SAN FRANCISCO-The tech-driven economic prosperity enjoyed in the Bay Area is proving to be a double-edged sword for commercial real estate firms and residents as they try to meet the challenges presented by the area¹s explosive growth.

This was the recurring theme yesterday as the Commercial Real Estate Women of San Francisco presented its CREW Report 2001 at a luncheon at the Sheraton Palace Hotel. The thought-provoking report includes a collection of articles by CREW San Francisco members that assess current market trends and challenges, describe new strategies to meet changing market conditions and offer predictions for the coming year.

Karen Alschuler, a principal and director of planning and urban design for San Francisco-based SMWM, believes Bay Area residents have reached their limits in distance, in physical space and in time. The result will be an increased desire to live and work in an urban setting where there are services, transportation options and a sense of community. “There is a human desire to live in a rich, multi-layered environment that has coordinated and efficient services where you have the potential to live a whole life,” states Alschuler.

Alschuler lists six hot spots around the Bay Area that are worth watching:

Vallejo – “It’s the point at which an incredible growth corridor is growing out of. I expect that growth to reach back into the city. It has the potential to build and the desire to have some mixed-use development added.”

Emeryville – “They have a good mix of housing, office and retail, plus they are right on the train line.”

Oakland – “It will become a vital, vibrant neighborhood for office immigrants from San Francisco. Oakland has the extraordinary potential to become an urban waterfront and international city.”

San Jose – “The city at the crossroads; I expect it to be the most exciting place in the Bay Area in coming years and into the next decade. It has room to grow downtown with more office and retail. It is the crossroads of Internet access. San Jose has the space available for tech firms to build their destiny.”

The Peninsula – “They are building cities that have an urban sense. The train system is going to be an extraordinary asset.”

San Francisco – “We are finally discovering the sunny side of the city, the bayfront side. The approval of the Transbay Terminal with multi-modal access will trigger development with the potential of up to 10,000 housing units in that area and another 6,000 at Mission Bay.”

Some key challenges addressed include the Bay Area housing shortage, the difficulty of securing contractors and subcontractors, the detrimental impact of dot-coms’ insatiable demand for space and how the need for speed in today¹s economy is affecting retailers¹ and manufacturers¹ supply-chain management.

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