Transit-oriented development on the rise

Cities across the Bay Area are opening up to transit-oriented development, building high-density housing with ground-floor retail near BART stations, including on BART-owned land. Despite neighbor complaints, cities are revising their zoning restrictions to allow bigger buildings near major transit hubs.

Most of the development is happening in the East Bay, with completed projects near at least eight stations and more under construction including a 402-unit apartment complex at MacArthur Station with 13,000 square feet of commercial space; 94 units at Fruitvale Station; 200 units at Pleasant Hill Station; 410,000 square feet of commercial space at West Dublin/Pleasanton Station; and 596 units at Walnut Creek Station. Planned projects in Millbrae, West Oakland, Lake Merritt, North Concord/Martinez, Balboa Park, and Fruitvale total over 2,300 units and over 2 million square feet of commercial space.

As zoning codes begin to relax near transit, future development opportunities could open up, strengthening the local markets for existing multifamily buildings as well as retail and office assets.

Source: SF Chronicle

How are developers preparing for sea level rise?

The Bay is expected to rise up to 10 feet in the next 80 years; how are local developers protecting their waterfront projects? According to the SF Business Times, “With the right planning, project designs and innovative construction, new developments can not only survive the effects of climate change, but in some cases, can help protect the region from flooding and erosion.”

Depending on what changes the world makes (or doesn’t make) to slow climate change, California estimates that waters will rise 1.1 to 2.7 feet by 2050 and between 2.4 and 10.2 feet by 2100. Most developers and project planners aim to be ready for 2 feet of sea-level rise by 2050 and 6 feet by 2100.

One solution is to truck in dirt to raise the level of the ground before building; Brooklyn Basin, a master-planned community on Oakland’s waterfront, elevated the land 3 feet with this method, and it is also being used on Treasure Island. The Treasure Island development is also using the strategy of siting buildings farther away from the shoreline to allow room for future retaining walls or levies. Terracing is also an option; India Basin and Pier 70 in San Francisco are building homes on sites that already sit well above the water, even if it means they’re a little farther from the waterfront. A more back-to-nature approach is restoring the Bay’s wetlands and marshes, which absorb water and slow flooding.

New developments have many strategies to survive sea level rise, but it remains to be seen how older buildings and infrastructure can be protected. There are currently 48,895 homes in the Bay Area worth a total of $31.8 billion that are at risk of flooding due to sea-level rise, on 48 to 166 square miles of threatened shoreline.

Source: SF Business Times

NAI Northern California volunteers with Project Open Hand in Oakland

On Thursday, July 25th, NAI Northern California volunteered with Project Open Hand in Oakland. Ten brokers, staff, and members of management from both the Oakland and San Francisco offices worked at the Grocery Center repackaging pinto beans, black beans, and quick oats from their original bags into individual servings for sick and vulnerable people in the Bay Area. Project Open Hand’s program coordinator, Sharon Schrager, described the nonprofit’s origin during the AIDS crisis and their mission of providing healthy, nutritious meals to people with critical illnesses.

After the introduction, they put on their hairnets, washed their hands, and put on gloves (“In that order!”) Then they set up their work space and poured 50 pounds of pinto beans into a tub while Sharon put on a playlist of 80’s pop music to set the vibe. Two people pulled the bags for the individual serving off of the rolls they came on; two applied labels to the bags; three people measured out eight ounces of each item; two sealed the bags; and one counted the completed bags and moved them into crates. Rinse and repeat until all the beans are gone, and then load in 50 pounds of black beans, then 50 pounds of quick oats, then clean up. “A lot of the time the team was so focused that they wouldn’t stop for pictures!” said Danyn Oakes, the digital marketing manager for NAI Northern California. Their hard work, teamwork, and efficiency resulted in finishing over half an hour earlier than planned; repackaging 150 pounds of food (300 servings) only took the team about an hour and a half.

Despite the frenzy of activity, they still had fun, humming along with the music and laughing when they bumped into each other. Market analyst Trey Sells said, “Volunteering at Project Open Hand was a reminder how teamwork is fun, motivating, efficient, and helpful. I am glad there are resources like Open Hand to support members of our community.” Sourcer Travis Chu agreed, and was ready to keep going if they’d had more work to do; he said, “My experience with Project Open Hand was great. Although the workload was too easy, I enjoyed working with the team, creating bonding moments, and making small impacts to the community.”

Operations Services Associate Anna Guzman, who coordinated the event for NAI Northern California, said, “It was lovely to hear how Project Open Hand started from just one person cooking for those around her who were suffering from the AIDS epidemic. It goes to show you that just one small gesture can expand into greatness for others.”

“I thought it was a great experience,” said Samantha Schoneweis, a market analyst in the San Francisco office. “I didn’t realize that they aren’t necessarily a food bank but are dedicated specifically to educating around nutrition and feeding those with disabilities and illnesses. It’s so great that they’ve continued to operate in the Bay Area for almost 40 years now.”

In a thank-you letter from Project Open Hand, their program coordinator wrote, “The amount of hard work, energy, and enthusiasm your group brought was unmatched, and we so appreciate your generous donation of your time and service.”

See all the photos from the event on NAI Northern California’s Facebook page.

ABOUT PROJECT OPEN HAND

Founded in 1985, Project Open Hand is a nonprofit organization that provides meals with love to critically ill neighbors and seniors. Their food is like medicine, helping clients recover from illness, get stronger, and lead healthier lives.

Every day, they prepare 2,500 nutritious meals and provide 200 bags of healthy groceries to help sustain their clients as they battle serious illnesses, isolation, or the health challenges of aging. They serve San Francisco and Oakland, engaging more than 125 volunteers daily to nourish their community.

Learn more or sign up to volunteer at OpenHand.org 

San Jose and Oakland challenge SF in private equity real estate market

California’s largest cities for real estate investment, San Francisco and Los Angeles, are now being challenged by San Jose and Oakland. California holds almost 20% of the private equity real estate (PERE) in the country and 12% of global PERE assets under management, according to a study by accounting and advisory firm EisnerAmper and Preqin. PERE properties include office buildings (high-rise, urban, suburban and garden offices); industrial properties (warehouse, research and development, flexible office/industrial space); retail properties, shopping centers (neighborhood, community, and power centers); and multifamily apartments (garden and high-rise). Less common but still an option are senior or student housing, hotels, self-storage, medical offices, single-family housing to own or rent, undeveloped land, and manufacturing space (via Investopedia). 

So how do the Bay Area cities compare?

San Francisco’s strength is in its office market, with $3.2 billion PERE deals in 2018 (a $1 billion increase over 2017) and another $1 billion already invested this year as the Bay Area’s largest tech companies continue to expand. The overall PERE total for last year was $4 billion,down from $4.8 billion in 2017; according to an article in the San Francisco Business times, “the drop-off in the quantity of large mixed-use transactions compared with recent years is at the heart of the decrease.” San Francisco is also running out of space, which limits growth.

While San Francisco is still the largest market for office transactions in the Bay Area, San Jose is leading in growth. Their office transactions in 2017 and 2018 both reached $1 billion, with a record in 2018 at $1.2 billion. In Q1 of 2019 alone, these transactions reached $500 million, putting San Jose on track to quadruple its PERE deals this year. The overall PERE total for 2018 was another record of $2.7 billion, almost 60% more than 2017 and a sharp contrast to San Francisco. 

Oakland may be emerging as a competitor, with more reasonable housing options for tenants; the tech company Square announced at the end of last year their intent to move 2,000 employees into an Oakland office. Even as a smaller city, it is on track to reach a total of $1 billion in PERE deals this year, with $560 million in Q1 2019 already; $493 million of that was just two office space deals by Starwood Capital Group. The city also has more Opportunity Zones than either of the other two cities.

With San Francisco as the “benchmark,” San Jose as the “growth leader,” and Oakland as the “up and comer” (according to the SF Business Times), all three cities are going strong.

Source: SF Business Times

 

NAI Northern California sale of 888 Vermont Street featured by Multi-Housing News

NAI Northern California’s sale of the Vermont Apartments in Oakland was featured by Multi-Housing News in a recent article, “Oakland Community Trades in All-Cash Sale.” The article covered how the Mitchell Warren Team of Vice President Tim Warren, Senior Vice President Kent Mitchell, Investment Analyst Alex Lin, and Investment Advisor Randell Silva both represented the seller and found a buyer for the 44-unit community in a $14 million all-cash sale.

Located at 888 Vermont Street in Oakland’s Grand Lake neighborhood, the Vermont Apartments features a mix of 2-bedroom, 1-bedroom, and studio units plus two penthouses. The community’s amenities include four laundry rooms, a pool, view balconies, and a 43-space parking garage.

How to take advantage of “Opportunity Zones”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 created new rules for “opportunity zones,” underdeveloped neighborhoods, sheltering your investments from federal taxes with minimal limits and employment requirements. You only have a few more months to maximize the benefits of this program: so how does it work?

When you sell a property, you can immediately reinvest that gain, tax-deferred, into an Opportunity Zone by depositing it into a qualified Opportunity Zone fund (either one you create or a traditional one). Then you have two choices; buy a property in one of the zones, or invest in a business in the zone. We’ll focus on the property option.

You have 31 months to purchase your new property, whether it’s multifamily, retail, industrial, or office space. Eventually, you need to invest the same amount of money as the property’s structures (not land!) currently are worth; if the current building is worth $100,000, you need to spend $100,000 remodeling, rebuilding, or otherwise upgrading the building. This means if you buy a property with a structure worth very little, you don’t have to do much to get the tax benefits.

Speaking of benefits, not only is the tax on your original gains deferred until 2026, but if you hold it for seven years, 15 percent of that gain will completely avoid federal capital gains taxes. (You only get 10 percent if you hold it for five years.) And if you hold it for ten years and your new investment appreciates? None of that appreciation is taxable under federal capital gains taxes. This is an opportunity indeed!

There are 102 opportunity zones designated around the Bay Area, including in Oakland, Concord, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, and even San Francisco; visit the SF Business Times’ site for maps and stats about the zones, or contact one of our advisors to find a property that matches your investment goals.

Sources: BizJournals.com, Tax Policy Center

Read our June 25, 2019 newsletter

What’s the hold-up on housing development in the Bay Area?

Bay Area paradox: We need housing, but we don’t want to build faster.

Chronic lawsuits against new Bay Area housing developments. Loud, angry protests against pro-growth legislators and mayors. If the Bay Area has an all-season contact sport, it’s the recurring NIMBY fights against housing construction. And although almost everyone agrees housing prices are too high, few want to see faster development to tackle the problem, according to a recent Bay Area poll for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and this news organization.

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

Which Bay Area neighborhoods are at risk for a major earthquake?

Earthquake map reveals liquefaction risks in Bay Area neighborhoods.

No place in the Bay Area is safe when it comes to the inevitable, devastating earthquakes that loom on the horizon. But some neighborhoods are better situated than others.

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

John Caronna joins NAI Northern California as Vice President in Oakland

Multifamily real estate specialist joins the team in Oakland

NAI Northern California is pleased to announce that John Caronna has joined as Vice President in Oakland to focus on multifamily real estate. John’s combined experience as a multi-unit real estate specialist, property owner and manager makes the transactions stress free for his clients.

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