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The Best Multifamily Contractors in San Francisco

October 1, 2018 18 Min Read

San Francisco is a wonderful place to live, with its rich culture and history attracting people of all walks of life. However, recent trends seem to indicate that finding a place to call home in this city is getting more difficult. The prices of residences in the city, just as in other coastal cities all over the country, are on a steep rise, especially for single-family homes.

Land use policies are being re-written to allow for more apartments and other multifamily structures to be built in more areas, leading to a surge in multifamily construction. In San Francisco, there are a slew of contractors willing and able to help build these communities, and this list showcases the best of them.

Avalonbay Communities

455 Market St # 1650, San Francisco, CA 94105

With a portfolio spread across Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Pacific Northwest, and Northern and Southern California regions, Avalonbay Communities, an equity REIT, has a long track record of developing, redeveloping, acquiring and managing properties. In most cases, Avalonbay acts as its own general contractor for its projects, giving the firm unprecedented control over the costs and quality of their properties.

Project by Avalonbay Communities

Avalonbay’s community at 800 Indiana Street, branded as Avalon Dogpatch, features 326 units erected in 5 stories. It is located less than 1.5 miles from AT&T Park and 1 mile from the new Warriors arena, with excellent commuting options for convenient access to Downtown and nearby access to the Peninsula.

Cannon Constructors, Inc.

6000 Shoreline Ct, Ste 206, South San Francisco, CA 94080

Founded in 1978, the Encino-based Cannon Constructors, Inc. holds steadfast to its commitment and culture to deliver great service and innovative projects to clients in the state of California. Managing principals Larry Pace, John Locascio, Michael Stieger and Michael Adler continue to be actively involved in daily activities in the field and the offices. In addition to their Encino headquarters, Cannon has offices in San Diego and San Francisco. The firm concentrates on five key areas: restoration-remodel, interior development, new construction, multi-family, and medical.

Project by Cannon Constructors, Inc.

Cannon Constructors has been responsible for several great apartment complexes, both luxury and affordable, in California. In nearby San Leandro, Cannon built Marea Alta, an affordable apartment complex housing 115 units. KQED News reported that demand for the units was high, with 18,000 people applying for the units as of 2016.

Thompson Builders

250 Bel Marin Keys Blvd. Building A, Novato, CA 94949

Paul Thompson established Thompson Builders in 1989 with the ideology that “value and competitive prices should go hand in hand.” Since then, the Novato-based firm has delivered over 200 major projects to clients in the Bay Area and Northern California. Specializing in commercial construction, the company also works on public works and community involvement projects of varying sizes. Thompson Builders delivers a wide range of services, including historical renovations, seismic renovations, modernizations, new construction, design/build, lease-leaseback, and heavy engineering works.

Project by Thompson Builders

Some of Thompson’s projects had become recognizable icons of the Bay Area, including Yerba Buena Island SF-Oakland Bay Bridge footings, Manteca’s Big League Dreams Sports Park, San Jose’s Happy Hollow Zoo, San Francisco’s Cadillac Hotel, Symphony Towers, and Chinatown YMCA.

Fisher Development

601 California St, Ste 300, San Francisco, CA 94108

CEO Robert Fisher began Fisher Development in 1971 as a residential builder-developer, his first project being a 60 single-family home development over 20 acres in Davis, CA. From there, Fisher expanded business to include retail, corporate interiors, mixed-use projects, multifamily housing, adaptive re-use of historic structures, sustainable construction, and independent schools. Fisher’s son, Alex Fisher, currently co-heads the company as President. The firm has been honored with a number of awards, including the Engineering News Record Best Projects Award, the Superior Award for Design and Imaging, and CEA Most Improved Safety Program Award.

Project by Fisher Development

Fisher is responsible for the construction of 777 Tennessee Street, a five-story multifamily residential housing currently being developed in Dogpatch, San Francisco. The residences are just one block from the Third Street Rail, and a short walk to the newly redeveloped Pier 70 in Potrero Point.

Ledcor Construction Inc.

6405 Mira Mesa Blvd, #100, San Diego, CA 92121

Based in Vancouver, and with offices in five Canadian provinces and seven U.S. states, Ledcor has been a leading diversified construction company in North America since its founding in 1947. Its seven construction divisions relate to the company’s diverse array of target markets: building, civil, industrial, mining, pipeline, telecommunications, and highways. The firm prides itself for its business foundation and methods for performance that have withstood the test of time and circumstances. For its efforts on urban growth and development, Ledcor has been honored with multiple Urban Land Institute Awards for Excellence, among other.

Project by Ledcor Construction Inc.

Rooted in Silicon Valley, Devcon Construction is a designer-builder and former developer founded in 1976. President Gary Filizetti currently leads the company, joining the company as Vice President of Construction in 1980 to help Devcon transition from developer-contractor to designer-builder. An innovator in sustainable technology, the company boasts a long list of projects with LEED Silver, Gold and Platinum certifications, and a staff of more than 50 LEED APs. From the firm’s headquarters in Milpitas, the firm has since expanded with offices throughout California and Nevada, with projects in Oregon, Idaho, Texas and elsewhere. The firm has won numerous awards throughout the years, including the SVBJ Project Award, a Gold Nugget Merit Award, the CEA Excellence In Safety Award, and a California State Senate Green Building Award.

Devcon Construction

690 Gibraltar Dr, Milpitas, CA 95035

Rooted in Silicon Valley, Devcon Construction is a designer-builder and former developer founded in 1976. President Gary Filizetti currently leads the company, joining the company as Vice President of Construction in 1980 to help Devcon transition from developer-contractor to designer-builder. An innovator in sustainable technology, the company boasts a long list of projects with LEED Silver, Gold and Platinum certifications, and a staff of more than 50 LEED APs. From the firm’s headquarters in Milpitas, the firm has since expanded with offices throughout California and Nevada, with projects in Oregon, Idaho, Texas and elsewhere. The firm has won numerous awards throughout the years, including the SVBJ Project Award, a Gold Nugget Merit Award, the CEA Excellence In Safety Award, and a California State Senate Green Building Award.

Project by Devcon Construction

The Mission Gardens on 1880 Mission Street is one of the high-end residential projects completed by Devcon in San Francisco. The complex has 202 units, 20 percent of which is below market-rate housing.

James E Roberts-Obayashi Corporation

20 Oak Ct, Danville, CA 94526

Established in 1932 as Moore & Roberts, James E Roberts-Obayashi Corporation has built several landmark structures in the Bay Area. Founders James Roberts and Gene Moore formed the company in San Francisco during the Great Depression, and was once contracted by the federal government during the Second World War. Afterwards, Roberts re-established the firm and relocated it to Oakland. During the 1970’s, the company completed numerous joint ventures with the century-old Tokyo-based contractor Obayashi Corporation, leading to a merger in 1978. This long history has lent Roberts-Obayashi a wealth of experience and expertise that would make them one of the most respected builders in Northern California. The firm has been honored with such awards as the Gold Nugget Awards and the AIA Honor Awards.

Project by James E Roberts-Obayashi Corporation

Equity Residential’s Potrero 1010 is one of the largest residential projects completed by Roberts-Obayashi. The apartment complex boasts 453 residential units, making it one of the largest developments in Potrero in its recent history.

Build Group

457 Minna St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Build Group is a San Francisco-based design-builder established in 2007. The firm is focused on various project types including multi-family residential, commercial office spaces, high-end retail, restaurants, hospitality, student and senior housing, healthcare, seismic upgrades and retrofits of existing buildings, parking garages, religious establishments, and civic buildings. The company is currently comprised of over 400 employees throughout California, making it one of the fastest growing private companies in the area. Build Group had been named by Engineering News Record as Top Contractor, Largest Commercial Contractor in the Bay Area, Healthiest Employer, Fastest Growing Private Company and a Best Place to Work.

Project by Build Group

Build Group’s newest project at 1395 22nd Street is a residential complex set to be finished in 2019. It will feature 263 rooms and encompass 987,000 square feet of prime real estate in Potrero Hill.

Charles Pankow Builders

1 Sutter St, Ste 200, San Francisco, CA 94109

In 1963, Charles Pankow established his eponymous firm on the same day that they broke ground for MacArthur Broadway Center in Oakland. Two years later, Pankow completed 1625 The Alameda in San Jose, a pioneering design-build project. Ever since, the firm has been serving the state of California with its seminal design-build services. As one of the founding organizations behind the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), Pankow has dedicated itself in delivering projects from inception and design to construction and completion. Through the years, Pakow has won various awards, including the DBIA National Awards, the ENR Best Project Awards, and the ASLA Award of Excellence.

Project by Charles Pankow Builders

The Panoramic at 1321 Mission Street is a mixed residence building made possible by the partnership between Pankow and Panoramic Interests. Designed by Kwan Henmi Architecture and based on Panoramic-patented SmartSpace®, this meticulously planned tower features 80 market-rate rental units and 80 student residences for the San Francisco California Academy of Arts University.

Suffolk Construction

525 Market St, Ste 2850, San Francisco, CA 94105

Suffolk is a Boston-based general contractor with offices in several locations across the country, including San Francisco. Edward Fish, Sr. established the firm in 1982 as an open-shop contractor, then immediately transferred full leadership and management to his then-23-year-old son John Fish, who still leads the company as Chairman and CEO. The company has been living true to their motto, “build smart”, while encouraging each employee and associate to innovate in their work. Suffolk has received numerous recognitions, including the ABC National Award for Excellence in Safety, and the NAIOP Public Service Award.

Project by Suffolk Construction

Suffolk’s notable projects include the high-rise apartment tower at 340 Fremont Street. This sustainable, high-density 41-story and 348-unit residence features generous amenities in a nine-story podium, including a fitness center, yoga room, owner’s lounge, business center, game room, and pet grooming area, as well as three levels of below-grade parking.

Nibbi Brothers

1000 Brannan St, Ste 102, San Francisco, CA 94103

Since 1950, Nibbi Brothers has been at the forefront of the construction industry, delivering some of the most technically complex, iconic structures in the San Francisco Bay area. This family-owned firm’s keys to success have always been having the right goals in mind, the right people onstaff, and the right approach in facing every challenge each project presents. The firm was formed and led by Marinio Nibbi until his sons Sergio and Larry took over in 1973 upon his retirement. Currently leading Nibbi are Sergio’s sons: President Bob Nibbi and Vice President Michael Nibbi. The firm has won some of the most prestigious awards in the industry, including the AIA Housing Awards, the Building Industry Conference Board Achievement Award, the AIA Design Merit Award, the and ULI Award of Excellence.

Project by Nibbi Brothers

Nibbi Brothers recently completed the Azure at Mission Bay at 690 Long Bridge Street. Designed by HKS, the complex features 162 one-bedroom units, 111 two-bedroom units, 215 parking spaces, a fitness center and a community room.

Clark Construction

180 Howard St, Ste 1200, San Francisco, CA 94105

Clark Construction has grown from a small local excavator in 1906 into one of the most capable and trusted contractors in the entire United States today. The firm is proud of having balanced its heritage as a local contractor with its reach throughout the country. With over 4,200 employees spread across its regional offices, the company has the experience and capability to tackle any project of any size imaginable, and successfully deliver it through their impeccable service. The firm has won many awards, including AGCA Alliant Build America Awards, ABC National Excellence in Construction Eagle Awards, ENR Best of the Best Awards, Design-Build Institute of America Awards, and Sustainability Awards.

Project by Clark Construction

Recently opened, the apartments at 150 Van Ness Ave are one of the largest complexes in San Francisco. Boasting 450,000 square feet of living space spread over 431 units, this 13-story complex features reclaimed plaster accents from the California State Automobile Association headquarters, which was demolished to make way for the complex. Clark anticipates the building to be given a GreenPoint Rated certification under the Build It Green Multifamily Building rating system.

Cahill Contractors

425 California St, Ste 2200, San Francisco, CA 94104

Cahill Contractors was established in 1911 by Oakland-born civil engineer John Cahill when he became a self-employed engineer-contractor inspired to rebuild the San Francisco Area following the 1906 Earthquake. Today, John’s granddaughter,CEO Kathryn Cahill, leads the company with a portfolio that cuts across many markets and construction industries. The firm’s experience, capabilities, and financial strength enables it to pursue and deliver almost any size building project. Amongst its many recognitions, Cahill has received the AIA/HUD Secretary’s Award, and the SFBT Real Estate Deals of the Year Award.

Project by Cahill Contractors

The Natalie Gubb Commons at 255 Fremont Street is comprised of three apartment buildings chousing 120 affordable units surrounding a grade-level landscaped courtyard. This 100% affordable housing development also offers a community room, a child care center, management offices and laundry rooms. Cahill’s expertise made it possible for the project to be CALGreen compliant and certified GreenPoint Rated New Home Platinum.

Webcor Construction

207 King St, Ste 300, San Francisco, CA 94107

Bill Wilson, Ross Edwards, Dave Boyd, and Miller Ream founded Webcor Construction in 1971 in San Mateo with the goal of delivering projects with unmatched innovation, efficiency and personal involvement. Edwards and Boyd went on to lead the company as interchanging President and CEO until 2012, when Jes Pedersen was promoted to CEO. In 2007, Webcor becomes the latest acquisition by Obayashi, the same Tokyo-based firm that merged with Roberts-Obayashi. Throughout its history, the firm has received a multitude of awards, including the ENR California Contractor of the Year Award. Arguably, no accomplishment could be higher than the ISO 9001 Certification Webcor received in 2013, the only California-based general contractor to have so.

Project by Webcor Construction

Webcor built the Parkmerced Block 20, a complex consisting of a 17-story tower and 8-story mid-rise over shared lobby and parking garage. The complex boasts 299 residential units spread over 475,117 square feet of building space. The apartments also feature a 354-space parking podium, an activity lounge with demonstration kitchen, outdoor patios with fire pits, coworking shared office space and conference rooms, 4th floor outdoor lounge, double height lounge with large media screen, and a roof deck with outdoor kitchen.


260 Townsend St, San Francisco, CA 94107

In 1888, a young Swedish migrant in Los Angeles started a brick masonry and contracting business, seeing an opportunity in the city’s post–Gold Rush building boom. Today, that company is Swinerton, a San Francisco-headquartered general contractor with 3,500 employees and 15 offices across the country. Two things attest to Swinerton’s long history: its California contractor’s license (no. 92), which the firm obtained when the state began issuing licenses in 1927; and the number of its projects are now listed in the National Register of Historic Places and other architectural preservation lists. In addition to the past, the firm also looks towards the future, being member of the U.S. Green Building Council,, and establishing the Center for Excellence in Project Delivery in 2012 to pursue their commitment in sustainable construction. Their efforts have been recognized through a laundry list of awards, including the AGC of California Safety Excellence Award, ENR CA #1 General Contractor, CEA Award for Excellence in Safety, ENR California Best Project Awards, and AIA Award of Honor for Excellence in Design and Execution.

Project by Swinerton

Swinerton was responsible for building 399 Fremont, a 42-story residential tower in Rincon Hill featuring 452 luxury rental units, 238 underground parking spaces, modern amenities, and expansive views of San Francisco Bay. Amenities in the tower include a rooftop sky lounge, a library, various conference rooms, a swimming pool, day spa and fitness center, and a dog park. In 2016, 399 Fremont received LEED Silver Certification and an Award of Merit in the Residential/Hospitality category in the ENR Global Best Projects competition.