Lane Partners buys historic Sears building in Oakland to lure tech tenants

Lane Partners plans to convert the Sears building into a retail and tech hub in the heart of Oakland’s booming Uptown neighborhood.

The real estate investment firm, based in Menlo Park, beat out several bidders and paid $25 million or about $63 per square foot for the historic, 400,000-square-foot building at 1945 Broadway from Sears Holding Co.

The firm plans to renovate the six-story structure to house a space large enough for a major tech tenant and rebrand it as Uptown Station.

“Uptown Station will be embraced by the tech sector due to great architecture, new technology, collaborative space and a great live/work environment,” said Scott Smithers, managing principal of Lane Partners.

The property, built in 1925, features 66,000-square-foot floorplates and currently houses just one tenant, a Sears department store, on the ground floor. Sears plans to vacate the space within 90 days.

Smithers said the spacious floor plans, historic architecture, and expansive windows make the building ideal for “creative space” that many technology tenants want. That type of space has become scarce in both San Francisco and Oakland — especially in the range of 350,000 square feet.

The building also sits right on top of a BART station and is located in the middle of Uptown. The area has become a thriving entertainment district. Over the past several years, dozens of new restaurants and bars have opened, as well as hundreds of new apartments and condos.

“For location, it’s a no-brainer,” said John Dolby, an Oakland broker with Cassidy Turley. “If (Lane Partners) makes the building into creative space, it will be very desirable.”

Some tech companies like Lyft, a maker of an app for car sharing services, looked in Oakland, but couldn’t find a large enough space.

“(The Sears building) will be great for downtown Oakland and is going be able to attract a tech company from San Francisco,” Dolby said.

Now that the deal closed, the rehab is next. Some of the building’s windows were filled in with concrete to make it more seismically sound, so Lane Partners plans to restore the windows to make them operable and install other types of seismic reinforcements.

“The interiors are amazing,” Smithers said, noting that the floors come with 14 foot high ceilings. “We’re returning much of the facade to the original look and feel.”

The new owner expects to finish the renovations by the first quarter of 2016. Lane Partners plans to keep retail on the ground floor to “activate the street” and convert the basement level into parking.

Lane Partners already hired on a team of brokers led by Bill Cumbelich, a San Francisco broker with CBRE, to lease up the building.

The building has significant potential, said Alan Dones, managing partner and CEO of the Strategic Urban Development Alliance LLC, who tried to buy the building earlier this year, but fell out of contract. Another bidder, Strada Investment Group went into contract on the building after that, but they also didn’t close.

“We had been looking in the Oakland market for a while, so when we heard about this building, we inquired about it,” Smither said. “It was a competitive process that required an understanding of the building and for us to act quickly.”

Source: Blanca Torres Reporter-San Francisco Business Times

Huge New Palo Alto Condo Aims for $1,500+ Per Square

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Construction recently kicked off on a mixed-use four-story residential and office building on Cowper Avenue, near the Palo Alto Caltrain station. Because there is so much demand in the area and new construction there is so rare,developers R & M Properties are aiming for prices of $1,500 per square foot for the residential portion, which will consist of a massive 5,000 square foot condo with private elevator access. That condo alone could bring in a price of$7.5 million. The 30,000 square feet of office space on the first three floors already has a tenant, although there’s no word on who that may be. The new building, designed by architecture firm The Hayes Group, is expected to be complete by the end of 2015.

Source: SF Business Times

AMENDED CONDO BYPASS LEGISLATION IS A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

AMENDED CONDO BYPASS LEGISLATION IS A WOLF IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

At the most recent Land Use Committee meeting on June 4, the committee voted to approve (2-1) the Yee/Chiu Amended Condo Bypass legislation for a vote before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, June 11. The goal of the original legislation was to help the 2,000+ current TIC owners to access historically low interest rates. The amended legislation has perverted the original legislation into one that would help these 2,000 TIC owners at the expense of all future condo lottery participants. The amended legislation MUST be opposed because it will permanently cripple the condo lottery by:

  • Suspending the condo lottery for 10 years, no matter how few TICs elect to go through the condo bypass;
  • Creating a “Poison Pill” whereby if anyone sues to challenge the legislation, the condo bypass and the condo lottery are automatically suspended until the litigation is resolved;
  • Preventing qualification for other TIC owners for 3 years from the condo lottery if just one OMI eviction is done;
  • Removing 5- and 6-unit buildings from the condo lottery when it resumes in 10 years; and
  • Increasing the owner occupancy requirements for 3- and 4-unit buildings to qualify for the condo lottery to 2 owners to live in 3-unit buildings and 3 owners to live in 4-unit buildings for 3 years.

The amended legislation effectively eliminates 4-unit buildings from the condo lottery because it would be impossible for a 4-unit building to maintain the same three owner occupancy requirement over the years it would take to win the condo lottery. Buildings of 4, 5 and 6 units are a very important part of the inventory of potential first-time, homeowner housing stock.  As an example, if this legislation were in effect last year, it would have eliminated 47.4% of the units in the lottery.

It is not an exaggeration to say that this legislation will significantly harm the TIC market, an important source of relatively affordable, first-time, homeowner housing stock.

Please let your Supervisors know that the amended legislation hurts homeownership. It only attempts to help current TIC owners as a cover to destroy the condo lottery. In particular, let Board President David Chiu and Supervisor Norman Yee know that you oppose the legislation as amended. They can be contacted at:

David Chiu – David.Chiu@sfgov.org(415) 554-7450

Norman Yee – Norman.Yee@sfgov.org(415) 554-6516

If you live or work in District 10, let Supervisor Malia Cohen know that the amended legislation is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Malia Cohen – Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org(415) 554-7670

 

MESSAGE PROVIDED BY SAN FRANCISCO ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

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