Lennar dives into apartment projects in Redwood City, Berkeley and Mountain View

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The Bay Area’s apartment boom isn’t just luring new residents, but new developers as well. Lennar Multifamily Communities, a division of Lennar Corp., came into the game in late 2012 and is now pushing forward  three deals, totaling close to 500 units.

The firm just broke ground recently on a 196-unit apartment building at 601 Main St. in downtown Redwood City, is under construction on a 149-unit project in Mountain View, and is in contract to buy a site at 2600 Shattuck Ave. for 155 units in Berkeley.“The market is extremely competitive right now — the low hanging fruit was picked about a year ago,” said Peter Schellinger, vice president of development for Lennar Multifamily in San Francisco. “We focus on transit-rich and supply-constrained markets with strong demand fundamentals.”

So far, the Bay Area team for Lennar Multifamily is about eight people. Schellinger came to Lennar after working for Schellingber Brothers and BayRock Residential. The head of the Bay Area division, Alex Waterbury, spent several years developing properties for Mill Creek Residential and Trammell Crow Residential.

Lennar Multifamily’s parent Lennar Corp. is one of the nation’s largest homebuilders with $6.31 billion in annual revenue. Lennar Urban, a Bay Area-based division of Lennar Corp., is the master developer for the massive Shipyard mixed-use project in San Francisco’s Hunters Point.

The multifamily division is a new endeavor for the company, which pumped about $31.5 million into the division during the 2013 fiscal year, according to its most recent annual report. In the last three years, the multifamily division amassed a national pipeline of $3 billion worth of apartments projects, most of which involve joint venture and equity partners.

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