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SAN FRANCISCO-This city remains the most attractive in the nation to real estate developers and fund managers, according to “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2001,” an annual publication of Lend Lease Real Estate Investment and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The report named San Francisco the Top U.S. market for commercial real estate and development. Investors have a growing appetite for “24-hour cities” like San Francisco that have a critical mass of housing, business, retail and entertainment activity in a centralized location, according to the report. Joining San Francisco as the top five U.S. markets for commercial real estate investment are New York City, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Those “once-struggling urban giants have managed over the past six years to restore intrinsic value and transform themselves into lifestyle magnets,” according to the report. “San Francisco is the best real estate market to invest in because they have growth constraint, which is positive in that it limits sprawl and has geographic boundaries that provide an attractive backdrop to be around such as the bay and the ocean.”

A smaller version of the 24-hour city is going on across the Bay in Walnut Creek, which earned that city its first ranking in the report as one of the nation’s top six “subcities.” Other top-ranking subcities include Reston, VA; Bethesda, MD; Bellevue, WA; and Birmingham, MI. Office developments in those subcities, as well as the 24-hour cities, are “sure scores if you can find the sites” for development, according to the report.

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