Family Giving Tree, Bay Area Holiday Toy Drive, Needs Warehouse Space

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Silicon Valley commercial real estate market is heating up. The vacancy rate is at 10 percent, indicating an improving economy. Kris Sanchez reports. (Published Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013)

    The Silicon Valley commercial real estate market is heating up. The vacancy rate is at 10 percent, indicating an improving economy.

    That's the good news. The bad news is, it's putting the squeeze on a local charity

    Every holiday, Family Giving Tree collects and distributes more than 65,000 toys for underserved children in the Greater Bay Area. They do their work in donated warehouse space.

    While some Family Giving Tree staff search for just the right toys, the chief operating officer is searching for free commercial real estate.

    “We’re looking for about 100,000 square feet or more,” COO David Bratton-Kearns said.

    The warehouse Family Giving Tree used last year is unavailable, because it's part of Apple’s new Cupertino campus.

    Other former donors are developing their properties, expanding their businesses or looking to sell now that the market has improved.

    Commercial broker Tenny Tsai says warehouse demand is the strongest it has been since 2007, and clients are looking at some properties that have been vacant for more than two years. Her company, Cassidy Turley, is tracking 110 clients actively looking for 8.7 million square feet of commercial space they can move into within the next year.

    Rental rates are going up too.

    “I think the economy is recovering, and one of the biggest indicators is the unemployment rate, and it has dropped in Santa Clara County,” Tsai said. “Last year this time 7.9, and now 6.4 percent, and that’s great news.”

    But, as the economy grows for business, the need for help is growing too.

    “You sort of have two economies here in the Bay Area, the high-tech world that’s doing very, very well. Then you have the rest of everything, that whole population that’s underserved and struggling,” Bratton-Kearns said. “We do what we can to help them out.”

    Family Giving Tree needs to find space for its holiday drive by the end of the month.

    If you can help, or if you would like to help with the drive, visit www.familygivingtree.org

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