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Bjarke Ingels launches new housing company

Architect Bjarke Ingels has partnered with former Google software developer Nick Chim and WeWork development boss Roni Bahar to form a new housing company.

Nabr aims to make shopping for a sustainable – and affordable – apartments as easy as buying an electric car and has launched its first project in San Jose.

Called SoFA One, the property will be located at 415 South 3rd Street in downtown San Jose’s arts district. It will feature 125 apartments that consumers can secure with a one percent payment.

Built with sustainably-sourced North American timber, the SoFA One will offer residents a carbon neutral lifestyle, with all-electric design, an energy-efficient facade and large private balconies.

Prospective residents will be able to customize their home using Nabr’s software platform, including picking between different design and financing packages. The building itself has been co-deisgned by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group.

Nabr won’t own the property, but will sell the Nabr branded units directly to the consumer.

“The U.S is currently experiencing the worst housing crisis since World War II,” said Bahar. “Part of the problem is that there are three times the number of single-family homes built each year than there are apartments, and the vast majority of the latter are rentals. This leaves consumers only two options: pay high rent for a tiny apartment in the city, or buy a home in the suburbs. We started Nabr to change this trajectory.”

Nabr – which recently closed a $14 million seed funding round led by Zigg Capital, with participation from Robert Wennett and DivcoWest – will work with “supply chain partners” to create the modular property. The new company has assembled a coalition of institutional investors who will fund and own Nabr buildings until units are sold. Nabr is the developer of its own projects but said it may, in the future, license Nabr’s development platform to other developers.

Explained Chim, “We founded Nabr to build a high-volume, integrated housing production system, developing the product in partnership with strategic supply chain partners from start to finish. We are starting in the Bay Area, where residents face an incredibly expensive real estate market that few can afford to buy.

“Our long-term vision is to deliver projects in less than half the time and at price points affordable to middle-income households nationally.”

Nabr is interested in hearing from any developer who would like to bring a Nabr building to their city. While its initial focus is on the California market— and San Jose in particular — it hopes to expand its footprint further in the future.  

“Our goal is to pioneer a new sustainable urban lifestyle. At SoFA one, residents have access to a Scandinavian-standard of quality of life, yet they are still in the hub of Silicon Valley, America’s greatest innovation ecosystem. Residents get the best of both worlds,” added Ingels.

The development is roughly a mile from Diridon Caltrain Station, one block from San Jose State University, and centrally located near all major tech employers, offering residents abundant access to commuting options.

Amenities include a shared rooftop park, electric vehicle charging, bike and personal storage, community garden, and access to wellness and fitness facilities. Ground level retail spaces will be programmed to complement the neighborhood and serve as gathering points for the community.

SoFA One is slated to break ground in summer 2022, with occupancy expected by summer 2023.

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