Experts: Oakland Has Tremendous Opportunity
Oakland's multifamily market has benefited from the shift in jobs into the East Bay and now the challenge is to build the right kind of housing with the desired amenities to meet demand—all while addressing the ongoing challenges of cost and attracting capital.
Experts tackled the booming market at Bisnow's Oakland multifamily and mixed-use event yesterday. In the wide-ranging conversation, panelists discussed rising construction costs, sources of capital, amenities and more. Coffman Engineers VP Jeff Weber moderated.
Polaris Pacific VP Miles Garber (left) said most of the new projects in Oakland are mostly apartments. Developers have been less willing to sell units outright as condos. He doesn't see this trend changing anytime soon.
Forma founder Walid Mando (right) stressed the importance of "value engineering" in multifamily construction. Since the majority of costs are in a building's structural and system components, it pays to invest early on with a talented team of engineers. The cost savings allows developers to afford quality finishes and ornamentation later, he said.
UrbanCore Development CEO Michael Johnson (left) said recent Oakland development in places like Jack London Square was tending toward larger units. The key to successful revitalization was to offer the right kinds of housing to fulfill demand.
City Ventures CEO Phil Kerr (right) said Oakland presented a tremendous opportunity. It is one of the last great places to invest, according to Phil. As jobs shift north from South Bay during this current boom, Oakland has been getting substantial attention. The numerous BART stops in the city are an incredible advantage, he remarked.
RAD Urban chairman Andrew Gissinger (left) talked amenities. He wants to create an atmosphere where communities naturally form in his buildings. To that end, his project at 5110 Telegraph Ave has a grocery store on the bottom floor and an organic rooftop garden/farm for residents. The trick, he said, was helping create unique communities while keeping costs under control.
The event marked the triumphant return of the irrepressible Mike Martinez. He came back to MC after a horrific bike accident. We're happy that he's doing better and hope he continues to heal!