Developers in contract to buy Oakland tower site

Two developers are in contract to buy a tower site next to Oakland’s 19th Street BART station, potentially kickstarting construction.

Danville-based Behring Cos. has an option to buy the land at 1900 Broadway, according to an agreement filed in November. The deal hasn’t closed.

John Herr, executive vice president at Lincoln Property Co., said at a Bisnow event on Wednesday that the company is partnering with Behring on the project. It would be Lincon’s first project in Oakland, and the company would join a wave of new developers that are fueling the city’s biggest development boom in decades.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

For renters, the new normal: lower expectations and shrinking apartments

Gabriel Rodarte grew up in San Jose and has worked there for 30 years as a mailman for the U.S. Postal Service.

Making his rounds, he says, “I see it all. I see three families living inside one small apartment, or total strangers who share a room. None of them stay very long; they can’t afford it.”

Neither can Rodarte. He earns nearly $60,000 a year, but his apartments keep getting smaller. Dodging the region’s skyrocketing rents for the last five years, he now rents a room from a friend for $400 a month and feels “trapped. That’s where I’m at — I feel like I’m the working poor. It’s just ridiculous when you can’t afford to live in the place where you grew up.”

A generation of tenants now sees itself as rent-poor, with every last dime doled out for gas, groceries and the landlord. Renters struggle throughout the Bay Area.  In San Jose, the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $2,550, far above the national average of $1,560.  A similar two-bedroom flat can cost even more elsewhere: $3,080 in Walnut Creek and $4,910 in Cupertino, according to a recent report.

As the Bay Area’s economy booms, and as the tech sector continues to expand, this is the new normal for those on the margins: shrinking expectations and shrinking apartments. Nearly 40 percent of working adults in the Bay Area are now “doubled up” with roommates in order to afford rent, according to a study from Zillow.

Read more from East Bay Times

Rents in San Francisco and Oakland down at the End of 2017

Continuing the trend we first noticed forming at the end of 2016, asking rents for apartments in San Francisco and Oakland ended the year lower than at the start of 2017.

In fact, based on a comparison of nearly 2,400 listings, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco, including one-off rentals as well as units in larger developments such as Avalon’s new complex in Dogpatch, is currently running around $4,000 a month, which is around 4 percent lower versus the same time last year and roughly 10 percent below a peak in the fourth quarter of 2015.

And the average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is currently running around $3,400 a month having crossed the $3,600 mark in 2015.

Read more from SocketSite

Downtown Corporate Campuses are Expanding into the Suburbs

One of the most important development trends in recent years has been the push to redevelop, reenergize and revitalize downtown districts in cities and towns across the country. Aligned with a demographic wave (led by millennials, empty nesters and active seniors) displaying a renewed appreciation for and attraction to the live/work/play dynamism that dense, mixed-use urban centers can provide, developers have become more aggressive and more adept at transforming underutilized urban neighborhoods in vital and energized centers of commercial and social activity.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

Here are the Bay Area’s 10 biggest building sales of 2017

San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area saw another banner year for building sales in 2017. Giant foreign investors, pension funds and private equity firms bought towers in the heart of downtown San Francisco and more suburban areas for record prices.

The big deals weren’t just limited to tech offices and Oakland’s investment market remains hot.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

Alameda County Planning To Sell Its Stake In Oakland Coliseum To Oakland

Alameda County wants out of its share of the Oakland Coliseum.

With three sports teams potentially leaving the site in the next few years, Oakland and the county are in talks for the city to buy out the county’s stake, the San Francisco Business Times reports. Full control of the site would make it easier for Oakland to redevelop the site.

The city and county still have bonds worth $200M to pay off that were used to finance the expansion of the stadium for the Oakland Raiders and renovate Oracle Arena. Those bonds could complicate negotiations. The county could pay off its portion of the debt, but there is no indication as to how the debt is structured and whether it can be paid off early.

Read more from Bisnow

What’s Up With Retail?

Rent, online shopping, regulations, and a higher minimum wage reduce the brick-and-mortar presence.

Omar Mughannam of Beauty Center faced a 30 percent rent increase at one location.

For local retailers, whose inventory costs are high and whose profits depend on foot traffic and fickle consumer demand, even small increases in rent can be difficult to bear. And when rent increases hit double digit percentages, owners are often forced to relocate to a more affordable space, consolidate multiple outlets, or close altogether.

Empty stores are everywhere, in Rockridge where Itsy Bitsy, Cotton Basics, Rockridge Home, and See Jane Run once seemed to thrive; in Elmwood where the corner of College and Ashby looks sparse without Jeremy’s, and in Montclair Village, too, where the local bike shop and Daisy’s are no more.

California’s Cannabis Conundrum: Legalization Will Lead To Fewer Dispensaries, Not More

With legalization of recreational marijuana just around the corner in California, the state is about to embark on what could be a $5B industry and a boon for tax revenue. But state regulations have created high barriers to entry and many cities and counties have banned cannabis outright.

Legalization in California will not translate to an immediate influx of cannabis dispensaries. In fact, many dispensaries now in business will no longer be able to continue operations past Jan. 1. States like Colorado created a more open market with fewer regulations when it legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, leading to an explosion of cannabis businesses. California requires dispensaries to be at least 600 feet from schools, to close at 10 p.m. and to have 24-hour surveillance, among other regulations. Jurisdictions also have the right to be more restrictive.

Read more from Bisnow

Oakland Approves Tenant Relocation Assistance for Owner Move-Ins and Condo Conversions

The Oakland City Council last night approved new financial assistance for renters displaced by certain types of no-fault evictions.

Under the new rules, if a tenant is evicted by a landlord who is moving into the rental unit, or whose immediate family member is moving in, the landlord must pay the tenant an amount between $6,500 and $9,875, depending on the size of the rental unit. Similarly, if a landlord evicts a tenant in order to convert the apartment into a condominium, the payments also have to be made.

Read more from East Bay Express

Uber sells Uptown Station HQ to Oakland firm

Uber announced in August that it was putting Uptown Station—the new mixed-use development right downtown in the onetime Sears building on Broadway that only recently shed the white plastic cocoon that enshrouded it during rehab—up for sale without ever moving a single employee into its planned headquarters.

But it didn’t take long for an interested buyer to start making eyes at the circa 1929 Beaux-Arts building.

Back in October, the San Francisco Business Times reported that the Oakland-base investment firm CIM Group planned to buy the whole 356,000-square-foot building for $175 million.

As Tuesday morning, CIM announced the sale via press release. The announcement doesn’t include the sale price, and spokesperson Karen Diehl tells Curbed SF “CIM never discusses financial arrangements.”

Uber previous paid $123.5 million for the place, putting millions more into the rehab.

Read more from Curbed SF