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  #941  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2007, 12:19 AM
BTinSF BTinSF is offline
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^^^That's the site of 45 Lansing if I understand what you are referring to (the lot fronts both Harrison and Lansing)--next to the gas station, no?

To quote from the SF Business Times most recent piece on this project (April 2007):

Quote:
Turnberry set to go on 227-unit Rincon tower
Turnberry is gearing up to start construction on its 227-unit 45 Lansing St. project, likely to be the third of the six razor-thin luxury condo towers on Rincon Hill.

Turnberry has hired Swedroe Architects and HKS to tweak the design. Swedroe has been designing Turnberry's towers for 30 years. On March 15, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously approved the revised design. The reconfigured west façade offers better views of the hills and Mission corridor.

"The design features a smooth, seamless prism of glass on the northeast corner that extends from the base to the top of the tower," said Mark Donahue, design director of HKS Architects.
Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...n1.html?page=1

I, for one, am holding my breath and turning blue awaiting a rendering but none of the outfits involved--Turnberry, HKS, Swedroe--have posted one I can find.
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  #942  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2007, 5:35 AM
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Yes, that's the one! I was thrown off looking for a Harrison address. That news is very good to hear. I know you'll find it as soon as someone sneaks it onto the Internet somewhere -- you always do! I can't wait to see it (both in rendering and rising out of the ground).
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  #943  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 4:09 AM
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350 Bush/500 Pine to start construction "as soon as possible"

Quote:
Lincoln set to build after record buy
Shorenstein partnership sells downtown parcels for $60M
San Francisco Business Times - September 21, 2007
by J.K. Dineen
Story Images

Paying a record price for land in downtown San Francisco, Lincoln Property Co. has acquired office building sites at 350 Bush St. and 500 Pine St. for more than $60 million and plans to start driving piles as soon as next spring on a speculative basis.

The seller was a partnership of Shorenstein Properties, the Swig Co., and Weiler & Arnow Management Co. The three family-owned real estate corporations had assembled the sites over the course of four decades and received approvals for the projects six years ago.

The price, more than $150 per buildable square foot, reflects both the difficulty of entitling office projects in downtown and the fact that the parcels are the only two office building sites remaining in the north financial district.

Lincoln Property Executive Vice President John Herr said his company would start construction "as soon as possible" on the two buildings, a 19-story, 350,000-square-foot tower at 350 Bush St. and a five-story, 50,000-square-foot structure at 500 Pine St. The two buildings would cost about $250 million to develop, based on current construction costs.

"We believe the San Francisco office market is and will remain one of the strongest office markets in the country," said Herr. "It has proven itself with the level of investment sales over the last 18 to 24 months. The opportunity to build institutional quality, class-A office buildings in a premier location amidst strong demand and limited competition we found to be very compelling."

Lincoln, which owns 601 California St. and Waterfront Plaza, has hired Bill Cumberlich of the CAC Group to lease the new buildings. Lincoln's financial partner on the deal is ASB Capital, a union pension fund adviser based in Bethesda, Md.

The decision to sell was motivated by the fact that the three family-owned companies are each busy on other projects and were not in a position to "co-develop," particularly on speculative basis, according to Shorenstein Executive Vice President Tom Hart and Swig CEO Jeanne Myerson.

Hart said that the unloading of 350 Bush St. should not be seen as a signal that Shorenstein is not committed to San Francisco. Shorenstein and SKS Development are building a 450,000-square-foot biotech campus for FibroGen in San Francisco's Mission Bay, and the firm is negotiating with the Port of San Francisco to build a recreation complex with office space and a ferry terminal at Piers 27-31. Shorenstein started out as a San Francisco developer and has evolved into a national real estate fund sponsor.

"Everyone's first reaction is Shorenstein is pulling out of the city," said Hart. "This was an old, longtime partnership of more than 40 years, and each of us has migrated to other platforms and business plans. It was better to sell than co-develop something."

The Swig and Shorenstein companies still jointly own the Russ Building at 235 Montgomery St., which Shorenstein is moving to from 555 California St.

Myerson said it was hard to part with the sites, which took more than three years to take through an excruciating, complex approval process. But it was important to find a developer willing to break ground without a tenant in hand.

"Lincoln is going to do a very good job, and we are thrilled they are going to move ahead on a spec basis, which is what you need to do with a property like that," she said.

HellerManus designed both buildings. The Bush Street design incorporates the historic terra cotta façade, pediment and columns of the Mining Exchange building on the site and includes outdoor balconies and a 120-car garage. The 500 Pine St. project includes a rooftop garden connected to St. Mary's Park. Under the city approvals, the two buildings must be developed simultaneously as the developers agreed to expand the green space at 500 Pine St. as mitigation for shadows 350 Bush St. will cast on St. Mary's Park.

Herr said the design would not change.

"Our intention is to build the building that was approved by the Planning Commission with no material modifications," said Herr. "We think it's a high-quality design and will be well-received in the marketplace when completed."

There is one speculative highrise under construction downtown, Tishman Speyer's 555 Mission St., scheduled for completion in late 2008. Along with Beacon Capital Partners' 535 Mission St., approved last month, 350 Bush is the lone office highrise likely to be delivered in 2009. Other major proposed office projects -- 181 Fremont St., 350 Mission St., 222 Second St., 50 First St. -- are unlikely to be completed before 2010 or 2011.

While the California Street canyon still represents the spine of San Francisco's business community, the south financial district has been gaining ground in recent years. The two most well-regarded office towers constructed in the past decade -- 560 Mission St. and 101 Second St. -- are both along South of Market's dynamic and rapidly developing Mission Street, as is Millennium Partners new condo tower and Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Contemporary Museum, with its blue metal cube popping out of an old brick power station.

The new Transbay Terminal and Tower, which could add as much as 1.5 million square feet of office space by 2012, will further solidify Mission Street as the center of the city's economic engine.

But HellerManus Principal Jeffrey Heller said the traditional northern financial district still has an allure. The Bush Street building will be next to Belden Place's outside dining and offer views of nearby Union Square and Nob Hill.

"I think 350 Bush really completes that area around the BofA and that hopefully it'll be a gemstone," said Heller.

jkdineen@bizjournals.com / (415) 288-4971
Source: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfranci...ml?t=printable
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  #944  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 7:31 AM
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Time for listening, a bit, to what the other side is saying (just as a reality check):

Quote:
Forget the neighbors: build away!

Do we still care about Prop. M?

By Dan Hoyle

OPINION

Having considered San Francisco something of a utopian American city (certainly compared with others), I assumed the only reason city officials were on the verge of allowing perfect little Valencia Street to be turned into Emeryville West was that they were simply unaware of what a handful of developers and a few folks in the Planning Department were cooking up.

All they needed was to hear from the neighbors, some responsible concerned adults, to call their attention to this under-the-radar remaking of our beloved Mission. Giant, five-story luxury condo blocks would be so obviously wrong for Valencia, so against the will of the vast majority of the citizens who live here, and so clearly in violation the intent of the law we passed to protect our neighborhoods that they would simply say, "Holy cow, thank you!" and stop it.

No. See, it doesn't work that way.

Proposition M (the law passed by San Franciscans in the 1980s to protect the way our city looks and feels from just such neighborhood-crushing development) is not treated as law or as a defining statement by San Franciscans about how they want their city developed. Rather, it is ignored.

After months of work and research, countless meetings, and coordinating the support of hundreds of concerned neighbors into one large group, we waited more than 20 hours to speak for three minutes in front of the Planning Commission about just one of these giant condo projects, at 700 Valencia.

When we finally got our three minutes (at 11:45 p.m.!), two commissioners were literally asleep. The gavel swung. Approved.

It was like the people of San Francisco never showed up.

Like Prop. M never passed.

Like the Mission didn't exist as a real neighborhood.

The feeling was like "OK, I've finally done something more than vote to actually make this city I've lived in and loved for so many years a better place. I've joined up with other idealistic San Franciscans, mostly wonderful neighbors I'd never even met before, who worked far more valiantly than I on this process. And it doesn't matter."

The law, and the people of San Francisco and the Mission, are all simply impediments, nuisances, to developers making their money, the planning commissioners getting home to bed, and the people with degrees at the Planning Department who believe, incredibly, that they should personally get to change and remake ("plan") this historic, world-famously beautiful city.

It's happening as you read this. The middle-finger building going up obscenely in front of the Bay Bridge is just the beginning. The destruction of Valencia Street may soon be an afterthought.

I'm suddenly very skeptical about the future livability of the neighborhood I've proudly been part of for more than 20 years. But it may not be too late to save yours.

Call, write, and visit your supervisors! Remind them that Prop. M is still the voice of the people.*

Dan Hoyle is a Valencia Street activist. He can be reached at savevalencia@gmail.com
Source: http://www.sfbayguardian.com/printab...?entry_id=4558
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  #945  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 7:45 AM
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SF Bay Guardian Proposes "Prop. M for Housing"

You read the headline right. We can only save housing in SF by killing it. We can only get enough housing by limiting how much can be built. Read on:

Quote:
Our three-point plan to save San Francisco

A radical new approach to affordable housing isn't just an option anymore — it's imperative

By Sarah Phelan and Tim Redmond

news@sfbg.com

Curtis Aaron leaves his house at 9 a.m. and drives to work as a recreation center director for the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. He tries to leave enough time for the trip; he's expected on the job at noon.

Aaron lives in Stockton. He moved there with his wife and two kids three years ago because "there was no way I could buy a place in San Francisco, not even close." His commute takes three hours one way when traffic is bad. He drives by himself in a Honda Accord and spends $400 a month on gas.

Peter works for the city as a programmer and lives in Suisun City, where he moved to buy a house and start a family. Born and raised in San Francisco, he is now single again, with grown-up children and a commute that takes a little more than an hour on a good day.

"I'd love to move back. I love city life, but I want to be a homeowner, and I can't afford that in the city," Peter, who asked us not to use his last name, explained. "I work two blocks from where I grew up and my mom's place, which she sold 20 years ago. Her house is nothing fancy, but it's going for $1.2 million. There's no way in hell I could buy that."

Aaron and Peter aren't paupers; they have good, unionized city jobs. They're people who by any normal standard would be considered middle-class — except that they simply can't afford to live in the city where they work. So they drive long distances every day, burning fossil fuels and wasting thousands of productive hours each year.

Their stories are hardly unique or new; they represent part of the core of the city's most pressing problem: a lack of affordable housing.

Just about everyone on all sides of the political debate agrees that people like Aaron and Peter ought to be able to live in San Francisco. Keeping people who work here close to their jobs is good for the environment, good for the community, and good for the workers.

"A lack of affordable housing is one of the city's greatest challenges," Mayor Gavin Newsom acknowledged in his 2007–08 draft budget.

The mayor's answer — which at times has the support of environmentalists — is in part to allow private developers to build dense, high-rise condominiums, sold at whatever price the market will bear, with a small percentage set aside for people who are slightly less well-off.

The idea is that downtown housing will appeal to people who work in town, keeping them out of their cars and fighting sprawl. And it assumes that if enough market-rate housing is built, eventually the price will come down. In the meantime, demanding that developers make somewhere around 15 percent of their units available at below-market rates should help people like Aaron and Peter — as well as the people who make far less money, who can never buy even a moderately priced unit, and who are being displaced from this city at an alarming rate. And a modest amount of public money, combined with existing state and federal funding, will make affordable housing available to people at all income levels.

But the facts are clear: this strategy isn't working — and it never will. If San Francisco has any hope of remaining a city with economic diversity, a city that has artists and writers and families and blue-collar workers and young people and students and so many of those who have made this one of the world's great cities, we need to completely change how we approach the housing issue.

HOMELESS OR $100,000

The housing plans coming out of the Mayor's Office right now are aimed primarily at two populations: the homeless people who have lost all of their discretionary income due to Newsom's Care Not Cash initiative, and people earning in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year who can't afford to buy homes. For some time now, the mayor has been diverting affordable-housing money to cover the unfunded costs of making Care Not Cash functional; at least that money is going to the truly needy.

Now Newsom's housing director, Matt Franklin, is talking about what he recently told the Planning Commission is a "gaping hole" in the city's housing market: condominiums that would allow people on the higher end of middle income to become homeowners.

At a hearing Sept. 17, Doug Shoemaker of the Mayor's Office of Housing told a Board of Supervisors committee that the mayor wants to see more condos in the $400,000 to $600,000 range — which, according to figures presented by Service Employees International Union Local 1021, would be out of the reach of, say, a bus driver, a teacher, or a licensed vocational nurse.

Newsom has put $43 million in affordable-housing money into subsidies for new home buyers in the past year. The Planning Department is looking at the eastern neighborhoods as ground zero for a huge new boom in condos for people who, in government parlance, make between 120 and 150 percent of the region's median income (which is about $90,000 a year for a family of four).

In total, the eastern neighborhoods proposal would allow about 7,500 to 10,000 new housing units to be added over the next 20 years. Downtown residential development at Rincon Hill and the Transbay Terminal is expected to add 10,000 units to the housing mix, and several thousand more units are planned for Visitacion Valley.

The way (somewhat) affordable housing will be built in the eastern part of town, the theory goes, is by creating incentives to get developers to build lower-cost housing. That means, for example, allowing increases in density — changing zoning codes to let buildings go higher, for example, or eliminating parking requirements to allow more units to be crammed into an available lot. The more units a developer can build on a piece of land, the theory goes, the cheaper those units can be.

But there's absolutely no empirical evidence that this has ever worked or will ever work, and here's why: the San Francisco housing market is unlike any other market for anything, anywhere. Demand is essentially insatiable, so there's no competitive pressure to hold prices down.

"There's this naive notion that if you reduce costs to the market-rate developers, you'll reduce the costs of the unit," Calvin Welch, an affordable-housing activist with more than three decades of experience in housing politics, told the Guardian. "But where has that ever happened?"

In other words, there's nothing to keep those new condos at rates that even unionized city employees — much less service-industry workers, nonprofit employees, and those living on much lower incomes — can afford.

In the meantime, there's very little discussion of the impact of increasing density in the nation's second-densest city. Building housing for tens of thousands of new people means spending hundreds of millions of dollars on parks, recreation centers, schools, police stations, fire stations, and Muni lines for the new neighborhoods — and that's not even on the Planning Department's radar. Who's going to pay for all that? Nothing — nothing — in what the mayor and the planners are discussing in development fees will come close to generating the kind of cash it will take to make the newly dense areas livable.

"The solution we are striving for has not been achieved," said Chris Durazo, chair of the South of Market Community Action Network, an organizing group. "Should we be looking at the cost to developers to build affordable housing or the cost to the neighborhood to be healthy? We're looking at the cumulative impacts of policy, ballot measures, and planning and saying it doesn't add up."

In fact, Shoemaker testified before the supervisors' committee that the city is $1.14 billion short of the cash it needs to build the level of affordable housing and community amenities in the eastern neighborhoods that are necessary to meet the city's own goals.

This is, to put it mildly, a gigantic problem.

THE REST OF US

Very little of what is on the mayor's drawing board is rental housing — and even less is housing available for people whose incomes are well below the regional median, people who earn less than $60,000 a year. That's a large percentage of San Franciscans.

The situation is dire. Last year the Mayor's Office of Community Development reported that 16 percent of renters spend more than half of their income on housing costs. And a recent report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition notes that a minimum-wage earner would have to work 120 hours a week, 52 weeks a year, to afford the $1,551 rent on a two-bedroom apartment if they spent the recommended 30 percent of their income on housing.

Ted Gullickson of the San Francisco Tenants Union told us that Ellis Act evictions have decreased in the wake of 2006 Board of Supervisors legislation that bars landlords from converting their property from rentals to condos if they evict senior or disabled tenants.

But the condo market is so profitable that landlords are now offering to buy out their tenants — and are taking affordable, rent-controlled housing off the market at the rate of a couple of hundred units a month.

City studies also confirm that white San Franciscans earn more than twice as much as their Latino and African American counterparts. So it's hardly surprising that the Bayview–Hunters Point African American community is worried that it will be displaced by the city's massive redevelopment plan for that area. These fears were reinforced last year, when Lennar Corp., which is developing 1,500 new units at Hunters Point Shipyard, announced it will only build for-sale condos at the site rather than promised rental units. Very few African American residents of Bayview–Hunters Point will ever be able to buy those condos.

Tony Kelly of the Potrero Hill Boosters believes the industrial-zoned land in that area is the city's last chance to address its affordable-housing crisis. "It's the biggest single rezoning that the city has ever tried to do. It's a really huge thing. But it's also where a lot of development pressure is being put on the city, because the first sale on this land, once it's rezoned, will be the most profitable."

Land use attorney Sue Hestor sees the eastern neighborhoods as a test of San Francisco's real political soul.

"There is no way it can meet housing goals unless a large chunk of land goes for affordable housing, or we'll export all of our low-income workers," Hestor said. "We're not talking about people on welfare, but hotel workers, the tourist industry, even newspaper reporters.

"Is it environmentally sound to export all your workforce so that they face commute patterns that take up to three and four hours a day, then turn around and sell condos to people who commute to San Jose and Santa Clara?"

A THREE-POINT PLAN

It's time to rethink — completely rethink — the way San Francisco addresses the housing crisis. That involves challenging some basic assumptions that have driven housing policy for years — and in some quarters of town, it's starting to happen.

There are three elements of a new housing strategy emerging, not all from the same people or organizations. It's still a bit amorphous, but in community meetings, public hearings, blog postings, and private discussions, a program is starting to take shape that might actually alter the political landscape and make it possible for people who aren't millionaires to rent apartments and even buy homes in this town.

Some of these ideas are ours; most of them come from community leaders. We'll do our best to give credit where it's due, but there are dozens of activists who have been participating in these discussions, and what follows is an amalgam, a three-point plan for a new housing policy in San Francisco.

1. Preserve what we have. This is nothing new or terribly radical, but it's a cornerstone of any effective policy. As Welch points out repeatedly, in a housing crisis the cheapest and most valuable affordable housing is the stuff that already exists.

Every time a landlord or real estate speculator tries to make a fast buck by evicting a tenant from a rent-controlled apartment and turning that apartment into a tenancy in common or a condo, the city's affordable-housing stock diminishes. And it's far cheaper to look for ways to prevent that eviction and that conversion than it is to build a new affordable-rental apartment to replace the one the city has lost.

The Tenants Union has been talking about this for years. Quintin Mecke, a community organizer who is running for mayor, is making it a key part of his platform: More city-funded eviction defense. More restrictions on what landlords can do with buildings emptied under the Ellis Act. And ultimately, a statewide strategy to get that law — which allows landlords to clear a building of tenants, then sell it as condos — repealed.

Preserving existing housing also means fighting the kind of displacement that happens when high-end condos are squeezed into low-income neighborhoods (which is happening more and more in the Mission, for example, with the recent approval of a market-rate project at 3400 César Chávez).

And — equally important — it means preserving land.

Part of the battle over the eastern neighborhoods is a struggle for limited parcels of undeveloped or underdeveloped real estate. The market-rate developers have their eyes (and in many cases, their claws) on dozens of sites — and every time one of them is turned over for million-dollar condos, it's lost as a possible place to construct affordable housing (or to preserve blue-collar jobs).

"Areas that have been bombarded by condos are already lost — their industrial buildings and land are already gone," Oscar Grande of People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights told us.

So when activists (and some members of the Board of Supervisors) talk about slowing down or even stopping the construction of new market-rate housing in the eastern neighborhoods area, it's not just about preventing the displacement of industry and blue-collar jobs; it's also about saving existing, very limited, and very valuable space for future affordable housing.

And that means putting much of the eastern neighborhoods land off limits to market-rate housing of any kind.

The city can't exactly use zoning laws to mandate low rents and low housing prices. But it can place such high demands on developers — for example, a requirement that any new market-rate housing include 50 percent very-low-income affordable units — that the builders of the million-dollar condos will walk away and leave the land for the kind of housing the city actually needs.

2. Find a new, reliable, consistent way to fund affordable housing. Just about everyone, including Newsom, supports the notion of inclusionary housing — that is, requiring developers to make a certain number of units available at lower-than-market rates. In San Francisco right now, that typically runs at around 15 percent, depending on the size of the project; some activists have argued that the number ought to go higher, up to 20 or even 25 percent.

But while inclusionary housing laws are a good thing as far as they go, there's a fundamental flaw in the theory: if San Francisco is funding affordable housing by taking a small cut of what market-rate developers are building, the end result will be a city where the very rich far outnumber everyone else. Remember, if 15 percent of the units in a new luxury condo tower are going at something resembling an affordable rate, that means 85 percent aren't — and ultimately, that leads to a population that's 85 percent millionaire.

The other problem is how you measure and define affordable. That's typically based on a percentage of the area's median income — and since San Francisco is lumped in with San Mateo and Marin counties for income statistics, the median is pretty high. For a family of four in San Francisco today, city planning figures show, the median income is close to $90,000 a year.

And since many of these below-market-rate projects are priced to be affordable to people making 80 to 100 percent of the median income, the typical city employee or service-industry worker is left out.

In fact, much of the below-market-rate housing built as part of these projects isn't exactly affordable to the San Franciscans most desperately in need of housing. Of 1,088 below-market-rate units built in the past few years in the city, Planning Department figures show, just 169 were available to people whose incomes were below half of the median (that is, below $45,000 a year for a family of four or $30,000 a year for a single person).

"A unit can be below market rate and still not affordable to 99 percent of San Franciscans," Welch noted.

This approach clearly isn't working.

So activists have been meeting during the past few months to hammer out a different approach, a way to sever affordable-housing funding from the construction of market-rate housing — and to ensure that there's enough money in the pot to make an actual difference.

It's a big number. "If we have a billion dollars for affordable housing over the next 15 years, we have a fighting chance," Sup. Chris Daly told us. "But that's the kind of money we have to talk about to make any real impact."

In theory, the mayor and the supervisors can just allocate money from the General Fund for housing — but under Newsom, it's not happening. In fact, the mayor cut $30 million of affordable-housing money this year.

The centerpiece of what Daly, cosponsoring Sup. Tom Ammiano, and the housing activists are talking about is a charter amendment that would earmark a portion of the city's annual property-tax collections — somewhere around $30 million — for affordable housing. Most of that would go for what's known as low- and very-low-income housing — units affordable to people who earn less than half of the median income. The measure would also require that current housing expenditures not be cut — to "lock in everything we're doing now," as Daly put it — so that that city would have a baseline of perhaps $60 million a year.

Since the federal government makes matching funds available for many affordable-housing projects, that money could be leveraged into more than $1 billion.


Of course, setting aside $30 million for affordable housing means less money for other city programs, so activists are also looking at ways to pay for it. One obvious option is to rewrite the city's business-tax laws, replacing some or all of the current payroll tax money with a tax on gross receipts. That tax would exempt all companies with less than $2 million a year in revenue — the vast majority of the small businesses in town — and would be skewed to tax the bigger businesses at a higher rate.

Daly's measure is likely headed for the November 2008 ballot.

The other funding option that's being discussed in some circles — including the Mayor's Office of Housing — is complicated but makes a tremendous amount of sense. Redevelopment agencies now have the legal right to sell revenue bonds and to collect income based on so-called tax increments — that is, the increased property-tax collections that come from a newly developed area. With a modest change in state law, the city should be able to do that too — to in effect capture the increased property taxes from new development in, say, the Mission and use that money entirely to build affordable housing in the neighborhood.

That, again, is a big pot of cash — potentially tens of millions of dollars a year. Assemblymember Mark Leno (D–San Francisco) told us he's been researching the issue and is prepared to author state legislation if necessary to give the city the right to use tax-increment financing anywhere in town. "With a steady revenue stream, you can issue revenue bonds and get housing money up front," he said.

That's something redevelopment agencies can do, and it's a powerful tool: revenue bonds don't have to go to the voters and are an easy way to raise money for big projects — like an ambitious affordable-housing development program.

Somewhere, between all of these different approaches, the city needs to find a regular, steady source for a large sum of money to build housing for people who currently work in San Francisco. If we want a healthy, diverse, functioning city, it's not a choice any more; it's a mandate.

3. A Proposition M for housing. One of the most interesting and far-reaching ideas we've heard in the past year comes from Marc Salomon, a Green Party activist and policy wonk who has done extensive research into the local housing market. It may be the key to the city's future.

In March, Salomon did something that the Planning Department should have done years ago: he took a list of all of the housing developments that had opened in the South of Market area in the past 10 years and compared it to the Department of Elections' master voter files for 2002 and 2006. His conclusion: fully two-thirds of the people moving into the new housing were from out of town. The numbers, he said, "indicate that the city is pursuing the exact opposite priorities and policies of what the Housing Element of the General Plan calls for in planning for new residential construction."

That confirms what we found more than a year earlier when we knocked on doors and interviewed residents of the new condo complexes ("A Streetcar Named Displacement," 10/19/05). The people for whom San Francisco is building housing are overwhelmingly young, rich, white commuters who work in Silicon Valley. Or they're older, rich empty nesters who are moving back to the city from the suburbs. They aren't people who work in San Francisco, and they certainly aren't representative of the diversity of the city's population and workforce.

Welch calls it "socially psychotic" planning.

Twenty-five years ago, the city was doing equally psychotic planning for commercial development, allowing the construction of millions of square feet of high-rise office space that was overburdening city services, costing taxpayers a fortune, creating congestion, driving up residential rents, and turning downtown streets into dark corridors. Progressives put a measure on the November 1986 ballot — Proposition M — that turned the high-rise boom on its head: from then on, developers had to prove that their buildings would meet a real need in the city. It also set a strict cap on new development and forced project sponsors to compete in a "beauty contest" — and only the projects that offered something worthwhile to San Francisco could be approved.

That, Salomon argues, is exactly how the city needs to approach housing in 2007.

He's been circulating a proposal that would set clear priority policies for new housing. It starts with a finding that is entirely consistent with economic reality: "Housing prices [in San Francisco] cannot be lowered by expanding the supply of market-rate housing."

It continues, "San Francisco values must guide housing policy. The vast majority of housing produced must be affordable to the vast majority of current residents. New housing must be economically compatible with the neighborhood. The most needy — homeless, very low income people, disabled people, people with AIDS, seniors, and families — must be prioritized in housing production. ... [and] market-rate housing can be produced only as the required number of affordable units are produced."

The proposal would limit the height of all new housing to about six stories and would "encourage limited-equity, permanently affordable homeownership opportunities."

Salomon suggests that San Francisco limit the amount of new market-rate housing to 250,000 square feet a year — probably about 200 to 400 units — and that the developers "must produce aggressive, competitive community benefit packages that must be used by the Planning Commission as a beauty contest, with mandatory approval by the Board of Supervisors." (You can read his entire proposal at www.sfbg.com/newpropm.doc.)


There are all kinds of details that need to be worked out, but at base this is a brilliant idea; it could be combined with the new financing plans to shift the production of housing away from the very rich and toward a mix that will preserve San Francisco as a city of artists, writers, working-class people, creative thinkers, and refugees from narrow-minded communities all over, people who want to live and work and make friends and make art and raise families and be part of a community that has always been one of a kind, a rare place in the world.

There is still a way to save San Francisco — but we're running out of time. And we can't afford to pursue moderate, incremental plans. This city needs a massive new effort to change the way housing is built, rented, and sold — and we have to start now, today.*

To see what the Planning Department has in the pipeline, visit www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=58508. To see what is planned for the eastern neighborhoods, check out www.sfgov.org/site/planning_index.asp?id=67762.
Source: http://www.sfbayguardian.com/printab...?entry_id=4567

So there you have it folks. Make being a landlord so unavoidably miserable that no one with any sense will want to do it; drive business out of the city with a new gross receipts tax and limit new housing to 400 or so units a year in buildings no more than 6 stories. The Bay Guardian route to Nirvana--but they have their audience and I expect to see this stuff on a ballot in the not too distant future.
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  #946  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 4:20 PM
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And it needs to be thoroughly defeated. How about a ballot initiative that repeals all zoning in the event the position passes.....
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 4:27 PM
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OH NO!!! A FIVE STORY STRUCTURE WAS PROPOSED FOR VALENCIA STREET! WE'RE TURNING INTO MANHATTAN!


This reminds me of when I voted in the '06 election at city hall, when I went into my voting booth, somebody had left the Bay Guardian "vote how we tell you to" strip that they had cut out, voting down the line just like a good little sheep. It's disgusting in this city how, if the liberals who have hijacked the liberal philosophy attach any kind of "republican" label to anything, their brainless sheeple will vote against it.

Republican conservative philosophy, from a financial stand point, actually has a lot of good points that we could really learn from to be able to grow.

But I just don't see this thing passing, less housing for San Francisco? What a bunch of nuts.
If they had their way, all the working people of San Francisco would be driven out of their homes, replaced with bums, schizos, welfare moms, and the poor. What a great city that would be!

Last edited by tyler82; Sep 22, 2007 at 4:51 PM.
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  #948  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 4:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyler82 View Post
This reminds me of when I voted in the '06 election at city hall, when I went into my voting booth, somebody had left the Bay Guardian "vote how we tell you to" strip that they had cut out, voting down the line just like a good little sheep.
Er, you may have followed me into the voting booth. I often take the Bay Guardian's endorsements with me--so I can make sure I vote AGAINST everything they support and FOR everything they oppose. I'm serious--I really do.
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  #949  
Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 5:41 PM
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I found a page on answers.com that lists the proposed 222 Second St at 436' and 32 floors and Emporis lists it at 33 floors. The first page of this thread lists it at 350' and 25. I'm curious who has it right. I also assume there are no renderings floating around or they'd be posted here.
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 7:23 PM
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Quote:
222 2nd Street, owned by Tishman Speyer Properties, will be the site of a 25-story, 350-foot-tall tower containing approximately 430,700 square feet of office space. The building will also include a retail component on the ground floor, and two levels of sub-grade parking. The project is registered under the LEED for Core & Shelll rating system, and it has been designed to achieve a LEED Gold rating. It is the first project in San Francisco to take advantage of the LEED Gold priority permitting process that provides an expedited permit review in the Planning Department, Department of Building Inspection, and Department of Public Works for any building with a goal of LEED Gold or higher. Two significant green features included in the design are an integrated design for the building façade and a green roof.
Source: http://www.greenbuild.com/projects/2222nd.html
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Old Posted Sep 22, 2007, 7:40 PM
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The problem with these social activists is that they don't understand business or fundamental economics. By limiting building to 200-400 units per year, this is not going to solve the need for creating more affordable housing. This is only going to tighten the housing market further and drive up the costs in a more rapid manner.

While I agree that most people who purchase these new condos do not work in the city, it needs to be noted that the developers are required to set-aside approximately 20% of the condos to affordable units. The city council should allow for as many developments as possible, if they want to make inroads on the housing crisis. Lets not forget also how much additional revenue will be generated through property taxes for the city in these developments. This additional money could be used for whatever social programs the city council deems worthy.

The illogical nature of the city council defies words sometimes. For one of the most educated cities in the country, we don't do a very good job in screening these jokers from office.
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  #952  
Old Posted Sep 23, 2007, 6:29 PM
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Originally Posted by peanut gallery View Post
I found a page on answers.com that lists the proposed 222 Second St at 436' and 32 floors and Emporis lists it at 33 floors. The first page of this thread lists it at 350' and 25. I'm curious who has it right. I also assume there are no renderings floating around or they'd be posted here.
The Planning Department has it at 350' and 25 floors, but not sure if that has changed. I can't find any renderings but there is a diagram in the planning documents. It sounds kind of interesting, "an irregularly shaped, eight-sided polyhedron." The architects are Thomas Phifer and Partners of New York, in association with Heller Manus.
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2007, 6:40 PM
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^ Yeah that's where I got those figures from. The project was originally proposed as a 436', 32 floor high-rise, but was later reduced to avoid a rezoning hearing at the Board of Supervisors. The site is currently zoned for 350'.
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2007, 7:10 PM
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^^^If you look on the previous page, I posted the latest information from Simon & Associates ("greenbuilding" consultants), who are involved with helping get it LEED certified, which gives the height at 350 ft and 25 stories. I have no doubt at all that that is correct. Tishman Speyer, the developer, wants to move forward using the expedited procedures for "green" buildings and that also means accepting the current height limits.

One more time, the reference is http://www.greenbuild.com/projects/2222nd.html Unless somebody has a different current reference to the contrary, it's 350 ft and 25 stories. All other information is out of date.
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Old Posted Sep 24, 2007, 6:58 PM
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Thanks everyone for answering my sometimes mundane questions. As usual, I was hoping for the taller option. But that's actually not a bad scale for that site. I'd just like to see something replace that parking lot soon.
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Old Posted Sep 25, 2007, 5:15 AM
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690 Market update. I took these today (9/24).




I didn't realize the overhangs would wrap around to the back:




The main entrance is coming along nicely:




They are detailing this nicely. The guy on the scissor lift is cleaning up the the pattern work on the inside of the arch. The guy on the right (behind the blue-tarped fence) appears to be drilling mounting holes for what I hope is additional stone work to go around the base of the entrance. It could be for something else, like signage or lighting, but I noticed that this surface was completely smooth, whereas other areas have a very fine fluting to give them some texture.

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  #957  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 10:48 PM
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Here are 2 projects I may be the only person on the forum who cares about, but I care because I live in the hood and because I think Van Ness is an important street:

818 Van Ness


Source: http://www.forumdesign.com/

And here is the building as of today:


By me using my cellphone

77 Van Ness

This building is of very similar size (8 stories) and by the same architect (ForumDesign) but I can't find a rendering anywhere.


Again, by me with my cellphone
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 10:56 PM
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1390 Mission

This rendering was originally posted by SanFrangelino:


Source: http://www.cahill-sf.com/images/uplo...MISSION_W1.jpg

I walked by today to see how things were going and took some snaps with my cellphone:



So even though there is no sign of activity at the long-awaited Market & 10th project across 10th St, this one is moving forward.
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  #959  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 11:31 PM
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^^ I for one, love hearing about some of the smaller infill projects. Especiall if they are 6-10 stories, contain many units and are outside of downtown. They add that Parisian density that I find just as desirable as high rises. I only wish the quality of architecture was a bit better in some of the projects, and that more was happening in the cities outer neighborhoods. Speaking of a higher standard of architectural integrity, aparently the business times has an article on a political push to up the standards in the city.

Thanks for sharing 818 and 77 BTSF. Here is 1501 Greenwich Via http://www.socketsite.com/. Here is a case where I find the architecture

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Old Posted Sep 26, 2007, 11:35 PM
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More smaller scale projects I have been watching, mostly because they are either near my condo or on a route I often take:

Parkview Terraces - Chinatown Community Development Senior project at Turk & Gough


Both photos from http://www.cahill-sf.com/experience/...project_no=730

This project is nearly complete.

650 Eddy (between Larkin and Polk)


All photos from http://www.cahill-sf.com/experience/...project_no=751

This project is 83 "affordable" housing units and the building is interesting because it seems to be designed to the Tenderloin height limit of 9 stories but it maintains the 4-5 story streetwall.

Salvation Army Turk St. Center



"The Salvation Army Turk Street Center project involves the construction of 113 studio and two bedroom apartments over a community center.

The community center includes a pool, gymnasium, locker room facilities, a chapel, a kitchen, aerobic and dance studios as well as several classrooms and some office spaces.

There is also a large courtyard on the third floor that has a running track and a climbing wall.

There is one level of below grade parking. This concrete and steel frame structure is constructed on a 3’ thick matt slab."

Photo and description from http://www.cahill-sf.com/experience/...project_no=736
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