Lottery to be held for new condos at San Mateo's Bay Meadows


The operation is so new, so fresh, that as of Wednesday afternoon, it could still have provided a puzzle to solve on Wheel of Fortune. If you guessed Bay Meadows, you'd be correct; except that the racetrack and horses are long gone, sold to a company that made its own gamble in building this housing and commercial development.

Altogether it's 80 acres, 1,000 homes, 750,000 square feet of commercial space.

"If you look at what happened in the real estate market, the great locations recover most quickly," said project manager Janice Thacher.

Thacher manages the project. When the market crashed in 2008, construction funding went with it, forcing developers to come up with $60 million in private equity to build the infrastructure. It was a gamble that ultimately paid off.

"The question was, you know, when is the market gonna to recover to the level where we can go out and sell land and start building homes," Thacher said.

How about now? This 1,259 square foot condo is in such demand, they say, that TRI Pointe Homes will offer it in a lottery to pre-qualified buyers on Saturday. Asking price is $716,000, and the company is not blinking.

"Supply and demand," said Y.C. Cheung with TRI Pointe Homes. "Too many buyers and not enough housing." When asked if her company likes that, Cheung answered, "I think we love it. The buyers, you know, it's a different story. I mean, no matter, even a resale, I think it may be twice as tough to purchase a home.

Ten homes will be in a lottery this weekend. They apparently already have 150 people who have pre-qualified to try to win the lottery and get one of the homes. Move in would be June or July.

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