Place
Bayside Plaza
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Bayside Plaza
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188 The Embarcadero
San Francisco, California
United States

cschuster's picture

Sr. Contributor

The biggest little plaza with art on the Bay.

When you think of San Francisco, what might come to mind is the image of a vegan wearing too-tight pants recording a vlog rant about high rent and public urination on their Google glasses. Thing is, you just might actually see that at Bayside Plaza. This intsy wintsy, teenie weenie spot gives some buffer room between The Embarcadero and 188 Embarcadero, which is currently owned by Google. Purchasing 188 Embarcadero, Bayside Plaza, and everything in between officially made Google the second largest tech land baron in the city of un-affordability. They're outpaced only by Salesforce in terms of number of San Francisco based employees and sheer square footage. Oof.

Google bought it all for $65 million, or $738 per square foot. At the time of purchase, two-thirds of 188's eight floors of office space were empty. The entire building, constructed so the silhouette ~adorably~ resembles an ocean liner, hadn't been updated since opening its doors some thirty years ago. The building's story pre-Google is something of a Recession era cautionary tale. Morgan Stanley bought the building for a Google-like sum in 2007 only to lose it to co-owners Ares Management LP and USAA Real Estate Co. (which tag teamed the sale to Google) for what's believed to amount to approximately $323 per square foot. In other words, Morgan Stanley lost millions on the property.

Despite the high powered deals transferring this derelict symbol of capitalist excess from one millionaire's greasy money pit to another, you can still enjoy all the art for free. One of Ruth Asawa's sculptures dominates the plaza, and Claes Oldenburg's Cupid's Span is just a catty-corner away. There's more public art all over the environs, so get out there and enjoy...and keep some of that money San Francisco is surely siphoning from your pocket.

srussell's picture

Contributor

This small plaza sits in front of a commercial business building on the commonly biked and walked route along Embarcadero street.

 

Less than a block away stands Claes Oldenburg's sculpture Cupid’s Span, and a lovely grass area used as a dog park. Also, the sitting area around the fountain fills up with tourists and homeless people during the week who come together to stare at the view of the Oakland Bay Bridge.