For Craig Hamburg, good city-making is the key to good development. As vice president of DDG, he helped turn Hayes Valley from a freeway off-ramp into one of the most popular and interesting neighborhoods in San Francisco.
“Living and working in Hayes Valley started my relationship with the community,” says Hamburg. “I established myself as a neighbor, in addition to being a real estate developer.”
DDG’s four Hayes Valley projects, which feature innovative designs by distinguished architects, prioritize their connection with the neighborhood over creation of the maximum number of housing units. They thoughtfully integrate inclusionary housing units offered at affordable, below-market prices and include retail tenants chosen to complement the neighborhood rather than for maximum rent. Features likes these helped ease opposition to new development.
“The Hayes Valley community understands the complexities of urban infill development and is extremely thoughtful in their project review,” he says.
Hamburg paved the way for development in Hayes Valley before he joined DDG with The Hayes, a project undertaken by Intercorp in 2005 after the Central Freeway was removed. Despite there being no comps and few signs of the coming renaissance, Hamburg convinced investors to back a premium product positioned for the neighborhood’s future.
He is vice president of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association and has served on the association board since 2012. He also sits on the association’s transportation and planning committee, which focuses on affordable housing, traffic calming, transit, and pedestrian/bicyclist safety. “As a neighbor, I am around for the long haul rather than until the projects are completed,” Hamburg says.