Google unveils broad vision for San Jose’s Diridon Station as some community members rally to halt the plans

 

Google announced nearly a year ago that it had visions of a mixed-use campus spanning up to 8 millions square feet in San Jose’s Diridon Station.

Since then, the tech giant has invested heavily in real estate in the area. Google has begun to lay out a high-level vision for San Jose’s Diridon Station area, a 240-acre swath of land around the city’s primary transit hub where the company has dreams of building a massive mixed-use campus.

But barely as Joe Van Belleghem, senior director of development for Google cleared his throat to start a presentation that would outline a framework for long corridors filled with retail, homes, art and a cluster of office buildings, more than a dozen city residents marched in, banner and signs in hand.

“OK now Google, we know you’re bad,” the protesters yelled. “Don’t need you here, we’ve got our own, turn around and go home!”

 

 

Read more from Silicon Valley Business Journals

 

 

Exclusive: East Bay shopping center lands new grocery tenant to anchor redevelopment strategy

The new owners of the regional mall have mapped out a multi-phased plan to redevelop the East Bay property into a shopping and entertainment geared toward the region’s strong Asian demographic.

LBG Funds has finalized a 35,000-square-foot lease with Taiwanese grocer 99 Ranch Market to anchor the first of four phases that the Los-Angeles-based investor is planning for the once-struggling Richmond property.

Rebranded as the Shops at Hilltop, the first phase will also include leases for 55,000 square feet of restaurant space; new tenants for a 20,000-square-foot food hall and 12,000-square-foot food court; as well as a variety of incoming shops, entertainment and pop-up uses.

LBG is estimating work on the first retail phase will be completed in mid-2019.

 

 

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

 

Bitcoin won’t encourage cryptocurrency for real estate, but cryptoeconomics will

As Bitcoin enters the mainstream economy, a number of homebuyers and sellers are starting to use the cryptocurrency to conduct real estate transactions.   

Last year, Southeby’s International Realty sold one of the first single-family homes in Austin, Texas using Bitcoin. The Austin home was sold when Bitcoin prices were $3,429 in September 2017.

In addition to these transactions, other residential real estate properties are being listed for Bitcoin. A recent Forbes article describes how Canter Companies, a full-service investment firm specializing in real estate and asset management projects, recently listed two multi-million dollar homes for sale in Bitcoin. The homes are collectively priced at under $20 million in Bitcoin. And recently, a 27 acre piece of land in Silicon Valley has been listed for sale in Bitcoin, Ether and XRP with a starting price of $16 million.

However, while there are a handful of homes currently listed for sale in Bitcoin, some believe that using Bitcoin for real estate transactions will not result in widespread adoption — At least not until the real estate industry starts to utilize blockchain technology, which in turn will drive the adoption of cryptocurrency transactions.

While Bitcoin is stepping into society’s massive adoption as a decentralized cryptocurrency, the next-generation blockchain technology  brings a lot more to the real estate world than just a payment alternative. For example, Propy is based on the Ethereum blockchain, an enormously powerful shared global infrastructure that can move value around, while also representing the ownership of property. Ultimately, this enables title deed transfers to take place entirely online. Imagine a world where you can buy or sell your property while sitting on your couch – now this is a reality with blockchain technology, Natalia Karayaneva, CEO of Propy, told me.

According to Karayaneva, the only way to encourage homebuyers and sellers to take advantage of cryptocurrency for real estate transactions is to take a “cryptoeconomics” approach, which goes much further than simply putting homes up for sale in Bitcoin.

Cryptoeconomics lays out the framework for the way in which cryptocurrency ecosystems thrive and function across a decentralized network, known as the blockchain. These ecosystems are able to allow a number of entities who do not know one another to reliably reach consensus across an anonymous, trustworthy network through the use of cryptocurrencies. This is achieved by using a combination of economic incentives and basic cryptographic tools.

 

 

Read more from Forbes

 

 

 

Facebook’s building permits soar past $1B in its hometown of Menlo Park

Facebook may be rapidly expanding its footprint across the Bay Area, but a new report shows the social media giant is still highly focused on — and invested in — its hometown of Menlo Park.

In recent years, Facebook has filed building permits valued at more than $1 billion in the small Peninsula city, according to an analysis by Kelsey Graeber of BuildZoom, a San Francisco-based startup that tracks building permits to connect property owners with contractors.

“Menlo Park has been our home since 2011 and we’ll continue to be a responsible corporate citizen as we grow in this community,” John Tenanes, the company’s vice president of global facilities and real estate told Silicon Valley Business Journal in a statement on Tuesday.

Facebook declined to confirm specific dollar amounts for the campus, often referred to as its “West Campus,” and it’s worth noting that building permits are not an exact science.

The values on the publicly available permits are companies’ best estimate early on of what a given project will cost, and often fall below what is actually spent on a building. The permits generally do not include costs for items like small change orders, furniture or some fixtures for instance.

 

Read more from Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

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

 

 

Exclusive: $75 million renovation, office conversion proposed at San Francisco’s biggest shopping mall

Westfield San Francisco Centre, the city’s largest shopping center, could see a $75 million makeover and partial office space conversion. 

Mall landlords Westfield Corp. and Forest City Realty Trust Inc. proposed this week a renovation of tenant spaces, a new facade with more glass, and three new outdoor terraces for the 865 Market St. portion of the property. The companies also want to convert existing retail, storage and meeting space into 49,999 square feet of office space on the seventh and eighth floors. The proposal requires approval from the City Planning Commission.

Numerous retail spaces in the Bay Area and elsewhere are seeking to convert to office amid turmoil in the shopping sector.

 

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Is proximity to mass transit becoming less of a draw for apartment renters?

In the few years since companies like Uber and Lyft began to offer their ride sharing and carpooling options to riders in San Francisco, the premium earned by apartments near mass transit has dropped.

Apartment dwellers have traditionally been willing to pay a premium to live near mass transit stops in urban markets. But fueled by the proliferation of ride-sharing services, a rise in use of electric vehicles and other factors, that allure has begun to lessen in the Golden Gate City and that effect could spread elsewhere, according to new findings from MetLife Investment Management.

“When we look at what makes real estate assets most attractive to tenants, access to transit has traditionally been near the top of the list,” says Adam Ruggiero, head of real estate research for MetLife, which recently released its new report, “On the Road Again: How Advances in Transportation Are Shaping the Future of Real Estate.”

Apartment renters have more options to get around, which may be diluting the amount of extra rent that they are willing to pay to live near a subway stop or light rail station. In the few years since companies like Uber and Lyft began to offer their ride sharing and carpooling options to riders in San Francisco, the premium earned by apartments near mass transit has dropped—but not disappeared.

“It might lower the spread but it does not erase the spread,” says Justin Bakst, director of capital markets for CoStar Risk Analytics, which provided data for the MetLife report.

The introduction of ride sharing and carpooling services in San Francisco coincided with a decline in rental premiums for on-transit apartments (defined properties within a five-minute walk of a transit stop) from a historical average of 20 percent to only 15 percent today, according to the MetLife report

 

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

 

 

San Jose mixed-use apartments eyed west of Google village

Plans for a mixed-use apartment and retail complex have sprouted west of downtown San Jose, a development that would bring more than 100 residences to an area known as the Midtown district.

The proposed development at 259 Meridian Ave. near West San Carlos Street would consist of 110 to 120 residential units and 2,300 square feet of retail, according to documents on file with San Jose city planners.

“The city has been encouraging development within an urban village planning process for this area,” said Jerry Strangis, a principal executive with Strangis Properties, a realty firm that is the project consultant for the development. Strangis wouldn’t identify the principal developer of the property.

 

Read more from The Mercury News

 

 

Kanye West has a beautiful, dark, twisted fantasy to enter commercial real estate

Kanye West declares an interest in commercial real estate development.

Kanye West has stirred up a firestorm of controversy in recent days by coming out as a supporter of President Donald Trump, and making other mystifying statements. But at least one of his public declarations could have a tangible impact on the world of real estate.

Like many in the upper echelons of celebrity, West has made sizable investments in real estate. But in addition to the typical, lavish private estates is a 300-acre plot in the Los Angeles-area city of Calabasas on which he plans to develop “five properties, so it’s my first community,” he told hip-hop media personality Charlamagne in a YouTube interview.

West went on to affirm his interest in real estate development, citing his deep involvement in the construction of his homes as an example and architect Howard Backen of BAR Architects as a chief inspiration. He also laid out his ambitions with his signature bravado.

“I’m going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time, like what Howard Hughes is to aircraft and what Henry Ford was to cars,” West told Charlamagne as the two walked his Calabasas plot.

Although West has brought his considerable talent to bear in the music and fashion industries with great success, the arduous process of getting a development permitted and built is more suited for pragmatists than visionaries. His support for Trump caused CityLab’s Brentin Mock to plead with Kanye not to enter the field of development.

“It’s clear that he would be the most technocrat-est of technocrats, if not a dictator — and one who believes that his love for all people is all the evidence that’s needed for people to trust his development vision, which is a personality trait of the worst kind of developer,” Mock wrote.

West certainly would not be the first celebrity to leverage his considerable wealth into commercial real estate — Oprah Winfrey has spent hundreds of millions in this domain, and Rick Ross owns a series of Wingstop franchises per his directive to “buy back the block.” But West’s fellow Trump supporter, Sean Hannity, might be a closer comparable, as he owns multiple apartment complexes.

 

Read more from Bisnow

 

 

Details and Timing for Mission Bay Ferry and Water Taxi Service

San Francisco’s future Mission Bay Ferry Landing could be operational as early as 2021.

If the Port’s plans are approved as proposed, and the water is broken and dredging commences in mid-2019 as currently envisioned, San Francisco’s future Mission Bay Ferry Landing near the intersection of Terry A. Francois Boulevard and 16th Street, cater-corner to Chase Center and adjacent to the future Bayfront Park, could be now operational as early as the first quarter of 2021, as newly rendered below.

A proposed Water Taxi Landing, which is to be located approximately 400 feet south of the proposed Ferry Landing, adjacent to Agua Vista Park, could be operational six months earlier (August 2020).

And in addition to peak hour services to and from Alameda-Oakland, Vallejo and potentially Larkspur, linked via San Francisco’s Ferry Building terminal, special event services would be provided for all scheduled Golden State Warriors’ games and around 20 other big evening or weekend events at the Chase Center.

 

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