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Surfing Silicon Valley: The rent is going up

By San Francisco Bureau Chief Greg Lefevre

May 7, 1998
Web posted at: 9:00 AM EDT (0900 GMT)

(CNN) -- San Francisco's Multimedia Gulch scene is getting crowded and expensive. It's not just the software and hardware companies, it also involves the city's new baseball park.

Just when the city had grown to accept the look and feel of the multimedia types who had come to roost in the South of Market Street area around South Park, the city approved a grand new baseball park just a few blocks away. And in typical urban renewal fashion, property values are skyrocketing.

One of the economic beauties of locating your tiny company in the South Park environs was the reasonable (by comparison) rent. That's out the window now. I met a lot of these "Web-preneurs" at the Webbie Awards a while back. In between acceptance speeches they universally lamented the fact that many were being chased out just at the time when they sought to expand.

A good example is this comment, from an overheard elevator conversation: "My space now is just $16 (per square foot per year), but when I needed to add another suite to the space, it was $42."

Knight Ridder says it's moving to Silicon Valley to be nearer the "action." The newspaper and media giant is leaving Miami for Mountain View-Sunnyvale-Cupertino. That's smart, and with the banding together of Internet and media companies up and down the "valley," it is a sign of the times.

Many believe that Silicon Valley is the main interchange for the Information Superhighway. Oracle lives here. So do Netscape, Intel, Sun and Apple. There are thousands of tiny companies that feed into and off of these information technology giants. Microsoft is here too, but in smaller offices.

The new partnerships that spring up almost weekly are turning a lot of these small and medium companies into larger alliances that can more effectively compete or lead the way in the developing Web-olution.

This is a good time to be surfing Silicon Valley, if you can afford the rent ...


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