Embark needed to find space that would accommodate hardware, software and operations teams together in a shared workspace. Given their employee commute patterns, they also wanted to be reasonably close to Caltrain. The team quickly learned that many manufacturing buildings in San Francisco designate a large portion of the space to industrial use and a small, ancillary portion to office use. This set up would not work for Embark because it threatened to silo work and stifle innovation.
Another big challenge with Embark’s search is their Semi Trucks. Embark needs to park five trucks inside their office to streamline product development and testing. This is a very unusual requirement in San Francisco office search, and our team welcomed the challenge!
We dove right in and immediately engaged teams of experts at the San Francisco Planning Department and in the private sector to bring San Francisco’s zoning regulations in to tighter focus. HelloOffice defined in detail how Embark’s operational practices aligned with San Francisco’s zoning laws to prepare for negotiations with landlords down the road.
In addition, the HelloOffice team set out a strategy that broadly surveyed the market to ensure that any possible match to Embark’s unique requirements was considered and toured. Over the course of the deal, the HelloOffice team identified and toured at least 50 buildings as potential matches for Embark’s desired use (all near Caltrain).
Throughout the search, we never lost sight of the core vision: facilitate a new way of working on autonomous semi trucks. We wouldn’t shortlist a building until we worked with a truck driver to test that the building’s layout worked for getting people and trucks happily in and out of the space.
It was nice to feel that I and my team had someone in our corner – with genuine emotional investment – when it came to finding a property as well as negotiating the lease.“
Two months after our search began, we found the perfect space for Embark by leasing and reimagining an old San Francisco Giants memorabilia warehouse near 4th and King. In the build out phase of the project, we worked closely with Embark and the landlord on a layout that would allow semi trucks to not only enter the space but also to parallel park in stalls where the team could work together around the trucks. Overall, Embark’s purpose-driven design and build focused on getting work done as a team and facilitating a new way of thinking about the world of commercial transportation.