CBRE aims to ride turbulent real estate waves as office market wobbles

CBRE aims to ride turbulent real estate waves as office market wobbles

SAN JOSE — CBRE, one of the Bay Area’s savvy and veteran commercial real estate firms, is placing a bet that an array of cutting-edge technologies, including artificial intelligence, are poised to surge in a big way.

The real estate titan has hired two commercial real estate veterans with lengthy experience in the industry to help arrange property purchases and leases involving buildings that can be used for advanced research and manufacturing as well as industrial uses.

Archer Aviation’s electric air taxi, called Midnight. (Archer Aviation)

“Innovations in artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle and battery technology have resulted in an increase in demand for research and industrial buildings despite economic headwinds,” CBRE said.

This has unleashed a big jump in demand for research and industrial buildings in Silicon Valley.

Lyten batteries and devices. (Lyten)

The upswing contrasts sharply with the slump in office and big-box retail.

CBRE has hired veteran agents Steven Chon and Sofi Cho to handle deals involving research and development (R&D) and industrial buildings, the company said.

Leasing activity for research and development buildings totaled 1.26 million square feet in Silicon Valley during the October-through-December fourth quarter of 2023, according to CBRE.

Electric and autonomous vehicles, along with hardware companies and software firms, are leading the charge for leases of R&D and industrial buildings.

An estimated 54% of this rental activity was new leases, CBRE said.

During the final three months of 2023, tenants were seeking 4.3 million square feet of research and development space, according to CBRE.

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“I’m incredibly excited to grow our capabilities in San Jose with top talents like Steven (Chon) and Sofi (Choi),” said Steffen Kammerer, senior managing director of CBRE’s office in downtown San Jose. “Their decades of experience and global perspective will be a great addition to our team, and complement the strategic, forward-thinking dynamic required in our market.”

Both Chon and Choi have held roles at commercial real estate firms JLL, Cassidy Turley and Grubb & Ellis.

The clients of the two brokers include Samsung Semiconductor, Hyundai Motors and Chunghwa Telecom. In addition to the U.S. markets, the real estate agents are also familiar with the Asia property sector, CBRE said.

“Their experience with Asia Pacific and Silicon Valley companies adds to the breadth and depth of CBRE’s global platform and creates an unmatched combination in our market,” said Joe Wallace, president of CBRE’s advisory services in Northern California.