Nabr starts taking orders for lease-to-own units in San Jose

Prices at 20-story SoFA One tower will range from $800K up to $2M

Nabr's Roni Bahar with 420 S 3rd St
Nabr's Roni Bahar with 420 S 3rd St (We Are Visuals, Nabr)

First, rent a lease-to-own apartment in San Jose’s trendy SoFA district. Then save cash. Then buy the unit for up to $2 million and call it a condominium.

That’s the concept behind Nabr, a New York-based rent-to-own startup that has opened reservations for apartments in a 20-story tower proposed for 420 South 3rd Street in Downtown San Jose, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Most of the homes can be bought outright.

Nabr, whose legal name is SHPE Living, plans to build three apartment towers containing 500 units in the SoFA arts and entertainment district.

The first, known as SoFA One, would include 125 apartments or condominiums at the southwest corner of East San Salvador and South 3rd streets.

By paying a $1,000 refundable reservation fee, a prospective resident can move to either buy or lease-to-own a home. Many can be designed to order.

Nabr opened up reservations for 20 percent of the building units, Cara Eckholm, its chief revenue officer, told the Business Journal. Of those, it plans to sell 80 percent outright, while renting the rest through its lease-to-own program.

The SoFA One apartments will range from one to three bedrooms with a starting price of nearly $800,000 and most selling for between $1 million and $2 million, Eckholm said. Lease-to-buy deposits can range from 1.5 percent to 4.5 percent of the purchase price.

Nabr was launched last year by Roni Bahar, a former WeWork executive; Nick Chim, co-founder of Flux, a spinout of the secret Google X laboratory; and Bjarke Ingels, founder of Bjarke Ingels Group, an architecture firm based in Denmark that designed Google’s North Bayshore campus in Mountain View.

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The company bills itself as a direct-to-consumer builder that delivers custom and sustainable apartments in large numbers.

Its SoFA One, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group, would be sheathed in laminated, North American timber. “Smart windows” would cut energy use by up to 20 percent.

Balconies of 350 square feet would allow room for barbecues, a vegetable garden and even trees, based on project renderings.

The building would have a community rooftop garden, a health and wellness center, a common play area, and a ground-floor plaza lined with retail shops, according to its website.

Nabr plans to break ground this winter, when it opens reservations for its second and third towers. The goal is to complete SoFA One in 2024.

In August, the Nabr towers had a waiting list of 4,000 residents hoping to buy or lease high-rise homes within the SoFA district.

Dana Bartholomew

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