Payments Innovator Finix Takes 42,000 SQFT at 631 Howard in San Francisco

Finix, San Francisco, SoMa, Invesco Real Estate, DivcoWest, Newmark, Harvest Properties
631 Howard Street in San Francisco

By Vladimir Bosanac

In the midst of low expectations about the office market in San Franciso, a small glimmer of hope emerges. While this glimmer is indeed just one lease, and one lease does not make a trend, it does show that opportunities for well-positioned properties may still exist. In this case, the lease is for roughly 42,000 square feet at 631 Howard Street in San Francisco, where Finix Payments signed a three-year lease to occupy nearly half of the building. The other part of the property, according to Compstak, is leased to SC Johnson & Son, which also signed a three-year lease in 2021.

631 Howard is a five-story building developed in 1929. It was previously home to technology company Optimizely, which occupied roughly 30,000 square feet in the building and held a prominent street-level presence in the building. The property is owned by an entity associated with Invesco Real Estate and Harvest Properties, which purchased the building in July of 2014 for $62 million from DivcoWest, according to public records. 

The property will serve as Finix’s headquarters for the time being, and it marks a show of support for the city. In a recent report, Finix’s CEO Richie Serna stated that the company was doubling down on San Francisco, and he stated that a big part of the company’s culture was its home office—something that many other companies in the city do not fully believe is a differentiating factor for their employees.

Finix is a payment innovation company that promises to help in the movement of money between businesses and customers. The company has raised over $100M from American Express Ventures, Bain Capital Ventures, Homebrew, Inspired Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital, Visa and others, according to its website. The company allocated ten percent of its latest round of funding to Black, Latino/a and other traditionally marginalized investors.

631 Howard is located in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, which represents approximately 11.2 million square feet of Class A office space, out of a total of 60 million square feet in San Francisco, according to a recent, first quarter of 2022 market research report by brokerage firm Newmark. It is the only neighborhood in the city that has any commercial office construction activity at the moment. An additional 908,624 square feet is under development there, which will be added to the city’s office inventory in the near future. Total vacancy in SoMa is the second highest at 19.9 percent (the highest is in the North Waterfront/Jackson Square neighborhood, which sits at 25.4 percent). SoMa also holds the second-highest availability rate of 32.1 percent (North Waterfront/Jackson Square tops it at 34.7 percent), which is not an enviable distinction for the neighborhood.

In related SoMa news and how the changing environment of return-to-work is affecting enterprises big and small, Splunk has placed its headquarters building located at 270 Brannan Street on the market for lease. The space is now available for lease on a direct basis, and it totals 182,262 rentable square feet. In addition, the State Bar of California, an organization whose primary function is to license, regulate and discipline attorneys in the state, has decided to take up an exploratory initiative to sell its 200,000-square-foot headquarters property in San Francisco. This building is located at 180 Howard Street, just down the street from where Finix will be based.

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