BuildCasa, BlackPine Communities team to build additional housing on larger lots

A Sacramento residential builder is teaming up with a San Francisco firm to add more homes on larger Sacramento lots.

BuildCasa CEO and co-founder Ben Bear said he’s targeting those lots where there’s enough land to add extra housing units, but the current owners aren’t in a position to do the construction.

“There’s definitely really been an upswell,” said Bear, who has 18 projects in the works while working with Sacramento infill builder BlackPine Communities. “Nobody wants to make a move in a rising interest rate environment.”

The concept is born out of California Senate Bill 9, which made it easier to split residential lots and add more homes. Homeowners have often done so by adding accessory dwelling units on their property.

After SB 9 was passed in 2021, BuildCasa spent a couple months looking at lots that would be good candidates. The firm started the effort in Sacramento because it has a pro-housing stance in city government, lots of larger home lots and a number of building types that make additional units feasible, Bear said.

Beginning last fall, his firm identified more than 30,000 eligible parcels across the city, he said. BuildCasa is reaching out to the owners of those parcels with an offer to take care of the subdividing and then buy from them the excess land to be developed.

BlackPine will then carry out the residential construction. For the homeowners, they will then have both put money in their pocket and helped address a housing shortage, Bear said, adding in some cases they stand to receive six-figure checks.

He added one of the 18 homeowners he’s working with wants to add units but keep ownership, which is also an option. The goal is to boost housing supply overall, Bear said.

“SB 9 has gotten off to a relatively slow start,” he said. “We want to show it works.”

Mike Paris, BlackPine’s CEO, said he’s noticed it works particularly well with residential properties with rear alleys, because they’re easier to connect to municipal services.

“We’re learning what kind of assets work for us in the financial model,” said Paris, who’s working with one homeowner at the moment to carry out a project and provide a proof of concept. “We feel we could scale it up very fast.”


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