SAN FRANCISCO—Shortly after Cypress Properties Group acquired the vacant 644 Broadway in San Francisco last summer, the new owners hired David Scanlon, a retail real estate expert with Cushman & Wakefield and Kelly Glass, a Cushman office broker, to market the space. “The nature of the building and its unique location—where Chinatown meets North Beach, presented a host of opportunities for attracting tenants to the property. It was basically a blank canvas waiting for the right creative approach,” Scanlon tells GlobeSt.com.
Within months, a mutual-professional acquaintance—a New York-based attorney—connected Scanlon with internationally recognized restaurateur George Chen, the creator of Betelnut and Shanghai 1930 in San Francisco and current general partner of Roosevelt Prime Steakhouse in Shanghai, which opened in 2007 in the famed Marshall Mansion in the former French Concession neighborhood of Shanghai.
Once Chen toured 644 Broadway he took immediate interest in the property and shared the vision for the space. Yet he wanted Scanlon and Cypress Properties‘ principals Chris Wight and Jeff Lee to have a better understanding of his newest restaurant concept, China Live. So in mid-October last year, Chen, Wight and Scanlon traveled to Shanghai together to check out the restaurant scene in this thriving metropolis, with Chen playing host and touring the real estate professionals around Shanghai.
“The deal was essentially solidified on that trip and we returned home to work out the details. China Live is going to anchor San Francisco’s Chinatown and could very well become an iconic destination that is visited by thousands of locals and tourists every year,” Scanlon explains.
In addition to the recently completed lease for about 20,000 square feet to China Live at 644 Broadway, Scanlon and Glass also landed the San Francisco Film Society in about 4,000 square feet on the building’s fourth floor, where the Film Society plans to house its innovative and popular FilmHouse residency program, which provides free office space to up to 25 filmmakers to work on narrative feature projects in any stage of production, from development to post.
The Film Society plans to take occupancy by August this year, while China Live and its second-floor restaurant, Eight Tables, is scheduled to open by Chinese New Year, Feb. 19, 2015.