Press Release


82-unit San Rafael complex sold for $42.6 million

By Keri Brenner, Marin Independent Journal

A major apartment complex in north San Rafael has changed hands for the third time in nine years, signaling what could be an uptick in Marin’s already heated upscale rental market and a “trickle-down” increase in value in the surrounding neighborhood.

Los Angeles-based investment firm Coastal City Partners LLC on Oct. 23 purchased 33 North, an 82-unit complex at 33 San Pablo Ave. near the Marin Civic Center, for $42.6 million, said Rich Benson, Marin County assessor-recorder. The six-story property, which is fully leased except for two units, has a troubled past.

It was originally planned as a $60 million condominium complex in 2008 by managing corporation Monahan Pacific of San Rafael. However, the launch timing on the project came just as the economy and housing market were starting to tank in the recession.

Over the next four years, Monahan Pacific spent $55 million to finish the project. In June 2012 it was purchased for $36.4 million through a federal bankruptcy sale by a joint venture of The Praedium Group of New York and Empire USA of Los Angeles. Of the sale proceeds, $33.4 million went to U.S. Bank, which had a secured claim on the property, according to federal court documents. The bank filed a lawsuit against Monahan Pacific, saying the developer defaulted on a $35 million loan.

The Praedium Group and Empire USA turned the complex into rental units.

Then, in March 2015, it was purchased by an entity known as BRE Piper MF 33 North CA LLC for $45 million, Benson said. BRE Piper MF 33 North CA LLC is listed as a Delaware LLC with no agent mentioned, according to California Secretary of State records.

The third and current sale to Coastal City Partners appears to be at the right place and the right time, said Christopher Barrow, of Kentfield-based Foundation Homes International, a firm that does residential property management specializing in single family homes. Coastal City Partners is a Delaware LLC intending to do business in California whose agent is Jeffrey Anastas, according to the Secretary of State records.

“I think it’s a great deal,” Barrow said. “I think that area in general, especially with the SMART train going in, is really going up in value.”

Barrow, who had helped prior owners on occasion to lease the property by sharing leads on potential apartment tenants, speculated that the new owner’s main challenge will be competition from other high-end Marin apartment complexes such as The Cove in Tiburon, and Tam Ridge and The Preserve, both in Corte Madera.

“They’re (Coastal City) going to have to up their game a bit,” he said.

The entire Santa Venetia area along North San Pedro Road is becoming more desirable due to easy freeway access, the SMART train and proximity to amenities such as the Marin Farmers Market at the Civic Center, Barrow noted.

“There’s a lot going on,” he said. “I think there will be a trickle-down effect.”

Savannah Funicello, property manager at 33 North, said the units range in rental price from $2,740 per month for a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment to $6,500 monthly for a two-bedroom, two-bath and den penthouse. The two vacancies are one-bedroom units with extra space and are leasing for $2,995 monthly, she said.

“We are doing really well,” Funicello said of the occupancy rate. She said the apartments, because of their condo past, have 62 different configurations and varied sizes and amenities, including balconies, gourmet kitchens and wet bars.

Communal areas such as the gym, community room and rooftop lounge have been renovated within about the past year, she said.

Funicello is employed by Greystar, a property management firm whose regional office is in San Francisco.

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