(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

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SAN FRANCISCO-A Bay Area joint venture has acquired a vacantcorner lot in Berkeley with visions of a $40-millionresidential-over-retail development. The .75-acre parcel at 1200Ashby Ave. is slated for a four-story building containing 100 unitsof housing (20% affordable) atop 12,000 sf of street-level retail,and an above-ground parking structure.

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The developer is a joint venture of locally based Rawson, Blum& Leon and Memar Properties Inc. of Oakland, led by AliKashani, the founder and former executive director of AffordableHousing Associates. Kava Massih Architects of Berkeley is theproject designer. No contractor has been named.

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RBL says it is currently in the process of obtaining thenecessary entitlements for the Ashby Avenue work force housingproject. It expects to break ground in the fall 2008 and completethe project by 2010.

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The development site sits on two major transit corridors closeto Interstate 80. RBL acquisitions director Jeffrey Leon says thearea is going through a major revitalization. One-half block fromthe site, Berkeley Bowl is slated to open a 90,000-sf grocery storewithin two years.

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In a related move, RBL says it has hired Erik Halterman asdevelopment manager. Most recently a VP with the private equityfirm Rockwood Capital, Halterman will be responsible for overseeingthe development and repositioning of RBL's multi-tenant retailcenters and mixed-use projects located primarily in California,including the new project in Berkeley.

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