US Builders Review                                                    

Branagh Development Inc.

Future-focused development from the East Bay Area’s boutique builder
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Joe Atwood

Located in Danville, California, Branagh Development Inc. serves the eastern San Francisco Bay area, including the cities of Oakland, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Pleasanton and beyond. Over the last 32 years, Branagh has emerged as a boutique builder, offering an award-winning approach that combines conscious, concise planning, architecture, top-quality building materials and an expert base of subcontractors. The Branagh Development team prides itself in finding unique development opportunities where other builders might not see the same potential and doing it all in hopes of bettering communities.

Four generations of East Bay builders

“We’re a fourth-generation family company with roots in the Bay Area since 1919, back when John Branagh started a small commercial construction company,” says Alex Griffith, chief operating officer of Branagh.

In 1986, Peter Branagh started Branagh Development with a mission to build beautiful homes with a personal touch. This is the essence of Branagh Development today and the company’s portfolio now includes multiunit subdivisions, multifamily properties, single-family properties, luxury apartments and a handful of distinct commercial developments.

Branagh Development Inc.

“Our roots are really in single-family, high-end homes, but we’re a very entrepreneurial company,” explains Alex. “Historically, we’ve been very flexible and we continue to change with the market. We’ve adapted as the market has grown and today, we are known as a boutique builder in the Bay Area.”

In any project scope, Branagh Development strives to offer more value. “Our goal is to build projects that make sense for the surrounding community and also deliver added value,” says Alex. “We don’t just drag and drop the same model from one project another. Rather, we create unique communities, whether that’s in a single-family subdivision or a 12-unit multifamily project.”

Joining Alex in Branagh Development’s executive leadership team are Matt Branagh, CEO, and Mike Branagh, chief development officer. “We’ve been around for a long time and we have established a strong reputation in this area,” says Alex. “We actually don’t do a lot of advertising. Most of our business is generated from word-of-mouth referrals.”

Though Branagh Development’s history is in high-end single family development, Griffith says the company is tackling more multifamily infill projects as of late. “We continue to grow more into the multifamily market and mixed-use properties,” says Alex.

Value-added development with a view

Newly constructed in 2015 is Branagh’s 60th & Telegraph in Oakland, a collection of six LEED row houses, repurposed from an old office site in the premier Rockridge neighborhood. The row homes offer live-work space, three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a rooftop deck with views of San Francisco Bay. “When we discovered this old property, it really wasn’t something that a typical developer would gravitate to as a potential building site,” explains Alex. “But we saw a unique opportunity to design the property to fit into the neighborhood and take advantage of aspects such as the sweeping views of the bay.”

Branagh Development Inc.

Understanding that Oakland is a community-centered suburb, Branagh Development wanted to incorporate the live-work aspect, as well as a courtyard area, into the design and development of 60th & Telegraph. “The entry level of these homes includes a flexible space [vacation rental, art studio, office] with concrete floors, a separate entrance, floor-to-ceiling windows and a full bathroom,” details Alex. “The paver-stone courtyard entry provides a private one-car garage, front door entryway and is fully landscaped with custom metal planter boxes.”

The row homes are beautifully finished with walls of glass, Siberian Oak hardwood floors, quartz and marble surfaces and Bosch appliances, and designed with unique spaces, such as a fourth-floor rooftop deck with views. 60th & Telegraph highlights Branagh Development’s ability to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary.

Also in Oakland, Branagh Development is breaking ground on a 47-unit repurposing project. “We’re taking an old U-Haul site and turning it into multifamily apartments with adjacent restaurants and other mixed-use retail buildings,” adds Alex. “Between a few sites in Lafayette and Oakland, we are designing almost 250 units of mixed residential, including duplexes, townhomes and condos.”

Downtown Danville

While it makes up a much smaller side of the business, Branagh Development completes a handful of private historic renovations every year. “We’ve done historic restorations in Pleasanton, Danville and Lafayette,” says Alex. “One of the best examples is in Danville, where a historic home had fallen into disrepair.”

The nearly 100-year-old home in the heart of Danville was originally a residence, but had been used as a retail storefront for decades. After nearly two years of planning, the town approved a full renovation of the current home for new retail with the addition of a second-story office, a new basement and three luxury townhomes behind the retail space in order to maximize the potential of the lot.

Despite site and building code challenges, Branagh Development was able to collaborate with the architect, project engineers and the City of Danville to obtain the necessary permits to get the job done in a timely fashion. “I never felt like there was a challenge that came up that they couldn’t find some remedy to,” says Todd Weinberg, the developer and project owner. “With their experience, they can tell you right away, whereas a less seasoned contractor may not have the foresight to know whether something is possible or not, or if a challenge is going to be overcome.”

It’s all in the approach

Branagh Development’s roots and expertise lie heavily in building custom homes for clients and helping a dream become a reality. With a dedicated project manager and a team approach that is second to none, Branagh Development provides the ultimate experience for custom home clients.

“We are currently building a unique Spanish home with a client who has hand selected every tile — from all around the world — that will go into the home,” says Alex. “The attention to detail we are able to offer is truly remarkable.”

“For this particular client, this will be their third Branagh Development home, which speaks to the relationship we establish and the quality of home we deliver,” adds Alex. Other recent custom home projects include a Cape Cod-style home with a spectacular loggia and pool and a chic farmhouse with the ultimate chef’s kitchen and hand-picked stone slabs. Another showcase custom home is a Napa-style residence blending the beauty of the outdoors with the elegance of a custom home.

Alex says the Branagh Development difference is all in the approach. “We believe that we’re much more than a general contractor — we’re also a partner for our clients,” he says. “This is why we make a conscious effort to understand their goals and build a level of trust that is second to none. For us, it’s really fun to work with clients who are developing something unique, while enhancing the community.”

With more multifamily, mixed-use and single-family projects underway and a handful ready to break ground, Branagh Development is busy. But Alex says the firm is dedicated to maintaining its small, boutique feel. “At the end of the day we’re a family-owned company with a close, employee-centered culture,” he says. “We’re in growth mode but we’re also focused on maintaining this culture as a boutique builder.”

Branagh Development Inc. continues to grow strong roots in the East Bay Area as a fourth-generation builder with an eye for turning ordinary properties into extraordinary value-added developments. 

Strategic Partnership(s): 
BORM International
Dolan's Lumber
EZ-Electric
Heritage Bank of Commerce
Hunt Hale Jones Architects
Miele Appliances
Residential Design Services
Southgate Glass