Exclusive: Huge cannabis business campus headed to Oakland

Will this business park near Oakland’s Oracle Arena be California’s next big hub of cannabis innovation?

A sleepy Oakland business park a stone’s throw from Oracle Arena may be transformed into the Bay Area’s next big cannabis business campus.

Mesh Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on investing in cannabis startups, hopes to turn an office complex on Edgewater Drive into a center of the region’s cannabis manufacturing, marketing and production.

“It’s going to look very much like a tech campus,” said Mesh Ventures Partner Parker Berling.

The complex is master leased to Mesh Ventures Partner Martin Kaufman who is making around $20 million in infrastructure and tenant improvements.

California Capital and Investment Group bought the 207,700-square-foot office property in 2013 for $7.8 million, but has struggled to fill it. Kaufman said the Mesh Ventures team saw the opportunity of creating a campus in an area with access to top-tier scientific and technological talent.

“Sure, we could have done this in Fresno or Humboldt and t would have been cheaper but the level of people that we have here are unmatched anywhere else,” Kaufman said. “We have academics, scientists, really trained qualified people who are located here and are looking to enter the industry as it turns from a black market to a white market.”

Kaufman is the co-founder of dispensary Blum Oakland, which was sold in 2016 to Irvine-based cannabis agriculture company Terra Tech.

The center is being built out with the particular security and regulatory concerns of the cannabis industry in mind. Berline said roughly three-fourths of the tenants will be cannabis companies, mainly from the firm’s investment portfolio. Tenants are starting to move into the campus – which already has a functioning grow operation – and the renovations are expected to be completed by the end of the year. Leasing rates are rates around $2 per square foot.

 

 

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Oakland’s growing pains could stifle future development

Dozens of cranes dot Oakland’s skyline and thousands of new housing units are in the works, making the current cycle one of the most robust in Oakland’s history.

As more people and businesses turn toward Oakland as a cheaper area to live and work, Oakland has struggled to keep up with both office and housing demand. Downtown Oakland is one of the tightest office markets in the country and multifamily rents have risen 51% since the start of the cycle.

Developers and designers are looking for ways to build more efficiently to keep rents down, but growing community activism, overworked city planning staff and tightening financing could stall future growth in Oakland.

Panelists discussed these topics as well as the impact of modular units and designing housing to meet residents’ changing needs during Bisnow’s Oakland Construction and Development Update event Thursday.

With 900 housing units delivering this year and 2,400 next year, the city is undergoing rapid change.

“Instead of the city [staff] focusing on department stores and auto dealerships, they’re making Oakland a very vibrant place to live,” Junction Properties owner Charles Long said during the event.

The increased development has spurred an anti-displacement movement and a backlash over a lack of affordable housing, which could shut down the future fulfillment of housing that Oakland has in its pipeline, he said.

Developers need to be more cognizant of working with the city and other stakeholders to better address the anti-displacement backlash, he said.

 

Read more on Bisnow

 

 

The future of the shopping mall is not about shopping

When Cirque du Soleil announced plans this week for a “family entertainment” concept inside a Toronto mall, it said a lot about the future of shopping centers.

The 24,000 sq.ft. space, called “Creactive”, will be a circus-inspired playground with a range of activities from juggling to high-wire – allowing fans to “peek behind the curtain and imagine themselves stepping into our artists’ shoes”, according to Marie Josée Lamy, producer of Creactive. “Hanging at the mall” will take on an entirely new connotation as shoppers take to the flying trapeze. And that’s the point.

No longer is it good enough for malls to be passive places to buy stuff – they have to be engaging places to do stuff. Otherwise, this particular retail format will be relegated to relic status – “a historical anachronism, a 60-year or so aberration that no longer meets the public’s, the consumer’s or the retailer’s needs”, as developer Rick Caruso mused.

With that point in mind, I draw your attention to Exhibit A: Randall Park Mall in Ohio. When it opened in 1976, Randall Park Mall was briefly the world’s biggest shopping center. It quickly lost relevance however, and by 2000, Randall Park Mall’s vacancy rate was 92%. Fast forward to 2017 when it was revealed that Amazon was constructing a 855,000 shipping center on the same site. Online triumphs over offline, or “software eats retail” as Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen memorably put it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

 

Read more on Forbes

 

 

Oakland, A’s begin Coliseum ballpark negotiations

The Oakland A’s now have the blessing to study both the Coliseum and Howard Terminal in their quest to build a new ballpark in Oakland.

The Oakland City Council on Tuesday night approved an “exclusive negotiating agreement” with the A’s, allowing the two to begin talks about constructing a ballpark at the Coliseum, the MLB team’s home for 50 years.

In vote taken just before midnight, the council entered into an agreement to negotiate with the A’s over the next nine months, while President Dave Kaval studies if the 112-acre East Oakland site is the right fit. The city can extend the negotiations for an additional three months.

“This decision about a new privately-financed ballpark is a really important moment not only for the A’s but our community,” Kaval told council. “We look forward to working together not only this year but for many years to come.”

Last month, the A’s and the Port of Oakland agreed to study Howard Terminal, located near Jack London Square and the estuary. Kaval has called the study of two sites “parallel paths” to keep the team in Oakland.

Though an aging complex, the Coliseum has had some bites from developers lately. Walnut Creek developer Mark Hall approached the city to build a 15,000-18,000 seat soccer stadium for a United Soccer League franchise. The city said another person proposed to build a corporate campus at the Coliseum.

While Howard Terminal needs environmental review and has access issues, an environmental review for the Coliseum is already completed. It’s also favored for its proximity to BART, Interstate 880 and the Oakland International Airport.

 

 

Read more from East Bay Times

 

 

Housing high-rise breaks ground outside Oakland’s MacArthur BART station

The tallest building of BART’s biggest residential development broke ground Wednesday in Oakland, promising to house hundreds of families feet from the MacArthur station when it opens in 2020.

The 24-story, 402-unit high-rise dubbed Skylyne will be one of the largest apartment buildings in the city. It had been in the making for more than a decade, and developers in recent years sought to more than double the tower’s height as demand for housing surged.

The neighborhood’s zoning doesn’t allow buildings above 90 feet, but developers McGrath Properties and Boston Properties got an exemption for setting aside 45 units for affordable housing and making investments in local parks and community programs. At 260 feet tall, the building will include 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor.

“Unleash the mammoth!” developer Terry McGrath said at a groundbreaking ceremony.

 

Read more from SFGate

 

 

The only one in the room: How the Bay Area’s real estate industry is grappling with diversity (Video)

Many in the commercial real estate industry often find themselves “the only one in the room” who is different.

White males still dominate in many professional settings in commercial real estate and especially in the executive ranks. While the tech industry has come under intense scrutiny for a lack of diversity in its workforce and investing millions into addressing the problem, commercial real estate has largely received a pass.

How to Move the Needle on Diversity

Industry groups including CREW, NAIOP, the Urban Land Institute and the Building Owners and Managers Association are looking at how to address the lack of diversity.

The San Francisco chapter of BOMA has been working with San Francisco State University, where the study body is more than 70 percent female and/or people of color, on a certificate program in real estate for finance majors and a fellowship program that places students in internships and provides mentorship.

Many commercial real estate executives say diversifying their staffs is a top priority. here are some best practices employees shared:

“Creating a diversity task force or committee to help steer recruiting and operations policies to be more inclusive and sensitive can be effective. Adding a diversity liaison and incorporating diversity goals into company culture and core values is key. The latter takes time and commitment. Supporting groups that help boost women such as CREW and other groups within the industry is also important.”

James Kilpatrick, President
NAI Northern California, a commerical brokerage firm

 

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

AI is Changing the CRE Game: Here’s 5 Ways

CRE industry leaders using artificial intelligence to analyze and apply data to decision making saw productivity increase of up to 6% compared to competitors.

In a study by Harvard Business Review about the revolution of big data as a management tool, it was found that artificial intelligence used to analyze and apply data to decision making by those at the top of the CRE industry saw an increase of up to 6% in productivity compared to their competitors.

AI is changing the CRE game in several different ways and in turn, having an impact on all CRE sectors in different ways.

Read more from NAI Global

 

 

Nine Proven Strategies To Make 2018’s Peak Rental Season Vacancy-Free

In much of the country, the start of peak rental season is just a handful of weeks away, meaning that now is the time to get ready for the rush.

The beauty of peak season is that more people are looking for places to live, which means your pool of potential applicants is bigger — but the flip side is that all of your current tenants are also more likely to move on.

Whether this is your first peak season or your fiftieth, these nine strategies can help minimize the chances that any of your units sit empty, even when turnover is high.

Read more from Forbes

 

 

Scott Wiener’s controversial housing bill gained a big supporter in BART

The fight over SB 827, a proposed law from California State Sen. Scott Wiener to upzone development sites near transit centers, has supporters and detractors lining up in due course.

If approved by the legislature, the law would limit local control over density, parking spaces and heights for housing projects within a certain distance to transit stops. Proponents of the law pitch a symbiosis between housing development and transit options, with the proximity of the two mitigating traffic congestion.

Recently, the effort to pass the law added the region’s most heavily trafficked public transportation system as a proponent: Bay Area Rapid Transit. Earlier this month the BART Board narrowly voted 5-4 to support the measure.

In many cases, building on transit agency sites takes decades, with negotiations with multiple government agencies, substantial community input, difficulties with financing and expensive parking requirements all playing a role.

BART has shown a willingness to support transit oriented development before, approving a policy in 2016 that encourages 20,000 homes to be built on its land by 2040.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Dorm living for professionals comes to San Francisco

The middle-class backbone of San Francisco is looking to move into dorms.

In search of reasonable rent, the middle-class backbone of San Francisco — maitre d’s, teachers, bookstore managers, lounge musicians, copywriters and merchandise planners — are engaging in an unusual experiment in communal living: They are moving into dorms.

Shared bathrooms at the end of the hall and having no individual kitchen or living room is becoming less weird for some of the city’s workers thanks to Starcity, a new development company that is expressly creating dorms for many of the non-tech population.

Starcity has already opened three properties with 36 units. It has nine more in development and a wait list of 8,000 people. The company is buying a dozen more buildings (including one-star hotels, parking garages, office buildings and old retail stores), has raised $18.9 million in venture capital and hired a team of 26 people. Starcity said it was on track to have hundreds of units open around the San Francisco Bay Area this year, and thousands by 2019.

Read more from The New York Times