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Five Multifamily Mavens

San Diego

Another speaker, Wood Partners SoCal development director Brian Hansen, tells us the company has begun construction on its fourth LA County multifamily project: Alta South Bay, a 246-unit luxury apartment building situated between Torrance and Carson. The $55M community is slated to open in summer 2015. Pointing to a shortage of new luxury product in north San Diego County, Brian says Wood Partners entered the market at the right time with the right product. Need proof? The company's Alta San Marcos (above), a 108-unit gated community where rents top $2/SF, is nearly fully leased.

This morning, we chatted with one of our moderators--Allen Matkins partner Martin Togni--who tells us the firm's multifamily clients are buying existing product and investing in value-add improvements, and/or building smaller developments with resort-like amenities versus mega-complexes. Case in point: Alliance Residential's apartment project in Little Italy will boast some cool ground-floor retail tenants. Additionally, Martin says developers are buying busted condo projects that were converted to apartments, looking for that window downstream where they can reposition them back to condos. He repped Illumina on its UTC campus project, the biggest lease deal of its kind in San Diego. Fun fact: Martin's a dual US-Swiss citizen and grew up speaking a very old Swiss dialect. (When negotiations between landlords and tenants turn testy, he's able to keep the peace, we should put him in Congress.)