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San Francisco’s largest office landlord to break ground on $265 million Oakland tower

Boston Properties, San Francisco’s largest office landlord, will break ground on May 2 on a 402-unit apartment tower next to Oakland’s MacArthur BART station.

The 260-foot project at 532 39th St. will be the tallest building in North Oakland and the company’s first residential project on the West Coast.

The project in the Temescal district will be among a half-dozen Oakland towers to start construction in the last two years, an unprecedented real estate boom that’s drawing some of the country’s biggest developers to the city. Other developers include Lennar Multifamily Communities, Shorenstein Properties and Carmel Partners.

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

New Oakland law could prevent cannabis companies from evicting tenants

The Oakland City Council will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss new legislation that, if passed, could prevent cannabis companies who own real estate from displacing existing tenants.

The proposed amendments to the city’s cannabis ordinances, Oakland Municipal Code Chapters 5.80 and 5.81, prohibit the issuance of any approvals for cannabis businesses seeking to operate in spaces currently occupied by work-live or residential uses.

Oakland council member Rebecca Kaplan, the co-author of the proposed legislation, says the amendments balance the city’s support of the cannabis industry with protections for work-live spaces, thus supporting a diverse industrial sector in Oakland.

Read more from KQED

San Jose mayor counters Evergreen Senior Homes initiative with own proposal

Sam Liccardo is concerned the initiative could open San Jose to new sprawling development.

San Jose City Council’s strategy to fend off a ballot initiative over a development in Evergreen — one it fears could override its general plan for land use — is a ballot measure of its own.

But attorneys for the private residential developers behind an initiative backed by more than 35,000 signatures say the city’s gambit will lose in court.

“We will pursue litigation,” elections attorney Sean Welch warned the council on Tuesday as his microphone was silenced at the end of his two minutes’ speaking time.

Mayor Sam Liccardo’s last-minute agenda addition to put a rival measure on the June ballot to override the one from Ponderosa Homes and developer Carl Berg, which won its ballot place through a petition drive, is yet to win City Council approval. All 10 members present Tuesday voted to delay final consideration until 8:30am on Thursday.

Read more from Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

Transit-village housing in Oakland’s Fruitvale gets going, after years of delays

Affordable housing complex a happy milestone for the dozen or so elected officials in attendance.

With BART trains rattling past in the background, several hundred people gathered last week under a white tent to celebrate the groundbreaking of Casa Arabella, a 94-unit affordable-housing complex going up on a surface parking lot just south of the Fruitvale BART Station.

It was a happy milestone for the dozen or so elected officials in attendance. The project, developed by the Unity Council and the East Bay Asian Local Development Corp., will be affordable to households with incomes in the extremely low and very-low categories. Twenty units will be reserved for formerly homeless veterans. It will be followed by another 181 units, which Unity Council CEO Chris Iglesias hopes to start building in 2019.

But the ceremony also underscored the exasperating length of time that it takes to develop transit-oriented housing on BART-owned land. As several speakers pointed out, it had been 24 years since the community plan for the Fruitvale Transit Village was conceived, and nearly 14 years since the 47-unit first phase opened.

Read more from SFGate

 

 

Exclusive: A 102-year-old East Oakland warehouse has been reborn as offices and artist studios

The project is one of East Oakland’s biggest in years.

The property at 2744 E. 11th St. opened in 1916 as a cannery for H.G. Prince, a company that invented a method to remove pits from fruits – a fitting use in a neighborhood once known for its orchards. Decades later, Lucasey Manufacturing Corp., a maker of television mounts, bought the building and stored products there, part of the blue-collar industry of Oakland.

Another transformation will happen next month, when the building reopens as more than 100,000 square feet of offices, industrial and artist space called Artthaus Studios.

The project will be one of the largest new developments in East Oakland. It is the largest source of modern, renovated artist and maker space in the area, said Riaz Taplin, CEO of Riaz Capital, the project’s developer, general contractor and designer.

“Oakland has really taken this new role within the Bay Area as the home of the creative community. So creating a building to accelerate the innovation of those types of businesses and people and creators and artists was the goal in creating Artthaus Studios,” said Taplin.

Taplin believes the project provides three benefits for smaller businesses and creative companies: It creates collaboration by concentrating various businesses in the same building, it provides a new facility near a BART station and it’s relatively affordable for new space.

“We wanted to tailor the spaces to be for small, young businesses — entrepreneurial, small businesses, ideally in the creative industries,” said Taplin. “We wanted to create an environment, which made them competitive. We want to make it easy to collaborate. We wanted to make it easy for them to seek out customers.”

Read more from San Francisco Business Times

 

 

 

What Will Happen to Multi-family When Boomers Retire en Masse?

The “Silver Tsunami” is coming by 2030 and in some places, it has already begun.

Americans born during and directly following the end of WWII, commonly referred to as Baby Boomers, represent the second largest age demographic group in the U.S. behind millennials. As this massive group moves toward retirement, it is signaling big changes for multi-family buildings of the future.

By the Numbers

There are an estimated 70K Americans turning 65 every week. By 2030, the number of Americans age 65 or older is going to climb above 75 million and over 83 million by 2050. For those in the multi-family sector, trying to meet the needs of this generation is going to take some new ways of thinking about multifamily housing.

Take for instance the fact that most people in this group are experiencing way more financial insecurity than their parents did at this stage in their lives. Most retirees will not have a pension to rely on but instead will depend largely on social security to survive – and some political moves in the works further threaten that safety net.

One survey conducted last year showed that approximately 60% of Boomers have little savings to cover any financial shortfalls, holding onto $10K in savings or less on average and about 30% have no savings to fall back on at all. Many are delaying retirement in an effort to try to quickly build up their own private safety net before they are forced to retire.

Read more from NAI Global

SF settles with landlord who rented ‘substandard housing’ to veterans

A Bayview district landlord accused by City Attorney Dennis Herrera of banking millions of dollars by squeezing formerly homeless veterans into cramped illegal dwelling units has agreed to pay the city a $2 million fine and bring all the buildings she owns into compliance with the law.

The terms of the settlement, which was reached last week on the eve of a trial of a city lawsuit, requires husband-and-wife landlords Judy Wu and Trent Zhu to bring 12 properties up to San Francisco building, fire and planning codes.

In a statement, Herrera said that Wu and Zhu “trafficked in substandard housing that endangered their residents and neighbors alike.”

“There is a reason we have building codes,” Herrera said. “They exist to prevent dangerous situations, like an improperly installed stove exploding and starting a fire that tears through a neighborhood.”

The lawsuit against the property owners identified 12 buildings with 15 legal units that were chopped up into spaces for 49 individual tenants. The leases, which brought in about $1 million a year in rent, contained jerry-rigged natural gas and water lines. Neighbors complained of over-crowding, noise, and sidewalks and backyards that became littered with mattresses, discarded furniture, stray cats and mounds of old clothing.

Read more from SFGate

Smart tech becoming key to attracting renters

Tenants want more tech in their apartments and multifamily landlords and developers are putting in the technology to meet that demand.

While building-wide WiFi, electric chargers and rooftop decks remain popular among tenants, smart building technology is becoming the new “it” amenity.

From package delivery lockers to smart locks, landlords are turning to tech-enabled amenities to woo tenants who are willing to pay more for these features.

In a Schlage and Wakefield Research survey of 1,000 U.S. multifamily renters, 86% of millennials are willing to pay one-fifth more for a smart apartment. Gen Y renters are 61% more likely to rent a unit because of electronic access such as keyless entry, and 55% are willing to pay more in rent for a unit with a smart lock.

Smart lock systems, such as Latch, Kwikset, August Home, Schlage and Yale Locks & Hardware, are being installed in existing and new units throughout the country.

Read more from Bisnow

Bay Area residents want more housing, but …

There are a few things locals aren’t willing to sacrifice to get more housing

Fed up with soaring prices that are increasingly putting home ownership, or even a decent rental, out of reach, Bay Area residents overwhelmingly say they want more housing built, according to a new poll. But it better not make their commutes worse.

Residents said they support everything from new single family homes to housing for the homeless in their communities, tossing aside NIMBY concerns that sometimes throw a wrench in building plans. But there were limits to their enthusiasm. Respondents balked at building anything that would cut into the Bay Area’s cherished open spaces or funnel more people onto crowded local freeways and public transit, making their treks to work longer.

Read more from The Mercury News

Apartment Renters Continue to Dominate Many of the Nation’s Cities

Renter households now make up the majority in 42 of the 100 largest cities in the U.S., according to RENTCafé.

In close to half of the largest U.S. cities, the majority of households now rent rather than own their primary residence, according to a new report from RENTCafé, a Yardi company.

The share of households that own their homes has now declined to the level last seen in the1980s and early 1990s. That’s been great news for the multifamily sector, as those would-be homeowners have filled up apartments.

The homeownership rate is likely to stay at roughly its current level for the foreseeable future due to recent changes in the tax code that favor renting over buying and the high cost of for-sale homes.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor