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Skylark Meadows

Novato, CA, 1986
A mixed-income condominium project of 37 units on 1.5 acres in Novato.

Skylark Meadows expanded on the learning curve initiated by Northbay Family Homes when it built the Encina Court Condominiums in 1981. In that earlier effort we discovered that using amateur labor did not save money, because the extended time needed by untrained workers lengthened the term, and therefore the cost, of the construction loan. 

We further learned that expanding the size of a project brought down its costs. Hence Skylark Meadows became a much larger project than Encina Court: 37 units on two acres instead of six units on 1.5 acres; and we retained a general contractor to construct the project.

Skylark Meadows is the last project that Northbay Family Homes was involved in every step. We located the land, secured City of Novato approvals, and arranged both the construction financing and the take- out financing.

Northbay Family Homes added a new dimension to its repertoire of home- ownership strategies by arranging for seller carry-back financing so that all units could be sold at full market value while still retaining 43 percent as affordable. Both the County of Marin and the City of Novato benefit from selling affordable homes at full market value, because California property taxes are based on the home's sale or transfer price. Homeowners pay the full share of property taxes when the home is sold at full market value.

Skylark Meadows set a California record in 1986 by making 43 percent of its condominiums (15 units out of 37) affordable for low-income households. Several of the 22 market-rate homes were purchased and occupied by employees of the private brokerage we retained to sell all 37.

Our involvement in Skylark Meadows included all seven services from our Seven Points of Entry in real estate development: