle via Bloomberg

July 12 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., owner of the world’s biggest search engine, bought a San Francisco office building and agreed to lease space at a nearby tower as it expands its real estate presence in the city.

Google purchased 188 The Embarcadero from Ares Management LP and USAA Investment Management Co. for $65 million in a transaction completed two days ago, said two people with knowledge of the deal, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. The company also will lease 250,000 square feet (23,200 square meters) at the 42-story Spear Tower in the One Market Plaza complex.

“We are excited to expand in San Francisco, and we will continue to work hard to be a good neighbor in the communities where we work and live,” said Caitlin Adair, a Google spokeswoman, who confirmed the purchase and lease but declined to give details.

The deals give the Mountain View, California-based company a cluster of offices within blocks of each other near San Francisco’s waterfront. The eight-story Embarcadero property sits at the corner of the bayside boulevard and Howard Street, within view of the landmark Ferry Building. It’s about two blocks from Hills Plaza, Google’s main offices in the city.

Margot Olcay, a spokeswoman for San Antonio, Texas-based USAA, confirmed the Embarcadero building was sold and declined to comment further. Bill Mendel, spokesman for Los Angeles-based Ares, declined to comment, as did Ted Koltis, senior vice president for Paramount Group Inc., Spear Tower’s majority owner.

Rising Rents

San Francisco office properties are in demand for investors as leasing climbs among technology-industry tenants. Prime rents in the second quarter rose 9.6 percent from a year earlier to an average $60.07 a square foot in a “rapidly rebounding, tech-centric marketplace,” according to brokerage Cushman & Wakefield Inc.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management unit paid $415 million last month for 22 Fourth St., which includes offices, a hotel, retail space and a development site. In May, Shenzhen, China-based Genzon Property Group Co. Ltd. acquired a 95 percent stake in 225 Bush St. in a deal that valued the office building at $350 million.

It’s not clear what Google’s plans are for the new space. The Embarcadero property has about 88,000 square feet and is two-thirds empty, said a person familiar with the deal.

At the Spear Tower building, Google will occupy floors two through 16, according to the person with knowledge of the lease. The tower is the biggest component of the One Market Plaza office complex. Blackstone Group LP bought a 49 percent stake in the property earlier this year.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dan Levy in San Francisco at dlevy13@bloomberg.net; Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net; Pui-Wing Tam at ptam13@bloomberg.net Daniel Taub

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