Office/Light Industrial Space – The Next Big Thing

Read the original article, written by Julie Littman, here on

The next big thing in office mixed-use development could come from a rising demand for light industrial space near city centers. San Francisco architect FORGE, previously known as FME Architects, is designing two projects in the Bay Area with office and light industrial side by side.

The 37-year-old midsized architecture company rebranded in early March to FORGE to better represent how its company is forging relationships with clients, brokers, contractors and end users. FORGE chief design officer Eric Ibsen said the rebrand came after researching with clients and end-users over the image of the company. He said what came back as more important than even the quality of work was the relationships it has built over time.

The design firm will maintain a focus on infill ground-up development and interior building renovations, but plans to expand into hospitality soon. The new name also ties into two of its latest projects that are incorporating both light industrial and office space.

FORGE, in collaboration with Kilroy Realty and Pfau Long, will design the 315K SF of office and 83K SF of light industrial at Kilroy’s 100 Hooper project. Ibsen said the Hooper complex provides a contemporary office space over specialty light industrial. The industrial units will be as small as 1,200 SF and offer a rollup door, restroom facilities, desk space and high ceilings.

The project is partnering with SF Made to bring local manufacturers into San Francisco, according to FORGE project manager Greg Sheppard. It also provides an option for small manufacturers who would otherwise not be able to afford large industrial spaces, such as boutique food, brewers, wine makers and a wide range of light industrial, according to Ibsen.

How people interact with their workspace has evolved in recent years. People are spending more time in the office in a relaxed way, according to Sheppard. Offices have taken on more of a hospitality feel, which Sheppard said FORGE has done in lobby renovations, such as with 600 California, where the firm added more sitting areas, artwork and lighting.

Ibsen said creating workplaces that are more like small communities, similar to its plan for 100 Hooper, is becoming a trend.

“There is a lifestyle of wanting there to be less division between work and play and we’re seeing this in architecture not just as a style,” Ibsen said. “[100 Hooper] will be set up as a campus and the goal there is to supply light manufacturing, food service, bars and restaurants, and create its own little community.”

The Hooper complex will be split into two buildings with light industrial on the ground floor and office on the upper floors. A courtyard walkway will run between the two buildings. Up to 10K SF of retail also will be on-site.

Similar trends with office and industrial are cropping up in the East Bay in Alameda and Oakland. FORGE’s long-term relationship with srmERNST Development led it to work on the massive Alameda Point project, where it has designed several buildings. It also previously worked with the developer in Alameda to build the VF Outdoor Campus.

Alameda Point is meant to provide people a place to live and work in Alameda, according to Ibsen.

“These are merging tech and development projects with office and manufacturing under one roof,” Ibsen said.

Building 9, Building 91 and the Wrightspeed building are primarily completed. The Wrightspeed building has 110K SF and is one big room. Alameda Point is attractive to food and beverage, advanced manufacturing and apparel tenants, Sheppard said.

Alameda Point also benefits from its proximity to San Francisco and Oakland, which has had its own momentum as a place where people want to live and work, according to Ibsen.

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