SAN FRANCISCO-OutCast Communications is relocating to 13,763 sf in the Townsend Building across from SBC Ball Park from about half as much space in the Russian Hill district. The public relations firm catering to high-tech companies signed a five-year lease with building owner SFI Real Estate Holdings for about half of the fifth floor. The lease commences Nov. 1.SFI acquired the building in 1999 from ETrade, which invested $100 per sf in renovations to the building but never occupied it. As of five months ago the building was vacant. However, over the last month several deals that had been in the works finally closed, absorbing more than 90% of the building’s leaseable area. Other tenants that have signed on include AKQA (advertising), Secret Level (game developer), Umlaut (film editing) and INdTV (Gore TV, cable station). Bill Benton and Mike Brown of Newmark have the leasing assignment for the property. Neither broker could be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, but other brokers familiar with the property say the tenants have made five-, seven- and 10-year commitments at annualized full-service rates ranging from about $25 to $32 per sf, including a $20-per-sf tenant improvement allowance. The higher end of the scale is for the upper floors of the building, which have more windows than the lower floors and, in the case of the top floor, vaulted ceilings.”We’re seeing a number of small- to medium-sized creative firms in advertising, PR and technology that want a plug-in-play space like 123 Townsend,” says Linda Leal of Trammell Crow Co., who represented OutCast Communications in its office search. “Buildings with ready-to-go amenities make it easier in terms of logistics and moving expenses. Plus, the number of stores and restaurants springing up in the area is a great draw.”In the last year, OutCast has nearly doubled its staff and in the process, has outgrown its present space. “We’ve grown a tremendous amount in the last year and anticipate more growth in 2005,” says Heather England, vice president of operations at OutCast. “That said, we needed more room and wanted a space that would reflect our culture and fit our cost requirements. The Townsend building is a great location in an up and coming, vibrant neighborhood. It’s also ideal for both our employees and clients in terms of access to CalTrain, the East Bay, Silicon Valley and the Peninsula.”

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