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Emerald Fund's Marc Babsin On His Mid-Market Bet

Emerald Fund has been busy in San Francisco's Mid-Market, and we're excited to have principal Marc Babsin as one of our speakers at Bisnow's The Future of Mid-Market event April 12 at Argonaut Hotel in Fisherman's Wharf. We caught up with Marc to talk Mid-Market, the tech bubble and his favorite band.


Emerald Fund has developed more than 3,000 units of housing in San Francisco, earning it a place among the most prolific developers in the city's history. The past five years saw the company focus heavily on revitalizing Civic Center with three projects totaling 1,000 apartments. Emerald Fund's work on converting the 1974 AAA office tower at 100 Van Ness into 418 apartments earned the company the 2015 Best Residential or Hospitality Project in the US from Engineering News Record.

Bisnow: What’s excites you about Mid-Market?

Mark Babsin: Mid-Market and, more specifically, the Van Ness and Market hub, has long boasted some of the best transit infrastructure in the entire West Coast. Over 30 transit lines stop within three blocks of 100 Van Ness. With traffic congestion worsening throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area, more and more people are looking to reduce their commute times by living closer to transit.

Now that thousands of tech jobs have popped up in the neighborhood, people are giving serious consideration to living in this former back-office district. Add in dozens of bike lanes, over 1,100 live performance nights a year, grocery stores, bars, restaurants and cafés, and this area is truly becoming a 24/7 thriving urban place.


Bisnow: What makes 150 Van Ness a special project?

Marc Babsin: In January of this year, Emerald completed The Civic, a 162-unit ground-up apartment building around the corner from 100 Van Ness, at Polk and Hayes. The Civic is currently in lease-up. We will be starting construction on our third and final Civic Center project, 150 Van Ness, this May. 150 Van Ness will contain 420 apartments and be connected to 100 Van Ness.

Residents of both projects will enjoy a vast array of amenities, including a full-length swimming pool, two hot tubs, a basketball court, movie theater, yoga studio, tool workshop, bike repair shop, pizza oven, pet wash, business centers, conference rooms, multiple designer lounges and, of course, a roof deck with 360-degree views of San Francisco. We expect 150 Van Ness to open in spring 2018.

Bisnow: Do you think there’s going to be a tech slowdown? What impact does this have on your planning?

Marc Babsin: While the tech slowdown may dampen rents and occupancy in the short term, we believe in the fundamentals and long-term viability of this neighborhood for residential.

The upswing in the economic and real estate cycle over the past five years has given us a new, 24/7 mixed-use neighborhood in San Francisco. It’s an historic event and quite a blessing. We expect that this “new” neighborhood will be a permanent part of the city’s fabric.

Bisnow: Of course, the most important question: What's your favorite band?

Marc Babsin: Wilco and Widespread Panic have been my standbys for a couple of decades now.