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.