Can opportunity zones improve Calfornia’s economy?

How federal ‘opportunity zone’ tax incentive can help California build an inclusive economy.

The federal opportunity zone program created by the 2017 tax overhaul, enables investors to defer capital gains taxes on funds invested in designated communities. Opportunity zones offer one path forward that relies on private capital to bear the cost. The program is designed to attract investors holding $6.1 trillion in unrealized capital gains, according to the Economic Innovation Group.​

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

How are there over 100,000 vacant homes in the San Francisco metro area?

An estimated 100,025 homes are sitting empty in the San Francisco metro area.

Compared to other cities, San Francisco metro area’s vacancy rate is actually low at 5.6 percent. Of the 1.784 million households counted in the census region, roughly 1.684 million are occupied. LendingTree concludes a region like San Francisco – which includes Oakland, Hayward and surrounding areas is what’s considered a sellers’ market, meaning people selling their homes will easily find buyers, while future homeowners will struggle to buy. Anyone who has tried to buy a home in the city in the last decade knows this to be true.

Read more on SF Gate

What are the Golden State Warriors’ latest plans for Downtown Oakland?

Warriors won’t practice in Oakland next season but will leave downtown facility in hands of youth programs.

The Golden State Warriors announced Monday they won’t stick around to practice in their downtown Oakland basketball facility next season as they make their move to the under-construction Chase Center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood a complete one. But that doesn’t mean the Warriors are totally abandoning the city that’s been their physical home — if not their namesake — for almost half a century.

Read more on East Bay Times

How would San Francisco’s proposed fees on empty storefronts affect retail and mixed-use properties?

This week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to require owners of vacant storefronts unoccupied for more than 30 days to register their properties and pay an annual fee. This is one of the proposals they are considering to get a better idea of and start to remedy the glut of unused storefront space around the city.

Read more on Curbed San Francisco

Fight brews over hotel and housing project near Moscone Center

In San Francisco’s SoMa, an argument over city transparency could threaten to derail a key hotel and housing project. 

Across the street from the Moscone Center, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency wants to turn a 732-spot garage on public land into a lucrative development. The idea is to help lure more conventions to the expanded Moscone Center, which just underwent a $550 million renovation, and build urgently needed affordable home.

But SFMTA has made a series of missteps that reveal a lack of transparency in how cities may handle public land, say community advocates, including keeping the development proposals private, not holding public meetings, and delaying the selection process. Those criticisms boiled over at a recent SFMTA board meeting and have worked their way up to the district supervisor’s ears.

The SFMTA is “trying to hold its cards closer to the chest, but that may end up making problems for them moving forward,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the surrounding constituents. Haney is meeting with community members tonight about the process.

 

Read more at San Francisco Business Times

 

Silicon Valley has the highest housing costs in the U.S.

Report says both incomes and costs soaring in the state’s tech capitol.

It’s the best of time and the worst of times in Silicon Valley, at least according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a regional think-tank that issued its annual Silicon Valley Index last week.

The 2019 index, a “comprehensive report based on indicators that measure the strength of our economy and the health of our community,” describes the Valley as materially successful but fundamentally anxious, as new wealth puts additional stress on those most vulnerable.

The report defines Silicon Valley as a broad region encompassing parts of Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda Counties, ranging from Daly City to Union City to Gilroy to Scotts Valley.

The index includes some data from San Francisco for context but does not include the city as part of its larger regional definition. Most of the data covers 2017, with some references to 2018 as well.

 

Read more at Curbed SF 

 

 

Oakland A’s meet opposition over plans for new waterfront ballpark

Plans for a new Oakland A’s ballpark at Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland have run into opposition that could throw up roadblocks for the project.

Last week, a coalition that includes Save The Bay sent a letter to the state legislature listing concerns from environmental, business and labor organizations about the stadium project.

In the letter, Save The Bay Executive Director David Lewis said East Bay lawmakers are considering introducing a bill that could fast-track the project through regulatory exemptions. That would lessen the project’s accountability to environmental laws designed to protect public health, public lands and vulnerable wildlife.

The coalition said it is opposed to any measures that would reduce San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission oversight for the project, remove State Lands Commission-enacted public trust protections, undercut hazardous materials restrictions or seek a way around California Environmental Quality Act obligations for the project.

The A’s said they had no plans to ask state lawmakers to fast-track the process, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Save The Bay is not the only one arguing against the plans for the stadium.

The bar pilots association said the lights from the stadium will be blinding for those navigating container ships to the port, and those ships could hit kayakers going after stray balls, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, which represents some of the port’s tenants, said the hotel and housing included in the plan would increase traffic and compete with trucks around the port.

Oakland has suffered the loss of sports teams, including the Golden State Warriors, who are slated to be in their new Chase Center in San Francisco for the 2019-2020 season, and the Raiders, who are moving to Las Vegas and still haven’t settled on where they will play next season before that move.

 

Read more at Bisnow Oakland

 

Exclusive: Developer proposes 25-story hotel in Transbay

A San Diego-based hospitality company wants to build an unusual 25-story hotel in San Francisco’s Transbay District.

J Street Hospitality submitted a preliminary proposal for a 185-room hotel at 36 Tehama St., a skinny parcel of land near Howard and First Streets. Because the site is so small — just 4,000 square feet, according to the San Francisco Planning Department — the potential hotel would rise to 25 stories tall, designed with no guest rooms on the first four floors.

Transbay Terminal and the bustling nearby office towers were the biggest draws to the site, said Jeff Schwartz, executive vice president at J Street. Plus, Tehama is a quieter alley than other surrounding streets.

“Just the amount of business and activity that’s going on, within not even half a square mile, is remarkable,” Schwartz said.

The vacant lot is sandwiched between coding bootcamp Galvanize on one side and a parking garage on the other. The project would require a change of use from parking to hotel, and would be topped off with a rooftop bar.

Read more at San Francisco Business Times

 

Developers claim co-living suites earn more per square foot than regular apartment rentals

Co-living developers in New York and Washington, D.C. report strong demand from renters.

Hundreds of co-living suites are renting quickly at ALTA LIC, a new high-rise apartment building in Long Island City, Queens.

“We are now about four months ahead of our expected pace,” says Christopher Bledsoe, co-founder and CEO of Ollie, the company managing the ALTA’s co-living apartments.

Companies like Ollie are proving that there is plenty of renter demand for co-living arrangements. The co-living spaces at ALTA are now earning more dollars per sq. ft. than the new conventional apartments in the same building. Other operators of co-living properties also report strong results at their projects.

“We can only speak to performance of our OSLO properties… and they have been exceptional,” says Martin Ditto, CEO of Ditto, a company that operates three fully-occupied co-living properties in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and is now planning to open a fourth.

Strong rents prove demand for co-living

“Co-living” is a living arrangement in which the residents share some aspects of their living spaces with each other. It’s not as radical as it sounds—for Ollie and Ditto’s OLSO brand, co-living typically takes the form of multi-bedroom apartments shared by roommates. For years, the student housing industry has also been building suites that students share as roommates.

“Our product type is a natural evolution of the student housing model,” says Ollie’s Bledsoe.

ALTA LIC opened in May 2018 with 466 apartments. Of those, Ollie is operating 169 as furnished co-living suites with a total of 422 bedrooms. According to Bledsoe, it’s the largest purpose-built co-living property in the United States.

After less than a year in operation, 73 percent of these units are occupied, with renters paying from $1,260 to about $2,200 per month for a bedroom. The higher priced units may be larger, have better view, private entrances off the hallway or their own, un-shared bathrooms.

The cost of a bedroom also includes wireless Internet service and weekly housekeeping services, including bed linen, towels and toilet paper, along with shampoo and hand soap from Malin & Goetz. “It is the convenience of hotel living,” says Bledsoe.

The units are sized for efficiency and come furnished with custom furniture designed by Ollie to make the best use of small spaces. “For us a 535-square-foot studio is a two-bedroom micro-suit… a 750-square-foot one or two-bedroom is a three-bedroom suite,” says Bledsoe.

These co-living suites earn an average of 44 percent more income in rent per sq. ft. than the more conventional 297 luxury apartments at the 43-story tower, according to Bledsoe. The net operating income from these units is also 30 percent higher per sq. ft., even with the extra cost of co-living amenities like the housekeeping service.

 

Read more at National Real Estate Investor

Stanford Shopping Center wants to tear down a Macy’s store to make room for luxury retailers

The Macy’s Men’s store at Stanford Shopping Center could soon be replaced by retail heavyweights.

Simon Malls, the mall’s operator, proposed tearing down and replacing the 94,337-square-foot building with a Restoration Hardware and a Bashford luxury retailer, the Palo Alto Daily Post reports.

The men’s department store would be then merged into the shopping center’s main Macy’s store, Simon Malls Spokeswoman Solana Tanabe told the post.

A three-story, 43,581-square-foot Restoration Hardware store would reportedly take over the direct location, with a one-story 28,000-square-foot The Wilkes Bashford shop built on the nearby parking lot between Sand Hill Road and Pistache Place. Simon Malls is also looking to construct two 3,506-square-foot buildings as part of the plans.

Simon Property Group bought the mall from Stanford University back in 2003 for $333 million, though it still leases the land from the university. The surrounding region —  which includes Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside and Atherton — is prime for luxury stores, with Stanford’s median home value estimate is just of $3 million, according to Zillow.

Restoration Hardware reportedly will be designing its building to include a rooftop restaurant and garden, as well as second-floor terraces. Simon Malls also has an alcohol permit in the works.

 

Read more at San Francisco Business Times