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.