San Francisco Business Times

Global real estate giant Hines started construction on its first housing development in Oakland: a 385-unit apartment and retail complex in the MacArthur BART transit village.

With more than $93.2 billion worth of assets, Hines is one of the largest investors to plant a flag in Oakland in recent years as demand for housing booms.

“Hines is pleased to be able to respond to the significant demand for new, high-quality rental housing that has recently emerged in the Oakland area,” said Paul Paradis, Hines senior managing director, in a statement. “We are excited about its unique location in the epicenter of the East Bay.”

The location of the project, known as MacArthur Commons, is key, Paradis told the Business Times with a just a few train stops from downtown Oakland and downtown San Francisco. The surrounding Temescal neighborhood boasts hip bars, restaurants and shops.

The project is the second phase of the MacArthur transit village, more than a decade in the making, to get underway. The entire village is slated to include up to 875 homes on 8.2 acres adjacent to the train station. So far, Bridge Housing delivered 90 affordable apartments last year.

“It makes the most sense to have housing next to transit hubs,” said Jeff Andrade-Fong, a co-founder of Tech for Housing, a grassroots group that advocates for innovative housing development in the Bay Area. Such projects help alleviate pressure on the region’s high-priced housing market as more people move here for jobs, he said.

Another mega developer, Boston Properties LP teamed up with Oakland-based McGrath Properties Inc. to propose a 24-story tower that would add another 402 units to the transit village. That project is seeking approvals next week from the City Council, where opponents who have dubbed it “MacArthur Mammoth” because of its height are likely to turn up.

The Hines’ project, designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects, will include lofts, studios, one-and two-bedroom units along with amenities such as a gym, clubroom, outdoor pool and spa, a dog run and bike repair station. Hines hired Lockehouse Retail Group to lease up the project’s 20,000 square feet of retail space.

Contractor Build Group expects to finish the first units in fall of 2018 and wrap up in 2019.

The MacArthur project falls under Hines’ multifamily division, which formed in 2011 and has more than 10,900 units in the works in various markets across the country.

Hines is working on another Oakland project: a 225-unit development with Invesco Real Estate at 2270 Broadway in the Uptown neighborhood that could break ground before the end of the year. Hines and Invesco are also building the 403-unit 33 Tehama in San Francisco, a project that ran into a construction snafu that required the evacuation of several nearby buildings last week.

Paradis said Hines remains bullish on the region and is on the hunt for more development sites.

“There is a shortage of housing around the Bay Area and that shortage will continue to exist for a number of years,” Paradis said. “With continued job creation, we feel that multifamily development in the Bay Area is a great business to be in.”

Blanca Torres
San Francisco Business Times