SAN RAFAEL, CA—Sares Regis Group of NorthernCalifornia has completed the redevelopment and final tenantimprovements at Marin Commons to create the newMarin County Emergency Operations Facility (EOF)here.

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The Marin County Sheriff's Office will occupy118,000 square feet covering the entire first floor and half of thesecond and third floors. About a dozen information technologyemployees will also work there. Another 45,000 square feet willhouse other county employees who work in leased offices in thecounty. The rest of the building will be leased to tenants.

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

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More than $50 million in improvements assurethe structure will meet essential service standards after a majorearthquake. Costs included structural alterations, seismicupgrades, 911-call center radio equipment, data centers and servertechnology, interior redesign and furnishings. The315,000-square-foot building received a LEED Goldcertification through the extensive retrofit.

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

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“We are very excited to complete this vital community emergencyfacility in an economical and sustainable manner,” saidJeff Birdwell, president of the commercialdivision for Sares Regis Group of Northern California. “Thisproject will provide much-needed emergency services, along with theability to bring in new revenue for the County by initiating afresh tenant leasing program for this desirably-locatedproperty.”

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

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Sares Regis identified the more cost-effective redevelopmentopportunity to the county when it was pursuing building a new85,000-square-foot, $100-million building in Civic Center.

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Marin County administrator Matthew Hymel saidbuying and renovating the building at 1600 Los Gamos cost theCounty less than an emergency operations complex planned nearLagoon Park at the civic center would have.

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“There is a lot to celebrate,” Hymel said. “We had alongstanding goal to have an emergency operations center that couldwithstand a major earthquake. We bought the building when it wasreally a good time to buy. The project came in on time and onbudget, so overall we're very pleased.”

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The county bought the larger 41-year-oldbuilding, once home to Fireman's FundInsurance company, in December 2011 for $28.4million. Total outlay for the building, upgrades andtenant improvements totaled $78.4 million. Thecounty secured almost four times the space they needed and a newfully-functional EOF plus additional space to consolidate countyoffices from costly leased space with unneeded space to lease tolocal business and provide the county with a steady income.

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Sares Regis Group of Northern California and its affiliates,Regis Homes Bay Area and Regis ContractorsBay Area, are regional companies based in SanMateo, and are affiliated with Irvine-based Sares RegisGroup. As leading developers and managers of commercial andresidential real estate in the western United States, the companieshave a combined portfolio of property and fee-based managementcontracts valued at more than $4 billion,including 16,200 rental apartments and 15.5million square feet of commercial and industrial space. Since itsinception, Sares Regis Group has acquired or developedapproximately 44 million square feet of commercialproperties and 19,000 multifamily and residential housingunits.

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David Phillips

David Phillips is a Chicago-based freelance writer and consultant with more than 20 years experience in business and community news. He also has extensive reporting experience in the food manufacturing industry for national trade publications.