News Article: "Why developers are taking longer to lease up new apartment buildings"

In this San Francisco Business Times article, Blanca Torres reports on current leasing rates for new apartments in San Francisco. She finds that a record number of units were delivered during the last 18 months (4,000 units delivered in 2016 alone) and, as a result, leasing rates are slightly slower than previous years (buildings are averaging 16 new leases per month, compared with averages of 24 units per month between 2013 and 2015). BUILD's Lou Vasquez is quoted in the article pointing out that while it's slower than past years, units are still "going to be absorbed very quickly."

The article also points out that the San Francisco housing market remains "chronically undersupplied" and that "Bay Area housing production pales in comparison to other metropolitan areas". With conditions that continue to make it difficult to build new homes, the city will continue to feel the pressure of housing shortages.

"BUILD has leased about half of 650 Indiana St. (O&M), a 116-unit building in the Dogpatch, since May. That’s about 15 units per month — not great, but not bad — said Lou Vasquez, co-founder of BUILD."

"BUILD has leased about half of 650 Indiana St. (O&M), a 116-unit building in the Dogpatch, since May. That’s about 15 units per month — not great, but not bad — said Lou Vasquez, co-founder of BUILD."


DAP Mural painted

Artist Victor Reyes has completed painting the mural that encloses one side of the new Dogpatch Arts Plaza, which is wrapping up construction at our 650 Indiana project


Victor is a painter and muralist whose work can be seen throughout San Francisco. You can see more on his website:

The Plaza's second major art piece--"The Centaur" by Laura Kimpton and Antonio Ruperto--is scheduled to be installed before the end of September in time for the Plaza's grand opening in the first week of October.

You can learn more about the Dogpatch Arts Plaza and its community events, including an upcoming concert series, at

News Article: "Will developers pounce on rare, 31-acre San Francisco waterfront site?"

The San Francisco Business Journal reported on the beginning of a community engagement process as the City and PG&E Corporation work toward the redevelopment of the 31-acre site of the former PG&E power plant near Hunters Point and India Basin. As reported in the article, this site is one of the last large parcels in this rapidly developing area. It is just north of BUILD's India Basin project.

BUILD's Lou Vasquez is quoted in the article commenting on the large amounts of new office space and housing that could be created in the area. 

Full article here:

(Image by Chris Carlson article on FoundSF)

(Image by Chris Carlson article on FoundSF)

News Article: "As millenials reject car ownership, developers reduce parking in projects"

BUILD's One Oak project is featured in this San Francisco Business Journal July 27th article about the reduction of parking in new development projects: "As millennials reject car ownership, developers reduce parking in projects"

As described in the article, the One Oak project--which will replace an existing parking lot--has the lowest parking ratio in a high-rise condominium project in San Francisco, with only 136 parking spaces for 304 condos. 


One Oak receives Planning Commission approval

On Thursday, June 15th, BUILD was pleased to receive support from the San Francisco Planning Department and approval from the San Francisco Planning Commission for our 304-unit One Oak project at the northwest corner of Market Street and Van Ness Avenue. 

The approval was covered by a number of local news outlets including the following articles: 

"SF planners OK Market-Van Ness condo high-rise" by J.K. Dineen in SFGATE (6/15/2017)

"400 million SF condo tower wins key approval despite parking fite" by Roland Li in the San Francisco Business Times (6/16/2017)

As part of the approval process, BUILD shared some of the most recent renderings of the building's design and public plaza space:

O&M - Now Leasing!

116 apartments are now available to lease at BUILD's O&M project in San Francisco's Dogpatch District. The residences were crafted to fit the character of the neighborhood, which has grown from its industrial days into a creative haven for foodies, artists, and small businesses.

The community has expansive rooftop decks with fire pits and barbeques, on-site bicycle storage, an on-site cafe from the local Piccino owners, and on-site underground parking. It is walking distance to grocery stores, shopping and restaurants; only .3 miles to MUNI and .4 miles from CalTrain, and has an new adjoining Arts Plaza with outdoor gallery and event space. 

Check out the leasing website: and schedule a tour!


An Inconvenient Barn

As documented in this San Francisco Magazine article by Danelle Morton--"An Inconvenient Barn"--BUILD has worked closely with neighbors of our India Basin project to find win-win solutions. This article details how BUILD has spent two years working with India Basin resident Michael Hamman to incorporate his property and historic barn into the new design for the neighborhood. We are proud to have structured an arrangement that maintains the historic structure, reconnects it with the Bay shoreline, provides a more cohesive design for the development project. 


Will rising construction costs choke the Bay Area's development pipeline?

In this article, the San Francisco Business Times highlights something that BUILD has been experiencing on the front lines throughout 2016: construction costs are high and rising to rates that are making development tough to underwrite.

BUILD's managing director, Lou Vasquez, helps explain in this article how first, the Bay Area lost a lot of its construction labor during the Great Recession and then, large projects such as the TransBay Transit Center and Apple's Cupertino campus have occupied huge numbers of sub-contractors and construction workers. As developers try to push forward their housing projects, contractors are in hot demand and keep raising prices. Ultimately, projects become too expensive to build and are put on ice. Ironically, as housing projects stall, rent continues to increase and the region becomes less and less affordable for the construction workers needed to build the housing (and everyone else). 

As with all market cycles, this one is likely to come down as the megaprojects finish up and the construction market cools. 

Read the full article here.



Can S.F. build its way out of the housing crisis?

The San Francisco Business Times explored current and projected housing construction in this recent article titled "S.F. will see more new apartments in 2016 than it has for decades. Can it build its way out of the housing crisis?"

As BUILD's Lou Vasquez helps explain in the article, while the city has produced more housing in 2016 than at any other point in recent decades, this is an anomaly that does not appear to be a lasting phenomenon and will have minimal impact on housing costs. The rent incentives being offered in new buildings are a short-term tactic to expedite initial leasing and likely will not impact the rest of the rental market. 

Read the full article here, and then the follow-up article "Will rising construction costs choke the Bay Area's development pipeline", where Lou also comments on how the region's astronomical construction costs are choking off further housing development and will contribute to much lower home construction numbers in coming years. 


Peak2Peak stops at Dogpatch Arts Plaza

Every year, Walk SF organizes a day-long urban hike featuring some of San Francisco's sweeping views and hidden gems. This year, one of the first stops along Peak2Peak is at the Dogpatch Arts Plaza, where Build Public will share information about the new public plaza and the Green Benefit Districts they are developing to help support these community assets.

BUILD is proud of the work that Build Public is doing and glad that our O&M project is supporting more gathering spaces for San Franciscans.


Remaking the American Metropolis

September 21st, 2016

Ron Blatman
Executive Producer
Saving the City: Remaking the American Metropolis

Ron is Executive Producer/Producer of Save the City: Remaking the American Metropolis, a 13-part TV series in the works highlighting successful and unsuccessful examples of urban redevelopment throughout the US and Canada. Visit for more information including preview videos.

He was also Executive Producer/Producer for Saving the Bay: The Story of San Francisco Bay, a national prime time PBS TB series which aired over four weeks in 2011 and continues to be repeated around the country. Narrated by Robert Redford, Saving the Bay covers San Francisco Bay from its origins to the present and highlights three pioneering women who saved the Bay from becoming little more than a river in the 1960s. Visit for video clips. 

Ron previously worked in real estate development and finance in his native San Francisco and on Wall Street in New York, as well as serving as Director of Business Development in the San Francisco mayor's office in the early 1990s. He was the mayor's point man for keeping the San Francisco Giants baseball team in the city as well as a catalyst for a major new Federal office complex. 


"Rising Tides: Designing Resilient Amenities for Coastal Cities"

On September 1, 2016, Urban Land published this article about how developers on all coasts of the United States are balancing the demand for waterfront development with the threat of rising water levels. 

BUILD's India Basin project is featured for our integrated planning efforts with neighboring city-controlled Shoreline Park and 900 Innes parks and for our design, which calls for over 6 acres of terraced wetlands and open space that will provide a storm buffer, a community amenity, and native habitat improvements.


"Welcome to My House: Multifamily Housing"

In this article published in the Architectural Record on 9/1/2016, John King explores the dilemma of meeting diverse demand and providing affordable housing in cities throughout the United States.

No where is this challenge more keenly felt than here in San Francisco. As mentioned in paragraph 7 of the article, BUILD has been working with our partners to explore creative solutions to these problems. King describes one attempt at our 1532 Harrison project:

"In 2013, (architect Mark Macy) worked with developer Build Inc. to conceive a 21st century market-rate version of a large Victorian house after it had been split into smaller residences: within the six-story complex in San Francisco’s South of Market district, there’d be 28 “group houses,” with 470 beds divided among 235 “suites” of under 250 square feet. Each suite would have a tiny bedroom and cooking area, while each “house” included more enticing (and code-compliant) facilities.

Think of post-collegiate dorms, or micro-units taken to the next level. But by the time the complex was approved last fall, the numbers had frayed beneath the weight of city fees geared to conventional housing and higher lending fees. What will break ground in 2017 looks the same on the outside—but inside there will be 119 conventional units, mostly studios, holding 172 bedrooms in all.

Even if governments and neighbors are willing to let experimentation reign, there are the financial hurdles. The logic behind cohousing is compelling, but conventional mortgages defined by the notion of individual ownership don’t fit a “product” that by its nature is communal. The issue isn’t whether they provide good homes—more than 150 have been developed in the United States since the late 1980s; it’s whether banks can be convinced to fund construction or underwrite mortgages of something that’s not the norm."


"Does San Francisco's 25 percent affordable housing requirement go too far? Early reports say yes"

August 23, 2016
San Francisco Business Times

BUILD's managing director and one of its five principals, Lou Vasquez, weighed in on the recent debate over whether the 25 percent affordable housing requirement is stunting the number of housing units being developed in the city. 

Read article here. 

The article included a table that showed how land costs per unit vary depending on the city's affordable housing requirement:

The market changes constantly and right now with construction costs so high, some deals just don’t pencil.

Spotlight: Snøhetta Design

Both BUILD and Snøhetta share an appreciation for the physical spaces in which we live. This shared philosophy has led to BUILD's collaboration with Snøhetta on its proposed One Oak project, which will include more than 300 residences.  Trans-disciplinary at its core, Snøhetta's design aesthetic integrates architecture, landscape architecture, brand design and interior architecture. Founded in 1987,  Snøhetta has since designed preeminent buildings, including the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the National September 11th Memorial Museum Pavilion, the Bibliotheca Alexandria, the SFMOMA expansion, and many more international projects. After being commissioned to design the SFMOMA expansion, Snøhetta opened a design studio in our home city, San Francisco. Their influence spans the globe as the international practice now has offices in Stockholm, Innsbruck, and Adelaide, and New York. 

Snøhetta draws upon the natural influences in their design process as seen with the glacier-like inspired SFMOMA expansion. For BUILD's One Oak project, Snøhetta tailored the building's design to take cognizance of the impactful winds, sun exposure, and views at the corner of Oak and Van Ness. Working in tandem with natural elements serves a pivotal role in the formation of this iconic addition to the San Francisco skyline which will simultaneously pedestrianize the neighborhood. 

"Dogpatch, Potrero Hill lead by example"

July 6, 2016
San Francisco Examiner 

We are proud of our sister nonprofit organization, Build Public, for their efforts in engaging the community to create sustainable public spaces. This recent San Francisco Examiner article highlights Build Public's involvement in creating the Green Program. Build Public's Executive Director, Brooke Ray Rivera, describes the Green Program as a "hyperlocal democracy". 

Read article here.

Visit Build Public's website

"Developers offer vision for SoMa's Harrison Street"

July 15, 2016
San Francisco Chronicle

BUILD's Director of Development, Michael Yarne, quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding 1532 Harrison's effect on the Eagle, an established Harrison Street small business. 

Read article here. 


We knew from the beginning this site was all about the Eagle. It’s so much more than just an historic gay bar. It’s an international icon, a sacred place for the leather community. Done right, development can bolster and grow the history of a place, not erase it.