The Markets

College Heights will appeal to people seeking personal health and safety, a less car-dependent life style, environmental sustainability, and community. Most buyers will probably buy for practical reasons, mainly affordability and good mobility. Many people will find the environmental, social, and other special features appealing.

Major Markets

Major markets for College Heights are, Cal State University East Bay, downtown workers, BART users, people who work from home, seniors and retirees.

CSUEB Faculty, Staff, and Students

It’s an easy downhill walk from the campus to College Heights and a quick 2-minute uphill bus ride back to the center of the campus — a very quick, easy commute. The College Heights shuttle bus also provides quick access to downtown Hayward shops, restaurants, cinema, and the Hayward BART station which provides efficient access to downtown San Francisco, AMTRAK and local airports. We’ll also have car share and car rental. See our mobility page [Mobility: Fast, Frequent, Free Shuttle].

BART Riders

At College Heights you can go from your front door to the BART station in less than 15 minutes on average, with drop-off at the station entrance.

No time is lost hunting for parking and walking in. The Village Bus is free, frequent, and fast and will run along Mission Boulevard and to the BART station for easy commuting to jobs, saving hours of time and thousands of dollars by having no car or reduced car use makes BART more affordable. Visitors may use the Village Bus from BART to access College Heights.

Work from Home

We have planned 3, 4 and 5 bedroom townhouses that will work for home offices and work/home living situations. The flex space in the 3 bedroom townhouse can easily serve as a home office, with its own bathroom and patio access. Bedrooms can easily be used as offices and the living, dining, and the kitchen area normally on the first floor can, as an option, be located on the second floor.

At the Community Center, we also hope to have a high tech video conferencing room, that can also be used as an in person meeting space. Needless to say, College Heights will be wired for high speed everything. The Village Center is designed to meet work from home needs such as mailing, copying, ATM and package holding services. Shipping via UPS, FedEx, USPS and other services will be facilitated by the Village Center.

Seniors and Retirees

The “Golden Years” are a time to relax and enjoy life free from hectic family and work schedules. College Heights offers community and a place to live free of mandatory house maintenance and yard duty—no more reroofing the house, taking the car in for oil changes, or driving every time you need to go the store. If your driving skills are declining, College Heights offers a supportive environment of walking and rapid bus. There is space for a community garden. Also, College Heights makes travel and trips to see family super easy; lock the front door and you’re on your way.

Overlapping Markets

Overlapping markets are families, people with disabilities, environmentalists, health conscious,

Families

A safe place for kids to play & grow up. The suburbs are supposed to be the ideal place for raising children. Yet as soon as kids get older they want to walk to friends’ houses and ride a bike, or they need chauffeuring to school, lessons, activities and games. Parents have to worry about traffic, driveways, and how safe our children are with cars speeding on neighborhood streets. We commit to making a special effort to make College Heights more supportive of families than suburbia is. We provide a safe place for children to play and grow up. The Village Center will have space designated for childcare, so that if enough parents and children want some kind of child care, it can be created relatively easily. We are planning a fenced tot lot play area by the townhouses on the north side of the project. The Village Van is designated for taking kids to school and other activities, and may be used for organized trips to other places. Schools nearby are the Early Childhood Education Center on the CSUEB campus, Stonebrae Elementary School, Bret Harte Middle School, and Hayward High School. Older kids have easy access if they use transit. Car-free developments in the United States and Europe have been safe havens for large numbers of families with children.

Disabled

If you cannot, or should not drive, the superior mobility of College Heights makes it easy to get around. The fast, free shuttle runs every 10 minutes, every ground floor entry, about 200 homes in total, has no step entry design. There are no curbs between the residential units, the Village Center and Village Square. The Village Bus will also have no step entry design with wide doors. College Heights will implement elements of universal design to accommodate the disabled, especially for users of wheel chairs and the visually impaired.

Environmentalists

College Heights is planned to be the greenest possible green development in the United States consistent with affordability. It will feature solar electricity, thermal core heating and cooling, electric vehicle use and charging stations. You name it, if we haven’t got it, please tell us.

Car use is discouraged and green transportation such as walking and biking or e-biking are encouraged. We hope to arrange an e-bike lane along Carlos Bee for travel to the CSUEB campus.

Health Conscious

College Heights is haven for walkers, and we think climbing stairs inside a home is also a good idea, for those able to do so. The Community Center will have a fitness center on the second floor. We will have The Foothill Trail, a recreational path coming through College Heights going up toward Castro Valley and South to South Hayward.

The Foothill Trail will connect to greenbelt trails and Garin Dry Creek regional park. Without cars safety is improved, and there’s less immediate air pollution.

Community Seekers – see Community

Emails from Ben, ben <wordsforben@gmail.com>, October 2018, commenting on documents sent about College Heights. Edited for brevity.

+++++ I have a lot of feelings on car-free living. I’m still so baffled how the US can’t really shake their attachment/obsession with them. Even reading this article, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_car-free_places, I find myself so embarrassed how few opportunities we have to get a break from it all. The areas that do go on a car-diet or eliminate them always end up thriving, so it’s really sad to see how many communities and leaders continue to resist that way of life.

Thanks for sharing all of those documents. It’s nice to know that more effort has been put in. If it comes to fruition, I’d want a property as far away from the parking lot as possible. Like one of the townhomes that back up to the green space on the outer limits.

I’m eager to get way from traffic and everything that comes with it. A few years ago, I was walking around the streets of Brussels and I couldn’t stop thinking “HOW HARD IS THIS?!” Small low/no traffic streets work. Businesses thrive. People are safer. Public areas are peaceful.

Anyway, I’m pretty excited about what you’ve conjured up. The location is an 18 min bike ride / 45 min walk to my partner’s relatives house. We are also big fans of the frequency of the shuttle bus that will take folks to the BART, market, etc. I totally support implementing solutions that discourage car-ownership. Make walking/biking/transit the more attractive/affordable/convenient/less stressful option for everyone.

I’ve spent the last 10-15 years keeping my eyes peeled on various car-free communities (realized and proposed). I’ve always said that it’s probably the only thing that could convince me to ever get a mortgage. The standard noise/chaos/lifestyle of car-centric neighborhoods is just something I will never sink six figures into.

I feel like communities are so much more vibrant when people aren’t always hiding inside of big metal cages all of the time.

Please know there are people that appreciate that the concept even being discussed. It’s nice to know other people would like to someday find the same thing. I’ve lived and traveled all over the globe. I love the weather and the job opportunities out here, but I don’t want to spend my life stuck in traffic, commuting hours each day, staring at all of the trash on the side of 10 lane highways, and surrounded by other angry and stressed out people. +++++

Marketing

College Heights provides a market choice for a more affordable and environmentally sustainable lifestyle now denied to homebuyers.

Model Homes

Model homes are crucial for selling homes in advance of construction. The City owns a small lot at the corner of Overlook Ave. and Palisade Street, which is separate from the main residential area.

The model homes will be built upon entitlement and concurrently with site development. The lot is finished, with sidewalk, street pavement, water, sewer, storm drain and electricity utilities already in place. These homes will make the project real to buyers and allow them to see what the units look like.

The Affordability Incentive

The affordability incentive is the lower price for a home than anything else on the market, allowing more incomes to qualify for mortgages. The purchase also involves leased parking a short walk away down some stairs and energy that is purchased separately, with a total cost still below market for the combination. Additional affordability can come from not owning a car. If the buyer can go car free using all the TCM provided, they can save about $660 per month.

Interest list. As soon as an application for entitlement to build the project is approved, we will publicize the project and the affordability incentive, and invite interested people to sign up on an “interest list” submitted over the web or sent by email.

Sales office. The model homes will have the sales office where knowledgeable sale agents can give tours of the model homes and distribute information and brochures.

Interviewing. Knowledgeable sales agents will interview signers to get a sense of their seriousness, ability to buy, and preferences. Knowing we are serious about them reinforces their seriousness about us. The agents will clarify wait times before units are available for occupancy and all the details that make College Heights special. Agents will discuss with buyers how buying a unit includes buying into a special neighborhood, a very special neighborhood. Printed material is not enough. Discussion will help buyers be more open about issues they night have, and agents can help buyers know what they are getting into. We want realistic enthusiasm.

Travel diary. Agents will recommend that buyers keep a two-week travel diary to see how trips will work for them in the project. Buyers may actually discover travel time advantages considering all the TCMs. They may even see a path to go car free. Agents will explain the TDMs and help buyers figure out how their trips will be made in College Heights. They will explain how visitors get access and how parking leases and utilities work.

Reservations. As soon as possible, we will sell reservations, as allowed for entitled projects explained in the state Subdivision Public Report Application Guide (SPRAG). Reservations require money down in exchange for certainty in getting a home.

Energy. Buyers need to know how the active energy is paid for separately from the units. The active energy is either purchased or leased. If purchased, the buyer can buy it outright or get an energy mortgage to buy it over time. Over time, the cost is comparable or less than a PG&E bill.

Agents will explain how the passive solar lowers energy costs over the long run and makes the solar energy more affordable, and how the amortized cost is similar to what the PG&E bill will be. They will explain how PG&E will bill for electricity used and also pay, but at a lower rate, for energy supplied to the grid. While College Heights agents are not solar representatives, they need to have up-to-date information for buyers on the availability of solar installation and available reliable companies in the area.

Options. The project will offer buyers various options. The plan will allow customization in response to what buyers want. The four-and five-bed townhouses are big enough to allow floor plan customization within the outside walls. The five-bed, for example, could be six. Also possible are changes for walk-in closets, bathrooms, separate toilet rooms, bigger shower stalls, kitchen islands, and closet-bath combos.

More conventional options include built-in big screen TVs for the living room or bedrooms, nooks for a computer or a dog bed. There are choices for cabinets, countertops, flooring, lighting, plumbing fixtures, and appliances. There can be some choice of color schemes and exterior ornamentation. For some buyers, sales may ultimately be based on an emotional desire. For example, I want a sunburst painted in gold on my façade.

Renting. While College Heights has been planned as a for-sale project, it could also have rentals. As discussed, the HOA management will have some powers as a rental agent. The HOA management or a professional property management service retained by the HOA may serve as an agent for owners who want it.

Buyers could be owners of a single unit, or a for-profit investor owning several units, or affordable housing agency. Such agencies can benefit project with their project management experience and their ability to serve low-income people.

Rent to own. Rent to own is basically buying without a down payment. Rent to own, also called option to purchase, could be available to renters whose profile, especially probable future earnings, supports buying. Their profile will include a desire to live there long-term, support for the broad concepts of the project, and travel patterns that work in College Heights. The qualification requirements are lower than for a mortgage, but higher than for renting. The potential renter-buyer can see if living in College Heights works for them. The incentives favor will-be buyers who need to build up their credit and have a savings program.