It’s hard to believe it was just a little over two years ago that the first townhomes broke ground at Bay Meadows, the famous former San Mateo horse-racing track that closed in 2008. But today there are more than 500 people living where Seabiscuit won two stakes in the 1930s.
Now more homes are on the way. On Friday, Shea Homes acquired Meadow Walk, a 3.5-acre development in the 83-acre planned community. The company plans to build 74 townhomes; terms of the deal weren’t immediately available.
It’s the third Bay Meadows land deal for Shea, which has already sold out the 93-townhome Lansdowne project. On Jan. 17, Shea will open its 80-townhome Brightside neighborhood.
Janice Thacher, partner with developer Wilson Meany, told me in a phone call that the repeat business comes after the builder saw strong momentum at those communities. TRI Pointe Homes has also bitten off two projects — the 76- lot Canterbury and the 63-unit Amelia.
“We work with a variety of homebuilders, but I think what happened is Shea and TRI Pointe — the initial two that were selected for Lansdowne and Ameila — is they were very successful in those projects,” Thacher said. “They were very comfortable, and were optimistic about what the transaction would look like as they executed. Landsdowne went really well. Brightside is going very well.”
The new Shea project was designed by KTGY and will include 10 buildings. Homes will be two-, three- and four-bedroom units and be situated between Persimmon Park and 31st Avenue.
“Shea Homes is honored to partner once again with Wilson Meany and to participate in making their vision for Bay Meadows a reality,” said Layne Marceau, president of Shea Homes Northern California, in a news release.
Townhomes have seen the highest price-runup in Silicon Valley, with the average price per square foot rising 10.4 percent in 2014, according to Polaris Pacific. San Mateo also saw the largest median price increase last year, of 15.9 percent. Shea’s Brightside had 16 units in contract as of December, at prices ranging from $900,000 for a two-bedroom to $1.125 million for a three-bedroom, according to Polaris Pacific.
Wilson Meany and partner Stockbridge Capital will likely go to the market with two more planned for-sale communities — one with 31 planned townhomes, and another with 24 single family homes — early this year.
The entire Bay Meadows plan includes capacity for more than 1,100 housing units and 1.5 million square feet of office, plus 18 acres of parks. The business model involves Wilson Meany and Stockbridge doing all the design and planning work on the residential, then selling most of them to builders. However, the partners are also building several of their own rental projects, including the 108-unit Field House, which just started leasing. They are also moving forward with two other apartment complexes, with 221 units between them.
Thacher said the resident profile at Bay Meadows is all over the map: “We have Millenials, tech workers, dual-commute couples with jobs in San Jose and San Francisco, people moving out of San Francisco. They want to buy a house in an environment with public transit, and parks and walkable neighborhoods.”
Other Bay Meadows development include the construction on three public parks and the opening of the private Nueva School.
“We have over 500 people living there now and the Nueva School open, so when you go down there, there are people playing in the park, walking up and down the street,” she said.
In addition to the residential activity, Bay Meadows’ commercial component is also heating up. Wilson Meany and Stockbridge late last year started construction on a 210,000-square-foot spec office building, and Thacher said the interest level has picked up since dirt started moving.
“We’ve gotten a lot more activity since we broke ground, so that’s really exciting,” she said.
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