San Francisco

Massive Fire Puts Squeeze on Emeryville Housing Market

A 105-unit residential complex under construction was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning in Emeryville, putting a squeeze on an already tight housing market in the East Bay city.

"I keep hearing stories of displacement, people needing to move further out from the urban core," said Ruth Atkin, city council member. "Part of our infill housing has been to try to alleviate some of that stress."

Over the next couple of years, 1,300 units are expected to open up in Emeryville. The so-called Maz project that was scorched Wednesday represented about 8 percent of that total.

"The inner East Bay in general has always seen movement from out of San Francisco," Atkin said.

Realtors say on average, properties sell a little higher than 6 percent above the list price.

The five-story building is now a shell. It also included about 21,000 square feet of retail space. And five adjacent townhomes were damaged.

City officials say the developer of the destroyed complex will rebuild.

Meanwhile, fire investigators are working on what caused the fire, saying they are not ruling out fireworks or arson. They say it will take days and maybe weeks to determine the cause.

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