Relocations Lyft Nashville's office market

Friday, March 18, 2016, Vol. 40, No. 12
By Bill Lewis

If you’re wondering what’s driving Nashville’s booming office real estate market, take a look at Lyft.

The ride-sharing company announced the relocation of 20 staff members from San Francisco to Nashville, where it is leasing 36,322 square feet of space in the Nashville Sash & Door building on Second Avenue North.

Nashville compares favorably to San Francisco, according to Lyft spokeswoman Katie Dally. Office space is going for around $70 per square foot in the city by the bay, compared with rents around $18 to $22 in older buildings in Nashville.

Rents in Nashville’s priciest new buildings are around $36 to $40 per square foot, which is still about half the typical rent in San Francisco.

“As we continue to grow we know we need more space for the employees who support our passengers and drivers,” an official statement from Lyft says. “We chose Nashville as the home of our newest office because it is a great city with a lower cost of living and a growing talent pool.”

Lyft eventually expects to employ 400 people in Nashville.

Nashville is well positioned to attract companies like Lyft.

The Urban Land Institute ranks Nashville seventh nationally among “18-hour cities” (as opposed to a 24-hour city like New York) where low costs of living and doing business, combined with a vibrant urban core, are attracting investment.

Other 18-hour cities include Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Charlotte, Seattle, Atlanta and Denver.