Rubicon Point Partners | January 25, 2022
Rubicon Point Partners ("Rubicon"), a woman and minority-owned real estate company specializing in transformative investments, announced its recent acquisition of the iconic Rotunda Building in downtown Oakland from Rotunda Partners II, who have owned the building since 1999 and will continue as a minority owner. Featuring some of the Bay Area's best examples of Beaux-Arts architecture, the building also features a four-story parking garage.
Rubicon plans to roll out its "Work From Here" program and put in place a sustainability plan to reduce the building's carbon footprint.
The "Work From Here" program focuses on creating workspaces that are amenitized in ways not available at home, emphasizing employee health and wellness while enabling employers to better accommodate a hybrid workforce. Rubicon plans to introduce a state-of-the-art fitness facility, upgraded common areas, hybrid digital conferencing and collaboration infrastructure.
We are honored and humbled to be the caretakers of the historic and beautiful Rotunda. We look forward to implementing an improvement plan that will honor its history but also modernize it to allow for a new generation of companies to thrive, We are especially excited to work with key stakeholders to activate Frank Ogawa Plaza and integrate it with the building's indoor space. This indoor-outdoor environment is rare in urban settings like downtown Oakland."
Ani Vartanian, Rubicon's co-managing partner.
Situated at Frank Ogawa Plaza across from City Hall in Downtown Oakland, the property was built in 1912 and originally designed by Bay Area architect Charles Dickey, who fitted a dramatic elliptical glass dome in the interior atrium. At the time, the dome was said to be the largest of its kind. He was also known for developing a diverse architectural style, fusing elements of Hawaiian and Beaux-Arts design. Dickey's most recognizable California creations, the Oakland Rotunda Building and Claremont Hotel, proudly sit on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the early 2000s, prior ownership of the Rotunda reinforced its structure with a full seismic retrofit following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, transforming it into one of the safest historic spaces in Downtown Oakland.
We selected Rubicon because of their track record in transforming historic assets and are confident that they will be great custodians of this Oakland jewel."
Phil Tagami, one of the managing partners at Rotunda Partners II.
Rubicon purchased the eight-story property through the Rubicon First Ascent Fund, seeing an opportunity to simultaneously preserve an Oakland treasure while reducing its environmental impact. The firm has been busily transforming similar historic spaces from California to Washington for the past decade such as 450 Shotwell, the Storek building, 1125 Mission Street and Masin Block.
Rubicon plans to continue offering the building to be used as an event space for galas and events that benefit the City and are essential to the success of the people of Oakland.
Being good environmental stewards is important to us at Rubicon. In addition to modernizing the Rotunda, we plan to reduce the building's carbon footprint in the process. We hope the Rotunda Building will serve as a blueprint for how historic spaces can remain sustainable for future generations, Our playbook at the Rotunda Building involves investments in the building systems and the deployment of our technology stack, including machine learning utility management systems. All of these serve to increase efficiency while reducing the building's carbon footprint."
Razmig Boladian, Rubicon's co-managing partner.
About Rubicon Point Partners
When workspaces call for out-of-the-box innovations, Rubicon delivers creative, environmentally driven, and socially responsible solutions. Since its inception, the San Francisco-based woman and minority-owned investment firm has transformed over 2 million square feet of space to sustainably house companies of all sizes, making way for future generations of talented leaders, thinkers, and creators.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
Houwzer | April 19, 2022
Houwzer, a next generation real estate brokerage and homeownership platform powered by proprietary technology and an all-W2 labor model, announces that advisor, entrepreneur, and investor, Jonathan Zabusky, will join the company’s board as Executive Chairman.
Zabusky, most recently the President and Board Director at GrubHub Inc., will act as a co-pilot to Houwzer’s CEO, Mike Maher, helping drive the next stage of growth at the company, which pulled in $118M in equity and debt as part of a Series B funding round earlier this year. With the new funds, Houwzer is introducing three new products, Cash Advantage, Convenience Offers, and Buy Before You Sell, to help clients remain competitive in the most challenging housing market in history.
Zabusky will work alongside Maher to help refine corporate strategy, which is timely given the current state of the housing market. As a seasoned CEO and operator, Zabusky will provide mentorship to Maher as a strategic thought partner as he navigates the company through market volatility and unprecedented change. He will also ensure maximum collaboration and vision alignment between the other Directors and the management team transforming the Board into a strategic weapon for the business.
I am incredibly excited to join Houwzer's Board as Executive Chairman and to have the opportunity to work alongside Mike and his outstanding team. I’m energized by our mission to elevate the home buying and selling experience to become more fair, transparent, and seamless. Houwzer's robust suite of integrated tools, products and technology, coupled with a deeply engaged and aligned team of expert agents, facilitates a more enjoyable and productive real estate journey for its clients."
Zabusky led Seamless, as its CEO, through tremendous growth before merging it with GrubHub. After the merger, Zabusky led corporate strategy and development, product, marketing, and corporate and restaurant sales as GrubHub’s President. During his tenure, he successfully integrated multiple strategic acquisitions and played a pivotal role in the company’s initial public offering. Zabusky is Founder and Managing Partner of Bounce Ventures LLC and also serves as an advisor and board director to a portfolio of venture and private equity-backed companies in the U.S. and Israel.
“Jonathan brings a wealth of strategic growth experience to the team,” says Houwzer CEO and Founder, Mike Maher. “As we continue building on our momentum, he will play a critical role in fine-tuning our approach and ensuring we continue to prioritize resources to accelerate growth and market share. I couldn’t be more excited to work alongside an entrepreneur as successful and thoughtful as Jonathan.”
Houwzer also announced the recent hiring of Andrew Daley as Chief Marketing Officer. Daley brings two decades of high-growth experience in highly competitive environments, helping companies differentiate their brands across a range of industries like mobility, real estate, and travel. Most recently, he led marketing for Hana, a CBRE company that redefined the flexible office space experience. Daley has also served as Global Head of Marketing for Zipcar and in key marketing functions for Starwood Hotels, Reebok, and several online travel and startup brands.
“The real estate industry is ripe for disruption and the incumbent model is broken. Houwzer is realigning the incentives more fairly between the broker, the agent, and the client so that everyone wins. The end result is a better, faster, smarter way to buy, sell, finance, and insure homes,” says Daley.
Houwzer has eliminated the percentage-based commission pricing for listings and rebuilt the brokerage model around the customer, creating a one-stop shop for real estate, mortgage, title, and insurance that simplifies the chaotic and expensive process of buying and selling homes. Its $5,000 flat-fee listing model empowers sellers to maximize their profit – saving an average of $15,000 in commissions, while still providing a full-service experience via technology and expert, salaried agents.
Houwzer has helped clients buy and sell more than 4,000 homes with a cumulative sales volume of nearly $2 billion, saving home sellers $35 million in brokerage commissions. Houwzer is the only real estate company operating on an all-W2 compensation model across all of its salaried agents and mortgage advisors. It’s also the industry’s first B Corporation real estate brokerage and will soon be announcing its newly appointed Board of its impact model, the RiseUp Fund. Recently, the company entered into a partnership to become the Official Real Estate Partner of the 76ers.
Houwzer is a next-generation real estate brokerage and home services company built around the customer. Its full-service, salaried agents and loan officers help homeowners save when they sell and trust when they buy. Houwzer’s proprietary technology is an end-to-end platform that streamlines the entire transaction from beginning to end with an integrated one-stop shopping experience. The company employs unique salaried agents as dedicated seller or buyer agent specialists who receive salary instead of commissions, allowing them to focus on service, not just sales. Houwzer has maintained an industry-leading Net Promoter Score of 84 and an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars from over thousands of client reviews online. Since launching in 2015, Houwzer has saved home sellers along the East Coast over $35 million and helped clients buy or sell thousands of homes worth almost $2 billion.
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
MWest Holdings | February 28, 2022
MWest Holdings, a Los Angeles-based real estate company with over 2 million square feet of residential and commercial property across the U.S., announced today that it has acquired 442 Residences, a five-story, 94-unit multifamily asset in Downtown Long Beach.
We are thrilled to expand our California portfolio in the Long Beach submarket. With a prominent location in a growing metropolitan market, nearby business centers, and public transportation, 442 Residences provides quality housing for this dynamic area. It also has abundant outdoor amenity spaces and refined interiors that are attractive to residents of the community."
Karl Slovin, President of MWest Holdings.
Built in 2019, 442 Residences is comprised of studio, one- and two-bedroom loft-style units ranging from 524 to 1,043 square feet, with 9'9" to 11'1" ceiling heights, oversize balconies and wrap-around outdoor terraces, designer kitchens, washer and dryers, keyless entry doors, and smart thermostats. Residents have access to an array of high-end amenities including an ocean view roof deck, outdoor movie lounge, a hotel-inspired lobby, outdoor yoga and cardio areas, a state-of-the-art fitness studio, secure underground parking with EV charging stations, and an onsite bike share and e-scooter hub.
Located in the center of Downtown Long Beach, 442 Residences is well-positioned in a walkable neighborhood with a variety of nearby shopping and dining options, and a thriving area for business. It is directly across from the new Long Beach Civic Center, home of City Hall, Port of Long Beach headquarters, and the Main Library.
About MWest Holdings.
MWest Holdings is an experienced real estate company with over 2 million square feet of residential and commercial property across the United States. Founded in 1991, MWest is known for creating innovative development solutions that instill a sense of neighborhood and integrity and create a lasting, tangible value. As a highly successful and stable owner of real estate, MWest has continually employed sound business practices, low leverage, and stringent underwriting guidelines for each investment opportunity. The company's success is anchored in a philosophy that imagination is the only limiting factor to growth.
REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY
EMPIRE STATE REALTY TRUST | February 02, 2022
Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT) announced today three new retail leases signed with AT&T Mobility, Subway, and Le Café Coffee at two of its New York City properties.
10 Union Square East
AT&T Mobility signed its third lease with ESRT for a 3,077 square foot retail space in January 2022. Steve E. Baker of Winick Realty Group, LLC. represented AT&T Mobility in the lease negotiations. Property owner representation was provided by Fred C. Posniak of ESRT and Gene Spiegelman, Andrew Mandell, Richard Skulnik, and Beth Rosen of RIPCO.
Subway signed its second lease with ESRT for a 600 square foot retail space in January 2022. Neil Seth of C&W represented Subway in the lease negotiations. Property owner representation was provided by Fred C. Posniak of ESRT and Gene Spiegelman, Andrew Mandell, Richard Skulnik, and Beth Rosen of RIPCO.
501 Seventh Avenue
Le Café Coffee signed its second lease with ESRT for a 731 square foot retail space in December 2021. Yoel Gorjian represented Le Café in the lease negotiations. Property owner representation was provided by Fred C. Posniak of ESRT.
Quality retail service tenants continue to be attracted to our retail stores located in bustling neighborhoods with high volume foot traffic where their businesses thrive, We are pleased to nurture established retail relationships as we continue to build our roster of high-quality retailers who also provide great amenities for our office tenants."
Fred C. Posniak, SVP, leasing at Empire State Realty Trust.
About Empire State Realty Trust
Empire State Realty Trust, Inc. (NYSE: ESRT) is a NYC-focused REIT that owns and manages a well-positioned property portfolio of office, retail and multifamily assets in Manhattan and the greater New York metropolitan area. Owner of the Empire State Building, the World's Most Famous Building, ESRT also owns and operates its iconic, newly reimagined Observatory Experience. The company is a leader in healthy buildings, energy efficiency, and indoor environmental quality, and has the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per square foot of any publicly traded REIT portfolio in New York City. As of Dec. 31, 2021, ESRT's portfolio is comprised of approximately 9.4 million rentable square feet of office space, 700,000 rentable square feet of retail space and 625 units across two multifamily properties.