300 large condos coming to Livermore

Shea Homes will develop housing units with big footprints, bucking state trend

Shea Homes' Bert Selva with the corner of Collier Canyon Rd and Portola Ave
Shea Homes' Bert Selva with the corner of Collier Canyon Rd and Portola Ave (Getty, Cali Homebuilding Foundation, Google Maps)

Southern California-based developer Shea Homes will build 300 homes in a large Livermore development that aims to bring 4,000 housing units to the Tri-Valley market, according to plans filed to the city. The plan was unanimously approved by the City Council.

The Isabel Neighborhood Specific Plan outlines an area in the northwest portion of the city with about 1,100 acres. Along with the 4,000 units of housing, the plan calls for 2.1 million square feet of office and retail space.

The site of the project was acquired by Los Angeles-based Harridge Development Group in April for $74 million from an affiliate of Irvine-based SunCal and its equity partner MSD Capital. The SunCal affiliate and MSD had only acquired the property two weeks prior from Sutter Health for $45.25 million.

Shea Homes will build 299 homes on a 13-acre parcel at the corner of Collier Canyon Road and Portola Avenue. It will consist of 89 condominiums for sale and 210 for rent, with units ranging in size from 1,600 to 2,400 square feet. Of those units, 60 will be affordable.

This is the second project approved for development at Isabel. The first was approved in May for 112 units built by DeNova Homes at the northwest corner of North Canyons Parkway and Triad Place.

Shea and Livermore are bucking state trends by approving homes that are larger in size, rather than more units with smaller footprints. The state has prioritized building more housing units to address California’s housing shortage. Gov. Gavin Newsom has put forth programs to incentivize cities to build a lot of homes fast, including the awarding of $1 billion in state funds to cities to build 2,800 new homes.

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California cities feel the political pressure more than ever to meet their housing element deadlines or risk losing local control on their ability to approve or deny projects that have a certain threshold of affordable units. A 1990s provision in state law, known as builder’s remedy, was invoked in Santa Monica when developer WSC Communities filed to build 4,000 units after the Southern California city failed to meet its deadline to have a compliant housing element.

These pressures encourage cities to pursue projects with smaller units to have a greater number of units in order to meet state criteria.

Livermore isn’t the only city pushing back against state pressures. Alameda has made a habit of building homes that are more suited for families rather than couples or single individuals. San Ramon-based Trumark Homes received unanimous approval from Alameda’s Planning Commission to pursue a 90-townhome development with untis that will range from 1,600 to 2000 square feet. Los Angeles-based Landsea Homes will build another 182 townhomes ranging from 1,500 to 2,700 square feet.

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Trumark Homes' Gregg Nelson and 2015 Grand Street in Alameda (Loopnet, Trumark Homes, Getty)
San Francisco
Alameda to build more townhomes, bucking statewide pressure

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