HTC, one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, is looking to expand its San Francisco presence by converting an industrial building in the northeast Mission into a design center and laboratory, according to documents submitted to the San Francisco Planning Department.
One & Co, an industrial design firm acquired by HTC in 2008, currently has office space on the first floor of 576-590 York St. The Taiwan-based company wants to take over the second floor of the building as well and consolidate its design team into the 14,176 square foot, two-story brick building at the corner of 18th Street, documents show.
“Collocation of the entire [HTC's San Francisco design team] will produce synergies that will allow HTC to maintain and expand its industrial and product development, product engineering and testing and commercial arts and graphic design operations in San Francisco,” Matthew Gray, the lawyer representing HTC, wrote to the Planning Department.
Perkins Coie, the architecture firm hired by HTC, sent a letter to the Planning Department last July asking for a determination of the legality of the move. The department reported that its plans are mostly in line with the zoning restrictions in the area.
Phone call and email requests seeking comment from the architecture firm, HTC and One & Co were not returned.
As tech companies look to hire local talent, they have been increasingly aggressive in leasing office space in San Francisco. Tech currently occupies some 22 percent of the total office space in San Francisco, according to a report by Global Research and Consulting. Salesforce announced this week that it was leasing a 180,000 square foot space on Brannan Street.
HTC would join Soundcloud, which moved to Treat Avenue in 2011, as one of the major tech companies in the Mission. Earlier this year, Tech Crunch reported that Twice, an online consignment shop, signed a lease for warehouse space in the Mission.
Amid the shortage of office space in San Francisco, city government should consider changing the zoning restrictions in the northeast Mission, said local land-use consultant Philip Lesser. At present, zoning prevents the conversion of industrial space to office space.
Silicon Valley has stretched to the east side of San Francisco, shrinking the supply of available office space, Lesser said. “Hopefully the San Francisco Board of Supervisors can revisit the zoning for 21st century office space.”
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that tech companies occupy 40 percent of all office space in San Francisco. They actually occupy 22 percent. We regret the error.