For 20 years, Rick Holliday has been pushing the envelope of innovative, mixed-use development. He was credited with bringing the first New York-style lofts to San Francisco and pioneering the South of Market neighborhood (SOMA). The Clocktower Lofts, selling in the early 1990s in one of the city’s toughest real estate markets, sold in less than a year and accounted for more than half of all of San Francisco’s condominium sales.
“People were looking for something different, something that was more creative and entrepreneurial,” Holliday said. “While some people freeze-up in a down real estate market, many entrepreneurial-minded people see that it is the ideal time to make the investment in themselves and their future and get on with their life, rather than waiting on the sidelines.” He credits much of his success to the powerful team that he has partnered with for his entire career.
“We’re not just a development company,” Holliday explains. “We’re a 20-year-partnership with some of the best architects, designers and engineers in the Bay Area. It’s the expertise in that partnership that lets you tackle some of the most complicated projects with confidence.” David Baker, award winning architect and founder of David Baker + Partners Architects, has been working with Holliday from the beginning.
“Rick knows how to push the envelope,” Baker said. “We also push each other to always go one step further.... Working with an existing building, you get the opportunity to merge the old and the new. You peel away parts of the existing building and expose others.”
It’s Baker’s thoughts that in re-designing a building you’re forced to create spaces that, in some ways, may seem illogical, but at the end of the day you end up with a space that is richer and more unique than anything you create from new construction.
Thomas Jameson, another longtime partner of Holliday, has helped Thomas Jameson, another longtime partner of Holliday, has helped buyers take the creative space provided by Baker and truly personalize it with custom built-ins that accentuate the architecture and maximize the use of space.
Since the team completed the Clocktower Lofts, Holliday has continued his reputation of finding vision in neighborhoods on the verge of transformation. He created two award-winning projects in Emeryville with the Emeryville Warehouse, a 141-loft warehouse conversion, and the adjacent Blue Star Corner development: 20 loft homes that are the first multifamily LEED certified homes in all of California.
Today, Holliday is working on “Clocktower East,” which he considers a bigger and better version of the Clocktower located just on the other side of the Bay Bridge. “it’s déjà vu all over again,” Holliday said, quoting Yogi Berra. ‘With the Pacific Cannery Lofts, we’ve created our best work in 20 years in one of the most exciting neighborhoods we’ve ever worked in, and we’re putting this right into the headwinds of one of the most challenging real estate markets.” With a project that applies the combined experience of Holliday, Baker and Jameson, an unsettled real estate market is not taming this trio’s excitement.
“When we built the Clocktower,” Holliday remembers, “we saw an eclectic community of residents and entrepreneurs taking shape.” Artists, designers, contractors, and consultants found the perfect live-work environment for their business and their home. This development also impressed residents of varying ages who wanted to be part of a real community. These original buyers invested in a time of uncertainity in the real estate market for $200,000 to $300,000 and now own property that’s selling for over $1 million per unit.
Holliday is hoping to repeat history with his newest project selling from $350,000. The lofts are located between Emeryville and Oakland’s Jack London Square, less than 10 minutes to San Francisco and Berkeley with 270 BART trains a day to San Francisco. The Pacific Cannery and Clocktower Lofts are located on each side the Bay Bridge, with the Pacific Cannery lofts offering opportunities to own at half the price.
Both communities are an example of this 20-year team at their finest. Baker has once again carefully woven the old of the existing building with new touches. With exposed columns, 19’ ceilings, 3 interior courtyards and added community elements such as a bike lounge and dog washing station, Holliday is serious when he says he is creating his best work yet.
Jameson has also created a design center for buyers at the Pacific Cannery that goes beyond anything they have offered previously.
“With the design center options, someone can add over $20,000 in value to their home, include it in their mortgage, and it only costs them $100 a month,” Jameson explained.
From lighting, flooring, and ceiling fans to custom closets, shelving and tables, Jameson worked with Baker from the beginning to find ways to create the most flexible and efficient floor plans that include custom upgrades, allowing owners to get the most out of their home.
“Not only is it more engaging and more affordable for the homeowners,” Jameson said, “but it allows someone to make their selections and move into their home on day one with all of their custom pieces already in place.”
To make this opportunity even more appealing, Holliday has partnered with Citibank to provide owners 4.99 percent 40- year fixed financing.
Next up for Holliday and his team, a warehouse in downtown Sacramento that used to house Model T Fords which will be the city’s first mixed-used loft community.