The Registry: “Trumark Hitting its Stride”

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Posted on April 25, 2016
Michael Maples & Gregg Nelson at the Wallis Ranch | Photo courtesy of Laura Kudritzki

Michael Maples & Gregg Nelson at the Wallis Ranch | Photo courtesy of Laura Kudritzki

Trumark’s founders talk about their start, the present and the future.

THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN THE ‘Q’ – THE REGISTRY’S PRINT PUBLICATION – IN JANUARY 2016

Gregg Nelson and Michael Maples founded the Trumark Companies in 1988, a few years after the two college friends received their business degrees from San Jose State. Maples went on to receive a Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. Today he serves on the Board of Trustees of Biola University and as the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hume Lake Ministries.

Nelson’s career spans more than 35 years in the construction, development and real estate investment arenas. He is known for his creativity, financial engineering and deal structure prowess. Together with co-founder Maples, Nelson’s leadership and passion has helped create a development company focused on creating traditional suburban subdivisions, as well as urban, multifamily residences, mixed-use and transit-oriented developments across Northern and Southern California.

TR: How was Trumark formed, and what were some of the principles that led to you to start the organization?

MAPLES: Gregg and I became friends in college and later moved our families to the East Bay to help start a church in the Tri-Valley. As a second pursuit, we decided to utilize our previous real estate experience to form Trumark in the late 80’s. We work well together as a team, and we knew that we needed a way to make a living for our growing families, so that direction just made sense to us.

Trumark operates on four core competencies that are built into the DNA of the company and are responsible for our success: creative problem solving, deal making, tenacity and market insight. These four principles have never let us down regardless of the state of the real estate market. Additionally, we sought to build the company through alignment with four cultural values: resourcefulness, responsiveness, respectfulness and integrity.

TR: How has Trumark grown from those early days? What are all the activities of the organization today?

NELSON: In the early days, Trumark was involved in small building projects including custom homes and small subdivisions, but the market crash in the early 1990’s brought everything to a halt. Following that, we took a narrower focus on the land entitlement side, which was a real value-add service and honestly, something we were really good at doing. We always wanted to get back into homebuilding and didn’t see an opportunity to do so until after the 2008 recession. That was when Trumark Homes was born. We started our first project in 2009 and closed our first set of sales in 2010 with 24 homes. In just a few short years, we’ve been able to grow the organization substantially, selling 133 homes in 2014, and we expect to sell a total of 224 homes in 2015.

Opportunities in the market over the years have led us to form several other divisions under the Trumark umbrella, including Trumark Communities, a residential land development platform; Trumark Commercial, which builds, leases and sells commercial buildings; and Trumark Urban, a vertically integrated residential developer focused on core urban neighborhoods.

TR: Where have you grown geographically and what activities do you perform in those regions?

MAPLES: We expanded into Southern California in the early 2000’s with a primary focus on land entitlement. When we started building homes again in 2008, we began in Southern California and gradually expanded northward. Trumark Urban began in San Francisco in 2012, and we have now expanded our urban developments into the Los Angeles market.

Centered on Capitol in San Jose was named National Association of Home Builders’ 2014 “Community of the Year”

Centered on Capitol in San Jose was named National Association of Home Builders’ 2014 “Community of the Year”

TR: You have been through several cycles as an organization, how would you characterize this one? What scares you about where we are today and what do you like about where we are today?

NELSON: We are optimistic in the direction that the market is headed, but the recovery isn’t fully formed yet, and we believe there are a lot of innings left to go in the game. We are excited about new homebuyers entering the market, as a result of broader job growth and an increase in wages.

That said, it is important to be mindful that the downturn is still very real in everyone’s mind, and world events can have a detrimental impact on home buying very quickly.

One of the concerns we have is that the market recovery to-date has been propelled by a fairly narrow pool of jobs—mainly tech, as opposed to a broad based recovery. As we continue on this path, we expect to see the recovery spill over into second and third tier markets.

In the Bay Area, from January 2011 to August 2015, we were 214.7 percent beyond projections for new jobs created, but 25.3 percent behind projections for new housing. This unevenness is propelled by the growth in the tech industry that has caused a substantial supply and demand imbalance, creating a feeling of a looming housing bubble in certain markets.

TR: Are there certain things that you as an organization are doing today to prepare for the near to mid-term?

NELSON: As an organization, we are doing everything in our power to position ourselves for what the future might bring. Most recently, we’ve strengthened our executive team by adding division presidents in Northern and Southern California to account for our growth and to enable the company to continue growing responsibly. We are also continuing to expand our financial resources and constantly studying markets with a focus on boomers and millennials to identify where we should plant new roots.

TR: How do you see 2016 unfolding? What, in your mind, will characterize that year? Are you optimistic about the next year and the immediate future?

MAPLES: Aside from a slight correction here or there, we don’t foresee anything major on the horizon for 2016 that could cause a downturn. At most, we will see moderate appreciation depending on location and continued increase in homebuyers.

TR: Are you seeing continued demand growth in housing? Is that demand characterized by any changes in type of housing, amenities, etc.?

MAPLES: Dense, walkable suburbs with easy city access are projected to become the new hot spot in 2016 as affordable housing near city centers becomes increasingly scarce. Walkability is considered the ultimate amenity these days whereas ten years ago it didn’t exist; people want to be close to their jobs and entertainment and shopping options. Buyers today value a smaller lot, maintenance free living and interesting and functional architecture, for which they will pay a premium.

TR: Are you concerned about the financial markets in respect to development?

NELSON: It’s certainly a difficult environment for lenders coming out of downturn. We are in a situation where financing has been improving, but it is still challenging both from homebuyer and developer perspective.

TR: Are you concerned about interest rates rising, and what impact do you foresee them making in the industry?

MAPLES: We don’t anticipate significant changes in interest rates in the near future. There is room to absorb some interest rate increases that are built into the market, but there are a lot of other important aspects that go into buying a home. Where we do have a concern is loan limits for FHA loans in California markets, which make it difficult for those affected in the downturn to afford a down payment.

TR: What challenges are you anticipating in the near term in your industry and more broadly in real estate?

NELSON: Labor shortage and cost will continue to be a challenge in the industry. We have yet to replace the labor pool because the downturn lasted so long, but that has also translated to wage increases.

TR: What are we not asking that we should be asking?

MAPLES: Looking long term, we are eager to see what changes technology will bring to the homebuilding industry and how the market will adapt to those changes. For example, a looming shift in the driverless car arena could have a profound effect on buyer habits. At Trumark Urban’s TEN50 development in downtown Los Angeles, we are introducing the country’s first drone landing pad that will be ready for Amazon deliveries. It’s these kinds of things that get us excited for the future.

April 25, 2016

 

BUILDER MAGAZINE: “TRUMARK TO BUILD 139 HOMES IN FIELDING AT WALLIS RANCH”

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Posted on March 7, 2016

Trumark Homes has announced plans to develop a neighborhood in the anticipated Wallis Ranch development, a master-planned community in Dublin, Calif.

Acquired in collaboration with real estate investment firm GTIS Partners, the neighborhood, called “Fielding”, will include 139 two-story, single-family homes ranging in size from 1,809 square feet to 2,686 square feet. The units are slated to hit the market in the second quarter of 2016.

“The Dublin sub-market has outperformed the national housing market over the past several years as a result of the Metropolitan Statistical Area’s constrained land supply coupled with its high desirability among home buyers seeking strong schools, tranquil living and close proximity to Bay Area employment,” said Theodore Karatz, Director at GTIS Partners. “Wallis Ranch has been designed to be a special place with an expansive base of amenities and scenic views and we look forward to the project’s grand opening this summer.”

March 7, 2016

Architect Magazine: “Wallis Ranch Master Planned Community”

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Posted on March 3, 2016


PROJECT NAME: Wallis Ranch Master Planned Community

LOCATION: Dublin, CA

Nationally award-winning California homebuilder Trumark Homes and global real estate investment firm GTIS Partners have acquired one neighborhood subdivision within Wallis Ranch, the highly-anticipated master planned development under construction in Dublin, CA. The neighborhood “Fielding” will include 139 two-story single-family homes ranging in size from 1,809 square feet to 2,686 square feet. Construction is underway with sales slated to begin in Q2 2016.

The overall 184-acre Wallis Ranch master planned development was acquired by sister company Trumark Communities in 2014 through a partnership with Isles Ranch Partners, LLC and Castlelake, L.P. Upon full buildout, Wallis Ranch will deliver more than 800 new homes within eight neighborhoods to a region that has seen a significant boost in housing demand as a result of the thriving San Francisco Bay market located less than 40 miles away. The master plan features single-family detached homes and townhomes designed by local architecture firms KTGY (Oakland) and Dahlin Group Architects (Pleasanton).

“The opportunity to build new homes within Wallis Ranch represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for Trumark Homes,” said Trumark Homes Northern California Division President Tony Bosowski. “We are able to execute our vision of creating a community anchored by nature and a sense of place with the introduction of the Fielding neighborhood.”

To create a tranquil enclave that appeals to buyers’ active lifestyles, Trumark Communities dedicated over half of the master plan’s acreage to parks, open space and a water-quality basin. Landscape architects Gates Associates will bring to life a three-acre common area featuring an edible garden, fitness center, pool, spa and BBQ area surrounded by a mile of trail systems. Trumark continues to be a leader in innovation within the industry and with the California drought top of mind, the company will incorporate drought tolerant landscaping that will use all reclaimed water throughout the master plan.

“With its desirable Bay Area location and robust collection of amenities, we are confident that homes within Wallis Ranch will be highly sought after by buyers,” said Gregg Nelson, Co-Founder of Trumark Homes. “We are eager to advance the construction process and look forward to introducing new housing to a growing segment of the Bay Area.”

“The Dublin submarket has outperformed the national housing market over the past several years as a result of the Metropolitan Statistical Area’s constrained land supply coupled with its high desirability among homebuyers seeking strong schools, tranquil living and close proximity to Bay Area employment,” said Theodore Karatz, Director at GTIS Partners. “Wallis Ranch has been designed to be a special place with an expansive base of amenities and scenic views and we look forward to the project’s grand opening this summer.”

March 3, 2016

RENTV: “Trumark Homes and GTIS Partners to Build 139 Single-Family Homes in Dublin”

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Posted on March 2, 2016

 
Trumark Homes and GTIS Partners have acquired one neighborhood subdivision within Wallis Ranch, the highly-anticipated master planned development under construction in the Bay Area city of Dublin. The neighborhood, “Fielding”, will include 139 two-story, single-family homes ranging in size from 1.8k sf to 2.7k sf. Construction is underway with sales slated to begin in Q2 2016. The overall 184-acre Wallis Ranch master-planned development was acquired by sister company Trumark Communities in 2014 through a partnership with Isles Ranch Partners LLC and Castlelake, L.P. Upon full buildout, Wallis Ranch will deliver more than 800 new homes within eight neighborhoods to a region that has seen a significant boost in housing demand as a result of the thriving San Francisco Bay market located less than 40 miles away. The master plan features single-family detached homes and townhomes designed by local architecture firms KTGY (Oakland) and Dahlin Group Architects (Pleasanton). To create a tranquil enclave that appeals to buyers’ active lifestyles, Trumark Communities dedicated over half of the master plan’s acreage to parks, open space and a water-quality basin. Landscape architects Gates Associates will bring to life a three-acre common area featuring an edible garden, fitness center, pool, spa and BBQ area surrounded by a mile of trail systems. The project will incorporate drought tolerant landscaping that will use all reclaimed water throughout the master plan.

March 2, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Registry: “Blackhawk Financial Center Sets Tone for Danville Market”

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Posted on June 12, 2015 

By Jack Stubbs

The real estate landscape in downtown Danville is becoming an increasingly appealing market both for buyers and sellers, prompting some notable and eye-catching deals. On Thursday, April 9th, Trumark Commercial LLC completed the sale of the Blackhawk Financial Center in Danville, CA, to StarJ Partners, LLC for $7,875,000 (or $284.83 per square foot) as a Grant Deed. The Blackhawk Financial Center, originally built in 1999, has a total square footage of 27,648. Over the last decade or so, the Financial Center, located at 4185 Blackhawk Plaza Circle in Danville, CA has significantly risen in value. Previously, in 1997, Behring Educational Institute sold the space to Greenwood Properties LLC for $675,000 according to the sales report.

Michael Copeland with DTZ, commercial real estate adviser, represented both Trumark Commercial and StarJ Partners in the financial transaction back in April. Copeland, who has also been retained by StarJ Partners as the leasing broker for the space, suggests that the area of Blackhawk in Danville is an especially attractive location and could have contributed to the significant sales value of the building.

The space is located at the corner of Crow Canyon Road and Camino Tassajara. It is also located adjacent to Blackhawk Plaza, a prominent retail center home to several restaurants and retail stores. At the time of sale several weeks ago, the Class A building was 91 percent leased to multiple prominent business tenants such as Chase Bank, Skyland Properties, Trumark Insurance and Financial and Tucker Associates, among several others.

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June 12, 2015

CoStar: “Kiesecker Joins Trumark Communities”

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Veteran Developer to Serve as COO
June 12, 2015

Peter Kiesecker joined Trumark Communities as chief operating officer of the new master planned community business. In his new role, Kiesecker will be acquiring and managing properties for Trumark. 

Before joining Trumark, Kiesecker served as an executive at Standard Pacific Homes, where he was directly responsible for master planned communities as well as mergers and acquisitions. He also served as president of Greenpark Communities and Greystone Homes.

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Bisnow: “TRUMARK URBAN BREAKS GROUND ON $100M IN S.F. APARTMENTS”

Jun 08, 2015  By Tierney Plumb

Trumark Urban Breaks Ground on $100M in S.F. Apartments

Two projects recently rolling in S.F.: Rowan at 346 Potrero Ave in the Inner Mission and Knox at 645 Texas in the Dogpatch. Here’s a cadre of real estate pros touring the groundbreaking sites via limo bus. The Trumark Urban projects represent an investment of $100M and will create over 400 new jobs in the city while dumping more than 110 affordable homes through fees and on-site development. Expect a late 2016 opening. Trumark, which has been shedding assets as of late, chose to bank on these two. Like at 2121 Webster, Ross Perot Jr. is an investor.
Trumark Urban Breaks Ground on $100M in S.F. Apartments

Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects designed the 70-unit Rowan, which will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom residences and a huge 3,200 SF roof terrace with gas barbecues and vertical gardens. Also expect a Zen Garden, sculptural fountain and wood deck. Knox, designed by BDE Architects (pictured), will have 91 units, including big family-friendly three-bedroom units. Also expect locally sourced artwork, including a water feature created from a reclaimed bridge, inside.

 

June 8, 2015

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CoStar: “PCCP Provides $48M Loan to Trumark Urban and Hillwood West”

91-Unit Project to be Developed in SF
June 2, 2015
PCCP, LLC provided a $48 million loan to Trumark Urban and Hillwood West to develop a 91-unit condo project in San Francisco. 

The project will consist of 625 square feet of retail on ground level with one-, two-, and three-bedroom penthouse units above. 

The project will go up at 645 Texas St. on the site of two vacant warehouse building that willbe demolished to make room for the new development. Construction plans to begin summer 2015 with completion late 2016. 

June 2, 2015

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Yahoo! Finance: “Trumark Hires Veteran Developer to Grow Master Planned Community Business”

NEWPORT BEACH, CA- May 29, 2015) – Trumark Communities announced that it has hired Peter Kiesecker, a former executive at Standard Pacific Homes with more than 25 years of experience in the real estate industry, as chief operating officer of its newly launched master planned community business called Trumark Communities.

“We have met with Peter several times over the years and have been impressed with his leadership skills, market insights and ability to execute a business plan,” said Michael Maples, co-founder of Trumark. “We are honored to have him join the Trumark team and to lead this important new platform for us.”

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May 29, 2015

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LA Downtown News: “South Park’s Billions Bring Potential, and Potential Problems”

Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015 5:00 am

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES – South Park is one of the hottest neighborhoods for investment not just in Downtown, not just in Los Angeles, but across the United States. Construction is happening throughout the community. Everything from mid-rise apartment buildings to hotels to billion-dollar mega-projects are rising.

This is a very good thing for South Park and greater Downtown, though it also means there is a lot to think about. The activity requires preparing for future needs, such as providing adequate parking and public space, and making sure there is appropriate mass transit and bicycle infrastructure. To make that and more happen, developers must take steps, or be persuaded to take steps, that have impacts beyond their projects. It also means that city leaders should be involved in the process and should work to ensure that there is an overall plan.

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April 27, 2015