Las Vegas desert strip slated for huge housing complex, Amazon makes big moves in Boston, and more…

National market report

Aug.August 01, 2017 11:00 AM

A rendering of a public space at Alameda Point

San Francisco:  Developer snags extra funds to save megaproject

local city council and developer managed to salvage plans for the redevelopment of a 68-acre former naval base on Alameda Island on the San Francisco Bay, according to reports.

Early last month, the Alameda City Council agreed to provide developer Alameda Point Partners with $93 million for construction costs and infrastructure improvements, the Alameda Sun reported. Additionally, the developer will set aside 70 housing units for teachers and other employees of the Alameda Unified School District. The school district will pay $25 million to cover the cost of those units and oversee construction, recouping the investment through rents, according to the East Bay Times.

A representative for the developer had previously said that because of rising construction costs and a decrease in land values, the mixed-use project “could collapse” if the council did not approve a revision to the original plan.

All in all, Alameda Point Partners  plans to bring 800 units of housing to the old base, 200 of which will be affordable, along with 600,000 square feet of commercial space, 15 acres’ worth of public parks, a new ferry terminal and a sports complex, according to Bisnow. The base sits on a long island just east of San Francisco and just south of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The new agreement should allow Alameda Point Partners to break ground by fall.

A rendering of WTI’s Arch project

Las Vegas: desert strip to get 754-unit residential complex

An adventurous investor group has secured approval from Clark County officials for a 30-acre, 754-unit apartment complex planned for a swath of desert land, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The parcel sits along “a stretch of sparsely developed open desert,” and the area hasn’t seen much development because the lots are too big and asking prices are too high, according to local experts. However, Cupertino, California-based WTI Inc. is going all in with the project, which the Review-Journal said would have nearly twice as many units as other recent projects.

A rendering of  the project, called the Arch, shows nine buildings and parking spaces surrounding a green space and swimming pool, but county filings also show plans for retail and other commercial space. The Arch will be WTI’s first ground-up development.

The land, which is located in the center of a narrow 2.4-mile strip between Las Vegas Boulevard and the Las Vegas Freeway, is owned by the locally based Olympia Companies and New York’s Stonehill Capital Management. WTI is reportedly paying around $500,000 to $550,000 per acre and plans to buy 47 acres in total for the project, according to the Review-Journal.

Fort Point, Boston

Boston: Amazon expands its footprint

Amazon, which has been making headlines for its continued growth, is now making big moves in Boston. The e-commerce giant announced it would lease a 150,000-square-foot office at 253 Summer Street in the city’s Fort Point neighborhood, according to the Boston Business Journal.

The company plans on opening its new office in the spring of 2018 and said it will hire 900 new workers. Amazon already employs 700 people in a Cambridge office and another 200 in a WeWork co-working office in the Back Bay neighborhood, not far from its future office.

Amazon senior principal engineer Michael Touloumtzis said employees at the new office would likely work on Amazon Web Services, Audible and Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, like employees at the main Cambridge office.

Besides its countrywide hiring spree, Amazon said in June it would spend $13.4 billion to buy the Whole Foods grocery chain. It has also opened eight bookstores around the U.S. since late 2015, including two in towns outside Boston this year.

Its newest office will be located near Boston’s main bus and rail station, South Station — in an area that is slated for a significant amount of new office development. Hines plans to build a 43-story tower over the station, and the city itself is preparing to expand the station considerably over the next few years. General Electric is also building a brand-new global headquarters in Fort Point.

A rendering of Ambrose’s development on the site of the old GM plant

Indianapolis: Site of old GM factory set for massive development

A 103-acre lot near downtown Indianapolis, home to the crumbling remnants of a General Motors stamping plant, is about to get a jolt of new life.

Local developer Ambrose Property Group unveiled plans for a $550 million mixed-use development at the site, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported.

The project is expected to take 15 years to complete, and the Business Journal said it “would transform downtown’s western edge from afterthought to urban gem.”

In total, the project calls for 2.7 million square feet of development, including residential, retail and commercial space, along with a hotel and public park. The first phase includes more than 500,000 square feet of development, including 250 apartments.

Ambrose has yet to finalize details for the remaining buildings on the unusually large downtown site, according to a designer at Ratio Architects, which is working on the project.

The GM factory closed in 2011.  Ambrose had been after the monster plot since 2013 but was beat out by a city-proposed project and another developer. The city project fell apart and financing dried up, so the request for proposals was reissued last summer. Ambrose beat out three other developers that submitted proposals and was given the nod by the city to move forward in May.

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