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The Rise and Expansion of Multi-Family and Mixed-Use Development in Oakland

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Bisnow event - The Rise and Expansion of Multi-family and Mixed-Use Development in Oakland, was held on May 9th 2017 at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. Our Director Ken Lowney joined the panel and shared some insights about the challenges developers face and projects the firm is currently working on.

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From the right: Charles Long - Junction Properties, Michael Johnson from UrbanCore Development, Ken Lowney - Lowney Architecture, Doug Leventon - Alliance Residential, Robert Raburn from BART, and far Left (moderator) Todd Williams from Wendel Rosen.

Topic of discussion was the expansion of Mixed-Use developments in Oakland. Specifically the challenges of developing successful and inclusionary buildings that cater to both market rate and affordable, with just the right amount of parking and retail to meet the demands and fit into the context of the area.

Also spoken about was how Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is key for the growing demands of residents and in particular how residents are opting for bike share and BART - reducing the need for parking spaces.

Michael Johnson from UrbanCore Development had some interesting things to say about their project Lake Merritt tower under development with EBALDC and The Oakland City Council. The site was originally proposed as 100% market rate however after feedback from the community, the site will now be 30% affordable and have a focus on inclusivity with things like shared amenities and common areas for all residents. This project is similar to Lowney Architetures Mixed-Use TOD project with Bridge Housing at the El Ceritto BART station that includes live-work and flex space, shared open space, and local and neighborhood retail. It will include a total of 234 housing units, with 30% affordable.

 

 

Rebuilding Oakland Together

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Through the generous sponsorship of Wendel Rosen and Bell Investments, a group from Lowney Architecture volunteered their day on Saturday April 29th to help to improve the life of an 82 year old widow. Josephine hasn’t been able to go outside in 10 years because of her inability to manage stairs. The dedicated group from Lowney built her a new ramp from her backdoor for her to access her new patio and planter boxes along with separate teams who painted the entire house and garage. Check out the before and after photos below!

Buoyed by the brilliance of the person who ordered Bakesale Betty fried chicken sandwiches for lunch, the team powered through and made a difference. Councilman Abel Guillen also paid a visit and shared his appreciation for all involved.

Thankyou to everyone wo was involved. To read more about it, and to get involved visit Rebuilding Oakland Together.

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Albany Sprouts Grand Opening

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We are pleased to announce our project with Oppidan Investment Company, Sprouts Albany had its official opening on April 26th 2017. This grocery-store-anchored shopping center is 28,000 SF, alongside two secondary retail buildings currently under construction, comprising a total of 45,000 SF. The land features a pedestrian and bicycle path and trail, as well as a public art piece currently underway.

The land is leased from the University of California and frames a gateway into graduate student housing at UC Village beyond, serving the local community in Albany, CA as well as the students.

 

Building owners can profit from home-sharing

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Our President Ken Lowney joined Airbnb's Jaja Jackson on a exciting discussion for the future of Residential.

For Airbnbhttps://www.airbnb.com/ head of multifamily housing partnerships Jaja Jackson, home-sharing is one of many ways building owners can benefit from partnerships with residents. Residents benefit from the supplemental income while building owners get a slice of the profits.

During Tuesday's Bisnow residential event, Jackson, the keynote speaker, discussed Airbnb’s Friendly Builders Program with moderator Lowney Architecture founder and principal Ken Lowney. Jackson talked about why the program is increasingly popular among building owners and residents. “Newer developments in urban centers where the customer is professional, mobile and maybe a Millennial in tech or related scientific sectors tends to want the flexibility of home-sharing,” Jackson said. The average guest is about 38 years old, and more women are hosts than men. Hosts tend to be older than guests and senior women are the fastest-growing group of hosts and are the highest-rated hosts. Airbnb hosts tend to have a college degree and use Airbnb as supplemental income. Guests come from various demographics and income levels, according to Jackson. Jackson said a recent survey found about one-third of renters are interested in having home-sharing as an amenity while one-third do not care or do not know about it and another one-third do not want it at all. He said he expects if a new survey is done in the fall, the number of renters wanting home-sharing would move up to about 40%.

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One way Airbnb is working with business owners is through its nearly one-year-old Friendly Building Program. The program came about after hosts were violating and continued to violate the terms of their leases or were unaware of the lease terms and hosted in their apartments when they should not have. The program provides a way for building owners to better understand home-sharing in a way that makes sense as a business strategy, Jackson said. The program provides property management tools and sets up rules for residents. Jackson said the program is built around four commitments: transparency, control, insurance and profit-sharing. Building owners receive a weekly report with information about which units are hosting and when guests are expected. The information-sharing provides building owners with more control because they can use that data to set caps on the number of nights each resident can home-share. Primary and liability insurance with limits of $1M also are included. Building owners set the profit-sharing amount, which Jackson suggests should be 5% to 15%. The program has been rolled out in 20 to 25 cities where laws are favorable to short-term rentals, and Airbnb is seeing additional interest from the owners of midsized and small buildings and REITs across the country. San Jose is among the cities to have an active Friendly Builders Program, and Equity Residential was one of Airbnb’s first partners. Jackson said the program has been successful at Equity Residential's Vista 99 in North San Jose. The property management team is involved and helps with check-ins and checkouts. Jackson said the owner set a cap and the profit percentage and decided to donate most of those profits to housing charities.

Profit-sharing through home-sharing need not be the only way building owners can partner with residents to increase revenue. Jackson said building owners can design their common areas to provide small office spaces for residents to use for additional payment. Owners also could meet the demand for farm fresh food by offering rooftop gardens with rentable space. “All of these types of opportunities are unlocked when you rethink your relationship with the resident, and you get a little bit more creative,” Jackson said. AvalonBay has allowed home-sharing at its San Francisco Market Street property, but has residents paying a fee for hosting. Since Airbnb's founding in 2008, more than 160 million guests and more than 3 million hosts have used the platform. Jackson said the company has doubled every year and is currently profitable with strong growth in core business and new areas like the multifamily housing sector. Airbnb recently launched its latest service, Airbnb Experiences, which offers guests the ability to meet with local experts who share interests or experience various aspects of a particular location. Jackson said eventually the platform will include flights and car rides.

This article was originally posted by Bisnow
 

Lowney Architecture hosted AIA Trivia Nights

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Lowney Architecture in collaboration with AIA East Bay hosted the second joint "Trivia Night" - an event put together to foster a sense of support and comradery for ARE exam candidates. The evening was hosted by the always entertaining, Mark Donahue - the firms Design Director, who was assisted by Project Manager and AIA East Bay President, Winston Win.

"It is a great opportunity to support our local architecture community and younger colleagues" - Winston Win

For upcoming events held at Lowney Architecture, email us.

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SENIOR DESIGNER

Lowney Architecture is a vibrant 30-person design-oriented architecture firm in downtown Oakland. We work on a variety of projects, with a focus on multi-family residential, mixed-use, and retail. We create beautiful places that advance the quality of life in their communities and with an environmentally aware approach. Our office culture is one of casual professionalism. We work hard and we push each other, but we never forget to have fun in the pursuit of excellence. We want you to enjoy working here.

We are seeking a highly qualified senior designer with in depth experience in multi-family housing projects with a minimum of 7-10 years of relevant professional experience.  The ideal candidate has an in depth knowledge of constructability, is confident giving design presentations, is versatile with generating digital 3D design ideas, and has a diverse portfolio of clearly resolved built work. The position is full-time. Compensation is based on experience and skill-set. The successful candidate must be legally authorized to work in the United States.

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Architecture – Master’s degree preferred
  • 7-10 years of post-academic, professional design experience [at least 2 years of which is in mixed use residential and/or high-rise projects]
  • Able to quickly and efficiently produce working/study models and presentation quality renderings using SketchUp (with rendering plug-ins)
  • Exceptional design, management, organization, and communication skills
  • Proficiency in Revit a must have – expertise a plus
  • Extensive knowledge of architectural design, detailing, building materials and methods, building codes, and comprehensive understanding of the entitlement process
  • Applicants must excel in working collaboratively and effectively with the ability to lead fast-paced projects through all phases of project delivery, while fostering team spirit and an atmosphere of teaching and learning
  • Highly organized, collaborative and detail oriented

 

Please email your cover letter to elisabeth@lowneyarch.com, resume and portfolio in pdf form [10MB max file size]. Thank you for your consideration.

Spotlight: Winston Win, President of AIA East Bay

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In December of last year, Lowney employee Winston Win was officially pronounced president of AIA East Bay. After seven years of involvement in AIA, Winston has moved up the ranks to 2017 Board President of AIA East Bay. He has been a board member of AIAEB since 2014 and served as the Board Vice President last year. Winston's dedication to the organization shows through his capability and eagerness to organize and coordinate events, a quality that has been invaluable to Lowney Architecture.

Winston's goals for AIA in 2017 are to bring AIA programs to a wider audience, increase transparency and access for members of AIA, promote expanded participation, invigorate committees, and, of course, have fun! Winston stated in his President's letter to the community, "My goal is to continue successful programs, improve upon them and test new ideas this year. I am dedicated to an accessible, transparent, and engaging chapter for our community; a chapter that reflects our shared values, celebrates our diverse voices, and advocates well for architects and architecture." And we at Lowney Architecture have no doubt that he will do just that. 

Congratulations Winston!

The Future of Oakland

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This month, Ken Lowney spoke at a forum hosted by Bisnow regarding Oakland development trends. Along with other prominent industry experts, Ken explained the Bay Area's shift from traditional construction of multifamily housing to more compact housing with shorter construction times.

Ken explained that as construction and living costs continue to rise, so too does the popularity of modular housing in the industry. The resulting trend is the repositioning of living room space from inside to outside. Apartments have a smaller focus on living rooms, tenants have lower expectations of living spaces, and public space is more meaningful as a result. Shared workspace, open space, and semi-public space serve as substitutes to personal living rooms. In other words, as individual living spaces get smaller, not only are there increased pressures on public resources, but developers are paying more attention to the amenity portion of the program. Developers are more likely to include these spaces in the program while also becoming more creative in their programming.

This harmonious relationship between public and private space is creating a strong demand for mixed-use buildings in Oakland, thereby furthering the opportunities for unique design of public space. An example of this can be found at The Hive on Broadway as well as on the servers of Oakland architecture offices everywhere.

For more information on the discussion, you can follow this link.

Hale Mahana Groundbreaking and Blessing

Hale Mahana Groundbreaking

Today, the project site of Hale Mahana Collegiate Apartments had its groundbreaking ceremony and a traditional blessing from a Hawaiian Kahuna. Lowney Architecture's Ken Lowney and Brian Nee visited the site along with the Honolulu City Manager, University of Hawaii president, city council members, Laconia, and EDR.

The project, located at 2615 South King Street in Honolulu, Hawaii, will be home to nearly 600 students attending the University of Hawaii. At 14 stories high and with student amenities on the top floor, the project will have unparalleled views of the rest of the island. Additionally, the public will have access to retail shops on the first floor, as well as the 6,000 square feet of on-site public landscaping.

Foundation work is slated to begin in the next week or so. For more information and updated time-lapse pictures of the site, you can visit https://app.oxblue.com/open/EDR/skingstreet.

Mahalo!

Happy Holidays from the Lowney Team!

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