Celebrating 40 Years of Excellence in Construction

As we look back on four decades as a construction company in the Bay Area, we’re marking this company milestone by reflecting on some of our favorite projects. We’ve encountered all manner of hurdles while tackling tenant improvements and innovative new builds, but whether we’re taking a site back to the drawing board or retrofitting an office, there’s a satisfaction to ironing out the obstacles and delivering on a client’s concept. In celebration of the last 40 years, here’s some of what we’ve learned and also what inspires us day to day.

People First: Assembling a Construction Company in the Bay Area

SBC has long been dedicated to building on solid foundations: from our beginnings as an in-house construction company for South Bay Development under the watchful care of founder Jim Mair to our move into the general contractor space and the creation of South Bay Construction with Rich Furtado at the helm, we now undertake diverse projects for a multitude of clients. To put it simply, if it needs a contractor, we can make it happen.

Over the years our team, like our projects, has diversified. Cameron Peach and JB Cahoon joined us 20 years ago — partners who bring their passion for fostering relationships and design-build work to our everyday operations. Our company is now more than 100 employees strong, with nearly 10,000 projects completed — and we’ve learned a lot along the way.

Diving In: Getting Your Project Off the Ground

When it comes to building from the ground up, we know the landscape well. With dozens of customized properties under our belt, we’ve cultivated a solid understanding of site development. We’re also no strangers to the tenant improvement space, where working with existing structures can add new twists to project management. However you decide to approach your build, there are some key components to keep in mind.

Projects run on compressed schedules and require special planning and great attention to detail. These shorter construction schedules — as brief as four weeks, in some cases —  still require high-quality work from builders who can make quick, definitive decisions, and a general contractor that has established relationships with local vendors. Innovative projects like these are changing the face of the Bay Area — resulting in employee-focused workspaces, design-conscious commercial buildings, and office towers that are selling for higher than ever before. In 2018, tenant improvement projects costs continue to increase in response to compressed schedules and higher attention to design industry-wide.

New builds can present their own complications. What starts as a straightforward design can quickly become, depending on city permits and delivery delays, a complex tangle of deadlines and regulations. Value engineering is key: the process of anticipating and addressing budget creep before it happens can save a build from becoming a money pit. Because SBC is the Bay Area’s largest open shop general contractor, we’re able to draw on our experience to both advise clients on big decisions and negotiate competitive rates amongst subcontractors and suppliers. SBC remains committed to our value engineering principles and maintaining unrivaled levels of craftsmanship. In order to pull out useful takeaways from our existing portfolio, we’ve compiled some of our favorite projects to date.

Project Highlight #1: Winslow in Redwood City

Located near the historic Fox Theatre, this mixed-use improvement project for multiple tenants came with a specific set of parameters. Building so close to the property line — and to the historical theater next door — required special fire rate smoke shutters and strict adherence to regulations regarding everything from furniture installs to tenant move-in. The finished project more than makes up for any initial investment, with the first interior office space boasting bright colors and playful wallpapers, and the second — for tech company SendGrid — offering open and airy workspaces with a modern twist. This building’s proximity to the revitalized Redwood City downtown core means it will serve as a community hub for many years to come.  

Project Highlight #2: 23andMe in Mountain View

For leading personal genetics company 23andMe, genotyping more than a million people worldwide meant that business was booming — and they were outgrowing their offices. SBC was brought in to complete tenant improvement upgrades to their four-story, 67,000-square-foot building in Mountain View in order to house executive and administrative staff, the marketing team, and scientists and research professionals. The project presented a unique challenge in the form of a defined budget coupled with ambitious design — the completed interiors feature polished concrete floors, open ceilings, glass walls, reclaimed wood products, and a sunny rooftop deck. Teamwork between the client, architect, and subcontractors allowed this start-up to move into its largest offices in company history.

Project Highlight #3: 1440 Multiversity in Scotts Valley

This project restored a shuttered college campus situated among California redwoods, and transformed it into a state-of-the-art holistic healing center. The build retained the integrity of the college’s original architecture and added to it, allowing visitors to enjoy the open spaces and stunning natural surroundings of the 75-acre site. From “The Lodge” — the welcoming center of the campus — to recreation sleeping quarters, the site’s features create a tranquil and inspiring atmosphere perfectly suited for visitors seeking solace and self-improvement.

These are just three projects that stand out for us, yet there are so many more: we’ve restored a semiconductor fabrication plant after a contamination, completed a two-building facelift that earned us the AIA Santa Clara Valley 2016 People’s Choice Award, and built the largest anaerobic digestion facility in the world, the first of its kind in the U.S. We’ve learned the ins and outs of every type of build, and are more than happy to share.

With so much to look back on, we’d be shortsighted not to also anticipate the coming decades. We want to continue investing in our existing culture of honesty, sustainability, technological advancement, and promoting from within — to ensure that our clients receive the best service in the business. From a home for the human genome to facilities designed for relaxation and entertainment, we pride ourselves on being ready to jump into any construction challenge. Here at South Bay, we’re anticipating the next 40 years of innovative projects, and are ready to partner with you on your next build.


Looking to kick off your own ambitious project? Learn how South Bay can partner with you in making your construction aspirations a reality.

Recent Posts

Clearing the Air: An Update on Title 24 CBSC Changes for 2023

If you didn’t live in San Francisco in the 1970s, it’s hard to imagine the smog. Check out some episodes of the hit crime drama Streets of San Francisco. In the city panorama shots, you can see smog conditions similar to the photo above.   Pretty awful, right? Los Angeles was even worse. Fast forward to ...

read more
The Biotech Boom: How the Life Sciences Industry is Driving Innovation in Northern California Construction

Biotechnology is a rapidly growing field that is transforming many industries, including the construction industry in Northern California. In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the use of biotechnology in the construction of commercial buildings and infrastructure projects, with companies using biotech innovations to improve the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of their ...

read more
Top 10 Construction Trends to Watch in 2023

The San Francisco Bay Area has seen significant growth in construction projects over the years, reflecting many opportunities and challenges. Looking ahead, the industry continues to adapt to everything from long material lead times to rising costs and the impact of climate change. Let’s look at the top 10 trends for 2023 San Francisco Bay ...

read more
Get a quote

Get a Quote

Our team of design-build experts has over 40 years of experience in the construction industry — and therefore understands the ins and outs of the estimate process. We strongly believe in customer satisfaction and know that your time is important, so we provide accurate quotes in a timely fashion. If you're interested in getting a quote, contact us today.

Cost reference guide

Cost Reference Guide

Our Bay Area Cost Reference Guide provides up-to-date construction pricing and market data; it's a critical budgeting tool that can deliver conceptual estimates and that can save you both time and money.