Developers provide green incentives for home buyers

There’s an emerging market for green housing and transportation, and in the Bay Area, California, both the private and public sectors are taking leads to accommodate them.

At The Uptown apartments in Oakland, developer Forest City Enterprises offers home buyers free annual membership ($25) to the car-sharing service Zipcar, free annual public transit passes and access to bikes. Developer Rick Holliday offers a free bike with every unit at his Pacific Cannery Lofts development, plus a bike lounge with parking for 300 bikes, bike repair work benches and stands, an air fill-up station and private lockers.

Since September 2008, Oakland requires all developers with projects of more than 50 units and/or 50,000 s.f. of non-residential space to complete a ‘transportation demand management‘ plan, including strategies to increase bicycle, pedestrian, transit and car-share use.

The City of San Francisco passed an ordinance in 2005 requiring new residential buildings with more than 50 units to provide car sharing on site or within 800 feet, and dramatically reduced parking requirements to as low as one car for every four units, such as in the Market-Octavia neighborhood.

At SOMA Grand in San Francisco, developer TMG Partners donated a Smart car for its residents to use through the local car sharing service, City CarShare. Developer Allan Mark gives Vespa scooters to new buyers at his 733 Front St. development in SF’s Jackson Square.

As a sign of the times, here’s a quote you would have never heard ten years ago, even five… from the zoning administrator and assistant planning director for San Francisco, Lawrence Badiner, “The idea is that if there are fewer cars in the world, more people use the Muni [local transit line] and there are less carbon emissions. It’s all about sustainability.”

Read more in the San Francisco Business Times, Developers find ways to drive new residents home.

Which incentives motivate you the most? What would you suggest?

Image: The Uptown Apartments in Oakland, California. Note the proximity to transit and the courtyards within each building.

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