Crane Watch update: More than 22,000 residential units have flooded into San Jose’s development pipeline

More than 22,000 new residential units have been proposed in the city of San Jose — the largest city in the housing-starved Bay Area — according to city records and Business Journal reporting over the past year.

Those number have been gathered over the past year and a half and detailed in the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Crane Watch map, which is a compilation of every large development project that has arrived at the San Jose city hall.

When the Silicon Valley Business Journal’s Crane Watch map launched in 2017, it detailed 30 of the biggest projects in San Jose. But a little more than a year later, the number of projects we’re tracking has ballooned to 107 proposals. These include developments that are anywhere in the city’s development pipeline, from an early vision submitted to the city for feedback all the way to a recently completed structure.

Crane Watch shows industrial, office, residential, hotel, health care, education, retail and mixed-use proposals, and active projects that are 90,000 square feet in size or larger throughout the city of San Jose.

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San Francisco startup to build 270-unit ground up development in SoMa as part of co-living push

Starcity, a co-living development startup that is known for building “dorm living for adults,” is planning to erect a 270-unit building dubbed “Minna” in SoMa as part of its latest development push.

It also is eyeing a downtown San Jose property three blocks from Caltrain for more than 750 units.

Starcity’s model of private rooms paired with shared spaces can boost the number of units or rooms in an apartment project threefold, the company said in a statement Wednesday morning. Along with ground-up developments, the company converts and renovates defunct or underused commercial spaces into communal living spaces geared toward a middle-income demographic squeezed by high housing prices.

The San Francisco-based housing developer said Wednesday that 50 percent of the units will be affordable in the project at Minna & 5th Streets. Starcity currently has four San Francisco properties it owns and operates, with nine more in the pipeline.

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

Apartment rentals make up a larger share of new housing units in the U.S. than they have in decades

New preferences, low affordability of new homes drive greater demand for apartment rentals.

Apartment rentals have been luring residents away from other kinds of housing since the housing crash—and that is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.

“Apartments should continue to play a role in the total housing market that goes beyond the historical norm,” says Greg Willett, chief economist for Real Page Inc., a property management software and services provider based in Richardson, Texas.

In the years after the Great Recession, millions of people lost homes to foreclosure and had to move, often into apartments. The extra demand for units was not expected to last more than a few years. However, today—more than a decade after the collapse of Lehman Brothers—the percentage of American households that own their own home is still near its low point. New households are still much more likely to chose to live in rental housing than in the years before the crash.

 

 

Read more on National Real Estate Investor

 

 

 

Is Richmond the new Oakland? New ferry terminal attracts SF homebuyers, stokes gentrification fears

During his 16 years selling homes in Richmond, realtor Mark Lederer has always seen buyers from San Francisco looking in the East Bay city.

But he says those numbers have gone up recently, thanks to both skyrocketing prices in SF and the soon-to-open Richmond-SF ferry service. In fact, he estimates that 30 to 40 percent of buyers in Point Richmond and Marina Bay, the two areas closest to the ferry, are moving from San Francisco.

“Most SF buyers see tremendous value in the different neighborhoods in Richmond,” he says. “This is because the price per square foot is less than half that of homes in San Francisco’s most desirable districts.”

He says high-end condos in Point Richmond have been going for up to $950,000, with prices starting as low as $500,000. In Marina Bay, the price point is a bit lower, with condos and townhomes starting at $300,000 and going up to the mid-$700,000 range.

Those looking for a single-family home are attracted to North and East Richmond, which is a five-minute drive or 15-minute bike ride to the new ferry terminal. “This neighborhood is full of 1920s homes that mimic those found in El Cerrito, Albany and Berkeley,” he says. “Prices range from $325,000 to $731,000 for a home. This area has seen tremendous growth over the last couple of years and a spike once the ferry terminal was announced.”

San Franciscans are certainly attracted to the prices in Richmond, but they also have their concerns, including what Lederer calls Richmond’s “tough crime-ridden image.” But he says this perception doesn’t do justice to all that Richmond has to offer. “The roughest parts of Richmond are an isolated area that is very small as compared to the entirety of Richmond,” he says. “Most of Richmond is full of beautiful housing, water access, beaches, trail and hillside access, great restaurants, fun pubs and great entertainment.”

Richmond realtor Cherie Carson compares Richmond to another East Bay city that has gotten a lot of attention from San Francisco buyers in recent years: Oakland. “Richmond is like Oakland in that there are many different neighborhoods to choose from,” she says.

Just like in Oakland, there are fears of gentrification from this new onslaught of buyers potentially driving up home values and rents. Richmond Vice Mayor Melvin Willis told the Chronicle that he’s concerned long-time residents could be priced out—not just in the tony neighborhoods closest to the ferry, but throughout the city. “If rents go up in certain areas around the ferry, that would cause rents to go up in other parts of Richmond,” Willis said.

 

 

 

Read more on SFGate

 

 

 

The 10 top emerging trends that will shape real estate in 2019

The Urban Land Institute’s annual look at the year ahead focuses on technology and transformation at an uncertain moment.

It’s complicated. In the course of compiling its annual Emerging Trends report, the Urban Land Institute found that the only certainty in its outlook for 2019 was uncertainty. Expert analysis points to a more complex, multi-layered series of overlapping trends, with unpredictable results, as opposed to a few strong narratives.

Will technology offer more opportunity and enhance competition and efficiency, or help consolidate the industry and drive out smaller players? How will shifts in demographics and shopping patterns challenge current investment practices? Will the U.S. ever get a grip on its housing affordability issues?

The report, a joint project of ULI and PricewaterhouseCoopers researchers unveiled during its fall meeting in Boston this afternoon, considered the responses of more than 750 real estate professionals in creating an high-level overview of the trends it believes will impact the real estate world. While the report expects an overall economic slowdown next year, emerging trends and markets in flux that could provide new opportunities.

 

 

Read more on Curbed

 

 

 

Tenants start grabbing space in one of the East Bay’s only new office towers

One of the Bay Area’s largest life science landlords, Wareham Development, is now more than a third leased up in its latest project, the 265,000-square-foot EmeryStation West in Emeryville.

The San Rafael-based developer recently completed the building after starting construction back in 2016 with no tenants in hand and now has commitments for 93,000 square feet with Profusa Inc. taking 18,000 square feet and Dynavax Technologies Inc. taking 75,000 square feet.

“We have built the project to the highest-quality research and office building standards and are pleased the market recognizes that,” said Geoffrey Sears, a partner at Wareham, in a statement.

The building, designed by Perkins + Will, contains seven stories of office and lab space above two levels for transit and parking. DPR Construction served as the general contractor.

The building is part of Wareham’s 2 million-square-foot EmeryStation research and technology campus and is the latest addition to the company’s broader 4.5 million-square-foot portfolio in the Bay Area.

Wareham, led by CEO Rich Robbins, has specialized in developing biotech and life science buildings in Emeryville, Berkeley, Richmond and Palo Alto. Before EmeryStation West, the last new office building in Emeryville was Wareham’s 99,000-square-foot EmeryStation Greenway in 2012. That property was leased up by Stanford Health Care.

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

Walnut Creek housing project near BART beats back appeal

The developer is a frequent face at Walnut Creek’s Planning Department, and will responsible for constructing more than 900 new housing units around the downtown BART station.

A Walnut Creek housing proposal cemented approval last night after the City Council voted to quash an appeal.

Danville-based developer Blake Griggs’ now has a clear line of sight for its 1910 Noma project, which includes 135 units of housing and 10,000-square-feet of retail about a block away from the Walnut Creek BART station.

Lauren Seaver, Blake Griggs’ vice president of development, said it expects to break ground sometime within the next six to twelve months. Fuddruckers restaurant now occupies the site, but would temporarily leave and then move back into 4,000 square feet of retail space once the site is rebuilt. Seaver said tenants for the remaining 6,000 square feet have not yet been chosen.

A local union, the Laborers International Union of North America, was behind the appeal and cited inadequate environmental reviews. Unions have frequently appealed East Bay housing projects on environmental grounds when they’ve had disagreements with developers over the use of union labor.

The Laborers International Union of North America did not respond to requests for comment.

Walnut Creek Senior Planner Gregg Kapovich said the union could still sue, but as of now, no more appeals are possible.

 

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

 

 

 

2nd crack at SF Transbay Transit Center — to stay closed through next week

San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center will remain closed at least through the end of next week, officials said Wednesday, after yet another cracked beam was discovered during an overnight safety inspection.

The $2.2 billion hub for buses and eventually trains, which opened just last month as the flashy centerpiece of city infrastructure, was closed abruptly Tuesday afternoon after a fissure was spotted in a beam that helps hold up the sprawling complex.

The initial tear runs about 2½ feet long and 4 inches deep through the bottom of a 60-foot-long beam that supports both the center’s celebrated rooftop park above and a bus deck below, officials said. The beam is located over Fremont Street, between Mission and Howard streets. The second crack is in a parallel steel beam that also crosses Fremont Street. It was described as slightly smaller.

Representatives of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which built and operates the transit center, said Wednesday they didn’t know the causes of the cracks, but they remained concerned about the potential for the beams to fail. Fremont Street, which passes under the center, also is scheduled to stay closed through Oct. 5.

“We will not open the transit center or Fremont Street until we are certain the issue is 100 percent rectified,” said Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the TJPA.

 

Read more on San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

Powell sees bright moment for economy with more hikes ahead

Ten years after the peak of the financial crisis, Jerome Powell’s Federal Reserve sees a U.S. economy capable of humming along without support from monetary policy.

Unemployment is low. Inflation is stable and anchored. Financial conditions merit watching, but don’t look overly worrisome. And against that backdrop, policy makers are raising interest rates gradually despite renewed criticism from President Donald Trump.

They made an expected rate increase on Wednesday, their third in 2018, while telegraphing another before year-end. In an optimistic press conference, the chairman also indicated that the path is clear for future hiking well into 2019.

“It’s a particularly bright moment,” Powell said of the economy. He praised the value of gradual rate increases, which have allowed the Fed to watch their policy moves play out.

“What we’re going to be doing, as we go through time, is asking at every meeting whether monetary policy is set to achieve our goals,” Powell said.

 

 

Read more on Bloomberg

 

 

BART to build 519 new homes at Lake Merritt

Last week, the BART Board of Directors voted to advance a plan to develop hundreds of new homes near the Lake Merritt BART station, a proposal that’s been in the works for years and continues the agency’s foray into transit-adjacent housing on potentially choice plots of land it owns throughout the Bay Area.

Technically, the motion at the board’s September 13 meeting (which passed unanimously) only authorizes negotiations with potential developers, a process that could take up to two years.

A press statement from BART provides some additional details:

The Board voted to authorize BART staff to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with a joint venture of East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) and Strada Investment Group with a goal of creating a transit-oriented development (TOD) above the BART station.

The plan proposed by the EBALDC/Strada joint venture calls for four new buildings on BART-owned lots above the station. The proposal features 519 units of housing, 44 percent of which would be affordable, and 517,000 square feet of commercial space for offices and shops.

BART staff singled out EBALDC as the developer of choice but retains the option to negotiate with SF-based Strada if those talks fall through.

 

 

 

Read more on Curbed SF