Noted for being the seat of Marin County, San Rafael is home to numerous iconic and noteworthy commercial structures.

Our editorial team decided to showcase ten of the best contractors behind some of the city’s most important commercial structures. These firms were chosen for their principal’s outstanding backgrounds, their extensive portfolios, and the depth of their experience. 

Pankow Builders

1 Sutter Street, Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94109

Pankow Builders offers a complete and comprehensive range of commercial contracting services. With over five decades of industry experience, the company has worked on over a thousand successful projects and is respected for its excellent civic, aviation, education, healthcare, and hospitality projects. Its portfolio also includes various office, parking, public, retail, and residential work. The firm’s team makes use of only the best and latest techniques, lean tools, and methodologies. Since its establishment, the firm has been the recipient of a multitude of awards and distinctions. One of its most recent ones includes the 2018 San Francisco Collaborative Partnering Award. The photo below depicts the firm’s talent and expertise. 

Located in the heart of San Francisco, this project was completed for The Panoramic at 1321 Mission Street. It contains eleven levels that house 160 units and one level basement. It features efficient workspaces and meticulously planned living spaces, with 80 of its units reserved for student housing for the San Francisco California Academy of Arts University.  

DPR Construction

945 Front Street, San Francisco, CA 94111

Consistently named among the country’s best 50 general contractors for the past decade, DPR Construction specializes in complex and sustainable projects for an extensive range of markets. In addition to its commercial and corporate work, the firm also provides services to the healthcare, advanced technology, life sciences, and higher education sectors. DPR is affiliated with the US Green Building Council and currently holds the distinction of having the highest number of LEED-accredited professionals on its team. Throughout its two decades in the industry, the firm has been recognized for its excellent work multiple times both by award-giving bodies and publications. Some of these accolades include features in the Engineering News-Record and awards from the NAIOP for its stellar interiors. The firm primarily focuses on complex and sustainable projects and has worked with some of the world’s most recognizable names from a wide spectrum of market sectors.

The project above was completed for DreamWorks Animation Studios. The project was completed in an impressive four months and spans 2,830 square feet and features a 70-seat screening room complete with a connected projection booth, multi-purpose room, and full-service cafeteria. It also has three floors of office space that showcases outstanding hardwood floors, floating ceilings, and custom lighting. 


207 King Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94107

Founded in 1971, Webcor is known for its innovative approach, cutting-edge Building Information Modeling, and virtual building techniques. It offers a full range of services, including subcontractor engagement and budgeting assistance, as well as 24-hour responses and an annual building inspection program as part of its warranty. As a LEED-certified firm, Webcor also incorporates green building practices in its projects to ensure the sustainability and efficiency of its buildings. As a result, the firm has worked on some important and iconic projects over the years.

The project below embodies the company’s talent and expertise. Hotel Nia—a lifestyle hotel that also serves as a conference center and event garden— features eleven levels and 250 hotel keys and holds a Silver LEED Certification. Our editorial team was especially impressed by its very-own restaurant featuring a full bar and lounge, an exclusive concierge club room, and an outdoor pool with private cabanas. 

BCCI Construction

1160 Battery Street, Suite 250, San Francisco, CA 94111

With over three decades of experience, BCCI provides a full range of commercial construction and renovation services and is best known for its tenant improvements, new construction, historic restorations, and seismic retrofits. The firm is privately owned and has been recognized as one of the Greater Bay Area’s largest and best contractors. Engineering News-Record recognized BCCI as one of the country’s Top 100 green building contractors and California’s best contractors in 2018. The firm’s multifaceted experience has enabled it to become an expert in structures, interiors, and sustainability projects. The BCCI portfolio is a gallery of projects from multiple market sectors. The firm is affiliated with several prestigious organizations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and several other green building organizations. The firm has worked with numerous noteworthy clients throughout its years in service, including Adobe, Forbes Media, and Accenture.

Completed in San Francisco, the project was completed for Forbes Media. It spans 11,000 square feet and primarily mirrors the look and feel of Forbes’s New Jersey headquarters. It was finished back in 2017 and showcases stellar high ceilings, excellent multimedia meeting rooms, and various collaborative workspaces. Our team was especially impressed by its great kitchen and the wonderful views of the San Francisco Bay and Bay Bridge it provides.

Nibbi Brothers General Contractors

1000 Brannan Street, Suite 102, San Francisco, CA 94103

Since 1950, Nibbi Brothers General Contractors has been constructing some of the Bay Area’s most technologically complex and iconic structures. The firm provides a full range of general contracting services, including a thorough pre-construction package, several collaborative building methods—including design-build—and high-performance green building methods. Nibbi Brothers also uses BIM alongside several other Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) methods to construct a project and create working models of existing conditions before actually breaking ground. This process diminishes inaccuracies in dimensions as well as problems that may arise with coordination in terms of pre-existing structures and systems around a particular tenant improvement. From large-scale buildouts to small renovations, the firm has been recognized multiple times for its excellent work and services. The firm has been featured on multiple occasions in the Engineering News-Record and the San Francisco Business Times. It has also been awarded several distinctions from prestigious organizations including the American Institute of Architects.

Completed back in 2005, the photo above showcases the Boudin flagship bakery and restaurant. The project entailed working on the demolition of an existing one-story bakery and replacing it with structural steel and two stories. It spans 25,000 square feet and has its own private dining room, perfect for special events. 

McCarthy Building Companies

1265 Battery Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111

Founded by an Irish immigrant named Timothy McCarthy, McCarthy Building Companies started out as a small farmhouse and barn contractor before growing into one of the nation’s largest commercial builders. Over 155 years after its establishment, the firm now works on manufacturing plants, aviation projects, educational institutions, government buildings, healthcare facilities, hotels and entertainment venues, parking areas, and research laboratories. Its work has been featured in Forbes and in the Engineering News-Record. The firm has also been recognized with numerous awards, including several Awards of Excellence from the Associated Builders and Contractors of Georgia, project awards from the Engineering News-Record, and distinctions from CEO Magazine. One of McCarthy’s most recent and notable features comes from Training Magazine, which inducted the firm into its Hall of Fame.

The project above depicts the firm’s work for aLoft Hotel. It entailed an extensive renovation of the existing Clarion hotel, in addition to abatement and demolition. Our editorial team loved its all-new interiors. 

NOVO Construction

608 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

NOVO Construction operates out of three offices located in Menlo Park, San Francisco, and Austin. It adheres to the highest standards and can take on projects regardless of size or scale. Its headquarters are located in Menlo Park, home to most of its employees. The firm has been around since 2000 and has had the privilege of working on some of the best projects in the Bay Area. Specializing in small to large-scale build-outs, NOVO showcases a deep understanding of Menlo Park’s most popular architectural vernaculars and has secured long-standing relationships with countless customers for the greater part of two decades. It describes its approach as similar to that of a “boutique” firm, assuring clients that it personalizes and caters its methods for each project it takes on.

Spanning 265,000, the photo above depicts the firm’s work for the San Francisco headquarters of Lyft. It features an all-new break area, conference rooms, and phone rooms. The firm’s team also designed and crafted an open workspace Macy’s with exposed ceilings and excellent concrete flooring. Our editorial team was also impressed by its custom high-end main reception complete with reclaimed wood partitions.   

Trainor Commercial Construction

1925 Francisco Boulevard East, Suite 21, San Rafael, CA 94901

Trainor Commercial Construction provides a stellar range of premium retail construction services. The firm specializes in retail, luxury, clothing, specialty stores, restaurants, and corporate interiors. It has had the opportunity to work with countless Fortune 500 companies across the United States and Canada. The firm has worked in over 200 locations and is led by Brian Trainor. He started his career in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970s and is experienced in every phase and aspect of the entire process. Under his leadership, the firm has been a recipient of a multitude of awards. It has also been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, Boston Common, and Retail Environments.

The project below best depicts the company’s expertise. Macy’s is one of the firm’s longest-standing clients: it has completed over 850 spaces for the storied department store. These projects include not only stores but also Macy’s corporate offices, Macy’s Union Square, as well as a special store.

Cahill Contractors

425 California Street, Suite 2200, San Francisco, CA 94104

Cahill Contractors operates out of its offices in San Francisco and Oakland. It provides a complete and comprehensive range of services and specializes in residential, education, civic, healthcare, and commercial construction. The firm draws inspiration from over a hundred years of industry experience and has secured relationships with some of the area’s best and leading subcontractors. Together, they have worked on an extensive variety of project types, allowing the firm to build an excellent and diverse portfolio for itself.

Spanning 45,312 square feet, this project was completed in collaboration with the talented professionals of Pyatok Architects and is a great example of Cahill’s capabilities. It entailed the construction of a 37-unit affordable housing development in Oakland’s San Antonio neighborhood. Some of its amenities and features include a community gallery, on-site management office, service office, and a common laundry room.

Skyline Construction

2384 Walsh Avenue, Santa Clara, CA 95051

Servicing the greater San Francisco Bay area, Skyline Construction is an employee-owned firm that specializes in working on corporate office interiors. The firm is a part of a family of construction companies that have serviced a variety of areas throughout the country and is well-known for its team’s talents and expertise. The Skyline team has transformed various spaces into dynamic and unique offices for which it has been repeatedly recognized. The firm has been in the industry since 1996 and is also proud to be a woman-led enterprise. Sifting through its portfolio, you may notice that aside from its corporate offices, it has also completed several challenging and highly specific improvements that require skill and specialized attention. These include projects in the healthcare, financial, and retail sectors. Most notably, the firm has worked on a variety of headquarters. Showcased below is one of the firm’s best projects.

Completed in a span of just right weeks, this project was designed and crafted in collaboration with some of the professionals at Plum Architects & Shimoda Design. It houses the Red Door Coffee and provides a cozy 1,000 square feet of space. Some of its elements include curved custom millwork booths, reclaimed teak wood walls, and a custom acrylic ceiling art installation.


  • Jake Gustafson

    Jake has served as Senior Editor at General Contractors and brings a wealth of experience rooted in his passion for building. Holding a degree in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University, he actively engaged in industry-related activities, including membership in the Associated General Contractors of America student chapter and participation in the Associated Schools in Construction student competition. Previously, Jake served as a project engineer for a prominent general contractor in Portland, where he played a pivotal role in various aspects of construction projects, from pre-construction to subcontractor management. His expertise extends to working on innovative projects, such as North America's largest CLT commercial building. Expertise: Commercial Construction, Commercial Remodeling, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Editor at General Contractors, Project Engineer for Portland-based general contractor, Field Engineer for the largest CLT commercial building in North America Education: Oregon State University, Degree in Construction Engineering Management