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Cruise looks to shed two SoMa office buildings as it pulls back from San Francisco

A cyclist in motion blurs past a modern building with large windows and parked cars on a sunny day.
A 110,000-square-foot building at 345 Brannan St. formerly occupied by Cruise is being offered fully furnished for sublease. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

Cruise has been pulling back from San Francisco since losing its permit to operate autonomous vehicles here. Now, the robotaxi company is putting the second of two major SoMa office buildings it occupies on the market. 

A 110,000-square-foot building at 345 Brannan St. is being offered fully furnished via a sublease that runs through November 2031, according to a marketing brochure from real estate brokerage CBRE.

The five-story property offers tech office amenities including an outdoor terrace, a game room, a library, a recording studio and a roof deck. The space is currently set up with 691 workstations and the listing touts the ability to add around 100 more. 

Real estate firm Kilroy Realty Corp. paid a record price per square foot for a large San Francisco office building when it purchased 345 Brannan for $146 million in 2019. 

An urban building entrance with a large "345" sign, a banner, a no parking sign, and a bike rack.
In 2019, Cruise signed leases at 301, 333 and 345 Brannan St. It is now offering two of those buildings on the sublease market. | Source: Justin Katigbak/The Standard

That acquisition was paired with an announcement that Cruise would be leasing 375,000 square feet across 345 Brannan and two adjacent buildings. But the company’s stumbles, paired with the post-pandemic office pullback, have changed the calculus. Cruise previously put an 83,000-square-foot building at 301 Brannan St. on the sublease market.

“As we’ve previously shared, Cruise is realigning resources, including real estate, to support our updated operations plan and more deliberate path back to our driverless mission,” a Cruise spokesperson said in a statement. 

San Francisco has been Cruise’s headquarters since it was founded here in 2013. More recently, however, the city has been the site of some of the General Motors-owned company’s biggest setbacks. 

In October, a Cruise robotaxi struck and dragged a woman underneath its wheels in San Francisco after the pedestrian was first hit by a human-driven vehicle. That gruesome incident followed an intensive back and forth between the company and local officials over how the autonomous vehicle company should be regulated. 

The crash led to a six-month-long pause on Cruise’s operations nationwide, the departure of several top executives, including founder and CEO Kyle Vogt, and layoffs impacting a quarter of the company’s workforce, including nearly 400 employees in San Francisco.

Cruise is also under investigation from a number of regulatory bodies including the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Earlier this month, Cruise restarted its manually driven vehicle program in Phoenix as part of a data collection effort. The company’s self-driving robotaxis are still grounded for the time being, with no timeline for the return of operations to San Francisco. 

Last December, General Motors sued San Francisco, aiming to claw back a portion of the $121 million in taxes and fees it alleged the city overcharged it.  

A Cruise vehicle, which is a driverless, autonomous robotaxi, drives at night in San Francisco.
Cruise vehicles have been off the road in San Francisco since an October incident where a robotaxi hit and dragged a woman in the city. | Source: Jeremy Chen/The Standard

In January, San Francisco’s city attorney sued the California Public Utilities Commission over its decision to allow Cruise and Google-owned Waymo to operate 24/7 paid taxi service around the city. 

State lawmakers have also proposed legislation that would give local municipalities in California more control over robotaxi fleets, citing San Francisco’s experience as a cautionary tale.  

Cruise continues to occupy 185,000 square feet at 333 Brannan St. and 140,000 square feet at 1201 Bryant St.

Cruise’s listings add to the city’s already record-high availability rate for office space. Research from CBRE found that the availability rate in SoMa was 42.5% in the first quarter, outstripping the citywide figure of 39.1%