Marin multifamily housing developer plans $500 million in projects

MILL VALLEY -- Thompson Dorfman Partners, LLC,  said it plans to spend $500 million in the next three years building multifamily and mixed-use developments in Northern California and hired a veteran of such projects to oversee the expansion.

[caption id="attachment_73141" align="alignright" width="214"] Gillian Sutton Cho[/caption]

The 14-year-old company hired Gillian Sutton Cho as vice president of development to manage acquisition and entitlement of projects, including almost 1,200 Bay Area units in design, entitlement or construction.

"The Bay Area apartment and housing market, as a whole, is undersupplied, and the evidence of that is in the rapid rise in home prices and apartment rents," said co-founder Bruce Dorfman.

Different from the past few economic cycles, the Bay Area has been leading the nation out of recession, and that recovery is exacerbating the slow pace of housing development, he said.

All the Northern California development sites have been identified and are in various stages of design, entitlement, permitting and construction, according to Mr. Dorfman.

One of the new projects Ms. Cho is overseeing is a 100,000-square-foot, 81-unit apartment and retail development in the Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Other projects include 271 units in San Jose, two Foster City projects and a revived mixed-use project in Emeryville. The San Jose project is under construction now and will have units available next year. Completion of the other developments will follow through 2018.

"Capital has returned to Bay Area multifamily development in a pretty significant way," Mr. Dorfman said. "But there's not a lot of opportunities for them. There are few institutional-quality site in the market."

Will Thompson and Mr. Dorfman (415-381-3001, started the company in 1999 and specialize in urban infill projects in Northern and Southern California. They have built and managed more than 10,000 units in 35 multifamily and mixed-use communities.

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