Candlestick Development Progresses

San Francisco aerial taken in the 1980s. Candlestick Park in the forefront.

By Joe Gose

Lennar Urban’s appointment of The Mark Company to spearhead the residential branding and marketing campaign for the $8 billion, 775-acre San Francisco Shipyard-Candlestick Point project represents a further indication that tangible results are within reach after years of plowing through planning and entitlement processes.

The first 247 units comprising affordable apartments and for-sale market-rate condominium flats and townhomes in the massive mixed-use endeavor will be delivered throughout the second half of this year, and they couldn’t arrive at a more opportune time. Residential developers over the last few years have largely avoided large-scale for-sale projects, concentrating instead on building apartments in a reaction to the glut of condominiums from last decade’s boom and a tougher mortgage market.

Even with the ongoing construction of projects such as the Linea on Market Street and Marlow in Nob Hill, only 92 for-sale units stemming from new construction were available in December, a year-over-year decrease of 78 percent, according to The Mark Company’s recently released market trends report, which tracks condo developments of more than 20 units. What’s more, a lack of inventory contributed to a 26 percent year-over-year decline in existing condo sales.

Consequently, prices are rising: Condos under construction fetched an average of $1,034 a square foot in December, an 18 percent hike over the previous year, while existing condos climbed 26 percent to $868 a square foot over the same period.

Alan Mark, founder and president of The Mark Company, said the firm would have an office open at the site this spring and anticipated strong demand. The developers have set prices in the low $500,000 range for one-bedroom homes and in the high $500,000 range for two-bedroom homes.

“People have been following this project for years,” he said. “It’s a gorgeous piece of land—there are rolling hills and great vistas. I think people will be very surprised when they see it.”

All told, the San Francisco Shipyard (formerly Hunters Point Shipyard) Candlestick Point development will include up to 12,000 homes, 3.15 million square feet of office and research and development space, 885,000 square feet of retail space, and 100,000 square feet of community facilities. The plan also calls for a performance venue of up to 3,000 seats and more than 325 acres of parks and open space.

The redevelopment of the former naval base is considered the largest undertaking in the Bay Area since the 1906 earthquake. On the San Francisco Shipyard site, the first phase of development calls for roughly 1,400 housing units on Hilltop, an area generally straddling Innes Avenue north of Fisher Avenue.

Between 27 percent and 40 percent of those will be affordable housing units. Lennar has partnered with Los Angeles-based affordable housing developer AMCAL Multi-Housing to build Block 49, a five-story apartment project on the northwest edge of the Hilltop area. Block 49 will feature 60 apartments, a ground-level garage for 45 cars, 50 bike spaces, a community room with a kitchen and computer lab, views of the bay and other amenities. The project is near the Muni Metro’s Third Street light rail station, and the units are reserved for households earning not more than 50 percent of the area’s median income.

Craig Adelman, a vice president with AMCAL, said that the development team anticipated breaking ground on the project in July and completing it in late 2015. The developers are now assembling the financing and putting the final touches on construction permits and documents, he added.

“The affordable housing—and certainly the entire project—should be in high demand given the housing shortage we’re enduring right now,” Adelman said.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure this month approved Lennar’s first phase plan for Candlestick Point. That plan calls for 1,529 new homes split roughly between market-rate and affordable units. The affordable component will include replacing the 256-unit Alice Griffith public housing community with new construction on a one-for-one basis. The new Alice Griffith apartments will be adjacent to the existing community.

The commission also approved conceptual plans for 1.1 million square feet of mixed-use retail, entertainment and housing on Candlestick Point. Infrastructure work is expected to begin this year.

In a statement, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee said that redeveloping Candlestick Point and Alice Griffith helped make good on his promise to ensure that San Francisco remained a place for the “100 percent” by providing more middle class and affordable homes.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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