Golden Bee Properties
Golden Bee Properties is tackling new projects in the Los Angeles area.
By Kat Zeman
Marty Berneman lives in a world where science and art break even. As vice president of construction and design at Los Angeles-based Golden Bee Properties, his world revolves around the two subjects – though his intense dedication to design is obvious.
“I think design is the hidden gem of it all,” he says. “To me, the layout and flow are the most important. If you get that right, everything else is gravy.”
Golden Bee is a full-service real estate investment, development and asset management firm. It works with global clients to invest in distressed and value-add residential and commercial properties in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas markets.
The company focuses on multifamily and single-family housing. It often rehabilitates its assets for long-term income capitalization or immediate resale. The company is
vertically integrated with in-house abilities to acquire properties, construct and maintain properties and manage backend asset management functions.
It has a fully integrated management team dedicated to day-to-day asset management, a construction team that handles most of the cosmetic renovations and an accounting staff that oversees its highly technical property management software. “We have a diverse portfolio and we do a lot of stuff in-house,” Berneman says. “I think that makes us different from other companies.”
By managing its own portfolio of multifamily properties in-house, Golden Bee controls renovation costs and operating expenses, driving rents and ultimately optimizing net operating income and the value of the real estate. The company says it has roughly $50 million of real estate under management and plans to grow by adding more off-market properties to its portfolio.
On The Horizon
Two years ago, Golden Bee began entitling and designing 70 new small-lot homes in the Los Angeles area. Thirty-seven are under construction. The homes resemble three-story townhouses with roof decks. However, they are unique in the sense that, unlike classic townhomes, they have between eight inches and one foot of space between them. “Each one is separate and has its own property line,” Berneman says. “So you don’t have sound transference between the homes.”
Furthermore, Golden Bee will start construction this winter on a new small-lot project in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The company will handle this project from “A to Z,” Berneman says, meaning that it will take it from the pre-development phase to the entitlement, design, construction and sales phases.
The one-year, $4 million project consists of seven homes that will sit on a hilltop with unobstructed rooftop views. Each unit will have two bedrooms, two-and-half baths and take up roughly 1,500 square feet. They will sell at around $850,000.
“They are very popular for first-time buyers,” Berneman says. “LA has become expensive. Anything under $1 million is inexpensive. They will go very quickly – and the property is around the corner from Dodger Stadium.”
Future Looks Bright
Founded in 2011, Golden Bee is a family-operated business. Isaac Berneman, Marty Berneman’s father, is chairman of the board. His brother, David Berneman, is the company’s president. His sister, Candice Kahn, is the director of operations.
The company has experienced healthy growth. Three years ago, it developed about 50 multifamily units per year. Today, it is at around 150 units and next year’s goal is 300 units. “We’ve had a huge increase in sales in the past three years,” Berneman says. “In three years, we intend do be at 500 per year. The multifamily is what we see the most growth in currently.”