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Development and Real Estate

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

West Side Neighbors, Facing Potentially More and Taller Housing, Ask: “What Happened to Planning in This City?”

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 3:56 PM

  • Daniel Hoherd/Flickr

Supervisor Katy Tang sallied forth into her own neighborhood last night to pitch a plan for more and taller housing in the city’s traditionally low-rise western neighborhoods.

The measured argument, made to a room of skeptics at the Sunset Rec Center, went something like this: It’s not that bad, we really need more housing, and by the way, if we don’t do this then the state is going to unleash all of your worst nightmares and let them run riot on the neighborhood anyway.

That’s a rough paraphrase, of course.

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Big-Money Condo Tower Presents Itself as a Champion of Working-Class San Franciscans

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 1:00 PM

NIMBYs will want to re-up on their blood pressure meds, because San Francisco’s ever-growing skyline may be about to grow a little more.

Tishman Speyer, the developers behind the Studio Gang-designed condo tower planned for Folsom Street — you know, the one that looks like a twisted accordion — are asking the city for an extra 10 stories. The building was designed at 400 feet, but the lots are presently zoned for only 300.

In exchange for the exemption, the developers say they’ll throw in an additional 44 below market-rate units, upping the total to 40 percent of the project. And rather than pile them all into the bottom floors, as planned, they’ll spread them through levels 1-26 of the tower. They’ll even chip in some of the homeowner’s association fees for the BMR tenants.

(For the purposes of this development, an affordable unit costs between $217,000-$384,000.)

But before any of that happens, they’ve got to get the golden ticket from the city, starting with yesterday’s pitch to the Office of Community Infrastructure and Investment (the successor to the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency that originally cooked up the Transbay plan).

Going to bat for the developer, OCII project manager Jose Campos pointed out that the 10-year-old zoning plan is out of date. “We didn’t understand the growth the city would witness” back when the original zoning was put in place, Campos said.

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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Community Groups Sue the City Over 5M Luxury Development in Soma

Posted By on Thu, Jan 7, 2016 at 12:49 PM

Site of the 5M project - MIKE KOOZMIN/SF EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/SF Examiner
  • Site of the 5M project

It’s been an arduous, seven-year climb for 5M, the four-acre mixed-use development slated for Fifth and Mission streets in SoMa. Spearheaded by development company Forest City and property owner Hearst Corporation (which also owns the San Francisco Chronicle), 5M calls for the demolition of a handful of surface parking lots and buildings on Howard, Natoma, and Fifth streets, as well as the construction of three new high­-rises ranging from 200 to 450 feet tall.

Opponents charged that the three high-rises would throw a shadow over the recently renovated Boeddeker Park in the Tenderloin. Then they said the project threatened the neighborhood’s working-class Filipino community by introducing more luxury-rate housing. Finally, they accused the city of breaking zoning code controls to accommodate the project's height.

Nonetheless, after a contentious community hearing, the Board of Supervisors certified the project’s Environmental Impact Report on Nov. 17 and opted to move forward with 5M. The Board did score a number of concessions, including:

  • 40 percent affordable housing (or 212 units) within five blocks of the project
  • $12 million to transportation and pedestrian safety improvements in the neighborhood
  • Three public open spaces, totaling 49,000 square feet
  • 12,000 square feet for arts and cultural events

Community groups weren’t appeased, however, and have now filed suit against the city to challenge the Board’s decision. The groups cited are South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), Save Our SoMa (SOS), and Friends of Boeddeker Park.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Opponents of the Warriors’ Mission Bay Stadium Can Keep Fighting, But it Won't Change Anything

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 10:31 AM

  • Images Rendered By Steelblue., Courtesy Of MANICA Architecture

If anybody in San Francisco was rooting for the Warriors to lose last night, every single one of them was probably at City Hall.

The Mission Bay Alliance, a group that has sworn to fight the incoming 18,000-seat Warriors stadium seemingly to its dying breath (a crusade that included yesterday’s procedural challenge trying to get the stadium’s environmental impact report thrown out), have always maintained that they like the team perfectly fine. Just not the building.

A self-proclaimed coalition of “UCSF stakeholders, donors, faculty, physicians, and the working men and women of San Francisco,” the MBA objects to the Warriors’ Mission Bay arena on several grounds — namely, that it will cause traffic gridlock, block ambulance routes and access to UCSF medical centers, and generate enough “noise pollution” to threaten the recovery of cancer patients in nearby hospitals.

The MBA’s timing couldn’t be worse .

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Friday, October 23, 2015

Market Street Porn Theater to be Demolished and Replaced by Something More Boring

Posted By on Fri, Oct 23, 2015 at 12:29 PM

From porn to posh. - COURTESY ENCOREFUNDS
  • Courtesy EncoreFunds
  • From porn to posh.
It’s the end of an era for the Market Street Cinema, a 103-year-old building whose storied history includes stints as a movie theater, porn theater, and strip club.

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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Confidential Email Shows Trying to Recruit Mission Latinos to Fight Prop. I [Updated]

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 12:57 PM

  • Rusty Blazenhoff/Flickr

It’s no secret that is opposed to Prop. I, the so-called “Mission Moratorium” that would freeze construction of new Mission housing projects larger than five units for 18 months. The porn studio wants to convert its 40,000-square-foot Drill Court into an entertainment venue and events space that could buoy its sagging revenue.

But if Prop. I passes, that plan hits a roadblock, and the the building's future is in doubt. That's because in addition to muzzling new construction, Prop. I also prohibits the "demolition, conversion, or elimination of Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR)" buildings, which include many industrial, automotive, storage, and wholesale businesses. 

Kink is headquartered in the historic Armory, which one housed the National Guard and is the largest building in the Mission.

“We need this in order to make the building affordable,” Kink CEO Peter Acworth told the Chronicle this month. “If we don’t have this and the sales continue to slide, the building starts to look in jeopardy and I start to have to look to rent it out to other uses.”

In an all-staff email with the subject line “Confidential/Internal - Need a Mission Latino Resident,” Eric Paul Leue, Kink’s director of sexual health and advocacy, proposed that Kink recruit a Latino Mission resident to speak out against Prop. I. He also urged the staff to keep the memo “internal.”

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Members of Private Tennis Club Fight to Protect Their Space and the "Spirit of the City"

Posted By on Mon, Oct 19, 2015 at 12:18 PM

Proposed design from Alexandria Real Estate and TMG Partners. - COURTESY SF PLANNING DEPT.
  • Courtesy SF Planning Dept.
  • Proposed design from Alexandria Real Estate and TMG Partners.

In an unusual twist on the tech/displacement narrative, more than 200 members of San Francisco’s only indoor tennis club are protesting plans to demolish the site and build a five-story office complex in its place, deeming the proposal another example of tech’s cannibalization of the city.

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Yerba Buena Island Residents to Protest Evictions at City Hall

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 9:44 AM

Yerba Buena Island residents want the right to return after the island's redevelopment
  • Yerba Buena Island residents want the right to return after the island's redevelopment

Residents of Yerba Buena Island facing eviction from former Naval officer housing on the island will be joined by Eviction Free San Francisco and other anti-displacement organizations in a protest at City Hall today at 11:30 a.m. The YBI residents are demanding a public hearing by the Board of Supervisors before they are evicted in September. 

As SF Weekly reported earlier this year, about 40 households on YBI were issued eviction notices after the U.S. Navy transferred ownership of about half the island to the City of San Francisco. That transfer is the first step in the long-planned development of Yerba Buena and Treasure Islands. Lennar and Wilson Meany Sullivan plan to build 8000 units of housing on the two islands in the coming decades. 

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Giants and Jane Kim Reach Deal to Increase Affordable Housing at Mission Rock Development to 40%

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 1:30 PM

40% of the housing units at Mission Rock will be below market rate rentals - RENDERING BY STEELBLUE/PERKINS + WILL/SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
  • Rendering by Steelblue/Perkins + Will/San Francisco Giants
  • 40% of the housing units at Mission Rock will be below market rate rentals

The San Francisco Giants and a team of affordable housing advocates led by Supervisor Jane Kim have reached an agreement to increase to 40% the affordable housing component in the team's Mission Rock development. Under the agreement, which was reached early this morning after an all-night negotiation session, the project will include what Supervisor Kim calls an "unprecedented" level of below-market rate housing, at the following levels:

  • 2% of units affordable to residents earning 45% of the area median income (AMI)
  • 10% of units affordable to residents earning 55% AMI
  • 4% of units affordable to residents earning 90% AMI
  • 17% of units affordable to residents earning 120% AMI
  • 7% of units affordable to residents earning 150% AMI.

The development is expected to include approximately 1500 housing units total. The 2015 area median income [pdf] is $71,350 for a single person and $81,500 for a couple. 

"Both sides really stretched to come to this agreement," Kim said today by telephone. "We are now looking at a project that can include everyone from ballpark workers making 45% of AMI all the way to middle-income residents like teachers and nurses." 

A document memorializing the deal was signed by the Giants and the negotiating team of affordable housing advocates, which was made up of Jane Kim, Supervisor John Avalos, and representatives from the Bill Sorro Housing Project (BiSHoP), the Council of Community Housing Organizations, and UNITE HERE Local 2. 

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Monday, June 15, 2015

California Supreme Court Will Rule On Affordable Housing Requirements Today

Posted By on Mon, Jun 15, 2015 at 10:15 AM

  • Glenn Sapaden/Flickr

Update: The California Supreme Court has ruled in favor of allowing cities to retain broad authority in establishing affordable housing mandates. 

The California Supreme Court will rule today in a case about affordable housing requirements that could affect nearly 200 cities across the state, including San Francisco.

In 2010, the city of San Jose passed a law requiring some new residential developments to designate 15 percent of units as below-market rate. The California Building Industry Association fired back, arguing the city didn’t justify its 15 percent mandate nor demonstrate the negative impact of market-rate housing.

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