The FORT Podcast: Riaz Taplin – Founder of Riaz Capital – Do Well, Do Good – Developing a Billion Dollar Microliving Empire in the Bay Area

Principal & Founder Riaz Taplin has been thinking about workforce housing for most of his professional life. Growing up in a real estate family, Riaz detoured early in his career from the family business to develop his own style by founding a design/build firm and developing over 50 ultra-luxury residences in the Bay Area. In successive projects and ventures, Riaz explored co-living, adaptive reuse micro-units, student housing, and traditional ground-up construction – all of which led to the firm’s custom workforce housing solution – the Micro-Living Studio.  Riaz leads Riaz Capital, a vertically integrated workforce housing developer and institutional-grade sponsor with a core team of over fifty professionals managing a portfolio of over 1,300 units, and with over 1,000 residences in the pipeline.

On this episode, Chris and Riaz discuss developing amazing projects in 30 months or less, how Riaz Capital builds units that are 28% more affordable than the competition. They deep dive on why design matters and why the Bay Area matters and will be a strong market for decades to come. Enjoy!

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(04:10) – Riaz’s Background and Career

(12:24) – What is Microliving?

(15:12) – How are you able to build these developments in 30 months when other deals take 7 years?

(21:22) – Do you self-perform GC?

(24:24) – How does zoning work in your market?

(27:20) – Affordability Without Public Subsidizing

(28:19) – Riaz’s ‘Simple Build’ Model

(32:09) – Family households have dropped 69% to 29%, what does that mean for you?

(35:54) – What do these units look like inside?

(40:34) – Do tenants have to put a deposit down since the unit is pre-furnished?

(41:34) – How do people getting into the industry get furniture designed for units?

(42:43) – How do you design the layout of your units?

(46:35) – Are we headed into a world where everything is smaller and more efficient?

(50:39) – What are most people still getting wrong with apartment development?

(53:28) – What would you change immediately that would make housing more attainable at scale?

(56:10) – Why is the Bay Area still really important at a time when people are trying to write it off?

(1:00:52) – Raising Capital, Funds & Opportunity Zones

(1:11:33) – Wrap Up


Episode Summary

Taplin, a visionary in affordable housing, delved deeply into the pressing issues and potential solutions that could revolutionize the attainability of housing on a significant scale.

Taplin’s discussion on the intricacies of housing affordability emanated a call for a decisive shift in zoning policies. He advocated for a transition from unit-based to volume-based zoning, a pivotal move designed to eliminate unwarranted complaints and streamline the construction process. This change, as outlined by Taplin, stands as a cornerstone in enhancing the affordability and availability of housing, addressing the burgeoning demand with strategic precision.

In the realm of taxation, Taplin’s insights shed light on the embedded tax in rent, a critical factor exacerbating the housing crisis. His proposed cessation of taxing housing up to a certain threshold reflects a strategic approach to alleviating the financial burden on renters, fostering enhanced affordability and accessibility in the housing market.

Navigating the financial facets of real estate, Taplin underscored the significance of understanding return on investment and capital efficiency. His emphasis on these elements resonated as a clarion call for investors and stakeholders to prioritize financial acumen, ensuring informed and strategic decision-making in real estate investments.

The podcast further illuminated the audience on the concept of opportunity zones. Taplin’s detailed explanation provided a comprehensive understanding of the tax benefits and community impact of investments in these designated areas. This segment highlighted the dual advantage of financial gains and community development, reinforcing the role of opportunity zones in promoting equitable growth and investment.

In the sphere of partnerships, Taplin’s experiences echoed the essence of collaboration in bolstering real estate projects. His discussion on the dynamics of partnerships, encompassing elements of trust and aligned goals, underscored the invaluable contribution of strategic collaborations in ensuring the success and sustainability of real estate endeavors.

Taplin’s personal journey into the real estate arena offered a unique and inspiring perspective. His experiences, marked by challenges and opportunities, resonated as a testament to the evolving landscape of real estate, emphasizing the essence of adaptability, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of knowledge and insight.

In the domain of investment, Taplin’s strategic principles and approaches stood out as a beacon for aspiring and seasoned investors alike. His emphasis on due diligence, comprehensive market understanding, and a nuanced approach to investment echoed the critical components ensuring profitability and success in the real estate investment landscape.

The Fort is produced by Johnny Peterson & Straight Up Podcasts

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