A new office leasing team is making its mark in downtown Oakland – well, not entirely new. The team joined Colliers from Avison Young in June of 2023, bringing with them a history of successful leasing transactions and a portfolio of newly won listings. Comprised of seasoned veterans Charlie Allen, Anthony Shell, Amber Merrigan, and David Goldberg, this collective team boasts over 60 years of experience servicing the downtown Oakland and surrounding East Bay office markets. Catering to a diverse clientele ranging from seed-stage startups to Fortune 500 companies, non-profits, and institutional and local landlords, they offer specialized leasing services tailored to meet varied needs.

In this challenging office landscape, how has the team achieved success?

Before their move to Colliers in the summer of 2023, the team closed deals totaling 150,000 square feet of space at 475 City Center in downtown Oakland, a 180,000 square foot Class A office building situated directly on top of 12th Street BART. They’ve achieved remarkable success at 1999 Harrison Street near Lake Merritt leasing over 445,000 square feet since taking over the listing in 2018. Most recently, they secured the leasing assignment for 1330 Broadway in Oakland’s prominent business district, a 315,000 square foot, 18-story Class A office tower. The team identifies several qualities crucial for success in the current office environment, with competitively low rental rates and Flight to Quality trends being the largest factors in this equation.

When analyzing the Class A Oakland office market, the team highlights two trends vital for attracting and retaining tenants. Firstly, certain properties are proactively reducing their rates to counteract escalating vacancy rates. A recent Class A Rent Study conducted in collaboration with the leasing team and Colliers’ Oakland Research team revealed that the average asking rate for Downtown Oakland properties currently falls between $3.50 and $4.50 per square foot, FSG (Full-Service Gross). In response, the team advocated for ownership at 475 City Center to lower its asking rate to $3.50 per square foot, FSG, to maintain its competitiveness and improve their current 30% vacancy rate. Download the full Class A Rent Study here.

The other major trend observed by the team is a Flight to Quality. 1999 Harrison Street, one of the most desirable buildings in Oakland, outperforms its competition with a 19.4% vacancy rate as of February 2024. Significant capital improvements made by Beacon Capital Partners have been pivotal to their return-to-office and leasing success. Investments into building amenities such as tenant engagement programs, a conference center, EV parking stalls, a well-equipped gym, and parking with safe and direct access to the building have all played crucial roles. As a result, 1999 Harrison Street has maintained an asking rate north of $5.00 per square foot, highlighting the strength of the building and the importance of an enhanced workplace experience for tenants.

Looking ahead, the leasing team remains diligent in monitoring fluctuations in Class A rental rates and other emerging market trends. As we enter the second quarter of 2024, the team is both eager and poised to provide their clients with the necessary market analysis to enhance their leasing velocity in this ever-evolving office landscape.

Internally, the team takes pride in qualities that benefit their clients, including strong broker relationships, responsiveness, transparency, honesty, and creativity in deal-making.

For more insights, please reach out to: Anthony Shell, Amber Merrigan, David Goldberg