These San Francisco-Based Developers are Blazing a Trail in Modern Home Development
It takes a certain fortitude to be a developer in San Francisco. The city has a notoriously arduous process for project approval, neighbors are often grumpy about change, and the economy has been through some major boom-and-bust cycles. Many of the projects being built today have been several years in the planning, and it’s not unusual for properties to exchange hands a few times before being realized. Here, we turn the spotlight on developers that have had the vision and stamina to see through exceptional projects in the Bay Area.
Helping define the apex of the market is New York–based Millennium Partners. The company pioneered the concept of luxury hotel–branded residences, and brought it to San Francisco in 2001 with the Four Seasons and its 142 condominiums. Taking cues from high-end hospitality, the firm ventured forth with the Millennium Tower in 2009, a strictly residential building where private amenities include a dining room catered by Michael Mina’s RN74 and fireside chats with celebrity residents. “You can see our evolution and constant rethinking of how to provide the very best experience for our clients, one that is unlike anything else in the country,” says partner Richard Baumert. Its next venture is 706 Mission, a $500 million project that promises to be a very distinctive example of mixed-use. There will be 130 units in a new 45-story tower designed by Handel Architects, another 16 units in the neighboring historical building, and the Mexican Museum—an art and culture institution—will occupy the lower levels of both.
Design cognoscenti have found a kindred spirit in DDG Partners. The New York– and San Francisco–based company has both architects and contractors on staff—which is unusual for a development company—and took Manhattan by storm in 2009 with its first project: a classically-inspired but contemporary building that was designed in-house. “We’re very passionate about design,” says CEO Joe McMillan, who now has four projects in San Francisco with a combined market value of $200 million. Partnering with local firm DM Development, DDG is playing a leading role in the transformation of Hayes Valley. It made a splash with the Stanley Saitowitz–designed 8 Octavia, and its follow-up project, 400 Grove by Fougeron Architecture, was nearly sold out at press time. Next up: 450 Hayes by Handel Architects and Parcel T (also in Hayes Valley) by Edmonds + Lee Architects.
Troon Pacific has established a brand name as a developer of single-family homes. Led by husband-and-wife team Greg and Charlot Malin, the San Francisco–based company has a $200 million portfolio of single-family homes that have been developed or are under development. “We wanted to focus on quality inside the walls,” says CEO Greg Malin. “We thought, ‘What if we approached it like it was our own home?’” After building five LEED Platinum properties, the company is focused on pushing the envelope further, working toward homes that are net-zero on energy and water. As a member of the Building Health Initiative, Troon Pacific also implements healthier building materials and technologies for better indoor air quality. The company is currently also contemplating a move into multifamily development.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2015 issue of San Francisco Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Deeds & Don'ts: Design-Driven Developers.