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Jul 29

The Trumark Approach to Entitlements

Trumark Co-founder and Principal Michael Maples was recently interviewed by Nathan Donato-Weinstein, the Real Estate Reporter for the Silicon Valley Business Journal, about the for-sale market in the San Francisco Bay Area. Maples talks about current projects, market trends, density and how to get projects approved. Here is an excerpt from that conversation:

Your Milpitas project includes a rarity in the Bay Area: Single-family detached homes, in addition to attached townhouse. How did you get approval for that?

It’s very difficult to find a development where you can do single family detached in the Bay Area. By doing higher-density townhouses, we were able to meet the city’s density requirement and do some single family detached. I think we brought a solution that was a good balance for the property.

How does the density requirements affect the kind of homes you’re building?

We’re pushing more people into three-story product. Because the footprint is smaller, most of the living space happens on the second floor. We’ve come up with innovative product to make it feel larger: For example, on living spaces, we’re doing larger decks that are 12-feet deep and 20-feet wide. And we’ll have a sliding glass bifold door that opens to a 12-foot opening. You’ve just extended your living room to an outdoor area.

The Bay Area isn’t an easy entitlement environment. What is your approach?

We look at it from four perspectives: First, what does the neighborhood want? What does the city want? What does the marketplace want? And fourth, what can you get financed? All need to come together to make it work.

(With city and neighborhood concerns), we try to listen well and make realistic changes to make something better. If you don’t listen and aren’t authentic, people see through that pretty quick. Sometimes we get into the middle and feel we won’t be able to get there. And we don’t move it forward. Sometimes you listen and realize this isn’t the best thing here. You have to listen and bring new ideas and work together.

 

 

Jul 28

San Francisco Chronicle “New Hires – Vickie Nyland & Steve Gallagher”

Jul 24

Silicon Valley Business Journal “BART boom: Housing set for key site across from Milpitas station”

Jul 22

For New Homeowners, Tools of the (Outdoor) Trade

You have unpacked boxes, arranged furniture, and hung pictures.  You’re ready to sit back enjoy your new home.

Not so fast. The inside may be put together, but what about the outside?

Gardening and yard work can be done one of two ways:  1. By hiring someone or 2. By doing it yourself.

Assuming the DIY option, you’re going to need tools and accessories to cut, clip, dig, plant, and move dirt. If you’ve lived in an apartment or a no-yard condo, chances are these arrows aren’t in your quiver.

Here’s a list of some items you might need to make your landscape a thing of beauty – or at least serviceable.  To save money – and now that you’re a homeowner, you’ll need every penny — hit yard or estate sales for second-hand tools.

1. Lawn mower: Consumer Reports says the first step is to decide on the type of machine that matches your mowing needs and budget. A manual reel mower will do for a small yard and it’s environmentally friendly. But for bigger plots, look into a machine powered by gas, electricity or battery. And if your property is hilly or measured in acres instead of square feet, consider a lawn tractor (or option 1 above).

2. And speaking of lawns, don’t forget a string trimmer to put the finishing touch on that newly cut grass.

3. A rake. Different rakes serve different purposes.

4. For your watering needs:  Hose, nozzle, hose holder, watering can and lawn sprinkler (if you don’t have an below-ground system).

5. Wheelbarrow or landscape wagon.

6. Shovel – the round point variety is pretty versatile.

7. Hedge shears and pruners

8. Hori-Hori knife: This essential gardening tool can be used for weeding, cutting roots, transplanting, removing plants, sod cutting, and splitting perennials.  According to Wikipedia, hori means to dig in Japanese.

9. Gardening gloves, hat and padded kneeler to save your knees.

10. A lightweight gardening basket for weeding and moving plants.

And lastly, an adult beverage to celebrate the end of a long day in the yard.

 

Jul 19

Curbed San Francisco “What’s Going on at the Corner of Filbert and Van Ness?”