Gold Nugget Merit Award for Bellaterra@ North 40

Best Single Family Detached Home – Under 1,800 Sq. Ft.
Bellaterra at North 40 - Bungalow Plan 5
Los Gatos, CA

BIA Bay Area Sales & Marketing Council - Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Architectural Series (Collection of Plans)
Bellaterra at North 40

BIA Bay Area Sales & Marketing Council - Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Architectural Design Attached Home - Under 2,000 SF
Bellaterra at North 40 - Flats Plan 2

BIA Bay Area Sales & Marketing Council - Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Architectural Design Detached Home - Under 2,400 SF
Bellaterra at North 40 - Bungalow Plan 5

BIA Bay Area Sales & Marketing Council - Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Interior Merchandising of an Attached Model

Bellaterra at North 40 - Bungalow Plan 5

Excellence in Home Building Awards

Best Merchandising - Nuevo Plan 5

The Nationals℠ 2020, the National Association of Home Builders NAHB

Best Sales/Leasing Center – Nuevo Sales Studio, Nuevo (Santa Clara)

Best Single-Family Detached Model Home 2,501 to 3,000 Square Feet – Plan 3 of the E-State collection, Nuevo (Santa Clara)

Excellence in Home Building Awards (Bay Area BIA)

Bellavista (Moraga, CA) Development Awarded “Best Interior Merchandising of a Detached Model Priced Over $1.5 Million”

Gold Nugget Merit Award for Harvest Court

Best Single Family Detached Home 3,000-3,499 sq.ft.

Market-Rate Residential Project

By the Silicon Valley Business Journal

Nuevo at Lawrence Station / Santa Clara

2014 Public Private Partnership Award Growing Smarter Together Award
2013 Excellence in Home Building Award (MAME)

Purchasing Team Of The Year

Dan Erben, Chau Ngo & Ellen Hunyh

2012 Green Home Builder of the Year

Peninsula Publishing's Builder of the Year - Pubby Award. Featuring Renaissance at Roubion

2012 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Award of Merit
Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Multi-Family Housing Project - under 15 du/acre (For Sale or Rent)
Creekside at Saratoga/Saratoga CA

2011 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Construction Team of the Year

2011 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Website

2011 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Green Community of the Year
The Enclave at Waverly Park / Mountain View

2011 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Community of the Year - Detached
The Enclave at Waverly Park / Mountain View

2010 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Best Single Family Detached Home
on a Compact Lot – (Under 3,200 sq. ft.)
Redwood Gate / Palo Alto, CA

2010 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Architecture
Redwood Gate / Palo Alto, CA

2010 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Merchandising
Redwood Gate / Palo Alto, CA

2010 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Best Landscaping
Redwood Gate / Palo Alto, CA

2009 Gold Nugget Grand Award

Outstanding Infill, Redevelopment or
Rehab Site Plan
Lane Woods / Menlo Park, CA

2009 Nationals Gold Award

Best Design Center
Design Studio / Santa Clara, CA

2009 Gold Nugget Grand Award

Community of the Year – Detached
Lane Woods / Menlo Park, CA

2008 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Home Building Industry of Northern California
Best Detached Home – under 2,000 Sq. Ft.
Morgan Square / Fremont, CA

2008 Marketing and Merchandising Excellence (MAME)

Home Building Industry of Northern California
Special Award – Design Center
Design Studio / Santa Clara, CA

2008 Gold Nugget Grand Award

Best Single Family Detached Home
Any Size on a Small Lot
Morgan Square, Residence 4 / Fremont, CA

2008 Best in American Living Grand Award

Special Award – Design Center
Design Studio / Santa Clara, CA

2008 Best in American Living Grand Award

Best Single-Family Detached Home,
1801 to 2400
Morgan Square / Fremont, CA

2006 Best In American Living Platinum Award

National Association of Home Builders
Best Attached Home - 20 Units Per Acre
and Over
Woodmark at
University Park
/ Palo Alto, CA

2006 Best In American Living Platinum Award

National Association of Home Builders
Best Attached Urban Infill
Woodmark at
University Park
/ Palo Alto, CA

2006 Best In American Living Platinum Award

National Association of Home Builders
Best Neighborhood Up To and
Including 150 Units
University Park / Palo Alto, CA

2005 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best single-family detached home
under 2,300 sq. ft.
The Hills at BelleTerre, The Maple, Plan 2 / Novato, CA

2005 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best renovated/restored house or project
Channing Collection at
University Park
/ Palo Alto, CA

2005 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best attached housing project –
mid-rise (4 to 7 stories)
Weatherly at University Park
Palo Alto, CA

2005 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best attached housing project –
18 to 40 units/acre
Woodmark at University Park / Palo Alto, CA

2005 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best redevelopment, rehab, or infill site plan
University Park / Palo Alto, California

2005 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Masterplanned project of the year
University Park / Palo Alto, CA

2005 Gold Nugget Grand Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best single-family detached home, 3,301-3,600 sq. ft.
Channing Collection at
University Park
, Plan 3 / Palo Alto, CA

2005 Gold Nugget Grand Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best renovated/restored house or project
Channing Collection at
University Park / Palo Alto, CA
(Also featured in Sunset Magazine)

2004 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best single-family detached home
2,200 – 2,600 sq. ft.
Marisol, The Sapphire / San Bruno, CA
(Also featured in Builder and Developer)

2004 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best community site plan — 0 to 15 Acres
Bella Monte / San Jose, CA

2004 Gold Nugget Grand Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best single-family detached home,
on a compact lot under 1,700 sq. ft.
Ravenna, The Capri / San Jose, CA

2003 Best in America Living Silver Award

National Association of Home Builders
Best single-family detached home
3,001 - 4,000 sq. ft.
Channing Collection at
University Park
/ Palo Alto, CA

2003 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best renovated / restored house or project
Channing Collection at
University Park / Palo Alto, CA
(Also featured in Sunset Magazine)

2003 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best renovated / restored house or project
Channing Collection at
University Park / Palo Alto, CA

2003 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best redevelopment, rehab or infill site plan
Georgetown / San Jose, CA

2003 Gold Nugget Merit Award

Pacific Coast Builders Conference
Best community site plan — 0 to 15 Acres
Bella Monte / San Jose, CA

Stay in-tune with SummerHill Homes' regular involvement in the cummunity through news and press. For additional information about what we're up to, visit our Facebook Page.

With help from new housing laws, SummerHill wins approval for townhome project.

Tuesday June 21st, 2022 Palo Alto Online

The Palo Alto City Council approved a proposal from SummerHill Homes for a 48-townhome development at 2850 W. Bayshore Road.

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Construction Nearly Complete For NUEVO By SummerHill Homes, Santa Clara

Friday April 15th, 2022 YIMBY

Construction work is wrapping up on NUEVO, a massive 27-acre redevelopment project in Santa Clara’s Lawrence Station Area Plan. Spearheaded by SummerHill Homes, the project has been opening in phases with the ultimate goal of nearly a thousand new dwelling units, retail, and public community amenities.

Read more

Where Innovation Meets Interaction: Bellaterra Online Tours at PCBC

Tuesday April 12th, 2022 Pro Builder

To tour the truly innovative product mix at Bellaterra, a master planned community in Los Gatos, Calif., all you need is a computer or a pass to 2022 PCBC

Read more

Housing developer closes on slice of San Ramon's Bishop Ranch

Wednesday January 12th, 2022 San Francisco Business Times

SummerHill Homes is officially the owner of 31 acres of San Ramon's Bishop Ranch, which it plans to transform into three new neighborhoods. The developer, also based in San Ramon, was under contract for more than a year to purchase the site, and ultimately paid $108 million in a deal with Bishop Ranch owner Sunset Development Co. that closed in December.

Read more

First Buyer at North 40 is Relishing Her Triumphant Return to Los Gatos

Saturday October 16th, 2021 Los Gatan

“My only hope to get back to Los Gatos was this place,” she said. “Because you can’t buy a place in Los Gatos for under x amount of money, right?” She says she was emailing the developer even before the sales office was open. “Please, can you help me? I’m really interested,” she recalls writing. “I really need to move back.” And she made it. First. “I always knew I was going to come here,” she said. “I really am very, very happy being back.”

Read more

SummerHill Homes CEO Robert Freed Talks City Village in Bishop Ranch, San Ramon

Tuesday July 27th, 2021 YIMBY

New renderings have been revealed for City Village, a 404-unit residential development at 2400-2440 Camino Ramon in San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch office park. SummerHill Homes will be building the project. Speaking with SFYIMBY earlier this year, President and CEO Robert Freed shared details about City Village and the firm. Construction could start as early as 2022. The project will span 31 acres inside the North Camino Ramon Planning Area, with construction between Camino Ramon, Norris Canyon Road, and Executive Parkway. An existing 570,000 square foot office complex dubbed Bishop Ranch 6 will be demolished to make way for the housing. Developers expect to receive entitlement from the City of San Ramon in late 2021, which would put the development on pace for groundbreaking in 2022.

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A developer wants to build 404 homes at Bishop Ranch — and it's not Sunset Development

Wednesday July 7th, 2021 San Francisco Business Times

SummerHill Homes is under contract to buy a 31-acre parcel at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon and wants to build 404 new homes there.
The project, called City Village, would replace an office complex totaling 570,305 square feet on the parcel known as Bishop Ranch 6. The address is 2400-2440 Camino Ramon.

Read more

Surging lumber prices bring uncertainty for Bay Area homebuilders

Friday May 21st, 2021 San Francisco Business Times

Chris Neighbor of SummerHill Homes used to be able to secure lumber, the primary material for his company’s projects, six months before he needed it. These days, it’s down to 30 days in advance. “Over the last 12 months, we’ve been dealing with the ‘cost issue,’” said Neighbor, the president of SummerHill, referring to the price of processed timber. “But the biggest thing that’s hitting us now on lumber is the shortage issue.”



Read more

Sound Off: How do you manage your online reputation?

Monday May 10th, 2021 San Francisco Chronicle

Q: How do you manage your online reputation? A: SummerHill Homes stays at the forefront of ever-changing online trends through intense research, and maintaining a keen awareness of buyers’ needs, while monitoring local market conditions to forecast appropriate products, digital innovations and services. We monitor our online information to identify our audience and their needs to make sure we have the latest trends. We give a reason to relate to our brand, our homes, and to engage with our culture.

Read more

Dozens of hopeful Silicon Valley home-buyers camped in tents overnight in hopes of nabbing a $1.2 million townhouse

Wednesday April 28th, 2021 Business Insider

As the real estate market stays white-hot, prospective home buyers are going to increasingly desperate lengths to win their dream home — even, it seems, camping out overnight.
Dozens of hopeful buyers in Santa Clara, California, created a makeshift camp outside of condo development Nuevo Homes last week, hoping to buy one of 18 available townhomes. The homes were listed at a fixed price of $1.2 million, meaning they were first come, first serve — no bidding war required, according to NBC Bay Area on Saturday.

Read more

Potential Silicon Valley Homebuyers Camp Out For $1.2M Townhomes

Tuesday April 27th, 2021 Patch Los Gatos

The Bay Area housing market is very expensive. For some, a shot at a million-dollar townhome was worth spending Friday night on a sidewalk.

Read more

Dozens camp overnight for chance to buy $1.2 million Bay Area townhouses

Sunday April 25th, 2021 SF Gate

The hopeful homeowners showed up in droves, queuing on the sidewalk in front of Santa Clara real estate development Nuevo Homes and settling into their makeshift campsites for the night. Then, they waited.


The scene resembled some sort of bizarre Black Friday sale with a line of people stretching down the block, many of them lingering there for hours.



Read more

Vacation Homes Evolve to Meet Hyper Demand

Thursday April 1st, 2021 Realtor Magazine

Second-home locations—viewed as a safe destination when the pandemic disrupted how people live—have gained full-time residents, and houses are changing to meet the demand.
...Other buyers who don’t know whether their home will be temporary or permanent also desire more space. “About 95% of SummerHill’s buyers are first-time homeowners who like getting a second bedroom, office, fireplace, space for their Peloton bicycle, and balcony—especially after years of renting a tiny apartment,” Neighbor says. He expects many will stay post-pandemic, even if they commute occasionally to a corporate office.

Read more

SummerHill Homes closes on entitled Mountain View development site for $81 million

Monday December 14th, 2020 Silicon Valley Business Journal
SummerHill Homes has closed on its acquisition of a rent-controlled apartment complex in the  heart of Mountain View that it's entitled to redevelop into 115 new for-sale homes.
The homebuilder is the new owner of Meadowood Apartments at 1555 W.  Middlefield Road after buying the complex for $81 million, or about $698,275 a unit, from Calson Properties Inc., according to Santa Clara  County deed records filed Dec. 10.


Read more

Robert Freed on Real Perspectives Podcast

Tuesday December 1st, 2020 theregistry.com

Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill Homes, was recently a guest on The Registry’s Real Perspectives Podcast. The Real Perspectives Podcast explores the drivers of the commercial real estate market across the Bay Area and Puget Sound.

Read more

Sunnyvale townhome project site gets flipped for $68.5 million

Tuesday December 1st, 2020 Silicon Valley Business Journal
Less than two months after closing on an apartment complex entitled for redevelopment in Sunnyvale, SummerHill Homes has sold the site to another homebuilder for $68.5 million.
SummerHill purchased the Landmarks Apartments complex at 925 S. Wolfe Road in the southeastern part of Sunnyvale for $58 million, according to Santa Clara County deed records filed Sept. 30. The complex consists of seven two-story buildings with a combined total of  130 apartment units that were completed in 1974, according to data from commercial real estate analytics firm Reonomy.


Read more

Sweeping Burlingame development advances

Friday October 16th, 2020 The Daily Journal

Officials favor 298-unit development with park identified as linchpin for emerging neighborhood.
A key project expected to open the door for development of a new neighborhood in north Burlingame received glowing reviews from officials who blessed construction of 298 apartments near the Millbrae border.


Read more

SummerHill Homes buys 128-unit townhome project site in Sunnyvale for $58 million

Thursday October 1st, 2020 Silicone Valley Business Journal

SummerHill Homes closed on the purchase of an existing 130-unit apartment complex in Sunnyvale on Wednesday, which the California homebuilder plans to redevelop into 128 new townhomes.

Read more

Variety and Extra Space are Trending in San Francisco

Friday September 25th, 2020 Mansion Global

Variety and Extra Space are Trending in San Francisco
A 277-unit project in Yerba Buena Island and the massive Laguna Vista in Foster City highlight this season’s new developments. Although the condo market in San Francisco took a dip during the
shelter-in-place and halt in construction mandates during the  coronavirus pandemic, the luxury segment ended the second quarter of  2020 with positive results, according to Compass Development Marketing  Group’s New Development Market Insights Report....


Read more

How Will Social Distancing Alter New Home Marketing?

Tuesday June 23rd, 2020 Globe St.

Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill Homes, recently discussed how social distancing is changing the way homes are marketed, how will grand opening celebrations be different and how sales interest has been affected.

Read more

San Mateo County home building industry on shaky ground

Monday May 11th, 2020 The Daily Journal


The housing crisis was under assault.  Lawmakers passed legislation catalyzing development, local officials  loosened regulations, banks backed by a humming economy offered financing, builders proposing ambitious projects received approvals and cranes littered rising city skylines. Then everything came to a screeching halt.


Read more

Local construction, once brimming with activity, grinds to a halt

Wednesday April 8th, 2020 Mountain View Voice

Local construction, once brimming with activity, grinds to a halt
Santa Clara County restrictions have left 80-90% of construction workers unemployed

Read more

SummerHill Homes Update :: Shelter in Place Order

Tuesday March 17th, 2020

Effective immediately all sales offices will be closed to the general public, and in-person tours will be cancelled until April 8th, or until further notice. While we are discontinuing in person visits, our high quality virtual tours provide a great opportunity to stroll through our beautiful homes.

Read more

SummerHill Homes Update :: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Friday March 13th, 2020

As information continues to develop regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we would like to take this opportunity  to communicate how we are navigating through these challenging times.


Read more

Santa Clara’s Nuevo community captures awards

Monday March 2nd, 2020 SF Gate

Communities designed by SummerHill Homes feature contemporary residences in idyllic locations with close proximity to shopping and dining destinations.


Read more

Residential plans filed in Burlingame

Tuesday February 11th, 2020 The Daily Journal

SummerHill continues bet on city with third large proposal, this time near Millbrae border.

Read more

SummerHill Homes Gains National Recognition for Design of Nuevo in Santa Clara

Wednesday January 29th, 2020 The Registry

Decided by a distinguished panel of industry leaders, The Nationals℠ is the NAHB’s most prestigious annual award recognition, celebrating the best new home sales, marketing and design in North America. Winners were announced during The Nationals Gala, held on January 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, where SummerHill Homes was honored with two awards

Read more

SummerHill Homes Gains National Recognition For Design Of Nuevo In Santa Clara

Monday January 27th, 2020 PR Web


Nuevo,  A New Urban Town and Residential Community, Received Two Gold Awards at the 2020 National Association of Home Builders’ Annual Sales and Marketing Awards

Read more

Why is the Peninsula so afraid of housing?

Friday October 25th, 2019 San Francisco Buisness Jourrnal

Why is the Peninsula so afraid of housing?
Even with job growth in overdrive, many residents continue to resist adding new housing in their communities

Read more

SummerHill Homes Debuts First Phase of 'Urban Town' in Santa Clara, Calif

Thursday September 12th, 2019 Builder

SummerHill Homes has announced the start of new home sales for the first phase of Nuevo, a $995 million “urban town” and residential community in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Ramon, Calif.-based builder unveiled seven new model homes at the Nuevo’s grand opening last weekend, which includes the new four-story “E-states” home collection.

Read more

First Four-Story Homes Come to Silicon Valley

Wednesday September 4th, 2019 Globe St.

The $950 million Nuevo is a new mixed-use community and residential project developed by SummerHill Homes featuring 868 new homes including E-States, the market’s first four-story homes.

Read more

Endangered Bay Area species: the new home

Wednesday September 4th, 2019 Mercury News

In a region of more than 7 million people, just 266 new homes, townhomes and condos were sold in January. It was the lowest number of monthly new home sales in at least two decades, according to an analysis for this news organization by real estate data firm CoreLogic. The slump has continued into the summer — new home sales in July were off 9 percent from the previous year. The region is on pace for its lowest number of new home sales since 2011.

Read more

Initial Deliveries Unveiled at SummerHill’s $950M Santa Clara MXU

Tuesday September 3rd, 2019 Connect.California

SummerHill Homes has unveiled its residential properties at Nuevo, a new 27-acre urban town and residential community in Santa Clara, CA. The $950-million mixed-use project in the heart of Silicon Valley encompasses 868 homes, including 537 apartments, 176 Terraces, 114 E-Towns and 41 E-States.

Read more

A Modern Hillside Collection of Residences Takes Design Cues from Restoration Hardware

Monday July 8th, 2019 Dwell

Tucked into the rolling hillside of Moraga just northeast of San Francisco, a new contemporary collection of homes at Bellavista draws in homebuying hopefuls with its Restoration Hardware allure. Created by privately-owned California homebuilder SummerHill Homes, Bellavista comprises 27 modern single-family homes featuring furnishings and fixtures from Restoration Hardware along with dedicated Flex Spaces, which allow buyers to personalize their home.

Read more

Developer aims for over 250 homes in Burlingame

Tuesday May 14th, 2019 San Francisco Business Times

A prolific multifamily developer has heeded Burlingame’s call for new housing.

SummerHill Homes has proposed a 265-unit apartment complex at 1 and 45 Adrian Ct., located on the edge of the city about a half-mile from the Millbrae Caltrain and BART station.

Read more

SummerHill Homes' Bellavista Recognized at Bay Area Building Industry Association's "Excellence in Home Building" Awards

Thursday May 9th, 2019 Construction Dive

Moraga Development Awarded “Best Interior Merchandising of a Detached Model Priced Over $1.5 Million” Honor

SummerHill Homes is pleased to announce that Bellavista was named “Best Interior Merchandising of a Detached Model Priced Over $1.5 Million” at the 2019 Bay Area Building Industry Association’s “Excellence in Home Building” Awards. In addition, SummerHill Homes placed as a finalist in one architectural design and three marketing and design categories. Honoring the best in the production of quality homes, the “Excellence in Home Building” Awards celebrate Northern California’s most distinguished builders and developers.

Read more

SummerHill Homes Announces Robust Sales at Locale @ State Street in Fremont

Wednesday March 13th, 2019 Construction Dive

Downtown Fremont’s First Mixed-Use Development Witnesses Strong Sales Absorption
SummerHill Homes, a privately-owned California homebuilder, has announced 40 percent sold in residential real estate sales at Locale @ State Street, the first mixed-use project in downtown Fremont, California. Located within walking distance of the Fremont BART station, Locale will offer 157 residential units including 76 attached Rowhomes and 81 Condos as part of a larger effort to revitalize Fremont’s downtown area with new housing, retail and office space. Since launching sales, half of the Rowhome inventory has been swept off the market and 30 percent of the Condo inventory has been sold.   

Read more

SummerHill Homes Announces Robust Sales at Locale @ State Street in Fremont

Tuesday March 12th, 2019 The Registry

Downtown Fremont’s First Mixed-Use Development Witnesses Strong Sales Absorption

San Ramon, CA (March 11, 2019) – SummerHill Homes, a privately-owned California homebuilder, has announced 40 percent sold in residential real estate sales at Locale @ State Street, the first mixed-use project in downtown Fremont, California. Located within walking distance of the Fremont BART station, Locale will offer 157 residential units including 76 attached Rowhomes and 81 Condos as part of a larger effort to revitalize Fremont’s downtown area with new housing, retail and office space. Since launching sales, half of the Rowhome inventory has been swept off the market and 30 percent of the Condo inventory has been sold. 


Read more

SummerHill Homes Unveils 868-Home MPC in Heart of Silicon Valley

Thursday March 7th, 2019 Connect California

San Ramon, CA-based SummerHill Homes launched sales at Nuevo, a new urban town and residential community in Santa Clara, CA. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the project will feature a diverse collection of 868 homes, 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center.

Read more

SummerHill Kicks Off Sales For Nuevo Development

Wednesday March 6th, 2019 THE SILICON VALLEY VOICE

With construction on a large housing development in full swing at 3505 Kifer Road in Santa Clara, Bay Area-based SummerHill Homes has also commenced home sales. The project occupies 27 acres of land within the Lawrence Station Specific Plan area, and once complete will boost the City’s housing supply with a total of 868 new residences. Referred to as a “new urban town” by the developer, Nuevo will also have 24,000 square feet of community-oriented retail and restaurant space, and a community garden. Other amenities, for residents and members of the public alike, are six acres of open space and a 4,000 square foot community center.

Read more

Buyers Not Deterred By $2 Million Price Tag On Homes In New Santa Clara Housing Development

Monday February 18th, 2019 CBS SF Bay Area


A big new housing development in Santa Clara is getting a lot of  attention from buyers, even though new houses start at $2,000,000.  Construction crews have barely started building Summerhill Homes “Nuevo” development, but they are selling fast.


Read more

SummerHill Homes Launches Public Sales at Nuevo in Santa Clara, California

Wednesday February 13th, 2019 Construction Dive

New Urban Town Featuring 868 Homes Represents Last True Master Planned Community in the Heart of Silicon Valley
 
SummerHill Homes, a privately-owned California homebuilder, has announced the launch of sales at Nuevo, a new urban town and residential community in Santa Clara, California.

Read more

Walkability and Close-In Jobs Are Covered in Mixed Use

Tuesday February 12th, 2019 Globe St.

Walkability and Close-In Jobs Are Covered in Mixed Use
Mixed-use projects are appealing to residents in the Bay Area because those developments combine housing with amenities and conveniences, along with proximity to jobs, transportation and services.

Read more

Urban community in Santa Clara is launched near train stop

Monday February 11th, 2019 The Mercury News

SANTA CLARA — Nearly 900 rental and for-sale homes are being offered in Santa Clara, part of what’s described as an urban town within walking distance of a rail stop. The Nuevo complex will consist of 868 homes, along with 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 4,000-square-foot community center, six acres of parks and a neighborhood garden.

Read more

SummerHill Homes Demonstrates Confidence in Bay Area Market with 27-Acre Development in Santa Clara

Tuesday January 29th, 2019 The Registry

SummerHill Homes Demonstrates Confidence in Bay Area Market with 27-Acre Development in Santa Clara

Read more

New housing on school site moves ahead

Friday November 24th, 2017 The Daily Journal

New housing on school site moves ahead. San Bruno planners recommend 70-unit design for Skyline campus...

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Santa Clara ushers in large master-planned housing

Wednesday September 20th, 2017 Silicon Valley Busniess Journal

Nuevo, one of the last ground-up, mixed-use master plans to be developed in Silicon Valley, will have a range of housing types, retail and an abundance of amenities.
As Santa Clara’s largest master-planned housing development since Rivermark, it will have 457 for-sale residential units, including six for-sale live/work units, 537 apartments, as well as neighborhood retail and restaurants. The development will market itself to young professionals, singles and couples looking for a home close to work and transit. Ten percent of the units will be reserved for low-income housing..

Read more

SummerHill CEO Robert Freed Discusses The Future Of Silicon Valley Multifamily

Wednesday August 16th, 2017 Bisnow

With home pricing rising beyond the reach of many Silicon Valley residents, demand for apartments continues to increase. Developers are building hundreds of units throughout the Valley and leasing them up in weeks.

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First look: See which projects win 2017 Silicon Valley Structures awards

Monday August 7th, 2017 Silicon Valley Busness Journal


Again this year, we will recognize the best projects, deals and leases in Silicon Valley. There are no finalists in categories; each one we have chosen is a winner. Some categories have several winners; some  only have one or two.

Market-Rate Residential Project: Nuevo at Lawrence Station, Santa Clara


Read more

Housing Development No-Brainer as Job Growth Drives Demand

Thursday January 26th, 2017 GlobeSt


Housing Development No-Brainer as Job Growth Drives Demand | GlobeSt.com<br>


Housing Development No-Brainer as Job Growth Drives Demand | GlobeSt.com

SAN RAMON, CA—A strong school system, quality retail stores with freeway access, close proximity to BART and transportation, and manageable commutes to employment centers are all important factors for residents, says Summerhill's Robert Freed in this EXCLUSIVE.

SAN RAMON, CA—A strong school system, quality retail stores with freeway access, close proximity to BART and transportation, and manageable commutes to employment centers are all important factors for residents, says Summerhill's Robert Freed in this EXCLUSIVE.

Housing Development No-Brainer as Job Growth Drives Demand | GlobeSt.comSAN RAMON, CA—A strong school system, quality retail stores with freeway access, close proximity to BART and transportation, and manageable commutes to employment centers are all important factors for residents, says Summerhill's Robert Freed in this EXCLUSIVE.

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SummerHill Housing Group Announces Executive Management Reorganization and Promotions to Support Strategic Growth

Tuesday January 17th, 2017 The Registry


SummerHill Housing Group, the umbrella organization for SummerHill  Homes, an award-winning residential builder, and SummerHill Apartment  Communities, an apartment, mixed-use infill rental housing developer, today announced executive management reorganization and promotions to support the group’s strategic growth.


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SummerHill Apartment Communities Completes Luxury Rental Community in Sunnyvale, California

Thursday December 8th, 2016 MultifamilyBiz

    SummerHill Apartment Communities Completes Luxury Rental Community in Sunnyvale, California | MultifamilyBiz.com

SAN RAMON, CA - SummerHill Apartment Communities, a division of SummerHill Housing Group and a leader in providing quality, smart growth, multi-family rental housing and mixed-use developments, announces the completion of 481 on Mathilda, a new 105-unit luxury residential rental community in downtown Sunnyvale. A completion ceremony was held on December 7, 2016.

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Harvest Court is an Abundance of Beauty

Wednesday October 5th, 2016 Lamorinda Weekley

Initially proposed in 2012 as the first piece of land to be developed under the Moraga Center Specific Plan, Harvest Court is a beautiful development of high-end, quality homes, ranging in size from 3,000-3,400 square feet and from $1.8 -$ 2.2 million. There are 24 two-story homes and, up the hill at the end of the cul de sac, sit two single-story houses.

Floor Plans and Virtual Tour Here

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SummerHill Homes Proposed Project Near Lawrence Caltrain Station Moving Forward

Monday August 3rd, 2015 The Registry

During a study session on July 14, the Santa Clara City Council indicated its preference in the conceptual designs presented for proposed developments in the area surrounding the Lawrence Caltrain Station, which includes properties in both Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

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SummerHill top bidder for city-owned land in Fremont

Monday July 13th, 2015 Silicon Valley Business Journal

SummerHill Homes has beaten out nine other bidders to win an approximately 7-acre slice of Fremont, part of a city sell-off being undertaken to help finance city priorities in the Warm Springs and downtown areas.

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After years and years, Los Gatos approves North 40 land-use framework — Really!

Thursday June 18th, 2015 Silicon Valley Business Journal

The Los Gatos Town Council late Wednesday approved the land-use guidelines for the town's so-called "North 40" area, a major milestone that comes after years — even decades — of false starts.

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Housing project gets thumbs up: Burlingame City Council gives huge development unanimous approval

Wednesday June 17th, 2015 Lamorinda Weekley

The largest housing project in more than a decade will be coming to Burlingame, as the City Council gave the final OK to constructing a mix of apartments and condominiums which will feature 290 new units for rent and purchase. The council unanimously approved building the development just south of Broadway, at Carolan Avenue and Rollins Road, during its meeting Monday, June 15.

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SummerHill Homes Starts Work in Moraga

Wednesday June 3rd, 2015 The Daily Journal

Over the past two weeks up to 12 large trucks were spotted lined up on Moraga Way, preparing to turn onto Camino Ricardo to reach the SummerHill Homes construction site up the street.

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SummerHill Homes Writes a Big Check to MEF

Wednesday October 22nd, 2014 Lamorinda Weekly

SummerHill Homes executives Katia Kamangar and Denise Cunningham gave the Moraga Education Foundation a check for $5,000 on Oct. 10 to support local schools.

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Los Gatos nuns close sale on property

Wednesday September 3rd, 2014 Mercury News

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Mary and Jesus closed the sale on their property at 100 Prospect Ave. on Aug. 26, with SummerHill Homes of Palo Alto emerging as the buyer.

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Home Building: The Customizing Conundrum

Wednesday July 23rd, 2014 Professional Builder

...The Bay Area is a strong sellers market, so there hasn’t been much push back from buyers to the builder’s efforts to restrict customization options and enforce deadlines. However, Summerhill is planning to enter the luxury production home building market, where average selling prices range from $3 million to $3.5 million. Freed expects his company will have to expand the catalog of custom choices and even allow clients to bring more of their own options to the table. But those choices still will be selected during the sales process, well before scheduling begins for ground breaking...

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SummerHills Maravilla Community wins the ABAG Growing Smarter Together Award 2014

Thursday May 8th, 2014 Association of Bay Area Governments

Growing Smarter Together Awards 2014

ABAG’s Eighth Annual Growing Smarter Together Awards were presented during its Spring General Assembly to the cities of Redwood City, Walnut Creek, Campbell, Richmond, Fremont, South San Francisco, and Vallejo. The role of the cities’ public private partners was also recognized with representatives praised for their contributions. SummerHill's Maravilla was honored to be part of the team receiving this award.

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High-end home development approved in Moraga

Friday March 14th, 2014 Contra Costa Times

After nearly two years of consideration, a proposal to build 26 high-end single family homes on a stretch of undeveloped Moraga land specially earmarked for housing and revitalization is a go.

The Town Council's March 12 greenlighting of a development agreement between the city, developers SummerHill Homes and property owner C&C Equities makes effective a number of Planning Commission approvals earlier this year. They include the project's environmental review, conceptual and general development plans, and permits allowing hillside development and grading.

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Affordable housing crunch: Silicon Valley cities weigh new developer fees

Thursday January 30th, 2014 Silicon Valley Business Journal

"If landowners decide not to sell because of the combination of costs versus revenue, then it’s just not going to get built,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of San Jose-based apartment and home developer SummerHill Homes. “It’s a concern.”

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Livermore council to consider approving large housing development on city's east side

Monday January 13th, 2014 Contra Costa Times

Developer SummerHill Homes has requested the development of 465 residential units, two neighborhood parks, open space, pedestrian paths, and trails for 35 acres of vacant land on the east side of Brisa Street and South Vasco Road. The proposal includes construction of single-family detached homes, and three-story townhomes and apartments in a 253-lot subdivision.

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Moraga Approves 26-Home Camino Ricardo Subdivision

Tuesday January 7th, 2014 Lamorinda Patch

The Moraga Planning Commission gave the go-ahead Monday night to a 26-home subdivision near the Moraga Shopping Center. The subdivision would contain open space and a 2.5-acre park

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Restoring Natural Habitat in the Heart of Moraga

Wednesday January 1st, 2014 Lamorinda Weekly

The Moraga Planning Commission recently reviewed Summerhill Homes' application to build 26 houses off of Camino Ricardo, one of the first projects in the area governed by the Moraga Center Specific Plan to come to fruition.

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New Plan for Rancho Laguna II

Tuesday December 3rd, 2013 Lamorinda Weekly

During his State of the Town address Nov. 21, Moraga mayor David Trotter talked about 'behind the scenes' discussions with Summerhill Homes that led to a new map of the Rancho Laguna II development project; Summerhill presented its revised plan to the Planning Commission at a Dec. 2 study session.

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Former Sunnyvale Chevy dealership test drives new use: a Marriott

Tuesday August 6th, 2013 Silicon Valley Business Journal

SummerHill picked up the nearly 8-acre parcel -- formerly a Raines Chevrolet -- earlier this year from the family who owned the property and the dealership. The San Ramon-based homebuilder will build 103 townhomes in a community it is calling Las Palmas. SummerHill recently graded the site and aims to have models open early next year, a representative said. Homes are anticipated to run in the $600,000 to $900,000 range.

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Real Estate Titan Marcus Lets Loose In San Francisco

Wednesday April 3rd, 2013 The Registry

As Bay Area real estate magnates go, George Marcus is probably the most famous. Hamid Moghadam of Prologis might give him a run. So might Carl Berg of Mission West and John A. Sobrato. But Marcus’ achievements are singular.

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TMG readies urban redo for Fremont

Thursday March 28th, 2013 San Francisco Business Times

TMG Partners will kick off efforts to transform downtown Fremont into an energetic, pedestrian-friendly urban district with the groundbreaking next year on a 467-unit apartment project....Two blocks away, SummerHill Apartment Communities is building Paragon, a 301-unit community at Walnut Avenue and California Street.

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Buyers Come Knocking for Bay Area Homes

Sunday March 10th, 2013 Silicon Valley Business Journal

After years in which rental projects in Silicon Valley were king, new-home construction has returned. Credit goes to a number of factors: low inventory, strong buyer demand and skyrocketing rents. “We’re back in growth mode,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes.

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California Homebuilding Foundation Names 6 Builders and Developers to Hall of Fame

Wednesday January 30th, 2013 Reuters

Joe Head, president of SummerHill Homes Land Division plus five other industry leaders who have built and developed new homes and apartments for decades and also given back to their communities through philanthropy and volunteerism have been named to the California Homebuilding Foundation Hall of Fame.

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Mountain View wants to add developer fees for new rentals

Thursday November 15th, 2012 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Robert Freed, president and chief executive of SummerHill Homes and [SummerHill Apartment Communities] Urban Housing Group, has several apartment projects in the pipeline. Freed said he’s a supporter of affordable housing and doesn’t oppose a fee per se, but believes the current figure being proposed is too high. He is also concerned that the fee would apply to projects already in the pipeline.

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Maravilla Townhomes a unique development, thanks to interesting collaborative effort

Wednesday October 31st, 2012 Mercury News

A new housing development at 555 W. Campbell Ave. has seen a flurry of activity over the past few weeks as its occupants start to move in. In a few weeks, the Maravilla Townhomes will be unveiled to the community at large.

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Executive Profile: Robert Freed, president and CEO of Summerhill Homes and Urban Housing Group

Thursday October 25th, 2012 San Francisco Business Times

HQ: San Ramon.


Background: Freed joined SummerHill Homes as president and CEO in 2007. Before that, he worked for KB Home for 13 years and rose to senior vice president of investment strategy. He started out as a certified public accountant and held CFO positions at Davidon Homes and Blackhawk Corp.

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SummerHill Housing Group Makes Its Debut

Monday October 22nd, 2012 The Registry

Two real estate powerhouses are now under one roof in a unique partnership forged to serve the home-sales and multifamily rental markets.Newly formed SummerHill Housing Group is now the umbrella organization for award-winning Bay Area builder SummerHill Homes and West Coast apartment developer Urban Housing Group.

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SummerHill Enters the Planning Process

Tuesday October 9th, 2012 Lamorida Weekly

The plan for 28 homes that are proposed off Camino Ricardo was officially presented on October 1 to a joint session of the Planning Commission and Design Review Board.

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Builders push for CEQA reform

Thursday September 20th, 2012 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Later this year, SummerHill Homes will complete a 110 single-family home project on 17 acres across from the Westfield Valley Fair Shopping Center in Santa Clara.


But the project would have finished long ago if not for challenges made by project opponents under the California Environmental Quality Act, said Robert Freed, SummerHill’s president and CEO.


“It’s now become an unwieldy, out-of-control monster,” Freed said of the legislation, which was passed in 1970.

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Top 5: San Jose Construction Projects

Wednesday July 25th, 2012 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

SummerHill Homes' newest community in San Jose, Evergreen Place is ranked #2 in the Top 5 San Jose Construction Projects - This week the Business Journal published a list of the top 25 San Jose construction projects. The list was ranked by the total square feet under construction between July 1, 2011, and May 31, 2012, in the city of San Jose.

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SummerHill Homes CEO's Point of View on: Lennar Buys South Bay Hitachi Site, Plans 840 Homes

Tuesday July 10th, 2012 The Registry

Robert Freed, president and chief executive of SummerHill Homes, the homebuilding division of Marcus & Millichap Co., said Lennar should do well on the project assuming it executes well and the company did not overpay for the property based on overly rosy sales and cost projections. “If there is the least bit of pent-up demand, this will be one of these places to meet that demand,” he said. “It is an opportunity to get a critical mass of units in one location, which doesn’t exist anymore in [Silicon] Valley.”

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From farm to The Enclave: SummerHill creates new neighborhood in Mountain View

Wednesday June 27th, 2012 Los Altos Town Crier

The Mountain View City Council in 2009 approved the project and SummerHill began the design phase for the infrastructure – placement of utilities and streets – to accommodate the homes.


The Enclave takes shape


How often did motorists on busy Grant Road wonder what was going on behind the walls of what had been named The Enclave at Waverly Park? And what are those homes like?


Fast forward to this month.


“Only two models are left,” said Mark Druge, SummerHill sales manager. “People say, ‘I remember the pumpkin patch,’ but they have been quite positive.”


 

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Redwood City Neighborhood to Be Reborn With New Apartment Complex

Wednesday June 20th, 2012 The Registry

Crews from Urban Housing Group started work this week on construction of “25Eighty on the Blvd” which will add a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments to Redwood City’s housing mix. The addition of 141 units stands in stark contrast to the construction of just 246 new housing units in the city during the past decade.

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Proposed New Development off Camino Ricardo

Tuesday June 19th, 2012 Lamorida Weekly

Developer Summerhill Homes recently applied for the review of a plan to build 28 homes on a 14.26-acre property located off Camino Ricardo, south of Danefield Place.

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300-unit apartment complex approved for Walnut Creek

Thursday June 14th, 2012 Contra Costa Times

In a city with few areas left to build new housing, a 300-unit apartment project will take over the former Longs Drugs company headquarters site on Civic Drive near Ygnacio Valley Road.


The Paragon Apartments project was approved by the planning commission on Thursday night. This was the second time city leaders approved this high-density housing; developer Urban Housing Group pulled the project following its approval last year, after an appeal to the City Council was filed by Carpenters Local 152.

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Santa Clara - Recent and Pending Projects Hope to Boost Economic Development

Monday May 21st, 2012 The Santa Clara Weekly

Having lingered through one of the worst recessions in history, the City has seen many businesses and redevelopment projects come and go over the last several years. With the economy slowly rebounding, several new projects and redevelopment projects are moving forward or progressing...


...SummerHill Homes is currently in the process of site grading and utilities for the 110 homes they will build on 10 acres at the rear of the former the Bay Area Research and Extension Center (BAREC) site.

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SummerHill Homes Grand Opening, Norris Canyon - April 21st

Thursday April 19th, 2012 San Ramon Patch

San Ramon based SummerHill Homes will be holding the grand opening of two beautifully furnished model homes at their latest project - Renaissance at Roubion, Norris Canyon Estates, San Ramon this Saturday April, 21st

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Affordable Townhomes Coming to Campbell

Monday January 23rd, 2012 Mercury News

 


Although the recession has brought down home prices in the West Valley area, the world of real estate can still be scary, especially for first-time buyers.


But the city of Campbell has a bit of good news for some residents looking to take the leap into homeownership. Maravilla, a complex by Summerhill Homes, is launching an affordable townhome program for first-time buyers.


 

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Housing Project the Biggest Since the '90s

Wednesday October 12th, 2011 Contra Costa Times - News from True Life Communities

One of the largest housing projects in Saratoga since the 1990s is starting to take shape as townhomes near Hollow on Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road are being built slowly but steadily. [Creekside at Saratoga is a] 20 two-story townhomes are being built on an approximately 2-acre parcel that once was home to a three one-story and one two-story apartment complex. The townhouse development was approved in 2007 and each home has three to five bedrooms, optional gas fireplace and two-car garage.  The project, which is being built by SummerHill Homes, began in May with the demolition of the old apartment buildings. Homes are expected to start selling next spring with the first occupants to move into the complex next summer. To download full article click here


 

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SummerHill offers Smarter Roofs and Solar Power Systems for all Homes

Wednesday September 28th, 2011 YouTube

Smarter Roofs, Solar Power Systems and Energy Star appliances can save you a lot of money, and The Enclave at Waverly Park offers all that and more! SummerHill Homes’ Green Task Force is our internal think-tank that innovates new green building practices and technologies, and Peterson Dean shows in this video why The Enclave homes are "selling like hotcakes".

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California Bay Area Mansions Are in High Demand, Due to Tech Boom

Wednesday August 10th, 2011 Fox News

Welcome to the Silicon Valley real estate market, where a high-end housing boom is being fueled by a mini-tech rush, especially surrounding social media.


In Palo Alto, home of Facebook, the median selling price of a single family home increased to $1.3-million in June, up nearly 5 percent over last year, according to research company DataQuick.


The same time period saw home prices rise in Los Altos, and in Mountain View, where tech companies like LinkedIn and Google have created wealthy stock owners, and workers, willing to pay top dollar for a short commute, coveted public schools, and happening neighborhoods.


 

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Homebuilders turn to urban areas

Tuesday August 2nd, 2011 San Jose Mercury News

SummerHill Homes plans to open new home communities in San Ramon and Saratoga this fall, and in Campbell and San Jose early next year.


"We focus on urban infill locations that have limited new home competition," said Robert Freed, president and chief executive officer of San Ramon-based SummerHill Homes.


 

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SummerHill Homes Receives Four Awards at MAME

Tuesday July 5th, 2011

On Saturday, June 18, 2011 SummerHill Homes received four awards at MAME, Marketing and Merchandising Excellence Awards from the Sales and Marketing Council (SMC) of the a BIA Bay Area.  The MAME awards recognize building excellence.


 

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Grant Road model homes open as construction continues

Monday May 16th, 2011 Los Altos Town Crier

The 53-unit single-family-home subdivision under construction on Grant Road is progressing according to schedule, according to representatives of the developer, SummerHill Homes.


SummerHill Senior Vice President Katia Kamangar said a recent grand opening for the one- and two-story-home subdivision, the Enclave at Waverly Park, drew approximately 1,000 people.


 

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SummerHill Homes Acquires Land in San Jose For New Community

Sunday April 17th, 2011

San Ramon, CA – San Ramon based SummerHill Homes has acquired approximately 14.6 acres in San Jose for a new home community.  The site was originally home to the Mirassou winery.  It is located at Aborn Rd and Ruby Avenue in the highly regarded Evergreen area of San Jose.  The community will debut 87 detached single-family homes ranging from approximately 1,904 to 2,107 square feet, 16 townhomes ranging from approximately 1,782 to 2,087 square feet, and the historic Mirassou House.  The community will feature a prominently-placed park, and many heritage trees will be preserved creating an immediate sense of neighborhood for the new residents.

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SummerHill Homes unveils solar standard in Mountain View

Thursday February 10th, 2011 Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

SummerHill Homes is en route to making solar a standard feature in new developments. First up is a 53-home project in Mountain View.


 

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Brand new comes at a premium

Wednesday October 13th, 2010 Palo Alto Online

Developers say wealth, location ensure continued new construction

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Trees on the Move at Former Grant Road Farm

Sunday August 29th, 2010 San Jose Business Journal

Heritage oaks take their permanent spots as grading of lots by SummerHill Homes nears completion.

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SummerHill Featured in Green Homebuilder

Thursday July 22nd, 2010 Green Homebuilder

We are excited to have Satake Estates and Redwood Gate featured in a recent Green Homebuilder magazine! SummerHill believes in sustainable building. It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts.

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California Realtors offers perks to home buyers

Thursday April 1st, 2010 SFGate

Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes interviewed by Carolyn Said of San Francisco Chronicle... "We've definitely seen an uptick in buyer traffic and an increase in sales velocity that appears to be driven both by the tax credits as well as very favorable interest rates and very favorable new home pricing," Freed said.

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SummerHill makes bet time is ripe for homes at Mirassou Winery site in Evergreen

Saturday March 6th, 2010 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Hoping to hit a housing market on the rebound, SummerHill Homes is laying the groundwork to build 100 houses on the historical Mirassou Winery site in Evergreen.


The Palo Alto builder picked up the option from the Mirassou estate on the 15-acre site in September after Trumark Properties abandoned its three-year effort to develop the Aborn Road property. The Santa Clara County Assessor has valued the property at a little more than $2 million.

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Home Builder Braves Market

Sunday October 25th, 2009 The Registry

San Ramon-based SummerHill Homes has broken ground on a 53-unit single-family housing development in Mountain View proposed as executive-level family and later-life housing for empty nesters looking to downsize. Units are to be priced in the $1.7 million range.

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SummerHill Homes earns award for building new homes that protect the environment through energy efficiency

Sunday May 3rd, 2009

SummerHill Homes is proud of the recognition that we’re receiving for our commitment to energy efficiency. We were recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2009 STAR Leadership in Housing Award. This award recognizes the important contribution SummerHill Homes has made to energy-efficient construction and environmental protection by building more than 296 ENERGY STAR qualified homes last year. Collectively, these homes will save our customers approximately $132,312 on utility bills each year.

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Homebuilding changes in 2009

Monday March 9th, 2009 KGO-ABC7

Robert Freed, the president and CEO of SummerHill Homes, one of the area's largest builders, recognizes that the rest of 2009 will be challenging. "The key to housing has always been job growth, so we'll watch the job growth numbers locally and nationally very carefully and consumer confidence."

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Builders Seeing More Traffic

Monday March 9th, 2009 Contra Costa Times

Government tax credits appear to have propelled a bump in traffic for Bay Area home builders, but residential developers said Tuesday that no recovery will materialize for the battered industry until 2010, at best.

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SummerHill Homes wins GuildQuality's 2009 Guildmaster Award

Thursday February 26th, 2009

Palo Alto, CA – SummerHill Homes, a leading homebuilder in the Bay Area, announced today that the company has been awarded a 2009 Guildmaster Award for exceptional customer satisfaction. SummerHill Homes was one of 95 homebuilders, contractors, developers, and home services companies throughout North America recognized for their excellent performance.

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The experts weigh in on the state of the market

Wednesday January 14th, 2009 The Registry: The Bay Area Real Estate Journal

Read excerpt from 'The experts weigh in on the state of the market' from The Registry. Interview with Robert Freed, president & CEO of SummerHill Homes that appeared in Bay Area Real Estate Journal - Dec 2008/Jan 2009.

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Q&A with Robert Freed – Review 2008 Preview 2009

Thursday January 1st, 2009 Silicon Valley Business Journal

 Q&A with Robert Freed, President and CEO of SummerHill Homes

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2009 May Be Year to Build On

Thursday December 25th, 2008 San Francisco Chronicle

Robert Freed spoke with Carolyn Said of the San Francisco Chronicle – He shared his history in the homebuilding industry from the first house he saw under construction to what the future may hold for SummerHill Homes, real estate, and homebuilders.

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With help from new housing laws, SummerHill wins approval for townhome project.

Tuesday June 21st, 2022 Palo Alto Online

With help from new housing laws, SummerHill wins approval for townhome project.

The Palo Alto City Council approved a proposal from SummerHill Homes for a 48-townhome development at 2850 W. Bayshore Road.

Development would bring 48 dwellings to site next to Greer Park.

When SummerHill Homes was going through Palo Alto's architectural review process for its 48-townhome proposal on West Bayshore Road, the city's chief advisory panel concluded that the project is poorly designed, overly car-centric and fails to meet the city's standards for "high aesthetic quality."

None of that seemed to matter on Monday night, when the City Council unanimously voted to approve the development, which will replace a one-story commercial building next to Greer Park. In doing so, council members both acknowledged the merits of the project and recognized their own dwindling powers when it comes to rejecting or modifying residential proposals given new state laws that bar cities from doing so based on the type of subjective criteria that the Architectural Review Board used to recommend denial.

The project at 2850 W. Bayshore Road in many ways epitomized the growing influence of recent legislation of Senate Bill 330 and the Housing Accountability Act, which limits city reviews to five hearings and requires them to rely strictly on "objective criteria" that can be easily measured and is not subject to interpretation when evaluating housing projects. It also demonstrated the waning influence of the context-based standards that the city had traditionally used to review projects.

The council recently addressed the state requirements by revamping the city's objective standards and adding new rules for everything from roof shapes and window glazing to garage design and porch dimensions. But because the SummerHill Homes project was submitted before these standards became law, the city is prohibited from using them to evaluate this project.

"We can only apply objective standards that are in place at the time of application submittal," Planning Director Jonathan Lait said at the beginning of the Monday hearing. "Importantly, when we make conditions or suggestions to the project, we need to do so in a way that would not lessen the permitted intensity of housing.

"Two members of the Architectural Review Board, David Hirsch and Peter Baltay, made a case to the council for denying the project or requesting further changes. Hirsch listed the various flaws that the board identified, including its findings that the buildings are not sufficiently differentiated and that the road network in the new development lacks sufficient pedestrian access.

"We need to have high aesthetic quality using high quality integrated materials and appropriate construction. … Everybody agreed these are not adequate buildings the way they are designed. It is reasonable to do a much, much better project," Hirsch said.

Baltay argued that the development would fall well short of complying with the city's newly approved objective standards and urged the council to request that SummerHill comply with the new rules, notwithstanding the fact that the city can't legally force the developer to do so.

"I understand and support efforts to simplify our entitlement process, especially for housing," Baltay said. "But the streamlining of our standards must not be a free pass for a developer to ignore good residential design and sensible urban planning."

The council, however, found plenty to like about the new development. The project replaces commercial use with residential development, consistent with the type of land use that the council is trying to encourage. And even though the area lacks public transportation options and the site is next to the freeway, Mayor Pat Burt noted the wealth of biking amenities in the area and the project's proximity to the city's new bike bridge over the U.S. Highway 101.

He and other council members also lauded the size of the residences in the new development, which will include 37 three-bedroom units and 11 four-bedroom units, with sizes ranging from 1,600 square feet to 2,100 square feet. This, he noted, stands in large contrast to the majority of the city's recent development proposals, which typically feature studios and one-bedroom apartments."

This project is one of the few that we have that is really for families," Burt said.

Council member Greer Stone noted that seven of the 48 units would be allocated for residents with "low" or "moderate" income levels and argued that the new residential community would represent a clear improvement over what is there today. He also acknowledged the frustrations of the Architectural Review Board but suggested that the project has improved because of the board's involvement.

"Are there clear flaws?" Stone asked. "The ARB identified those. But my understanding from state law is that we're precluded from that."

John Hickey, vice president of development at SummerHill, said the company has made numerous revisions to the project to address the board's concerns, including adding a new building type for two of the eight buildings, which involved reducing the building size and adding space for landscaping."We really did in good faith try to address the comments — the ones that were feasible to address — in our design," Hickey said.

"We appreciated the comments we got and we believe it made the project better."

The project also received a mixed reaction from the public, with some residents lauding the creation of a new residential community and others expressing concerns about the review process. David Moss, a former member of the Parks and Recreation Commission, was in the former camp. He urged the city to move the project forward."Forty-eight units close to parks and schools is a fantastic use of the property," Moss said.Winter Dellenbach, however, said she was disappointed by the developer's failure to make any significant changes to the project after the board's initial review of the project and requested revisions."I was disturbed by that. … Is our city going to simply ignore that?" Dellenbach asked.

by Gennady Sheyner / Palo Alto Weekly

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Construction Nearly Complete For NUEVO By SummerHill Homes, Santa Clara

Friday April 15th, 2022 YIMBY

Construction work is wrapping up on NUEVO, a massive 27-acre redevelopment project in Santa Clara’s Lawrence Station Area Plan. Spearheaded by SummerHill Homes, the project has been opening in phases with the ultimate goal of nearly a thousand new dwelling units, retail, and public community amenities.

Nuevo spans a 27-acre lot once occupied by one- and two-story industrial buildings within walking distance of the Lawrence Caltrain station, moving passengers from San Jose to San Francisco. The project is now near full build-out, with 994 dwelling units, 3.19 acres of parks and parklets, one dog run, a community garden, a 4,000 square foot community center which can function as an event area, and 24,000 square feet for retail and dining.

Already, the project has a central two-block open space with a turf lawn where residents can play soccer, a basketball court, a picnic area, a large playground, and various seating. Once the apartments are complete, a large open-air lawn will be opened, including a screen for outdoor movies.

NUEVO offers a vast array of housing types for its 994 units. The two apartment buildings facing the Lawrence Expressway will include 537 apartments. SummerHill has already sold out of a few housing types, including the 41 four-story single-family homes, dubbed estates. Each estate includes a rooftop terrace and deck. Floorplans will span 2,462 and 2,990 square feet, offering three or four bedrooms.

Along with that, NUEVO has sold out its 117 three to four-story townhomes. Available units remain of the 176 two to three-story terrace townhomes, with prices ranging from $1.548 million to $2.348 million. The remaining units include 120 condominiums and six live/work units under construction.

KTGY Architecture is responsible for the design of the apartments and 120 condominiums. SDG Architects is responsible for the design of the townhomes, and Woodley Architectural Group is responsible for designing the remaining townhomes and estates. HMH Engineers is the project engineer, and R3 Studios is responsible for the landscape architect.

The Lawrence Station Area has seen several sizable proposals to reshape the neighborhood, which spans the border between Santa Clara and Sunnyvale. Most recently, construction kicked off on 1175 Aster Avenue. The most high-profile plans surfaced last summer when Intuitive announced plans for a new 1.2 million square foot office campus designed by Foster + Partners.

In the immediate vicinity of NUEVO in Santa Clara, work is finished on 2904 Corvin Drive, and Toll Brothers and Westlake Urban are developing more housing.

By Andre Nelson

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Where Innovation Meets Interaction: Bellaterra Online Tours at PCBC

Tuesday April 12th, 2022 Pro Builder

Where Innovation Meets Interaction: Bellaterra Online Tours at PCBC

To tour the truly innovative product mix at Bellaterra, a master planned community in Los Gatos, Calif., all you need is a computer or a pass to 2022 PCBC


California’s Silicon Valley is arguably the epicenter of global innovation, but that reputation hasn’t typically extended to its housing stock ... until now.

In the town of Los Gatos, a stone’s throw from the campuses of Netflix, Apple, Oracle, and Amazon, sits Bellaterra, a new development of 253 units that overtly commingles detached bungalows, attached townhomes, and stacked flats, thus defying—and perhaps disrupting—conventional mixed-use community wisdom and practice.

“We’re bringing creative floor plans with cutting-edge urban housing design to the market,” says Anabelle Salum, director of marketing for SummerHill Homes, the developer and builder based across the bay in San Ramon.

Bellaterra also is the focus of another innovation: an exclusive online interactive tour that will be presented at the 2022 PCBC Summer Showcase, June 22-23 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, in cooperation with the California Building Industry Association and Pro Builder Media. A presentation on the PCBC exhibit floor will use a digital screen to walk attendees up to and through a Bellaterra Bungalow and a Flat, while standalone kiosks will enable self-guided tours. For those not attending PCBC, the interactive tours will be available online 24/7 when the conference opens on June 22.

Online Tour: The Bungalows—a Cottage Feel

SummerHill offered Plan 2 of its Bung­alows product for the online tour. The 1,422-square-foot plan features a wide-open ground floor with an extensive kitchen and living room; its upstairs contains a primary suite and a second bedroom with an en suite bath—all within a fairly simple (read: cost-efficient) footprint that extends out with a front porch, a small yard space, and a second-level deck.

“The Bungalows have a gentler scale, and the ones with a detached garage, such as Plan 2, have a softer feel because you cross the yard to get into the home,” says John Thatch, AIA, senior principal with Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning in nearby Pleasanton. “They feel like private cottages.”

Online Tour: The Flats—Loft-Like Living

Plan 2 among the Flats exemplifies urban, loft-like living. From a rear-loaded one-car garage or the street, residents enter an office that serves remote working or an in-home business. Then it’s upstairs to the one-level house encompassing a primary suite (with laundry) and an open kitchen-dining-living plan with a powder room for a total living area of 1,523 square feet.

“These are zero-lot-line homes at Bellaterra, but we wanted to make sure they have plenty of natural light,”

Thatch says. “We were very careful with window placement on all of the homes to maximize privacy, especially those with yards.”Thatch says he could have designed the homes at Bellaterra for his own family dynamic. “There’s a similarity in interests for younger and older people,” he says, reflected by the blending of all three products and multiple floor plans within each. “I can see my wife and I living in a detached, small bungalow, my older son in a bigger townhome, and my younger daughter in one of the flats.

”Currently priced from about $1.1 million to $2.26 million, Bellaterra offers relatively affordable homes given its Silicon Valley location. Distinctive contemporary exteriors reveal well-appointed interiors and technologies, such as robust and reliable Wi-Fi, learning thermostats, and video doorbells, expected by its target market of young tech workers, small families, move-downs, empty nesters, and second-home buyers from the area and abroad.


By Michele Lerner

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Housing developer closes on slice of San Ramon's Bishop Ranch

Wednesday January 12th, 2022 San Francisco Business Times

SummerHill Homes is officially the owner of 31 acres of San Ramon's Bishop Ranch, which it plans to transform into three new neighborhoods.

The developer, also based in San Ramon, was under contract for more than a year to purchase the site, and ultimately paid $108 million in a deal with Bishop Ranch owner Sunset Development Co. that closed in December.

SummerHill last year secured entitlements from the city for the redevelopment project, which is dubbed City Village and calls for the construction of 268 for-sale detached homes and 136 town homes. City Village will also feature a two-acre public park, walking and biking trails, gathering nodes and a community barbecue area.

The homes will rise in the place of a 570,305 square-foot office complex currently known as Bishop Ranch 6 at 2400-2440 Camino Ramon. Demolition has begun, and the goal is to break ground on the homes later in 2022, said SummerHill President Chris Neighbor. Sales of the first phase of homes could begin in early 2023.

Neighbor, who grew up in San Ramon and whose office is located at Bishop Ranch, said that his team became involved with Bishop Ranch in the summer of 2020, when Sunset Development solicited proposals from developers.

"On a personal level, I was super excited to see something at Bishop Ranch — San Ramon never truly had housing in what I call the downtown area," Neighbor said.

SummerHill's communities are largely based in Silicon Valley, and Neighbor said that some of the things that attracted the team to Bishop Ranch were its "walkability, the transit, the jobs, the investment that Sunset has made into City Center," referring to a retail development built by Sunset Development within Bishop Ranch.

"That's exactly what we have seen in the market place since Covid-19 came across us, that people want to own, they want their own private space and they want something walkable," he said. "We have been doing this in Silicon Valley and the core BayArea for years, so it was mainly the opportunity that attracted us — that we can do these master planned communities right here in Bishop Ranch."

Neighbor added that Bay Area employees have won more flexibility in the era of remote work brought on by the pandemic, and that there is an increased interest from home buyers looking to settle down in the Tri-Valley market.

City Village will be part of Sunset's master plan for Bishop Ranch, which is slated to include 4,500 new homes, 166,000 square feet of commercial space and a 169-room hotel.

Sunset Development purchased Bishop Ranch in 1978, creating in the decades since a business park that has transformed the region. It became home to Fortune 500 companies and has helped make the Tri-Valley region one of the fastest growing parts of the Bay Area.

SummerHill's project would be the first to bring housing to Bishop Ranch.

"Originally we proposed a little bit of everything here in the 1970s — office, industrial and housing — but the people said no to the housing. So we built all of these (commercial) buildings and jobs came here, and now everyone is densifying the office place and so we have more employees fitting into less space, and we are able to put some houses in. So the dream is sort of coming back to 360," said Alex Mehran, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Sunset Development.

Mehran said that his team's vision is to transform Bishop Ranch into the "best suburban downtown you can live in anywhere."

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First Buyer at North 40 is Relishing Her Triumphant Return to Los Gatos

Saturday October 16th, 2021 Los Gatan

By Drew Penner

She used to live just up the road, but was forced to leave Los Gatos by circumstance. But now, Mary McLean, 55, has returned triumphantly.

She played a guessing game with this reporter, during the recent Chamber of Commerce Wine Walk. The rhetorical question: “Who was the first buyer in North 40?” She reveals the answer: “Me!” Mary McLean is a joyful person, just brimming with life. She’s faced hardship. And she’s overcome adversity. The Canadian expat struggled to find her way back to Los Gatos, as she followed the roller coaster ride that was Phase 1 of the North 40 housing development in the northern part of town. But she’s finally arrived.

“I feel very comfortable here,” she said. “It’s funny how life can turn around.” The Los Gatan checked with SummerHill Housing Group, and her story checks out. Annabelle Salum, the company’s director of marketing, confirmed McLean was the first of 30 buyers to close before the grand opening, held Saturday.

McLean’s lived in Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver and Duncan, British Columbia. She now works as the director of purchasing for a Silicon Valley tech company. A painful divorce caused her to decamp from Los Gatos, first to the Aventino Apartments, then to Campbell. She couldn’t be happier about returning. “I moved in three weeks ago,” she said, adding her 22-year-old son lives with her. “My son is happy, so it’s all good.” She jokes about how her daughter gives her a hard time about how she moved into a place in a development that got a lot of press over the years for having some “affordable” units. She laughs because the $1.6 million price tag isn’t anything to sneeze at. But, to McLean, it’s definitely worth it.

“I feel so happy; I feel like I’m home again,” she said, adding, “My neighbor is so nice.” Last Thursday, McLean opened her door as construction equipment whirred, workers smoothed out concrete and trucks beeped as they reversed. There was her neighbor, Tina Bean, walking her dog. “We’re brand new neighbors,” McLean said. “And we’re fast friends.” They’ve been planning to get together to drink wine, but with all the moving-in and whatnot, they hadn’t quite had the chance yet.

Bean’s resided in Los Gatos for two decades, and previously lived off Broadway downtown. And while she may not have been the first to buy into the development, she’s definitely a North 40 early-adopter—along with her daughter. They took possession on Sept. 15. So, given all the scaffolding dressing skeletal units around them, can it possibly feel like a neighborhood yet? “Of course it feels like a neighborhood,” McLean said. “It only takes two people to make a neighborhood.” “That’s right,” Bean affirmed. “And quote me on that,” McLean added, as the two joined in laughter. Bean says it’s proved a beautiful experience so far.

For McLean, easy access to cycling trails nearby is a huge plus, so she doesn’t have to drive somewhere to use her bike. “I can run here,” she said. “I even run on the main road, no problem at all.” Bean says the workers have been courteous. Plus, with the well-insulated building design, she barely hears them. “They’ve been lovely to be around,” she said. “And I don’t hear you at all,” McLean added, loading up for another joke. “I don’t know if you hear me. I hardly ever yell.”

McLean never wanted to leave her house in Los Gatos. After her divorce she tried to find a suitable long-term option in town, but it made more sense at the time to buy a unit built from scratch in Campbell. “But I always had my eye on this development,” she said, adding North 40 was supposed to be up-and-running even before she moved to Campbell. She recalls attending various community meetings about the North 40 project. “I wanted this place, and I wanted to know what was going on,” she said, adding she kept her mouth shut as controversy frustrated development plans. “It started, and then it died, and then everyone said it was OK.” Then it died again. “My only hope to get back to Los Gatos was this place,” she said. “Because you can’t buy a place in Los Gatos for under x amount of money, right?” She says she was emailing the developer even before the sales office was open. “Please, can you help me? I’m really interested,” she recalls writing. “I really need to move back.” And she made it. First. “I always knew I was going to come here,” she said. “I really am very, very happy being back.”

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SummerHill Homes CEO Robert Freed Talks City Village in Bishop Ranch, San Ramon

Tuesday July 27th, 2021 YIMBY

SummerHill Homes President and CEO Robert Freed Talks City Village in Bishop Ranch, San Ramon


New renderings have been revealed for City Village, a 404-unit residential development at 2400-2440 Camino Ramon in San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch office park. SummerHill Homes will be building the project. Speaking with SFYIMBY earlier this year, President and CEO Robert Freed shared details about City Village and the firm. Construction could start as early as 2022.

The project will span 31 acres inside the North Camino Ramon Planning Area, with construction between Camino Ramon, Norris Canyon Road, and Executive Parkway. An existing 570,000 square foot office complex dubbed Bishop Ranch 6 will be demolished to make way for the housing. Developers expect to receive entitlement from the City of San Ramon in late 2021, which would put the development on pace for groundbreaking in 2022.

Of the 404 units to be created by City Village, 114 will be townhomes and 290 will be detached homes. 15% of the units will be set aside for households earning between 30-120% of the Area Median Income. To meet the 25% affordable requirement, SummerHill can pay an additional 10% ‘in lieu fee.’ All units will be for ownership.

William Hezmalhalch Architects and Ralph Stauss of SDG Architects are jointly responsible for the architecture, with landscaping by Van Dorn Abed Landscape Architects. The renderings show the apartment buildings comfortably setback from the street, with copious landscaping features minimizing the visual impact of the construction. Initial concepts include horizontal siding and stucco with wood-balustraded balconies providing private open space. Two acres of public park area will be featured at the corner of Camino Ramon and Executive Parkway, including a children’s playground, sports and lounging area, and a turfgrass lawn.


Interview with Robert Freed, YIMBY in bold.

I wanted to start just by asking about how Summerhill Homes is doing now?

Fortunately quite well. Our first fiscal year end[ed] in March. It was one of the best years we’ve ever had, much to our surprise. There was a tremendous amount of uncertainty as you know… Demand for our product just remained very strong. All of our homes are in the core Bay Area and are tech-employee and tech-job oriented. We’re dependent on the health of the tech industry, as you know the tech industry faired quite well in the last year-plus. So, fortunately, we did well.


That does actually get to one of the questions I was going to ask about City Village, about who it’s marketed towards. It will be marketed for Tech workers?

Well, to some extent. Maybe not as heavily as a project in Mountain View or Santa Clara. We’re all familiar with this area, so what we saw was a trend to some migration out from the tightest urban cores like San Francisco. This can be seen as in the first ring out.

We felt there weren’t a lot of what I’ll call somewhat urban infill-type projects in the East Bay. This is a very walkable area, as you probably know. It’s close to transportation, so, the strategy that we’ve always adapted to be an infill developer, this falls right in with our strategy. That is why we were so excited about the opportunity.

We see it appealing to the job growth that’s taking place in the Tri-Valley. If people are working remotely for one or two days a week then the commute to Silicon Valley, which is difficult, will become more tolerable. When you can buy a home in this area for quite a bit less than you can in
Mountain View or Sunnyvale then that trade-off becomes a lot more palatable.


I know that SummerHill Homes is based in San Ramon, on the Bishop Ranch campus, so I’m curious what opportunity you see here, what compelled you to work here?

The decision to have our offices in San Ramon was independent of this real estate opportunity that came our way. But that said, a lot of us have long-term knowledge of that market. So we understood the opportunity almost immediately. When you combined us understanding the Tri-Valley area with our strategy of infill, it became a very natural opportunity for us to embrace. We have a large development in Santa Clara called Nuevo which is almost a thousand units. It has three or four sell product lines. Two apartment buildings, and a condo building. So we were able to take [The Moran Family] out there and see firsthand our ability to execute on a large scale with multiple product lines. They’re very rightfully protective of their property and our architecture stands up to the scrutiny.


It shows. I’ve visited the Bishop Ranch City Center often, great design from Renzo Piano Building Workshop. Have you chosen an architect yet for City Village?

We’re using William Hezmalhalch Architects and also Ralph Stauss. They have done a lot of work for us. We appreciate their designs, it’s very collaborative.

The current plan has 404 homes. There are 136 townhomes, of which 15% will be sold to very low-level moderate-income buyers. They’re going to be typical, a little larger townhomes than other areas…. That’s a nice mix of housing. For a project of that size, having multiple product lines gives us a chance to have a diverse buyer profile but also to sell at a rate that helps the economics because you’re carrying a bigger land price.


Are there going to be any public parks added to the site?

Yes, we’re proposing on the corner of Camino Ramon Executive Parkway a two-acre park that would be maintained by the homeowners association but available to the community. There is some very good mature landscaping along Camino Ramon, a lot of it is being preserved. We’re also focused on pedestrian and bicycle connectivity to the surrounding area so there are paths that will connect to the retail, offices, and the Iron Horse Trail.


City Village will be right across from what Sunset development is planning with CityWalk, a multi-block project. How will the two developments relate or connect?

We will coordinate with them, with connectivity being the most important factor. Most of what they’re proposing if I recall correctly is rental housing. The corresponding relationship is really going to be high-quality architecture breeding a vibrant 24-hour type environment as opposed to just empty offices on the weekends and evenings. There will be a lot of added energy to that area when those houses are built.


What to expect to learn from the community outreach?

So the community-at-large, in a project like this, is probably going to have two concerns. One is going to be traffic and one is going to be the impact on schools. And traffic situation we haven’t done traffic studies formerly with the environmental review but the traffic will actually improve because it’ll be, as opposed to going and coming into the
offices at the same time, the people will not be leaving the community so we expect that that won’t be an issue. Then, fortunately, there is plenty of school capacity in San Ramon and they’re highly rated so we don’t anticipate a lot of negative reaction from a community. And in my opinion, it really is the classic spark growth strategy; putting housing near jobs and transportation and existing retail. It does speak to the right way to develop. With Sunset proposing their higher density, you’re going to get a very nice range of housing built there over the coming years.


What brings you to 404 units? Is there any potential for building more?

We chose not to go to any higher density, in part because Sunset has a lot of apartments coming online. We were proposing to do all for-sale, so if the next step up in density would be a true condo project at 50units to the acre, in this area, I don’t see that as being an appropriate housing type. It’s very expensive to build.

The [local] demand I think is more targeted to the range of products that we’re doing. The townhomes will be around 20 units to the acre. The detached rowhomes are probably in the 12 to 14 and the detached courts are 8 to 10 units to the acre. So still decent density, certainly not traditional Suburban type, density greater than that, so we think that’s appropriate.

The risk associated with this project is this product range is far less. If you build a condo you have to build it all at once. And if you miss the market, you can lose your shirt so to speak. More importantly, I don’t think it’s the right product for this location.


What’s the timeline for this project?

We hope to be through the city approvals for the tentative map by the end of this calendar year. We would then do improvement plans and final maps through calendar ‘22. So if everything goes according to plan, break ground early ‘23. On a project of this scale, it’s a four-to-six year build-out. I expected it to be quicker than the six year estimate based on current demand.


So 4-6 year timeline to be fully built up, houses would be going onto the market gradually?

If we’re able to start infrastructure in the first part of 2023, we would be delivering the first houses before the end of 2023.


It certainly feels like the right place to build, especially for San Ramon.

It is the appropriate sort of maturing of the community. Having the housing next to the existing jobs and the transportation systems that exist in are be enhanced in Bishop Ranch, I think it’s going to be great.

Most of the area is built out, so the next phase of development is really going to be redevelopment. San Ramon seems to be more accepting of it


CityWalk

City Village will rise across from CityWalk, a massive 135-acre mixed-use proposal with 4,500 apartments to be constructed by Sunset Development Company. Sunset Development is a family-led firm responsible for building and managing Bishop Ranch since 1978. Bishop Ranch is a business park with capacity for 30,000 employees working for international office tenants such as AT&T, Chevron, SAP, and JPMorgan Chase to name a few.

CityWalk will also include 169 hotel rooms, 170,000 square feet of retail space, 166,000 square feet of commercial space. The new streets will be shaded by trees, helping encourage pedestrian use. One of the central destinations for residents will be the $300 million City Center Bishop Ranch, a 300,000 square foot retail hub opened in 2018 with design by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with BAR Architects. Construction will bring 166,000 square feet of new commercial space, as well as 170,000 square feet of new retail. Residential areas will have roads set back and lined with shaded by trees to promote walking through the district.


BY: ANDREW NELSON 5:30 AM ON JULY 26, 2021

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A developer wants to build 404 homes at Bishop Ranch — and it's not Sunset Development

Wednesday July 7th, 2021 San Francisco Business Times

SummerHill Homes is under contract to buy a 31-acre parcel at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon and wants to build 404 new homes there.

The project, called City Village, would replace an office complex totaling 570,305 square feet on the parcel known as Bishop Ranch 6. The address is 2400-2440 Camino Ramon.

The homebuilder is asking the city to change the designation of the property in the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan from 20 units per acre to 14 to 30 per acre.

San Ramon-based SummerHill expects to receive entitlements by October or November, President Chris Neighbor told me. The Planning Commission is currently considering the matter.

Groundbreaking could commence as soon as early 2022, he said. The tentative timeline puts City Village on track to become the mixed-use business park’s first completed residential project, Neighbor said.

The company entered into a contract to buy the parcel a year ago after Sunset Development, the master developer of Bishop Ranch, sought bids for it.

Neighbor said he was drawn by Sunset’s City Center, a retail development, and the proposed mixed-use CityWalk project. The San Ramon City Council approved plans for CityWalk, slated to feature 4,500 housing units over the next three decades, last September.

“People want to walk to work. They want to bike to retail,” he said. “And that’s what Sunset has done with Bishop Ranch.”

A spokesperson for Sunset Development declined to comment on the sale and whether additional Bishop Ranch parcels will be sold to other developers.

City Village will include 114 townhomes and 290 detached homes, as well as a 2-acre public park, Denise Cunningham, vice president of development for SummerHill, said at a joint meeting of San Ramon City Council and Planning Commission on Tuesday. The project’s architect is William Hezmalhalch Architects.

Floor plans will range from 1,700 to 3,000 square feet, according to Neighbor. Homes not earmarked for affordable housing will likely be priced between the upper $900,000s and mid $1.5 million mark, he said, noting that homes are not expected to be on the market until late 2023 and that prices could change before they are listed.

Thee terms of the North Camino Ramon Specific Plan requires 25% of homes to be designated for very low- to moderate-income individuals. Fifteen percent of the homes will be set aside for individuals making from 30% to 120% of area median income, and SummerHill will pay an additional 10% “in lieu fee” to reach the 25% requirement, Neighbor said.

By Sarah Klearman – Staff Reporter, San Francisco Business Times
Jul 7, 2021, 10:13pm EDT

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Surging lumber prices bring uncertainty for Bay Area homebuilders

Friday May 21st, 2021 San Francisco Business Times

Chris Neighbor of SummerHill Homes used to be able to secure lumber, the primary material for his company’s projects, six months before he needed it.

These days, it’s down to 30 days in advance.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve been dealing with the ‘cost issue,’” said Neighbor, the president of SummerHill, referring to the price of processed timber. “But the biggest thing that’s hitting us now on lumber is the shortage issue.”

The price of lumber has skyrocketed over the past year, primarily driven by supply constraints created by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the short term, that’s brought increased construction costs and uncertainty for developers of new Bay Area residential communities like SummerHill and Anton DevCo. And it’s led Republic Urban Properties, one of the region’s largest developers, to ditch lumber for metal in one of its latest transit-oriented projects.

Leaders at those companies say it’s anyone’s guess when the supply of lumber will begin recovering to pre-Covid levels. That could spell trouble for the Bay Area, a region that’s long been in dire need of more housing.

Combined with a sharp drop in apartment rents in urban centers that’s only just started to rebound and price increases in other building materials, the lumber shortage may keep the region’s housing supply stagnant for years to come.

“We are not keeping up with the demand for housing,” Neighbor said. He continued: “The lumber is just going to, in my opinion, exacerbate the issue.”
A $40,000 spike
Lumber is commonly used in construction because it’s cheaper and lighter than steel or concrete and is good at insulating heat. But since the pandemic began, those

advantages have been matched by one huge disadvantage — skyrocketing costs.

To hedge their bets on occasionally volatile prices, builders and others sometimes buy so-called futures contracts, which allow them to purchase lumber at future dates at pre-set prices. In April of last year, lumber futures bottomed out at $259.80 per 1,000 board feet. As the lockdowns lifted and the economy started bouncing back, prices soared. On May 7 of this year, they hit

$1,670.50 — up 543% in little more than a year. They closed at $1,327 on Wednesday.

The surge in prices was caused by demand far outpacing supply. Numerous lumber mills closed permanently in the wake of the Great Recession and weren’t replaced, leaving less capacity than before. That capacity was further reduced by pandemic-related stay-at-home orders: To comply with those restrictions, sawmills across the United States shut down or curtailed operations.

Even as the supply of lumber was constrained, the demand for new homes in the Bay Area has remained hot — as evidenced by the average price of a single-family home in Santa Clara County rising 9% from March 2020 to March 2021. Demand for new apartments, meanwhile, has generally softened, the extent of which varies from city to city as remote work has made cheaper apartments outside of urban centers more attractive to younger workers.

While lumber mills are now ramping up their operations, prices are unlikely to return to their pre-pandemic levels any time this year, Wells Fargo said in a report on the industry earlier this month. Supply is still being hampered by some remaining Covid-related restrictions, a shortage of imports from Canada, and high prices for diesel fuel, which is needed for logging trucks, according to the report.

For people like SummerHill’s Neighbor, that means his company will continue having to spend about $40,000 more on every new for-sale or for-rent home than they did before the pandemic.

The San Ramon-based home- builder plans to finish constructing about 300 homes in the Bay Area this year. It just broke ground on a new row-home development in Mountain View and has begun construction on 253 condos, row homes and bungalows in Los Gatos. It’s also either recently completed or is currently building new residential communities in Santa Clara, Monte Sereno and Mountain View.

But Neighbor said the lumber shortage could impact plans to build another 350 homes in the region next year.

“We’re still very bullish on the Bay Area,” he said. “The best we can do on the lumber front is work with our subcontractors and share our pipeline with them so we can be in a position to build these projects out once they’re approved.”
Rising lumber prices are hitting homebuyers
The huge jump in lumber prices has led to rising prices for new homes over the last year, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

$35,900: The amount by which the cost of the average new single-family home has jumped.
$13,000: The amount by which the cost of the average home in a new apartment building has increased.
$119: The amount by which average monthly rents have increased on new apartments.
A search for alternatives
Some people check the weather forecast and the stock market when they wake up in the morning. Reyad Katwan, chief operating officer of Republic Urban Properties, checks something else: lumber prices.

In 2017, with California in the midst of one of its deadliest and most destructive wildfire seasons on record, Katwan figured that prices had to rise.

“You can see this after almost every natural disaster that’s occurred across the country ... they’ve severely impacted lumber prices,” he said. “We saw what was happening with the fires and what the insurance companies were doing. And we tried to look for alternatives.”

That alternative ended up being metal framing. For a new mixed-use development it’s building next to the Millbrae Transit Center, Republic Urban is using lightweight steel instead of wood for the posts and beams. For the project, dubbed Gateway at Millbrae Station, the developer is working with Prescient Co Inc., which has pioneered a way of digitally designing and manufacturing steel structures.

Republic worked with Prescient to determine the size of each piece of steel it would need for the project’s residential and hotel portions.

Robots at Prescient’s assembly plant in Denver cut the metal to precise lengths and welded them together. The metal pieces were then stamped with codes to indicate where they would go in the buildings and shipped to the project site to be assembled there.

Although the project is still under construction, Republic has already saved months of time by having Prescient pre-manufacture the steel frame. The first building it began erecting for Gateway at Millbrae is a 320-unit apartment complex. It started work on that structure in late March and expects to be done next month. If Republic Urban had used wood framing for the building, it would have needed at least eight or nine months to construct, Katwan said, instead of taking three months.

And the company is saving more than time. Republic Urban estimates it saved more than $5 million by using metal rather than lumber for the apartment complex.

The company expects to complete that structure, a 164-room hotel and 80 veteran-preferred affordable apartments being developed by the Core Companies by summer 2022. Gateway at Millbrae also includes more than 200,000 square feet of office and retail space that is slated for completion in 2025.

Republic Urban has become a believer in Prescient’s patented system. It plans to use the system for two large projects it is co-developing in San Jose, one near the Tamien VTA light-rail and Caltrain stations and the other near the Blossom Hill VTA light-rail station.

“We took a big chance, because when you use a proprietary product, things can go wrong,” Katwan said. “I think we’ve done amazingly well.”

Waiting for the marketplace to settle
For residential developers that are still using lumber, the next six months will likely be marked by uncertainty.

Anton DevCo Inc., for example, broke ground on a 205-unit apartment complex in downtown Santa Cruz in February. That project won’t be taking lumber for another four to six months, said Andy Davidson, Anton DevCo’s managing partner for development and construction.

The developer and Anton Building Company — DevCo’s general contractor affiliate in charge of building the project — are working through its so-called “lumber package” with their framing contractor and lumber supplier as well as finalizing costs and a delivery timetable, Davidson said.

“The marketplace always corrects itself, one way or another,” Davidson said. “When that is going to be, your guess is as good as mine. ... As everyone gets back to work and the manufacturing process gets back to working at 100% capacity, hopefully, we start to see things settle down and the supply houses can get caught back up.”

SummerHill President Neighbor — who has spent more than two decades building homes in the Central Valley and the Bay Area — is most concerned with the extent to which the high cost of lumber could stunt new housing construction in the Bay Area in the years to come.

The number of residential housing permits issued in Santa Clara County was 3,574 last year, down 29% year-over-year, according to California Homebuilding Foundation data analyzed by the San Francisco Chronicle. Neighbor expects this year’s number to be even lower than last’s.

“What I don’t think a lot of people realize is what this impact is,” Neighbor said. “Yes, today we can quantify it. But in the future, how is that going to impact an area that is already undeserved? That’s my biggest concern.”

By Matthew Niksa
Commercial real estate reporter
Silicon Valley Business Journal

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Sound Off: How do you manage your online reputation?

Monday May 10th, 2021 San Francisco Chronicle

BIZ & TECH//REAL ESTATE Sound Off: How do you manage your online reputation?
Q: How do you manage your online reputation? A: SummerHill Homes stays at the forefront of ever-changing online trends through intense research, and maintaining a keen awareness of buyers’ needs, while monitoring local market conditions to forecast appropriate products, digital innovations and services. We monitor our online information to  identify our audience and their needs to make sure we have the latest trends. We give a reason to relate to our brand, our homes, and to  engage with our culture.

We respond promptly to engage with our audience, and cultivate a lasting relationship with our clients. SummerHill Homes encourages reviews and testimonials to deliver consumer awareness of the SummerHill brand, and builds trust by managing an  honest platform that cultivates a brand that will benefit our  homebuyers.
The team’s mission is to always build communities of distinction.
Anabelle Salum, director of marketing, SummerHill Homes.

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Dozens of hopeful Silicon Valley home-buyers camped in tents overnight in hopes of nabbing a $1.2 million townhouse

Wednesday April 28th, 2021 Business Insider

As the real estate market stays white-hot, prospective home buyers are going to increasingly desperate lengths to win their dream home — even, it seems, camping out overnight.
Dozens of hopeful buyers in Santa Clara, California, created a makeshift camp outside of condo development Nuevo Homes last week, hoping to buy one of 18 available townhomes. The homes were listed at a fixed price of $1.2 million, meaning they were first come, first serve — no bidding war required, according to NBC Bay Area on Saturday.

"It's really hard to get a house in Silicon Valley and they're releasing only 18 today and probably most people in line know which lot they want," Nancy Reynolds, a local realtor, told the news channel.
Jeremy Naval, another realtor, told NBC Bay Area he had been there since last Wednesday on behalf of a client.

"My client just really, really wanted to be the first one, so I promised him, I said, 'Whatever I have to do to get you the first one, I'll do it,'" Naval said.

The condos are built by local developer SummerHill Homes, which has built 70 developments of single-family homes, condos, townhomes, and apartments in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to its website. The Nuevo development includes 331 two-to-four-bedroom homes, plus retail and restaurants, bike paths, an outdoor movie theater, dog parks, outdoor space, and EV chargers.

According to SummerHill's website, 240 homes have been sold, equivalent to more than 70% of the development.
The frenzy to buy one of the Nuevo condos is a symptom of a bigger issue within the real estate world. Rock bottom interest rates and a desire for more space during the pandemic have lead many to want to buy, but inventory is reaching historically low levels. It's leading to skyrocketing prices and outrageous bidding wars: Last month, a 1,400-square-foot home near Sacramento listed at $399,900 received 122 offers in a single weekend.

The market for new-construction homes is beginning to feel a crunch as well.

New home construction rose to a new high last August, its highest since 2006, according to Department of Commerce data, but labor and materials shortages are beginning to hamper builders. Lumber, appliances, copper, vinyl, and cabinets are all in short supply, as is a small but crucial component used to construct basements. Tom Woods, a custom home-builder based in Missouri, recently told Fox Business that the shortage could be "catastrophic" for the industry.

"If you don't pour any basements or walls, then you're not going to build any houses," he said.

By  


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Potential Silicon Valley Homebuyers Camp Out For $1.2M Townhomes

Tuesday April 27th, 2021 Patch Los Gatos

SANTA CLARA, CA — How dystopian is the housing market in Silicon Valley? Ask the dozens of people who camped out overnight on a sidewalk in Santa Clara over the weekend for the chance to purchase a $1.2 million townhome.

NBC Bay Area first reported the makeshift campsite. The townhomes for sale were part of the Nuevo Homes development by SummerHill Homes, and they were so popular among eager homebuyers because they're being sold at a fixed rate, eliminating a potential bidding war. Those who camped out were "sick of bidding wars and losing homes they've had their hearts set on," according to KCBS Radio.
According to SummerHill's website, the cheapest townhomes start at $1.2 million. The homes for sale range between approximately 1,268 and 2,990 square feet and two to four bedrooms. More than 240 homes, or 70 percent of the units, have been sold as of Monday, according to the site.

The median sales price of homes in Santa Clara is $1.4 million, according to Realtor.com, reflective of the sky-high housing market in the region and meaning the "cheap" townhomes could've been seen as quite the bargain.

In fact, realtors were among those who camped out on the sidewalk adjacent to a Costco. They told NBC Bay Area that they were trying to claim a unit for their clients. The units went on sale Saturday morning, when more people joined the line.
"My client just really, really wanted to be the first one, so I promised him. I said, 'Whatever I have to do to get you the first one, I'll do it,'" one realtor, Jeremy Naval, told the station.
The impromptu campout and fear of bidding wars also reflects the current housing shortage in the Bay Area, as Darrell Owens, a policy analyst for the housing advocacy organization California YIMBY, tweeted sarcastically.

"I'm confused," Owens wrote. "Didn't these people get the memo? We have a housing surplus, too much market housing. What are you camping overnight to buy townhomes in Santa Clara for????"

By



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Dozens camp overnight for chance to buy $1.2 million Bay Area townhouses

Sunday April 25th, 2021 SF Gate

The hopeful homeowners showed up in droves, queuing on the sidewalk in front of Santa Clara real estate development Nuevo Homes and settling into their makeshift campsites for the night. Then, they waited.


The scene resembled some sort of bizarre Black Friday sale with a line of people stretching down the block, many of them lingering there for hours.


The doorbuster deal in question? The chance to buy a newly built townhouse, 18 of which were listed for sale on Saturday morning at a {fixed price of $1.2 million*}, reports NBC Bay Area. The properties were constructed by SummerHill Homes, which has completed more than 70 developments in the last 40 years, according to its website. Nuevo is among its most recent projects, debuting 331 homes as well as 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in Sept. 2019.


“It’s really hard to get a house in Silicon Valley,” real estate agent Nancy Reynolds told NBC Bay Area, adding that she took turns waiting in the line overnight with her clients. “And probably most people in line know which lot they want.”


Another realtor, Jeremy Naval, said he had been at the development since Wednesday. The general consensus among those vying for one of the townhouses was that it was easier to wait in line for hours than to engage in a bidding war.


“My client just really, really wanted to be the first one, so I promised him. I said, ‘Whatever I have to do to get you the first one, I’ll do it,’” Naval told NBC Bay Area.


As of Sunday morning, over 240 homes at Nuevo have been sold, encompassing more than 70% of the development.



Written By


Amanda Bartlett



*(starting price in the low $1.2 million)












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Vacation Homes Evolve to Meet Hyper Demand

Thursday April 1st, 2021 Realtor Magazine

Vacation Homes Evolve to Meet Hyper Demand
By Barbara Ballinger
Second-home locations—viewed as a safe destination when the pandemic disrupted how people live—have gained full-time residents, and houses are changing to meet the demand.

3 Takeaways

-There are fewer vacation homes available to buy and rent.
-More people are making the choice to live in their second-home full time.
-The hottest amenities: Internet connectivity, work from home spaces, and an outdoor oasis.


As COVID-19 spread, many people made a beeline to their more isolated second homes or vacation rentals to hunker down and stay safe.

Slowly, the idea that those destination homes would be short-term gave way to the notion of making them a permanent residence. People enjoyed the safety, space, fresh air, and outdoor recreation at their retreats. They found efficiency working remotely and having their children learn virtually. And many found it propitious to buy with low interest rates and a strong stock market.

“Buying a house is a feel-good purchase, and it became the right time after many put it off,” says Diane Saatchi, associate broker with Saunders & Associates in East Hampton, N.Y.

Since the pandemic started, Mimy von Schreiner with John R. Wood Properties in Southwest Florida, has had three clients purchase vacation homes who then made them permanent residences.

Less Inventory

Whether homes are for full- or part-time use, all the demand has led to a dearth of inventory, now exacerbated by the spring buying season and many people planning their summer vacations.

Von Schreiner says inventory in her market is down 56% from a year ago, which she attributes to frenzied pandemic sales and rentals, an expanded pool of younger buyers, and existing homeowners staying put.

Deb Martin, CEO of ERA Cape Cod Real Estate in Denis, Mass., has also seen inventory shrink for similar reasons. But those reasons are compounded by another trend beginning before the pandemic: retirees not selling as they once did to move near grandchildren or head to senior-living facilities.

Because of these tough market conditions, agents must help clients by encouraging them to prioritize their wish lists, stay on top of what’s available, and communicate often. These five questions will help real estate pros guide the discussion.

1. How far from your current home are you willing to go?
Many buyers and renters now are willing to travel farther to find the right home and a lower price. “Many don’t anticipate going back and forth as frequently, if at all,” says Jennifer Grimes, whose Red Cottage Inc. in Grahamsville, N.Y., offers vacation rentals, and her Country House Realty represents homes for sales in the Catskills.

In the last year, she’s seen her rural Sullivan County become the epicenter of escape for people coming from New York City, 110 miles away. “It was last to the party in popularity after better-known Dutchess, Ulster, and Orange counties, but interest has surged as a destination and demand has far outpaced supply,” she says. To meet demand in recent years, Grimes has added 10 agents.

Architect Mike Aziz, AIA, a partner at New York City-based Cooper Robertson, an architecture and urban design firm, says many of his firm clients will drive farther, as well—two to three hours from a major city, especially for a primary residence.
The same is true on the West Coast where Chris Neighbor, president of SummerHill Homes in San Ramon, Calif., sees huge interest in his firm’s infill townhouses from tech workers leaving the expensive Bay Area and their tiny apartments.

“The average tech employee no longer works on a campus for 14 hours a day. They can get more space,” he says.

In other markets, particularly for long- and short-term rentals, some people are now willing to drive to rural sites once under the radar, such as parts of Kentucky, Michigan’s upper peninsula, and the area around Deep Creek Lake, Md., says Jeffrey Breece, whose San Francisco-based Beyond Pricing firm manages rental properties.

2. Does peak season matter to you?
Many locations are experiencing extended rental seasons with bookings made further out than pre-COVID-19. For example, in Florida, salesperson Angela Waldrop with Dale Sorensen Real Estate in Vero Beach, has seen bookings extend beyond the typical April 30 cutoff into summer. “Except for a minor blip when the coronavirus emerged, we’ve not had a break. Many people also book for longer three- to six-month periods,” she says.

Jason Milovich, broker-owner of Bluefish Vacation Rentals in southwest Michigan, about 74 miles from Chicago, has also seen lines blur between high and low seasons.

“The busiest rental time used to be from Memorial Day through Labor Day, followed by a shoulder through November. But it has stayed busy from last December until now,” he says.

The difference in rental costs has also diminished between the high season, weekends, and holidays, and the low season and weekdays, Grimes says. Even the idea of a best time to buy has vanished.

“Sales now happen at all times if there’s inventory,” Waldrop says.

3. What’s your price range?
With little inventory, houses often sell at full price or above, and oftentimes on the day listed. “Buyers tire of repeatedly missing out, and many overpay to make a sale work,” Grimes says. As an example, she cites a property listed at $425,000 that went 35% higher for $575,000 without an inspection three days after hitting the market. It was seen by 25 potential buyers, and the winning bid was all cash.

In von Schreiner’s Florida market, average sales prices in January were up 18.2% from a year ago, she says. Neighbor has seen listings in his California area climb 20% above the asking price with as many as eight to 12 offers.

Rental costs reflect a similar uptick. “Many are going 25% above the (normal) price. A pool brings a premium,” Breece says. In Waldrop’s Florida market, luxury homes have been renting “nonstop” since the start of the pandemic, she says, for $20,000 to $35,000 monthly, or 30% above a year ago.

4. What types of homes and amenities are you looking for?
Single-family homes generally appeal more than condos since they eliminate sharing elevators, lobbies, pools, dog parks, and gyms.

Exceptions abound, especially when designs focus on keeping renters or buyers apart. Developer Valor Capital, which is constructing Serena by the Sea in Dunedin, Fla., near Clearwater, went back to the drawing board when the pandemic hit to add touchless features, individual condo air-intake systems, and a concierge service to deliver spa treatments, walk dogs, organize closets, says Regina Sotomayor, chief sales officer. More than half the 80 units have been pre-sold.
When it comes to homes, many buyers and renters seek greater square footage to accommodate more family and fit their new mindset. “They no longer think of it as a vacation house but a primary home that needs to be comfortable for long-term,” Saatchi says.

That was the case with the home that designer Staci Munic bought when she switched her primary residence from Chicago to Palm Springs, Calif., and sold a California condo that was previously her vacation getaway. “I found I loved being here and having a relaxed lifestyle with morning bicycle rides,” she says. But she was glad she rented first. “It gave me the opportunity to experience an area in different seasons and alleviate buying under pressure,” she says.
Other buyers who don’t know whether their home will be temporary or permanent also desire more space. “About 95% of SummerHill’s buyers are first-time homeowners who like getting a second bedroom, office, fireplace, space for their Peloton bicycle, and balcony—especially after years of renting a tiny apartment,” Neighbor says. He expects many will stay post-pandemic, even if they commute occasionally to a corporate office.

For Tish Horton, a warmer winter climate and chance to live near a daughter drew her to a second home in Newland’s masterplan Nexton community in Summerville, S.C., 30 miles from Charleston. She plans to commute to her other home and daughter in Dayton.
Working from home has led people to stay longer, often with extended family members. Buyers and renters alike are looking for Zoom nooks and smart designs for ease of daily living. Other amenities in high demand are garages, ample storage, fenced yards (for pandemic-era adopted pups), closed rather than open kitchens, greater access to outdoors, and wellness programs.

“Well-living is the new green,” says Manny Gonzalez, AIA, LEED AP, principal at KTGY Architecture + Planning’s Los Angeles office. “People look for air and water filtration, home monitoring, and sustainability.”

Living in a conservation-minded development where all houses are focused on those principles is another option gaining traction, Aziz says. As an example, he cites architect Drew Lang’s Hudson Woods with 26 modern, sustainable homes on 131 forested Catskills acres.
Also, the more turnkey a listing, the greater the appeal since it’s become harder to find contractors and materials.

5. What amenities are you looking for in nearby towns?

Depending on the location, more stores are remaining open during what were once non-peak times because of the increased traffic. Waldrop attributes the popularity of her area’s Central Beach downtown to the bustling activity of an open farmer’s market, ice cream shops, restaurants, and parks.

In the Hamptons, art galleries have opened after testing the waters with pop-ups, says Saatchi. The Cape, once empty in winter, is experiencing growing pains as residents seek services, says Martin. “The Cape is going to have to pivot and figure out how to do this,” she says.

In Harbor Country Michigan, increased population has led to a need for more trash pickups, says Milovich. In Palm Springs, the dining scene has ratcheted up, Munic adds.

What’s Ahead in Hot Markets
For now, the pace remains dizzying. “In the first two months of this year, Grimes’ rental company hit 50 percent of its total 2020 revenue,” she says. Milovich says his area’s listings with pools already are booked.

Yet, some of the any-price-goes mentality is beginning to wane, Saatchi says. “I see more buyers get sober, stick to a budget, and decide not to bid up prices so high,” she says. Fall may bring a return to what’s more normal, Milovich says. “It still should be strong but not quite what it was a year ago,” he says.

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SummerHill Homes closes on entitled Mountain View development site for $81 million

Monday December 14th, 2020 Silicon Valley Business Journal

SummerHill Homes has closed on its acquisition of a rent-controlled apartment complex in the heart of Mountain View that it's entitled to redevelop into 115 new for-sale homes. The homebuilder is the new owner of Meadowood Apartments at 1555 W. Middlefield Road after buying the complex for $81 million, or about $698,275 a unit, from Calson Properties Inc., according to Santa Clara County deed records filed Dec. 10.

Before closing on the 5.44-acre property, SummerHill had received city approvals to demolish the two-story complex and build 115 row houses in its place. The project is significant because it may be the last row-house development built in Mountain View for some time, according to its developer, and also because it's not subject to Senate Bill 330, a state law that took effect earlier this year. Under SB 330, projects cannot reduce the number of housing units, are required to preserve the number of existing rent-controlled units, and must provide more tenant relocation assistance compared to before.              

SummerHill's row-house project, if completed, would decrease the number of residential units by one. The project is likely the last development in Mountain View that proposes redeveloping old apartments that will not be subject to SB 330, according to the Mountain View Voice.

Chris Neighbor, president of SummerHill, said in a Monday phone call that  1555 W. Middlefield Road is an A-grade location because it's in the heart of Mountain View and within walking distance to the city's North Bayshore area. SummerHill has three other active developments in Mountain View, Neighbor said, with half those projects' homes sold out.

SummerHill and the city of Mountain View are going over improvement, demolition, and grading plans for the new development, Neighbor said. He said the project will likely break ground in the spring and SummerHill will begin building row homes in the summer; construction is expected to take 18 to 24 months, including demolition and grading activities, according to city documents.

The San Ramon-based company's project design shows 20 buildings offering a combined total of 115 three- and four-bedroom row homes. They would range in size from 2,014 square feet to 2,446 square feet, according to Mountain View city documents. SummerHill plans to begin marketing the homes for sale between late 2021 and early 2022. Pricing has not been determined yet, Neighbor said.

Before the project was approved at a May 19 Mountain View City Council meeting, several Meadowood Apartments tenants reportedly expressed concerns that it would be difficult to find a new home during the Covid-19 pandemic, with some also saying that SummerHill's proposal would force some of the apartments' vulnerable residents to relocate out of Mountain View. Amid concerns over displacement, SummerHill representatives at the May meeting agreed to a voluntary three-month grace period that would allow Meadowood residents to stay through Jan. 22, if needed, which the council approved as part of its approval of the development.

By  – Commercial real estate reporter, Silicon Valley Business Journal


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Robert Freed on Real Perspectives Podcast

Tuesday December 1st, 2020 theregistry.com

Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill Homes, was recently a guest on The Registry’s Real Perspectives Podcast. The Real Perspectives Podcast explores the drivers of the commercial real estate market across the Bay Area and Puget Sound.

In this episode, Robert Freed talks about the changes he’s witnessed within the industry in 2020, what those changes mean for homebuilders in the industry, and how he’s positioning SummerHill Homes for a successful future.

Listen to the full episode and read the show notes on The Registry.

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Sunnyvale townhome project site gets flipped for $68.5 million

Tuesday December 1st, 2020 Silicon Valley Business Journal


Less than two months after closing on an apartment complex entitled for redevelopment in Sunnyvale, SummerHill Homes has sold the site to another homebuilder for $68.5 million.
SummerHill purchased the Landmarks Apartments complex at 925 S. Wolfe Road in the southeastern part of Sunnyvale for $58 million, according to Santa Clara County deed records filed Sept. 30. The complex consists of seven two-story buildings with a combined total of  130 apartment units that were completed in 1974, according to data from commercial real estate analytics firm Reonomy.

The Sunnyvale planning commission in October 2019 approved SummerHill's use permit and vesting tentative map applications to subdivide the 5.35-acre site into 19 parcels, demolish the existing apartments, and build a townhome community totaling 128 units in its place, 16 of which would be below-market-rate units. The proposed 13-building project included two-, three- and four-bedroom homes offering between 1,078 to 2,011 square feet of living area, with each home having an attached two-car garage.
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But SummerHill, which is constructing 14 other communities in the Bay Area, will no longer be developing the townhome project site after selling it to Arroyo Capital LLC for $68.5 million, or about $12.8 million an acre, according to Santa Clara County deed records filed Nov. 25. The Mercury News first reported transaction details.

Chris Neighbor, president of SummerHill, said in a Tuesday phone call that the company received an unsolicited offer from Newport Beach homebuilder Landsea Homes to purchase the Landmark Apartments complex at the beginning of September. SummerHill still went ahead and closed on the complex at the end of September, but it continued to entertain Landsea's offer until it decided to sell the property to Arroyo Capital, Landsea's finance partner for the planned redevelopment of 925 S. Wolfe Road.

SummerHill spent two years getting the townhome project site "shovel ready," Neighbor said, adding that while the specialty builder typically doesn't close on a development site while simultaneously entertaining an offer for it, the fact that it has previously sold project sites to homebuilders such as Toll Brothers and D.R. Horton Inc. means it's not that unusual for it to sell shovel-ready land. Before the Wolfe Road property changed hands, SummerHill had been demolishing its carports and interiors, with Landsea now expected to pick up where the previous owner had left off.

The company — a U.S. subsidiary of Landsea Green Group, a global builder with homes and communities in the U.S., Germany and China — also plans to develop 128 townhomes. Its project, dubbed Lavender, would offer nine floor plans ranging from 1,078 square feet to 2,011 square feet in size, the same size range that SummerHill had planned. Lavender would also offer 20 below-market-rate homes, four more than what SummerHill planned to offer.

Josh Santos, Northern California division president at Landsea, said in a Monday news release that a separate, 314-townhome community in Sunnyvale by Landsea, called The Vale, sold out in about two years, "and we're confident that Lavender will be well-received in the Sunnyvale market," he said.

Landsea will be building upon SummerHill's designs for its Lavender community to include more private outdoor space and features from its "High Performance Home" program, which, through its partnership with Apple Inc., utilizes Apple's HomeKit smart home system to consolidate home-automation features into a single mobile app, Santos said in a Tuesday email.

Land development for Landsea's project is slated to begin this month, with townhomes available in late 2021. Santos said that although Arroyo Capital owns the land, Landsea will buy it back as it redevelops it and will operate Lavender in all facets, including land development, construction and sales. He added that while Landsea has an idea for potential price ranges, pricing will be determined through market analysis when the sales process begins, which is expected at the end of 2021.



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Sweeping Burlingame development advances

Friday October 16th, 2020 The Daily Journal

Officials favor 298-unit development with park identified as linchpin for emerging neighborhood.
A key project expected to open the door for development of a new neighborhood in north Burlingame received glowing reviews from officials who blessed construction of 298 apartments near the Millbrae border.

The Burlingame Planning Commission unanimously approved, by a 4-0 vote with three commissioners absent, plans submitted from SummerHill Apartment Communities to construct a sweeping residential development and new park at 30 Ingold Road.

The development, which still needs a final approval from council members, is expected by officials to help the area north of Broadway transform into a residential hub where additional, similar projects are planned to follow along Rollins Road.

“I think it is a really well-crafted project,” said Commissioner Will Loftis, who added he believed the development featured some essential urban design elements and characteristics for a new neighborhood.

Commissioner Michael Gaul too praised the plans for the seven-story building.

“I think this is a great project, especially for this area,” he said.

Plans make way for 217 one-bedroom units and 81 two-bedroom units with 43 of the total units set aside for those earning 80% of the area median income. There will be 329 parking spaces, with 15 designated for guests and 14 to accommodate the 4,000 square feet of commercial space in the ground floor of the building.

There is also about 18,000 square feet of park land planned in the more than 3-acre site, and the open space will be granted to the city once the project is built. Additionally, the proposal features a public plaza near the park on Ingold Road.

Officials have said the park will be a valued amenity in the area which has been identified as home to a burgeoning neighborhood in the northern portion of Burlingame. Officials are optimistic the area is primed for development due to its proximity to the Millbrae joint Caltrain and BART station.

“I’m really excited about a new park for residents in Burlingame,” said Gaul.

Commissioner Richard Sargent too shared his enthusiasm for the development, with an anticipation for additional development nearby.

“I look forward to seeing whatever else gets built,” he said.

Officials late last month discussed strategies for converting the region traditionally reserved for industrial businesses into a new neighborhood. Officials favored a mix of uses in the area, preserving space for existing companies while enhancing it to draw residential and other commercial developers.

To make the area more accommodating, commissioners called for better sidewalks and bike lanes for residents and pedestrians, while requesting aesthetic improvements such as additional open space, public art and landscaping. While some officials favored the plans, others wanted to assure that the industrial businesses in the area will not be squeezed out.

To appropriately address the divergent interests, officials launched a public outreach campaign designed to collect feedback from residents, merchants and other community members seeking to shape the future of the north Rollins Road area.

As plans evolve, SummerHill is also building 290 units in a development more than 1 mile away at 1008 Carolan Ave., in a project including an apartment building and condominiums. And less than 1 mile away, the company is constructing 265 units at 1 Adrian Court, in a project abutting Highway 101. The other two projects are the largest residential developments recently proposed in Burlingame, prior to the Ingold Road plans being submitted.

Regarding the development at Ingold Road, Gaul shared his appreciation for the plans and the future of the site.

“I think it is a great project,” he said. “It is very well designed and I look forward to getting this thing off the ground.”

Commissioners Richard Terrones, Sandy Comaroto and Audrey Tse were absent from the meeting.





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SummerHill Homes buys 128-unit townhome project site in Sunnyvale for $58 million

Thursday October 1st, 2020 Silicone Valley Business Journal
By   – Commercial real estate reporter, Silicon Valley Business Journal

SummerHill Homes closed on the purchase of an existing 130-unit apartment complex in Sunnyvale on Wednesday, which the California homebuilder plans to redevelop into 128 new townhomes. 

Property details: The Landmark Apartments complex at 925 S. Wolfe Road in the southeastern part of Sunnyvale. Landmark Apartments consists of seven two-story buildings with a combined total of 130 apartment units. The apartments were completed in 1974, according to data from commercial real estate analytics firm Reonomy.

The property is within a five-minute walk of the Hacienda Shopping Center, which Balboa Real Estate Partners reportedly purchased for $68 million, or about $393 a square foot, last month, and stops for three different VTA bus routes. It's also a 15-minute walk from an elementary school and two public parks.

Price: SummerHill Homes paid $58 million, or more than $446,153 a unit, for 925 S. Wolfe Road, according to Santa Clara County deed records filed Wednesday. 

Buyer: An affiliate of SummerHill Homes, which the Business Journal ranked third in its most recent List of the largest residential real estate builders in Silicon Valley in terms of all closings in the region last year. The firm is a specialty builder of mid- to high-end residential homes in the Bay Area, with typical projects ranging from 30 to 250 units in size and consisting of single-family detached homes, townhomes and condominiums.

The Sunnyvale planning commission in October 2019 approved SummerHill's use permit and vesting tentative map applications to subdivide the existing 5.35-acre site at 925 S. Wolfe Road into 19 parcels, demolish the existing Landmark Apartments, and build a townhome community totaling 128 units in its place, 16 of which would be below-market-rate units. The 13-building project is comprised of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes offering between 1,078 to 2,011 square feet of living area, with each home having an attached two-car garage. The planned community, if completed, would also feature a central open space with an outdoor cooking area and a clubhouse for outdoor dining and lounging.

As for residents of the existing Landmarks complex who would be displaced by the townhome development, Summerhill is providing up to $10,725 in relocation assistance per household, depending on whether it is in good standing, apartment type, household income level and "special circumstances," according to the developer's project description on file with the city of Sunnyvale.

Chris Neighbor, chief operating officer at SummerHill Homes, said in a Thursday phone call that there were no tenants at Landmark Apartments when the sale transaction closed. The company is currently demolishing the carports at the apartment complex and is preparing for Pacific Gas and Electric Company to cut off electricity to the property. SummerHill plans to start demolishing Landmark's apartment buildings this month and begin constructing new townhomes early next year, Neighbor said. 

Seller: An affiliate of Pacific Urban Residential, a multifamily investment firm and pension fund manager headquartered in Palo Alto. Pacific Urban, which did not respond to a request for comment in time for this story's publication, has acquired more than 17,000 apartment units valued at over $3 billion since its inception in 1998, according to the company's website. Both it and SummerHill are under the Marcus & Millichap Company umbrella.


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Variety and Extra Space are Trending in San Francisco

Friday September 25th, 2020 Mansion Global

By Nancy A. Ruhling

Although the condo market in San Francisco took a dip during the shelter-in-place and halt in construction mandates during the coronavirus pandemic, the luxury segment ended the second quarter of 2020 with positive results, according to Compass Development Marketing Group’s New Development Market Insights Report.

“Overall, we observed a marked uptick in activity for new development projects at the end of the second quarter, with 10 contracts signed in June—up from record lows in April when the market reached a standstill,” the report said. “The $3 million-plus price segment had upticks from Q1, which were mostly resales and had an average size of 2,594 square feet.”

The Covid-19 lockdown measures, according to Sandra Eaton, regional director-West Coast Compass Development Marketing Group, gave buyers an opportunity to re-evaluate their spaces and their space needs.

“People broadened the scope of where they want to live,” she said. “To get more private space, people are willing to travel farther to get it.”

Buyers became more flexible, considering not only condos but also townhouses and boutique developments, she said.

“For $3 million and up, they can choose between a condo and a detached single-family home,” she said. “Regardless of what or where they buy, instead of common rooms, they want private outdoor spaces like balconies or wide, expansive halls or the ability to escape to nearby outdoor areas to get fresh air. This has always been a priority, but it has been amplified because of Covid.”

Luxury properties in San Francisco had held their value, she said, because “sellers are willing to hold on—they don’t have to sell. Even before Covid, we had more demand than supply.”
She said that people who left the city to ride out the pandemic are starting to return. “As schools and businesses reopen, people want to see their friends again,” she said. “It’s not a question of if, it’s only a question of when they will return.”

Below are {three} developments that recently launched sales in the San Francisco area or will do so in the next few months.

Laguna Vista, 563 Pilgrim Drive, Foster City

Renderings by SummerHill Homes
SummerHill Homes’s Laguna Vista, which will launch sales next April, is part of the Pilgrim Triton Master Plan, a mixed commercial, industrial and residential development in Foster City that is being built in four phases.
The master plan, which features 296,000 square feet of commercial and office space centered around a 1-acre park, will have 730 housing units, 64 of which are designated live-work units.
Laguna Vista attached homes will have one to four bedrooms and 2.5 to 3.5 bathrooms.

The development is close to Downtown San Mateo and is located near a number of top employers, including Visa, Gildea Sciences, Sony PlayStation, Illumina, Fisher Investments, Guckenheimer Inc. and Rakuten.
Number of Units: 70
Price Range: TBD
Developer/Architect: SummerHill Homes/KTGY
Sizes: 1,416 to 2,045 square feet
Amenities: In addition to a lagoon, there are parks benches, paseos and a playground.
Website: summerhillhomes.com/laguna-vista


Portico, 257 Calderon Ave., Mountain View

SummerHill Homes
This boutique community of attached homes, which is launching sales in November, is in Silicon Valley’s Mountain View, whose vistas give it its name.
The city of Mountain View, which has a population of nearly 75,000, is at the southern end of the peninsula in the Bay Area and is close to the offices of Google, Symantec and LinkedIn.
Portico, which includes a community park, is a tranquil setting within walking distance of all the shops and restaurants in Mountain View.
Number of Units: 16, clustered as four sets of 4
Price Range: TBD
Developer/Architect: SummerHill Homes/SDG Architects
Townhome Sizes: 1,579 to 1,896 square feet
Amenities: Each townhome has three to four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and a two-car garage. The development is centered around a community park. They also are close to Highways 85 and 101 and offer easy pedestrian and bike access to the Caltrain commuter rail.
Website: summerhillhomes.com/portico


Montalvo Oaks, 18840 Saratoga Los Gatos Road, Monte Sereno

Montalvo Oaks, a boutique development whose sales will launch next April, offers a variety of housing styles—single-family homes, townhomes and duplexes.
The development is in the Silicon Valley bedroom community of Monte Sereno (Spanish for Serene Hill) in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Monte Sereno, which was named for the El Sereno Mountain, is an entirely residential city zoned almost exclusively for single-family housing that had a population of only about 3,300.
Montalvo Oaks is a fast and easy commute to the town of Los Gatos and Saratoga Village.
Number of Units: 36 (21 single-family homes, seven townhomes and eight duets)
Price Range: TBD
Developer/Architect: SummerHill Homes/ WHA|William Hezmalhalch Architects
Sizes: 1,730 to 3,300 square feet
Amenities: Lofts, dens and open space.
Website: summerhillhomes.com/montalvo-oaks

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How Will Social Distancing Alter New Home Marketing?

Tuesday June 23rd, 2020 Globe St.

By Lisa Brown

SANTA CLARA, CA—Developers are seeing construction ratchet up now that projects are once again underway. As an example, developer SummerHill Homes’ nearly $1 billion Nuevo has some homes completed and residents moved in, but the larger development still has a ways to go for the full master-planned urban town to reach completion.
Overall, SummerHill was surprised to discover that despite the quarantine in the Bay Area, prospective buyers want to tour even if it means virtual walkthroughs, Zoom tours, etc. Homes at Nuevo, which usually cater to first-time homebuyers or Baby Boomers wanting to relocate to suburban new construction, range from $1 to 2 million.
Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill Homes, recently discussed how social distancing is changing the way homes are marketed, how will grand opening celebrations be different, how sales interest has increased, the importance of human interaction in the sales process and if the slower progress of construction will affect any future developments.

GlobeSt.com: While social distancing is somewhat easy to practice on construction sites, how difficult is it for sales centers?
Freed: We thankfully were able to act swiftly in response to COVID-19, immediately practicing social distancing protocol within our sales centers. We implemented new procedures for welcoming prospective buyers and scheduling tours, adjusted staffing schedules, as well as made digital enhancements to our website, all in an effort to provide privacy, safety and peace of mind to our customers and associates.
Our sales centers are currently open by appointment and we have several options available such as in-person/private tours, tours via video-conferencing (FaceTime, Zoom, etc.), and we’ve increased all online photography and 3D/virtual tours. We have added social distancing signage, sanitization stations and in some locations we’re installing Plexiglas partitions for additional protection. Prospective buyers are welcome to tour, obtain information and ask questions in an environment that is enduringly inviting and most importantly, clean and safe.
GlobeSt.com: How will grand opening celebrations/announcements look different moving forward?
Freed: We’re excited to host this very event this summer, in fact, at our newest community in Mountain View, Montecito. We envision it will include both traditional and non-traditional aspects of a grand opening event, likely a digital ticket to attend with a dedicated time slot as well as allowing limited guests to tour model homes. Of course, we may not have face-painting or a photo booth, but we do intend to celebrate our accomplishment with our buyers, homeowners and associates. As for our favorite ice cream truck, we’ll all just have to stay 6 feet apart.
GlobeSt.com: Have you seen an uptick in sales interest upon the economy slowly reopening?
Freed: We’ve seen an increase in traffic and we anticipate our traffic numbers to climb, but to resume our pre-COVID-19 levels will take some time. We saw close to a 70% drop in traffic from February to March, but expect May and June to increase 100% from prior months. We’ve recently experienced those who have resumed their lifestyles under what has been deemed our new normal, while others may be slower to adjust their individual comfort levels. There are prospective buyers out there–whether actively engaging or newly emerging–who are searching for a new home.
GlobeSt.com: How important do you think the human interaction is between a prospective buyer and a sales agent for successfully selling a home?
Freed: Without a doubt, there is an innate and essential need for human interaction. However, as we’ve experienced these past several weeks, there are alternate forms of human interaction we’re able to utilize to create a healthy balance of virtual and reality. We continue to have a need for experienced, seasoned salespeople to guide and educate our buyers. Perhaps now more than ever, buyers will need a skilled professional to build a rapport with, even if the means are via video conferencing which will assist in one of the most important decisions they’ll face. While we can’t replace the role of a salesperson, we can and should adapt, become more flexible and use this time as an opportunity to be both sales leaders as well as experts in digital communication.
GlobeSt.com: Will this slower progress of construction affect any future developments?
Freed: While we anticipate some loss of productivity due to the important filed safety protocols, we do not expect any material negative financial impacts to the projects under construction or planned future developments. We also hold some hope that this loss in productivity may be offset by some future construction cost reductions.
GlobeSt.com: Some have noted that housing will be the solution, not the problem, to our current recession. Do you agree and are you optimistic for the future?
Freed: I would say at this moment in time, it is unclear what the future holds. Some early indicators suggest that new home sales may rebound quickly as a result of favorable interest mortgage interest rates, existing pent-up demand and new demand from buyers who wish to have their sanctuary to live, work and feel safe.

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San Mateo County home building industry on shaky ground

Monday May 11th, 2020 The Daily Journal

San Mateo County home building industry on shaky ground
Global pandemic brings fears of financial woes, planning questions plus safety issues
By Austin Walsh Daily Journal staff

The housing crisis was under assault.
Lawmakers passed legislation catalyzing development, local officials
loosened regulations, banks backed by a humming economy offered
financing, builders proposing ambitious projects received approvals and
cranes littered rising city skylines.
Then everything came to a screeching halt.
Now, new building safety protocol, an upended economy and challenges
with planning for an uncertain future are fueling fears the global pandemic
will make development more difficult.
“I am concerned about what this is going to mean about any home
construction in California in general, because I think this is going to
compound the previous problems we had,” said Selma Hepp, chief
economist with housing research firm CoreLogic, capturing a widely-shared
sentiment that the shutdown would stall the momentum which was
building toward addressing California’s housing shortfall.
With limited exceptions for affordable housing developments or projects
fixing public safety hazards, Bay Area health officials in April stopped
construction to stem COVID-19 transmission.

Prior to the stay-at-home order, projections were that the state needed to
build about 3.5 million new homes to accommodate demand and push down
the rising cost of living.
Last week, building was allowed to resume. Developers welcomed that with
enthusiasm measured by anxieties of operating under the new normal.
Drew Hudacek, chief investment officer with Sares Regis, said the firm
specializing in multifamily residential developments was pleased to see the
building ban lifted — while keeping a wary eye to health and economic
factors.
“It’s a positive step, so long as we do it right and safely and monitor things
going forward,” he said. “And we make sure that both the health and
financial sides are considered.”
Increased safety, limited production
Worker safety is a paramount concern, said Hudacek, who noted the
challenges around introducing social distancing protocol to large
construction sites.
He noted the issues range in complexity, from effective bans on carpools for
workers accustomed to commuting long distances together to limiting the
amount of workers allowed in an area at a time.
There are many necessary health benefits offered by the measures, but
there are also costs to losing certain economies of scale, said Hudacek.
“There will be many, many, many inefficiencies that will come into play
with social distance and safety protocols. That will be the new normal and
we will have to figure that out,” said Hudacek, who added some contractors
fear productivity may fall by as much as 60% due to the new requirements.

SummerHill Housing Group CEO Robert Freed too balanced the competing
interests of safety and productivity.
“Some of the inefficiencies that are necessary to provide on-job safety and
security will slow down the process,” said Freed, whose company also
specializes in multifamily development throughout the region.
For his part, Freed said SummerHill implemented a variety of new
regulations on job sites such as mandatory temperature checks when
entering a construction zone, restricted access points and rotating crews to
prevent overpopulation as well as designating a roving inspector to assure
workers are wearing appropriate protective gear and keeping a safe
distance.
“It’s just going through all the things that cause people to aggregate in
small areas and minimizing those,” he said.
Shaky financial landscape
Freed also speculated that the slowed economy may yield difficulties for
some developers seeking funding for new developments.
“Projects that haven’t come out of the ground yet might have trouble with
financing,” he said.

Other industry experts agreed, with expectations that banks may be reticent
to lend money for developments amid an unstable economy. These
anxieties are heightened by local officials establishing rent moratoriums
and other restrictions on the flow of money into the real estate sector,
setting off a chain reaction of debt and risk sensitivities.
“I would not be surprised if the financial basis for these projects might be
teetering a little bit,” said Burlingame Community Development Director
Kevin Gardiner.
Tax income loss suffered by cities further compound the monetary
challenges, said Hudacek, who noted discussions of budget limitations
growing more common among Peninsula officials.
“Every city we have talked to is concerned about their budget,” he said.
Planning for an uncertain future

Despite the financial restraints, Hudacek credited the effectiveness of local
planners working amid the shutdown to process proposals and advance
projects already in the development pipeline.
With reliance on digital or online services, officials in San Mateo, South San
Francisco and Burlingame said they were able to avoid a logjam of projects
which could have formed during quarantine.
“We have kept projects moving, including permit issuance and inspections
when needed,” San Mateo City Manager Drew Corbett said in an email. “We
are also improving our remote and digital/online services as we speak so we
feel like we are well positioned once things return to a more normal state.”
Alex Greenwood, Economic and Community Development director in South
San Francisco, agreed. He said the city’s advanced application system was
positioned to process a variety of commercial and residential developments,
which otherwise could have laid idle.
For his part, Gardiner noted Burlingame’s pivot to operating public
meetings remotely and pointed to a recent Planning Commission meeting
in which officials were able to review a 300-unit housing development from
their homes.

Hepp said such an ability is relatively unique to the Bay Area and other
metropolitan centers. Across the rest of California, many builders expressed
concerns that all projects would come to a standstill during the shutdown
and that backlog of planning would cause a ripple effect for future
development.

She also noted greater planning challenges on the horizon, with questions
over how COVID-19 may alter perspectives on development trends.
“What does this mean for cities going forward in terms of where people
want to live? Does this mean we will see more spreading out into less dense
communities?,” she asked.
Hepp also acknowledged the chance that some development foes could use
fears of virus transmission to bolster arguments against projects they
oppose.
“Sometimes people use these events to advance their interests,” she said.
While myriad questions circle the future of housing, Freed balanced the
prevailing uncertainty against a confidence bolstered by experience of
seeing the industry evolve over many years.
Citing the region’s resiliency through previous economic downturns, as well
as a hearty economic foundation and need to continue building, Freed
shared some hopefulness for the future.
“I have to be optimistic for all those reasons,” he said. “I also believe it is
going to be a tough slugfest for a couple years”

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Local construction, once brimming with activity, grinds to a halt

Wednesday April 8th, 2020 Mountain View Voice

Local construction, once brimming with activity, grinds to a halt
Santa Clara County restrictions have left 80-90% of construction workers unemployed.

by Kevin Forestieri

Up until recently, the Bay Area's construction market was so red-hot that workers were traveling from other states to sate the heavy demand for skilled laborers. But under new restrictions imposed by public health officials, building activity that once peppered the region has abruptly reached a standstill.  In response to the spread of the new coronavirus, public health officers across six Bay Area counties introduced sweeping restrictions last month that banned numerous commercial activities, including some types of construction. Santa Clara County went a step further last week, with further prohibitions quashing most residential and commercial projects at least through the beginning of May.
Active construction sites throughout the region — teeming with workers, tractors and heavy machinery — have since been forced to "button up" and go dormant, pausing a yearslong surge in development in the Bay Area.

It also means one more sector of the economy with employees out of work.  "The construction economy has been devastated," said David Bini, executive director of the Santa Clara and San Benito Building and Construction Trades Council. "We have about 80% or 90% of our members out of work right now."
Under the March 31 order, only a narrow subset of construction is allowed to continue, including affordable housing projects and market-rate housing projects that include at least 10% affordable units. Public works projects deemed essential for health and safety reasons are also permitted, as are projects that provide temporary housing and shelter space.
Bini said his organization, which is affiliated with 25 labor unions, has been pushing back against the restrictions, arguing that active construction sites are not inherently a public health hazard. With some exceptions, he said more jobs fall within the recommendations on safe social distancing.

The trade council sent a letter to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors with its concerns on March 28, adding that professional boards had not been consulted, only to have the county crack down even harder on building activity three days later.

"It seemed to add insult to injury to have that second order tighten even further on construction," he said.  In the immediate term, Bini said emergency funding at the state and federal level should be enough to support Bay Area construction workers who have been forced to file for unemployment benefits. But the assistance is only a stopgap measure, and won't cover costs in the event that the prohibitions continue for multiple months.  "Most construction workers are sitting at home right now without a paycheck," he said.

What's baffling in the order, Bini said, is that it enumerates several types of construction activities that are exempt and will be allowed to continue under the public health order. Why is it not safe to build market-rate housing, he wondered, if it's safe to build affordable housing?

Another concern is that housing projects that barely penciled out financially before the crisis could wither on the vine because of delays. The cost of construction in the Bay Area -- largely considered the highest in the world – and the smaller profit margin on housing projects makes them particularly susceptible to market fluctuations. In other words, entire projects may have to be scrapped.

A months long halt on construction definitely wasn't in the plans, said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes. His company currently has four projects under construction in Mountain View, including a 211-unit project at 2700 W. El Camino Real, along with multiple others in the development pipeline. Freed said that SummerHill is in strong shape financially and will be able to keep all of its projects alive, but it is a "very big bump in the road."

Freed said he is reluctant to criticize public health officers making decisions to safeguard the public during the global pandemic, but that he does feel there is room for contractors to abide by social distancing and other safety precautions. He also found it odd that projects with affordable housing can proceed, while projects that provide in-lieu fees for affordable housing elsewhere must shut down.

Most Mountain View projects halted

As of last month, Mountain View's busy development pipeline reportedly had 24 projects currently under construction. When asked how many of them are permitted to continue and how residents are supposed to know which construction sites are exempt, city staff referred the Voice to a reference guide.
All but one project, the Shorebreeze Apartment complex at 460 N. Shoreline Blvd., appear to be prohibited by the county order. The developer for Shorebreeze, MidPen Housing, did not respond to requests for comment.

Community Development Director Aarti Shrivastava said the city is complying with the county order, and that there may have been ongoing work at construction sites over the last week as contractors finish tasks and ensure projects are safe and secure for the hiatus.
Anyone who believes building activities are continuing in violation of the county health order is asked to contact the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, which reviews and redirects complaints to local police departments for enforcement. As of Monday, the Mountain View Police Department had received 46 complaints from the DA's office for violators, resulting in three citations.
The city of Mountain View, for its part, has dropped almost all of its own municipal construction activity. Public Works Director Dawn Cameron said all but two projects have been suspended until the shelter order has been lifted, the exceptions being the Shoreline sewage pump system project and water and sewer main replacement work along Leong Drive, both of which have been deemed critical for public infrastructure.

Also still brimming with activity this week is a major landscaping operation off of Stevens Creek Trail, due south of Crittenden Lane, where tractors, workers and dozens of trucks outfitted with wood chippers are still busy. A PG&E spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday, April 8, that the location is a parking yard for contractors doing vegetation management work in the area, which is allowed to continue in the interest of public safety.
Caltrain electrification work along the train corridor is also scheduled to continue through the shelter order, with closures at the Castro Street intersection on April 11, April 13 and April 17.

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SummerHill Homes Update :: Shelter in Place Order

Tuesday March 17th, 2020

Effective immediately all sales offices will be closed to the general public, and in-person tours will be cancelled until April 8th, or until further notice. While we are discontinuing in person visits, our high quality virtual tours provide a great opportunity to stroll through our beautiful homes. We are hopeful that this is a temporary measure to help ensure everyone’s health in this difficult time.

Our sales agents will continue to maintain a full work schedule via phone/email, and are available to provide information and answer questions remotely. We encourage you to visit our website www.summerhillhomes.com for community contact/information, as well as photos, floor plans and virtual tours.

We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we continue to navigate through this difficult time. We wish you and yours safe shelter and good health.

Regards,

SummerHill Sales

NUEVO - Santa Clara
866.642.0268

BELLAVISTA - Moraga
510.600.5740

LOCALE @ STATE STREET - Fremont
866.936.6108 

WAVERLY COVE - Foster City
650.335.8106

MONTECITO - Mountain View
650.269.7388

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SummerHill Homes Update :: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Friday March 13th, 2020

Dear Valued SummerHill Community,

As information continues to develop regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we would like to take this opportunity to communicate how we are navigating through these challenging times.

The safety and well being of our employees, customers and subcontractors are a top priority. We are attempting to adhere to all common sense practices aimed at reducing the spread of the virus. We are also
monitoring the recommendations put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO) and our various governmental agencies.

We remain committed to meeting our scheduled home deliveries. Of course our schedules may be impacted by City closures, labor availability and the concerns for the safety of our employees.

We also remain committed to meeting all of our customer service obligations, again with the ongoing concerns for the safety of our employees and subcontractors.

Accepting that the environment in which we are operating changes on a daily basis, we will do our best to keep you informed.

Best Regards from the SummerHill Team

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Santa Clara’s Nuevo community captures awards

Monday March 2nd, 2020 SF Gate

Communities designed by SummerHill Homes feature contemporary residences in idyllic locations with close proximity to shopping and dining destinations.

For more than three decades the California-based builder has designed welcoming neighborhoods in places like Moraga, Fremont, Foster City, and Santa Clara, with additional plans for communities in Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and Mountain View. Since its inception in 1976, SummerHill Homes has brought to life more than 50 communities representing more than 5,000 single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and apartments.

The National Association of Home Builders recently recognized SummerHill Homes’ Nuevo community in Santa Clara with a pair of prestigious awards. The Nuevo community’s innovative, four-story model home, e-State, was awarded “Best Single-Family Detached Model Home 2,501 to 3,000 Square Feet.” The NAHB also awarded a gold medal to Nuevo’s sales studio for Best Leasing/Sales Center.

“We take great pride in finding innovative solutions that meet the needs of Bay Area residents and we are thrilled the thoughtful, innovative designs of the Nuevo community have been recognized by such a
prestigious organization,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “We look forward to continuing to build and introduce exciting new communities to buyers in this competitive market.”

Nuevo in Santa Clara, SummerHill Homes’ newest development, is a master-planned mixed-use community with retail, restaurants, parks, a community center and more than 800 residences. Nuevo’s signature residences are separated into three categories: e-States, e-Towns and Terraces.

There are 41 e-States abodes. These four-story, single-family homes boasting rooftop terraces are the ones recently recognized by the NAHB. These homes are available in three- and four-bedroom floor plans
and range in size from 2,462 to 2,990 square feet of living space.

The award-winning architectural and planning firm behind e-State, Woodley Architectural Group, Inc., was also honored.

“Understanding the buyer is at the heart of what we do, and this acknowledgement from The Nationals is incredibly rewarding as it reflects our dedication to creating housing solutions that excite and exceed the expectations of buyers,” said Mike Woodley, President of Woodley Architectural Group, Inc.

Buyers also have a choice when it comes to the 114 e-Town residences, these three- and four-story townhomes host decks and rooftop terraces. Three- and four-bedroom floor plans are available, the largest models offering 2,259 square feet of living space.

There’s also 176 residences in the Terraces segment. The two- and three-story town houses feature two-, three- and four-bedroom layouts that range in size from 1,268 to 2,229 square feet. Terrace homes include decks and luxurious rooftops.

Santa Clara’s Nuevo community hosts a wealth of amenities, like a children’s playground, outdoor reading rooms and sport courts. Residents can take in movies at the community’s park, while the neighborhood’s bike-sharing pods provides residents a convenient way of navigating the area.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the 27-acre community features a diverse collection of 868 homes, 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center dedicated to relaxation, health and wellness, dining and entertainment.

Learn more at www.summerhillhomes.com/nuevo.

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Residential plans filed in Burlingame

Tuesday February 11th, 2020 The Daily Journal

By Austin Walsh
Daily Journal Staff

Feb 11, 2020

A home builder already with two expansive projects in Burlingame just filed a new, larger proposal standing to be one of the biggest residential developments built in the city in recent years.

SummerHill Apartment Communities proposed to construct 298 units at the intersection of Ingold and Rollins roads in Burlingame, just south of the city’s northern border and a short distance from the Millbrae train station.

Officials and developers are hopeful the project at 30 Ingold Road eventually serves as the keystone piece of a burgeoning neighborhood planned to sprout from an area mostly home to a collection of industrial buildings.

“The hope is have it be a thriving mixed-use neighborhood with a lot of variety with both creative industrial uses as well as places for people to live,” said Community Development Director Kevin Gardiner, regarding the vision for the north Rollins Road area.

Elaine Breeze, vice president of development for the applicant, also imagined the project as an asset to an area targeted by officials for further growth under the city’s recent general plan update.

“With distinctive amenities, public spaces and timeless architecture designed to complement the neighborhood now and in the future, the project will be an exceptional addition to the city and the region as a whole,” she said in a letter sent to Burlingame planners.

Plans make way for 222 one-bedroom units and 76 two-bedroom units, ranging from 653 to 825 square feet for the smaller units and between 960 and 1,147 square feet for the two-bedroom units. Of the 298 units, 43 are proposed to be set aside for those earning 80% of the area median income, over a 55-year term.

The project is also designed to include an events room, fitness studio, rooftop deck and lounge as well as a dog park for residents. There will be about 4,000 square feet of commercial space included in the project accommodate offices or other businesses as well.

There will be 329 parking stalls for residents in a secured two-story garage, plus an additional 15 unsecured spaces for visitors. Another 14 parking spaces will be reserved to accommodate the commercial space. The proposal offers 149 bike parking spaces.

A key piece of the project is a proposed public park, which officials hope will serve both residents of the SummerHill development as well as others expected to soon rise nearby.

“This is doing all the things that we had hoped to see with projects coming into this area,” said Gardiner. SummerHill offered to build the park then grant the land

SummerHill is building 290 units in a development more than 1 mile away at 1008 Carolan Ave., in a project including an apartment building and condominiums. And less than 1 mile away, the company is constructing 265 units at 1 Adrian Court, in a project abutting Highway 101. The other two projects are the largest recently proposed in Burlingame, prior to the newest plans being submitted.

Breeze expressed enthusiasm over the opportunity to again break ground in Burlingame.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to work in Burlingame again and help fulfill the city’s vision to this new area,” she said in the letter.

Looking ahead, Gardiner said he anticipates the project to soon go before the Planning Commission for design review, in advance of a recommendation and ultimate approval by the City Council. In all, he said he expects the public review process to take about nine months.

Concurrently, he said officials will soon begin building a specific plan for the area near Rollins Road which will allow residents and business owners to share their perspective on the neighborhood’s development.

“That will be another opportunity to engage with existing stakeholders in the area but also look at more of the details.

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SummerHill Homes Gains National Recognition for Design of Nuevo in Santa Clara

Wednesday January 29th, 2020 The Registry

SummerHill Homes Gains National Recognition for Design of Nuevo in Santa Clara
January 29, 2020
San Ramon, Calif. (January 27, 2020) – SummerHill Homes today announced the company was honored at The Nationals℠ 2020, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) annual sales and marketing awards, with two Gold Awards for Nuevo, SummerHill Homes’ new urban town and residential community in Santa Clara. Most notably, the community’s innovative, four story model home, E-State, was awarded “Best Single-Family Detached Model Home 2,501 to 3,000 Square Feet”. Decided by a distinguished panel of industry leaders, The Nationals℠ is the NAHB’s most prestigious annual award recognition, celebrating the best new home sales, marketing and design in North America. Winners were announced during The Nationals Gala, held on January
21, 2020 in Las Vegas, where SummerHill Homes was honored with two awards in the following categories:

Gold Awards:
• Best Single-Family Detached Model Home 2,501 to 3,000 Square Feet – Plan 3 of the E-State collection, Nuevo (Santa Clara)
• Best Sales/Leasing Center – Nuevo Sales Studio, Nuevo (Santa Clara)

“We take great pride in finding innovative solutions that meet the needs of Bay Area residents and we are thrilled the thoughtful, innovative designs of the Nuevo community have been recognized by such a prestigious organization,” said Robert Freed, President and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “We look forward to continuing to build and introduce exciting new communities to buyers in this competitive market.” E-State, designed to maximize space and density in the growing Santa Clara market, is a firstof- its-kind product type for Silicon Valley, boasting three- to four-bedroom single-family homes ranging from 2,462 to 2,990 square feet and featuring rooftop terraces and decks. The award-winning architectural and planning firm behind E-State, Woodley Architectural Group, Inc., was also honored. “Understanding the buyer is at the heart of what we do, and this acknowledgement from The Nationals is incredibly rewarding as it reflects our dedication to creating housing solutions that excite and exceed the expectations of buyers,” said Mike Woodley, President of Woodley Architectural Group, Inc. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the 27-acre community features a diverse collection of 868 homes, 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center dedicated to relaxation, health and wellness, dining and entertainment.

About SummerHill Homes
SummerHill Homes is a privately-owned home building company with a diverse portfolio of new home communities spanning the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. An entity of SummerHill Housing Group and one of eight companies founded by Marcus & Millichap

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SummerHill Homes Gains National Recognition For Design Of Nuevo In Santa Clara

Monday January 27th, 2020 PR Web


SummerHill Homes today announced the company was honored at The Nationals℠ 2020, the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) annual sales and marketing awards, with two Gold Awards for Nuevo, SummerHill Homes’ new urban town and residential community in Santa Clara. Most notably, the community’s innovative, four-story model home,  E-State, was awarded “Best Single-Family Detached Model Home 2,501 to  3,000 Square Feet”.

Decided by a distinguished panel of industry  leaders, The Nationals℠ is the NAHB’s most prestigious annual award  recognition, celebrating the best new home sales, marketing and design  in North America. Winners were announced during The Nationals Gala, held on January 21, 2020 in Las Vegas, where SummerHill Homes was honored  with two awards in the following categories:


Gold Awards:

  • Best Single-Family Detached Model Home 2,501 to 3,000 Square Feet – Plan 3 of the E-State collection, Nuevo (Santa Clara)
  • Best Sales/Leasing Center – Nuevo Sales Studio, Nuevo (Santa Clara)

“We take great pride in finding innovative solutions that meet the needs of Bay Area residents and we are thrilled the thoughtful, innovative designs of the Nuevo community have been recognized by such a prestigious organization,” said Robert Freed, President and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “We look forward to continuing tobuild and introduce exciting new communities to buyers in this competitive market.”


E-State, designed to maximize space and density in the growing Santa Clara market, is a first-of-its-kind product type for Silicon Valley, boasting three- to four-bedroom single-family homes ranging from 2,462 to 2,990 square feet and featuring rooftop terraces and decks.

The award-winning architectural and planning firm behind E-State, Woodley Architectural Group, Inc., was also honored.


“Understanding the buyer is at the heart of what we do, and this acknowledgement from The Nationals is incredibly rewarding as it reflects our dedication to creating housing solutions that excite and exceed the expectations of buyers,” said Mike Woodley, President of Woodley Architectural Group, Inc.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the 27-acre community features a diverse collection of 868 homes, 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center dedicated to relaxation, health and wellness, dining and entertainment.


For more information about current Nuevo homes available for sale, visit SummerHillHomes.com.

About SummerHill Homes
SummerHill Homes is a privately-owned home building company with a diverse portfolio of new home communities spanning the San Francisco BayArea and Southern California. An entity of SummerHill Housing Group and one of eight companies founded by Marcus & Millichap Company, SummerHill Homes is renowned for developing single-family detached homesand multi-family housing communities in flourishing markets throughout the state with a focus on craftmanship, quality and attention to detail.Since its inception in 1976, SummerHill Homes has brought to life more than 50 communities representingover 4,700 single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and apartments. For more information, visit http://www.summerhillhomes.com



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Why is the Peninsula so afraid of housing?

Friday October 25th, 2019 San Francisco Buisness Jourrnal

Why is the Peninsula so afraid of housing?
Even with job growth in overdrive, many residents continue to resist adding new housing in their communities.

By  – Reporter, San Francisco Business Times

Jordan Grimes remembers the first time he went to a San Mateo Planning Commission meeting to speak in support of a proposed apartment building near his home.
At the time, Grimes had moved in with his mother after facing a steep rent increase, so he figured building new housing was a good idea.
He was one of few supporters in the audience. Opponents numbered in the dozens, two of whom were so rowdy they had to be escorted out.
That was two years ago. Now Grimes helps lead Peninsula for Everyone, a group that advocates for more housing production. He has attended numerous public meetings for housing proposals where time and time again he sees residents line up to oppose new housing projects and often persuade elected officials to vote no.
It’s a big reason that only a paltry amount of housing has been built in the Peninsula amid explosive job growth. From 2010 to 2017, San Mateo County added 83,000 new jobs, but only 7,100 new housing units — a 12-to-1 ratio. Housing experts say that a 2-to-1 ratio is needed to keep housing costs in check and 1-to-1 means balanced.
At the same time, developers added 7.34 million square feet of new commercial space in San Mateo County from 2008 to 2018, according to Yardi Matrix, a real estate data company. That’s enough to house more than 30,000 workers.
“People for some reason are not able to connect that we’ve added lots of jobs and those people are not able to live here,” which means they commute and clog roadways, Grimes said. “People see new offices and they do not see new traffic. They see housing and they think, ‘Oh my god, there are going to be new people here.’”
Land use decisions are made at the city level, but economies function as a region, said Matt Regan, senior vice president of public policy for the Bay Area Council, a business advocacy group.
Some cities such as San Francisco create more jobs than housing, while other cities develop more as bedroom communities. The problem in the Bay Area as a whole is that bedroom communities are not keeping up with the jobs.
“It’s not a bad thing to have job centers,” he said. “We’re incredibly fortunate to be in the Bay Area, which is the epicenter of the world’s most productive economy. The problem we’re experiencing is we’re not growing to accommodate all of that opportunity.” 

Supporting the status quo
California’s property tax law, Prop. 13, creates an incentive for cities to favor commercial development over new housing because annual tax increases on homes are limited to 2% per year, and residents require lots of city services. Meanwhile, commercial development to house jobs generates revenue from sources such as payroll taxes, sales taxes, development fees and utility costs, while its occupants require fewer services.
But housing advocates say that biggest impediment to new housing comes from neighbors regularly fighting housing proposals.
“When office buildings get approved, they are in nonresidential areas, so they are divorced from residents’ immediate vicinity,” Regan said. “Residential buildings are proposed in residential areas, so people see an immediate impact and a potential impact to their lifestyle and that’s by and large the reason that housing developers have a much tougher time getting projects approved.”

Take Brisbane, for example. The city finally gave the green light for development of 2,200 homes on the Baylands site, a 684-acre former industrial site, rail yard and garbage dump. The plan also calls for 7 million square feet of new commercial development, which has the potential of accommodating tens of thousands of jobs.
For more than a decade, city leaders and residents rejected the notion of building any housing on the site, but the city finally agreed to allow half of the 4,400 homes developer Universal Paragon Corp. had proposed.

Not in my town
Jeff Regan (no relation to Matt Regan)is one of the people who shows up at council meetings to oppose housing projects. In 2015, he joined a group called Foster City Residents for Responsible Development to stop what he called too much housing development taking place in his city. The group has asked city leaders to halt new housing for a few years.

“The established residents are not getting the benefits of the new development. There’s more traffic, more overcrowded schools,” Regan said. He’s seen small businesses and industrial space demolished to make room for large office buildings and a few shopping centers were converted to housing, leaving residents without enough retail.
Other cities on the Peninsula have Caltrain, but Foster City doesn’t, he said. Bringing in more housing would only make the traffic worse, he said.
Regan moved to Foster City in 1969, but is now selling his house and has relocated to Moss Beach in part to get away from those ills.
“I should not have to be responsible for helping people from eastern Europe or east Asia or the east coast of the United States just because Facebook or Google or Apple want to hire them,” he said. “There’s only now an awakening that we should have paid more attention to office development.”

Some people may not want to admit it, but often the biggest concern is that additional housing will drag down property values of existing homes, said Rosanne Foust, head of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association.
But the result is that the existing housing stock is out of reach for many workers, who end up with two- to three-hour commutes.
“I would have thought that their child being priced out of where they grew up is a concern, but it doesn’t seem to bother them,” she said. “The arguments that we need equity and balance don’t seem to play well for the residents who already live here because they’ve all worked hard to live here and there is a fear that their nest egg can be impacted.”
The median home sale price in San Mateo County doubled to $1.24 million in August from about $612,000 in December 2010, according to real estate information website Zillow. Meanwhile, the median apartment rent shot up to $4,100 per month in September of this year from $3,200 in September 2010 — a 28 percent jump.
Despite the robust employment market and higher-than-ever rents in some cities, some projects no longer make financial sense because of rising construction costs.

“Job growth is one of the leading indicators we look at,” when determining where to build new projects, said Katia Kamangar, who leads new developments for SummerHill Homes and SummerHill Apartment Communities in Northern California, which is building hundreds of homes in Burlingame, San Bruno and South San Francisco. In theory, the Peninsula would be an ideal place to build, but “in order to start a project and get capital, you need to have a certain margin and the margin has gotten squeezed.”
An effective way for cities to ensure housing is built is to establish neighborhood-specific plans that set out development guidelines and provide environmental analysis for new development, which can save developers time and money on new projects. Cities such as South San Francisco and Redwood City established those types of plans to upzone areas near train stations.
Putting housing near transit helps reduce traffic, Kamangar said, noting that such housing is often multifamily rental that isn’t near single-family neighborhoods,.
“Most of the housing that gets on the Peninsula is near transit and it’s a cliche, but it’s smart planning,” she said. “Many residents will take public transit because it gets them to their jobs faster and with less stress.”

Squeezed out
Even those who are comfortably housed are starting to feel the effects of the housing shortage, said housing advocate Grimes.
“On Nextdoor, people were losing their minds that Safeway only had two checkers during peak time,” he said. “There are for-hire signs in all the retail stores because literally the service industry cannot afford to live here.”
He’s optimistic that state legislation could help usher in more housing in the future. As for himself, he’s not sure where he will be in five years and is convinced he likely won’t ever be able to buy his own home in San Mateo. His childhood home is now worth about $1.5 million — 10 times what his parents paid in the late 1980s. In the meantime, he will continue going to public meetings and try to educate his neighbors.

“I want to have as great of an impact as I can while I’m here,” he said. “Other people have it much worse off than I do. I want to make sure things start moving in the right direction and to a large extent they are.”

Fear and loathing in San Bruno
Over the summer, the under-the-radar city of San Bruno made headlines after a proposal to build 425 homes on the site of a dated strip center died by one vote after an hourslong City Council meeting.
City staff and the Planning Commission had all recommended final approval for the project, which Signature Development had been working on for three years. With two of five council members recused, a single “no” deprived it of the three-vote majority needed to move forward.
The rejection was seen as an alarming example of local control going too far and evidence that the public process for approving housing projects is too political.
Meanwhile, as Signature was pushing its proposal through the process, the city has been working hand in hand with YouTube to establish a growth plan for up to 2.46 million square feet of new office space and 573 homes.
Darcy Smith, San Bruno’s community and economic development director, said the first phase of YouTube’s new campus, a 440,000-square-foot office building, is expected to go before the council this spring and could start construction this summer.
“In San Bruno, we want to be as balanced of a community as possible to allow people to live and work in the same city if they choose,” Smith said. “That would reduce vehicle trips and commute times and miles driven.”
The project is the only commercial development in the city’s pipeline. The first phase would generate space for some 2,000 or so employees — which would need far more housing than the the master plan calls for.
Mike Ghielmetti, head of Signature Development, said while the proposal is essentially dead, his firm continues working with the city to devise a new plan for the site and agreed not to sue the city over its failure to approve a code-compliant proposal.
“San Bruno in general has good proximity to jobs and this location has great proximity to transit and major arterials,” he said. “We like the location. We just want to find a path forward that is mutually agreeable with all parties.”



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SummerHill Homes Debuts First Phase of 'Urban Town' in Santa Clara, Calif

Thursday September 12th, 2019 Builder

SummerHill Homes has announced the start of new home sales for the first phase of Nuevo, a $995 million “urban town” and residential community in Santa Clara, Calif. The San Ramon, Calif.-based builder unveiled seven new model homes at the Nuevo’s grand opening last weekend, which includes the new four-story “E-states” home collection.

Nuevo will offer 868 living spaces total, including 537 apartments and 331 for-sale units across three product types: 176 Terraces, 114 E-Towns, and 41 E-States. The 27-acre community will also offer 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of parks, a community garden, and a 4,000-square-foot community center.

Prices across all for-sale homes will range from $1.1 million to $2 million. The Terraces will offer two- to four-bedroom flats and townhomes, starting at approximately 1,268 square feet. The E-Towns will range from three- to four-bedroom townhomes starting at 1,841 square feet, and the E-states will range from three- to four-bedroom single-family homes, ranging from 2,462 to 2,990 square feet.

All residences feature contemporary design aesthetics, decks, and attached two-car garages or carports, with rooftop terraces on select homes.

“Nuevo introduces buyers to a unique opportunity in Silicon Valley, where town homes and single-family homes maximize living space while offering close proximity to the Bay Area’s major employers, transportation hubs, retail and entertainment, ” says Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “Thanks to the burgeoning tech industry, the Bay Area remains one of the nation’s leading markets for home buyers and Santa Clara is the ideal location for the residential, retail, recreational and entertainment destinations Nuevo will create.”

Nuevo will also feature a 126-unit condominium building developed by Toll Brothers, which will offer one to two bedroom units ranging from 656 to 1,266 square feet.

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First Four-Story Homes Come to Silicon Valley

Wednesday September 4th, 2019 Globe St.

SANTA CLARA, CA—The $950 million Nuevo is a new mixed-use community and residential project developed by SummerHill Homes. Nuevo features 868 new homes and seven new model homes, including models for the E-States (the market’s first four-story homes), which will be introduced in an unveiling event this weekend.

Nuevo will also feature 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center dedicated to relaxation, health and wellness, dining and entertainment. Prospective homebuyers are invited to tour Nuevo’s model homes on September 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 3505 Kifer Rd.

“Nuevo introduces buyers to a unique opportunity in Silicon Valley, where townhomes and single-family homes maximize living space while offering close proximity to the Bay Area’s major employers, transportation hubs, retail and entertainment,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “Thanks to the burgeoning tech industry, the Bay Area remains one of the nation’s leading markets for homebuyers and Santa Clara is the ideal location for the residential, retail, recreational and entertainment destinations Nuevo will create.”

Spanning 868 homes including 537 apartments, 176 Terraces, 114 E-Towns and 41 E-States, Nuevo will resemble an integrated urban community in the Santa Clara neighborhood. Ranging from 1,268 to 2,990 square feet, Nuevo has a variety of homes and floorplans from which homebuyers can choose. Each residence features a deck and attached two-car garage or carport, and select homes will offer rooftop terraces. Of the three for-sale product lines, homes will range in price from the high $1.1 millions to the low $2 millions.

The Terraces will offer two- to four-bedroom flats and townhomes starting at approximately 1,268 square feet with decks. The E-Towns will feature three- to four-bedroom townhomes starting at approximately 1,841 square feet offering rooftop terraces and decks. The E-States will boast three- to four-bedroom single-family homes ranging from approximately 2,462 to 2,990 square feet featuring rooftop terraces and decks.

The project will also feature a 126-unit condominium building being developed by Toll Brothers. The condominiums will offer one- to two-bedroom floorplans ranging from approximately 656 to 1,266 square feet.

Across its 27 acres, Nuevo features curated amenities for wellness and community engagement, and accommodate residents’ unique hobbies and interests. Homeowners will enjoy outdoor spaces, an expansive community center, dog park, bike paths throughout the community, turf areas for yoga and soccer, basketball courts, neighborhood-serving retail, movie-in-the-park events, picnic tables and a children’s playground. Residents will also have access to outdoor reading rooms, electric vehicle charging stations and a community garden.

Less than a mile from Caltrain, Nuevo will provide access to the surrounding Bay Area, as well as access to San Jose International Airport, Santa Clara University, Levi’s Stadium, retail destinations including Valley Fair and Santana Row, and attractions such as Great America.

Nuevo homes are currently available for sale with first move-ins anticipated in late 2019. Pricing and square footage for Nuevo’s one- and two-bedroom apartments will be announced in fall 2019.

Santa Clara is home to several blue-chip companies including Intel, McAfee, Dell, NVIDIA, Palo Alto Networks, Applied Materials, Texas Instruments and Arista Networks, and is adjacent to Sunnyvale, San Jose, Mountain View and Cupertino, which are home to Apple, Google, Facebook, Cisco, Amazon Lab 126 and Symantec.

“This year, Zillow named San Jose one of the hottest housing markets for the second year in a row and its bordering cities including Santa Clara are riding the wave of this trending area,” Freed tells GlobeSt.com. “As interest rates continue to decrease, igniting a flood of Bay Area transplants to enter the market, San Francisco and Silicon Valley are experiencing unprecedented growth as the areas face a housing shortage challenge.”

Furthermore, Freed says the community meets the following needs─

Everything all in one place: Nuevo traverses beyond a masterplan and offers 868 homes, 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center.

Maximizing space for homebuyers and city planners: To combat the Bay Area’s housing shortage, SummerHill is identifying new ways to create higher density with its unique four-story single-family homes, E-States, while not compromising on living space.

Ditching cars for transit-oriented homes: The 27-acre site of Nuevo lies adjacent to the Lawrence Station served by Caltrain to promote walking instead of freeway congestion.

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Endangered Bay Area species: the new home

Wednesday September 4th, 2019 Mercury News

Daniel Huang and his wife, Cathy, were looking to downsize from their three-bedroom house in the East Bay. Their children had moved out, and the couple wanted something new.

They hunted for months and finally bought a two-bedroom condo under construction in a Fremont development called the Locale at State Street. For slightly less than $800,000, their 1,200-square-foot unit came with the modern appliances and features they sought. “The hardest thing for us,” Huang said, “was waiting.”

The couple is part of an endangered species — owners of a new Bay Area home.

In a region of more than 7 million people, just 266 new homes, townhomes and condos were sold in January. It was the lowest number of monthly new home sales in at least two decades, according to an analysis for this news organization by real estate data firm CoreLogic. The slump has continued into the summer — new home sales in July were off 9 percent from the previous year. The region is on pace for its lowest number of new home sales since 2011.

Put simply, developers — burdened by high land costs, local regulations and scarce labor — are building far fewer new homes.

In previous economic booms, residential construction has flourished in the nine-county region. Not this time.

“It’s certainly not lack of demand,” said Paul Campos of the Bay Area Building Industry Association. Homebuyers are looking for both new suburban developments and higher-density redevelopment. “There’s tremendous demand for both types of housing.”

New home sales have fallen to record lows, according to an analysis of CoreLogic sales data since 2000. The number of new home sales in the nine-county Bay Area peaked at about 1,800 in December 2004, while the monthly average was around 840 sales. In July, Bay Area developers sold 490 new homes and condos.

An average month for existing home sales is about 5,800 transactions, with a high of around 11,160 sales coming in June 2004, according to proprietary CoreLogic data. Overall sales fell 2.2 percent year-over-year in July, to 7,404 homes.


Since the start of a record run-up in median home prices, new home prices have escalated faster than existing homes. Between April 2012 and April 2019, median new home prices rose 135 percent, while existing home prices rose 112 percent. The median sale price for a new Bay Area home in April was $969,000; the median price for a resale home was $900,000, according to CoreLogic.


In the last decade, San Jose has added roughly three times as many jobs as houses, condos and apartments, according to a recent analysis by Apartment List. San Francisco and the East Bay added about 3.5 jobs for every housing unit during the same period.

The Bay Area’s imbalance between new jobs and new housing is the most pronounced in the country. Apartment List housing economist Chris Salviati said a healthy ratio of jobs-to-housing permits is about 2-to-1. He called the Bay Area numbers “pretty severely out-of-whack.”

And the housing deficit could grow worse. Permits for residential construction in California fell 16 percent in 2018-19 from the previous 12-month cycle, according to an analysis by the Public Policy Institute of California. Permits dropped nearly 50 percent in San Mateo County, 30 percent in Alameda County, almost 10 percent in Santa Clara County and 7 percent in Contra Costa County.

Zillow senior economist Issi Romem said the housing backlog began decades ago and has worsened in the Bay Area as cities have imposed “an even heavier blanket of local land use policy.”

Elected leaders in several Bay Area cities have fought large residential developments and favored commercial projects, which typically bring more tax revenue and less demand for services such as schools, police and infrastructure. Long-time residents often are wary of increased traffic and changing community demographics.

With a shrinking supply of land to develop, contractors turn to redeveloping existing structures as so-called in-fill housing. This redevelopment is typically more expensive, encumbered by environmental and zoning restrictions and slower to come to market.

Tony Yaconelli, owner of Pacific Builders in Willow Glen, does two or three custom homes a year. Yaconelli, in business since 1982, said demand is strong.

He focuses on properties in Monte Sereno, Los Gatos and Saratoga. Municipal planners and inspectors know his work, and Pacific Builders can move efficiently through the regulatory process, he said.

He’s had “exceptional clients” from other Silicon Valley cities request projects. But he’s turned down the work, knowing local regulations can stretch budgets and add up to a year on a project’s timeline. “If they’re saying ‘no’ at every level,” he said, “it’s a nightmare.”

Katia Kamangar, executive vice president at SummerHill Homes, said although the overall real estate market has cooled from last year’s record highs, buyers are still attracted to ready-to-move-in homes. A new build means a family doesn’t have to go through a costly and long remodel.

SummerHill Homes built the Locale at State Street in Fremont, a mix of condos and townhomes near transit on a redeveloped property. It’s the company’s sweet spot — building in-fill homes in existing neighborhoods near rail stations.

It takes about three years from the purchase of a property to having single-family homes built and move-in ready, she said. The local approval and construction process for condos can take up to five years.

One property in Los Gatos, fraught with neighborhood and city opposition, has taken more than four decades to develop.

“The cycle time is pretty long,” Kamangar said. “A lot can happen in that time. And it does.”

The Huangs moved into the Locale in early July. They have no regrets, Daniel Huang said, and the few minor fixes were handled quickly by the developer. “It meets all our expectations.”

Other units still under construction in the development, a SummerHill agent said, have been selling briskly.

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Initial Deliveries Unveiled at SummerHill’s $950M Santa Clara MXU

Tuesday September 3rd, 2019 Connect.California

SummerHill Homes has unveiled its residential properties at Nuevo, a new 27-acre urban town and residential community in Santa Clara, CA. The $950-million mixed-use project in the heart of Silicon Valley encompasses 868 homes, including 537 apartments, 176 Terraces, 114 E-Towns and 41 E-States.

SummerHill’s Robert Freed says, “Nuevo introduces buyers to a unique opportunity in Silicon Valley, where townhomes and single-family homes maximize living space, while offering close proximity to the Bay Area’s major employers, transportation hubs, retail and entertainment.”

The integrated urban community includes a diverse collection of housing, along with 24,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center dedicated to relaxation, health and wellness, dining and entertainment. The project will also feature a 126-unit condominium building being developed by Toll Brothers.

Nuevo homes are currently available for sale, with first move-ins anticipated late this year.

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A Modern Hillside Collection of Residences Takes Design Cues from Restoration Hardware

Monday July 8th, 2019 Dwell

Tucked into the rolling hillside of Moraga just northeast of San Francisco, a new contemporary collection of homes at Bellavista draws in homebuying hopefuls with its Restoration Hardware allure. Created by privately-owned California homebuilder SummerHill Homes, Bellavista comprises 27 modern single-family homes featuring furnishings and fixtures from Restoration Hardware along with dedicated Flex Spaces, which allow buyers to personalize their home.

Spanning one- and two-story floor plans, Bellavista’s single-family homes offer four- to six-bedrooms and range from approximately 3,131 to 4,813 square feet. Designed with open and bright floorplans accentuated by soaring ceiling heights, these lofty homes boast rooms that flex in size and layout to grow throughout the years with their owners. With California rooms and additional indoor-outdoor space designed to act as natural extensions of the home, Bellavista homes allow residents to tailor the character of each room to their own tastes, whether it’s a man cave later transformed into a nursery, or a library reimagined into an art gallery. Homeowners are also invited to customize their homes through the SummerHill Homes Design Gallery, which showcases a range of the latest designer fixtures and finishes.

With sleek angles and form, each room showcases stunning details to create a tastefully elegant home. Perfect for entertaining, the kitchen is accentuated with a spacious two-toned island, a geometric gold-accented backsplash and navy-meets-copper bespeckled tile. Through the fold-away doors lies a striking outdoor living room laden with rich, natural textures and vibrant greenery creating a tranquil escape. These homes also offer a spacious main gathering room with a luxe electric fireplace and a grand, elegant master bedroom further perfecting each mountain-view estate.

Due to its unique location perched along a dramatic hillside with unparalleled views of Mt. Diablo, each customizable home in this community meets the high demand for personalized suburban living. Less than 30 minutes away from Berkeley and just 20 minutes from Walnut Creek, Bellavista is tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life, yet still within close proximity to some of the Bay Area’s best schools, employers, entertainment and transportation. Bellavista homes are currently available starting from the low $2,000,000s.

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Developer aims for over 250 homes in Burlingame

Tuesday May 14th, 2019 San Francisco Business Times

A prolific multifamily developer has heeded Burlingame’s call for new housing.

SummerHill Homes has proposed a 265-unit apartment complex at 1 and 45 Adrian Ct., located on the edge of the city about a half mile from the Millbrae Caltrain and BART station.

Instead of the historically industrial uses that have dominated the city’s edge, the city recently rezoned the area for a mix of housing and retail. The project is intended to set the tone for development in the surrounding area, said Elaine Breeze, SummerHill’s vice president of development. The Planning Commission reviewed the site for the first time this week.

“We’re the first project, and we’ve provided the elements the city is looking for in the new neighborhood — publicly accessible parks, public plazas, an affordable housing element," Breeze said.

Encompassing about 2.8 acres between Rollins Road and Adrian Road, the site is surrounded by commercial uses like an industrial catering company and storage buildings. To blend in with the surrounding industrial vibe, the proposal calls for a “contemporary, urban feel” consisting of two buildings up to five stories, along with 3,700 square feet of commercial space, a public plaza and dog park, various seating areas, rooftop terraces and bicycle parking. Most of the units would be one-bedrooms, with about 38 of designated as affordable. Seidel Architects designed the project.

Still, building a residential neighborhood from scratch presents challenges, said Burlingame Community Development Director Kevin Gardiner. The city will kick off another specific plan for the area to create development targets for typical neighborhood amenities like retail and grocery stores.

“My guess is the SummerHill project will be right out the gate and will look a little strange as the very first project — it’ll have some amenities for residents, but until there’s comparable developments in the area, it’ll seem a little odd,” Gardiner said.

Burlingame has about 30,000 people and in recent years has explored ways to upzone around transit. The city is nestled between San Mateo and Millbrae, pulling commuters both from the Peninsula and San Francisco, as well as the airport.

SummerHill hopes to pull in folks from all of those populations for its new development, as well as those who work in Burlingame's own commercial sector. Closer to downtown, the company has another 268 apartments and 22 townhouses under construction at 1028 Carolan Ave. That project should wrap up by summer of 2020.

The developer is not alone in eyeing the city: Hanover Co. recently proposed 150 homes at 1095 Rollins Rd., while Fore Property Co. plans to break ground this quarter on 128 apartments near Caltrain.

SummerHill doesn't have immediate plans for other sites in Burlingame, but the company is always looking, Breeze said.

“We’re always excited to work in Burlingame — as a city it has great access to Caltrain and jobs,” Breeze said.

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SummerHill Homes' Bellavista Recognized at Bay Area Building Industry Association's "Excellence in Home Building" Awards

Thursday May 9th, 2019 Construction Dive

Moraga Development Awarded “Best Interior Merchandising of a Detached Model Priced Over $1.5 Million” Honor

San Ramon, Calif. (May 8, 2019) – SummerHill Homes is pleased to announce that Bellavista was named “Best Interior Merchandising of a Detached Model Priced Over $1.5 Million” at the 2019 Bay Area Building Industry Association’s “Excellence in Home Building” Awards. In addition, SummerHill Homes placed as a finalist in one architectural design and three marketing and design categories. Honoring the best in the production of quality homes, the “Excellence in Home Building” Awards celebrate Northern California’s most distinguished builders and developers.

“We are honored to accept this award from the industry’s most respected organization,” said Robert Freed, President and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “Bellavista is a very unique project and we worked hard to give each home a custom-made feel with our designs, finishes and unique spaces. To have this highly-anticipated community recognized and embraced by the Building Industry Association is beyond fulfilling.”

Nestled in the rolling hillside of Moraga, California, Bellavista offers a diverse collection of 27 one- and two-story single-family homes, each with scenic panoramic views of Mt. Diablo. Situated on half-acre lots, the four- to five-bedroom homes are either one-story with spacious horizontal layouts or two-stories and boast approximately 3,131 to 4,813 square feet of living space. Bellavista homes feature contemporary designs with high-quality construction and finishes, ceiling heights reaching up to 12 feet, and Flex Spaces and California Rooms created to act as natural extensions of the living areas. Located in the East Bay, Bellavista introduces suburban living with convenient access to a variety of the Bay Area’s top-rated schools, major employers, retail and entertainment and transit options.

Bellavista homes are currently available for sale with first move-ins currently getting underway.


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SummerHill Homes Announces Robust Sales at Locale @ State Street in Fremont

Wednesday March 13th, 2019 Construction Dive

Downtown Fremont’s First Mixed-Use Development Witnesses Strong Sales Absorption

San Ramon, CA (March 11, 2019)– SummerHill Homes, a privately-owned California homebuilder, has announced 40 percent sold in residential real estate sales at Locale @ State Street, the first mixed-use project in downtown Fremont, California. Located within walking distance of the Fremont BART station, Locale will offer 157 residential units including 76 attached Rowhomes and 81 Condos as part of a larger effort to revitalize Fremont’s downtown area with new housing, retail and office space. Since launching sales, half of the Rowhome inventory has been swept off the market and 30 percent of the Condo inventory has been sold.  

“The Fremont region is increasingly attracting first-time homebuyers, millennials and empty nesters who value proximity to major transportation hubs and our success at Locale @ State Street is a testament to the demand for centralized, urban living in Silicon Valley,” said Robert Freed, President and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “The demand for new construction homes in the area has been clearly evidenced by the fact that a large portion of our sales to date have occurred without the benefit of having model residences for homebuyers to tour, which is often a critical step in the homebuying journey.

At the epicenter of the rapidly-growing East Bay market, Locale @ State Street offers a convenient, centralized location, making it an ideal community for those who seek easy access to the surrounding Bay Area. Designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning, each home at Locale @ State Street was conceived with the modern resident in mind, with contemporary designs unique to each floorplan and premier fixtures and finishes, including stainless steel appliances, contemporary carpet, decorative, geometric tiling and open layouts. The two residence types available include:

The attached Rowhomes will offer three-to four-bedroom residences ranging from approximately 1,400 to 2,000 square feet. Pricing begins in the low $900,000s.

The Condos will feature 14 two-story Paseo Townhomes, 25 two- and three-story Capitol Townhomes and 42 one-story Flats with private patio spaces per plan. The Condos will have one- to four-bedroom residences ranging from approximately 728 to 2,673 square feet. Pricing begins in the low $600,000s.

Amenities for the condominium residences include outdoor spaces with barbecue kitchen islands, trellis shade canopies, lush landscaping and seating areas for residents to gather, as well as a sleek fitness studio. The community will also consist of 21,000 square feet of street-front retail and restaurant space directly along Capitol Avenue, creating a vibrant, urban experience.

Located in the heart of Fremont’s downtown district, Locale @ State Street boasts a central location ideal for commuters. The modern community will be situated less than a mile from the BART station, granting future residents easy access to nearby San Francisco. With a high walkability score of 85, Locale is also in close proximity to the 450-acre Fremont Central Park, Ohlone College, Fremont Hub and in walking distance of the city’s developing downtown community center and public plaza. Locale homeowners are within a short driving distance to notable Fremont employers such as Facebook, Kaiser Medical and Washington Hospital. As the fourth largest city in the Bay Area and emerging go-to location for homebuyers, Fremont is also home to the principal production Tesla facility and numerous consumer technology production companies including Antec Inc. and Corsair Memory.

Rowhome model residences are currently available to tour, and model units of the Condos will open in spring 2019. The first Rowhomes residents moved in winter 2018, and Condo residents are scheduled to begin moving in spring 2019, with full project completion anticipated in winter 2019. 

For more information, visit SummerHillHomes.com.

About SummerHill Homes

SummerHill Homes is a privately-owned home building company with a diverse portfolio of new home communities spanning the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. An entity of SummerHill Housing Group and one of eight companies founded by Marcus & Millichap Company, SummerHill Homes is renowned for developing single-family detached homes and multi-family housing communities in flourishing markets throughout the state with a focus on craftmanship, quality and attention to detail. Since its inception in 1976, SummerHill Homes has brought to life more than 50 communities representing over 4,700 single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and apartments. For more information, visit www.summerhillhomes.com

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SummerHill Homes Announces Robust Sales at Locale @ State Street in Fremont

Tuesday March 12th, 2019 The Registry

Downtown Fremont’s First Mixed-Use Development Witnesses Strong Sales Absorption

WATCH DRONE AERIAL VIDEO HERE

San Ramon, CA (March 11, 2019) – SummerHill Homes, a privately-owned California homebuilder, has announced 40 percent sold in residential real estate sales at Locale @ State Street, the first mixed-use project in downtown Fremont, California. Located within walking distance of the Fremont BART station, Locale will offer 157 residential units including 76 attached Rowhomes and 81 Condos as part of a larger effort to revitalize Fremont’s downtown area with new housing, retail and office space. Since launching sales, half of the Rowhome inventory has been swept off the market and 30 percent of the Condo inventory has been sold.

“The Fremont region is increasingly attracting first-time homebuyers, millennials and empty nesters who value proximity to major transportation hubs and our success at Locale @ State Street is a testament to the demand for centralized, urban living in Silicon Valley,” said Robert Freed, President and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “The demand for new construction homes in the area has been clearly evidenced by the fact that a large portion of our sales to date have occurred without the benefit of having model residences for homebuyers to tour, which is often a critical step in the homebuying journey.”

At the epicenter of the rapidly-growing East Bay market, Locale @ State Street offers a convenient, centralized location, making it an ideal community for those who seek easy access to the surrounding Bay Area. Designed by KTGY Architecture + Planning, each home at Locale @ State Street was conceived with the modern resident in mind, with contemporary designs unique to each floorplan and premier fixtures and finishes, including stainless steel appliances, contemporary carpet, decorative, geometric tiling and open layouts. The two residence types available include:

  • The attached Rowhomes will offer three- to four-bedroom residences ranging from approximately 1,400 to 2,000 square feet. Pricing begins in the low $900,000s.
  • The Condos will feature 14 two-story Paseo Townhomes, 25 two- and three-story Capitol Townhomes and 42 one-story Flats with private patio spaces per plan. The Condos will have one- to four-bedroom residences ranging from approximately 728 to 2,673 square feet. Pricing begins in the low $600,000s.

Amenities for the condominium residences include outdoor spaces with barbecue kitchen islands, trellis shade canopies, lush landscaping and seating areas for residents to gather, as well as a sleek fitness studio. The community will also consist of 21,000 square feet of street-front retail and restaurant space directly along Capitol Avenue, creating a vibrant, urban experience.

Located in the heart of Fremont’s downtown district, Locale @ State Street boasts a central location ideal for commuters. The modern community will be situated less than a mile from the BART station, granting future residents easy access to nearby San Francisco. With a high walkability score of 85, Locale is also in close proximity to the 450-acre Fremont Central Park, Ohlone College, Fremont Hub and in walking distance of the city’s developing downtown community center and public plaza. Locale homeowners are within a short driving distance to notable Fremont employers such as Facebook, Kaiser Medical and Washington Hospital. As the fourth largest city in the Bay Area and emerging go-to location for homebuyers, Fremont is also home to the principal production Tesla facility and numerous consumer technology production companies including Antec Inc. and Corsair Memory.

Rowhome model residences are currently available to tour, and model units of the Condos will open in spring 2019. The first Rowhomes residents moved in winter 2018, and Condo residents are scheduled to begin moving in spring 2019, with full project completion anticipated in winter 2019.For more information, visit  www.summerhillhomes.com

About SummerHill Homes

SummerHill Homes is a privately-owned home building company with a diverse portfolio of new home communities spanning the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. An entity of SummerHill Housing Group and one of eight companies founded by Marcus & Millichap Company, SummerHill Homes is renowned for developing single-family detached homes and multi-family housing communities in flourishing markets throughout the state with a focus on craftmanship, quality and attention to detail. Since its inception in 1976, SummerHill Homes has brought to life more than 50 communities representing over 4,700 single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and apartments. For more information, visit www.summerhillhomes.com

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SummerHill Homes Unveils 868-Home MPC in Heart of Silicon Valley

Thursday March 7th, 2019 Connect California

San Ramon, CA-based SummerHill Homes launched sales at Nuevo, a new urban town and residential community in Santa Clara, CA. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the project will feature a diverse collection of 868 homes, 25,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center.


The residential components include 537 apartments, 176 terraces, 114 E-towns and 41 E-states. Nuevo will resemble an integrated urban community, and will also feature a 126-unit condominium building being developed by Toll Brothers.


SummerHill Homes recently secured two construction loans from Wells Fargo for Nuevo totaling more than $266 million. The first move-ins at the project are anticipated in late 2019.

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SummerHill Kicks Off Sales For Nuevo Development

Wednesday March 6th, 2019 THE SILICON VALLEY VOICE

With construction on a large housing development in full swing at 3505 Kifer Road in Santa Clara, Bay Area-based SummerHill Homes has also commenced home sales. The project occupies 27 acres of land within the Lawrence Station Specific Plan area, and once complete will boost the City’s housing supply with a total of 868 new residences. Referred to as a “new urban town” by the developer, Nuevo will also have 24,000 square feet of community-oriented retail and restaurant space, and a community garden. Other amenities, for residents and members of the public alike, are six acres of open space and a 4,000 square foot community center.

Nuevo residents and visitors of the parks and community center spaces can expect outdoor movies to be featured as well as a children’s playground, sports turf, picnic tables, sports court, bike path, bike share pods, outdoor reading rooms and electric vehicle charging stations.

“With so much land there was an opportunity to make this a complete urban town with passive spaces for relaxation and a wide range of uses,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill. “It allowed us to create an environment where people will want to spend time.”

The housing comes in several forms. Two apartment buildings contain 537 one and two-bedroom units, of which 98 are reserved as below-market-rate affordable. Other residential types in Nuevo include 41 four-story single family homes with rooftop terraces and decks, 114 three to four-story townhomes also with rooftop terraces and decks, and 176 two to three-story townhomes equipped with decks. Prices for the for-sale homes start at $1.2 million.

“Nuevo has a great variety of products — both for-sale and rental, which will attract a broad range of residents,” said Freed. “It will be a vibrant community with parks, retail and amenities in close proximity to existing retail, big employers and public transportation. It’s an outstanding example of urban infill development that will reduce the amount of time residents spend commuting while living in a vibrant spot. There’s nothing on the scale of this project in the Bay Area.”

All of the infrastructure construction work for Nuevo is already complete and vertical construction has begun on the for-sale homes, with model homes expected to open in late spring; the first homeowners could move in as early as late summer. One of the apartment buildings is also under construction, with occupancy anticipated in about 18 months. The open space areas and community center will be complete by year’s end, said Freed.

The project will also feature a 126-unit condo building on land that SummerHill sold to Toll Brothers to develop. The units will be one and two-bedrooms ranging from 656 to 1,266 square feet.

Freed said that SummerHill’s core business strategy for over 40 years has been to focus on urban infill development, and when the company learned that the City of Santa Clara was in the early stages of coming up with a development plan for the area around Lawrence Station, it was viewed as a strong development opportunity because of the proximity to jobs. According to Andrew Crabtree, director of community development for the City, SummerHill representatives were active participants in the development of the Lawrence Station Specific Plan, which was adopted toward the end of 2016.

 “Overall we’re happy that the project has a lot of amenities and a range of different product types,” said Crabtree. “We’re also pleased with the high density apartment component.”

By Jacob Bourne

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Buyers Not Deterred By $2 Million Price Tag On Homes In New Santa Clara Housing Development

Monday February 18th, 2019 CBS SF Bay Area

SANTA CLARA (KPIX) – A big new housing development in Santa Clara is getting a lot of attention from buyers, even though new houses start at $2,000,000. Construction crews have barely started building Summerhill Homes “Nuevo” development, but they are selling fast. “We’ve sold 20 homes since we opened the doors in 30 days,so it’s the price point of what people expect in Silicon Valley,” said Natalie Viviani a sales manager for Summerhill Homes. Ranju Gupta Phelan came out with her family to look for a possible purchase. For her the location in central Santa Clara on Lawrence Expressway is ideal. “It’s near the employers, close to a lot of arteries going north and south,” Phelan said. The development is huge. Over a thousand homes, condos and apartments will be built providing badly needed housing all within a half-mile walk of a Caltrain station. “Santa Clara was looking for a place to put housing and where it made the most sense for them was near transit,” said Katia Kamangar, a Summerhill Homes Vice President. Sales started up in January with price tags ranging from $1.2 million for a townhome to over $2 million for a single-family home which is practically wall-to-wall with its neighbors. It’s all built on what was an aging light industrial neighborhood now flipped to residential. “We just don’t see developments like this almost ever anymore because there is just frankly no place to put them,” said Rick Smith, a long time Silicon Valley real estate broker. Smith says compared to what two million buys in other areas, there are some compromises here. “Some of the downsides are you are going to be pretty densely populated in that specific area,” he said. But that doesn’t seem to bother prospective buyers, who are most interested in cutting their commutes. “It’s quality of life at the end of the day, if you are going to commute an hour-and-a-half each way, there goes your quality of life,” said Ms. Gupta Phelan. The development will include about 400 apartments, about 90 of which are set aside for below-market rate rents.

Watch news clip and full article here: KPIXCBS SF BAY AREA


 


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SummerHill Homes Launches Public Sales at Nuevo in Santa Clara, California

Wednesday February 13th, 2019 Construction Dive

San Ramon, Calif. (February 12, 2019) – SummerHill Homes, a privately-owned California homebuilder, has announced the launch of sales at Nuevo, a new urban town and residential community in Santa Clara, California. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Nuevo will feature a diverse collection of 868 homes, 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, six acres of new parks, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center. Nuevo marks the ninth community in California under development within SummerHill Homes’ portfolio and one of the largest residential projects underway in Silicon Valley.

“We feel incredibly excited to introduce a new vibrant town in such premier location,” said Robert Freed, President and CEO of SummerHill Homes. “Located in the global center of technology, Nuevo will cater to the needs of the modern homebuyer by meeting the growing demand for centrally located housing in close proximity to major job centers, entertainment and retail.

Comprised of 868 homes, including 537 Apartments, 176 Terraces, 114 E-Towns and 41 E-States, Nuevo will resemble an integrated urban community in the flourishing Silicon Valley area of Santa Clara.

With spacious floor plans and a modern design aesthetic, the thoughtfully designed residences will also feature attached two-car garages or carports. Nuevo will consist of the following:

The Terraces will offer two- to four-bedroom flats and townhomes ranging in size from approximately 1,268 to 2,229 square feet with decks. Pricing will begin at approximately at $1,200,000.

The E-Towns will feature three- to four-bedroom townhomes ranging in size from approximately 1,841 to 2,259 square feet offering rooftop terraces and decks. Pricing will begin at approximately $1,600,000.

The E-States will boast three- to four-bedroom single-family homes ranging from approximately 2,462 to 2,990 square feet featuring rooftop terraces and decks. Pricing will begin in the low $2,000,000s.

The Apartments will have one- to two-bedroom floor plans. Pricing and square footage will be announced soon.

The project will also feature a 126-unit condominium building being developed by award-winning luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers. The condominiums will offer 1-2-bedroom floorplans ranging from approximately 656 to 1,266 square feet. “We are honored that Toll Brothers chose to partner with us and introduce one of their signature, high-end developments into this dynamic community,” added Freed. “With a portfolio that spans the United States, their involvement with Nuevo truly showcases their confidence in the Silicon Valley real estate market and we are thrilled to have them be a part of the project.”

Future residents will enjoy amenity spaces and daily programming that cater to their unique interests. Dedicated to fostering community engagement, Nuevo will offer a community center, dog park, bike paths throughout the community, turf areas for yoga and soccer, basketball courts, neighborhood- serving retail, movie-in-the-park events, picnic tables and a children’s playground. Residents will also have access to outdoor reading rooms, electric vehicle charging stations and a community garden.

Located less than a mile from Caltrain, Nuevo will provide convenient access to the surrounding Bay Area, as well as close proximity to San Jose International Airport, Santa Clara University, Levi’s Stadium, retail destinations including Valley Fair and Santana Row, and family-friendly attractions such as Great America. Additionally, Santa Clara is home to several blue-chip companies including Intel, McAfee, Dell and Arista Networks and is adjacent to the growing tech hubs of Sunnyvale, San Jose and Cupertino, which serve as home to Apple, Google, Cisco and Symantec, among others.

“Silicon Valley continues to lead the Bay Area’s tech boom with four times more tech occupancy than San Francisco and with new companies moving into the area and existing companies expanding their footprint, the demand for high-quality new construction housing will only continue to rise,” said Chris Neighbor, Chief Operating Officer at SummerHill Homes. “We realized a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a community that would act as a natural extension of the region’s already vibrant atmosphere complemented by Nuevo’s vast outdoor spaces for socializing and entertaining and diverse options for urban living.”

SummerHill Homes recently secured two construction loans from Wells Fargo for Nuevo totaling more than $266 million which will be instrumental as construction progresses on the community. SummerHill Homes will unveil six model residences across the Terraces, E-Towns and E-States product types in spring 2019 with first move-ins anticipated in late 2019. The community parks are scheduled for completion in late 2019 with the community center anticipated to open in spring 2020.

For more information, visit SummerHillHomes.com

About SummerHill Homes

SummerHill Homes is a privately-owned home building company with a diverse portfolio of new home communities spanning the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. An entity of SummerHill Housing Group and one of eight companies founded by Marcus & Millichap Company, SummerHill Homes is renowned for developing single-family detached homes and multi-family housing communities in flourishing markets throughout the state with a focus on craftmanship, quality and attention to detail. Since its inception in 1976, SummerHill Homes has brought to life more than 50 communities representing over 4,700 single-family homes, condominiums, townhomes and apartments. For more information, visitwww.summerhillhomes.com.  

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Walkability and Close-In Jobs Are Covered in Mixed Use

Tuesday February 12th, 2019 Globe St.

SAN JOSE—The Bay Area, underpinned by meteoric growth in the tech, semiconductor and biotech industries, has generated unemployment rates matched only by the late 1990s. Household formation has surged, yet a lack of housing, primarily multifamily units, has pushed vacancy to extremely low levels, according to a fourth quarter report by Marcus & Millichap.
With tech’s influence continuing to rise in the region, Silicon Valley is considered one of the hottest housing markets in the country. As a result, developers struggle to keep up with demand for affordable, transit or freeway-proximate housing with mixed-use elements.
Mixed-use projects are appealing to residents in the Bay Area because those developments combine housing with amenities and conveniences. Many have programming that accommodates a wide range of interests including outdoor space for sports or socializing, or retail and events to keep people of all ages entertained.
“The attributes of mixed-use developments that we find appealing include the ability to have a variety of housing types and densities, the opportunity for walkable neighborhoods and shared high-quality amenity spaces, and the proximity of these developments to existing jobs, transportation and services,” Robert Freed, SummerHill Homes president and CEO, tells GlobeSt.com.
SummerHill Homes currently has two major projects underway that fit this description, Locale @ State St, a community in Fremont currently offering 76 rowhomes and 81 condos for sale, and Nuevo, an upcoming urban town in Santa Clara that will introduce more than 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, more than 6 acres of new parks and outdoor amenities, 537 apartments, 41 single-family homes, 114 townhomes and 176 terraces for sale.
Locale @ State Street is the first mixed-use project in downtown Fremont. Located within walking distance of the Fremont BART station, Locale will offer 157 residential units, retail and office space. Community amenities include outdoor spaces with barbecue kitchen islands, trellis shade canopies, seating areas and a fitness studio. The community will also encompass 21,000 square feet of street-front retail and restaurant space directly along Capitol Avenue. Fremont is centrally located for first-time homebuyers, Millennials and empty nesters who want to be close to major transportation hubs.
Nuevo will feature 868 homes, 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a community garden and a 4,000-square-foot community center. Nuevo marks the ninth community in California under development within SummerHill Homes’ portfolio and one of the largest residential projects underway in Silicon Valley. Nuevo will have a community center, dog park, bike paths throughout the community, turf areas for yoga and soccer, basketball courts, neighborhood-serving retail, movie-in-the-park events, picnic areas and a children’s playground. Residents will also have access to outdoor reading rooms, electric vehicle charging stations and a community garden.
As construction falls, rental rates have stabilized and reaccelerated as tenants vie for the limited number of remaining apartments still available. Rent growth will be most pronounced in commuter locations in second- and third-tier suburbs, where the rental rate remains below the metro average, says Marcus & Millichap.

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Urban community in Santa Clara is launched near train stop

Monday February 11th, 2019 The Mercury News

SANTA CLARA — Nearly 900 rental and for-sale homes are being offered in Santa Clara, part of what’s described as an urban town within walking distance of a rail stop.
The Nuevo complex will consist of 868 homes, along with 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 4,000-square-foot community center, six acres of parks and a neighborhood garden.
The homes consist of 537 rental apartments and 331 residences of varying sizes that are for sale, according to project developer SummerHill Homes.
“Located in the global center of technology, Nuevo will cater to the needs of the modern home buyer by meeting the growing demand for centrally located housing in close proximity to major job centers, entertainment and retail,” said Robert Freed, president of SummerHill Homes.
With its location a few blocks from Sunnyvale’s Lawrence Station, which is served by Caltrain, the Nuevo complex will have the draw of being near a rail stop.
Prices for the homes range from $1.2 million to $2 million range. At the end of 2018, the median price for a Santa Clara County home, excluding condominiums, was $1.15 million.
The homes have two, three, or four bedrooms, depending on the floor plans. The apartments are one and two bedrooms, although pricing and precise sizes are yet to be revealed for the rental units.
The project at some point will also include a 126-unit condominium building that will be developed by veteran home builder Toll Brothers.
SummerHill homes recently obtained a pair of loans from Wells Fargo totaling $266 million that will be used for the project’s construction.

People should be able to start moving into the first groups of homes by late this year, SummerHill said.
The parks in Nuevo are slated for completion before year’s end. The community center is due open in the spring of 2020.
The hiring surge by the tech sector has intensified the hunt for housing in Silicon Valley.
Through a combination of property purchases, leases, or both, tech behemoths such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon have launched an expansion boom that’s the greatest in memory. That growth surge has, in turn, increased demand for homes near the Bay Area’s employment hubs.
“Silicon Valley continues to lead the Bay Area’s tech boom with four times more tech occupancy than San Francisco,” said Chris Neighbor, chief operating officer with SummerHill. “With new companies moving into the area and existing companies expanding their footprint, the demand for high-quality new housing will only continue to rise.”

By

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SummerHill Homes Demonstrates Confidence in Bay Area Market with 27-Acre Development in Santa Clara

Tuesday January 29th, 2019 The Registry

By Meghan Hall

SummerHill Homes is heading into 2019 full steam ahead, with construction finally underway on its 27-acre development in the heart of Santa Clara beginning at a time when many real estate professionals — and especially developers — are closely watching the market for evidence of a market slowdown. Called Nuevo, the community is what SummerHill Homes has termed an “urban town,” complete with 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and both for-rent and for-sale residences.


“I truly think it’s unique, but not because we are developing it,” said Robert Freed, chief executive officer of SummerHill Homes. “It’s unique to be able to have such a large piece of property in this area. To get 27 acres is unprecedented.”

According to Freed, SummerHill Homes began acquiring the parcels, located at 3505 Kifer Rd., back in 2012, before entitlements for the land were even proposed. The home developer then negotiated with seven different sellers in order to create a contiguous, self-contained site and paid close to $140 million for the all of the property.

In all, the development will have 537 for-rent apartments, 41 single family homes called E-States, 114 townhomes called E-Towns and 176 townhomes called The Terraces. Over six acres of parks and outdoor amenities are planned throughout the neighborhood, while a 4,000 square foot community center, outdoor reading rooms and sports courts will also be part of the development. The for-sale units range from 1,268 square feet to 2,990 square feet and will be priced between $1.1 million to around $2 million. Freed said that because of the different product lines incorporated into the development, the decision was made to market the development as an urban town, because the project is not quite as urban as an infill, mixed-use development, or as suburban as a multiple-community master plan area.

“A typical mixed-use project, at least in my vernacular, is associated with a combination of land uses and often it is associated with a purer urban city environment versus where we are, which is transitioning from residential to urban,” explained Freed. “The urban town was really a reaction to the fact that it is an unprecedented scale at a truly unique location. It has the feeling of a small little town, and so that’s how we ended up branding it.”

All four housing products are currently under construction, said Freed, but SummerHill sold the condominium portion of the site to Toll Brothers, who is developing their portion of the property simultaneously with SummerHill’s.

“That strategically was good, because they are a good name and a good partner,” said Freed. “They’re quality in their brand. At the same time, it mitigated our risk, because we also had started construction on the other three product lines. It’s full steam ahead for us.”

Overall, SummerHill Homes decided to diversify their product offerings, because it was not only in line with the City’s goals of providing more housing to keep up with job growth, but it made the project more economically viable. According to Freed, SummerHill Homes worked closely with the Santa Clara city officials through roughly a dozen iterations of the project, each with varying densities and goals in mind.

“The City has been focused on trying to provide an adequate housing supply to meet with the demand generated by what is, fortunately, a lot of great job growth,” said Freed. “We have a pretty good handle on what the consumer wants, and we wanted to find that balance between the demand for rental and the demand for for-sale housing.”

That demand is something that Freed believes won’t wane any time soon, even though it will take several years to complete Nuevo’s buildout. SummerHill Homes anticipates that the development will sell out in three to four years, and that job growth will continue to drive housing demand in the Bay Area, and especially in Santa Clara, where major Silicon Valley employers such as Intel, Apple and Google are located.

“This was ground zero for a successful housing project,” explained Freed. “We started looking in this area knowing the City of Santa Clara had a long-term plan of redevelopment of this area…A jurisdiction that was willing to engage in the planning process on this site, with a great proximity to jobs was key.”

The City of Santa Clara had not yet solidified its plans for the site before SummerHill Homes approached them with their proposal. However, SummerHill’s commitment to the project and its willingness to drive the entitlement process convinced the City to accelerate its planning process for the area. Now that the project has finally broken ground and is coming to fruition, Freed anticipates sales of the condominiums, townhomes and single-family homes to begin in the near future.

“Given the demand that we’re sensing, we will start selling shortly,” said Freed, who believes that SummerHill will have no problem selling its product. “We’re going to have a good level of demand in 2019, because of the historical relationship between job growth and housing. I think it is beneficial if there’s others besides me who focus in on that, because confidence will drive those sales. We’re demonstrating our confidence in these projects, and I think the consumer will be doing that as well.”

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New housing on school site moves ahead

Friday November 24th, 2017 The Daily Journal

By Austin Walsh

An effort to build housing at Skyline College moved ahead as the San Bruno Planning Commission unanimously approved the local community college’s proposal.
Commissioners voted in favor of recommending the construction of 70 housing units at 3300 College Drive, some of which will be reserved for San Mateo County Community College District teachers.
Though the project still needs to move onto the City Council for final approval, school district spokesman Mitch Bailey lauded the recent decision as a win for the local education community.
“This new development will bring much needed housing to the area and the 30 apartments being developed by the district will be rented at below-market rates for our faculty and staff,” he said in an email. “In addition to the thousands of commute miles avoided by employees who will live near where they work, the avoided commutes will allow them additional time to be more engaged with the college community and San Bruno community.”
The district is partnering with developer SummerHill Homes, which will construct the additional 40 proposed units in a separate but nearby project as single-family homes spread across 6 acres on the northern parcel of the 8-acre site.
School officials approved last year selling a majority of the lot on the campus to finance construction of the workforce housing to expand the residential development that officials consider an asset in recruiting and retaining teaching talent. The district already has 104 units spread across similar projects on the College of San Mateo and Cañada College campuses.
Beyond offering value to the district and a region starved for housing, nearby residents will enjoy the development of two new neighborhood parks, plus landscaping and infrastructure improvements, according to a city report.
Bailey said the district has engaged in a long community outreach effort and garnered support not only from city officials but also neighbors to the proposed development.
“We have incorporated feedback from the community into our plans and we will continue to conduct community outreach as we move forward with this exciting project,” he said.
The single-family homes are proposed to be two stories with between three to five bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage, according to a city report. The home designs include floor plans spanning from 2,890 square feet to 3,185 square feet.
The multi-unit developments would be housed in two 15-unit buildings, with a community amenity area, surface parking areas and landscaped common open space, according to the report.
The district agreed to set aside for the next 55 years 11 of the units at an affordable rate, six of which would be for low-income workers and the rest for moderate-income employees. The district also agreed to pay a $320,000 affordable housing impact fee, in lieu of one very-low-income unit.
As many school districts across San Mateo County scramble to hire qualified teachers due to the exorbitant cost of living, community college district officials have been recognized as local leaders in development of workforce housing to ease the burden.
Bailey expects the project will return before the City Council for final approval early next year.
An earlier district report touts the development as a win-win both for the district and the entire San Bruno community.
“This project is an exciting opportunity for the San Mateo County Community College District and its employees, SummerHill Homes and San Bruno’s Skyline College neighborhood supporting the goals of both the city of San Bruno and the San Mateo County Community College District,” according to the report.

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Santa Clara ushers in large master-planned housing

Wednesday September 20th, 2017 Silicon Valley Busniess Journal

By


Nuevo, one of the last ground-up, mixed-use master plans to be developed in Silicon Valley, will have a range of housing types, retail and an abundance of amenities.



As Santa Clara’s largest master-planned housing development since Rivermark, it will have 457 for-sale residential units, including six for-sale live/work units, 537
apartments, as well as neighborhood retail and restaurants. The development will market itself to young professionals, singles and couples looking for a home close to work and transit. Ten percent of the units will be reserved for low-income housing.

The project’s three acres of public parks and pedestrian-friendly development is close to the Lawrence Caltrain Station.

The apartments are slated to come online in late 2019. The buildout of the for-sale community will be complete by 2022, said developer SummerHill.

Nuevo at Lawrence Station

Market-Rate Residential Project

Location: Corner of Lawrence Station and Kiefer Road, Santa Clara

Size: 26 acres; 40,000 square feet of retail space

Cost:$650 million

Status: Under construction

Units:
41 “E-Homes,” 176 town flats, 114 “E-Towns,” 120 condos, six live/work units, and 537 apartments (the E-Homes and E-Towns have rooftop decks). Units will range from 891 to 3,085 square feet.

Challenges:
Getting project approval from the city of Santa Clara required assembling 26 contiguous acres controlled by seven separate owners. Also, turnover of elected officials and city staff during the entitlement process, numerous master plan design concepts debated during the entitlement process, managing the timing of entitlements and seven separate land contracts created additional challenges.

Unique features: It will be rich with amenities including a large public park, dog park, community garden, 4,000-square-foot community center, bike-share facility, outdoor reading rooms and numerous outdoor amenity areas for the community residents.

Access: Near the Lawrence Caltrain station, the acreage is bound by Lawrence Expressway, Central Expressway and Kifer Road.

Key Players
Developer: SummerHill Housing Group
Architect: KYGY & Woodley Architectural Group
Landscape Architect: R3 Studios
Engineer: HMH


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SummerHill CEO Robert Freed Discusses The Future Of Silicon Valley Multifamily

Wednesday August 16th, 2017 Bisnow

By Julie Littman

With home pricing rising beyond the reach of many Silicon Valley residents, demand for apartments continues to increase. Developers are building hundreds of units throughout the Valley and leasing them up in weeks.  SummerHill Housing Group is among the developers building homes and  apartments throughout Silicon Valley and has 25 communities of about  4,000 homes through affiliates SummerHill Homes and SummerHill Apartment Communities.

Over 1,000 units are in the works in the Bay Area this year through  SummerHill Apartment Communities. SummerHill also is working on a master planned community in Santa Clara. Recent projects include Domus on the Boulevard in Mountain View and 481 on Mathilda in Sunnyvale. The company is pre-leasing its Villas on the Boulevard in Santa Clara.

SummerHill CEO Robert Freed shared some thoughts on the multifamily market in Silicon Valley and where the market is headed. Freed, who has been in residential real estate for 40 years, has been active in various housing organizations and is on the board of directors of Bridge Housing. He previously served on the board for the Santa Clara County Housing Authority.

Bisnow: What makes Silicon Valley an ideal market for multifamily development?
Freed: Job growth drives the demand for housing. Accordingly, the job growth in the Silicon Valley, driven by the tech world, drives/supports the demand for housing. In addition, the consistent failure to produce an adequate supply of new housing (i.e. jobs/housing balance) has created an almost permanent state of pent-up demand. The situation is a basic Economics 101 case of supply and demand.

Bisnow: Why is now a good time to develop multifamily properties in Silicon Valley?
Freed: In addition to the supply/demand equation, it is also a good time to develop multifamily given that the demographics of the younger tech  workers desire newer product with abundant amenities located close to jobs, services and transportation.

Bisnow: What are some of the challenges to developing multifamily properties in Silicon Valley?
Freed: Entitlement challenges, including, but not limited to, elected officials who do not have the political will to embrace the importance  of producing new housing in support of our local economy, the ease at which CEQA lawsuits can be pursued with no adverse consequences to the plaintiffs and the abundance of selfish individuals (aka NIMBYs) who do not embrace the importance of new housing to the local economy, who do not understand or respect land use laws, who do not care to work in a collaborative fashion and who are prejudiced towards renters and, in particular, to residents of affordable housing projects.

Bisnow: What are some ways SummerHill has been working through these challenges?
Freed: SummerHill undertakes aggressive outreach to staff, elected officials and the community. We are proactive in offering solutions and reasonable compromises. We are extremely knowledgeable about the market, we have a high-quality, experienced team of employees and we also engage with the best consultants in our industry. We are also fortunate to be financially sound, a must in this risky entitlement environment.

Bisnow: What makes Silicon Valley an ideal market for SummerHill to develop? How does it fit within your company's appetite?
Freed: In addition to job growth and pent-up demand, our strategy is to develop solely on infill sites that are surrounded by jobs, schools, services and transportation. Clearly, this strategy is well-suited for the Silicon Valley.

Bisnow: If you had a crystal ball in front of you, what would you expect to see five years from now for multifamily in Silicon Valley?
Freed: I expect to see a slowdown in new multifamily starts over the next two to three years as a result of material construction cost increases, significant fee increases, flattening rents and more conservative debt and equity underwriting.

Hear more from Freed during Bisnow’s Silicon Valley State of the Market on Sept. 13 in Santa Clara.



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First look: See which projects win 2017 Silicon Valley Structures awards

Monday August 7th, 2017 Silicon Valley Busness Journal


From Apple’s “next big thing” to buildings with groundbreaking green technology,  this year’s Silicon Valley Structures’ award winners serve as a catalyst
for growth in the region.

The 25  best and brightest real estate deals and projects have been chosen for  this year’s Structures Awards, to be presented by the Silicon Valley  Business Journal at an awards dinner on Sept. 21. Award winners will be profiled in print and online on Sept. 22.

Again this year, we will recognize the best projects, deals and leases in  Silicon Valley. There are no finalists in categories; each one we have  chosen is a winner. Some categories have several winners; some only have one or two.

Here's the full list of Silicon Valley Structures honorees for 2017:

Affordable Residential Project: Onizuka Crossing, Sunnyvale

Affordable Residential Project: Sequoia Belle Haven, Menlo Park

Architectural Element: Innovation Curve, Technology Park/Stanford Research Park, Palo Alto

Community Impact: Menlo Park Fire Station #2, East Palo Alto

Community Impact: 4th Street Parking Garage, Morgan Hill

Deal of the Year: Google/LinkedIn Land Swap, Mountain View and Sunnyvale

Dealmaker of the Year: Erik Hallgrimson, San Jose

Developer of the Year: Federal Realty

Educational Project: Design Tech High School, Redwood City

Green Project: Oak Grove Apartments, San Jose

Green Project: VMware Campus: Palo Alto

Healthcare Project: Kaiser Watsonville Medical Office Building, Watsonville

Healthcare Project: Kaiser Santa Cruz Clinic, Santa Cruz

Market-Rate Residential Project: Elan Menlo Park, Menlo Park

Market-Rate Residential Project: Nuevo at Lawrence Station, Santa Clara

Milestone Project of the Year: Apple Park, Cupertino

Office Project: Intuit, Mountain View

Office/R&D Deal: Cloudera, Palo Alto

Public Art: The Pierce, San Jose

Speculative Project: 601 Marshall, Redwood City

Public/Civic Project: Santa Clara Caltrain Station Underpass Project, Santa Clara

Retail Project: Midtown Arts Mercantile, San Jose

Reuse/Rehab Project: Pastoria, Sunnyvale

Speculative Project: Coleman Highline, San Jose

Urban Infill: 500 University Ave., Palo Alto



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Housing Development No-Brainer as Job Growth Drives Demand

Thursday January 26th, 2017 GlobeSt


Housing Development No-Brainer as Job Growth Drives Demand | GlobeSt.co

By Lisa Brown



SAN RAMON, CA—

SummerHill Homes

celebrated its 40th anniversary last year with 5,234 single-family homes built or under construction. The company also expects to build an additional 1,071 homes between 2017 and 2018, and will surpass its 75th community. SummerHill Homes is currently under construction on new residential communities in Moraga, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Saratoga, Fremont, Pleasanton, Redwood City, Santa Clara and Burlingame for a total portfolio of more than 6,170 residential homes.

Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Housing Group, recently discussed infill strategies, residential draws and housing trends in this exclusive Q&A.

GlobeSt.com: The new construction planned is mostly in close proximity or en route to Silicon Valley, except for one city on the list: Moraga. Why was that a desirable area for residential?

Robert Freed: Moraga fits SummerHill Homes’ infill strategy of building homes in desirable submarkets with little or no new home competition. Moraga has a strong school system, quality retail, close proximity to BART and manageable drive-time commutes to major employment centers in San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Bishop Ranch in San Ramon.

GlobeSt.com: Are there outlying areas other than Moraga that are on the distant horizon?  

Freed: SummerHill Homes recently completed Roubion in San Ramon, where we sold 41 single-family homes with an average price of $1.65 million.  SummerHill Homes’ new Andares project in Pleasanton is slated to open in March 2017. Andares will offer 94 attached homes and proximity to work centers and major employers. It is also close to restaurants, shopping, outdoor amenities and parks as well as near two Dublin BART stations and Pleasanton’s outstanding schools. The homes are priced in the high $700s.

GlobeSt.com: BART and retail on the Peninsula/Silicon Valley seem to be the theme. What other draws make for areas worth exploring for residential and why? 

Freed: Having a strong school system, quality retail stores with easy access from the freeway, close proximity to BART and transportation services for commuters, and manageable drive-time commutes to major employment centers in San Francisco, Walnut Creek and Bishop Ranch are all important factors for residents.

GlobeSt.com: What are some of the trends that are keeping residential in the forefront? 

Freed: Simple, job growth always drives the demand for housing, and we are seeing this same trend now.

In 2016, SummerHill Apartment Communities completed several Silicon Valley residential rental communities, with the portfolio reaching 2,245 apartment homes. This includes the 481 on Mathilda apartment community in Sunnyvale, which was completed in early December. SummerHill Apartment Communities is slated to complete Villas on the Boulevard, a 186-unit apartment community in Santa Clara in spring 2017.

In 2017 and 2018, SummerHill has plans to break ground on seven new apartment communities in California: 268 new residential units featuring a mix of apartments and condominiums in Burlingame, 694 residential units and 36,000 square feet of retail space near the Milpitas BART Station, a 537-unit apartment community near the Lawrence Station Caltrain in Santa Clara, 151 residential units and 10,000 square feet of retail space in Santa Clara, a 211-unit apartment community in Mountain View, a 105-unit apartment community in Pasadena, and a 255-unit apartment community in Carlsbad for a total portfolio of 4,466 apartment units.

SummerHill Housing Group recently made some executive management reorganization and promotions to support the group’s strategic growth. Chris Neighbor, who has been serving as SummerHill Housing Group’s executive vice president/managing director, has been promoted to the position of chief operating officer of SummerHill Homes. Douglas L. McDonald, SummerHill Housing Group’s chief financial officer/executive vice president/managing director, has been named chief operating officer of SummerHill Apartment Communities. Marjorie Szto, SummerHill Homes’ vice president, controller, has been named senior vice president–corporate finance and accounting for SummerHill Housing Group.

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SummerHill Housing Group Announces Executive Management Reorganization and Promotions to Support Strategic Growth

Tuesday January 17th, 2017 The Registry

SAN RAMON, Calif. – SummerHill Housing Group, the umbrella organization for SummerHill Homes, an award-winning residential builder, and SummerHill Apartment Communities, an apartment, mixed-use infill rental housing
developer, today announced executive management reorganization and promotions to support the group’s strategic growth. Chris Neighbor, who has been serving as SummerHill Housing Group’s Executive Vice President / Managing Director, has been promoted to the position of Chief Operating Officer of SummerHill Homes. Douglas L. McDonald, SummerHill Housing Group’s Chief Financial Officer / Executive Vice President / Managing Director, has been named Chief Operating Officer of SummerHill Apartment Communities. Marjorie Szto, SummerHill Homes’ Vice President, Controller, has been named Senior Vice President – Corporate Finance and Accounting for SummerHill Housing Group.

 “We are fortunate to have achieved significant growth in both our for-sale and apartment-development businesses,” said Robert Freed, President and CEO, SummerHill Housing Group. “And, we have been addressing the challenges of this increased activity by hiring new talent and stretching our executive management team. The creation of these new positions will allow us to bring increased ‘horse power’ to our day-to-day operations, while staying keenly focused on the continued growth of our land pipeline.”

As the new COO of SummerHill Homes, Neighbor will have management responsibilities for land acquisition, land development, purchasing,construction, sales, escrow, marketing, market research and customer service.
“Chris Neighbor has consistently performed at the highest level and he deserves much of the credit for our strong land pipeline. In addition, Chris has a great  passion for homebuilding. His passion, extensive experience and desire for success positions Chris for greatness in his new role,” said Freed.

McDonald, in his new capacity as SummerHill Apartment Communities’ COO, will have management responsibilities for land acquisitions, finance, construction, asset management and asset dispositions. “Doug McDonald has been a great business partner for me during my entire tenure with the company,” said Freed. “Doug’s responsibilities have gone well beyond the  traditional role of a Chief Financial Officer. He has been a key driver of our
day-to-day operations, thus ensuring that we deliver consistently high levels of financial performance.”

Szto, who will serve as SummerHill Housing Group’s Senior Vice President – Corporate Finance and Accounting, will report directly to Freed and will be responsible for the financial and accounting operations for both SummerHill Homes and SummerHill Apartment Communities. These responsibilities range from financial statements to external/internal reporting to all accounting functions. “Marjorie Szto will work closely with me, Chris and Doug on managing the important financial position of both companies. We are extremely fortunate to have Marjorie ready, willing and able to step into her new role,” said Freed.

Freed also noted that Katia Kamangar, SummerHill Housing Group’s Executive Vice President / Managing Director will continue to lead all new community activities for SummerHill Homes and SummerHill Apartment Communities in Northern California. “We are extremely fortunate to have a fantastic development team led by Katia Kamangar,” said Freed. “As we move forward in our new organization structure, Katia and her team will continue to report directly to me.”

SummerHill Homes celebrated its 40th Anniversary in business in 2016 with 5,234 single-family homes built or under construction. The company also expects to build an additional 1,071+ homes between 2017 and 2018, and
will surpass its 75thcommunity. SummerHill Homes is currently under construction on new residential communities in the San Francisco Bay Area in Moraga, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Saratoga, Fremont, Pleasanton, Redwood City,
Santa Clara and Burlingame for a total portfolio of 6,170+ residential homes.

In 2016, SummerHill Apartment Communities celebrated the completion of several Silicon Valley luxury residential rental communities totaling the portfolio to 2,245 apartment homes including 481 on Mathilda apartment community in Sunnyvale, which celebrated its completion in early December. SummerHill Apartment Communities is slated to complete Villas on the Boulevard, a 186-unit apartment community in Santa Clara, in Spring 2017. SummerHill Apartment Communities is also under construction on Origin, a 153-unit apartment project in Seattle, Washington.

In 2017-2018, SummerHill has plans to break ground on seven new apartment communities in California: 268 new residential units featuring a mix of apartments and condominiums in Burlingame; 694 residential units and 36,000 square feet of retail space near Milpitas BART Station; a 537-unit apartment community near the Lawrence Station Cal Train in Santa Clara; 151 residential units and 10,000 square feet of retail space in Santa Clara; a 211-unit apartment community in Mountain View; a 105-unit apartment community in Pasadena; and a 255-unit apartment community in Carlsbad for a total portfolio of 4,466 apartment units.


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SummerHill Apartment Communities Completes Luxury Rental Community in Sunnyvale, California

Thursday December 8th, 2016 MultifamilyBiz

    SummerHill Apartment Communities Completes Luxury Rental Community in Sunnyvale, California | MultifamilyBiz.com

SAN RAMON, CA - SummerHill Apartment Communities, a division of SummerHill Housing Group and a leader in providing quality, smart growth, multi-family rental housing and mixed-use developments, announces the completion of 481 on Mathilda, a new 105-unit luxury residential rental community in downtown Sunnyvale. A completion ceremony was held on December 7, 2016.

“The completion ceremony is a celebration of the collaboration between the City of Sunnyvale and SummerHill Apartment Communities,” said Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill Housing Group. “Our goal is to produce high-quality housing located near jobs, transportation and existing services so our residents can enjoy a convenient and satisfying live-work-play lifestyle. We are excited to bring new, housing opportunities to the City of Sunnyvale."

The community’s amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness room, clubroom with an entertaining kitchen that looks out on the landscaped central courtyard, and resident conference room. The central courtyard includes both active and passive spaces for activities that range from outdoor cooking to hanging out by an outdoor fire pit. This courtyard includes a BBQ, outdoor kitchen area, expansive green space for recreation, outdoor “living room” with fireplace and reflecting fountain. The pet-friendly community also includes a pet salon, conference room, and an on-site parking garage. WiFi is available throughout the community. 

Studios, one- and two-bedroom floorplans feature in-unit full-size washer/dryers, stone countertops, gourmet kitchens, modern cabinetry, contemporary wood-finish flooring, private balconies/patios, storage and private-entry stoops.

Located at 481 S. Mathilda Avenue in Sunnvale, the transit-oriented and pedestrian-friendly residential community is less than ½ mile from the Sunnyvale CalTrain Station, and VTA Lines 22 and 522 at El Camino and Hollenbock/Pastoria. 481 on Mathilda is also located near grocery and retail opportunities as well as the Murphy Avenue entertainment district.

SummerHill Apartment Communities recently celebrated the completion of several Silicon Valley luxury residential rental communities totaling 634 apartment homes including Domus on the Boulevard in the City of Mountain View; The Lane on the Boulevard in Redwood City; and Brio in Walnut Creek. In addition to the newly completed 481 on Mathilda apartment community, SummerHill Apartment Communities is slated to complete Villas on the Boulevard, a 186-unit apartment community in Santa Clara, in early 2017.

SummerHill Apartment Communities is currently under construction in Seattle, Washington, on a 153-unit apartment project. In 2017, SummerHill also has plans to break ground on four new communities in California: 290 new residential units featuring a mix of apartments and condominiums in Burlingame; 720 residential units and 36,000 square feet of retail space near Milpitas BART Station; a 251-unit apartment community near the Lawrence Station Cal Train in Santa Clara; and a 105-unit apartment community in Pasadena.

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Harvest Court is an Abundance of Beauty

Wednesday October 5th, 2016 Lamorinda Weekley


Floor Plans and Virtual Tour Here

Harvest Court is an Abundance of Beauty

"We have found there is a strong demand for new homes in Moraga." So said Moraga resident Chris Leimbach, vice president, sales and marketing, for SummerHill Homes. He should know since he is overseeing the sales for Moraga's newest housing development, Harvest Court, off Camino Ricardo. Since mid-July, when the sales office opened, nine of the 26 homes have been sold, and several more are just waiting for final signatures.
 "Sales are going really well," Leimbach said. "Many people seem to want to either stay in Moraga and find something new or return to the area they love."
 Initially proposed in 2012 as the first piece of land to be developed under the Moraga Center Specific Plan, Harvest Court is a beautiful development of high-end, quality homes, ranging in size from 3,000-3,400 square feet and from $1.8 -$ 2.2 million. There are 24 two-story homes and, up the hill at the end of the cul de sac, sit two single-story houses. All have three or four bedrooms and most have at least three bathrooms. There are three distinct models, each bringing its own flair and charm. Windows abound, bringing natural light into every room and each house offers at least a 180 degree view of the beautiful Moraga hills. Different styles, colors, roofs, siding, window frames and driveways individualize each property.
 "You won't see two of the same homes next to each other," Leimbach explained. "Some may have brick accents on the front while others may have stacked stones. A lot of thought went into every detail of this development to make sure each home feels like 'your' home, not just one more cookie-cutter house down the line."
 Every home comes with a fully landscaped front yard and each will be slightly different from its neighbor. Plantings will be drought-tolerant and include native trees, plants and grasses. High-end Precision cabinets, Thermador appliances, Kohler sinks and faucets, marble and granite countertops and luxurious built-ins are all standard features included in every home. Additionally, each home's garage - some for two cars and some for three - is wired for an electric plug-in car. There are numerous optional features, including a solar energy package and home monitoring system.
 Adjacent to the Harvest Court development will be a two-plus acre passive park, with native plantings, two bridges and benches for sitting and relaxing. A meandering trail will lead from the homes to the popular Moraga Commons and skatepark. A landscaped outlook area, with benches and covered trellis, is also planned, where residents and non-residents can simply sit and take in the area's natural beauty.
 Developed by SummerHill Homes, Harvest Court is one of two SummerHill developments in Moraga; the other, the 27-home Bellavista, is just beginning construction. SummerHill, founded in 1976, is a privately-owned builder of quality homes. According to Leimbach, "SummerHill's goal is to thoughtfully enhance the communities in which we build. We build luxury homes, paying attention to every detail." Other SummerHill projects currently under construction are in Pleasanton, Mountain View, Los Gatos and Saratoga.
 Harvest Court's first six families are expected to move in before the end of 2016; it is anticipated that the community will be fully occupied before the end of next year.

By Diane Claytor




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SummerHill Homes Proposed Project Near Lawrence Caltrain Station Moving Forward

Monday August 3rd, 2015 The Registry

By Naib Mian

During a study session on July 14, the Santa Clara City Council indicated its preference in the conceptual designs presented for proposed developments in the area surrounding the Lawrence Caltrain Station, which includes properties in both Santa Clara and Sunnyvale.

The 65 acres included in the Lawrence Station Area Plan stretches from Lawrence Expressway to Calabazas Creek and is bordered by Central Expressway on the north and Kifer Road on the south. The area includes properties within a half-mile radius of the station.

Although the location today is an industrial setting, developers SummerHill Homes, Westlake Urban, LLC, True Life Cos. and The Sobrato Organization plan to transform the area into a mixed-use, transit-oriented village with retail and housing.

The project is part of an effort to address the area’s lack of retail and need for more homes. Over the next decade, development will include more than 3,000 housing units—both rental and for sale—about 85,000 square feet of retail, multimodal transit connections and community-oriented open space.

San Ramon-based SummerHill presented two plans to the council. The first, called The Link, received the most support from council members. Featuring a central enclosed green space running east to west and surrounded by new construction, it would feature clusters of retail on both ends of the development.

The second option, which the developer called Central Park, would focus all of the retail space centrally around a north-south green space opening up to Kifer Road.

Council members preferred the sense of community The Link offered and felt that the Central Park plan would look unfinished given that the Sobrato portion, east of the main green space, would remain industrial for the time being. The Cupertino-based developer is not proposing changes in the foreseeable future in that area, which could impact the finished look and feel of the rest of the development.

“I’m personally more interested in home ownership, rather than high densities,” Councilmember Lisa Gillmor said. Council members also said the first plan would bring retail to the area immediately, activating the location, rather than anticipating a future development by the Sobrato Organization.

Palo Alto-based retail developer and owner John McNellis of McNellis Partners sided with SummerHill’s perspective for the first option as a third-party not directly involved in the project.

“We were able to design a comprehensive community and a comprehensive neighborhood,” said SummerHill President and CEO Robert Freed.

As the development moves forward in planning, City Manager Julio Fuentes also stressed the importance of relocating the current businesses within Santa Clara in order to maintain revenue for the city.

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SummerHill top bidder for city-owned land in Fremont

Monday July 13th, 2015 Silicon Valley Business Journal

By Nathan Donato-Weinstein

SummerHill Homes has beaten out nine other bidders to win an approximately 7-acre slice of Fremont, part of a city sell-off being undertaken to help finance city priorities in the Warm Springs and downtown areas.

The San Ramon-based homebuilder and developer bid $22.35 million — just shy of $3.2 million per acre — for the site in the city's Mission Creek area, according to a city staff report. The area is located near the Palm Avenue crossing of I-680, and is zoned for 31 single-family housing units.

Fremont approved a plan in 2013 to sell off 10 city-owned parcels, including the Palm Avenue site, to bring in revenue that could be used to help build out the Warm Springs and downtown projects. The strategy was identified by consultant Keyser Marston after the demise of redevelopment agencies across California in 2011, eliminating a major source of financing for city projects.

The parcels are underused by the city, but some of them are considered excellent residential sites, and the current appetite for residential land made this a good time to sell. A 2012 CBRE appraisal said the land could bring in between $80 million and $94 million. Last year, Citation Homes was the highest bidder on a 4.5 acre site, paying $13.15 million for the land at 37350 Sequoia Road.

The land the city is selling to SummerHill was acquired in 1999 as part of a larger parcel to build a large park. But acquisition of land elsewhere in the city for athletic fields meant that not all of the Palm Avenue land was needed for park land, making the 7 acres available for sale. You can read more about the site in the staff report, here.

Last year, in an effort to increase the land's marketability, the city approved a rezoning of the 7-acre site to allow 31 detached single-family homes "and imposes Regulations and Design Guidelines to direct future development of the site to be consistent with the development, intensity and pattern in the surrounding single-family residential neighborhood," according to a staff report.

The land auction was held June 11 and saw 10 bidders register, the report says. The opening bid was the appraised value of $15.5 million, and SummerHill's bid beat out the next highest-bidder by $100,000 after 36 bids, according to a staff report. (The other bidders were not named.)

SummerHill already has a project under way in Fremont — a 24-townhome development called Mission Place at Arcos Common and Driscoll Road. The city has been a top choice of homebuilders, with KB Home last year winning Patterson Ranch, a massive single-family development site. In the Warm Springs district, several major residential projects are in the planning stage, including massive ones from Lennar and Toll Bros.

The city council is slated to accept SummerHill's bid at its meeting July 14.

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After years and years, Los Gatos approves North 40 land-use framework — Really!

Thursday June 18th, 2015 Silicon Valley Business Journal

By Nathan Donato-Weinstein

The Los Gatos Town Council late Wednesday approved the land-use guidelines for the town's so-called "North 40" area, a major milestone that comes after years — even decades — of false starts.

The 3-2 vote sets the stage for the transformation of the last remaining large piece of undeveloped land in Los Gatos, which is actually about 44 acres.

If this sounds familiar, you're right: Back in April, I wrote about the town signaling its support for key elements of the new specific plan. But it did not formally adopt the plan until last night's vote, when officials also worked out some key sticking points.

They got through all the policy issues and essentially adopted the specific plan, zoning code changes, general plan changes, all the CEQA findings," assistant town manager Laurel Prevetti told me today. "They basically finished the work."

The action sets the stage for the city to begin processing formal development applications. The most notable interested party is Grosvenor, which is in contract to buy the majority of the land in the area from the Yuki family, a longtime landowner there. Grosvenor had wanted to build a first phase consisting of 60,000 square feet of retail and 331 housing units, the latter in partnership with affordable developer Eden Housing and SummerHill Homes.

This sets the rules for what new development will have to follow when they are ready to invest in the North 40," Prevetti said. "Now we have the rulebook and we know what the expectations are in terms of quality of construction, bikeways, pedestrian paths."

The specific plan allows 435,000 square feet of new commercial space on top of the 66,000 square feet of existing commercial space. That could include retail, hotel, services and office space, thought there are restrictions on the amount of each product type as well. The plan also allows up to 270 housing units, but that number could increase if a developer takes advantage of a state density-bonus rule.

A key sticking point resolved on Tuesday is whether or not any retail space would face restrictions on size. Council members were contemplating a table of size limitations in an effort to control the types of retailers that would go into future projects and safeguard downtown. But in the end, officials opted not to go down that road to preserve flexibility.

the council also voted to allow a building height of up to 45 feet for mixed-use projects as long as a minimum of 40 percent of the project is affordable to low and extremely low income people. Otherwise, the town's standard 35-foot height limit applies.

This is a huge milestone in the ongoing North 40 saga, which some real estate observers had filed in the "never-gonna-happen" folder.

Grosvenor and its partners will now work on turning in a revised application that responds to the new guidelines. One interesting thing to watch now is what other developers are eyeing the area. While Grosvenor and the Yuki family are working on most of the site, there are other developers who are also interested. When it comes to residential, there is probably not enough capacity to satisfy everyone.

We'll have more on the North 40, including reaction from Grosvenor, in an upcoming story.

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Housing project gets thumbs up: Burlingame City Council gives huge development unanimous approval

Wednesday June 17th, 2015 Lamorinda Weekley

The largest housing project in more than a decade will be coming to Burlingame, as the City Council gave the final OK to constructing a mix of apartments and condominiums which will feature 290 new units for rent and purchase.

The council unanimously approved building the development just south of Broadway, at Carolan Avenue and Rollins Road, during its meeting Monday, June 15.

Councilmembers praised the development as it will significantly increase the available housing stock in Burlingame, and set aside a portion of the units at below-market rates.

“This is a really significant project,” said Councilman Michael Brownrigg.

Mayor Terry Nagel echoed those sentiments, and noted that in the past 20 years Burlingame has added roughly 250 new housing units, only 13 of which were available at an affordable rate.

The developer, SummerHill Housing Group, has agreed to set aside 29 units in the project for those earning what is considered moderate income in San Mateo County, which equates to roughly $86,000 per year for an individual and about $101,000 annually for a family of four.

“This is an extraordinary step in the right direction,” Nagel said.

The development will be comprised of two four- and five-story buildings which will house the 268 apartments for rent, and four separate two-story townhouse buildings that will offer 22 condominiums available for purchase on a 5.4-acre site currently home to a variety of car service companies.

There are a range of apartment sizes included in the project, including 149 one-bedroom units, 111 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units.

The condominiums are proposed to have six two-bedroom units, eight three-bedroom units and eight units with at least three bedrooms plus an auxiliary room that could be used as an additional bedroom or office space.

Elaine Breeze, vice president of development at SummerHill, estimated that the market rate for renting the one-bedroom apartments will be roughly $2,600 per month and a two-bedroom unit would likely be more than $3,000, while the townhouses would probably sell for about $1 million.

Alternatively, the affordably priced one-bedroom apartments would probably be available for a monthly rent of about $2,100, while the two-bedroom apartments would be on the market for nearly $2,600 per month.

Not everyone has the same definition of what may be considered affordable though.

Affordable housing advocate Cynthia Cornell noted since the cost of the below-market rooms is contingent on the local prevailing wage, which seems to be continually increasing, the price of the cheaper rooms should be expected to rise by the time the project is built over the next couple years.

People who currently might be able to afford the rooms reserved for those earning a moderate income could be priced out of the project by the time it is constructed, she said.

Councilmembers said they were pleased with the developer’s willingness to set aside a portion of the project at a below-market rate, considering the city’s inability to implement rent control, due to Measure T, which was passed in 1988.

Breeze said SummerHill would be amenable to extend a guarantee that the development would continue offering rooms at affordable rates for 20 more years than had been agreed upon initially.

The affordable room rates are one component of a variety of community benefits the developer has offered Burlingame, along with more than $2 million in contributions to the city and local school districts to pay for the impact new residents will have on public services.

Brownrigg also noted the city will also enjoy increased tax revenue from the development once it is completed, as the property value is expected to jump from a current assessed value of roughly $13 million to $147 million.

“That’s a significant benefit to the city of Burlingame,” he said.

And though the project was approved, it is not without a few remaining hurdles to clear.

Councilmembers took issue with an 8-foot concrete wall which is proposed to be built around the perimeter of the project, and the impact such a structure might have on the character of the existing neighborhood near the development.

SummerHill, though, has worked to build a consensus with nearby residents, and many seem to be in favor of the wall, so councilmembers said they are inclined to side with the will of the neighborhood.

Councilwoman Ann Keighran requested the developer post story poles replicating the size of the wall prior to building it.

“I just want the neighbors to know what they are potentially agreeing to,” she said.

Brownrigg gave the developer kudos for the company’s willingness to collaborate with nearby residents, and expressed excitement for the project to be constructed.

“I look forward to seeing it built,” he said.

By Austin Walsh

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SummerHill Homes Starts Work in Moraga

Wednesday June 3rd, 2015 The Daily Journal

Over the past two weeks up to 12 large trucks were spotted lined up on Moraga Way, preparing to turn onto Camino Ricardo to reach the SummerHill Homes construction site up the street. This marked the beginning of the grading and construction of the Camino Ricardo construction project scheduled to continue through the fall of 2017. Over the course of 10 working days, trucks took 3,000 cubic yards a day from Moraga to Point Richmond where there is another project that needs more fill soil. The trucks transported 12 cubic yards per load, making 250 round trips per day to move the dirt.

The hauling ended during the week of May 25, ahead of schedule. "Later this summer, we will still have a few more days of off-haul but the majority of that operation has been completed now," said [Katia] Kamanger, Summerhill executive vice president. She added that she expects the foundations of the first model homes to be built this August and the road that will serve the 26 new homes on the 14-acre site off Camino Ricardo to be constructed this year, before the rain.

This month SummerHill also hopes to start the reconstruction of Rheem Boulevard, a project associated with the Rancho Laguna 2 development. Due to the excavation and repair of Rheem, the section of the arterial between Moraga Road and St. Mary's Road will be closed for four to six months.

By Sophie Braccini

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SummerHill Homes Writes a Big Check to MEF

Wednesday October 22nd, 2014 Lamorinda Weekly

SummerHill Homes executives Katia Kamangar and Denise Cunningham gave the Moraga Education Foundation a check for $5,000 on Oct. 10 to support local schools. "We have a long standing tradition to contribute to the communities where we are working," said Kamangar, senior vice president. Cunningham, who is the director of development in charge of the SummerHill Homes project on Camino Ricardo, added that the company pays a school fee rate of $3.36 per living square footage, and that based on the current plans (for the Camino Ricardo and Rancho Laguna II projects), the total fees are estimated at $660,000.

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Los Gatos nuns close sale on property

Wednesday September 3rd, 2014 Mercury News

By Judy Peterson

The Sisters of the Holy Names of Mary and Jesus closed the sale on their property at 100 Prospect Ave. on Aug. 26, with SummerHill Homes of Palo Alto emerging as the buyer.

The selling price of the approximately 11.8-acre property was not released.The sisters had originally hoped to build a continuing care facility at the convent that would serve older nuns, but that proved too expensive.As a result, most of the nuns have moved to Our Lady of Fatima Villa in Saratoga and the Merrill Gardens Retirement Community in Campbell.The Villa Holy Names, which is near the convent, has been retained as a residence for a few remaining sisters.This past March, the town approved plans to build 17 homes on the property. The sisters worked with the town to design a housing plan that would retain the property's bucolic character."The proceeds from the sale of the Los Gatos property represent critical funds necessary for future health care and housing needs of our aging members," Sister Mary Pat LeRoy said in a letter dated Aug. 27. "As Sisters of the Holy Names, we are solely responsible for our financial administration and planning, pooling our earned resources and using gifts to support our ministries and our sisters, especially for the care of our frail members." Sister LeRoy said the needs of convent members have changed since the order first moved to Los Gatos after World War II.

 

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Home Building: The Customizing Conundrum

Wednesday July 23rd, 2014 Professional Builder

By Mike Beirne

Three production home builders deal with handling options and change orders as their markets become more active....

JUST SAY NO

Summerhill Homes, San Ramon, Calif., has had a change-order fee for years but has rarely assessed it.

“When a buyer is requesting a change post-cutoff date, we say no,” says Robert Freed, president and chief executive officer of the Summerhill Housing Group, which includes the single-family home building division and Summerhill Apartment Communities, the multifamily residential development arm. “That is based on a whole lot of years of experience. Every time I said yes, it got screwed up. It’s just a matter of trying to keep design and production on track, and our contractors have a schedule. Every time I tried to do a good deed it backfired, so we stay very disciplined about our cutoff dates.”

Summerhill builds infill homes in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its average selling price is about $1 million, and the bulk of its buyers work in the high-tech sector and are looking to live in locations that are close to work and quality schools. The roster of customizing choices are preselected by the builder and organized into groups one, two, and three and each group is assigned deadlines for submissions. The first two categories include room options, appliances, fixtures, and electrical considerations. Group three choices involve end-of-construction phase selections such as countertops and window coverings.

Salespeople spend much of their time making sure customers understand the options that are available, which ones are included in their house, the deadlines for submitting their selections, as well as being aware of how their choices are connected and affect construction scheduling. When the sales manager and options coordinator are speccing a house for each of the option groups, a preselection form is submitted to Freed for his approval.

“The only reason I need to approve it is not because I’m a designer, or I know better than they do,” Freed says. “It’s because it requires them to know that once (the plan) is approved by me, they are set. If there is a request to change something past the cutoff date, they also know they’re going to have to ask me, and I’m going to say no. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Bay Area is a strong sellers market, so there hasn’t been much push back from buyers to the builder’s efforts to restrict customization options and enforce deadlines. However, Summerhill is planning to enter the luxury production home building market, where average selling prices range from $3 million to $3.5 million. Freed expects his company will have to expand the catalog of custom choices and even allow clients to bring more of their own options to the table. But those choices still will be selected during the sales process, well before scheduling begins for ground breaking.

“Our sales people will have to be very specific, consistent, and clear on the message because buyers will be very demanding,” Freed says. “The profile of these buyers will be strong-willed individuals with a high level of expectations, so there will be a more intensive management of those expectations. That will be as important as ever at this stage on our side because if we start allowing change orders to occur past the cutoff date, our production schedule and our cost structure will be off, and at the end of the day we’ll have an unhappy buyer just because we didn’t deliver the house on time, and the expectations they had didn’t pan out.”

Full Article here

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SummerHills Maravilla Community wins the ABAG Growing Smarter Together Award 2014

Thursday May 8th, 2014 Association of Bay Area Governments

Growing Smarter Together Awards 2014

ABAG’s Eighth Annual Growing Smarter Together Awards were presented during its Spring General Assembly to the cities of Redwood City, Walnut Creek, Campbell, Richmond, Fremont, South San Francisco, and Vallejo. The role of the cities’ public private partners was also recognized with representatives praised for their contributions. Maravilla was honored to be part of the team receiving this award.

Public Private Partnership Award: City of Campbell, Santa Clara Valley Water District, Summerhill Homes for Maravilla Development

This milestone planning effort and collaboration of the City of Campbell, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and Summerhill Homes was recognized with one of two awards for Public Private Partnership.  Recognizing the critical need for affordable housing in Campbell and the fact that many residents working in public and private jobs can’t afford to purchase a home in Silicon Valley, Campbell with the Santa Clara Valley Water District partnered to identify a parcel owned by the Water District that was underutilized and needed clean up.  Santa Clara Valley Water District welcomed the opportunity to upgrade and redesign the needed pumping stations located at the site and at the same time help produce affordable housing. Summerhill Homes collaborated with the City and the Water District during a challenging market to produce the well-designed Maravilla Town Development, consisting of 40 homes. The two different housing types offered included 16 single-family two-story detached homes at market rate, and 24 three-story attached homes that were affordable housing units.  The location at the corner of San Tomas and Campbell Avenue made this an outstanding workforce affordable housing development, close to downtown, close to jobs, and close to local businesses.

"The Maravilla project exemplifies the positive outcomes that are possible through a creative and collaborative spirit between the private and public sectors.  The Maravilla project was originally approved as a 40 unit affordable rental project by Charities Housing Group.  With the dissolution of local Redevelopment Agencies in 2011, the City of Campbell was left with ownership of this 2.9 acre parcel of land with no funding or developer able to implement the project.  With the leadership of Joe Head, SummerHill, City of Campbell and Charities Housing negotiated an agreement to kick-start the project with SummerHill providing the bank financing and guarantees as well as the construction of the homes.  The City and Charities Housing provided the expertise on qualifying and helping with the financing of the 26 affordable homes in the project.  The project also had a unique aspect of housing three separate pump houses owned and operated by the Santa Clara Valley Water District that needed to be preserved and carefully built around. 

The four entities worked together in a true collaborative manner through the remaining entitlements, construction, sale and marketing of these 40 homes and the end result is a wonderful new community in close proximity to Campbell’s vibrant downtown...We thank our partners, City of Campbell, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and Charities Housing.  Finally, our thanks and congratulations to the entire SummerHill team that made this project come to life" Said Katia Kamanger - Executive Vice President / Managing Director for SummerHill Housing Group

Video HERE

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High-end home development approved in Moraga

Friday March 14th, 2014 Contra Costa Times

By Jennifer Modenessi

MORAGA -- After nearly two years of consideration, a proposal to build 26 high-end single family homes on a stretch of undeveloped Moraga land specially earmarked for housing and revitalization is a go.

The Town Council's March 12 greenlighting of a development agreement between the city, developers SummerHill Homes and property owner C&C Equities makes effective a number of Planning Commission approvals earlier this year. They include the project's environmental review, conceptual and general development plans, and permits allowing hillside development and grading.

Despite lacking full council backing, the approval allows for the creation of more housing stock in a town where growth is typically slow and housing demand is high.

Proposed for a 14.25-acre site off Camino Ricardo in the Moraga Center Specific Area designated for residential, retail and recreation growth, the development calls for five styles of 2,700- to 3,700-square-foot two-story homes and two single-story residences on lots averaging 12,600 square feet. Prices are estimated to start at $1.4 million.

Camino Ricardo isn't the only development SummerHill is proposing for Moraga. Planning commissioners are set to consider several related applications for the developer's Rancho Laguna II project at a hearing Monday. The conceptual development plan, approved in 2011, calls for 27 homes on 180 acres and includes the creation of a protection plan for a nearby wetlands area.

The two projects join several others pitched by developers eager to build in Moraga. Proposed and suggested projects include the 126 single-family home Bollinger Valley development, the 18-home Via Moraga plan and 36 townhomes suggested for three acres on Moraga Way.

In addition to the 26 homes, the town will receive a number of public amenities outlined in the Camino Ricardo development agreement. Those benefits include:

  • Creation of a 2.5 acre public park/open space before a building permit is issued for the development's 16th home
  • A public "outlook point" within the subdivision.
  • Pedestrian trails and two bridges leading to and through the public open space. These would also have to be constructed before a building permit is issued for the 16th home.

At a council meeting last month, SummerHill representative Denise Cunningham touted the development agreement, saying it offers significant benefits to the town.

"We feel these improvements go above and beyond what would be required in this community," Cunningham said.

The town estimates the value of the public improvements, including the construction of a sidewalk along Camino Ricardo from the project to Moraga Way, at $2.69 million. SummerHill will also contribute $55,000 to the town for other pedestrian improvements and pay impact fees of about $573,000, according to a staff report.

Additional public safety improvements, including a high-visibility crosswalk from a bridge and trail crossing to the Moraga Commons Skatepark, are valued at $77,572. Construction is slated to begin in the fall.

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Affordable housing crunch: Silicon Valley cities weigh new developer fees

Thursday January 30th, 2014 Silicon Valley Business Journal

By Lauren Hepler


High housing demand, low housing supply and drastically reduced affordable housing funding have collided to form a murky outlook for those seeking a place to live in Silicon Valley.


Demand for rentals from workers at all income levels — from waiters to young tech executives — has been compounded by the needs of tens of thousands of area residents displaced during the foreclosure crisis, said Kevin Zwick, CEO of San Jose affordable housing nonprofit Housing Trust Silicon Valley.


Average San Jose area rents reached $2,153 by the end of 2013, representing a 10.1 percent jump for the year.


Meanwhile, local cities and housing advocates are in damage control mode after the loss of several tools — namely, local redevelopment agencies and inclusionary zoning — that were previously used to increase the number of affordable housing units in the region.


“Developers aren’t coming to us with as many new potential projects,” Zwick said. “People are incredibly cautious. It's complicated because there's not that local funding.”


One potential avenue to bring some of that funding back: additional developer fees.


San Jose, Sunnyvale and East Palo Alto are all currently evaluating new housing impact fees, where developers are charged a per-square-foot fee on market rate housing projects to fund affordable units. Before implementing these fees, cities studied the potential nexus between new market rate development and ways to address the need for affordable housing.


The building industry has generally opposed these fees, warning that new up-front costs could inhibit new development.


Fremont, Walnut Creek and San Carlos are a few cities that already have rental impact fees on the books. The fees in those cities range from $15-$28 per square foot. There are also closely-related commercial linkage fees, where cities charge a fee on new office development to fund affordable housing.


As of early 2014, these cities in the South Bay and on the Peninsula are studying housing impact fees:


San Jose: Completing a study with possible fees ranging from $14.89-$24.04 per square foot and covering both rental and owner housing. City debate on the issue was slated for February 2014 but delayed after business protests that the process was being rushed.


Sunnyvale: A study was completed with fees likely in the $10-$20 per-square-foot range. City hearings on the measure slated for April-July 2014.


East Palo Alto: A draft study was completed in October 2013 with a recommended $22-$44 per-square-foot fee for both rental and owner housing.


Mountain View recently implemented a $10 per square foot impact fee for new rental units in early 2013. City officials report no measurable impact on new development proposals.


"None," said Community Development Director Randy Tsuda. "In a market like Mountain View, the demand and developer interest is so high.”


Still, area developers question whether new fees in other areas could stifle production.


"If landowners decide not to sell because of the combination of costs versus revenue, then it’s just not going to get built,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of San Jose-based apartment and home developer SummerHill Homes. “It’s a concern.”


Freed, also a board member for San Francisco affordable housing developer Bridge Housing, agrees that new funding in some form is necessary to address the dearth of housing at lower price points. He suggested more broad-based mechanisms to generate revenue.


“It is politically easy, if you will, to pin the fundraising side of the affordable housing equation to new development.” Freed said. “I think we ought to have a transfer tax on anybody who sells a piece of property. I think we should consider an addition to sales tax to create money.”


Matt Franklin, president of Foster City affordable housing developer MidPen Housing, argued that developers do play an outsized role in increasing housing costs.


"This isn’t some tax on the wealthy," he said. "There’s an economic nexus, a logic, that this activity — the office development or the luxury home development — is exacerbating the affordable housing crisis."


Franklin added that coordination at the county level could potentially alleviate some city fears about alienating developers.


"In San Mateo County there’s an effort afoot to do a countywide nexus study, so that all 21 municipalities in the county would have the same study to try to encourage them to move forward together," he said. "If everybody adopted a fee, you could take out one of the legitimate concerns people have."

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Livermore council to consider approving large housing development on city's east side

Monday January 13th, 2014 Contra Costa Times

LIVERMORE -- Livermore city council members will discuss on Monday whether to approve a large-scale subdivision of homes, townhouses, and apartments planned for just north of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.


Developer SummerHill Homes has requested the development of 465 residential units, two neighborhood parks, open space, pedestrian paths, and trails for 35 acres of vacant land on the east side of Brisa Street and South Vasco Road. The proposal includes construction of single-family detached homes, and three-story townhomes and apartments in a 253-lot subdivision.


The five-phase project, according to the city, was originally discussed in 2007 as part of the Brisa Neighborhood Plan approval process, but didn't move forward at that time due to the economic downturn.


The Livermore Planning Commission unanimously approved the project on Dec. 3.


The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at City Council Chambers, 3575 Pacific Ave.


By Jeremy Thomas

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Moraga Approves 26-Home Camino Ricardo Subdivision

Tuesday January 7th, 2014 Lamorinda Patch

The subdivision would contain open space and a 2.5-acre park


The Moraga Planning Commission gave the go-ahead Monday night to a 26-home subdivision near the Moraga Shopping Center.


The project still has a development agreement that includes trails, bridges and other amenities that must be approved by the Town Council.


The council would only vote on the subdivision plans if someone appeals the commission's approval.


The subdivision will be built by SummerHill Homes.


The 26 homes would be constructed on the western half of a 14.2 acre site along Camino Ricardo just east of Moraga Way.


Eight acres of the property would be designated as open space, including a 2.5-acre park.


The proposal also calls for trails, bridges over two creeks and a sidewalk down Camino Ricardo to Moraga Way.


The homes would range in size from 2,500 square feet to 3,200 square feet. There would be three architectural styles.


Posted by David Mills 

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Restoring Natural Habitat in the Heart of Moraga

Wednesday January 1st, 2014 Lamorinda Weekly

By Sophie Braccini


The Moraga Planning Commission recently reviewed Summerhill Homes' application to build 26 houses off of Camino Ricardo, one of the first projects in the area governed by the Moraga Center Specific Plan to come to fruition. Already approved by the Design Review Board, the homes did not elicit much controversy. Planning commissioners also spent some time reviewing the proposal for a 5-acre passive park contiguous to the homes; the unique visual and educational area in the heart of Moraga will be donated to the town.


The portion of the 14.2-acre site located between Laguna Creek and its tributary was initially proposed as a neighborhood park with recreation equipment. Discussion with the Planning Commission and Design Review Board revealed that a passive park, for walking or informal picnics, was preferred. However, the developer intended to drop on the lot a large portion of the earth that would be excavated to place the homes and road. "It does not make a lot of sense to kill the vegetation by dumping eight feet of dirt on the site and then replanting it with native plants," said commissioner Teresa Onoda. She passed around photos she had taken of the site with a ladder illustrating the height of the excavated dirt, which made it clear that nothing would survive such a burial.


Residents pointed out the existence of a native animal population at the site, including the protected dusky-footed wood rat, and asked for as little disturbance as possible. Commissioner Nancy Schoenbrunner said she had learned that the creek was the place where local rainbow trout were originally discovered and she wanted an investigation into whether Moraga was still a spawning ground for the fish. The commissioners unanimously agreed that the developer must haul away all of the excavated dirt. The new park is destined to be restored to pre-agriculture vegetation and will serve as a place of discovery and education about local flora and fauna.


Denise Cunningham, of Summerhill Homes, said that it might be possible for the company to use the excavated dirt as fill on the other Moraga property it is developing - Rancho Laguna II, near Rheem Boulevard.


Residents living next to the project acknowledged efforts made by the developer to minimize the visual impact of the new homes. "In Moraga, the code protects public views from being impacted by new development, but not private views," commented senior planner Ellen Clark. Summerhill worked to protect the views of neighboring homeowners by redesigning some of the houses to be single-level and moving the building pads; they asked to bend the setback rules slightly to accommodate the new design.


The Planning Commission is expected to approve the project's Conceptual and General Development Plan, the Vesting Tentative Subdivision Map, the Hillside Development Permit, the Grading Permit, the Conditional Use Permit, and Design Review in early January. These documents will be approved together, which is unusual in Moraga. Shawna Brekke-Read, Moraga's planning director, explained that any property that is zoned for planned development needs to go through a three-step process. Summerhill was asked to consolidate the process into one single phase, because the Camino Ricardo project is part of the Moraga Center Specific Plan that was seven years in the making and included many preliminary studies such as a traffic impact report.

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New Plan for Rancho Laguna II

Tuesday December 3rd, 2013 Lamorinda Weekly

By Sophie Braccini


During his State of the Town address Nov. 21, Moraga mayor David Trotter talked about 'behind the scenes' discussions with Summerhill Homes that led to a new map of the Rancho Laguna II development project; Summerhill presented its revised plan to the Planning Commission at a Dec. 2 study session.
Trotter was outvoted 2-1 in 2011 when the Town Council denied an appeal, filed by the local organization Preserve Lamorinda Open Space, and approved the Conceptual Development Plan for Rancho Laguna II - a 27-home project off Rheem Boulevard that included the construction of two residences on a minor ridgeline and a large amount of grading. The debate was around whether or not the General Plan allowed development on ridgelines; the phrasing "protect ridgelines" led to different interpretations. The General Plan's perceived ambiguities are driving the current effort to consider revisions of hillside and ridgeline development rules.
"We entered into contract (to purchase the development) the summer of 2012," said Summerhill Homes vice president Katia Kamangar. "Coming into this transaction, we also wanted to take a fresh look at the previously approved plan to see if there were enhancements that we could undertake that would further minimize the project's impacts." Summerhill reached out to Preserve Lamorinda Open Space, which has been critical of the project.
Summerhill's proposed new plan includes several changes, none of which is significant enough to lead to a challenge of the approved Conceptual Development Plan, notably the re-siting of two lots that were going to be set on a ridgeline, and that required significant grading, which have been relocated to the lower housing cluster along Rheem Blvd. The new plan also reduces grading by moving inside streets, it preserves a mature buckeye tree along Rheem Boulevard, suppresses some mitigation wetlands that were, according to Preserve Lamorinda Open Space, proposed in a poor location, and adds a detention basin for the drainage of the upper development cluster.
In a letter to the town's planning director, Suzanne Jones of Preserve Lamorinda Open Space stated: "SummerHill Homes has been a very willing and cooperative partner in working with (Preserve Lamorinda Open Space) and we greatly appreciate their efforts. The changes they have made represent an honest attempt to work with the community and address project impacts within the constraints imposed by the (Conceptual Development Plan) and the requirement of the new detention basin. We ask that the changes outlined in this letter be met with the Town's approval." Jones added that although Preserve Lamorinda Open Space supports the changes proposed by Summerhill, the group still thinks that the plan includes too many homes.
"The alternative plan has less environmental impact and the area graded is smaller," said Shawna Brekke-Read, planning director, "so we recommended the Planning Commission proceed with the alternative plan." Once the commission completes its review, the next step will be the presentation of the General Development Plan by Summerhill Homes during a series of public meetings in 2014.

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Former Sunnyvale Chevy dealership test drives new use: a Marriott

Tuesday August 6th, 2013 Silicon Valley Business Journal

By


A hotel has made a reservation for Sunnyvale, giving new life to a former auto dealership that is also sprouting more than 100 townhomes.


T2 Development, a Newport Beach-based hotel developer, purchased the two-acre site at 660 W. El Camino last month from Summerhill Homes, said Randol Mackley, the SRS Real Estate Partners broker who worked on the deal with SRS colleague Bruce Frazer.


It's the latest re-use on the storied corridor as developers eye older, outdated land uses for new projects. Also in Sunnyvale, The Sobrato Organization is working on another former car dealership for an apartment/commercial project at 1095 W. El Camino. Down the road near the intersection of San Tomas and El Camino in Santa Clara, the Mariani family is considering replacing a hotel and restaurant with apartments.


Terms of the Sunnyvale deal were not disclosed, but T2 is moving quickly to get the project started, Mackley said. On tap: a four-level, 145-room hotel under the Courtyard by Marriott brand, the mid-priced, business-friendly flag of Marriott International.


"This is going to appeal to all those workers who have really moved into the area," Mackley said. "There is some inventory of hotels/motels on the El Camino Real corridor, but in some cases they harken back to the mid-1950s. This is going to be the newest product in that area."


As I reported back in March, SummerHill picked up the nearly 8-acre parcel -- formerly a Raines Chevrolet -- earlier this year from the family who owned the property and the dealership. The San Ramon-based homebuilder will build 103 townhomes in a community it is calling Las Palmas. SummerHill recently graded the site and aims to have models open early next year, a representative said. Homes are anticipated to run in the $600,000 to $900,000 range.


Integrating a commercial component to the project was key for SummerHill because the city is keen for sizable new residential developments on El Camino to maintain some kind of commercial use.


But retail wouldn't be ideal for the site, said Mackley, who recommended looking for a hotel developer to bring into the deal.


The opportunity proved the right fit for T2. The Newport Beach-based company is a hotel investment, development and management firm that specializes in luxury, full-service and "select-service" properties mostly on the West Coast.


"Hospitality is coming back," Mackley said. "It's a product type that's very sensitive to the economy, but we're seeing a bit more expansion."


Connie Verceles, Sunnyvale's economic development manager, said the city was thrilled with the project. The hotel will serve the needs of growing businesses in the area while also providing critical revenue to the city through transient occupancy tax.


Sunnyvale has about 3,300 hotel rooms, which provided about $8.2 million in taxes last year. That's up from about $7 million a year prior, she said. About 80 percent of the city's weekday hotel business is from business travelers.


"Marriott is a great brand, and this is really going to cater to those business travelers," Verceles said. "The location on El Camino is great because it's centrally located."


Nathan Donato-Weinstein covers commercial real estate and transportation for the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
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Real Estate Titan Marcus Lets Loose In San Francisco

Wednesday April 3rd, 2013 The Registry

By Sharon Simonson


As Bay Area real estate magnates go, George Marcus is probably the most famous. Hamid Moghadam of Prologis might give him a run. So might Carl Berg of Mission West and John A. Sobrato. But Marcus’ achievements are singular.


In 1971, he founded two companies that have exercised major influence on the U.S. real estate industry. Palo Alto-based Essex Property Trust Inc., now a publicly traded real estate investment trust, owns more than 33,000 apartments (both outright and in partnerships) in the Bay Area, Southern California and Seattle. Marcus remains the company’s chairman.


Essex has expanded aggressively in the current multifamily housing boom, buying 3,016 units for nearly $802 million last year alone, hundreds of them in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. It also is developing, including nearly 500 units at Folsom and 5th streets in San Francisco and a proposed high-rise tower in downtown San Jose.


Marcus also co-founded The Marcus & Millichap Cos., the parent company of multiple real estate firms. That includes the most prominent, Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, the largest U.S. commercial real estate investment brokerage. “George started one of the greatest institutions in real estate in the country,” TMG Partners Chief Executive Michael Covarrubias said March 28 in introducing Marcus. “It is truly an amazing organization.”


Marcus & Millichap also is parent to Bay Area homebuilder SummerHill Homes, which is led by Robert Freed, a former KB Home honcho; multifamily investor Pacific Urban Residential led by Al Pace; SummerHill Apartment Communities and Meridian Property Co.


Marcus’ reputation is that of a serial entrepreneur and modern day Midas with an uncanny ability to start successful companies, to make money in whatever field he chooses and to select great leaders to run his creations. With partners, he also owns two Greek restaurants. The first, Evvia Estiatorio, is in downtown Palo Alto; Kokkari Estiatorio is in San Francisco’s Financial District. By all accounts both serve excellent fare in exceptional settings and are financially prosperous.


In a rare public interview, Marcus agreed to be questioned by Covarrubias as part of ULI San Francisco’s real estate Icons series. The two men have known one another for 37 years. Marcus also entertained a smattering of questions from attendees. The first ULI San Francisco Icon was William Wilson III, recognized in 2011.


Covarrubias: Tell me about a day in your life. You are a deal junky. What percent of the day is working on deals, what percent working with political folks and what is the fun?


Marcus: The notion that I do deals is really a misnomer. I organize companies that think about better ways to be involved in multiple deals. From the beginning, I was interested in improving the industry. I had two principles: I wanted companies that sustained themselves beyond me. My other guiding light is that when I realized I had talent in the door, I would give them all of the responsibility they could handle. [William A.] Bill Millichap came into my office in 1971. It was the luckiest day of my life. It took a long time to get the brokerage going. Bill was excellent at it. I realized that I could lose Bill if I remained CEO, so I moved out of the way and started Essex [Property Trust Inc.]. My career has not been about the deal. It’s been about process and strategy.


Covarrubias: Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the value of information gave value to brokers. Now information is instant and everywhere. So who needs a broker?


Marcus: There is a value to representation, which will find the optimum buyer who will pay the most and still do well. A platform like ours is a massive auctioning. We started a policy 40 years ago, if you pocketed a listing without telling other brokers that was a fire-able offense. We are working for the client from the top. It is of enormous value.


Covarrubias: Talk about 2008. Where were you and what did you see?


Marcus: We didn’t really understand that this was possible. We were accustomed to monitoring employment, and it was a harbinger of normal changes in the market. None of us was ready for a capital meltdown. It was a surprise and we weren’t ready. We got hurt. If you see prices going down, make the deal faster and get it done. In homebuilding you have a million tomatoes that will rot if you don’t do something. All of your competitors will lower their prices. Beat them out the door, take the money and buy land. We are killing it today. Normally the margins for public homebuilders are 7 [percent] to 10 percent pretax. We are looking at 25 percent. Also if you have a building you are leasing, make the deal and take the lower rent.


Covarrubias: But you have to be in a position to do that. You can’t be illiquid, and you have to have a final position that ‘it is ok to get crushed now because I can come back later.’


Marcus: I’ve always believed that companies should be diversified. Service, investment and building companies don’t line up. Any one sector can be hurt but not all at the same time. I’ve been in brokerage for 40 years and made money in every year but one. Diversity matters. If you look at the risk of products, the riskiest is probably hotel resorts and on the other side with little risk would be a net-leased asset or building. Somewhere in between you had better know where you are: suburban office types are different from urban.


Homebuilding is very risky because your inventory becomes exceedingly expensive, you have to move it and you have to be very active. In the Bay Area, if you had an option on the ground now, you can’t get models up for three years and you won’t close out for five years. You have to know what your prices will be, at least in a range.


Covarrubias: Everyone in the room is on the island: in San Francisco and the Bay Area. In the rest of the country, every one wants to be us. Is this a bubble? Will tech crash? What inning is it? Is the Bay Area so far ahead that we are going to 2 percent cap rates and $1,000 a foot [to buy] office?


Marcus: No one really knows. I think we have a very robust economy, but every product and business is very different. You have to be thoughtful. You have to plan and work it. Neighborhood retail is pretty bullet proof if you have a good tenant. Speculative high-rise office towers? I have never understood that. If you are in a super high-risk business, you had better have a super low-risk balance sheet.


The Registry: Over the years, Essex has not been a big investor in San Francisco apartments and has favored the South Bay. In this cycle, Essex has entered San Francisco. Why?


Marcus: We didn’t avoid San Francisco. Santa Clara [County] was just much faster growing than San Francisco was 15 years ago. We basically looked at where we thought the fastest growing markets would be and sold out of slower growing markets and bought there.


Covarrubias: TMG has now done our fourth transaction with Essex. It turns out there are these opportune moments. We have never been in business together. We have been on a roll. It is a product of ULI and knowing someone for a long time that makes it happen.


Audience Member: Between Silicon Valley and San Francisco, where will technology [companies] go? Who will win that battle?


Marcus: I don’t think that is an issue. There is ample opportunity in both. If you are young and single and you have an engineering degree, you are in San Francisco. It is all about attracting the best and the brightest. The markets are 45 minutes apart. Between Facebook, Google and Apple, we have more than we can handle in Silicon Valley.


This is the best of times. You have such opportunity today. Work all of the time. Remember Aristotle and Confucius: Success is not in our nature. It is in our habits.

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TMG readies urban redo for Fremont

Thursday March 28th, 2013 San Francisco Business Times

TMG Partners will kick off efforts to transform downtown Fremont into an energetic, pedestrian-friendly urban district with the groundbreaking next year on a 467-unit apartment project.


The developer has been working with the city since 2008 on a master plan to redevelop downtown’s 110 acres. The City Council adopted the master plan in October, opening the door for TMG to develop the first project.


“(TMG’s project) will really set the tone for the type of project that we’re hoping to see in the downtown,” said Jessica von Borck, Fremont’s downtown project manager.


TMG’s preliminary design consists of two buildings on a 6.7-acre parcel at the corner of Capital Avenue and State Street. The developer is working with Steinberg Architects to design the project with ground-floor commercial space along Capital Avenue. The site was zoned for residential or commercial.


“The housing market is very hot, especially apartments,” said David Cropper, a partner with TMG.


TMG will spend the rest of this year negotiating to buy the site from the city along with finalizing entitlements for the project.


The process is on the fast track to get ready for construction by May 2014, von Borck said.


Two blocks away, SummerHill Apartment Communities is building Paragon, a 301-unit community at Walnut Avenue and California Street. That project is also within the downtown plan area, but kicked off before the plan was implemented.


“We felt that the market, even during the downturn, was underserved,” said Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill. “There hadn’t been a new Class A apartment building in the area in over 10 years. The market was ready to have a high-quality, high-amenity product.”


SummerHill expects the first residents in July. Rents will start at $1,865 for a one-bedroom and $2,400 for two bedrooms. The developer owned the site for several years before starting construction and planned to build a condo project before the recession hit.


“The (downtown) plan confirms what SummerHill is doing,” Cropper said. “It’s good for the city and it’s good for encouraging other investments to know you’re not the only guy in the neighborhood.”


Both TMG and SummerHill’s projects will not only bring more residents, but also bring to the market higher-quality units. TMG’s project will likely consist of five stories.


“It’s what most properties are heading towards in the Bay Area when you’re near transit. You have to build that kind of density to justify land costs,” Cropper said.


The downtown plan offers options for higher densities, greater height limits and a streamlined approval process. The plan also includes extending Capital Avenue to connect to Fremont Boulevard and revamping the area with streetscaping, landscaping and wider sidewalks.


Fremont, with close to 220,000 residents, is the Bay Area’s fourth-largest city. Because it was formed out of five separate communities — Centerville, Niles, Irvington, Mission San Jose and Warm Springs — in 1956, it lacks a core downtown.


“We are creating a unique urban environment,” von Borck said. “This is our strategy to emerge from an auto-centric suburbia.”


Blanca Torres covers East Bay real estate for the San Francisco Business Times.

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Buyers Come Knocking for Bay Area Homes

Sunday March 10th, 2013 Silicon Valley Business Journal

By Nathan Donato-Weinstein - Real Estate Reporter


After years in which rental projects in Silicon Valley were king, new-home construction has returned. Credit goes to a number of factors: low inventory, strong buyer demand and skyrocketing rents.
“We’re back in growth mode,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes.


In Santa Clara County, existing single-family inventory totaled 1,169 units in January, down 57 percent from a year ago, according to MLSListings.com. Finished new-home inventory is also low, with about 1.4 months’ supply available at the end of 2012, according to industry tracker Metrostudy.


At the Boulevards in Santa Clara, SummerHill raised prices on new releases by $90,000 last week compared to a month ago. The community’s 36 homes are between 2,235 and 2,717 square feet and sell in the $1 million range.


“It’s a classic supply and demand,” Freed said. “I have 200 pre-qualified buyers for the Boulevards, and I only have 24 of them.”


San Ramon-based SummerHill was slated to close this week on a former Chevrolet dealership at 660–666 W. El Camino Real in Sunnyvale where it will build 103 townhomes, Freed said. He is also working with Grosvenor Americas to build nearly 200 residential units as part of the 20-acre “North 40” planning area in Los Gatos.


“We’re seven years into this downturn, and we’re seeing (buyers) start to return rapidly,” said Chris Apostolopoulos, president of KB Home of Northern California.


Executives cautioned that while the new-home market is improving, it is not recovered fully.


One factor that could hold back the floodgates is availability of developable land.


“There are just fewer land opportunities, and then many of them that are available, especially in San Jose, are designated for multifamily rental,” Freed said.


The result: Prices for remaining sites are rising. Land that was going for $2 million an acre two years ago is now going for up to $4 million, Freed said.


That hasn’t stopped publicly traded KB Home, which has been one of the most aggressive in this market.


It’s in contract on six properties in the Bay Area that could bring more than 1,000 units to market, said Apostolopoulos.


That number doesn’t include its major San Jose projects, Communication Hill and the San Jose Flea Market.


KB just closed on 10 acres of land at the latter, where KB plans to build 242 for-sale units in the first phase of a project that could include more than 2,000 homes.


Ralph Borelli, chairman of Borelli Investment Co., acts as the Flea Market owners’ development adviser and broker. He said the Flea Market land garnered about 20 offers from bidders, a sign of what he called a “frothy” market.


PulteGroup Inc. has three actively selling communities in San Jose and Fremont, but is looking for more, said spokesman Andrew Wong.


“There’s not much for people to select from,” he said. “Low interest rates have really given buyers strength in purchasing power.”



Nathan Donato-Weinstein covers commercial real estate and transportation for the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

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California Homebuilding Foundation Names 6 Builders and Developers to Hall of Fame

Wednesday January 30th, 2013 Reuters

SACRAMENTO, Calif.--(Business Wire)--


Six industry leaders who have built and developed new homes and apartments for decades and also given back to their communities through philanthropy and volunteerism have been named to the California Homebuilding Foundation Hall of Fame.


The honorees are:


* Sherman S. Haggerty, retired Sacramento-region vice president for Lennar Corp. Among the highlights of his 30-year career were developing a different product type during the recession of the early 1990s that became one of the biggest sellers of the decade in Sacramento.


* Joe Head, president of the San Ramon-based SummerHill Land Division of SummerHill Homes. Head has been a leading homebuilder in Northern California for 40 years and also brought real-world experience to the San Jose City Council, where he served from 1989 to 1994.


* Robert B. McLeod, chairman and CEO of San Diego-based Newland Real Estate Group. Bob brought to fruition the development of San Diego`s 1,100-acre University City area, with 9,000 residential units, 1,600 hotel rooms, and 3.6 million square feet of retail, office and industrial, when Newland was the largest private land-owner in San Diego County. Through his leadership, Newland is now the largest and most innovative master-planned developer in the nation with communities in 14 states.  


* John J. Ryan, Jr., president of Brookfield Homes Bay Area in Danville. Under Ryan`s leadership, Brookfield is considered one of the region`s best homebuilding companies to work for and is a leader in developing master-planned communities.


* Tom Sudberry, chairman of the board of San Diego-based Sudberry Properties. Sudberry has been a leader in the region`s real estate industry for decades and is the developer of the sustainable urban infill community of Civita.


* Bill Watt, president of Newport Beach-based Baywood Development Group. Watt`s passion for creative homebuilding has led to successful and trend-setting developments in Orange and San Diego counties for 40 years.


ABOUT THE FOUNDATION


Founded in 1978, the California Homebuilding Foundation invests in the future of the industry through endowments that provide college and graduate school scholarships; funding research on key public policy issues; compiling and publishing timely construction and new home statistics; training seminars; supporting high school curriculum to encourage young people to choose careers in the industry; and supporting the California Homebuilding Hall of Fame.


California Homebuilding Foundation
Terri Brunson, 916-340-3340
CHF Executive Director

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Mountain View wants to add developer fees for new rentals

Thursday November 15th, 2012 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

by Jon Xavier


The city of Mountain View is looking at tacking on an $18.95-per-square-foot fee on market-rate rental developments to help fund affordable housing projects.


But some say the fee could have unintended consequences, including reducing the supply of rental housing and depressing land values.


The proposal comes as cities throughout California look for ways to fund below-market housing projects following the dissolution of redevelopment agencies. In addition, a 2009 Los Angeles court case ended affordable-housing set-aside requirements. Mountain View previously required projects to include 10 percent affordable units.


“That really hurt a lot of communities in California,” Linda Lauzze, the city’s administrative and neighborhood services manager, said of the changes.


But industry executives and some council members are skeptical. Vice Mayor John Inks says the fee will unfairly penalize landowners because developers will negotiate lower terms on land deals to offset fees.


“I think it’s unfair to single out owners of development property for a social need that probably should be more widely disseminated,” Inks said.


He added the result could be counterproductive.


“The one thing we can do as a city is allow the supply to increase,” he said. “If you have people that want to tack on fees and restrict development, that definitely has an impact.”


Robert Freed, president and chief executive of SummerHill Homes and [SummerHill Apartment Communities] Urban Housing Group, has several apartment projects in the pipeline. Freed said he’s a supporter of affordable housing and doesn’t oppose a fee per se, but believes the current figure being proposed is too high. He is also concerned that the fee would apply to projects already in the pipeline.


“When a fee of this magnitude could hit projects that are near approval stage, it can kill a deal,” he said. “It’s a little unfair to change the rules in midstream.”


Several other area cities have similar rental-impact fees. Fremont charges $17.55 per square foot, Walnut Creek charges $15 per square foot and San Carlos charges up to $28.27 per square foot.


Apartment rental developers might not be the only ones hit with changes to the city’s fee structure. The City Council will also consider increasing the affordable-housing surcharge on developers of office, hotel and retail buildings when the issue comes before the Council in December.


Demand outpaces units


Mountain View has a 51-unit affordable housing project currently under construction downtown and two affordable projects totaling 76 units in the pipeline. Money comes from various sources, including a $7.43-per-square-foot fee charged to commercial projects. New rental properties don’t currently pay anything into the city’s below--market fund. If the rental fee were imposed to all 930 market units in the pipeline, Mountain View would collect about $15.5 million.


Mayor Michael Kasperzak said pricey Mountain View needs to grow its affordable housing stock by 150 units a year just to keep up with demand and is already about 1,000 units behind its current needs.


That need is one downside of the city’s robust economy. Buoyed by strong tech hiring, the city’s unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in September, nearly three points lower than the state’s average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median income was about $88,000, according to the U.S. Census.


As a result, average market rents in Mountain View are among the highest in the region, ranging from $1,500 for a studio to $3,267 for a three-bedroom apartment. Those rents require minimum income of $64,000 to $137,664, according to city statistics.


Freed said the industry recognizes the demand for lower-price housing and hopes to partner with cities to find the best way to solve the affordability gap.


“I think this is an opportunity to have a broader discussion on what are the most effective affordable housing programs,” Freed said.

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Maravilla Townhomes a unique development, thanks to interesting collaborative effort

Wednesday October 31st, 2012 Mercury News


By Khalida Sarwari

A new housing development at 555 W. Campbell Ave. has seen a flurry of activity over the past few weeks as its occupants start to move in. In a few weeks, the Maravilla Townhomes will be unveiled to the community at large.

A grand opening ceremony will be held on Nov. 14 to showcase 16 small-lot single-family homes and 24 below market rate townhome units that are interspersed with three water supply wells installed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District to provide drinking water to Campbell, Cupertino, Santa Clara and West San Jose neighborhoods in the event of an emergency.

The project was a collaboration between the water district, the city of Campbell, Charities Housing and Summerhill Homes, a developer based in San Ramon.

"It was a nice partnership of public and private and nonprofit," said project manager Sharon Teeter.

The 1,500-square-foot homes each have two bedrooms and two baths, according to Teeter. All 24 townhome units have been sold, she said. A third of the occupants have already moved in, with the remainder set to move in the coming weeks.

The development project--one of the largest in Campbell--began more than seven years ago, but construction didn't begin until November 2011, Teeter said, adding that part of the reason was the slow economy. The project cost about $16 million and was funded with loans, including a $2.5 million grant in mortgage loans from the state department of housing, a $200,000 loan for each buyer from the city of Campbell and nearly $31,000 from the Housing Trust of Santa Clara County. The Campbell Redevelopment Agency also loaned $3.9 million to Summerhill Homes for the 24 townhome units, according to Teeter.

Tours of the water well houses will be offered at the Nov. 14, grand opening, set for 3-4:30 p.m. at 555 W. Campbell Ave. Mayor Mike Kotowski and representatives from the water district, Summerhill Homes and Charities Housing are expected to attend.

Calling the new housing development "beautiful and creative," Kotowski invited community members to come and see it for themselves.

"I'm proud that our Campbell community is growing, and at the same time we've strengthened our city's emergency preparedness by providing a reliable source of drinking water in the event of a local disaster," he said.

Due to limited street parking at the site, attendees are encouraged to park for free at the Campbell Community Center and take a van transfer to the event.

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Executive Profile: Robert Freed, president and CEO of Summerhill Homes and Urban Housing Group

Thursday October 25th, 2012 San Francisco Business Times

HQ: San Ramon.


Background: Freed joined SummerHill Homes as president and CEO in 2007. Before that, he worked for KB Home for 13 years and rose to senior vice president of investment strategy. He started out as a certified public accountant and held CFO positions at Davidon Homes and Blackhawk Corp. SummerHill, which focuses on single-family homes, is integrating Urban Housing Group, which builds multifamily housing, into one firm called SummerHill Housing Group. Both divisions are owned by Marcus & Millichap and have a combined 80 employees. The single-family component has six active projects in the Bay Area, while the multifamily side has more than 900 units in its Bay Area pipeline.


First job: Holding a survey stick for Jerry Lohr (of J. Lohr Wines) for the first home he built in Saratoga.


Education: B.S., economics, the University of California, Los Angeles.


Residence: Calistoga.


Business strategy


How’s business: Both the for-sale side of the business and the for-rent are strong right now. That’s a direct result of the job growth and healthy economy that we’re fortunate enough to be experiencing.


Biggest challenge for your business: One is obtaining high quality sites for residential development and that’s both a function of a limited number of opportunities and very strong competition. Second, the planning and approval process in our cities is very challenging.


What’s going to change at your company in the next year: The integration of the two development organziations. ... It’s both a rebranding and looking for synergy within the two organizations, sharing knowledge and sharing resources.


Goal yet to be achieved: To create a recession-proof developer.


How will you know that you’ve achieved it: You’ll have to talk to me after the next downturn.


Management philosophy


Guiding principles for good management: I’m a strong believer in candor and quality of conversation and messaging. I’m a strong believer in accountability and fostering dissenting opinions within the company to help ensure issues are properly vetted.


Best way to keep competitive edge: I try to surround myself with really smart people, not only people I work with, but networking and quality conversations with the best of my competition.


Why people like working for you: I’m very respectful. ... They also must enjoy my sarcasm and appreciate that I am accountable for what we do. The best assesment of how you’re doing is how well you retain employees and attract new talent.


Mentor: My grandfather, Louis Freed.


Judgment calls


Best business decision: To work for KB Home ... The learning opportunities I had there set up me for the opportunity to be at SummerHill.


Hardest lesson learned and how you learned it: There were times when I would not be as clear and candid as I am today. It was not very effective. One of my employees at KB Home pointed it out to me and it was very eye opening.


Toughest business decision: Going to KB. I lived in Northern California, and I (had to) relocate to Southern California. It was very disruptive to my children.


Biggest missed opportunity: Missing out on buying or tying up sites in the Bay Area 18 months ago. The market has rebounded stronger than I anticipated.


True confessions


Like best about job: I love the challenge I feel with and from the people I work with. They are very dedicated people.


Like least about job: Indvidivuals or organizations that oppose our developments without knowing the facts, without respecting the process and with oftentimes very selfish motivations.


Pet peeve: People who are very quick to judge others.


Most respected competitor: Sares Regis Group of Northern California.


First choice for a new career: Teaching some level of college.


Predilections


Most influential book: “What Happy People Know,” by Dan Baker and Cameron Stauth.


Favorite cause: Affordable housing.


Favorite movie: “Top Gun.”


Favorite restaurant: Press in St. Helena.


On your iPod: I listen to a lot of jazz.


Automobile: Mercedes E 550.


By Blanca Torres


Article HERE

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SummerHill Housing Group Makes Its Debut

Monday October 22nd, 2012 The Registry

SummerHill Homes and Urban Housing Group take Market Lead.


By Publisher in News Releases.


 


SAN RAMON, CA (Oct. 22, 2012) - Two real estate powerhouses are now under one roof in a unique partnership forged to serve the home-sales and multifamily rental markets.


Newly formed SummerHill Housing Group is now the umbrella organization for award-winning Bay Area builder SummerHill Homes and West Coast apartment developer Urban Housing Group. Robert Freed, President and CEO for both, will lead at SummerHill Housing Group.


SummerHill Homes will keep its name but Urban Housing Group will become SummerHill Apartment Communities in the change. "We see this move as a way to strengthen the capabilities of two highly successful enterprises," Freed said.


 


SummerHill Housing Group provides the expertise, financial capabilities, and staffing power in the for-sale and for-rent markets, something Freed calls "a natural synergy in the Bay Area." Few other firms are equipped to combine capabilities for the for-sale and rental markets, largely because of the vastly different complexities of financing and land acquisition between the two disciplines.


SummerHill housing and apartment teams draw upon decades of experience and expertise in all phases of developing properties from beginning to completion. And for landowners in particular, that adds up to a powerful alliance.


SummerHill can assess the best options for a property that will bring the best financial return — whether for-sale or rental — landowners are assured of getting the maximum value for their properties. And they can have confidence that SummerHill, with the respect it has earned in the marketplace for its unparalleled knowledge of local development and its long-standing history of achievement, can navigate the complex worlds of sophisticated financing, government regulation and zoning requirements for the project.


“Our combined reputation for high-quality projects, our track records of success, and our history of financial and land acquisition success make this a solid partnership,” Freed said. “We’re excited about what’s ahead.”


About SummerHill Housing Group


SummerHill Housing Group combines the expertise and market strength of the highly respected development firms San Ramon-based SummerHill Homes and SummerHill Apartment Communities. SummerHill Homes specializes in mid- to high-end homes, and is nationally recognized for customizing development plans to accommodate a site’s special characteristics. Summerhill Apartment Communities has a long track record of developing award-winning apartment and mixed-use infill rental housing communities. Both firms specialize in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.


 

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SummerHill Enters the Planning Process

Tuesday October 9th, 2012 Lamorida Weekly

The plan for 28 homes that are proposed off Camino Ricardo was officially presented on October 1 to a joint session of the Planning Commission and Design Review Board. Many aspects of the projects were explored at that meeting, such as parking, landscaping, the ingress and eggress of the site, drainage, and esthetics. The major concern of the commissioners present was the density of the homes. Although the general ratio of homes to available space is well within the requirement for that piece of land, massing all the homes on one side of the lot creates a visual of a much denser development.



The relatively narrow piece of property is located on the northern part of the vacant pear orchard. It is bordered by a creek to the east and crossed by a tributary to that creek. The idea was, rather than building between the creeks and constructing a vehicle bridge, that part could be left undeveloped and dedicated to the town for a neighborhood park.



"I like the idea of maximizing open space and massing the development on one side," said Commissioner Roger Wykle, "but the developed area is quite dense." Because of the shape of the lot, the road between the homes is not very wide and would accommodate parking only on one side. Some of the lots are quite small, under 7,500 square feet, much less than neighboring homes. According to the Moraga Center Specific Plan that sets the rules for this area, the property was planned to be a transition area between the existing homes and denser housing planned in the middle of the pear orchard to the south. Commissioners Christine Kuckuk, Jim Kline, and Chair Stacia Levenfeld also expressed reservations regarding the density.



"Our plan with 28 homes on 14.26 acres translates to a density of 1.9 homes per acre, well below the 42 homes contemplated for this site in the Moraga Center Specific Plan and well below the three homes per acre allowed by the land's current zoning," said Katia Kamangar, senior vice president for SummerHill Homes, after the meeting. "As the Specific Plan encourages 'clustering' homes in order to maximize open space and to protect riparian corridors, we felt that our plan with homes only west of the riparian areas, along with eight acres of permanent open space, offers tremendous benefits overall. Based on the feedback we will likely consider other site layouts that spread the homes out over the entire property."



The date for a next meeting has not been set. Planning Director Asks For Patience The Planning Department in Moraga consists at this time of only two people-Director Shawna Brekke-Read and Administrative Assistant Kelly Clancy. The Senior Planner that was recruited in September decided to return to her previous position in Union City and the Assistant Planner is moving out of state. The Town is recruiting to replace these two positions, but in the meantime, delays may be expected. The Planning Director has also hired consultants to move forward larger projects such as SummerHill.



By Sophie Braccini

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Builders push for CEQA reform

Thursday September 20th, 2012 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Premium content from Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal by Nathan Donato-Weinstein, Real Estate Reporter


Later this year, SummerHill Homes will complete a 110 single-family home project on 17 acres across from the Westfield Valley Fair Shopping Center in Santa Clara.


But the project would have finished long ago if not for challenges made by project opponents under the California Environmental Quality Act, said Robert Freed, SummerHill’s president and CEO.


“It’s now become an unwieldy, out-of-control monster,” Freed said of the legislation, which was passed in 1970.


Freed is not alone in his view. Commercial real estate executives say the law must be reformed to prevent abuses. Increasingly, they say, CEQA is being used as a tactic to scuttle projects by neighborhood opponents or to extract financial concessions.


Now there are some signs lawmakers are listening – and not just among Republicans who have long complained about CEQA stifling business.


An overhaul bill sponsored by Michael Rubio (D-Shafter) died in the State Senate in August, but Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) pledged on Sept. 13 he would convene “stakeholder meetings” to examine reform before the Legislature convenes on Jan. 4.


“The idea is to bring everybody to the table to come up with a compromise between folks on both sides of the issue,” said Steinberg spokesman Mark Hedlund.


Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, even called efforts to reform CEQA “the Lord’s work” on Aug. 22, according to news reports.


CEQA conundrum


Passed the same year as a national law called NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act), CEQA requires environmental review of projects by state and local agencies – allowing the public to see how a development could affect land, air, water and other elements of the environment. Significant impacts require a mitigation plan.


The public can challenge a project’s CEQA clearance through litigation. These suits often claim a project’s environmental impact report did not adequately address concerns, or a project that did not require an EIR actually needed one completed.


“CEQA is a very well-intentioned law and was envisioned from the get-go to help protect the environment and disclose the impacts,” said Shiloh Ballard, vice president of housing and community development for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which is pushing for changes to the law. “But the scope and reach of CEQA has been expanded in the broadest way possible, and that’s what set us on the path we’re on now.”


Challengers are not limited to environmental groups. Neighbors unhappy with a project in their backyard, unions seeking labor agreements and competing businesses have latched onto CEQA as a catch-all mechanism to stall projects or extract a deal, industry insiders said.


“Virtually anybody can sue under CEQA,” said Jennifer Hernandez, a partner with Holland & Knight in San Francisco and an expert on environmental litigation. “An environmental tool used mostly by environmental applicants can be used for all things by all people.”


David Pettit, an attorney with the National Resources Defense Council, counters that the number of frivolous CEQA lawsuits is fewer than industry groups suggest. He studied 18 months of data from Los Angeles County and found only 18 cases of litigation out of 1,182 approved projects. And he said truly warrantless litigation is easily tossed out by the court.


“There’s this idea that the court system is chock full of frivolous cases, but it’s very good at weeding it out,” he said.


That might be true, but Joe Horwedel, the city’s planning director, said a lot of time is still spent dealing with CEQA challenges. He said the city is currently in litigation with as many as five CEQA lawsuits, holding up projects.


“I spend a lot of time as a planner dealing with the what ifs. That’s what our job is,” he said. “But you can’t be paralyzed by the what ifs.”


Local developers say they have many examples.


“You have a small group of people that can block something,” said Jesse Nickell, vice president for Barry Swenson Builder.


His $30 million La Bahia Hotel project in Santa Cruz faced a CEQA challenge sponsored by a neighborhood group and carpenters’ union.


“It was dragged out so much we missed the boom cycle, and then no one was loaning — (lenders are) just starting to loan on hotels again,” he said.


The Santa Clara SummerHill project nearly faced a similar fate.


A community group filed suit in 2007 claiming that the city of Santa Clara didn’t follow CEQA guidelines on the project, which included 165 senior apartments built by the Santa Clara Methodist Retirement Foundation and Charities Housing.


Neighbors claimed it was the only significant open space land left in the region and should have been protected. Freed, however, said the land was surrounded by dense development. The acreage, adjacent to Valley Fair Shopping Center, is surrounded by retail shops and next to major thoroughfare Stevens Creek Boulevard.


“There were no trees or animals or endangered species or anything,” Freed said. “Neighbors being opposed to development is not an environmental issue.”


SummerHill and the city of Santa Clara won in court and got the go-ahead to build – but SummerHill spent an estimated $4.5 million in extra costs because of the challenges, which delayed the project by several years.


By then, the market had tanked, and the company put the project on ice.


Although construction is now under way – helped along by a resurgent housing market – the affordable senior component is still struggling to get off the ground.


“If you miss a market cycle, it could cost you millions upon millions,” said Michael Van Every, president of Republic Urban Properties - West Coast Division.


He said the specter of CEQA lawsuits is always top of mind. He added that it’s ironic because his company mainly develops higher-density, urban infill products that are more environmentally friendly than sprawling, low-density deals.


It’s unclear what form a potential reform might take. So far, the Legislature has streamlined the CEQA process for specific types of projects, but has not passed wholesale changes.


Hedlund, of Steinberg’s office, said it’s too early to nail down specifics.


Hernandez said one possibility is to allow projects to satisfy CEQA requirements if they comply with existing environmental laws passed after CEQA. Another is to allow environmental impact reports for specific-plan areas to satisfy individual project CEQA requirements.


Whatever the proposed changes include, Freed said the status quo means the public loses out.


“We need certain types of housing,” he said. “And the more risky that housing becomes, the more expensive it’s going to be – or, the less of it you’ll have.”


 

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Top 5: San Jose Construction Projects

Wednesday July 25th, 2012 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

In order for a project to be considered for the list, the total square feet under construction must be provided.The projects on the list combined for 3.6 million square feet of construction in the valley. All of the Business Journal's lists are published each year in the Book of Lists.


About Evergreen Place:


Evergreen Place will offer 87 new Single-Family detached homes and 16 Large Townhomes: The Cottages and The Towns.


The Cottages - 87 homes will be traditional single-family detached homes. Offering four floor plan types to include 3 to 4 bedrooms and 2½ baths with approx. 1,904-2,238 square feet of living space. Priced from the low $800,000s


The Towns - 16 townhomes homes. These homes will offer 3 bedrooms and 2½ baths with three plan types ranging from approximately 1,782 to 2,087 square feet of living space. Pricing to be determined.


By Lemery Reyes Researcher - Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal


See Top 5 Projects here

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SummerHill Homes CEO's Point of View on: Lennar Buys South Bay Hitachi Site, Plans 840 Homes

Tuesday July 10th, 2012 The Registry
By Sharon Simonson


Miami-based for-sale homebuilder Lennar Corp. has acquired a 40.5-acre site in South San Jose where it hopes to build 840 single-family homes in six communities including one multifamily rental complex. The seller was Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, said Lennar Vice President Doug Rich.


Hitachi GST was acquired in March by Irvine-based Western Digital Corp. and now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Western under the name Viviti Technologies Ltd., according to a Western Digital news release.


The property sold for $80 million, according to a knowledgeable source. Lennar’s Rich declined to release the purchase price, saying he was not at liberty to disclose the information.


The homebuilder hopes to complete its design work for the endeavor by the end of this year and to initiate site improvements beginning in early 2013 with an eye on starting new home construction in October 2013 and executing the first sales in early 2014, Rich said.


The for-sale homes will range from single-family detached units to high-density condominiums and townhomes, Rich said. Price points are expected to begin in the high $200,000 range and to top out at about $700,000. The company anticipates developing, marketing and selling homes in the five for-sale communities simultaneously.


“We have done a lot of work in the South Bay, and we are back taking large positions in the area,” Rich said. The company likes the Bay Area —it is also developing 38 townhomes in Los Altos and processing an application to build 80 single-family homes in Daly City— because it suits Lennar’s strategic goal to target sites that are “key infill positions next to employment [in communities] where land is scarce and where entitlement is extremely complex,” he said.


Lennar is also a partner in the joint venture behind redevelopment of San Francisco’s Treasure Island, where Lennar alone has invested more than $26.7 million. More than $50 million has been invested in total.


The San Jose site is an integral component of a 332-acre master-planned community at Cottle Road and California Highway 85 that has been contemplated for nearly a decade. The plan calls for roughly half the site to remain industrial while the other half is redeveloped into a high-density “transit village” with housing, parks and commercial uses. The site is served by the light-rail system operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and a nearby Caltrain rail station. Caltrain is a regional public-transit system connecting San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.


The site was previously an IBM Corp. campus that Hitachi acquired in 2003. Two years later, in June 2005, the city of San Jose approved its redevelopment with more than 2,900 homes and 460,000 square feet of new commercial development. Cupertino-based Hunter Properties is seeking city permission to build a 313,500-square-foot commercial shopping center with both a Target store and a Safeway grocery store.


Chris Twardus, a Colliers International land broker in San Jose with a focus on the sale and development of residential land, said the Hitachi property sale is a significant one for the new-home development community not only because of the property’s size but also because of what it conveys about the regional economy. “There is a lot of building going on, and prices are getting higher,” he said.


Robert Freed, president and chief executive of SummerHill Homes, the homebuilding division of Marcus & Millichap Co., said Lennar should do well on the project assuming it executes well and the company did not overpay for the property based on overly rosy sales and cost projections. “If there is the least bit of pent-up demand, this will be one of these places to meet that demand,” he said. “It is an opportunity to get a critical mass of units in one location, which doesn’t exist anymore in [Silicon] Valley.”


While an executive at KB Home several years ago, he also eyeballed residential property at the Hitachi site for acquisition, Freed said.


SummerHill expects to celebrate the opening of its Midtown Village housing development in Santa Clara this fall with 110 single-family homes and a one-acre park. The development at 90 N. Winchester Blvd. is immediately across from the Westfield Valley Fair mall and the Santana Row outdoor shopping center. SummerHill clenched a $56 million financing deal with Union Bank, Comerica Bank and Bank of the West earlier this year to secure the 17-acre site. SummerHill, which has been a Bay Area developer, also has opened a Los Angeles office.


Lennar may face disadvantage at the Hitachi site by electing to do all five for-sale home communities itself, Freed said. It is more typical to have multiple homebuilders active in such large-scale projects, and when each of them marshals advertising and marketing efforts, it can drive more traffic for everyone collectively.


Key for Lennar to juice returns will be selling the inventory relatively quickly—one to two home sales a week in each community. “If they paid tens of millions of dollars for the property, which I am sure they did, they will be well north of $100 million invested before they make their first home delivery. That is a lot of investment in one location, and the best way to tackle that is to get some solid absorption,” he said.


 

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From farm to The Enclave: SummerHill creates new neighborhood in Mountain View

Wednesday June 27th, 2012 Los Altos Town Crier

Written by Carolyn Snyder - Special to the Town Crier   
Wednesday, 27 June 2012


This story is for people who fondly remember the Farm Fresh Produce stand at the Grant Road Farm in Mountain View and who sadly watched as heritage trees were uprooted and the 15-acre site on Grant Road and Levin Avenue was cleared of all vestiges of agrarian life.


This happened a mere two years ago; however, the future of the property had been in jeopardy since 2007, after the family patriarch, Paul Mardesich, died and his daughters made plans to sell the land for development.


The farm had been operated by lessee David Schmitz, who grew corn and other produce and ran a popular pumpkin patch with train rides for children every October and a Christmas tree lot in December.


Along came SummerHill Homes with plans to build 53 single-family houses. As one would expect, those who wanted to see a working farm continue on the property mounted a vigorous campaign to keep the 5 acres as a farm. But to no avail.


The Mountain View City Council in 2009 approved the project and SummerHill began the design phase for the infrastructure – placement of utilities and streets – to accommodate the homes.


 


The Enclave takes shape


How often did motorists on busy Grant Road wonder what was going on behind the walls of what had been named The Enclave at Waverly Park? And what are those homes like?


Fast forward to this month.


“Only two models are left,” said Mark Druge, SummerHill sales manager. “People say, ‘I remember the pumpkin patch,’ but they have been quite positive.”


There are trees in The Enclave – some of which are heritage trees that were preserved – and well-nurtured lawns and gardens. “This is a very traditional project that blends in with the surrounding neighborhood,” Druge said.


The 2,500- to 3,000-square-foot homes, on 8,000-square-foot lots, are not out of place amid the area’s single-family housing developments of the 1970s.


And, because there are variations of five architectural styles, it feels like a neighborhood and not a cookie-cutter subdivision.


On Mansfield Drive, for example, are a French Normandy-style two-story home with copper trim, a two-story Craftsman, a single-story Mediterranean-style home and a two-story Spanish Revival home.


“The Enclave is a good fit in the neighborhood,” Druge said. “And the surrounding area benefits from the increase in property values.”


Natalie Viviani, community sales manager, has a close bond with The Enclave.


“It was a rare opportunity to see this much raw land at a time when there was an enormous demand for new homes,” she said. “The floor plans were appealing, as were the lot sizes. More importantly, it is a green community.”


All homes are solar-powered – a first for SummerHill, which previously had offered options to homebuyers. And they boast energy-efficient features such as tankless hot-water systems, Energy Star appliances, low-flow Kohler toilets and high-efficiency irrigation systems. Among green features are low VOC paints and materials.


“They’re designed to be GreenPoint rated,” Viviani said.


Starting last year, SummerHill released the homes in small groupings – four to seven at a time – and ranged from “the high $1.7s to $2.3 million,” according to Viviani.


Homeowner dues are $60 per month, which pays for common landscaping – a small triangle of land at La Salle Drive and Levin Avenue, which is parklike.


Of the 53 homes, 25 are occupied and others are nearing completion. On any given morning, people are out walking their dogs, jogging or heading to work.


 


A sneak peek at model homes


For the curious who want to know what the houses are like inside, here’s a peek at the two remaining model homes.


“Residence 1,” at 2700 Pavo Lane, is a single-story, 2,900-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2.5-bath traditional-style home.


“Single-story homes are rare in new developments, and to find one with 10-foot ceilings is rarer,” Viviani said.


In this case, the ceiling rises to nearly 13 feet in the great room, which is the hub of the house. It includes the kitchen, a bay window “nook” and a living/dining area with fireplace.


Smoked oak floors set on the diagonal are a distinctive touch, as is the Old World texture of the walls. Kitchen countertops are honed leather granite with lively backsplashes. And the Viking Professional series appliances include a six-burner range, warming drawer and wine refrigerator.


An especially nice feature is the “Jack and Jill” bathroom shared by two of the bedrooms, each with its own sink and vanity, creating a more personal space.


“Residence 3,” next door at 2710 Pavo Lane, is a 2,892-square foot, four-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom two-story home with Spanish Colonial influences. A large front porch, enclosed by a low brick wall, is roomy enough for entertaining. But the pièce de résistance is the backyard with its outdoor kitchen, pergola, brick fireplace and playhouse.


The kitchen, a cook’s dream, features a built-in wok burner, a hot-water spigot over a Viking range, a warming oven and a butler’s pantry. Caesarstone countertops are easy care and easy on the eye. Backsplashes feature stone and glass tile.


The main living area and the master bath boast limestone floors throughout.


“Everything was done right,” Viviani said of The Enclave development.


For more information visit The Enclave at Waverly Park

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Redwood City Neighborhood to Be Reborn With New Apartment Complex

Wednesday June 20th, 2012 The Registry

Redwood City Neighborhood to Be Reborn With New Apartment Complex


By publisher in News Releases


June 19, 2012 — A reminder of Redwood City’s pre-tech past is disappearing this week, soon to be replaced by an upscale 141-unit apartment complex that will anchor a major upgrade of the El Camino Boulevard neighborhood.


Through five decades, the low-slung Mel’s Bowl – with its iconic neon sign and old-style wooden alleys – has been a beacon for Bay Area bowlers. But as Silicon Valley changed, the business and the neighborhood around it struggled.
Now both the property and the neighborhood are getting a new lease on life. And the sign is hopefully headed for a new home of its own.


Crews from Urban Housing Group started work this week on construction of “25Eighty on the Blvd” which will add a mix of one- and two-bedroom apartments to Redwood City’s housing mix. The addition of 141 units stands in stark contrast to the construction of just 246 new housing units in the city during the past decade.


The “25Eighty on the Blvd” opens in 2014, but improvements to the neighborhood will come even sooner.


Urban Housing Group will also revamp the area surrounding the site at 2580 El Camino Real in Redwood City consistent with the Grand Boulevard Initiative. The initiative (www.grandboulevard.net) aims to improve the performance, safety and aesthetics of this major thoroughfare.


The San Ramon-based company plans a wide range of community improvements in addition to its own 2.51 acres on the regally named thoroughfare. They include:



    • Widening the sidewalk to 12 feet and adding street trees, decorative streetlights, and a street frontage plaza with bench seating.

  • Converting an adjacent Hetch Hetchy parcel to a landscaped area that will replace the existing parking lot.

  • Improving the existing intersection of El Camino Real and Northumberland Street by relocating and improving an existing crosswalk and relocating the bus stop for safety.

  • Footing the bill for six nearby property owners and their tenants to upgrade their storefronts with painting, enhanced signage, new awnings and improved lighting.


Perhaps the most obvious neighborhood change will come in July when an adult “superstore” shuts down. As part of the “25Eighty on the Blvd” project, Urban Housing Group – with strong support from residents, business owners, and community leaders — struck an agreement with the owner of the property across the street from the new apartment complex. The store will close in July and the agreement bars any similar use for the life of the property.


“We are thrilled to proceed with this project in Redwood City,” says Elaine Breeze, Urban Housing Group Vice President of Development. “Residents will enjoy an exceptionally designed community as well as a convenient lifestyle in this service-rich location. The project represents a collaborative effort with the local community and provides much needed new housing on the Peninsula. We believe this development and its unique neighborhood benefits will serve as a catalyst to transforming this part of El Camino Real in the future.”


The mix of one-bedroom/one-bath and two-bedroom/two-bath units will range ranging from 705 to 1,106 square feet. Amenities include in-unit washers and dryers; garage parking; a pool and spa; and an outdoor kitchen, fireplace and barbecue area. Residents will enjoy two courtyards, a fitness studio and club room. Close by are jobs, shopping, top-rated schools, public transportation and freeways.


The project is expected to be completed in 2014.


All that remains is to find a great home for that iconic sign that will always recall a simpler time on the Peninsula.


About Urban Housing Group
San Ramon-based Urban Housing Group, a privately-held firm founded in 2001, specializes in apartment and mixed-use infill rental housing communities, and is recognized for award-winning developments in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.


For more on Urban Housing Group, visit www.urbanhousinggroup.com

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Proposed New Development off Camino Ricardo

Tuesday June 19th, 2012 Lamorida Weekly


Published June 20th, 2012
Proposed New Development off Camino Ricardo
By Sophie Braccini


Developer Summerhill Homes recently applied for the review of a plan to build 28 homes on a 14.26-acre property located off Camino Ricardo, south of Danefield Place. The long, relatively narrow parcel stretches from Camino Ricardo on the west to near Moraga Road on the east. The proposed three- and four-bedroom homes, of between 2,400 and 2,965 square feet, would be clustered on the south-west border of the property on lots ranging from well over 5,000 to 20,000 square feet.

 The property has a narrow border along Camino Ricardo. It is currently undeveloped and contains an old walnut orchard. The developer proposes to build a private road, running east-west, along which the houses will be built. The strategy of clustering the homes to the south of the property was chosen, according to the application, to limit grading and impact on the Laguna Creek that borders the property to the east-the developer indicates that clustering to the west will leave the riparian area intact.

 The plan proposes three different styles for the homes: Spanish, contemporary Californian and Craftsman. The development will be built to rate at 70 points on the Build It Green scale (www.builditgreen.org/ ). The landscape will be mostly drought tolerant and solar electricity will be offered as an option.

Under the proposal the homes will occupy only 5.6 acres of the property; the remaining acreage would be left as open space. A pedestrian bridge and trail will link Moraga Road to Camino Ricardo.

The parcel is included in the Moraga Specific Plan delimitation. It is rated for three dwelling- units per acre. "We anticipate that we will conduct a joint meeting with the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board in the coming months," said Planning Director Shawna Brekke-Read.

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300-unit apartment complex approved for Walnut Creek

Thursday June 14th, 2012 Contra Costa Times

300-unit apartment complex approved for Walnut Creek  


By Elisabeth Nardi
Contra Costa Times Contra Costa Times


In a city with few areas left to build new housing, a 300-unit apartment project will take over the former Longs Drugs company headquarters site on Civic Drive near Ygnacio Valley Road.


The Paragon Apartments project was approved by the planning commission on Thursday night. This was the second time city leaders approved this high-density housing; developer Urban Housing Group pulled the project following its approval last year, after an appeal to the City Council was filed by Carpenters Local 152.


That same union sued the city in January because city leaders approved the 126-unit North Main Apartments project, saying it lacked an environmental report.


Urban Housing Group decided to reapply to the city this year and do a full environmental impact report. There were no written or spoken comments from the carpenters union this time.


"It is literally virtually the same set of plans approved by the design review commission and planning commission last year," said Kelly Snider with Urban Housing Group. "This will fill a new need that doesn't exist downtown right now."


The 80,000-square-foot former Longs/CVS headquarters on the 5-acre site will be demolished, with the 300-unit, four-story Paragon development built in its place. Plans include a rooftop terrace, swimming pool and a 475-stall, four-level solar-powered parking garage.


The environmental impact report detailed significant effects from the project but offered ways to deal with all of them. Nearly all major effects occur with the actual construction.


The one- and two-bedroom apartments will range from 667 to 1,051 square feet. Market research shows that likely tenants will be people who want to be close to downtown and transit such as professionals 35 and younger, empty-nesters and those who are recently divorced, Snider said.


Business groups spoke at the planning commission meeting to champion the project. Former Councilman Charlie Abrams, who is now director of the Walnut Creek Chamber of Commerce board, said this type of housing is needed downtown and will bring in "more shoppers and business."


He thinks 475 parking stalls is enough for the type of project and where it's located. If it wasn't near BART, the city would require 502 parking spaces; because of its proximity to the Walnut Creek station, the city requires 400. The plans also include some guest spots, electric charging stations and 76 bicycle parking spaces.


A public walking and bicycle path will be built along the north side of the development, providing a cut-through from Civic Drive to Broadway -- though that short cut will exist only if property owners on the other side of Paragon decide to continue the path's construction. Once Paragon is built, the path will look like a regular sidewalk and dead-end at the property line, though it will connect to the pathways leading in and around the apartment complex, Snider said.


A new signalized intersection will be built on Civic Drive at the entrance to the development, across the street from where buses stage and wait for Walnut Creek Intermediate School students. Left-turn lanes heading east onto Ygnacio Valley Road will be made longer.


Paragon's developers opted to pay $3.7 million in lieu of providing apartments that meet affordable housing requirements. That money is required under the city's inclusionary housing ordinance.


Commissioner Matt Francois said this is the appropriate site for higher density housing in Walnut Creek.


Also in the works for Walnut Creek is the 107-unit Arroyo Apartments under review, as well as a 154-apartment project proposed for the Scotts Valley Bank site on California Boulevard. In addition, about 600 units are planned for the Walnut Creek BART Transit Village.


 

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Santa Clara - Recent and Pending Projects Hope to Boost Economic Development

Monday May 21st, 2012 The Santa Clara Weekly

Having lingered through one of the worst recessions in history, the City has seen many businesses and redevelopment projects come and go over the last several years. With the economy slowly rebounding, several new projects and redevelopment projects are moving forward or progressing...


BAREC at 90 N. Winchester


After over 10 years of heated discussion, including legal actions and voter initiatives, SummerHill Homes is currently in the process of site grading and utilities for the 110 homes they will build on 10 acres at the rear of the former the Bay Area Research and Extension Center (BAREC) site. According to City staff, once the road is in place, construction of the model homes will begin, making homes available for showcasing and sales by this fall. It is expected to take another year after that to complete the homes and the one-acre park at the northwest corner of the site, adjacent to Forest Avenue. Site plans have not changed from the original approval, with detached small-lot single family homes around the perimeter and attached town homes in the core. The 165-unit senior apartments on six acres at the front of the site is in preliminary planning stages and will need to complete funding before work begins there. View more information on the “Midtown Village” project at www.summerhillhomes.com/coming-soon/midtown-village.


 


Read More:http://www.santaclaraweekly.com

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SummerHill Homes Grand Opening, Norris Canyon - April 21st

Thursday April 19th, 2012 San Ramon Patch

San Ramon based SummerHill Homes will be holding the grand opening of two beautifully furnished model homes at their latest project - Renaissance at Roubion, Norris Canyon Estates, San Ramon this Saturday April, 21st


Renaissance at Roubion, the newest community in San Ramon will offer 41 new single family homes with four different two-story floor plans ranging in size from approximately 3,400 to 4,300 sq. ft. with three to five bedrooms. The homes will be situated on large lots from approximately 16,000 – 87,000 sq. ft., featuring charming courtyards, and wonderful outdoor spaces with some of the best views of the San Ramon Valley and Mount Diablo in the East Bay. 


Renaissance at Roubion is an all solar community. Other green features include tankless hot water systems, low VOC paints and materials, high efficiency irrigation systems, and Viking Designer Series Stainless Steel Energy Star Appliances.  Granite slab countertops and 400 Series Andersen Wood Casement windows add extra touches of luxury to the homes.


Just minutes away from San Ramon’s top ranked schools, regional hiking and biking trails, great restaurants, shopping and entertainment, Renaissance at Roubion is also perfectly located for anyone looking to commute to San Francisco or San Jose.


SummerHill Homes is an award-winning boutique Bay Area residential real estate developer and home builder.  With over 35 years’ experience SummerHill has developed a reputation for innovation, excellence and timeless elegance.  www.summerhillhomes.com


San Ramon Patch

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Affordable Townhomes Coming to Campbell

Monday January 23rd, 2012 Mercury News

Although the recession has brought down home prices in the West Valley area, the world of real estate can still be scary, especially for first-time buyers.


But the city of Campbell has a bit of good news for some residents looking to take the leap into homeownership. Maravilla, a complex by SummerHill Homes, is launching an affordable townhome program for first-time buyers.


The complex is under construction at the corner of Campbell Avenue and San Tomas Expressway. The site may not look like much now, but early this summer it will be filled with 40 brand-new townhomes, 24 of which will be sold below market value.


Sharon Teeter, housing coordinator for the city of Campbell, says this is an opportunity not to be missed. On Feb. 1, the state will officially do away with all local redevelopment agencies, and the SummerHill project represents what she calls "the last chunk of RDA funding."


As Campbell's RDA helped to create nearly all of the affordable housing in the city, it is difficult to say how and when more projects of that nature will be built. Teeter says not only is this the only affordable opportunity in the immediate future, but it is one of the biggest and most beneficial ever offered in the city.


"This is the largest project we've had," she said.


Similar projects were completed on Salmar and Harrison avenues, but not with as many residences being slated for reduced cost. And Teeter said this development is unique for its emphasis on catering to home- buying newbies.


The program will provide pre-set, layered financing that will be structured so the owner is responsible for one 30-year mortgage. Asked why the Maravilla offer is a good fit for Campbell residents, Teeter responded with a question of her own.


"Do you know of any other programs for first-time buyers that provide financing on top of below-market price?" she said.


To be considered for one of the 24 affordable units, applicants must meet eligibility requirements, such as having not owned a residence in Santa Clara County within the last three years, being able to qualify for a first mortgage loan and pay an approximate down payment of $16,000 and closing costs estimated between $7,000 and $10,000. Preference will be given to people who live and/or work in Campbell.


Pre-applications are due by Jan. 31 to allow time for an in-depth screening process. Prospective residents will also be required to attend homeowner classes.


Teeter encourages all interested residents to apply immediately and contact her directly with questions.


For more information, visit www.cityofcampbell.com and go to the housing section. Sharon Teeter can be reached at 408.866.2137 and [email protected]





 

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Housing Project the Biggest Since the '90s

Wednesday October 12th, 2011 Contra Costa Times - News from True Life Communities

By Brian Babcock


One of the largest housing projects in Saratoga since the 1990s is starting to take shape as townhomes near Hollow on Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road are being built slowly but steadily.


[Creekside at Saratoga is a] 20 two-story townhomes are being built on an approximately 2-acre parcel that once was home to a three one-story and one two-story apartment complex. The townhouse development was approved in 2007 and each home has three to five bedrooms, optional gas fireplace and two-car garage. 


The project, which is being built by SummerHill Homes, began in May with the demolition of the old apartment buildings. Homes are expected to start selling next spring with the first occupants to move into the complex next summer.


"Although the housing market continues to struggle in many parts of the Bay Area, we are seeing select Silicon Valley communities with good schools and proximity to jobs still performing well. We believe that this location is one such location," said SummerHill Homes senior vice president Katia Kamangar.


She added, "The beautiful creekside setting and short walking distance to Saratoga Village shops and restaurants make this a very special location and one that will perform well despite the overall market challenges.


The project first received public input at a December 2005 study session, a city staff report states. JSM Enterprises first came forward with the project, but due to the economic downtown, it was unable to complete the project.


"We saw this as an opportunity to step in and improve the original project design," Kamangar said.


The townhome plan includes 13 floor plans with individual homes ranging in size from approximately 1,900 to 3,700 square feet, Kamangar said. No formal pricing has been established yet, although the homes are anticipated to be priced in the low million-dollar range.


There are no affordable housing units required as part of the project.


"With the exception of more expensive custom homes, it is rare to see new homes being built in the city of Saratoga at this price point. We believe that the homes will be a welcome addition for new home buyers," Kamangar said.


Saratoga building official Brad Lind said he's been impressed by the developer.


"It's a really good project. It's gone smoothly. I couldn't be happier with SummerHill," said Lind who has been with the city for 25 years. He added that this housing project is probably the largest the city has seen since 64 homes were built on the Paul Masson property in the 1990s.


"Saratoga is built out. I was told it was built out when I started here," Lind said, explaining why so few large housing projects are built in Saratoga.


The homes are planned to include "high-end finishes," which consist of marble in the master bathrooms and stainless steel appliances in the gourmet kitchens. The townhomes will also be GreenPoint rated. Each dwelling will include tankless water heaters, low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint and adhesives and EnergyStar appliances.


"We will also offer numerous options so that buyers can customize their home in a way that makes it best for their needs, whether they be a single working professional, a family with small children, or an empty nester," Kamangar said.

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SummerHill offers Smarter Roofs and Solar Power Systems for all Homes

Wednesday September 28th, 2011 YouTube


By Petersen Dean


Reflectivity:


For 200,000 years, man has put roofs on buildings to keep water out when it rains and the sun out when it shines. But until now, roofs have not helped keep buildings cool.


In fact, a typical roof on a summer day can heat to a temperature of over 170 degrees Fahrenheit and raise your building's temperature by as much as 30 degrees because traditional roofs absorb heat from the sun's rays.


Buildings with roofs that absorb the sun's rays have higher operating costs than buildings that have roof materials that reflect the sun's rays. Roofing materials that retain the sun's rays will deteriorate faster than roofs that reflect those rays.


At PetersenDean, we know the total cost of ownership of a building with a SmarterRoof™ is significantly less than the cost of operating the same building with an old "dumb" roof.


SmarterRoofs™ reflect the sun's rays that heat the roof, so the roof materials stay cooler. Because SmarterRoofs™ do not retain heat, the materials last longer than regular roof materials that absorb heat. SmarterRoofs™ are proven to bring down your summer utility rates by as much as 30%.


Retention:


Solar Energy provides clean, renewable and FREE energy to power your home or building. To take advantage of this FREE source of energy, you need to capture and convert energy from the sun's rays into electrical current.


While Solar Energy systems use the sun's rays to create electricity, the most effective and efficient operation of a solar energy system occurs when the system does not get too hot. Therefore, it is important to recognize that merely installing a solar energy system on an old "dumb" roof, which retains heat that can reduce the efficiency of a solar energy system, may not be a smart choice.


Smarter Choice:


A PetersenDean SmarterRoof™ repels the heat from the sun's rays (Reflection) at the same time it captures the electrical energy potential from those same rays (Retention). On a PetersenDean SmarterRoof™ reflection lowers the temperature of the roof surface, keeps the building under the roof cooler, and helps the solar energy system work more efficiently because it stays cooler.


When the sun shines, PetersenDean's solar energy systems are designed and built to offset your "on-grid" electric bills by as much as 90%. The "One-Two" punch can reduce energy consumption while providing electricity generated by the sun, offsetting the "on-grid" electricity that you use and producing clean energy that can be generated for years to come.


Read More Here

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California Bay Area Mansions Are in High Demand, Due to Tech Boom

Wednesday August 10th, 2011 Fox News


Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Real estate agent Alex Wang was beaming with pride as he showed off his latest listing, a $4-million spread in the upscale community of Los Altos Hills, California.


"This house also has a wine cellar, sauna, a media room, even a putting green," says Wang.


It may sound over the top, but houses like this one represent one of the few robust economic sectors in the nation.





Welcome to the Silicon Valley real estate market, where a high-end housing boom is being fueled by a mini-tech rush, especially surrounding social media.


In Palo Alto, home of Facebook, the median selling price of a single family home increased to $1.3-million in June, up nearly 5 percent over last year, according to research company DataQuick.


The same time period saw home prices rise in Los Altos, and in Mountain View, where tech companies like LinkedIn and Google have created wealthy stock owners, and workers, willing to pay top dollar for a short commute, coveted public schools, and happening neighborhoods.


"The social media and explosion of high-tech IPO's are also creating a new work environment where people aren't always in the office," says Allison Buffum, marketing manager with SummerHill Homes. "They want to be able to be at home and work as well, and they want the best home they can afford."


Some can afford a lot. Yuri Milner, a venture capitalist from Russia recently set a new record by shelling out $100 million for a spread in Los Altos, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently paid $7-million for a five bedroom home in Palo Alto.


Economist Steve Levy with the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy says people relocating to the Valley are competing with locals "who who suddenly come into IPO wealth or have gotten a salary increase and are thinking about maybe moving to a better area.Two groups of people bidding on a stock of housing that isn't growing at all."


The expanding wealth, and a limited supply of homes for sale, is sparking new construction and fierce bidding wars. 


Alex Wang says he sometimes sees 17 or 18 offers on a property.


What's more, serious buyers are snapping up pricey properties for sometimes hundreds-of-thousands of dollars over asking. And forget about financing. Many of these buyers are paying in cash, and closing in a week.


Still to come, the so-called "Facebook Effect," as the social network giant expects to go public with what some predict will be the hottest initial public offering ever.


"I think that Facebook is going to have a huge effect on the local economy, bringing in young talent from all over the world," says Wang.


Economists say that influx of talent and wealth will likely boost demand for luxury homes even higher, fueling a limited, but very real economic recovery in Silicon Valley.




Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/08/11/california-bay-area-mansion-demand-due-to-tech-boom/#ixzz1VKKKW2d4


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Homebuilders turn to urban areas

Tuesday August 2nd, 2011 San Jose Mercury News

Builders are slowly starting to wade into the new home market in the Bay Area, with projects already open or planned for Fremont, Oakland, San Jose, Walnut Creek and other cities.


But unlike the frenzy before the popping of the real estate bubble, when builders saturated outlying areas with too many homes, this time they're putting their projects close to jobs and transportation.


"Builders are definitely looking at places like greater San Jose, the Peninsula, and maybe Dublin and San Ramon. They are not looking so much at the outlying areas," said Dean Wehrli, senior manager at Irvine-based John Burns Real Estate Consulting.


And they're doing this despite a daunting market, with new home sales in the Bay Area down more than 40 percent in June from a year ago.


"If you are in the right place and you have the right product, and you get a price niche that folks can afford, you can definitely sell new homes," he said.


But it's a much different industry than just a few years ago. There are about 3,000 members in the California Building Industry Association, a trade group of builders, subcontractors, and other building professionals. That's a steep drop from a membership base of around 7,200 five years ago. (On average, about 20 percent of members are builders.)


And for the first five months of 2011, there were 588 single-family housing starts in the East Bay, a 28.6 percent drop from a year ago. There were 389 starts in the San Jose metro area, which includes Santa Clara and San Benito counties, or a 4.3 percent increase. In the San Francisco metro area, which includes San Mateo County, there were 117 starts, or a 4.9 percent decrease.


Builders aren't discouraged. They say there is pent-up demand from buyers following the construction slowdown of the last few years. Many builders went out of business after the housing boom began to collapse five years ago, which created opportunities for those still standing to buy land at bargain prices.


"As the market continued to ebb and flow over the last few years, we were able to take advantage of opportunities to buy (land parcels) in very core and centrally located markets," said Chris Apostolopoulos, president of Los Angeles-based KB Home's Northern California division. "One of the fundamental strategies we have is to acquire properties that are close to transportation, retail and jobs."


KB Home opened new home communities in Dublin, Fremont, Martinez and Walnut Creek in the last three weeks, along with two others that opened earlier this year. Three more are opening in Morgan Hill in August and September, with plans to open an additional one in Santa Clara in the next two months. KB Home opened only five new home communities in all of 2010.


While new home communities are opening, MDA DataQuick numbers show that new home sales are struggling. Some 399 new single-family houses and condos sold in the nine-county Bay Area in June. That's down 43.8 percent from June 2010, and the second-lowest June ever based on DataQuick records going back to 1988.


Those numbers aren't discouraging to Apostolopoulos. "With fewer competitors out there and pent-up demand for new homes ... we look at it as a wonderful time to be bringing out new home communities," he said.


SummerHill Homes plans to open new home communities in San Ramon and Saratoga this fall, and in Campbell and San Jose early next year.


"We focus on urban infill locations that have limited new home competition," said Robert Freed, president and chief executive officer of San Ramon-based SummerHill Homes.


Urban infill locations typically are places that were once a factory, warehouse or other type of facility that are then torn down to make room for a housing development.


Pulte Homes plans to open a new home community next month in Fremont near the future Warm Springs BART station.


"It's a very good location close to jobs and central to Silicon Valley," said Steve Kalmbach, Northern California division president for Pulte, a builder based out of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Another community will be opening in San Jose in September, he said.


Pulte has acquired parcels from other builders to help further its building plans. "We've purchased distressed properties, where somebody got in over their head or ran out of money," he said.


Bob Glover, executive director of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area, didn't have any statistics as to how many land parcels have been picked up by other builders in the past few years.


But, he said, "some projects were purchased by other builders. Once it makes economic sense, then it's just like any business decision."


 

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SummerHill Homes Receives Four Awards at MAME

Tuesday July 5th, 2011

San Ramon, CA – On Saturday, June 18, 2011 SummerHill Homes received four awards at MAME, Marketing and Merchandising Excellence Awards from the Sales and Marketing Council (SMC) of the a BIA Bay Area.  The MAME awards recognize building excellence.


            SummerHill Homes was awarded best website for the corporate website redesigned late last year by Graphic Language.  The Enclave at Waverly Park in Mountain View received two awards – Community of the Year for Detached Homes and Green Community of the Year.  The SummerHill Homes construction team received a special award for Construction Team of the Year, recognizing their outstanding achievement in successful completion of existing communities and start up of new communities.


            “This is an exciting accomplishment for SummerHill Homes.  The competition was exceptionally strong this year and we appreciate getting this recognition from our peers,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes.  “We thank our employees, homebuyers, and consultants who’ve made these awards possible.”


The annual MAME Awards honor achievements in marketing, sales, architectural design and land use planning for residential building.  Entries come from the greater Bay Area. 


            SummerHill Homes is a Bay Area-based homebuilder with a national reputation for superior design and quality construction.  Information is available at www.summerhillhomes.com.


 

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Grant Road model homes open as construction continues

Monday May 16th, 2011 Los Altos Town Crier

The 53-unit single-family-home subdivision under construction on Grant Road is progressing according to schedule, according to representatives of the developer, SummerHill Homes.


SummerHill Senior Vice President Katia Kamangar said a recent grand opening for the one- and two-story-home subdivision, the Enclave at Waverly Park, drew approximately 1,000 people.


“We have already started our second phase of homes, as the market response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Kamangar said. “We currently have 15 sales in various stages of contracting – and we have been open for sales only a month. … People love the convenient location and the traditional single-family homes on large lots.”


Kamangar said the first homebuyers will be moving in by late summer or early fall. The entire project is scheduled for completion in the next 18 months. The homes, up to six bedrooms and 2,940 square feet on 8,000-square-foot-lot minimums, start $1.6 million.


Most of the infrastructure for the project has been completed, Kamangar said, and the traffic signal at Grant, Covington and the realigned Levin Avenue should be operational this summer, pending clearance from Mountain View and Los Altos officials. Covington, which currently ends at Grant, will be extended into the development.


“We are about one month away from having the signal operational,” said Jim Gustafson, public works director for the city of Los Altos. “The new signal controller has to be energized and proven, traffic detection equipment has to be installed, and the signal heads have to be configured for the lane geometry. It could be a little sooner if there are no problems with the setup.”


 

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SummerHill Homes Acquires Land in San Jose For New Community

Sunday April 17th, 2011

San Ramon, CA – San Ramon based SummerHill Homes has acquired approximately 14.6 acres in San Jose for a new home community.  The site was originally home to the Mirassou winery.  It is located at Aborn Rd and Ruby Avenue in the highly regarded Evergreen area of San Jose.


The community will feature 87 detached single-family homes ranging from approximately 1,904 to 2,107 square feet, 16 townhomes ranging from approximately 1,782 to 2,087 square feet, and the historic Mirassou House.  The community will feature a prominently-placed park, and many heritage trees will be preserved creating an immediate sense of neighborhood for the new residents.


The community is expected to open in early 2012, with prices anticipated from the $700,000s for single-family homes and the $500,000s for the townhomes.


“We are really excited to be introducing a new community in San Jose, and feel that the community will be a wonderful addition to the prized, established neighborhood that surrounds it,” said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes.  “Our architects have developed exceptional homes and a site plan designed for pedestrian friendly access to access new retail shops anticipated to open nearby.”


SummerHill recently debuted models at The Enclave at Waverly Park in Mountain View with over 1,000 people attending the grand opening on Saturday, April 16th.  The community has received substantial interest with its rare offering of new traditional-style, single-family homes on large flat lots.  Prices from the $1,600,000s 


Later this year, SummerHill will open two new communities in San Ramon and Saratoga.  Roubion in San Ramon will feature single-family homes with spectacular views in the hills of west San Ramon in Norris Canyon Estates.  The homes will range in size from approximately 3,400 to 4,200 square feet.  Prices anticipated from the low $1,000,000s.


Creekside at Saratoga will feature 20 townhomes near Big Basin Way in Saratoga.  The homes will range in size from approximately 1,992 to 3,774 square feet.  Prices anticipated from the low $1,000,000s.


Award-winning SummerHill Homes is a Bay Area-based homebuilder.  For over 30 years, SummerHill Homes has developed a national reputation for superior design and quality construction.  Information is available at www.summerhillhomes.com.


 

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SummerHill Homes unveils solar standard in Mountain View

Thursday February 10th, 2011 Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal

SummerHill Homes is en route to making solar a standard feature in new developments. First up is a 53-home project in Mountain View.


Homes at the Enclave at Waverly Park are scheduled to go on sale in late spring. The per-home price is expected to be $1.8 million or above, and will cater to the environmentally conscious and affluent buyer.


This project could be a bellwether for the timing of future SummerHill projects that incorporate solar.


“We are moving in the direction of trying to incorporate solar as a standard on as many projects as feasible going forward,” said SummerHill ...



Read more: SummerHill Homes unveils solar standard in Mountain View | Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal 


 

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Brand new comes at a premium

Wednesday October 13th, 2010 Palo Alto Online

by Angela Chen


"Premium" is a word developers often use when describing new homes on the Midpeninsula.


With little land available for large developments, builders say demand for "new" exceeds supply, keeping them optimistic about selling the five local new developments at prices higher than resale of older, similar homes.


"There's a segment of population that only wants new and won't consider existing homes," Rob Parker of Regis Homes, developer of Altaire in Palo Alto, said. "This keeps new-home building profitable since there's a good base for the market. Palo Alto has very little room for development, which means a higher premium."


Palo Alto real estate agent Bonnie Biorn noted that -- although the recession has affected the real-estate market as a whole -- the local new-home market has held up relatively well. This, Biorn said, is because the new-home market is primarily driven by the land available for redevelopment. The Midpeninsula's limited supply and high income means high demand.


Altaire, which consists of 103 townhomes and condos, has been on the market since December 2008. These homes range in size from 778 square feet to 1,958 square feet, with one to four bedrooms each and prices ranging from $650,000 to $700,000. Of the 103 residences, 74 have been sold, at a rate of approximately six to eight per month since 2008.


For new-home buyers, the main attractions of Altaire are the Palo Alto location and school district, Parker said. In addition, Altaire is adjacent to the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, which provides fitness, entertainment and cultural activities.


Parker said Palo Alto's limited room for new construction creates higher demand among the customer base.


This segment of new-home buyers in the Midpeninsula has a distinct profile. According to Parker, typical customers are young couples, usually in their early 30s, who are first-time home buyers. Gary Pike, also of Regis Homes, added that many of the buyers are Asian. They tend to be well-educated and either have small children or are planning to start a family, thus the quality of the nearby schools is a big attraction.


For these customers, convenience and peace of mind draw them to the new-home market, Parker said.


"People like new homes because there's guaranteed to be no problems. All systems and electrical appliances are new, so there are no surprises," Parker said. "Also, new homes come with a builder's warantee, so customers aren't on their own, and sometimes they can customize the appliances and furnishing of the new home."


Robert Freed of SummerHill Homes -- a developer building a block of Palo Alto residences called Redwood Gate -- added that new home buyers in the area are attracted to modern floor plans and the easy commute to other areas of Silicon Valley.


Redwood Gate is comprised of 45 homes and a park on 3.9 acres of land previously owned by the Elks Lodge, on the edge of the Charleston Meadows neighborhood. According to Freed, these are a combination of single-family homes and attached duplex homes, both of which have three to four bedrooms each. They range in size from 1,769 to 2,300 square feet, with prices starting at $1.3 million. SummerHill has sold 32 of the 45 homes at Redwood Gate, although only 23 have been fully completed.


Freed said that there are fewer homes on the market than in the past, due to limited space.


"In areas like Palo Alto, where there are substantial existing residential homes and little land for development, the number of existing homes for sale will always be higher than the new homes for sale," Freed said.


Pike, of Regis, said that new homes have retained their approximate 20 percent premium over resale, though Freed added that the exact premium varies.


"There is still a premium for new homes; however the premium is largely driven by location," Freed said. "It is common for buyers to be in the market for longer before making a decision. In the past, buyers wanted new exclusively. Now when they are looking for new, they want the new home to be in prime locations with good schools in good neighborhoods."


Aside from Altaire, Regis has also built the brand-new Gables End townhomes in Mountain View. These homes also debuted on the market in 2008, although they cost about $100,000 less than their Palo Alto counterparts. Gables End consists of 108 homes, of which 105 have been sold. They are all two- to four-bedroom residences with two-car garages, ranging from approximately 1,250 to 1,950 square feet.


"Gables End is good for its location," Parker said. "It's right on the Palo Alto and Mountain View border, less than a mile from the Google campus, so it has the good attributes of Palo Alto with a lower price."


In the Sylvan Park neighborhood of Mountain View, another new-home option is Mondrian, a condo development built by Shea Homes. Margaret Salazar of Shea Homes said that Mondrian -- whose residences fall into the same price range as Gables End -- offers four different floor plans, ranging from a three-bedroom, 1,410-square-foot plan to a three-bedroom, 1,591-square-foot plan. All have attached two-car garages. Mondrian has 151 of these homes, of which 52 have been sold, Salazar said.


In Menlo Park, Arizona-based developer Taylor Morrison has six new homes available in the Linfield Oaks area, called Morgan Lane. All of these are three-bedroom and four-bedroom single-family homes, ranging from 1,506 square feet to 1,951 square feet. Prices start around $1.1 million.


Despite the limited amount of land available, Parker is optimistic about the future of the new-home market, as developers finish current projects and seek new areas.


"The Peninsula has strong employment and income and limited space. This combination of high income, good employment and lack of supply will keep the market strong," he said.

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Trees on the Move at Former Grant Road Farm

Sunday August 29th, 2010 San Jose Business Journal

by Katherine Conrad


Almost 35 years after SummerHill Homes was founded in Palo Alto, the upscale homebuilder has pulled up stakes to move to the East Bay.


Robert Freed, president of the company since 2007, said the move to San Ramon is an effort to broaden SummerHill's reach beyond the peninsula as the company works to rebuild its land inventory.


"The move to San Ramon allows us to further emphasize the fact that we are a Bay Area builder as opposed to just a peninsula builder," said Freed, who grew up in the South Bay. "It’s a clear indication that we have a Bay Area-wide focus."


When the market began to slow in 2007, Freed said he, like most builders, stopped buying sites for future developments and focused on survival. The strategy worked, but it also means that SummerHill has few projects in its pipeline.


As production fell, so also have the number of employees, from 152 employees when Freed arrived in 2007 to 58 staffers today — almost all of whom will move to San Ramon. A handful will stay in Palo Alto. And more layoffs are in store as SummerHill closes out four South Bay communities this year. “Unfortunately, we may see further reductions in staff as we rebuild our land pipeline,” he said. “We’re close to the bottom, but we may lose a few more. The most difficult part of all this is dealing with staff reductions.”


Although the layoffs have been painful, Freed said he saw no other way to survive the brutal housing market.


"The idea of adding to the balance sheet with new investments made no sense," said Freed, who headed KB Home's Bay Area operation before joining SummerHill. "Most of us did the proper thing by working through our existing communities and deciding not to reinvest until there is clarity and confidence in the rebound."


That has yet to occur. The market has struggled to find bottom ever since hitting its peak in 2006. The just-released June housing report from California Building Industry Association/Hanley Wood Market Intelligence showed that statewide sales of new houses were off by more than a third from a year ago.


The silver lining in the market report was the news that despite the drop in sales, the median price rose 3 percent compared with a year ago. But it is small comfort.


During June, 2,450 new homes and condominiums were purchased throughout California, compared with 3,850 a year earlier. Condominiums were hit the hardest with sales off by close to 70 percent compared with a year ago. Sales of townhouses were down by 57 percent, and single-family homes suffered the least with a 17 percent drop in sales.


The report echoed Freed’s forecast for the privately owned SummerHill, whose parent company is real estate firm Marcus & Millichap.


"You will not see condominium or podium construction for years and years to come," he said. "It will be single-family homes and townhomes. Constructing condos doesn't make economic sense. The revenues don't support the costs or the returns — it’s too risky."


SummerHill is now building single-family projects and occasionally townhomes. Freed expects to close on property in Saratoga where it is building a 20-unit townhome project, and has projects in the entitlement stages in Danville, San Ramon, Santa Clara, San Jose, and on Grant Road in Mountain View.


Freed said the biggest year was 2009 when SummerHill sold 420 houses — a historical high for the company. He predicts that number to shrink to 100 to 150 homes for the next few years.


Read more: SummerHill Homes heads to East Bay from Palo Alto, consolidates offices | Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal


Note: full article available only to subscribers of SJ Business Journal

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SummerHill Featured in Green Homebuilder

Thursday July 22nd, 2010 Green Homebuilder

We are excited to have Satake Estates and Redwood Gate featured in a recent Green Homebuilder magazine! SummerHill believes in sustainable building. It is an honor to be recognized for our efforts.


Satake Estates, in Mountain View, and Redwood Gate, in Palo Alto, offer so many green features. Bonus, they are so close to each other that you can visit both communities in an afternoon!


Check out the Green Homebuilder article >>

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California Realtors offers perks to home buyers

Thursday April 1st, 2010 SFGate

by Carolyn Said


What will it take to get people to buy a home during a brutal recession?


The California Association of Realtors today is rolling out an offer to pay first-time buyers' mortgages for up to six months if they lose their jobs. It's among a variety of incentives the real estate industry is dangling as it desperately tries to lure customers.


CAR's offer is essentially like insurance for people who get laid off. It applies to first-time home buyers who open escrow starting today and close before Dec. 31. They must use a California Realtor in the transaction, not be self-employed and be younger than 70. If qualifying people are downsized, they may receive up to $1,500 a month for up to six months to help make mortgage payments.


"I think it's a little gimmicky," said Robert Freed, CEO of SummerHill Homes, a Palo Alto builder now selling in 10 local developments. "I question the logic of buying a home, car or any other major purchase if you have serious concerns about your job. I think a lot of these advertising strategies are designed to drive traffic (of potential buyers). I certainly support that."


He and others said the No. 1 driver of both traffic and buyers is simple: Low prices.


"Prices have fallen in parts of this state to where they're beginning to make sense again," said Christopher Thornberg, principal of Beacon Economics in Los Angeles. "You're starting to see people move into the market. I know everybody will claim their particular incentive did the trick, but I would argue that price declines trump all."


The current historic lows in interest rates, coupled with lower prices, are beginning to register with some buyers, he said.


Some new-home builders are offering their own buy-downs of interest rates. Miami's Lennar Corp., which has developments in San Francisco and the East Bay, is offering a 30-year fixed 3.625 percent rate on select homes to buyers who meet certain credit and down payment requirements. (Similar to CAR, it also is offering to make mortgage payments for six months for laid-off buyers.) Hovnanian Enterprises recently offered a 3.99 percent rate that met "underwhelming" interest, it told the Wall Street Journal.


Keith Gumbinger, vice president of HSH Associates, which tracks mortgage data, said that cut-rate financing "should be a pretty strong incentive."


In quarterly results released this week, Lennar said it is giving buyers an average sales incentive of $50,500 per home, compared with $48,000 per home in the first quarter last year. The average sales price has fallen from $278,000 to $244,000.


Several industry experts said tax incentives now available - an $8,000 federal credit for first-time buyers and a $10,000 California credit for new home buyers - have gotten people to come in.


"We've definitely seen an uptick in buyer traffic and an increase in sales velocity that appears to be driven both by the tax credits as well as very favorable interest rates and very favorable new home pricing," Freed said.


His projects are offering prices anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent below their original projections.


Home sellers "continue to fight buyer psychology," said Patrick Duffy, a principal with Metro Intelligence Real Estate Advisers in Los Angeles. "No matter how low they go, people still worry that prices will continue to decline. They have to make them comfortable that the deal is so good they don't have to worry."

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SummerHill makes bet time is ripe for homes at Mirassou Winery site in Evergreen

Saturday March 6th, 2010 Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal

Hoping to hit a housing market on the rebound, SummerHill Homes is laying the groundwork to build 100 houses on the historical Mirassou Winery site in Evergreen.


The Palo Alto builder picked up the option from the Mirassou estate on the 15-acre site in September after Trumark Properties abandoned its three-year effort to develop the Aborn Road property. The Santa Clara County Assessor has valued the property at a little more than $2 million.


SummerHill President Robert Freed hopes to obtain a general plan amendment changing the property from public park/open space to mixed-use commercial and residential by autumn so he can begin construction next year.


“If we start in spring 2011, we’ll have houses built in either late 2011 or early 2012,” Freed said.


That should be enough time for the lackluster housing market to gain traction. Freed said he believes the market “hit the floor” late last summer, and he’s seen a 2 percent to 3 percent uptick in prices since then.


Denser housing proposed


In a reversal of a trend toward denser multifamily housing, SummerHill plans to build 100 single-family homes on the land whose owners, the Mirassou family, began bottling wine after Prohibition was repealed in 1933. The project includes a mixed-use component with about 20 housing units, or flats, above 10,000 to 20,000 square feet of a ground-floor retail development. The plan also calls for 25,000 square feet of office space to be built.


Even in the midst of a rough market, Freed called the project a “great opportunity.”


“There are very few single-family detached communities in San Jose right now,” he noted.


City project manager Lesley Xavier said SummerHill’s project is currently one of the largest housing developments under consideration in San Jose.


Since the late 1990s, the property has been watched by several developers, all of whom have been stymied by the city and neighborhood’s efforts to first solve traffic congestion before approving development.


Xavier said the city first addressed problems in 2003 and then updated the Evergreen East Hills Development Policy in 2009. The entire area, once covered in orchards and vineyards, stretches from the east hills west to U.S. Highway 101, north to Story Road and south to Hellyer Road.


Xavier said the city plans to circulate a draft environmental impact report by May to give the community a chance to comment on SummerHill’s project.


Mirassou family still owners


An issue that could raise questions is the long history of the property. The land is still owned by the Mirassou family, one of California’s first winemaking families who arrived in California in 1854 when Pierre Pellier sailed from France with grape cuttings to plant in the new world.


But it is now under the control of a trustee, appointed to handle the sale of the estate, according to land use attorney Andrew Faber of Berliner Cohen.


While the historical aspects make the property appealing, it’s also very challenging, Freed said. If SummerHill gets approval to build houses, it must restore the Peter Mirassou house, built in 1924, and the 12,000-square-foot winery warehouse constructed in 1937. But how the house, designated as a historic city landmark in 2005, will be used is undecided.


Joe Head, also of SummerHill, said it will take “hundreds of thousands of dollars” to restore the industrial warehouse and the 1,500-square-foot house.


“We can and will restore it to be a completely safe, seismically modern building,” he said. “But there’s still a question of what we will do with it when it’s done.”


As well as how to pay for its upkeep and preservation.


Historic consultant Bonnie Bamburg, who is very familiar with the Mirassou family, said the property is covered with structures built during the second half of the 20th century, but only the house and warehouse have historical significance.


“I have a lot of respect for what the Mirassou family has done for winery in the state of California,” she said. “The house where Peter Mirassou lived gives us a sense of our wine heritage.”


Peter Mirassou’s descendant, Edmund Mirassou, worked tirelessly to promote California wines at a time when only French wines were held in esteem. Bamburg said Edmund persuaded President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 to stop serving French wines and serve only American wines in the White House, a policy still in practice today.


The Mirassous stopped producing wine at the property several years ago and sold the label to E&J Gallo Winery in 2002. Daniel Mirassou, a member of the fifth generation, said in 2007 that he could no longer afford to operate a winery in the Santa Clara Valley. He moved his winemaking operation to the Livermore Valley in 2005, using the name La Rochelle, which is the port in France from which his ancestors sailed.


Regardless of the fact that wine is no longer made on the property, Freed said its history will give the development a unique identity.


“You do enjoy a sense of place. Some locations give more opportunity for that than others,” he said. “This is one of them.”

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Home Builder Braves Market

Sunday October 25th, 2009 The Registry

By Sharon Simonson


San Ramon-based SummerHill Homes has broken ground on a 53-unit single-family housing development in Mountain View proposed as executive-level family and later-life housing for empty nesters looking to downsize. Units are to be priced in the $1.7 million range.


Robert Freed, SummerHill chief executive, said the first models should be delivered by June if not sooner. Lots are to measure on average in the 8,000-square-foot range, with some large enough to accommodate a primary residence and a small accessory building suitable for a home office or guest quarters. That is consistent with the single-family housing development that surrounds the property on all four sides and should enable the project to compete with existing home sellers in the area.


The first phase is being financed with a $25 million land acquisition and construction loan from Union Bank, Freed said. Three banks, including Bank of America and Bank of the West, fought for the business.


The site, at 3119 Grant Road, is in Mountain View but is very close to the Los Altos city limits.


"I still think there is plenty of risk in residential real estate development, but there is less risk in a project like this," said Freed, a former top-ranking executive with Los Angeles-based KB Home and a long-time home builder in the San Francisco Bay Area. "The economy is still fragile, and mortgage loans are more difficult to obtain, so only buyers with top credit and a big cash down-payment" can qualify.


Freed attributed bankers' interest to SummerHill's not having defaulted on any of its debt obligations in the last several years despite the most difficult home-building environment in generations. Going forward, he believes that performance record should give the company a competitive advantage in financing its products and with land sellers.


Freed attributed the decision to make good on all debt to George Marcus, founder and board chairman of The Marcus & Millichap Co., SummerHill's parent. Palo Alto-based Marcus & Millichap is also parent of the Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Brokerage Co., a commercial property investment-sales company active in the Bay Area. George Marcus is also board chairman of Essex Property Trust Inc., a Palo Alto-based real estate investment trust that specializes in multi-family development. Essex also has been active during the bust, buying several Bay Area apartment properties in recent months.


Home values in Mountain View and Los Altos, though depressed from boom-time highs, have been buoyed by proximity to healthy employers such as Mountain View-based Google Inc. and the world-renowned Stanford Research Park. In addition, the subdivision will be served by Mountain View High School in the Mountain View-Los Altos School District, a well-regarded public school system.


The home-building industry, flattened by the housing-led financial crisis and economic bust, is showing signs of renewal. According to data from the Construction Industry Research Board, Santa Clara County leads the state as measured by gains in the number of new housing units permitted compared to 2009, up 227.8 percent year over year through August. Builders pulled permits to construct 2,024 housing units countywide through August, according to the board's most recent report. That is up from 631 units in the same period of 2009 and comparable to activity levels in 2008. New home construction is also outpacing 2009's level in San Francisco and Alameda counties as well.


That said, new-home construction is at a cyclical low statewide and is expected to remain there for the next 14 months, according the research board. "The 2008, 2009 and forecast 2010 and 2011 new housing unit totals are lower than in any prior year on record," the board said in a Sept. 22 report on private building construction statewide. Total new housing units are forecast at 46,500 in 2010, up 28 percent from 2009. The total should increase to 80,000 next year. Previous lows were 85,656 in 1982 and 84,656 in 1993, according to the CIRB.

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SummerHill Homes earns award for building new homes that protect the environment through energy efficiency

Sunday May 3rd, 2009

SummerHill Homes is proud of the recognition that we're receiving for our commitment to energy efficiency.  We were recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a 2009 ENERGY STAR Leadership in Housing Award. This award recognizes the important contribution SummerHill Homes has made to energy-efficient construction and environmental protection by building more than 296 ENERGY STAR qualified homes last year. Collectively, these homes will save our customers approximately $132,312 on utility bills each year.


The environmental benefits of these ENERGY STAR qualified homes are equal to the equivalent of:



    • Eliminating the emissions from 145.04 vehicles;

  • Saving 877,344 lbs of coal;

  • Planting 239.76 acres of trees; or

  • Saving the environment 1,720,648 pounds of CO2 per year.


To earn the ENERGY STAR, a home must meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes are at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to the 2004 International Residential Code (IRC), and include additional energy-saving features that typically make them 20–30% more efficient than standard homes.


"SummerHill is proud to be recognized by Energy Star for our efforts to build homes that reduce our impact on the environment," said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes, "we will continue to be innovative in our commitment to energy conservation and sustainable living."


ENERGY STAR qualified homes offer homebuyers all the features they want in a new home, plus energy-saving features like effective insulation systems, high performance windows, tight construction and ducts, properly-sized and installed efficient heating and cooling equipment, efficient products, and third-party verification of energy performance.


"Most homebuyers focus on what's outside the walls," said Sam Rashkin, National Director for EPA's ENERGY STAR Homes Program, "but they also need to look behind the walls for the energy-efficient features found in ENERGY STAR qualified homes that help ensure comfort, quiet, improved indoor air quality, and low utility bills for years to come."


About ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR was introduced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 as a voluntary market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through increased energy efficiency. Today, ENERGY STAR offers businesses and consumers energy-efficient solutions to save energy, money and help protect the environment for future generations. More than 12,000 organizations are ENERGY STAR partners committed to improving the energy efficiency of products, homes, buildings and businesses. For more information about ENERGY STAR, visit www.energystar.gov or call toll-free 1-888-STAR-YES (1-888-782-7937).

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Homebuilding changes in 2009

Monday March 9th, 2009 KGO-ABC7

Robert Freed, the president and CEO of SummerHill Homes, one of the area's largest builders, recognizes that the rest of 2009 will be challenging. "The key to housing has always been job growth, so we'll watch the job growth numbers locally and nationally very carefully and consumer confidence."


Watch Robert's KGO interview >>

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Builders Seeing More Traffic

Monday March 9th, 2009 Contra Costa Times

by George Avalos (Staff Writer)


SAN RAMON — Government tax credits appear to have propelled a bump in traffic for Bay Area home builders, but residential developers said Tuesday that no recovery will materialize for the battered industry until 2010, at best.


This mixture of hopeful and grim assessments was delivered to 220 people in the building and construction services and products industry who gathered in San Ramon for an event organized by the Homebuilding Purchasing Agents, Subcontractors and Suppliers organization, along with local builders.


"Builders are seeing an increase in traffic of 10, 15, 20 percent in the last few weeks," Ray Panek, an executive with the Pleasanton office of KB Home, and chairman of the San Ramon-based Home Builders Association of Northern California, said in an interview after the event ended. "People are taking advantage of the tax credits. They are helping."


Builders also say they have seen an increase in new-home sales compared with the last few months of 2008.
SummerHill Homes sold 52 new houses in its Bay Area markets during the first two months of 2009, and it sold another seven residences last weekend, reported Robert Freed, president of SummerHill, one of the Bay Area's largest home builders.


The pace of about 25 sales a month for the first part of 2009 is about double the monthly rate for the final four months of 2008. But it's still below the sales levels for the same months in 2008.


Still, the uptick is encouraging, builders said.


"It's much better than I had seen the last four or five months," said Layne Marceau, Northern California division president for Shea Homes, during his presentation to the gathering.


Traffic also is up for Toll Brothers, the company said.


Still, the recent upsurge could be transitory, depending on the effect and duration of the tax credits. And the improvement in traffic can't mask the dismal state of the Bay Area residential construction industry.


"I'm not terribly optimistic for 2009," Freed said. "It's going to be a tough year for all of us. It's survival time."
Builders believe they will have to ride out the sluggish times until at least early 2010.


"I believe we will find a bottom by the end of 2010," said Glen Martin, group president for the Northern California operations of Toll Brothers. The company might start to seek to buy land starting in 2010.


But for now, prices for new homes remain "unstable" and are trending lower, Martin said.


The building slump has jolted suppliers and contractors that are vendors for residential builders.


Livermore-based California Landscape Dimensions had about 100 employees roughly 18 months ago. It now has 30, Sonja Beardsley, general manager of the engineering and landscaping contractor said in an interview.
The builders themselves have reduced staff and consolidated operations in significant ways.


The slump also makes it uncertain that vendors will land contracts with builders, even if they are aggressive, said David Goodin, regional sales manager for the Northern California operations of Hardy Frames, which provides products for new homes.


"Every job is like a fire drill," Goodin said. "If you hear about a job, there is a great sense of urgency. Then you bid and then you find out that the project was delayed because the builder can't get financing."


Developers have trimmed their prices to battle against sellers of foreclosed homes or other pre-owned houses. Builders seek to price homes at $300,000 to $400,000. In contrast, "It is really a struggle" to attempt to sell new homes for about $500,000 to $600,000, Marceau said.


To help slash prices, builders have scaled back the size of their projects. Shea Homes had been constructing homes of 2,700 square feet, but now typically offer homes of 2,000 square feet. Shea also has jettisoned a lot of goodies that used to come with a home.


"All the builders lost significant amounts of money in 2008 and we will probably lose money in 2009," Freed said.

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SummerHill Homes wins GuildQuality's 2009 Guildmaster Award

Thursday February 26th, 2009

Palo Alto, CA – SummerHill Homes, a leading homebuilder in the Bay Area, announced today that the company has been awarded a 2009 Guildmaster Award for exceptional customer satisfaction. SummerHill Homes was one of 95 homebuilders, contractors, developers, and home services companies throughout North America recognized for their excellent performance.


"SummerHill is thrilled to be recognized by GuildQuality for our commitment to customer satisfaction," said Robert Freed, president and CEO of SummerHill Homes, "We strive for excellent customer service and it is an honor to receive a Guildmaster award for these efforts."


"We're excited to recognize the great performance of SummerHill Homes," said Geoff Graham, founder and president of GuildQuality. "Their passion for delivering a superior customer experience shines through in the feedback we received from their customers."


About GuildQuality
GuildQuality provides customer satisfaction surveying and performance reporting for over 500 homebuilders, remodelers, and contractors in North America. GuildQuality collects feedback directly from customers and reports back to the building professional through a web-based service. On average, more than 70% of customers respond to GuildQuality surveys, and their feedback includes rich commentary and quantitative ratings.


About the Guildmaster Awards
Once a year, GuildQuality recognizes exceptional customer service with the Guildmaster Awards. Visit the Guildmaster section of the GuildQuality website to see information about all 2009 Award Winners, or visit the GuildQuality blog to read about the awards qualifications.

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The experts weigh in on the state of the market

Wednesday January 14th, 2009 The Registry: The Bay Area Real Estate Journal

We know about financing issues and the current state of the market, but what issues/trends are we not talking about that we should be?
Robert Freed (RF) – The risk profile for residential real estate has increased dramatically. As economic conditions stabilize in the future, I still expect that the risk associated with the residential market will be perceived as very high. The result will be less debt and equity available for development and the cost of this capital will be higher as compared to the prior 5-7 years. To support higher risk and cost of capital, profit margins on proposed developments will have to be substantial.


What's the employment outlook for this industry in the next 12 months?
RF – Lousy and getting worse. Unfortunately there is a large number of very experienced, very qualified residential professionals who are unemployed. For companies thinking about the future, the opportunity to hire this caliber of individual is one of the few silver linings of this real estate depression.


How will your organization respond to the market changes in 2009?
In a word—aggressively. We have right-sized our headcount, we have hired some very experienced individuals for key leadership positions, and we are re-examining our operating policies and procedures in order to improve our efficiency. In open communities, we are focused on reducing debt by aggressively pricing our homes and managing our standing inventory. We are maintaining key banking relationships, and we are building new equity relationships as we prepare for the future.


Outside of the Bay Area, what projects or things are happening in 2009 that you'll be paying attention to and why?
RF – No real surprises here, we are watching economic data both locally and nationally for indications of a bottom. We are watching reports on consumer confi dence, mortgage rates, mortgage availability and underwriting standards. We are watching and hoping for leadership in Washington.


What will get people into open houses in 2009?
RF – Affordability and confidence as they look forward. I also believe that an individual who understands and appreciates that home ownership is not just an investment decision will be more willing to acquire a home in the next 12 months. Home is our sanctuary, a gathering place for friends and family, a place to create life-long memories, the difference between a neighborhood and a zip code. I believe that there is an emotional quotient that should be calculated and considered when purchasing a home.


If you were dispensing advice to a young professional entering the market in 2009, what do you say?
RF – The ongoing staff reductions are making it very challenging for young professionals to break in—or stay in—the homebuilding industry these days, which is unfortunate. However, there are options and strategies for those who are serious about  succeeding in the industry. They may try approaching city or county planning departments, redevelopment agencies—basically, looking at their career options through a different portal. Financial institutions with large numbers of REOs in their portfolios could also be looking for help. These types of career considerations could position a young person to be a real player when the market returns. But my advice is patience, because housing challenges are now a global issue and will be for some time.


What sectors of the residential market will fare best or worst in 2009?
RF – It appears that residential rental projects will continue to outperform for-sale projects. For-sale projects in the best locations will perform better than those projects in inferior locations, and all for-sale projects must be priced below the resale medians if any reasonable level of absorption is to occur.


How will the Bay Area fare in relation to other parts of the country?
RF – We believe that the core Bay Area will actually out-perform the rest of the United States. There’s just too much of an upside to living in the Bay Area to keep us in recovery-mode for too many years. The Bay Area has tremendous lifestyle opportunities and diversity. The uniqueness of the Bay Area is its ability to reinvent itself—we’re the high tech center of the universe with worldclass universities contributing to a highly educated and affluent population. It is one of our nation’s premier regions to live—the only hindrance has been the high cost of housing. With a moderation in housing prices here and throughout California, we should be prepared for an upswing within 3-5 years.


How will a successful deal look like in 2009?
RF – For home buyers, a successful deal will be the purchase of a home that fits their lifestyle and that is affordable for their income level. For the home builder/ developer, a successful deal will be a site that can be optioned at an appropriate price with time to complete entitlements and a closing that is not scheduled to occur any sooner than the middle of 2010.


What surprises you most about the residential market right now?
RF- I am surprised by the depth of the decline of residential values in the outer ring of the Bay Area.

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Q&A with Robert Freed – Review 2008 Preview 2009

Thursday January 1st, 2009 Silicon Valley Business Journal

Robert Freed, President and CEO, SummerHill Homes, Palo Alto


Freed is a veteran home builder, having worked at KB Home for 14 years, the final years as president of the Northern California division. He also served as chief financial officer for Davidon Homes and Blawkhawk Corp.Q&A: What do you see looking ahead into 2009?


A: It’s fair to say this is a residential real estate depression on an order of magnitude that even those of us in the business for 30-plus years have not experienced. I think it is fundamentally changing what home building will look like in the future. There will be far fewer home builders in the future.


In 2009, SummerHill will stay focused on urban infill on the peninsula, in Santa Clara County and up the eastern border into Alameda County. We are under contract and processing entitlements for 1,350 homes on Communications Hill in San Jose.


We think SummerHill is well positioned to prosper financially.


I do think that in terms of home values in the Bay Area, if we’re not at the bottom, we’re very near. I expect 2009 to be a transition year. By the end of the year, we should be returning to some level of stability.

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2009 May Be Year to Build On

Thursday December 25th, 2008 San Francisco Chronicle

by Carolyn Said


Robert Freed vividly recalls the first house he saw under construction. When he was in the second grade, his parents built a home in Saratoga.


"There was a point in time when the foundation had been poured," he said. "I walked it with my grandmother and grandfather; they put coins in the corners of the foundation to bring us good luck. It was the first time I knew of such a tradition; I remember the experience being so wonderful."


Since then, Freed has gone on to mastermind the building of umpteen homes around the United States as a senior executive at KB Homes, Davidon Homes and Blackhawk Corp.


These days, Freed has returned to his Bay Area roots as CEO of builder SummerHill Homes of Palo Alto, which has projects under way in San Jose, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Bruno, South San Francisco, Fremont and Union City. Its focus is infill development - using land within built-up areas - which he considers the right approach for the Bay Area. SummerHill projects range from smaller, single-family detached homes to condos, with density per acre ranging from "north of 30" to six units.


Freed joined SummerHill in September 2007 - just after the credit crunch really walloped the already-foundering real estate market.


"My timing could be considered either impeccable or unfortunate," he said dryly.


He sees his role as guiding the company through the turbulence and positioning it to emerge strong amid a shrunken field of competitors.


While the entire real estate market is reeling from the foreclosure crisis, plunging home prices, drastically tightened lending and this year's Wall Street meltdowns, home builders are among the most affected.


"It's been a brutal year for new-home builders, especially for private builders," said Patrick Duffy, principal of consulting firm Metro Intelligence Real Estate Advisors in Los Angeles. That's because private builders rely heavily on bank financing, which has been effectively shut off in recent months, he said. Public firms have more options, such as lines of credit and selling stock.


The industry's own trade group, the California Building Industry Association, said home building is in "dire straits." The pace of home sales in October, for instance, was "extraordinarily bad," it said, down 63 percent from a year earlier. New-home starts have plunged to record lows. CBIA projects that only 66,000 new homes and condos will be built in California this year, compared with 160,500 in 2006.


Duffy said SummerHill's saving grace likely is that it's owned by Marcus & Millichap, a national real estate investment brokerage from Encino (Los Angeles County). "I would think having Marcus & Millichap behind them would be analogous to having a public company behind them," he said. "That leverage probably helps."


Freed doesn't mince words when talking about the obstacles.


"This is definitely the most challenging and most severe downturn I've experienced," he said. "It gets tougher and tougher to secure financing. Revenues are clearly down. Absorption rates - the rate at which one sells - are clearly down. There are fewer buyers, and they're looking for what they perceive to be bargains at the expense of the seller. It's like daily hand-to-hand combat."


Like most of its competitors, SummerHill has had to reduce staff significantly, shrinking from about 125 positions to 80. At the same time, "We've taken the opportunity to hire some very senior people who became available to us because of the downturn," Freed said.


In another move to be ready to rebound once the market turns around, "We've made a conscious decision to maintain staffing levels in land acquisition and forward planning" - obtaining government approvals, for instance.

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