Investors are spending big bucks for a piece of Silicon Valley office

It is already proving to be an active year for Silicon Valley office.

In the last few months, investors have spent millions to expand their Silicon Valley office portfolios.

San Jose’s office market, which has been relatively slow in recent years, picked up following Google’s plans to build a massive campus near Diridon Station. The Peninsula, which includes Palo Alto and Menlo Park, also has seen additional activity.

Santa Clara County office vacancies were about 12% in 2017 and the likes of Google, Apple and Facebook continue to buy or lease office space around the county, according to The Mercury News. Adobe Systems bought a parcel at 333 West San Fernando for $68M in January and plans to build a fourth office tower. Google continues its buying spree as it prepares for its Diridon Station campus and early this year bought three North San Jose office buildings at Midpoint@237, a business park developed by Trammell Crow, for over $117M.

Investors are expanding their San Jose office portfolios as well. DivcoWest bought three buildings from Cisco Systems in North San Jose in January, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal. The $50M sale was for the buildings at 10 and 80 West Tasman Drive and 125 Rio Robles Drive, totaling over 313K SF.

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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.”

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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.

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WeShop? WeWork preps a retail push

WeWork has built a billion-dollar business by convincing professionals to pay for decked out coworking spaces and a sense of community.

Entrepreneurs Ali Kriegsman and Alana Branston want to do the same for retail.

The pair are cofounders of Bulletin, a young startup that charges female-focused lifestyle brands a monthly membership fee for placement in its retail spaces and on its online marketplace. It raised more than $2 million last year and plans to open a flagship store in New York this spring.

But the founders are acutely aware that a behemoth is waiting in the wings: WeWork.

“In total transparency, we know that they’re going to penetrate retail, but we don’t know exactly what that means,” Kriegsman told CNN. “We’re eager to see.”

Two new job postings seen by CNN suggest Kriegsman is right to assume retail will play a bigger part in WeWork’s growing empire.

WeWork is looking to hire at least two senior employees to spearhead a push deeper into retail and e-commerce, according to the job listings posted to the company’s website this month.

The company is seeking a VP to “launch” a “new retail experience,” with a focus on food and beverages, one job posting says. The role will involve a “first location” in New York with plans to “quickly” open new locations in other markets.

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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

Investors, Developers Are Chomping At The Bit For A Piece Of Oakland

From office and housing to industrial, investors are pining for assets in Oakland and developers are building more in this cycle than ever before.

Oakland has shed its reputation as a city full of crime for a city full of investment and building opportunities.

Offices are being built for the first time in 10 years, and thousands of housing units are in the pipeline and under construction. The average four-bedroom house costs about $1M, and two-bedroom apartment rent is about $3K/month, which is three times the national average, according to Domum founder and principal Tim Alatorre.

Industrial is experiencing unprecedented market dynamics in the East Bay as well.

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For renters, the new normal: lower expectations and shrinking apartments

Gabriel Rodarte grew up in San Jose and has worked there for 30 years as a mailman for the U.S. Postal Service.

Making his rounds, he says, “I see it all. I see three families living inside one small apartment, or total strangers who share a room. None of them stay very long; they can’t afford it.”

Neither can Rodarte. He earns nearly $60,000 a year, but his apartments keep getting smaller. Dodging the region’s skyrocketing rents for the last five years, he now rents a room from a friend for $400 a month and feels “trapped. That’s where I’m at — I feel like I’m the working poor. It’s just ridiculous when you can’t afford to live in the place where you grew up.”

A generation of tenants now sees itself as rent-poor, with every last dime doled out for gas, groceries and the landlord. Renters struggle throughout the Bay Area.  In San Jose, the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $2,550, far above the national average of $1,560.  A similar two-bedroom flat can cost even more elsewhere: $3,080 in Walnut Creek and $4,910 in Cupertino, according to a recent report.

As the Bay Area’s economy booms, and as the tech sector continues to expand, this is the new normal for those on the margins: shrinking expectations and shrinking apartments. Nearly 40 percent of working adults in the Bay Area are now “doubled up” with roommates in order to afford rent, according to a study from Zillow.

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Will 2018 Be Another Good Year For Silicon Valley Multifamily?

Silicon Valley’s multifamily market will continue to benefit from strong job growth that is propping up demand for housing as we enter 2018. The ongoing supply/demand imbalance throughout the region will continue to drive both ground-up development and renovation in old properties.

Silicon Valley is an ideal market for investment and redevelopment because the housing stock is 50 to 60 years old and can benefit from modernization, according to Calvera Partners Managing Principal Brian Chuck. Additionally, Silicon Valley offers good market dynamics, including a strong employment base with a highly educated workforce, barriers to entry and mass transit infrastructure, he said.

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Rents in San Francisco and Oakland down at the End of 2017

Continuing the trend we first noticed forming at the end of 2016, asking rents for apartments in San Francisco and Oakland ended the year lower than at the start of 2017.

In fact, based on a comparison of nearly 2,400 listings, the weighted average asking rent for an apartment in San Francisco, including one-off rentals as well as units in larger developments such as Avalon’s new complex in Dogpatch, is currently running around $4,000 a month, which is around 4 percent lower versus the same time last year and roughly 10 percent below a peak in the fourth quarter of 2015.

And the average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is currently running around $3,400 a month having crossed the $3,600 mark in 2015.

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California’s Cannabis Conundrum: Legalization Will Lead To Fewer Dispensaries, Not More

With legalization of recreational marijuana just around the corner in California, the state is about to embark on what could be a $5B industry and a boon for tax revenue. But state regulations have created high barriers to entry and many cities and counties have banned cannabis outright.

Legalization in California will not translate to an immediate influx of cannabis dispensaries. In fact, many dispensaries now in business will no longer be able to continue operations past Jan. 1. States like Colorado created a more open market with fewer regulations when it legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, leading to an explosion of cannabis businesses. California requires dispensaries to be at least 600 feet from schools, to close at 10 p.m. and to have 24-hour surveillance, among other regulations. Jurisdictions also have the right to be more restrictive.

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