Redevelopment of Marin Commons created a new emergency operations facility, saving the county millions.

SAN RAFAEL, CA—Sares Regis Group of Northern California has completed the redevelopment and final tenant improvements at Marin Commons to create the new Marin County Emergency Operations Facility (EOF) here.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office will occupy 118,000 square feet covering the entire first floor and half of the second and third floors. About a dozen information technology employees will also work there. Another 45,000 square feet will house other county employees who work in leased offices in the county. The rest of the building will be leased to tenants.

“For the first time, infrastructure and technology that is critical to the safety of the entire county will be housed in a seismically-safe building designed specifically for that purpose,” said Marin County sheriff-coroner Robert Doyle. County staff began moving into the building in June.

More than $50 million in improvements assure the structure will meet essential service standards after a major earthquake. Costs included structural alterations, seismic upgrades, 911-call center radio equipment, data centers and server technology, interior redesign and furnishings. The 315,000-square-foot building received a LEED Gold certification through the extensive retrofit.

To meet LEED standards, water conservation measures including the use of reclaimed water in cooling towers and elsewhere in the structure were implemented. A 463-kilowatt photovoltaic array was installed, fulfilling the county’s goal of 1 megawatt of photovoltaic panels on county facilities ahead of the 2015 self-imposed deadline.

“We are very excited to complete this vital community emergency facility in an economical and sustainable manner,” said Jeff Birdwell, president of the commercial division for Sares Regis Group of Northern California. “This project will provide much-needed emergency services, along with the ability to bring in new revenue for the County by initiating a fresh tenant leasing program for this desirably-located property.”

The Marin Commons complex consists of two three-story office buildings totaling around 465,000 rentable square feet on 35 acres. The larger of the two buildings, 1600 Los Gamos Drive, contains 315,000 square feet, and the 1650 Los Gamos Drive building consists of 150,000 square feet.

Sares Regis identified the more cost-effective redevelopment opportunity to the county when it was pursuing building a new 85,000-square-foot, $100-million building in Civic Center.

Marin County administrator Matthew Hymel said buying and renovating the building at 1600 Los Gamos cost the County less than an emergency operations complex planned near Lagoon Park at the civic center would have.

“There is a lot to celebrate,” Hymel said. “We had a longstanding goal to have an emergency operations center that could withstand a major earthquake. We bought the building when it was really a good time to buy. The project came in on time and on budget, so overall we’re very pleased.”

The county bought the larger 41-year-old building, once home to Fireman’s Fund Insurance company, in December 2011 for $28.4 million. Total outlay for the building, upgrades and tenant improvements totaled $78.4 million. The county secured almost four times the space they needed and a new fully-functional EOF plus additional space to consolidate county offices from costly leased space with unneeded space to lease to local business and provide the county with a steady income.

Sares Regis Group of Northern California and its affiliates, Regis Homes Bay Area and Regis Contractors Bay Area, are regional companies based in San Mateo, and are affiliated with Irvine-based Sares Regis Group. As leading developers and managers of commercial and residential real estate in the western United States, the companies have a combined portfolio of property and fee-based management contracts valued at more than $4 billion, including 16,200 rental apartments and 15.5 million square feet of commercial and industrial space. Since its inception, Sares Regis Group has acquired or developed approximately 44 million square feet of commercial properties and 19,000 multifamily and residential housing units.