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Located adjacent to the intersection of Highway 101 and 85, Ameswell Mountain View is planned as a LEED Platinum office and hotel complex featuring more than 200,000 square feet of office space and 250 modern luxury hotel rooms located at the gateway to both North Bayshore and downtown Mountain View. The City of Mountain View and the developer—Broadreach Capital Partners—entered into a public private partnership for this development at 750 Moffett Boulevard in 2015. The Mountain View City Council adopted resolutions certifying the project's Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR), making required CEQA findings and conditionally approving its permits in October 2016. The developer is currently working on construction drawings and the final design elements. (Click here to take a virtual tour of the project!)

Seifel provided real estate and property development advisory services to the City in support of the 7-acre, City-owned Moffett Gateway property (now Ameswell Mountain View). Collaborating with David Babcock and Associates (DBA) who provided urban design services, Seifel evaluated the financial feasibility of alternative development scenarios and recommended the consideration of office, hotel and retail uses at the site. Seifel subsequently advised the City on the developer solicitation process, helping to prepare the Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals, in collaboration with City staff, Maurice Robinson & Associates and Baker Street Associates. Seifel facilitated the developer evaluation process and advised the City on selection of the Broadreach development team and on the subsequent negotiation process for the area. (See here more on Seifel’s services to Mountain View for this and other projects.)

Check out the City of Mountain View’s webpage for more on the project.


Formerly dominated by underutilized properties and an abandoned freeway, the Transit Center District is now the site of a comprehensive planning and redevelopment effort to create a dense, walkable employment center that will feature housing at all levels of affordability, active retail and abundant public open space. The substantial public infrastructure investment needed to undertake this project is funded through a complex and innovative mix of public and private funding sources. The major rezoning of properties throughout the district, along with its significant amenities, has created substantial value while generating enthusiastic response among the development community. 

 

A concurrent session at the recent ULI Fall Meeting, "Transbay Transit Center District: Transforming Downtown San Francisco through Innovative Public/Private Partnerships" examines the redevelopment challenges overcome during the project and strategies used to create this new “Grand Central of the West” and its adjacent neighborhood. 

 

Discussion leaders included Scott Boule of Transbay Joint Powers Authority, Tiffany Bohee of the San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, John Eudy of Essex Property Trust, Mike Grisso of Kilroy Realty Corporation and John Rahaim of the City of San Francisco. Libby Seifel served as moderator of the panel, in addition to her duties as local program co-chair of the ULI Fall Meeting. 

 

A video of the session is available for viewing at ULI's webpage, here


This year’s annual conference of California’s Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA California) brought together members of the planning community to share best practices and recognize award-winning projects that are changing the landscape of California’s communities.

With the recent loss of redevelopment in California, local communities must plan for the reuse of public properties without having access to many tools that were formerly available to facilitate development. In addition, members of the planning community find themselves having to assume economic development responsibilities that were previously assigned to their redevelopment agencies. The session "Brave New World: Developing Public Property Without Redevelopment” explored strategies being used by California communities to successfully develop public properties in a manner consistent with local planning goals. Session panelists Barbara Kautz and Rafael Yaquian (Goldfarb & Lipman), Kevin Keller (City of Los Angeles) and Libby Seifel presented proven techniques that local agencies can use to maximize their ability to redevelop these properties while examining the legal constraints on their use. (Click here for full presentation, including the handout "Top Ten Best Practice Tips for Development Deals".)

California communities are also approaching development and neighborhood revitalization in ways that can enhance local cultural heritage. The session "When Property Values Attack: A Planning Tool for Combating the Loss of Intangible Heritage" showcased the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (known as JCHESS, full report available here), which came out of a collaborative effort among San Francisco’s Japantown community, the City of San Francisco and local non-profits. JCHESS outlines strategies for preserving and enhancing Japantown’s cultural heritage and all that makes Japantown unique. The session featured Ruth Todd and Christina Dikas (Page & Turnbull), Shelley Caltagirone (San Francisco Planning Department), Desiree Smith (of San Francisco Heritage), and Libby Seifel, all of whom contributed to JCHESS. The session examined how the elements of Japantown’s heritage were documented (through the development of a Social Heritage Inventory Form) and contributed to the development of an economic incentives toolkit to help identify, prioritize, and incentivize the preservation of cultural and social heritage. (Click here for full presentation.)


Blogger Markasaurus asks in a recent post, “Why can’t developers build housing in San Francisco for the people who need it most instead of for the rich?” The price of housing in San Francisco is skyrocketing. An upcoming SPUR forum will address the question: why is it so expensive to build housing in San Francisco?

 

Panelists will examine the component costs of bringing housing to market and discuss how predevelopment costs, delays, and requirements for additional studies and parking factor into the cost equation. The session will conclude with a deliberation on what can be done to drive down land costs and change construction practices, as well as what local government’s role—if any—is in cost reduction.

 

Architect Mark “Markasaurus” Hogan will present his recent analysis on housing costs. Panelist Libby Seifel will compare housing costs to costs in other communities and present findings from the Inclusionary Housing Financial Analysis Report her firm prepared for the San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Housing. Daniel Murphy of Urban Green DevCo and Blair Allison of Cahill Contractors will present developer and contractor perspectives on housing cost. 


Details on SPUR session.

 


The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recognized its San Francisco District Council for providing six successful training sessions that taught the basics of real estate finance and development, how to structure successful public-private partnerships and strategies to accomplish new projects in a post redevelopment world to a broad range of San Francisco staff. As Jon Lau, Project Manager for SF OEWD, summarized of the impact of ULI’s training,

“The sessions were packed with critical information. As participants, we are developing a better understanding of the building blocks necessary to evaluate project feasibility and gaining exposure to criteria relied upon for marketplace decision making, and it is valuable to gain insight on the thought process directly from developers.”

The sessions achieved the two key purposes of the ULI Innovation Grant that helped fund the training:
1) provide tools to public agency staff to elicit the best quality from the private sector and 2) help strengthen relationships and collaboration across City departments. 

Libby Seifel in collaboration with Landon Browning of Lennar Corporation developed the training materials and taught the first three sessions on the basics of real estate finance and development.


In response to record growth in San Francisco’s downtown in the mid-1980s, San Francisco created the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program to preserve the City’s “unique historic, architectural and aesthetic character.” The TDR program allows property owners to transfer unused development potential from a preservation property to other properties to ultimately be used on a development property in order to increase allowable gross floor area above what would otherwise be allowed. For the past three decades, the TDR program has helped the City to accommodate growth downtown while providing owners of historic buildings with incentives to maintain cultural resources.

The San Francisco Planning Department retained the Seifel Consulting team to conduct a comprehensive review of the City’s existing TDR program and make recommendations about how best to implement it in the future, including whether to certify TDR on City owned public buildings. Seifel was asked to analyze the impact of the potential sale of TDR from public properties on the TDR market.

The Seifel team completed a comprehensive review of the City’s existing TDR program and policies, and conducted in-depth analysis on the Planning Department’s database used to track TDR certification, transfer and use. It assessed the historical pace of TDR activity, key market factors in TDR transactions, and the value of TDR to the real estate development community. To provide insight into program implementation, as well the TDR market and pricing, the team interviewed brokers and other stakeholders involved in the TDR market and prepared case studies on specific TDR transactions in San Francisco. Finally, the team researched historic preservation-related TDR programs in other cities.

Click here for a copy of the Seifel team's TDR Study, included in the July 2013 San Francisco Planning staff report.


Libby Seifel will be leading a panel discussion on Key Principles for Successful PPPs (Public Private Partnerships) at the 2011 Housing California Conference in Sacramento on April 28. Libby will be joined by a panel including Polly Marshall of Goldfarb & Lipman, Lisa Bates of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, and Kim McKay of BRIDGE Housing. 

Public-private partnerships (PPP) provide a unique way for developers, government, and the community to work together to create innovative and sustainable urban infill developments. This interactive session will feature a lively discussion about how to structure innovative public-private partnerships that achieve “triple bottom line” results: Meet community goals, reduce our environmental footprint, and achieve financial returns. Attendees will learn how PPPs have been used to accomplish a broad range of projects, for the creation of affordable homes, mixed-use, and transit-oriented developments that incorporate green design to the redevelopment of surplus public properties and brownfield sites. 

Link to conference: http://www.housingca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=events_annualconference