top of page

UrbanCore Development, LLC 



Michael E. Johnson created UrbanCore Development, LLC (UrbanCore) in 2010 with the goal of re-branding the urban infill development activities for which Em Johnson Interest, Inc. (EJI) had become known. Founded as a minority business enterprise in 1979 by Mr. Johnson, EJI has been a leading San Francisco Bay Area real estate development company for more than 25 years, which provided the ideal platform from which to build UrbanCore (


UrbanCore has focused on creating, enhancing, and improving communities through vibrant projects that address the core values of aesthetic appeal, environmental and financial stewardship, and social responsibility. With Michael E. Johnson, President & CEO, and a team of experienced project and construction managers the firm has been the driving force behind the development of mixed income, mixed-use, and affordable housing projects – from the initial conceptual planning through the design and construction phases. UrbanCore also prepares the financial structure of each deal and identifies and packages the equity, construction financing, and long-term debt. Additionally, the Company manages the marketing phase through sell-out and lease-up on selected projects.


With a concentration on urban-infill development projects, UrbanCore regularly interfaces with various community groups and local government officials. UrbanCore emphasizes partnerships between the public, private, and community sectors, and is known for successfully bring these groups together to complete projects. The result of these public-private relationships is that UrbanCore is able to enhance the feasibility of the private investment in its transactions by leveraging the public investment contributions in each project.


UrbanCore has successfully completed, or has in progress, a total of 32 projects, including approximately 3,000 housing units and over 100,000 square feet at a cost of over $800 million, primarily throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, but also Atlanta and Oregon, as well as several projects in the Southeast United States. Also, within the last several years, UrbanCore has worked in San Diego on a couple of projects, most recently completing in a joint venture the renovation of the historic Bakery Building at 16th & G Streets, and currently has a Charter School turnkey development under construction for the Urban Discovery Academy.


UrbanCore has also worked as a member of numerous joint venture teams or on a project management basis; in many cases, with organizations that serve as the long term owner of the completed properties. More recently, UrbanCore has completed several development projects as the lead developer and managing partner, and also has several projects currently underway in this capacity.


Over the past several years, UrbanCore has worked successfully in joint ventures with strategic development partners such as: BRIDGE Housing Corporation, the John Stewart Company, McCormack Baron Salazar, and most recently with the Integral Group and Nehemiah Corporation. These partnerships have allowed UrbanCore to expand its initiatives in the Bay Area. Additionally, UrbanCore has formed strategic partnerships with the National Electrical Benefit Fund (formerly NEBF, now NREA), Silicon Valley Bank, Opportunity Fund, Mission National Bank, Nor-Cal Financial, Telesis Corporation, and Mugar Enterprises. Each of these partnerships has assisted UrbanCore in accessing investment and working capital, as well as project equity to expand UrbanCore’s initiatives.


UrbanCore has recently received awards from the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Business Times, and Multi-Family Housing Finance Magazine for its Fillmore Heritage Center and North Beach Place development projects in San Francisco.

bottom of page