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.

 

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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.

 

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San Jose makes changes to housing policy

The San Jose City Council voted to allow landlords to evict tenants convicted of violent felonies.

As development in San Jose explodes and housing prices continue to soar, the City Council on Tuesday night adopted changes to the city’s housing policies that could benefit renters and provide protections for landlords.

At the Housing Department’s recommendation, the council agreed to prohibit landlords of rent-controlled apartments from dividing utility costs based on how many people live in each apartment and the unit’s size rather than how much gas or electricity they actually use. So the council is asking property owners to install sub meters at each apartment so families are charged only for what they actually use.

The council also tweaked the tenant protection ordinance it adopted last year, and will now prevent landlords from threatening to share information about their tenants’ immigration status with immigration authorities.

The city also will let landlords evict tenants with serious or violent felonies. Acknowledging concerns about the displacement of families, landlords must give renters a chance to evict such felons before ousting an entire family. Mayor Sam Liccardo supported the idea, and asked the city to provide an exception for children convicted of such crimes.

Also up for debate was an issue around the Ellis Act, which outlines when and how the owners of some rent-controlled apartments in the city — generally those built before September 1979 — can take them off the market.

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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.

 

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Google says it’s close to owning enough downtown San Jose properties for ‘viable’ development

Google is nearing ownership of enough downtown San Jose properties and parcels to create a “viable” transit-oriented development.

The development will take place near the Diridon train station, a top company executive told a key advisory group this week.

During a meeting of the Station Area Advisory Group, formed to gather and process citizen input about Google’s proposal to develop a massive transit village near Diridon Station, Google executives offered the company’s first major presentation of its development philosophies and plans for downtown San Jose. The search giant also indicated that it is creating a critical mass of properties where it could build a transit-oriented community downtown.

“Just to get the sites together by itself is obviously very complicated, and it’s not completed yet, and it’s taking a while,” Mark Golan, Google’s vice president real estate development, told the advisory group during its Monday night meeting. “But we are getting close to having a site that is viable.”

Mountain View-based Google and its development ally Trammell Crow have spent at least $221.6 million buying an array of properties on the western edges of downtown San Jose, within and near a one-mile stretch that begins north of the SAP Center and reaches south nearly to Interstate 280.

Among the major recent deals: The Google and Trammell Crow venture bought a large site that now is occupied by Orchard Supply Hardware, and the search giant has struck a deal to purchase a huge property from Trammell Crow that is approved for 1 million square feet, hundreds of residences and retail.

Despite the extensive work and investments that have occurred already, construction isn’t going to begin tomorrow, Google executives cautioned.

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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.

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Wiener scales back bill that would allow taller housing near public transit

State Sen. Scott Wiener scales back a controversial housing proposal.

The proposed bill would strip local governments of their ability to block construction of taller and denser apartment and condominium buildings near public transit stops, and conceded the bill might not make it through the Legislature this year.

The San Francisco Democrat introduced amendments to his SB827 late Monday that would lower the maximum height of buildings that could go up as a result of the bill to five stories from eight. Also, the bill would take effect in 2021 instead of 2019.

Wiener made the amendments ahead of the bill’s first hearing April 17 in the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. If passed, the bill will then head to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee.

“The bill is not guaranteed to survive either committee,” Wiener said Tuesday. “It’s a hard bill. Hopefully, we pass through these committees and live to fight another day, but if not, then we will try again next year. It’s very common in the Legislature that for hard bills, sometimes you have to try multiple times.”

The measure would override local height limits on proposed four- and five-story apartment and condo buildings in residential areas if they are within a half mile of major transit hubs, such as a BART or Caltrain station. It also would limit cities’ ability to block denser buildings within a quarter-mile of highly used bus and light-rail stops, but amendments eliminated new height requirements.

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Exclusive: FivePoint suspends work on 635,000-square-foot shopping mall at the former Candlestick Park

The mall was meant to be the centerpiece of the 280-acre project, one of San Francisco’s largest.

The shopping centerpiece of San Francisco’s 280-acre Candlestick Point development has been suspended amid turmoil in the retail industry, placing one of the city’s largest projects in jeopardy.

Developer FivePoint Holdings LLC and its retail partner Macerich Co. paused work on the 635,000-square-foot mall, according to a Thursday email to the project team obtained by the San Francisco Business Times.

FivePoint said in recent SEC filings that “in light of the rapidly evolving retail landscape,” it was “evaluating the viability of a mall” and “exploring potential alternative configurations of the site.” FivePoint said future plans were uncertain.

The mall was to span over a dozen buildings, bounded by Harney Way, Arelious Walker Way and Ingerson Avenue. It was approved along with 7,200 housing units, a 200-room hotel, and an additional 300,000 square feet commercial space. Infrastructure construction is underway at Candlestick, but no new buildings have started construction and design work is ongoing.

The mall was meant to revitalize the former home of the San Francisco 49ers and Giants, who played at Candlestick Park for four decades. The stadium was demolished in 2014, the same year that the mall project was unveiled and originally set to open in late 2017.

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Silicon Valley grapples with security risks after YouTube shooting

Tech offices are modeled after college campuses.

Will they rethink their layouts? A shooting outside the offices of YouTube on Tuesday prompted an outpouring of support from fellow technology workers, as well as a sense of dread over whether other corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley were vulnerable to similar attacks.

YouTube’s campus in San Bruno, California, where three people were injured by gunfire, is laid out much like other tech offices nearby. It consists of a group of buildings within close proximity, spread across a suburban area. There’s outdoor seating and grassy pastures inviting colleagues to congregate. Visitors and employees can wander freely together in the vicinity, and security guards typically stay at desks inside the buildings.

“Companies invest in security but purposefully keep physical security measures discreet because the vibe is casual and relaxed,” said Joe Sullivan, the former chief security officer at Uber Technologies Inc. and Facebook Inc. who’s now an independent consultant. “Leaders want to stay connected with their teams, generally choosing less visible security than you would see in traditional finance or media companies.”

A woman — identified by police as Nasim Aghdam — shot and injured at least three people before killing herself. She was found at the scene and appeared to be dead of “a self-inflicted” gunshot wound, San Bruno Police Chief Ed Barberini said at a press conference Tuesday. No motive was given for the shooting.

In an American age where shooting rampages have become increasingly common, openness can work against companies, said Jeff Harp, a retired agent at the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Francisco who consults for technology companies. While employees are required to badge into buildings, access to many outdoor areas is generally accessible to all.

The episode could prompt executives to tighten security, Harp said. “Companies are going to be asking themselves, ‘Maybe our guard services need to be where they pull into the parking lot.’”

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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.

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