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Bayview Landing deal cheered;  new Kerner complex virtually full

[caption id="attachment_17118" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge can be seen across San Rafael Bay from Central Payment Corp.'s future space at Bayview Landing. (Orion Partners photo; click image to enlarge)"][/caption]

SAN RAFAEL -- Central Payment Corp., which processes financial transactions for small to large-sized companies, has secured space for more headquarters employees as the company accommodates strong growth in its customer base.

The company leased 13,000 square feet at 2350 Kerner Blvd., making the Bayview Landing office complex in east San Rafael virtually fully leased in one of the largest Marin office leases so far this year.

The company's expansion plan also is remarkable for what it could communicate to owners of Marin office properties about attracting tenants to the 2 million square feet of available office space in the county as well as the attitude of local employers toward filling that space.

[caption id="attachment_17119" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Central Payment Corp. will be occupying this space in Bayview Landing. (Orion Partners photo)"][/caption]

"This was a project of 116,000 square feet ready for leasing at the first of last year, and now it is 98 percent leased with this 13,000-square-foot deal in the middle of the worst market in many years," said Bill McCubbin, president and chief executive officer of Orion Partners, which is marketing the property.

NAI BT Commercial's Trevor Buck, who co-represented Central Payment in the lease deal, said the company is one of several in Marin that are signing leases for not just less expensive space but more expansive quarters.

"For the past year we had companies not making decisions as the economy was heading south," he said. "This will be an active quarter of the year."

Central Payment, founded by 33-year-old twin brothers Matthew and Zachary Hyman, plans to relocate by March from 5,400 square feet in The Brick Kiln development at 125 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

With a number of employees living in the East Bay, Central Payment picked the location near the western end of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge after touring a number of alternatives. HealthNet, another company in Bayview Landing, also wanted to locate near East Bay employees.

"We want to stay in the area as our employees are comfortable with the location," said Zachary Hyman, managing partner. "The new location is only two miles away from our current location."

The company currently has 115 employees in San Rafael and more than 600 salespeople nationwide. Plans call for the office work force to increase to as many as 180, with up to 135 in San Rafael and the rest in offices in Fresno, Kentucky and Iowa as the company continues expanding nationally.

Even during a steep economic recession that has seen consumers pulling back spending in the past two years, Central Payment's sales have soared. Revenue has increased from $4.5 million in 2006, the first year in business, to $20 million in 2007, $34 million last year and an expected $50 million-plus this year.

"Consumer spending hurt our bottom line because we were not processing the same amount per store," Mr. Hyman said. "However, we were still able to grow despite the downturn because of the high number of new merchants we add monthly."

The company has more than 30,000 customers in its system and adds more than 1,200 a month. It provides its customers with point-of-sale hardware and software and Web site shopping systems to be able to process consumer payments in exchange for a transaction fee. Also available are paper check processing, gift card and card-receipt cash advance services.

Central Payment competes with large companies such as Wisconsin-based Fiserv and Colorado-based First Data by keeping transaction rates low, interacting with clients face to face and offering transaction terminals and software free of additional charge, according to Mr. Hyman.

The Hyman brothers started Central Payment Corp. in early 2006 and are sole owners. They sold their first company, Card Payment Solutions, to iPayment for $18 million. After a noncompetition agreement expired, they started Central Payment with backing from iPayment.

[caption id="attachment_17122" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Bayview Landing (Orion Partners photos; click image to enlarge)"][/caption]

Bayview Landing developer GateCapital Properties of San Francisco attracted tenants by first building the $40 million complex with a high degree of common-area finishes and shoreline views. It also negotiated leases with a long-term view of tenant retention, rather than months of free rent, as has been the norm in Marin as property owners compete for few active tenants in a "very sleepy market," according to Orion Partners' Brian Eisberg, who is marketing the building with Jerry Angel for owner San Rafael Land Co.

The property ownership contributed as much as $100 a square foot, which would have been $120 a square foot before construction prices slumped, to some of the improvements. Common improvement allowances in leases have been around $50 a square foot.

"We take the longer view on ownership," said GateCaptial principal Bruce Jones. "It provides an extra incentive to stay as well."

Centric Construction is the general contractor for the improvements.

One 3,600-square-foot suite remains to be leased in the Bayview Landing facility.

For more information on Central Payment Corp., call 415-462-8335 or visit www.centralpaymentcorp.com.