Avant Housing, Essex and BRIDGE Housing Selected to Develop 41-story Apartment Tower on San Francisco’s Transbay Block 9

Avant_TransbayBlock9_Folsom+1st The Registry real estate San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (Feb. 15, 2013) – A local San Francisco Bay Area partnership led by Avant Housing, LLC, a joint venture between AGI Capital Group, TMG Partners and CalPERS, with Essex Property Trust and BRIDGE Housing, was selected to enter into an exclusive right to negotiate with the Successor Agency to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency with the intent to build a 41-story, 563-unit urban-infill apartment development on Transbay Block 9 in San Francisco’s SoMa District.

Transbay Block 9 is a 31,000-square-foot parcel on Folsom Street between First and Essex streets, anchoring the Western edge of the Transbay Project Area which includes the $4.2 billion Transbay Terminal project, the first phase of which is under construction. The project will include a 400-foot tower and a shorter podium building.

Already co-developing 463-units in two buildings just down the Street at 900 Folsom, Avant Housing and Essex Property Trust will lead the development of the project and BRIDGE Housing will co-develop the affordable units.

Avant Housing’s selection comes about a year after Golub & Co. and Mercy Housing were chosen to develop two other parcels, Transbay District blocks 6 and 7. While previous Transbay parcels have been awarded to out-of-town developers, this is the first time a local development team has been selected.

“We are a San Francisco-based company and are grateful to be selected to help contribute to the city we love,” said Eric Tao, development principal at Avant Housing, LLC.  “Our team competed against two other very capable and accomplished development teams for this coveted parcel and we hope our standout design for the skyline will be a worthy addition to the Transbay Terminal Project Area.”

The yet-to-be-named 600,000-square-foot mixed-use development will provide transit-oriented market-rate housing, including 450 residences: a mix of studios; one-, and two- bedroom homes; and, penthouses. Also included will be 113 below market-rate homes, below ground parking spaces, as well as amenities such as elevated gardens and a green house. The team’s goal is to commence construction in Q1 2014, with occupancy in Q1 2016.

Also included in the development is more than 6,000 sq. ft. of retail space on the ground floor along Folsom Street, which is being redesigned as a pedestrian-oriented boulevard with cafes and stores spilling out onto 25-foot-wide sidewalks and a public park with indoor and outdoor space and that will connect Folsom to Clementina Street and the proposed Oscar Park. Oscar Park is a set of open space improvements under the bus ramp to the transit center and the Interstate 80 off-ramp.

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is the lead architect under the creative direction of Design Partner Craig Hartman, FAIA and Managing Director Carrie Byles, FAIA, while Anne Fougeron of Fougeron Architecture will design the affordable housing component.  The tower’s unique design is unlike any other on the San Francisco skyline.

“As developers — and more importantly as San Franciscans — we are deeply connected to the unique pulse of this area, so we were mindful to incorporate distinct elements into the design,” Tao added. “The entire Transbay development, including our project, is a combination of towers and low-rise residential buildings, so wanted the design to connect the high-rise to low-rise and reflect the harmonious diversity the city is known for. The components of the buildings are scaled to reflect the low and mid-rise buildings surrounding it.

“The tower will use a mix of materials and will even have green planted façade elements throughout and its setting will provide impressive views of the Bay,”  he added.

“We are very pleased to have been selected by the City of San Francisco as the qualified development team to develop at this ground zero location in the Transbay Redevelopment area,” said John Eudy, executive vice president and head of development for Essex Property Trust. “Essex and Avant housing have teamed up to develop three other housing communities in the past and we look forward to another successful transaction.“

“San Francisco has a huge need for housing across the economic spectrum, and we look forward to the day when 113 working families will be able to move into this development,” said Cynthia A. Parker, BRIDGE Housing president & CEO. “For over 20 years, we have collaborated with TMG Partners on other mixed-use, mixed-income developments, so we are thrilled to be working with the stellar team of Avant Housing and Essex Property Trust.”

Block 9’s convenient location straddles the Rincon Hill and Transbay neighborhoods in the heart of SoMa, San Francisco’s fastest growing district, now dotted with gleaming new skyscrapers with more rising. Future residents will have easy access to the city’s financial and cultural core, with restaurants, shopping, parks and transportation options all around. The historic Ferry Building and its popular farmers’ markets, Union Square shopping, AT&T Park and a proposed new arena for the NBA’s Warriors along the waterfront are all within walking distance. Adjacent to the Transbay Terminal and future Caltrains connections, the site is a short walk to the Montgomery St. BART Station and on many MUNI bus routes. A block away is convenient access to major freeways connecting east to Oakland across the Bay Bridge and south via Hwy. 101 and I-280 to San Francisco International Airport, the Peninsula, Silicon Valley and beyond.

About Avant Housing
Avant Housing, LLC, founded in 2006, is a joint venture partnership of AGI Capital, a San Francisco-based real estate development company, and TMG Partners, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s largest mixed-use property developers. In partnership with the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), Avant Housing focuses on development of urban-infill housing in California with an emphasis in the nine Bay Area counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano and Sonoma.  For more information please visit: www.avanthousing.com.

About Essex Property Trust
Essex Property Trust, Inc., an S&P 400 company, is a fully integrated real estate investment trust (REIT) that acquires, develops, redevelops, and manages apartment communities located in highly desirable, supply-constrained markets. Essex currently has ownership interests in 164 multifamily properties with an additional 9 properties in various stages of development. Additional information about Essex can be found on the Company’s web site at www.essexpropertytrust.com.

About BRIDGE Housing
BRIDGE Housing Corporation, a leading nonprofit developer, creates and manages a range of high-quality, affordable homes for working families and seniors. BRIDGE specializes in family and senior affordable apartments and an array of revitalization, transit-oriented, urban infill and mixed-use/mixed-income developments in California and the west. Since it was founded in 1983, BRIDGE has participated in the development of over 14,000 homes serving more than 37,000 people. For more information, visit www.bridgehousing.com.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM)
SOM is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75‐year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm has been honored with more than 1,400 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Brussels, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

About Fougeron Architecture
Fougeron Architecture is a nationally recognized design firm based in San Francisco. The firm’s decidedly modernist attitude is the result of founder Anne Fougeron’s vision to create a practice dedicated to finding the perfect alignment between architectural idea and built form. Fougeron Architecture’s private and public sector focus includes multi-family housing, commercial and residential projects, and health care, as well as a commitment to non-profit and government organizations through ongoing work for Planned Parenthood, Mercy Housing and the San Francisco Public Library. Recent housing work includes Parkview Terrace Senior Housing, Parcel H condominiums, and Transbay Block 6/7 Townhomes. The firm has been honored with many awards, including a 2008 National AIA Award for Tehama Grasshopper loft. For more information please visit: www.fougeron.com

Rendering by steelblue for SOM

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