03:02 - Source: CNN
Why are big tech companies moving to San Francisco?

Story highlights

Some of the world's biggest tech firms are moving into San Francisco

14 different companies signed leases for more than 97,000 square feet worth of space and property in 2014

Real estate firms say San Francisco has more to offer the employees of tech firms

Editor’s Note: One Square Meter explores the leading architectural designs, city plans and demand for property investment. Join CNN’s John Defterios as he visits some of the world’s most dynamic cities for an insight into the fast-paced world of real estate development. Click here for more show times.

CNN  — 

Silicon Valley was once the only place to be for the world’s hippest tech firms.

It’s the region that gave birth to all-conquering behemoths like Google and Apple, after all.

But fast forward to 2015 and the playground of global technology has moved roughly 60 kilometers (37 miles) north to San Francisco.

“Information is the new currency and that currency is gushing through the streets of San Francisco,” said Alan Collenette, regional managing director of real estate firm Colliers International.

According to Collenette, firms like Twitter are relocating to the City by the Bay because it offers a more attractive lifestyle to talented employees.

“If you’re in your 20s (or) 30s, you want to live in a vibrant environment where you’re surrounded by like-minded people. Where there’s a lot of interesting cultural stuff to do,” Collenette said.

“And with the great respect to the suburbs where Apple was born, there’s a lot more cultural diversity and a lot more to do (in San Francisco) than there is there.

Parcels of property

Last year, commercial real estate in San Francisco was snapped up in large parcels.

As many as 14 different companies signed leases for more than 9,000 square meters (97,000 square feet) worth of space and property.

Among those leasing were tech heavyweights like Pinterest and Trulia.

“Now in 2015, 60% of all leases done in San Francisco are for technology companies,” Collenette said.

“28% of the top space users who occupy more than 250, 000 square feet are technology users. That’s up from 8% in the dotcom boom. That’s how dramatic the shift’s been.”

These cash-rich tech firms are also changing the game by shying away from the offices of yesterday.

Beer taps, foosball tables, and bike racks are now the norm at offices in the city.

Boardroom to warehouse

Primo Orpilla has seen the change first hand while designing spaces for the likes of crowd-sourced company review platform, Yelp, and taxi app, Uber.

“The offices of just three or four years ago, they’re definitely more hierarchically set up,” Orpilla said.

“You had fewer conference rooms, a lot of the work stations went to the middle. What we’re seeing now, we’re basically wanting to share that space. Share the light, flatten the organization.”

Orpilla adds that old warehouses with high ceilings in the South of Market District have become particularly popular.

But demand has driven prices up with rates climbing for both commercial and residential properties.

In a city that spans just seven by seven square miles space will eventually run out.

For now though, the outlook is rosy for those riding the tech wave.

“There has never been a time when the world’s economy depended so much on the ideas and the work product that come out of one location,” said Collenette.

“It’s the golden age, this is an era that’s just beginning and the light isn’t just shining on San Francisco for a brief moment in time. I firmly believe this is going to last long into the future.”

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