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Dec 03, 2015
Economist from the Federal Reserve on What to Expect in 2016


Armed with a Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley, Liz Laderman has her finger on the pulse of market conditions and outlook in the United States. As Senior Economic Outreach Economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, she keeps tabs on a dynamic set of spreadsheets.


Dr. Laderman recently presented the 2016 Economic Forecast for CREW SF and FWA SF. There was a palpable sense of anticipation in the audience of commercial real estate professionals; just short of holding our breaths, the question on everyone’s minds appears to be, “How long can this go on?”


The answer? While the Fed currently forecasts “moderate growth” to continue, there are some key indicators to watch:


1.     GDP output – That’s Gross Domestic Product and the Fed’s graphs illustrate a steady rise over the last several quarters, with the exception of Q1 2015.

2.     Oil prices – The price of oil has declined 60% since 2014. While this typically translates into extra pocket money, it hasn’t necessarily resulted in a bump in consumer spending. There is no “typical” in this post-Great-Recession economy.

3.     Dollar appreciation – The strength of the dollar has raised concerns about its impact on US GDP growth; a strong dollar results in exports being more expensive.

4.     Labor market – We are currently near full employment, with unemployment below five percent. The concern here, however, is that wages have not increased broadly across a spectrum of jobs.


Of course, with the volatility of recent current events, an unknown question is how global happenings will affect oil prices and the dollar. Dr. Laderman also mentioned that China’s economy holds unknown risks for our global economy.


Will the Fed raise interest rates?

Dr. Laderman acknowledged what many have eyed for some time: the Fed will raise interest rates in the next quarter or two. This increase, however, has been built into their current economic forecast.


See you for next November for the 2017 Economic Forecast!

Nov 23, 2015
Why Winter White?


As a fourth-generation San Franciscan, CREW SF Past President (2002) Jennifer Raike has deep roots in the City and knows a thing or two about tradition.


Jennifer is Vice President and Senior Account Executive at Old Republic Title Company charged with servicing an array of accounts and bringing in new business. Her previous background was as an industrial sales and leasing broker in her father’s company, Damon Raike & Company – a firm boasting 40+ years in business, which later was sold into what is now Cushman & Wakefield.


With Jennifer’s help and her membership in the storied St. Francis Yacht Club, CREW SF is holding its annual holiday event in one of the most coveted pieces of real estate the City has to offer: on the shores of the San Francisco Bay with panoramic views that span from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz. (Register today for the Winter White Benefit here > )


Because Jennifer is an accomplished businesswoman in the traditionally male-dominated field of commercial real estate, she also knows how to shake things up a bit. With her encouragement, CREW SF leadership is not only holding its holiday event at a different venue – the St. Francis Yacht Club - but it is also holding it in the evening.


Why is CREW SF switching up its holiday event this year?

“It’s good to shake things up a bit. We’re celebrating CREW SF’s 30th anniversary. And we have a lot of newer members. It’s hard for them to take two or three hours in the middle of the day to come and celebrate, then go back to work. We had an evening event for the holiday party in the mid-90s – at Treasure Island, which was very successful. Plus, the St. Francis Yacht Club is such a lovely venue.”


How long have you been a member of the St. Francis Yacht Club?

“My family’s been a member since the 70s; I’ve had my own membership for about 14 years. I love to entertain there. It’s such a magnificent venue. It’s like sitting on a cruise ship – with the Golden Gate Bridge, the pelicans, watching the sailboats race on the Bay … there’s nothing else like it.”


What’s your favorite thing about the Club?

“It’s always been a very easy place. I live on Russian Hill, about eight minutes away. Whether we want to go grab a burger or just enjoy the view, it’s so easy to stop by there and relax. And the parking is free.”


Have things gotten better for women in the commercial real estate industry?

We’ve definitely moved forward. I’ve been in CRE since 1976, so I have seen a lot of changes. I have not seen as much change as I would like to see. It’s still an old boys network, so we’ve still got a lot of work to do.


Why do you stay connected with CREW?

CREW has been very, very good to me. I attended one of CREW SF’s first meetings in the mid 1980s. I’ve been a member for 25 years. CREW has been so good to me – from helping me learn how to be a leader, how to be a worker among workers, learning how to delegate, how to be mentored and how to mentor others. I’ve gotten so much from CREW.


My three years involved in board leadership – as President-Elect, President and immediate Past-President - were probably the most important years as far as defining my role in real estate and my career … as far as professional and personal growth, the friendships, the business relationships, the education and just general growth … my involvement in CREW has been priceless.


Why should someone attend this year’s Winter White Benefit?

This is CREW SF’s most attended event. Not only is this your opportunity to meet with some very influential leaders in the business, it will be a fun time with good people. And there is nothing like an evening at the classic St. Francis Yacht Club during the holidays. This will be a very special event.

Oct 30, 2015
A Neighborly Intervention: 270 Brannan Street

© 2015 Peter W. Pfau, FAIA, LEED AP, Pfau Long Architecture


Few modern office buildings have been constructed in the city’s South End Historic District, the former warehouse area immediately south of the Bay Bridge. But San Francisco–based SKS Partners and Mitsui Fudosan purchased a rectangular site there, located at the southern edge of Rincon Hill. Brannan is a busy east-west street with a number of historic office and residential loft buildings; De Boom is a pedestrian-oriented alley at a higher elevation, close to South Park. SKS and Mitsui Fudosan asked Pfau Long Architecture to design a contemporary building that would appeal to single or multiple tech tenants. This meant a sensitive intervention that would work with the older brick buildings nearby but also be as flexible as possible for unknown users.

We decided to reflect the topography of the hill in the design and weave a circulation system that permitted entrances on both streets. What would be cooler than an address of One De Boom? The main entrance on Brannan will have a staffed reception lobby, while the De Boom entrance will be for employees and have its own lobby, which will help further activate this wonderfully scaled alley. 

To solve the various challenges of the site and program, we created a diagram with essentially two buildings, linked by a single circulation core. It was important that the 15,000-square-foot floor plate could work for any kind of company, whether a start-up or something more well established. 


As such, the clients wanted a structural system that would permit relatively open floor plates. The project structural engineers, Tipping Structural Engineers, used an innovative post-tensioned shear wall system. Typically, the post-tensioned system is used in horizontal slabs. Placing the system vertically enables it to take more stress than a typical shear wall, so the building needs far fewer shear walls and offers a more open and flexible floor plate.

A 4,500-square-foot atrium will serve as the main social space for the building and allow all of the office floors to receive daylight from two directions. A glass canopy that is open around the edges will allow the space to naturally aspirate, so it does not need a mechanical system. Developed by Los Angeles–based Enclos, the asymmetrical canopy will have a birdlike form that contrasts with the building’s rectangularity. The cable system for the canopy has now become part of the branding for the building. The form drops down at one end so storm water runoff can flow into a cistern that will irrigate the plantings. Within the courtyard, landscape architects Meyer + Silberberg Land Architects will position a mix of permanent and movable seating.

The two buildings step up the hill, which permits a roof deck on the Brannan side that offers spectacular bay views. The two highest floors on the north side have a different glazing pattern than the rest of the building to take advantage of this vista. It took some innovative engineering from the structural engineers to accommodate this elegant design solution.

The larger aesthetic challenge for the project was to create a contemporary building that would appeal to tech tenants but also respect the surrounding historic district. A German ceramic panel manufactured by Moeding was selected as the primary cladding material on the street elevations. To provide some variety and sparkle, two colors were selected; careful placement of the colors gives the appearance of a random pattern and relates to the irregularity of nearby brick buildings. The rhythm and pattern of the window openings relate to the patterns found in the older brick and masonry buildings while admitting large amounts of daylight. The building’s siting, window glazing, high-performance insulation, solar panels, daylighting, and sustainable materials cause the team to anticipate a LEED Platinum rating, which appeals to potential 
tenants but is also the right thing to do. 

All that focus on sustainability, flexibility, and quality paid off when Splunk, which offers a platform for analyzing machine data, leased the entire building before it was finished. Perhaps 270 Brannan will be renamed the Splunk Building when the company moves in later this year!
For more information please visit


About the author
Peter W. Pfau, FAIA, LEED AP, founding principal of Pfau Long Architecture, Ltd. in San Francisco, has earned a reputation as a modernist who balances conceptual rigor with a love for building craft. Peter was a founding principal of Holt Hinshaw Pfau Jones in 1985 and was involved many of that firm’s award-winning projects, including the Astronauts Memorial at Kennedy Space Center. In 1991, Peter established Pfau Architecture, Ltd. (now Pfau Long Architecture, Ltd.), an atelier-sized design firm in San Francisco. The firm works on a range of projects, including exposition and museum spaces, educational facilities, office buildings, restaurants, places of worship, and single-family and multiunit housing. Peter’s recent work includes designing the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal in a Joint Venture with KMD Architects, the SPUR Urban Center, and the Magnes Museum of Jewish Art and Life in Berkeley.



See this article in our Q2 issue of The VIEW>>


Image Courtesy of SteelBlue

Sep 18, 2015
The Rising Leaders are Wine Savvy – We Saw, Swirled, Smelled and Sipped


The newly formed CREW-SF Rising Leaders Committee recently hosted their first event at the Haworth Showroom.  Attendees took a sommelier-guided wine tour through five different wines and learned how to impress a crowd with our wine tasting skills and terminology.


CREW-SF member Amanda Bates of Kilroy Realty enlisted the expertise of her friend Alexandria Dempsey, a Certified Specialist of Wine who is leaving for Italy soon to pursue her MBA in food and wine.


The event is the first in a series that the Rising Leaders are planning. The group is interested in holding events that include something educational, but not at the expense of a little fun and socializing. Kicking off with a wine event seemed a natural, as knowing about wine is a handy professional skill for women of all ages to have.


The Rising Leaders practiced their four S’s – See, Swirl, Smell, and (most importantly) Sip while learning about the differences in wine from Napa, France, New Zealand and Italy.  Wine tasting proved to be such a fun way for our members and non-members to network and brush up on their wine savvy.


What did the Rising Leaders taste in those five wines?


1.     Fruit: More common in new world wines.

a.     White wines:

i.     Tree fruit: apples, pears

ii.     Stone fruit: peach, nectarine

iii.     Citrus: grapefruit, lemon, orange

b.     Red wines:

i.     Berries: blackberry, raspberry, strawberry

ii.     Stone fruit: plum, cherry

2.     Earth: More common in old world wines.

a.     Wet stone, water on concrete, forest floor, tree bark, mushrooms, chalk

3.     Wood: Aged in oak

a.     Vanilla, baking spices


Thanks to all who attended and our sponsor Haworth. The Rising Leaders look forward to our next event on October 7th, a joint event with the Programs Committee: CREW Extension Series: Inhabiting Your Leadership Body.




Sep 11, 2015
From school to scholarship to career in 3 steps: A CREW-SF Rising Leader’s story


Step One: Focus

When Erica Chan was in the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, her classmates were looking at careers in investment banking or consulting. She knew all along that commercial real estate beckoned.


“I was born in Hong Kong and real estate is really big there. It’s something very tangible. Even when I was little, I have always wanted to build my own building.”


While researching education support, Erica found out about the CREW Network Foundation and applied for a scholarship. She was awarded $5,000 in tuition assistance along with a complimentary attendance to the Annual Convention and Marketplace. Hungry to meet other real estate professionals, Erica found herself at the Miami convention in 2014.


Step Two: Seize the Opportunity

With her ability to retain a laser-like focus on what she wants, Erica attended the CREW Convention seeking a job. While networking in Miami, Erica met HR staff and analysts that were working at Prudential Real Estate Investors in the Bay Area. Prudential was seeking talent at the Convention. Soon enough, Erica found herself with an offer to move to San Francisco for her (new) career in real estate finance.


While she’d never lived in the Bay Area before, Erica is sold on San Francisco, “I’ve been here for only three months and I love it!”


Step Three: Stay Connected

Sure, Erica could have just gotten her job and ended her affiliation with CREW, however she not only recognizes the value of the Network, but also wants to give back.


Erica joined CREW-SF’s Rising Leaders Committee, for those new to the industry. While she loves her job in finance, she’s interested in exploring all facets of real estate and says that CREW offers a window-in to all aspects.


“Real estate is a big industry, from commercial real estate developers to real estate investment trusts (REITs), involving a broad understanding on debt, equity, contracts, laws, and tax regulations. I just want to learn everything, from A to Z.” Involvement in CREW allows her to glean something from all those disciplines, Erica notes.


Erica plans to attend the Network Convention in Seattle. What are three things she’s looking forward to there?

  1. Learning from all the sessions and other people's experiences. "You can never have too much knowledge. I will never stop learning."
  2. Meeting lots of great people. “In Miami, there were over a thousand people attending and everyone was so kind and genuine … they’re very willing to talk to you and help.”
  3. “I want to give back. I would love to meet young students who are like how I was last year - exploring the different areas of real estate with a keen interest in learning, meeting new people, and starting a career."


Erica Chan

Jul 01, 2015
CREW-SF Launches Rising Leaders Committee for Emerging Professionals


Remember what it was like to start out in your career? Maybe you were new to a company and didn’t have a “wing-woman” to accompany you to events. Or perhaps you were new to the industry and without a trusted colleague to bring you up to speed on all the acronyms. In commercial real estate, the intimidation factor can multiply exponentially for women who find themselves in a distinct minority.


To help address some of these challenges, CREW-SF is pleased to launch its “Rising Leaders” committee. With goals including to provide mentorship and development opportunities for its members, the new group has already attracted a core of nearly a dozen enthusiastic participants.


Amanda Bates, Investment Associate at Kilroy Realty, knew instantly that the Rising Leaders group was for her. “I had just moved here from Washington D.C. a year ago, and I knew that CREW, and particularly this group, would be a place for me to feel most comfortable expanding my network,” said Amanda. “To make connections at multiple levels; to meet more seasoned people in the industry and find mentors – I knew CREW’s Rising Leaders would be the fastest and most effective way to grow my network in San Francisco commercial real estate.”


The group is distinct from other young professional tracks in professional associations. CREW SF conceived the Rising Leaders group as a “self-selected group for those fresher to the industry,” according to CREW-SF President Laurie Gustafson. With no hard cut-off for involvement, such as age, the Rising Leaders group could encompass a diversity of members who are new to the field of commercial real estate.


Kilroy hosted the most recent Rising Leaders meeting, where the passions and ambitions among this group were palpable. In addition to planning the group’s first mixer, the Rising Leaders brainstormed a variety of events they’d like to lead, including:


“A Day in the Life” – a panel featuring select members who will walk the group through what their job entails.

“Develop Your Elevator Speech” – a crash course in how best to represent yourself, your company, your brand.


After three initial meetings with facilitation and support from CREW-SF Board Member Kristina Owyoung Vinson, the Rising Leaders group has already formed strong bonds. When asked if they all knew each other, the response was resounding: “We do now!”


CREW-SF associate members interested in joining the Rising Leaders committee can contact the Team Leads for information: Amanda Bates – or Kena David –



CREW-SF board members join Rising Leaders at a recent meeting of the newly formed committee


Jun 04, 2015
Marshmallow Challenge


The CREW SF Board members, Team Leads and Team Chairs took the Marshmallow Challenge on May 21, 2015, during the first of the three workshops organized by the Delegates for the CREW SF leadership each year. Our 2015 Delegates, Kristin Paul and Lada Kocherovsky, prepared and led the leadership through the challenging and fun team-building design exercise to focus on collaboration, innovation and creativity. Several teams competed to construct the tallest free-stranding structure out of 20 spaghetti noodles, tape and string, and one marshmallow in only 18 minutes. In a not very surprising turn of events, the team that included two architects won the challenge; however, the team of three attorneys presented some very convincing arguments as to why they should be qualified as winners as well.

Pictured left to right:

Lada Kocherovsky, Page & Turnbull, Delegate Krystal Grubb, Skidmore Owing & Merrill LLP, Communications Team Chair Kristina Owyoung Vinson, Pankow Builders, Director, Membership and Rising Leaders Laurie Gustafson, Sedgwick LLP, President Terri Emery, FME Architecture & Design, Programs Team Chair Nancy Lundeen, Allen Matkins, Past-President Melissa Holmes, Holmes & Associates, Director, CAT Julie Jacobson, Autodesk, Director, Sponsorship Katie Ullman, Prudential Real Estate Investors, Director, CFO

May 29, 2015
Four things you missed if you didn’t attend CREW-SF’s Panel on the Port


CREW-SF presented a panel of top leaders on one of the hottest topics buzzing around San Francisco: Redevelopment of the San Francisco Waterfront. Some of the biggest names on the scene graced the stage at the City Club for the luncheon.


Moderating was Port of San Francisco Executive Director Monique Moyer. Panelists were James Madsen, partner with Orton Development, which is redeveloping the Historic Pier 70; Alexa Arena, SVP with Forest City West, developers of Pier 70; and Fran Weld of the San Francisco Giants, who discussed the baseball great’s latest development of Mission Rock.


Some of the lesser known takeaways for each project:


  1. The S.F. Giants are the biggest single business consumers of Anchor Steam Beer. So, it seemed like a natural fit for Anchor Steam to be an integral partner when the Giants were looking to redevelop the Mission Rock site. Even more exciting, the Giants are researching innovative solutions to incorporate Anchor Steam’s gray-water (from producing all that beer) into a sustainable water system for the new development.
  2. The Historic Pier 70 project was not the home to the old car tow yard that so many San Franciscans remember. But it had become home to numerous raccoons. James Madsen of Orton Development recounted how one of the buildings was a “Hilton for raccoons” and presented the developer with one of the biggest challenges they faced with the project.
  3. The Pier 70 project being developed by Forest City WAS the home of the old car tow yard. We also learned that this creative and extensive project has been four plus years in the works, with another three to four years more of approvals and planning alone before construction begins.
  4. $1.6 billion. That’s the price-tag in deferred maintenance costs for the historic piers. Monique Moyer lamented that the number continues to loom large for the Port of San Francisco.


Each panelist presented and when the floor opened up for questions, the audience threw no softballs. From housing affordability to infrastructure to transportation, all hot-button issues were fair game.


To ensure you stay on top of the latest in San Francisco’s commercial real estate scene, attend our next panel, on July 15th, “The Futuristic Think Tank.”


May 21, 2015
CREW SF at NAIOP Annual Real Estate Challenge


For the third year in a row, CREW SF purchased a table at the NAIOP Annual Real Estate Challenge, held this year on May 11, 2015, at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.   Teams of UC Berkeley and Stanford University students presented their vision for the redevelopment of Fort Mason, Pier 1.  The presentations by both teams were truly impressive, with UC Berkeley winning the coveted Golden Shovel Award for their plans for a boutique hotel incorporating a decommissioned ship.



CREW SF attendees included:


Kristina Owyoung Vinson, Pankow Builders

Kristin Paul, Prudential Real Estate Investors

Stacie Goeddel, Holland & Knight LLP

Jennifer Raike Old Republic Title Company

Melissa Holmes, Holmes & Associates

Laurie Gustafson, Sedgwick LLP

Tracy Everwine, Central Market Community Benefit District

Michelle Jones, RIM Architects

Nancy Lundeen, Allen Matkins

Lada Kocherovsky, Page & Turnbull

Rosanna Russell, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

May 05, 2015
Priceless, Informative and Thoughtful


Last month, CREW-SF presented Holly Schroth, PH.D. for the second part of our extension series on Leadership: Negotiations & Influence. Dr. Schroth presented to a full house of 40 attendees on “The Art of Working with People to Get Things Done.”


Dr. Schroth is a distinguished Senior Lecturer at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for UC Berkeley Executive Education.

The high-level workshop was very interactive and is a benefit of involvement in CREW-SF. We’re delighted to share some (unsolicited) feedback from CREW-SF member


Susan Yau, Financial Analyst with DTZ:

“I just wanted to thank the appropriate CREW committee that put this leadership program together. I thought the presentation was priceless, informative and thoughtful and well worth my membership dues. I only wish there were more of these Leadership workshops!”


Thank you for your feedback and involvement, Susan. And it’s just another testament to how beneficial membership in CREW is!

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Welcome New Members


  • Tu-Uyen Do, UBS Realty Investors
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