Cambrian Resident

Cryptocurr­ency firm agrees to move to downtown

Okcoin company deal provides economic boost to office market

- By George Avalos gavalos@ bayareanew­

A cryptocurr­ency company has leased a big chunk of space in a downtown San Jose tower, an agreement that bolsters the commercial real estate market in the city's urban core.

Okcoin, which has an operation in San Francisco, has leased 35,000 square feet in an office tower at 160 W. Santa Clara St., according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the real estate transactio­n.

The cryptocurr­ency company confirmed its downtown San Jose lease agreement.

The deal helps bolster the wobbly and vacancypla­gued office market in downtown San Jose.

Cushman & Wakefield commercial real estate brokers Brandon Bain, Jeff Cushman and Alex Lagemann and brokers from Savills, a real estate firm, helped to arrange the lease.

“It's good to get a fresh office tenant to move into downtown San Jose,” said Mark Ritchie, president of Ritchie Commercial, a real estate firm.

A lease of this size could enable Okcoin to shift about 175 workers into the area, based on typical space requiremen­ts for this type of office space.

“The downtown San Jose office market is poised for a comeback,” said Bob Staedler, principal executive with Silicon Valley Synergy, a landuse consultanc­y. “The improvemen­t in the market is real and it is sustainabl­e.”

The lease is a big win for the building's current owner, Century | Urban, a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm.

The 15-story tower's value appears to be rising steadily. In 2020, Century | Urban paid $131.8 million for the highrise, Santa Clara County records show. The tower was bought for $101.5 million in 2018 and for $81 million in 2014.

Okcoin leased space on two floors of the building, which totals 229,000 square feet.

“This is a significan­t office lease for downtown San Jose,” Ritchie said. “Hopefully it's the first of many.”

The cryptocurr­ency company has begun to move into its new offices, sources said.

“This is great to see,” said Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Associatio­n. “What downtown San Jose needs more than anything is people, especially people back in the offices.”

Signs have emerged of a more robust downtown scene on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, according to an assessment by Dan Phan, an entreprene­ur who co-owns Original Gravity Public House, Paper Plane and Miniboss, three popular downtown San Jose establishm­ents.

“Our weekend business has returned almost to the pre-COVID levels,” Phan said. “Weekday business still has some catching up to do.”

Phan and his partners Johnny Wang and George Lahlouh are bullish enough on downtown San Jose that they intend to add a fourth location, a restaurant at 201 S. Second St. as part of a mixeduse developmen­t called Paseo where movie theaters used to operate.

“We need to have it all, restaurant­s, bars, clubs, theaters, hotels, the convention business, everything has to come back for downtown San Jose to be firing on all cylinders again,” Knies said.

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