National market report

Commercial and residential real estate news briefs from around the U.S.

Nov.November 01, 2013 07:00 AM
Anton Menlo, the residential development Facebook is building near its headquarters

Anton Menlo, the residential development Facebook is building near its headquarters

Silicon Valley

The social media giant Facebook said last month it is working with developer St. Anton Partners to build a $120 million, 394-unit housing community near its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., the Wall Street Journal reported. Called Anton Menlo, the 630,000-square-foot rental project will be within walking distance of Facebook’s offices and come with amenities like a sports bar and doggy day care. The move comes after Facebook employees had inquired about places to live near the headquarters, amid a housing shortage and rising real estate prices in Menlo Park, the Journal said. According to the real estate listings website Zillow, the median home sale price in Menlo Park in August was  $ 1.35 million, up 11.1 percent from the same month of last year. Zillow’s rent index for the area was $ 4,459 in August, up 4.7 percent year-on-year. At Anton Menlo, apartments will go for market rates, with a handful set aside for low-income residents. All but 15 units will be available to non-Facebook employees.

Atlanta

As metro Atlanta emerges from a severe housing downturn, investment firms are on a buying spree there, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Taking advantage of an unprecedented supply of low-priced homes, investors have purchased almost 40,000 houses in the area in the past 18 months. That accounts for one in four purchases in the Atlanta area in the first quarter, up from one in 10 a year ago. While the long-term effect on the region’s housing market is unclear, the paper said, these investor purchases are giving a boost to neighborhoods stricken by foreclosures, and have helped increase home prices. Atlanta prices rose 20.8 percent in April from a year earlier, according to the Case-Shiller Home Price Index — the largest jump in the index’s history. Year-over-year growth was 18.5 percent in July. Investors are making up a growing percentage of total home ownership nationwide, and particularly in Georgia. In some counties in the state, institutional investors bought as many as half of all houses sold in July, the paper said.

Chicago

In a sign of the continuing flow of real estate capital from Canada, a Montreal-based investment firm is set to buy a pair of riverfront office buildings in the Windy City for about $367 million, Chicago Real Estate Daily reported last month. Quebec’s Ivanhoe Cambridge will pay some $260 per square foot for 10 and 120 South Riverside Plaza, located on the banks of the Chicago River. That deal comes on the heels of the $300 million Ivanhoe Cambridge pledged to finance River Point, a 45-story office development at 444 West Lake Street — Chicago’s first on-spec office tower since 1998. In December, Ivanhoe Cambridge announced a strategic partnership with Chicago-based Callahan Capital Partners to expand its U.S. office portfolio. The venture has already invested some $1.6 billion in New York and Seattle.

San Francisco

Jamestown, the owner of New York’s Chelsea Market, has purchased the retail portion of San Francisco’s embattled Ghirardelli Square and plans to spend $15 million to revive it, the San Francisco Business Times reported. Jamestown paid around $56 million for the 100,394-square-foot, 12-building retail center, a converted chocolate factory. The firm said it plans to upgrade storefronts and signage in the hope of attracting restaurateurs to the area, which is located near Fisherman’s Wharf. Nearly half the rentable property in the square is currently vacant, but Jamestown is hoping to return the area to its 1990s heyday. Jamestown CEO Michael Phillips told the Times that his goal is to make the property attractive enough to draw locals and tourists alike. “If you make it cool enough for the locals, then of course tourists will follow,” he said. “In the Marina and Russian Hill we certainly have great residential neighborhoods within walking distance.” This is only the most recent in a string of California acquisitions for Jamestown, Bloomberg News reported. Since 2011, the company has spent about $900 million on California retail and office properties, including 799 Market Street in San Francisco, South Shore Center in Alameda, and Spenger’s restaurant in Berkeley. “We’re committed to the West Coast and the Bay Area,” Phillips said. Why? San Francisco’s economy is in the fourth year of job gains, fueled by expanding technology and health-care companies, tourism and construction. The jobless rate is 5.6 percent, compared to 7.3 percent nationwide and 8.9 percent throughout California.

Chicago

Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan is expanding his lakefront spread in Highland Park, paying $1.25 million for a 4,646-square-foot house adjacent to his property, the Chicago Tribune reported. The home was originally built as the coach house to Corgan’s 18-room, 9,606-square-foot mansion, which he bought for $6.8 million in 2003.

Los Angeles

Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck paid $14 million for an eight-bedroom villa in Bel Air, Curbed.com reported last month. Originally listed for $21.99 million over a year ago, the home’s asking price had been dropped to $16.5 million.

Deer Valley

Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor, has purchased a ski house in Utah, the Park Record reported. The six-bedroom, 8,730-square-foot house, on Silver Lake Drive in Deer Valley, had been listed for $8.9 million. Romney, who helped organize the 2002 Winter Olympics in Park City, sold his mansion in the area four years ago.


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