PREI, Urban Pacific Turn Dirt on 52-Story Condo High-Rise in San Francisco Hotspot

Demand for such dwellings is so substantial that the developers have committed to paying the city of San Francisco a $15.1 million fee to compensate for the exclusion of below-market-rate units.

Rincon Hill Phase II

With apartment vacancies dropping quarter after quarter, San Francisco is primed for new product and Principal Real Estate Investors and Urban Pacific Investors LLC are preparing to deliver. The partners just broke ground on One Rincon Hill Phase II, which will add 299 rental units to the increasingly popular South of Market District.

Phase II, which is getting underway four years after the completion of the 390-unit Phase I condominium project, will yield a 52-story skyscraper designed by the architectural firm of Solomon Cordwell Buenz. The 485,000-square-foot building will cater to renters seeking luxury accommodations, offering such amenities as a 4,000-square-foot sky lounge and a 3,600-square-foot fitness facility. Demand for such dwellings is so substantial that the developers, in an effort to provide as many upscale units as possible at the site, have committed to paying the City of San Francisco a $15.1 million fee to compensate for the exclusion of below-market-rate units.

In addition to its high-demand location and premium offerings, Phase II will likely attract further attention with such distinctions as being the companion to the 64-story Phase I, the tallest residential tower west of the Mississippi. The project will also offer a certain flexibility. Should the for-sale multi-family market return with a bang, the building’s condo mapping will allow for the acquisition of residences. It could happen; Phase I is expected to be sold out this fall.

In the meantime, apartments still reign supreme, and given the current state of the San Francisco rental market, the timing for Phase II may be just right. The vacancy rate is on track to drop 30 basis points to an enviable 3 percent this year, a figure not seen in the market since 2001, according to a second quarter report by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. And in SoMa, growing demand from the technology sector will continue to tighten the submarket.

Undeniably, SoMa is a hotspot in San Francisco; more and more renters are flocking to the area and Principal and Urban Pacific are among a handful of developers that are planning to give the renters what they want. In June Essex Property Trust Inc. announced that it had acquired land parcels in the submarket for the creation of a two-building, 463-unit apartment complex at a cost of $250 million. Additionally, Archstone is building Daggett Place, a 467-unit project.

The apartment sector remains a favorite for lenders. Pacific Life Insurance Co. provided Principal and Urban Pacific with construction financing for Phase II.