Culture is so much more than ping pong tables

Posted by David Hayes on Jun 6, 2017 10:49:21 AM



Culture is a word consultants and CEOs use to label how they treat their people at a company. It is a business word, but it is not an action word, or a word that represents a true emotional buy in.


Culture Does Not Equal Amenities

These days culture replaces the word “amenities,” where CEOs and HR leaders provide gyms, gumball machines, beer taps, wine coolers, music rooms and call it part of their culture. These are amenities -- perks of employment to replace the old list of perks such as club memberships, expense accounts, sports tickets, corner offices, executive restrooms, etc.


Culture is Trust

The real key to getting people aligned and working as a unit is to build a company full of trust. The trust factor builds the foundation of a company’s culture and once established, all the other stuff gets loaded on to make your company unique and a fun place to work.  


So What is Trust?

Well first it starts at the top and must continue all the way through the organization, because wherever it stops, lies your pain point. Show me any organization where people are leaving the firm, and I will in turn show you a manager or leader that they just do not trust.  

Getting back to “what is trust?” It starts with the secret ingredient that every great leader should know and believe: everything is about “you” not “me.” Too many leaders and business owners actually believe leading people is about telling them what to do instead of empowering them to make their own decisions. Good luck with scale and trust with that strategy -- not happening.

A real leader believes in their core that “if I work tirelessly to make you great, you will trust me, and in turn, do the same for your staff.”  Accomplish this and the success waterfall is in motion.


Traits of Trusted Leaders

  1. Honest, they will be straight with you, whether the news is good or bad.  
  2. Reliable, they will find the time to help you.
  3. Balanced, they know humans have a life outside of work and that needs as much focus and time as work does.
  4. Experts, they know their stuff and can help you because their breadth of experience is something you seek.

Companies are a collection of human beings who are thinking and feeling with needs and desires.  Recognizing this and trusting each other is the key to a powerful workforce working in harmony with each other to build a successful culture.

Topics: culture

Why does my office tenant improvement cost so much?

Posted by Craig Jones on Apr 25, 2017 2:35:18 PM

It’s a great question.  There are many factors that drive construction costs, most of which are controlled by the market and supply and demand (manpower, lead times, code changes and commodity pricing). Here is my take on the key factors driving current construction costs.

Banner - Driving Construction Costs.jpg


Title 24 regulations are costly

Title 24, or California’s Energy Code, is a hot topic in construction. It is a set of standards and regulations aimed to reduce California’s energy consumption. The Title 24 energy standards have changed twice in the past 2 years, each time driving up the price of construction. The 1st change decreased the amount of allowable use of energy for lighting, making it mandatory for contractors to switch from fluorescent lighting (cheaper) to LED lighting (energy efficient, but more expensive). This first revision also mandated each new electrical outlet to have a duplicate one within 6 feet that will automatically shut off when not in use (another added cost). The 2nd revision of the Title 24 code affected HVAC systems, requiring contractors to opt for Spiral duct (made of sheet metal) instead of Alumaflex (flexible duct).  Spiral Duct is more expensive than Alumaflex because of the cost of material and the additional labor it takes to install.

Manpower is at a premium

Clients are asking, “With Apple’s spaceship campus and other large Bay Area projects finishing, can we expect lower costs?” Seems logical, and I raised the same question to our subcontractors, but it’s unanimous that costs are actually rising. One of our subcontractors stated it best, “Unions are still lacking the manpower to meet project demands, so they pull workers from out of state and the project ends up taking more labor hours than we anticipated.” These “traveling” tradesmen often have lower productivity rates because they are not Bay Area residents and don’t have an incentive to work quickly for our local unions to move up the ladder. Instead, they do the job they are contracted to do so they can return home and find local work. The lower productivity rates increase the amount of tradesman to complete the same work and can prolong the construction project which results in increased costs.

Big Bay Area projects fill the pipeline

I’ve heard more Apple projects are upcoming, along with more projects from tech titans like Google. On top of tech are the SF Airport projects ($3+ billion of work), the SF Oceanwide Center ($1.5 billion) and the Warriors Arena ($1 billion) that are keeping the Bay Area very busy in construction.  This means the “travelers” are still needed. We also have certain trades that are very impacted, like Millwork (cabinetry and finished wood products) and Glazing (glass), which brings us back to outsourcing work and lower productivity rates. So what does all this mean? It means that with all these big projects on the horizon and impacted trades, we don’t expect construction costs to reduce in 2017 and into 2018.



  • It’s unlikely that construction costs will reduce from 2017 to 2018.
  • Economic slowdown effect: In my experience, I have found on average, it takes 18 months for the construction industry to catch up to the fluctuations of a market slowdown and then a market recovery. So although the rising vacancy and unemployment rates signal an economic downturn, construction activity will remain strong for the next 18 months.
  • Hot Market effect: Yes, the Bay Area construction market is hot. However, large scale projects drain resources, causing trades to outsource and lose productivity which drives costs upward.

Topics: Construction costs, Bay Area Trends, Real Estate, Construction Real Estate

Things to consider before landing your first construction job

Posted by Christy Le on Feb 22, 2017 1:56:04 PM

So you want to be a construction superstar? By all means, earn your education, certifications and training. Take on internships and build your resume. But what is it really like to work in the construction industry? And what should you know before you jump in? We're here to offer advice the books won't teach you. Here are 4 things construction professionals today wished they knew before landing their first construction job.

Banner - What I wish I knew-2.jpg

1. Determine the desired pace of your career

In commercial construction an important consideration is how long you want to spend working on a single project. If you want to experience a diverse portfolio of projects for top name brands (think Google, Airbnb, Uber, PayPal, Facebook), look for a mid-sized, tenant improvement firm with projects that average 8-14 weeks of construction per project. This will ensure that within the first year, you will have a handful of projects under your belt. If you fancy building big structures such as bridges, large campuses or high rises, be prepared to wrap up your first project in about 2-3 years--these projects are massive, and include many moving parts and you will not likely be exposed to the full spectrum of the project.

"Working for large contractors on high profile jobs is a huge waste of time. Bridges, towers, hospital, etc... Your career will move at a snails pace. Find a mid size, growing company that can give you the ability to grow at a rapid rate. " -- Nathan Drainville, Project Manager

2. Thick skin goes a long way

Having the resilience to take on challenges as they come will help more than you know. Commercial construction can be stressful. This is a challenging profession, both mentally and physically. Ready yourself for changes, and be quick to react and adapt so you can stay proactive to meet schedule deadlines.

"Nothing ever goes perfectly in construction and you should be good at improvising and problem solving when things get tough." -- Bryan Mendes, Construction Management Intern.

3. Trade secrets from the field

If you are considering going into field construction instead of the project management route, you can expect your own set of unique benefits, challenges and excitement. After all, you will literally be where the magic happens. Be prepared for the union vs. non-union dynamic, inconsistent work schedules and a tradition of trade secrets that get passed from generation to generation.

"Life in construction has a way of creating a sort of passion for us. So does the diverse group of people you'll encounter and learn from. The people create this atmosphere where they count on you (as the future of the trade) to keep it going and not let them down." -- Walter Torres, Superintendent

4. Be a doer, a seller and a process guru

One of the biggest missed opportunities in construction comes from pigeon-holing yourself into a certain role. An engineer is not just an engineer and a tradesman is more than a tradesman. In this industry, those who thrive are the ones who can be client-facing, the technical expert on the jobsite, and a process maven in the office. You are selling a service, and each employee has the opportunity to win work by positively representing your company in the office and the field.

"Engineering classes provide theoretical knowledge and techniques, but don't ignore practical business training such mastering your elevator pitch, understanding accounting and financial reports and the art of relationship-building." -- Craig Jones, Principal

Topics: construction, jobs, construction management, project management, career path, career advice, career, cre jobs, construction career

Made in America: 20 Brands w/ American-Made Products

Posted by Christy Le on Aug 1, 2016 2:45:05 PM

In celebration of Skyline's 20 year anniversary, we’re sharing 20 of our favorite things -- from tools to travel destinations and everything in between. 

This month in honor of America's birthday we turn the spotlight to 20 American brands that are manufacturing construction material right here on U.S. soil. Read on for the full list of our favorite locally sourced material and finishes.


Locally sourced products are all the rage for good reason: sourcing locally drives production which creates jobs. But why hasn't this trend caught on in the construction industry?  We set out to to answer this question by building commercial interior offices using as many American made materials as possible. Here's what we learned along the way:


1. Building materials are separate from finishes

It's easy to achieve a partially American-built project when you consider the "behind the walls" materials that go into a construction project. Nails, drywall, ductwork, lumber, plumbing, even paint and carpet are all easily sourced, nationally; but fine imported stone for your reception desk? Much harder.  Dont be discouraged, even a small change can lead to a big impact. 

Anders Lewendal, an economist turned builder, states that "if every commercial builder used just 5% more American-made materials on their projects, this would result in 220,000 more US jobs."


2. Quality is better

U.S. manufacturers are required to follow strict health and safety regulations, both in the quality of their products and in the safety of their workers. The result is a highly regulated, better quality product.


3. Cost remains the same

Without a doubt, we expected the see a sizeable cost increase in sourcing American-manufacturered materials. Turns out, it's just another misconception.  The cost increase to use American made materials was less than 1%.


4. Having a plan is key

Knowing where to get American-made products and what vendors offer them is key. So without further ado, here is a list of just some of the companies who are manufacturing materials, equipment and finishes for the commercial construction industry, right here in the United States. 

  1. Pionite Surface Systems (High Pressure Laminate)

  2. Doug Mockett (Drawer pulls)

  3. Wilsonart (High Pressure Laminate)

  4. SCAFCO (Drywall)

  5. Climatemaster (HVAC)

  6. Lithonia (Lighting)

  7. Phillips Day-Brite (Lighting)

  8. Abet Laminati (Millwork)

  9. Formica (Millwork)

  10. Armstrong (Acoustical Ceiling)

  11. Milliken (Flooring)

  12. Shaw (Flooring)

  13. Benjamin Moore (Paint)

  14. Glidden Professional(Paint)

  15. IdeaPaint (Paint)

  16. Knoll Textiles (Banquette Seating)

  17. Elkay (Plumbling)

  18. Moen (Plumbling)

  19. Zumtobel (Electrical)

  20. Finelite (Electrical)

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Topics: Construction Trends, contractor, american, american-made, made in america, local

Top 20 Interior Features - Celebrating 20 Years w/ 20 Favorites

Posted by Christy Le on Jun 13, 2016 8:00:00 AM

In celebration of our 20 year anniversary, we’re sharing 20 of our favorite things -- from tools to travel destinations and everything in between. 

This month we highlight 20 of Skyline's most requested and unique finishes that guarantee the "wow-factor" in any office space.



Edison Light Bulbs

These bulbs are the trendiest thing since kale salad.  
From restaurants to offices and even outdoor patios,
these strands can class up any space.




Bold Paint Colors

An easy and cost effective way to add a POP to any space,
we are digging the come back of bold, vibrant colors.
Eye catching, affordable, effective--what's not to love?



Tinted Glass + Window Film

Decorated glass office fronts and intricate window film are wildly popular 
to add a hint of privacy, while tying design elements into the overall brand. 


Lithium Technologies 


The Industrial Look

Steel, exposed ceilings, unfinished wood and metal studs give an
industrial feel and we are seeing this look come to life all over the Bay Area.


 Galvanize Cafe


Reclaimed Wood

The reclaimed wood trend is everywhere. No doubt you've seen it before.
But its beauty is in its versatility -- it suits a funky tech space just as well as a sophisticated VC firm.
Rolling barn wood doors, reclaimed wood walls and live edge tables are trends we see time and time again.


Perkins Coie



Channel your inner child and scribble on the walls? Yes please.
IdeaPaint allows you to create a custom dry-erase or chalk board on virtually any surface, 
transforming the space into a hub of creativity and collaboration.... especially loved by our tech clients.


Lithium Technologies


Living Walls

Living walls make a dramatic statement in any space.
These vertical gardens are low maintenance, sustainable and have been proven
to reduce stress, enhance indoor air quality, and improve mental health. Two thumbs up.





We're convinced there is no better way to get from point A to point B.
We geek out over slides and love the challenge of their technical installation.




Art Walls

Traditional frames are being replaced with custom installations commissioned by local artists.
See the graffiti wall below... double whammy to capture a company's culture and support local artists.




Ceiling Clouds

The popularity of exposed ceilings was quickly followed by the necessity for ceiling clouds. 
These installations lower noise levels and distortion while enhancing acoustics. 


 BMC Software


Custom Staircases

Custom staircases require extra planning and coordination but the end result is always stunning,
especially when the staircase doubles as a lounge area or incorporates a slide.




Professional Kitchens

With so many requests for full blown commercial kitchen's lately,
we're starting to get a little jealous of the our client's #workperks.
Who doesn't love a hot free meal, a specially designed wine fridge or multiple kegerators?




Scratch and Sniff Wallpaper

Possibly one of the funkiest features trending, but the walls really are in fact scratch and sniff.  
Hope bananas are your jam if you reserve this phone room for your next conference call.




Video Walls

Large multi-screen video walls are perfect for dynamic signage,
interactive content and strong messaging in any Executive Briefing Center or lobby.





Workplace libraries offer a quiet place to think and work during the day,
but in the evening they double as the meeting place to enter a hidden retro bar.  




Sophisticated Mill Work

Who needs drywall when you can trick out your walls and ceilings with custom mill work.
Luxurious spaces are using wood as a distinguishing feature in their design. Just gorgeous.


ValueAct Capital 


Funky Flooring

Grass in the office? Why not?
Non-traditional flooring is an easy way to make a statement and show separation of spaces.


Big Fish 


Decorated Ceilings

Aside from their aesthetic appeal, heavily designed ceilings offer additional opportunities
for lighting and sound. The office below designed their ceiling to look like airplane wings.  We approve.


Clarium Capital 


Non-Traditional Furniture

In our opinion, swinging in these suspended chairs would be the perfect way to clear writers block.  
Love that firms are adopting swinging chairs, hammocks and all kinds of alternative seating. 



Facet Wall Panels

Out with the boring straight hallways, in with these tricky, asymmetrical wall panels.
Love the added dimension.




Topics: cool office, projects, interior, contractor, tenant improvement, construction, interior design, GC, unique, features

A Glimpse into Pandora's Oakland Headquarters

Posted by Christy Le on May 10, 2016 8:00:00 AM



Pandora Radio, like so many tech companies, started very humbly in a modest office space and has quickly grown into a thriving, reputable brand with a vibrant and characteristically unique Oakland space. It has been our privilege, as their general contractor for the past 7 years, to not only witness Pandora's growth but to be part of the evolution of their dynamic office. The following photos document the powerful visual transformation from their 1st generation space to their current space. 



























































Photography by Reflex Imaging and Bruce Damonte



Download the Evolution of Pandora Timeline

Topics: Construction Trends, bars, tech firms, cool office, kitchen, perks, office perks

Top 20 Skyline Projects - Celebrating 20 Years w/ 20 Favorites

Posted by Christy Le on Apr 12, 2016 3:00:00 AM


In celebration of our 20 year anniversary, each month we’re sharing 20 of our employees favorite things -- from tools to travel destinations and everything in between.

This month we highlight 20 of the most popular construction projects built since 1996.  Our team put their heads together to vote on spaces that display dramatically unique features, challenging and careful coordination and awesome partnerships with our clients. 

It was no easy feat to rank this list. If we missed any projects you enjoyed working, please share in the comments below.




St. Jude Medical

Sunnyvale  |  131,500 sq. ft.
[See more photos here]


Why we loved it

  •   What started as a retrofit to an old, tired
              building quickly became the demolition
              and ground-up construction of an entirely
              new space.





ValueAct_Photo-BruceDamonte_18.jpgValueAct Capital

San Francisco  |  36,000 sq. ft


Why we loved it

  • Stunning eucalyptus millwork
  • Cathedral style ceilings
  • Metal panel ceilings
  • Wood walls





Health Plan of San Mateo

San Mateo  |  109,000 sq. ft.

Why we loved it

  • An aggressive project schedule
  • Amazing fitness center that rivals
            most private fitness clubs
  • Main break room that feels like a fancy cafe
  • Stellar client and architect creating a
            seamless project delivery





Santa Clara  |  63,000 sq. ft.
[See more photos here]


Why we loved it

  • Cool design features
  • Nostalgia effect: all the conference
           and huddle rooms are named after





Oakland  |  100,000+ sq. ft.
[See more photos here]

Why we loved it

  • Themed collaboration areas with
            bright colors and funky graphics
  • RADIO banquette seating that
            illuminates when occupied
  • Voice recording studios






Pleasanton  |  314,000 sq. ft. 
[See more photos here]

Why we loved it

  • Multiple interconnecting staircases
            joining spaces for functionality
  • Sound-proof recording studio
  • Collaborative team partnership
            between client, architect and contractor






San Francisco  |  90,000 sq. ft.
[See more photos here]

Why we loved it

  • 40+ different light fixtures
    • An awesome all-hands collaboration /
              game room / multi-purpose space
    • Sound room with Buzzi noise
             cancellation panels





San Francisco  |  82,500 sq. ft.
[See more photos here]


Why we loved it

  • Asymmetrical designed vortex hallways
  • All-hands space with stadium style seating
  • Custom designed, fully equipped bar featuring
            multiple kegerators... still waiting for our invitation
            to the party!




Palo Alto  |  70,000 sq. ft.

Why we loved it

  • Working with a rock-star project team
  • Cool structural features like exposed
            barrel truss ceilings
  • Hired a helicopter to lift HVAC units to roof 





Lumina Sales Center

San Francisco  |  6,000 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  • Renovation of a historical building
  • Luxurious showroom with interactive
            video wall and full scale model
  • Showroom reception area built to
            replicate residential tower lobby
            with fine imported finishes






Spectrum Equity

San Francisco  |  11,000 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  • Reclaimed wood used
            from a French barn
  • Live edge wood tables 
  • Custom leather banquettes
  • Overall a stunning space







Mountain View  |  54,000 sq. ft.
[See more photos here]


Why we loved it

  • Graffiti artwork all over the walls
  • Sliding board doors for meeting rooms
  • Vinyl wood plank flooring







San Francisco  |  54,000 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  • Cave room for naps
  • Raw steel media wall
  • Funky fixtures







General Assembly

San Francisco  |  26,300 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  • Historical building (circa 1920)
  • Chalkboard and white board "IdeaPaint"
  • Classrooms with glass storefront doors







San Francisco & Santa Clara  |  98,000 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  • Awesome lobbies with green tinted glass
  • Free standing glass marker boards 
  • Super bright and colorful spaces




Server Farm Realty

Santa Clara  |  30,000 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  • State of the art data center
  • Received LEED Silver certification
    • Extensive building upgrades 
              and a new exterior facade





San Bruno  |  106,100 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  • Game room
  • Fitness studio
  • Seamless project delivery






Adam Zuur's Office

San Francisco  |  300 sq. ft.


Why we loved it

  •  Imaginative design features
  • Careful and tedious execution
  • A priceless end product





Topics: projects, interior, contractor, tenant improvement, construction, interior design, GC

Skyline's 20 Favorite Bars - Celebrating 20 Years w/ 20 Favorites

Posted by Christy Le on Mar 17, 2016 5:30:00 AM



Happy Birthday to us!  In celebration of our 20 year anniversary, each month we’re sharing 20 of our employees favorite things--from tools to travel destinations and everything in between. To kick off St. Patrick’s Day, here are our team’s favorite drinking establishments around the Bay Area in no particular order.  Beware, not all of these are the classiest joints, but apparently they get the job done!  If we missed any of your favs, add them to the comments at the bottom so we can indulge in our own “research” later tonight. Stay tuned for next month’s Top 20 list to be released on April Fool's Day.





#20   Clayton Club Saloon

6096 Main St., Clayton, CA 94517  |


This place looks like it was taken out of a scene of Tombstone. Why yes, those are boots hanging from the ceiling. Clayton Club Saloon has an old world charm, great people and  inexpensive drinks. What more can you ask for?








#19   The Roundup Saloon 

3553 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, CA  |

Roundup.jpgWe love our saloons, can you tell? The Roundup Saloon might just be the only bar in Lafayette, as far as we're concerned. Cheap drinks and great atmosphere are what we are after here, followed by a little pool and shuffleboard. The Roundup hosts live bands on Thursdays and karaoke on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 








#18   Zephyr Bar & Grill 

 1736 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550  |


Downtown Livermore is a hidden gem in the Bay Area. First Street is packed with rising stars in food, drink and fun. Zephyr Bar & Grill is definitely a triple threat with great food, huge selection wine list, great happy hour and great social atmosphere. Tip: Try the Potato wrapped Halibut. Yum!








#17   Ernie's Tin Bar 

 5100 Lakeville Hwy, Petaluma, CA 94954  |

Ernies.jpgErnie's Tin Bar is quite a trek, but if you are ever in the area or (en route to wine country), Ernie's is where you want to be. Watch for the $1.75 beer sign and the "NO CELLPHONE USE" sign. Be prepared for 20 beers on tap, awesome prices and a good time.









#16   Schroeder's 

240 Front St, San Francisco, CA 94111  |


Schroeder's is a watering hole that is close to every Skyliner's hearts. New employees of Skyline are initiated through what we now affectionately call "boot camp" (actual Skyliners pictured left). Great snacks offered at Schroeder's to soak up all the beery goodness. Our favorites are the soft pretzel knots and the tots. 









#15   California Craft Beer 

43377 Mission Blvd., Fremont, CA 94539  |


Cali Craft is our idea of beer heaven. They have 16 beers on tap (flights available) and a wide selection of bottled, ice-cold beers. They provide snacks and there is usually a food truck of some kind parked right outside. Otherwise, outside food is allowed, dogs are allowed, fun is allowed. Awesome place. 









#14   Specs' Twelve Adler Museum Cafe 

12 William Saroyan Pl., San Francisco, CA 94133  |


Specs' is a time-honored San Francisco bar, tucked away in an alley of North Beach. It's the kind of spot that has served the same regulars since the 50's. The walls and ceilings are decorated with an array of misfit toy as odd and as awesome as the bar itself. Specs' has a rich and wacky history, and if you're lucky, one of the regulars will explain it to you.






#13   Barbarossa Lounge 

714 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111  |


Barbarossa is where the Barbary Coast meets modern luxury. Hand-crafted cocktails are their claim to fame. They offer 12 house cocktails, wine, craft beers and champagne. As a nod to the bar's predecessor, Barbarossa still has access to the Bubble Lounge's champagne library and has named the back room "Bubble Lounge at Barbaossa."






#12  Lazy Dog

19359 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Cupertino, CA  |

Lazy_Dog.jpgYes, Lazy Dog falls under the chain restaurant category, but we at Skyline are huge animal lovers. Any establishment that offers us beer flights, food and a doggie menu will win us over again and again. Lazy Dog restaurants have been popping up all over the Bay Area with one in Cupertino, Concord and Dublin. Each location is vast in dining space and has a large patio area with fire pits, and lounge seating for you and your fur babies to relax and enjoy. 






#11   Golden Gate Taproom 

449 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94108  |


Games, booze, food--yes, please. There's no other way to describe GG Taproom except to say that it is an adult playground. Lots of fun games (skee ball, foozball, pinball and more), big TVs, a large beer selection and giant burgers. You can't go wrong, spending a few hours here.




#10   The Homestead 

2301 Folsom St. San Francisco, CA 94110  |


The Homestead is a chill speakeasy with mammary-studded artwork hanging on their walls with a dark and vintage appeal. Come for the drinks, come for the vibe, come because they are pet friendly!








#9   The Bitter End 

441 Clement St., San Francisco, CA 94118  |


This place kind of pops up out of no where and it's kind of awesome. It's definitely bigger than it seems from the outside. The bar is 2 levels (upper level has pool tables and more seating) and fills up pretty quickly for happy hour (M-F 4PM - 7PM). 









#8  ØL Beercafe & Bottle Shop

1541 Giammona Dr., Walnut Creek, CA  |


We're convinced that beer cafes like ØL are going to be the newest craze. This classy beer joint houses shelves upon shelves of craft beers, a wide selection of beers on tap and some small nibbles as well. Customers appreciate the tasting notes on each draft offered and the generous bartenders who let you taste what you want until you find the right beer for you.










#7  Original Gravity Public House

66 S 1st Street, San Jose, CA 95113  |


Beers and brats. It's hard to beat that combo, but add duck fat fries and poutine and you have the makings of a killer beer bar. Original Gravity has 3 main areas: the front entrance bar has a selection of beers on tap and a separate counter displaying their brats; the second bar area has a completely different selection of beers on tap and open seating; the third (and our favorite) area is the outdoor patio where communial seating is encouraged and pets are allowed.









#6  Drake's Dealership

2325 Bradway Auto Row  |


Drake's Dealership is a new establishment with some very old roots. Their San Leandro location was so beloved that an Oakland location was a no brainer. Drake's Dealership is housed in a classic brick building on Oakland’s historic Broadway Auto Row. They have a full- service wood-fired pizza restaurant with 32 beers on tap, and an open-air beer garden featuring fire pits, Adirondack seating and a live music stage. Kid friendly until 9PM and pet friendly, always!






#5  Lion Pub

2062 Divisadero Street, San Francisco, CA 94115  |


Lion Pub is a hidden gem that is very well hidden. Tip: the entrance is actually around the corner on California Street. Locals come here for the fresh fruit cocktails and the ambiance. Head's up, this bar is a cash only establishment.









#4  The Old Pro

541 Ramona Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301  |


Pull up a stool, order a tower of beer, hop on the mechanical bull and party like tomorrow isn't a work day. The Old Pro is an old favorite of the Palo Alto happy hour crowd. The place is surrounded by TVs and can definitely fill up quickly, especially on a game nights. Nice and greasy, stick to your ribs bar food is offered here and goes quite nicely with a tower or two of beer.






#3  Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub

69 N San Pedro Street, San Jose, CA  |

Firehouse2.jpgFirehouse Gastropub pairs handcrafted cocktails and fine brews with menu selections from succulent pork belly sliders to house made paté – this is not typical bar food. Firehouse No. 1 Gastropub offers an experience unlike any other bar. It's located in downtown San Jose in San Pedro Square.








#2  The Hidden Vine

408 Merchant Street, San Francisco, CA  |

The_Hidden_Vine.jpgSolid little wine bar that's dangerously close to Skyline's San Francisco office. The setting here is dark, stylish and intimate; perfect for dates or catching up with a close friend for some 1 on 1 time. There is also a bocce ball court on the side of the building for additional play.







#1  Toronado

547 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117  |

Toronado.jpgLove it or hate it, Toronado can draw an intense reaction from any given San Franciscan. Toronado is a no thrills and no nonsense, beer lover's paradise. They also stock Pliny The Elder on tap, regularly! Beer is all they have here, so don't ask for a cocktail, not even a beer cocktail. Bring cash and bring your beer appetite. 







Topics: bars, drink, office, culture, st patty, bay area

How firms are "showing the love" with their office space

Posted by Christy Le on Feb 4, 2016 6:00:00 AM


The strategy of creating office envy is definitely catching on in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Taking care of employees in the workplace increases morale, supports recruiting efforts, and is generally fun.  Here are some of our favorite recent projects that showcase the love.


They wine you.

Grabbing a drink after work (or during work, for that matter) has never been easier. Social areas equipped with a full bar and handles of local craft brews in the work place has finally become a thing. This takes water cooler chat to the next level. 


 Lumosity, San Francisco
Architect: Boor Bridges Architecture

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


They dine you.

Bay Area firms are quickly catching on to the old adage that there is no faster way into your hungry employee's heart than through their stomachs. From full-service kitchens to cozy cafes and break rooms, these areas are fully stocked with meals, snacks, refreshments and everything in between. 


Yammer, San Francisco
Architect: TMDA

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


They love you for your mind.

Arming employees with a place for intellectual stimuli is the newest trend. A quiet space for research or leisurely reading is the perfect way to promote professional and personal development. Even in an increasingly digital world, in-house libraries are beloved by the employees and employers, alike. Learning is fun. Who knew?



Weebly, San Francisco
Architect: Huntsman Architectural Group

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


They make you feel like a kid again.

Associating work with the warm and fuzzy nostalgic feelings of your childhood is a new concept in office interior design. It's fun, it's inviting and it's a light-hearted approach that is striking a cord with companies throughout the bay area. Slides, pool tables, vintage video games, ping pong tables and themed meeting rooms are just the tip of the iceberg of popular features.


Chartboost, San Francisco
Architect: Design Blitz

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


Interested in more construction trends? Download our Construction Trends in the Bay Area guide for a complete overview.

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Topics: Construction Trends, bars, tech firms, cool office, kitchen, perks, office perks

Top 5 Tenant Improvement Trends in the Bay Area

Posted by Randy Scott on Dec 31, 2015 8:18:56 AM

As competition for employee talent rises, companies throughout the Bay Area seek to move beyond the standard open-floor plan by creating full “employee experiences” within their space. Our project management teams have identified 5 popular trends happening across workplace design in the Bay Area:

  • Commercial Kitchens
  • Unassigned Workstations
  • Living Art
  • Social Spaces
  • Custom Light Fixtures

Commercial Kitchens


 The demand for full commercial kitchens has jumped, especially among technology firms. Commercial kitchens take up significant space and are typically more expensive to maintain than contracting with a catering service (not to mention the time and costs associated with getting permits from the health department). Yet a commercial kitchen with an in-house chef (e.g. Weebly pictured above) gives companies control over how food is sourced and served—a key selling point for many younger, health-conscious employees.


Unassigned WorkstationsGeremia_Boor_Bridges-Lumosity-1010.jpg

 Many companies are adopting project-based or activity-based workspaces allowing employees the mobility to temporarily collaborate with their project team. With fewer individually assigned desks and more space dedicated to team collaboration, companies may not need as much space as they thought—or are finding ways to better maximize the space they already have. Our team has found that space planning has decreased from an average of 225 square feet per person to approximately 175-185 square feet per person. (e.g. Lumosity, pictured above.)


Living Art


 Plants are known to improve indoor air quality, reduce noise between work areas, and improve the productivity, creativity and mood of a building’s inhabitants. Creative companies are breaking free from standard potted plants and turning greenery into pieces of indoor art. From concrete walls studded with air plants (e.g. Weebly, pictured above) to indoor “parks” that extend outdoor spaces inward (Pandora), employers are making a conscious effort to incorporate the natural world into the structure of the buildings themselves.


Social Spaces

Innovative businesses understand that the cross-pollination of ideas isn’t limited to its conference rooms. To encourage the spontaneous exchange of ideas between different departments they are building gyms, game rooms (e.g. Yammer pictured above), music “jam rooms,” massage rooms and more--many of which come with their own physical requirements such as secondary spaces like laundry rooms, locker rooms, bicycle parking areas, etc.

Custom Light FixturesDropBox2_00248.jpg

Customized light fixtures are becoming increasingly popular, which means that lead times are getting longer. While the typical lead time for lighting is 6 weeks, custom lighting options can extend lead times to 8 to 10 weeks or more. (Dropbox pictured above)

Interested to see more trends in cost, regulations, or lead time on materials? Download our Construction Trends in the Bay Area guide for a complete overview.

Download Now

Topics: Open Office, Collaboration Areas, Construction Trends, Commercial Kitchens, Light Fixtures, Social Spaces, Living Art