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Republic of Tea signs lease at Hamilton Landing

The Republic of Tea has signed a lease for 4,500 square feet at Hangar 5 at Hamilton Landing in Novato and hopes to move in within a couple of months.

Republic of Tea, a 16-year-old company founded in Mill Valley in 1992 by the former owners of Banana Republic, is an internationally known specialty tea company with a staff of 10. It sells more than 200 teas and 150 non-tea items, such as pots and cups.

The Hamilton space will be designed by Barbara Lyons Stewart, a San Anselmo feng shui architect.

Marideth Post, Republic of Tea spokeswoman, said the move from 8 Digital Drive in Bel Marin Keys is exciting because the former Air Force base has been beautifully adapted for reuse.

"It feels like a college campus," Post said. "It's become kind of like the Presidio in San Francisco and Levi Plaza - little creative hubs that specialize in nonprofits, advertising and public relations. We're looking forward to being part of that energy."

Republic of Tea will join such Hamilton Landing tenants as Sony Imageworks, Visual Concepts Entertainment, Smith & Hawken and Birkenstock Distribution USA.

Disney Studios is developing a 3-D computer animation complex in 90,000 square feet at hangars 7 and 9, and is expected to move at the end of the year.

Disney's 180-employee Image

Movers Digital studio is currently at 1 Thorndale Drive in San Rafael.

Haden Ongaro, a broker with Orion Partners Ltd. in San Rafael, said the Republic of Tea lease means Hamilton Landing has 1,900 square feet of available space in the hangars. The developer, Barker Pacific Group, will build one additional 45,000-square-foot facility near the control tower. It should be ready by late 2009.

Ongaro did not disclose the terms of the lease with Republic of Tea but said the rate per square foot for the last vacancy is $2.85. The amount is on the high side for Novato but compares favorably to the San Rafael Corporate Center, where space goes for $3.75 per square foot and Larkspur, where premium office space is about $4.75 per square foot.

"It's been a great mix of tenants that have come out there - from movie production to biomedical to money managers," Ongaro said. "People get really excited when they go out there. The fact that they are old reused hangars is really unique."

Hamilton Landing's seven hangars provide more than 450,000 square feet of office space on a 22-acre site for businesses and organizations staffed by approximately 850 employees.

The property is the site of one of the West Coast's largest wetlands restoration projects. The $200 million, eight-year marsh project is being financed with state, federal and local money.

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