News Release - July 18, 2011

National Real Estate Advisors and Emerald Fund Explore Re-development of Former CSAA Campus


July 18, 2011 – (Washington D.C.) National Real Estate Advisors, LLC (“NREA”) has selected San Francisco-based development firm Emerald Fund, Inc. to pursue a comprehensive re-development of the former California State Automobile Association headquarters campus. The property, located in San Francisco’s “Mid-Market” submarket consists of four buildings clustered around the intersection of Van Ness Avenue and Hayes Street approximately one block from the iconic City Hall building. Included in these buildings is the 28-story tower at 100 Van Ness which offers 360-degree views of nearly every significant landmark on the San Francisco skyline. The campus served as the auto club’s statewide headquarters location until Spring 2010, when they consolidated and relocated their operations to a suburban location in Walnut Creek, CA. 
NREA’s client, the National Electrical Benefit Fund, took title to the project in January 2010 via a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure after a previous re-development effort was derailed largely due to poor property market conditions caused by the recent national recession and financial markets crisis. NREA conducted an RFP process among a select group of developers in order to solicit ideas to re-develop the nearly 600,000 square-foot complex. NREA and Emerald will spend the next several months further studying potential office and residential scenarios. Depending on the required approvals, portions of the project could be under construction as early as next year.
San Francisco-based Patson Companies continues to provide property management services on the complex. Office leasing efforts will continue to be handled by Dan Cressman and John Jensen of Grubb & Ellis.
Marc Babsin, a principal at Emerald commented, “We are very pleased to be working again with our good friends at NREA on this project. We think it is one of the most exciting re-development opportunities in the city.” Emerald and NREA last worked together in 2007 on the re-development of DeAnza Condominiums in San Mateo, CA.
Re-development of the project appears well-timed as the neighborhood evolves beyond the traditional government and institutional office tenants which dominated the area. Technology-oriented office tenants are increasingly being drawn to nearby re-development projects, driven by large blocks of available space which they can customize to suit their needs. The recent housing boom also brought hundreds of new housing units to the neighborhood, enhancing its mixed-use residential character. Proximity to public transportation (including San Francisco’s BART subway, MUNI light rail, and local and regional bus systems), nearby shopping and dining amenities in the adjacent Hayes Valley neighborhood, and the appeal of an urban San Francisco lifestyle, are factors driving both residential and office re-development.
“This project represents an opportunity to contribute significantly to the transformation of the neighborhood,” remarked Jeff Kanne, NREA’s President and CEO. “We believe investment in urban in-fill re-development such as this not only presents compelling opportunities for investment returns to our clients, but is also vital to the renewal of cities across the U.S.,” Kanne said.

Specializing in real estate investments on behalf of large institutional investors, National Real Estate Advisors, LLC (National) manages more than $1 billion of client capital. To learn more about National, please visit our website at
Founded in 1979, Emerald Fund, Inc. has completed over 30 development projects with a total value in excess o f $2 billion. Emerald’s developments include 4,000 residential units and several hundred thousand square feet of office and retail use. Emerald is known as a Bay Area leader in urban infill, mixed-use, transit-oriented development. Emerald has established expertise in land and project acquisition, entitlements, debt and equity finance, project design, construction management, marketing and sales, leasing and property management, homeowners’ association relations, and home warranty work. For more information, please visit the firm’s website at

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