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November 27, 2017

Exclusive: Huge landlord Brookfield invests in new 333-unit Oakland apartment project

San Francisco Business Times

Roland Li

Brookfield Property Partners, one of the world's largest real estate investors, is funding a new 333-unit apartment project in Oakland.

Brookfield (NASDAQ: BPY) is providing equity for the Station on 12th project at 301 12th St. The Martin Group is the developer of the project, which spans a full block near the 12th Street BART station and could start construction by next month.

Brookfield joins numerous big institutional investors in Oakland that have bought existing properties and also funded major developments. The Martin Group is also partnering with the Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) and CityView on the 423-unit 3093 Broadway project. Major investors like the Carlyle Group (NASDAQ: CG) and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) have also completed Oakland deals in the past three years. Institutional capital has propelled Oakland to its biggest construction boom in decades, with over 3,000 units currently being built.

"Brookfield's global footprint and institutional platform is a great complement to our local experience. Between Station on 12th and our project at 3093 Broadway, we will be adding 756 units of much needed housing in the City of Oakland," said David Martin, CEO of the Martin Group, in a statement.

The project, formerly known as W12, includes 23,570 square feet of retail space. The developer has applied for building permits, and demolition is scheduled for next week. The project is within the city's Lake Merritt Specific Area Plan, which calls for denser housing, office and retail in the area.

"We are excited to be part of the economic renaissance underway in Oakland," said Bea Hsu, senior vice president of development at Brookfield Property Partners, in a statement.

The project was proposed in May 2016 and approved after the developer agreed to additional community benefits in the wake of criticism from Chinatown neighborhood groups.

As part of the deal, a parcel that was originally part of for Station on 12th is now slated for around 60 units of affordable housing. Nonprofit East Bay Asian Local Development Corp. is developing the project at 285 12th St.

"We've been pleased to work with both the Martin Group and the Oakland Chinatown Coalition group of advocates to further our goal of preserving Chinatown as a healthy neighborhood accessible to families of all economic levels," said Joshua Simon, EBALDC executive direct, in a statement.

BDE Architecture is the architect. Johnstone Moyer is the general contractor.

Housing plans for the site, formerly an auto shop, stretch back over a decade. In 2006, Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN) was in contract to buy the site but the deal collapsed amid rising construction costs. (Lennar now has three Oakland projects under construction.)

The Martin Group has invested in other Bay Area projects including EmeryBay in Emeryville, Downtown Pleasant Hill and 1000 Van Ness in San Francisco. (David Martin previously founded what is now TMG Partners but is no longer with that company. TMG Partners has no connection to the Station on 12th project.)

Brookfield also owns Marina Village in Alameda, but doesn't have any other Oakland properties. In San Francisco, it owns One Post St. and the Monadnock Building at 685 Market St..

The Martin Group and Brookfield recently bought 301 12th St. for an undisclosed price from the Cochran and Celli families. Brokers Jeffrey Hutchins and David Wientjes of Kidder Mathews represented the seller in the deal.

"It was a challenging deal. We've been working on the deal for almost four years," said Wientjes.

"It's a very desirable site because of its location to transportation and the scale," he said. "It's underutilized. It's going to bring some vibrancy to the area."

For the full story, go to San Francisco Business Times.

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