Maybe that’s why they’re so expensive…

13 Nov

For the past several months I’ve been passing the Uptown Apartments every day on the bus on my way to work. And every day I look at them longingly, wishing I could live there but knowing that I can’t afford to. The rent is so high that I had a hard time imagining how they’d rent all those units.

Sure, they have lots of great perks, like a pool and various community rooms, and they’re next to a huge new park. But really, the rents just seemed so outrageous.

It turns out that Forest City is offering some much more practical perks as well, which I found out through an SF Business Times article via A Better Oakland:

When Tina Aiyer was searching for a new apartment in downtown Oakland, sustainable living was her top priority. A devout environmentalist, Aiyer considers her effect on the environment in everyday decisions, from transportation to food choices.

As an event planner, Aiyer needs transportation options to sustain her business. So when she saw that the LEED-certified Uptown development in downtown Oakland was offering discounted access to the car-sharing service Zipcar Inc., free annual public transit passes and access to bikes, she was sold. She signed a lease the day after she visited the apartment complex.

I just about freaked out when I read that. Apparently, as the article explains, perks like this are becoming common in the Bay Area, but I hadn’t heard of something so robust. Free public transit! Bike access! Cheaper Zipcar! What more could an alternative-transportation enthusiast ask for (well, besides a taxi stand)?

But then I started to wonder why I had never heard about this before. I’ve poured over Uptown’s website more than a couple times, yet this never jumped out at me. So I went back to their website thinking I must have missed it. Turns out I hadn’t – it’s just not there. Can someone please explain to me why Forest City isn’t promoting these incredible perks? It seems like it would be a huge incentive to pay more for rent.

2 Responses to “Maybe that’s why they’re so expensive…”

  1. jennconspiracy November 14, 2008 at 7:03 am #

    I had to do some incredible poring myself – the price sheet is hidden in a PDF! I pay $1200 for a “sort of” 2 BR and my landlord is renting out a very big 2BR in the front of our duplex for $1550. We have a yard and are equidistant from Rockridge & MacArthur BART on a low traffic street near Rockridge/Temescal.

    I consider it green because I have a huge garden and there’s no heat installed. 🙂

  2. dto510 November 14, 2008 at 3:07 pm #

    To answer your question, Forest City isn’t promoting these perks because it’s still a pretty radical way to market a home. At the end of the Biz Times article, SF condo marketer Dan Marks says, “Two years ago, putting an amenity like a Zipcar in a building would have felt forced.” I think he’s being defensive, because it’s taking a long time for the auto-oriented real estate industry to figure out how to deal with urban infill.

    For the record, three years ago I was marketing buildings with alternative transportation, and I don’t think it was forced at all. But it still takes a pretty fresh perspective to appreciate the value of transit access.

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