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SAN FRANCISCO-The State Bar of California has tapped TRI Commercial/Corfac International to lease up its Downtown class A office building in the South Financial District. Located at 180 Howard St., the 205,609-sf building is 84% occupied.

The leasing assignment was won by Mary Lyons, who is familiar with the building. Prior to leaving Grubb & Ellis in April for TRI Commercial, the 12-story building was one of her 17 listings. To win it back, she came out on top in a formal competition for the listing that included G&E, Cornish & Carey and BT Commercial, among others.

Lyons is charged with finding tenants for the building’s top two floors, which offer city and bay views and have been vacant since the State Bar acquired the building in 1996. The asking lease rate for the two 16,400-sf floors is in the low $40s per sf, including a $50-per-sf tenant improvement allowance. The rate assumes a seven-year lease, Lyons says.

The State Bar occupies about 60% of the building. Several other nonprofits also occupy space in the building, including Catholic Charities, which leases around 22,000 sf. Lyons says operating costs are below average because the building is managed in-house by the State Bar, which also is in the process of a voluntary seismic retrofit of the building.

“We’re looking for a good, credit tenant that will be synergistic with the rest of the building.,” says Lyons, who is marketing the property with TRI associate Claudine Lawler. “I believe it’s a great deal; we’re seeing lease rates for view space in the $60s in the North Financial District.”

As for why it’s been vacant for 10 years, Lyons says initially the State Bar kept it off the market in case it needed to grow into the space, and since then has been holding out for the right fit. With the completion of the new Transbay Terminal, the South Financial District is expected to attract a lot more interest from institutional-grade tenants, Lyons says.

“Because they are an owner-user sharing the space, they are not your typical landlord,” Lyons says. “It is important to for the Bar to have a compatible mix of tenants in the building.”

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