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Friday, September 17, 2021

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News + PoliticsAt 17th and Mission, a "gentrification bomb"

At 17th and Mission, a “gentrification bomb”

 Planning Commission sets terrible precedent, allows tech office space to displace artists in the Mission

The SF Planning Commission voted 5-2 to allow tech offices in the neighborhoods
The SF Planning Commission voted 5-2 to allow tech offices in the neighborhoods

By Tim Redmond

SEPTEMBER 3, 2015 – There was a lot of discussion and obfuscation around a plan to retrofit and restructure the space of a large building at 17th and Mission, but the bottom line was clear:

The owners of the building, where Thrift Town occupies the lower floor and artist studios dominate the upper stories, want to replace art space with tech offices.

It would be the first time that the city allowed tech offices to move into space in the Mission where that type of office use has always been illegal. And it would dbusiness space and an influx of high-rent office space that would radically transform the business mix in that part of town.

The same issues are coming up in Chinatown, and if the city decides that tech offices, which typically pay much higher rent than many other traditional uses, can move into neighborhood commercial districts, no part of the city will be safe.

As one person put it, “what happens if you fill the building with people who make more than $100,000 a year? You will be dropping a gentrification bomb. People in the neighborhood are scared as hell.”

John Elberling, a land-use expert and director of TODCO, noted that if the project is approved, “you are issuing a hunting license to buy a building, let the Production, Distribution, and Repair and artist leases expire, and then they come to you and ask for office space.  If you let it happen, it will metastasize and spread.”

The lawyer representing the building owner, Steven Vettel, argued that the owner can’t possibly pay to do the necessary seismic upgrades and repairs without the increased rent that tech offices can pay. Vettel said some space will still be leased to artists, and that Thrift Town will remain, but that low-rent tenants have to be replaced with companies that can underwrite the cost of the work.

Among other things, the building’s foundation is a mess and needs extensive work.


Commissioner Dennis Richards asked Rick Holman the central question: Didn’t you know when you bought the place that it had all these problems, that it needed seismic work?

Holman said that he didn’t know all the problems. He said that if he had known how problematic the place was, he wouldn’t have bought it. But he said he’s not going to sue the owner who sold it to him “for what happened before.”

Still: The guy bought the building, and presumably walked through, or should have walked through, and done a comprehensive inspection. Now he’s saying that he can’t afford to fix it without changing a significant part of the use to tech offices.

He may have overpaid at $15.6 million. But that’s not the city’s problem; that’s not a reason to change long-established zoning laws.

So here’s the game: The Planning Department is defining “administrative services” to include what anywhere else would be called “tech office.” Administrative service is allowed in neighborhood commercial areas, but in that past, that’s meant things like a copy shop or an accountant – an office use that directly served local businesses.

None of the tech tenants fit that description. Yes, they offer business-to-business services; so does Salesforce. But nobody is arguing that Salesforce should open shop in the Mission. It’s a huge stretch to say they are the same as, say, a copy or print shop.

The big difference, of course, is money. The old accountant offices and print shops paid about the same rent as the artists and the retail tenants. The tech industry is so well funded that tech tenants can afford vastly higher rents, which drive out other types of use.

If the city decides that tech offices are okay along the Mission St. corridor, it will be the end of the existing (community serving) business structure.

“For me, the issue is the office,” said Commissioner Cindy Wu. “There are other uses, professional services for one, that might work here.”


There was a lot of talk at the hearing about how much space should be arts space, and how much should be trade-show space, and how much of the arts space should be rented at what the owner thinks is below-market space.

Some commissioners suggested that the third and fourth floor of the building, where there are high ceilings and natural light, could be more arts space. But a Holman insisted that if he can’t get tech-office level rent for that space, he will evict everyone, vacate the building, and sell it.

Why the building would have to be vacated to be sold was never discussed.

Commissioner Michael Antonini said that tech offices have “as much right to be in the Mission as anyone else.” That’s a radical statement, similar to saying that a rendering factory or a toxic-waste incinerator has the right to operate next to Antonini’s house.

There are reasons why the city has zoning. That zoning has always kept this sort office space out of neighborhood commercial districts.

There has never been any discussion in at the City Planning Commission about rezoning the Mission, or Chinatown, or Noe Valley, or the Inner Richmond, or any other neighborhood to allow the sort of office space that is now limited to downtown and a few other areas. If we want to have that discussion, fine.

“We would like a long-term blueprint policy,” Mission Economic Development Agency PolicyDirector Gabriel Medina said. “We don’t want spot zoning for every project.”

Commissioner Kathrin Moore said that “this is one of the most difficult things we’ve ever done. It may be the best compromise, but it’s not policy.”

But no: Spot zoning is the way of the day.  The deal passed 5-2, with only Moore and Cindy Wu voting no.

It’s pretty amazing that the commission would allow a building owner who has illegally created tech office space to retroactively, without any penalty, legalize that space in a neighborhood commercial district.

This was a terrible, terrible precedent. The message to every landlord in every neighborhood in town: Get rid of your PDR, your dentists and chiropractors, your residential tenants, and rent your space out to high-paying tech companies. Forget the zoning laws; just follow the model of Uber and Airbnb. Break the law with impunity, and go to City Hall afterward and ask for forgiveness – and a permit.

And you’ll get away with it.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  1. “Others”: Are you referring to other commissioners opposing every development? I haven’t seen any commission opposing projects as often as Antonini salivates over them.

  2. Nope. By my standards, it is worse. Then again, mid-Market was a shithole and is now a shithole. Only the faces and income levels have changed.

  3. Generic article about gentrification, hijack thread to rental only, insult with word salad, not respond substantively to conversation.

    Is there a tangentially irrelevant chart next?

  4. wcw to GarySFBCN: The 2002-6 rental market..
    sffoghorn to wcw: 2002-6 was [word salad]

    The terms of this conversation were the 2002-6 rental market.

  5. Fed dollars are laundered through banks which obscures their next destinations in the economic chain And the Fed “expanded its balance sheet” initially without full disclosure

  6. Spot zoning is terrible, unless you love crony capitalism. The only people who do are cronies. Right and left should agree: tech offices go downtown, full stop. Zoning matters.

    Everyone loses except for the crony.

  7. Fed dollars are laundered, their origins are obscured. We are not necessarily told of all of the dollars that the fed creates.

  8. The thesis of this article is that high-end development leads to gentrification. I think even some of the most right-wing commentators on this thread would agree with that proposition (although they don’t care). I think also that spot zoning decisions like the one described above will push out local community-serving businesses in the Mission, and that this won’t happen just once.

    That will lead to displacement and change in the Mission. More tech offices means more need for workers and higher rents for both offices and workers. Who profits? Property owners and developers. Who loses? Those of us who live here and don’t own property.

    Too often on the threads the discussion are binary: supply and demand. That removes the human element completely. That may be fine for some, not for me.

  9. Using ACS numbers from 2005 to 2013, San Francisco added 26,000 units; Santa Clara added 37,500. That is roughly proportionate, around 7% and 6%, respectively.

    How would building in outlying, low-density areas decrease gentrification and change in the community? Wouldn’t more scarcity in San Francisco increase displacement and change?

  10. Yes: if the Fed creates money and buys something, the flow shows up in the data, just like anyone else’s asset purchase.

    Fed dollars are not invisible, and in fact they cannot be invisible. If they were invisible, they would have no effect.

  11. The 2002-6 rental market in San Francisco was comparatively benign despite aggressive Fed rate cuts from 6.5% to 1%.

  12. Case-Shiller indexes likewise went straight up 1997-2006.

    The statement that a crash of tech equities pushed down housing prices is incoherent, since housing prices went up before, during and after the crash of tech equities.

  13. I’m not saying that higher densities in surrounding counties amounts to “sprawl.” We’ve got people driving all over the place and taking shuttles to San Mateo and Santa Clara counties for tech jobs. It just seems to me, and others I’ve spoken with, that SF is bearing a disproportionate share of the building boom. This includes some undesirable consequences such as gentrification and big changes in the character of the community.

    The only reason I can think of that it’s happening here is that profits are higher and city officials are easily bought.

  14. Barcelona has a density of 41,000 per square mile. And both Barcelona and Paris are smaller than San Francisco.

  15. You are flailing again. Low rates contribute to rising prices as does other forms of loose monetary policy and equity increases.

  16. Yes, the Federal Reserve, the Central Bank that creates USD. throwing money around is just like any buyer and seller in the market. That’s the ticket.

  17. Right, that is the argument for more sprawl. The arguments against sprawl range from its propensity to divide people to its waste of resources, from water for lawns to fuel for vehicles.

    What are the arguments for more sprawl, besides the yo-it’s-only-fair-dude relative density argument?

  18. Making San Francisco’s population relative to California (38.4 million) a metric is meaningless. And if you look at SF’s population density relative to other Bay Area counties, I think you could say that some of our friends could bear some of the increasing population load.

    I suspect the difference here is that the profits are higher and that we have a mayor and city hall that takes great pleasure in seeing a skyline dotted with construction cranes.

  19. Every market transaction has a buyer and a seller.

    If cash flows to asset sellers, directly and via buybacks, then the cash must show up with the sellers.

    Unusual cash flows must show up in the NIPA tables unless sellers are putting that cash in mattresses instead of in banks.

    Where are the torrents of cash?

  20. Pre-1980 banking regulation and culture would be healthy.

    It remains rank nonsense to assert that ’00s housing overinvestment was caused by low rates, Glass Steagall repeal or not. Were low rates the driver, we would see is again now.

  21. If cash were flowing into assets and buybacks, it would show up in the NIPA data unless sellers of assets and shares were putting the cash into their mattresses.

    Here are the tables. Where are the torrents of cash?

  22. Residential investment does not follow rates. The prior peak in residential investment was 1978, when interest rates were high. Rates are now low; residential investment is not high.

    A hypothesis with predictions the opposite of fact is false.

  23. There was a crash of tech equities.

    There followed a move up in housing prices.

    The statement that a crash of tech equities pushed down housing prices is incoherent, since housing prices went up.

    Up is not down.

  24. If we don’t build here, where should we build, the Delta and the desert? Sprawl seems a bad solution. San Francisco is shrinking relative to California. In 1920, over 10% lived here. In 1970, below 4%. Today, barely over 2%:


    Which part of [a] well run [public] building program would go a long way or public housing is.. meant.. to create positive externalities, which when run well is worth all the money spent sound like shilling for builders? Building should be public.

    If the Census Bureau data on vacancies and population did not foot, there would be reason to question their work. The numbers, of course, do foot; Census work is the gold standard for surveying population and housing.

  25. Serializing housing finance is when primary lenders shift housing mortgages from bank held to maturity, off of the bank’s books to serial bonds where many mortgages were bundled into CDO style instruments and sold to investors and paid in tranches.

  26. That was due to low interest rates up until 2005 and loose lending standards. With easy money for mortgages, residential investment will follow. Is this really that difficult for you to grok?

  27. There was a crash around 2000 and then there was a ‘recovery’ until the 2008 crash. Lather, rinse, repeat. There are these things in economics, they are called cycles. They are called cycles because they are cyclical.

  28. Because the cash is not flowing to domestic investment and net lending, Einstein, it is going to prop up asset prices and fund share buybacks.

  29. The target keeps shifting. In a discussion on an earlier thread I showed how your estimation of the vacancy rate (14,000 units) combined with the 7,000 units you said had been built, at 2.3 persons per unit (your figure) accommodated the 50,000 population gain you said had occurred over x time frame.

    It’s OK for you to shill for the builders, but there are important questions that need to be answered:
    – How big a population does SF want and what are the tradeoffs in getting there? ($am has a new number: 1.5 million).
    – Who profits from building booms and are we getting our money’s worth?
    – What happens to the quality of life during rapid building booms?
    – Are neighboring counties, particularly Santa Clara and San Mateo, absorbing their share of the building boom?
    – And others.

    Simply citing Paris as an example doesn’t work.

  30. Good thing that MEDA, the Mission Economic Development Association has been on the job of developing and stabilizing local serving businesses in The Mission for the past four decades. The quality of their work is exemplified in the rock solid stability of community serving businesses in the Mission, such as along Valencia Street.

  31. If the crash of tech equities which is tech investment, represented by the NASDAQ pushed down housing prices, why did housing prices go up afterwards?

    This literally is up-is-down territory.

    Here in the real world, however, up is not down. Housing prices went up after the dot-com market crashed.

  32. The “rising tide” of gentrification acts to drown working class citizens in two ways: by pushing up rents–but also by displacing businesses which serve and support the community

  33. Serialization? What the heck is that supposed to mean?

    2002-6 was a period of overinvestment in residential housing, not recovery. By the mid ’00s, residential investment was 7% of potential GDP, a level not reached in a half century.

  34. In the ten years ended 1994, San Francisco built 16,000 new units to house 30,000 new people.

    In the ten years ended 2004, San Francisco built 15,000 new units to house 31,000 new people.

    In the ten years ended 2014, San Francisco built 20,000 new units to house 80,000 new people.

    That isn’t a land grab. If anything, it’s the opposite.

  35. Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die.

    These people are now insiders who take no risks and are simply consuming down the political capital generated by others, outsiders, who came before them who did take risks.

  36. We have to punch through the corrupt nonprofits who are running interference for the boosters before we can have a chance of electing representative officials to office.

  37. There is only a free market when it suits your purposes, otherwise you are a socialist who is redder than red.

  38. The last time you mentioned an ideal population figure for SF it was 1 million $am. Like so many in SF’s investment class, your greed is getting ahead of you.

  39. This post gets to the heart of the matter. The quick buck artists are engaged in a land/development grab in SF. The Lee administration, no doubt fed by gobs of money, is giving them free reign.

  40. And yet I score over 90% in debates here.

    Most often achieved when the other side is reduced to ad hominem insults.

  41. They are appointed by those the voters elect, and sollow policies that the voters prioritized.

    If you do not like the results, vote differently.

  42. LOL, the stock market is now much higher than it was at any time in 2000-2010. So is SF RE. It’s because we have a successful economy. Capital follows success.

  43. For every projects that gets delayed, another nineteen get built. You can slow down the odd development here and there, but the tide and the trend is obvious to anyone who strolls through the Eastern Neighborhoods and they thousands of wonderful new homes.

    You lost.

  44. NEMIZ allows tech use. The “I” for Industry is merely an indicator of what are used to have. The purpose of NEMIZ is to help successfully migrate from industry to more viable commerical businesses

  45. People have a simple choice: Lay down and die or fight. and I’m not talking chanting or mean looks. Fight or die.

  46. By increasing tax revenues, all that VC money helps pay for social programs for the homeless, school lunch programs, street cleaning, gardeners in Golden Gate Park and all the other things progressives like so much

    No, it does not even come close.

  47. What is the material difference between 12th Street in SOMA and, say, 14th Street in the Mission?

    14th Street is a predominantly residential mixed with some light industrial east of Mission, one-way connector between Upper Market and The Mission.

    12th Street is two way, was sliced down the middle to create South Van Ness, carries very little traffic and is almost exclusively light industrial.


  48. People would do more than blink but the immediate impact to the blinkers would be psychological rather than economic.

  49. 2002-6 was a period of “recovery” in the economy and the housing market. Wall Street had not yet run the serialization scheme down to the dregs of borrowers. Stocks were inching up, never to reach dot.com highs before cratering in 2008 when financing dried up and housing prices fell again,

  50. So you admit that the crash of tech equities which is tech investment, represented by the NASDAQ pushed down housing prices.

  51. Is that the anti-development mood that is seeing construction cranes all over the city, and Ed Lee cruising to an easy re-election?

  52. Yet the voters are in an anti-development mood now. And just like the nonprofits sold out on Prop K metering, the nonprofits sold out on Eastern Neighborhoods and sold out on the moratorium.

    It is time to sell out the nonprofits.

  53. The US has a tournament economy already. The sea change was somewhere around 1980.

    Skittish investors are not a problem unless they affect the real economy. Whom is it going to affect if a few VCs blow up?

  54. One of the few things that Gary and I agree about is that SF can house 1.5 million people.

    And the city’s population is projected to increase indefinitely so we have little choice but to build for them, even if many of SF’s future workers can commute in from other Bay Area counties.

  55. It took the best part of a decades for all the interest parties to agree to the Eastern Neighborhoods plan. More than half of its envisaged new homes are already built or in the pipeline. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

    We build higher and denser in the eastern areas because that is where the infrastructure supports it and that is where people want to live

  56. The Mission would be better off if Eastern Neighborhoods was revised and amended to fix its deficiencies than to purchase a handful of parcels for CCHO.

  57. It is only so-called “luxury” housing that doesn’t require you to pay more in taxes

    How much more in taxes are you willing to pay so that someone you don’t know can have a subsidized home?

  58. The left have to believe in either a market collapse or an earthquake. It’s crucial to them that misery happens

  59. The fact that markets are cyclical has not been a problem because those cycles have always had higher lows and higher highs. The trend is always up.

  60. Our planners are appointed by those we elect. If you don’t like what they do then it is your fault. Vote differently

  61. Agreed, in just the 20 years I’ve been in SF, the city has improved hugely.

    Weird that a few tech workers in the Mission has the left reeling in terror

  62. That is fine as long as the voters are willing to pay for it.

    Americans typically prefer private affluence and public squalor

  63. Nope. I’m for lots of new housing, so long as significant amounts are built targeting low and middle income, not just #LUXURY, which does nothing to provide homes for working people.

  64. Thanks for the data, and yes there’s a lot to be learned. There is one difficult to quantify factor missing from assessment of the current funding boom: Investors can be more skittish than Zebras, even if there is a hiccup in the current economy. While cool minds may prevail, I don’t think that is a given. Not to mention the new ‘casino economy’ fundamentals President Trump may implement.

  65. Finally found a few minutes to read the article. Entertaining, but it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the ’90s tech bubble and why it mattered: it was simple overinvestment. When that collapsed, the economy took a hit.

    Here, I plotted fixed investment in information processing (aka tech) and residential (aka housing) versus potential GDP:


    You can see the ’90s tech bubble and the ’00s housing bubble by simple inspection. What you can’t see is a ’10s tech bubble, because there isn’t one. That’s not to say the Bay Area won’t suffer if the current funding boom ends, but the chances of that spurring a national or global crisis are small.

    Source: https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=1LwS

  66. Because you evade taxes and fees, you are hunkered in your bunker, where you only engage with bunker types who actually believe the day-to-day changes in the assessed value of their property actually means something. It doesn’t unless you sell or you are using that valuation for other purposes. Otherwise, it’s just a useless number on a piece of paper, often out of date when it is printed.

  67. Well, sure. Getting to today’s central Parisian densities involved some really very ugly transitions in itself. Point was, there is plenty of land for a very human, livable city that is much bigger.

  68. Prop M doesn’t really work (as our current situation proves) because there are too many exemptions and exceptions given. In order to be effective in addressing the problem, it needs to be applied to much smaller office developments, and there needs to be a direct tie between office and housing development. Right now the Prop M limit is not tied to anything tethering it to the conditions on the ground.

  69. Yeah there’s a bit of talking past one another here, but the place I think they intersect is that we can’t let the monied interests walk all over the existing building stock in the interim while we figure things out.

  70. Like public transit, public housing is not meant to be a ‘viable enterprise’. The intent is to create positive externalities, which when run well is worth all the money spent, and more.

  71. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be nice to have the housing density and infrastructure of Paris (let alone the 30-hour work week and social benefits). What I’m saying is that, while it’s a goal to strive for, saying “oh we should just be like Paris” is equivalent to the Underpants Gnomes’ strategy:

    Step 1: Steal underpants
    Step 2: ?
    Step 3: Profit!

  72. What did we ever do before VC money? Oh yeah, it was just the same. No, it was better because everything was cheaper.

  73. Once again, you employ character assassination. I don’t “crave” recession or an earthquake.

    I do not want “death and misery” – I merely stated, as others have – including Vanity Fair, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes – that we are probably overdue for a correction and it may be drastic.

    And your cajole that I want ‘death and misery’ to fulfill my ‘ideological vision’ is rich, considering that, as Phil79, you wrote this about me on this very blog:

    “”Yeah, I wonder what it is like to be Gary, who seemingly has no agenda or purpose in life other than to spy on his neighbors and rat them out for minor code violations.

    I suspect we might read about his abused, multiply-stabbed corpse being found in some alley in North Beach. And the
    police note that no neighbour can recall seeing what happened, with a glint in their eye. On the subject of which, have you seen the movie “Murder on the orient Express”?”


  74. Yeah, it’s interesting that in SF, even in a recession, controlled rents still go up, and developers still build new homes

    It’s almost as if some people take a long term view

  75. The world has been privatizing things for 35 years now precisely because of the widespread percetion that governments can barely organize a party in a brewery, let alone viable enterprises

  76. The 2002-6 rental market was as comparatively benign as it was in large part because the city continued to build throughout.

    Why stop building when the market is deeply undersupplied?

  77. Doubtful. If nothing else homeowners like the idea that they could borrow against their property, and that requires equity

    And insofar as they have kids, they prefer to let them inherit a greater value

    Which survey did you find that proved that “tiny minority”?

  78. Another part are land values, another part discretionary review, another part development fees. It could be much improved.

    Too bad the city is incompetent to build or manage public housing. A well run building program would go a long way.

  79. Yes, good point. Ideally we would liberalize zoning. But it all comes back to allowing greater density and less obstacles

  80. Progressives crave either a recession or an earthquake. That shows a certain bankruptcy of ideas. You want death and misery, just to fulfil your ideological vision?

  81. Not necessarily, and it depends on what you mean by “high.” Part of why building costs are so high is the labyrinthine planning process we have created.

  82. I know several people who are home owners who would trades part of their assessed home values to have San Francisco back.

  83. Then we face the same problem next time around. We have to shift the paradigm and make it cheaper to build here. It shouldn’t cost $890,000 to build 1 unit of housing.

  84. Oh yeah, exactly where are you “effective”

    This I would love to hear

    And anyway, if you were getting your way, you would not be whining all the time

  85. The only solution that is economically feasible is to allow a dramatic increase in construction via streamlining the planning process, in exchange for a higher BMR set-aside and hoping we build enough to before the bust to absorb some of the demand from the next boom.

  86. As you know, I agree. However, we can’t continue to let planning and development to be dominated by moneyed interests, especially those who are clueless about urban planning, don’t really care about San Francisco and are only here to make a buck.

  87. BART is being extended to Brentwood, Antioch and that area, I believe

    Then again, I’ve never been there so take that with a pinch of salt

  88. Everyone is not “screaming” about housing

    The one third of SF residents who own are making out like bandits, and very happy

    Probably another third are sitting sweet in a rent controlled place

  89. People have to live somewhere. Paris is a nice place to live, and its density hardly results from any sort of extreme measures.

    Where should people live instead, tract homes in the Delta?

  90. That hand sure as shit isn’t feeding me, with the tax breaks they get on top of the loopholes they exploit. Let’s just look at the biggest firms – how much money are Apple, Facebook, Google, and Uber keeping off-shore (and therefore untaxed).

  91. I believe that each of you is addressing a different problem: FLOlmsted is addressing housing and Pvt. Hudson is addressing office moving into the Mission.

    But I’m with you FL. All building should halt until we have a plan and timeline to solve the housing crisis that everyone is screaming about.

  92. We need to do both, but office space approvals will likely hit prop M limits soon, so you’ll get your halt …

  93. OK pedant, I’m talking *realistically*, because it is not realistic to think we are going to up-zone the entire city, build it out, and concurrently upgrade out infrastructure to handle it.

    If you wanna have a dorm-room fantasy debate, then yeah we have the land. But let’s try working with reality, m’kay?

  94. 500,000 people who work in SF do not live in SF. There is no need to build an extra home just because we have an extra job

  95. And I believe we shouldn’t build any more office space until our housing stock catches back up with the demand that increased office workers places on the housing stock. I’m not mischaracterizing your position, just pointing out that it will only exacerbate the problem.

  96. What is the material difference between 12th Street in SOMA and, say, 14th Street in the Mission?

    Walk from one to the other and I challenge you to detect any real change or difference

  97. Again, you misrepresent my position. I do not support spot-zoning existing buildings in the mission for office space. I support building more office space in areas better suited to it, i.e. SOMA, South Beach, FiDI, etc.

  98. The hugely under-developed and low-rise south-east of the city alone could probably house another 100,000 people, with nice weather, Bay views and great infrastructure (280, CalTrain and the K/T “streetcar to nowhere”.

  99. San Francisco has plenty of land to house people. Subtracting every single acre of park space (8.9sm including every Presidio, National Park and state acre), San Francisco’s density is 22,500 people per square mile. Paris, without subtracting a single hectacre of the Bois de Boulogne (3.3sm), is 55,000.

  100. Exactly. But progressives struggle with the concept that they need wealth creators more than wealth creators need them.

  101. By increasing tax revenues, all that VC money helps pay for social programs for the homeless, school lunch programs, street cleaning, gardeners in Golden Gate Park and all the other things progressives like so much. Don’t bite the hand that feed you!

  102. Has it ever occured to you that art of the reason you are politically ineffective and out of touch is because you are so quick to get angry whenever you encounter someone with different views?

  103. Neither. They are supposed to execute the will of the people. And since we always elect a pro-development mayor, and since the commission is appointed by those we elect, the commission is merely doing what we the voters ask them to

    The fact that you personally do not like that is irrelevant

  104. I love the way you guys obsess about Sam. He has obviously got you guys hopping about, while he doesn’t barely even notice you.

    Gary, in particular, is entering weirdo stalking territory with some of his paranoia.

  105. Since almost everyone seems unhappy with the planning commission, it is clear that it is not particularly biased left or right

    But the key is in the word “planning” i.e. they plan for new build. If we wanted real NIMBYism, we could ban all development and disband the planning department

    The voters want development

  106. Because the Bay Area consists of so many cities and counties, there is no imperative that you have to live and work in the same jurisdiction. In fact, we built BART (one block away rom this location) precisely to allow flexibility in where people live and work

  107. For once, you are correct. NEMIZ has different rules and Tech has been there for 20 years that I know of. In fact Bryant Street was named “Media Gulch” by some back in the late 1990’s.

    Mission Street is best served by being diverse. That doesn’t mean all-tech but it doesn’t mean no-tech either. Diversity means a bit of everything.

    And, frankly, 17th and Mission is fairly grim, in the way that mid-Market was pre-Twitter. A little Tech could help

  108. You mean the way you debated the issues here on 48 Hills and directed this violence filled post to me, when you were Phil79:

    “Yeah, I wonder what it is like to be Gary, who seemingly has no agenda or purpose in life other than to spy on his neighbors and rat them out for minor code violations.

    I suspect we might read about his abused, multiply-stabbed corpse being found in some alley in North Beach. And the
    police note that no neighbour can recall seeing what happened, with a glint in their eye. On the subject of which, have you seen the movie “Murder on the orient Express”?”


  109. See your last point is the whole problem. Just because we are (supposedly) out of office space does NOT mean ‘ok, well then we will just bully our way into non-office space’.

    And the real point here is that we can’t be building more office space without building more housing, and we just don’t have much land. One component of a plausible solution to the housing crisis is to say to the companies who want to move to SF “too fucking bad, no room at the inn. Let San Leandro take them, then hopefully they’ll get increased demand for housing due to people wanting to live close to work, and take a little pressure off of SF.”

    Laissez faire pricks are so comfortable telling the working class to leave SF if they can’t afford it, but as soon as a tech company can’t find office space they’ll scramble around for justification for cannibalizing what precious little the rest of the community is clinging to. Gotta accommodate all that sweet sweet VC money, huh? Greed is an ugly thing.

  110. Oh Jesus, Madhatter is absolutely terrible, tenacious. Will engage on twelve different comment threads spouting the same BS on every singe one.

  111. You left out Madhatter, who came after Siddle. I’m creating a legend and summary from all the screen shots I’ve saved.

  112. “Where will these techies live?”

    In market-rate construction built to accommodate them.

    “If you truly believe in supply and demand and that The Market is your savior, then you should be fine with office rents going through the roof.”

    I do believe that supply and demand, among other factors, effect real estate markets and rents. I do not believe that the market is “[my] savior,” as markets sometimes need to be regulated or stimulated. I have never in any post suggested that markets should be unregulated. I am not “fine” with office rents going though the roof so rapidly, because healthier markets should not behave that way. Due to a confluence of factors, many firms wish to locate in the city; other factors (strict land-use reguartion/height limits, construction costs, community opposition, CEQA, etc.) make meeting this demand very difficult, thus rents are high.

    “Maybe these techies need to fuck off to a less desirable town if they can’t afford the (office) rent?”

    That is exactly why tech companies are looking to the mission. Rents are likely cheaper there than in Class A buildings downtown.

  113. Not a good idea. Where will these techies live? If you truly believe in supply and demand and that The Market is your savior, then you should be fine with office rents going through the roof.

    Like the ridiculous libertarian types love to say to residential tenants who are getting displaced: Maybe these techies need to fuck off to a less desirable town if they can’t afford the (office) rent?

  114. 19th and Harrison is a different neighborhood / has different zoning in place than 17th and Mission. It may seem like a small difference, but it’s important. It’s like how Haight Street has all these shops and dentist offices, salons, etc, but then one block off and it’s only residential use allowed. That’s what Mission Street is supposed to be, per zoning – a strip of public-serving businesses.

  115. And there are others here who oppose every development regardless, AKA NIMBY’s.

    Do you have a problem with a broad spectrum of opinions and interests being represented?

  116. So Tim gave you the job of polluting the debate by trying to sour contributors against each other based on your own personal prejudices? If Tim didn’t want me here it would be trivially easy for him to block me via Disqus. The fact that he does now demonstrates to you that he deems me to be a valid and valuable contributor here.

    Have you EVER thought of debating the issues? And focusing on the message and not the messenger?

    It’s a real change that you are always so angry and bitter, and preach intolerance against others

  117. There are lots of tech companies already in the Mission. Lyft has a big building of offices right down the street near 19th and Harrison. There are other small tech offices all around.
    The point is this guy lied to the existing tenants and it seems doubtful he’ll actually repair the building. Let’s be real he knew what needed fixing when he bought it. Tech isn’t to blame for a lying developer looking to make a quick buck. But said companies looking for office space should be responsible and not rent from him.

  118. I know you’re pretending to be an idiot, troll. But it’s inconceivable that you’re as stupid as you pretend to be.

    Obviously republicans, tech, finance, construction, and real estate are represented by a clear majority of the voices on the Planning Commission.

    Why I’m engaging you is beyond me. You’re a troll baiting folks with your faux ignorance. I will stop engaging you now.

  119. And zoning includes the ability to have exceptions and variances. It’s not a rigid set of rules but rather a default guideline that can then be altered on a case-by-case basis

  120. I make on-topic points. You and EssEff just throw out insults.

    That is why Tim has always been supportive of my contributions here.

  121. Yes, but generally those things are not done specifically to lower the value of privately held assets, nor with the intention of then acquiring those assets. That is the motivation that I am saying would fall foul, and potentially lead to compensation claims.

    The moratorium itself might be OK as long as, ironically, the city doesn’t try and then buy those plots on the cheap. If the city does go ahead and do that, then it might get interesting.

  122. Governments do so all the time, see: zoning laws, rent control, density restrictions, etc. Many of these have survived court challenges.

  123. It’s not unusual for voter propositions to be bounced by the courts for a lack of constitutionality.

    I don’t believe that a temporary moratorium would devalue land. Other factors would probably drive land values more, such as the general economy. And owners would simply sit on their land and wait for the moratorium to lapse – RE is a long-term game.

    I don’t agree with the moratorium either. In fact I think it is a terrible idea. But my point was that government cannot just wilfully pass laws that devalue property without the risk of it being seen as a taking. If the city wants these plots it should simply bid for them, not try and play games to skew its competitive position.

  124. No, I am merely pointing out that since there is no Tech currently in the Mission, according to Tim, then introducing a very small amount of tech like this actually broadens the neighborhood in terms of economic and commercial diversity.

    I would no more wish to see discrimination based on occupation than I would discrimination based on race or religion.

  125. But the moratorium would not have the “express” purpose I describe, rather tanking land values would be the ulterior/unspoken motive. A moratorium could perhaps be challenged on a 5th or 14th amendment basis, but this may be difficult given judicial precedent (Agins v. City of Tiburon, 447 U.S. 255 (1980), etc.) A court challenge would also take so long, that the effect of the moratorium would be in place regardless.

    I don’t agree with the moratorium, the idea is foolish on it’s face. I was merely stating that I might understand if it was part of a long-game strategy to acquire more public land. This is probably too generous an appraisal of the proponents scheming abilities.

  126. Evidently a question you cannot answer.

    Should all 11 supervisors be progressives, with no moderates or conservatives?

    Should SCOTUS be nine socialist judges?

    Should all decision-making bodies be left wing?

    Why do you hate diversity?

  127. You realize, I hope, that it would be a massive abuse of power for a government to pass laws for the express purpose of lowering land values, so that that same government entity could then buy those assets cheaply.

    That would be a blatant taking, and the courts would reject it.

  128. I’m hoping that the moratorium is a long play to tank the value undeveloped/underdeveloped parcels in the mission so the city can acquire them cheaply and build subsidized housing. That, at least, I can understand. More likely, it’s the result of community “leaders” sticking their heads in the sand and hoping the real estate market/economy enters a downturn.

  129. Maybe this means we need to build more office space in SOMA/South Beach, or hell, the financial district. If rents are sky high, and companies are seeking space above Thrift Town, perhaps we should approve more office construction…

  130. “Are you saying that they should have no voice on the planning commission?”

    What at utterly ridiculous question.

  131. Dear Tim

    Thanks for bringing this into the light. NOW turn your eyes towards the NEMIZ area with PDR zoning that is now chock full of tech offices that do not meet zoning requirements-a much larger ignored zoning infringements!!!

  132. “We would like a long-term blueprint policy,” Mission Economic Development Agency Director Gabriel Media said. “We don’t want spot zoning for every project.”

    Director? Media?

    None of you all are even going through the motions anymore.

    If Medina wanted a long-term blueprint policy, then he would have made sure that the moratorium called for a community based planning process conducted under sunshine instead of a behind-the-scenes deal making festival by the people who sold out metering and Prop K for us.

  133. So five of these people are on the take? They are certainly doing NOTHING for the neighborhood and everything to personally help out this new building owner, who CLAIMS to be a sloppy business person and did not know about the issues with the building. He doesn’t want to go after the previous owner, so he’ll just go after the people who live and work there. And the SFPC is all, “OK! Sounds good!” Is there any sort of action being planned to stop this, or is it a fait accompli?

  134. I challenge anyone to find a development that Antonini does not like. Over the years (and he’s been in that seat an awfully long time)… he almost always starts his remarks with

    “I think this is a really good project”…. there’s almost no project he doesn’t endorse. Who keeps him in that chair? Moore is an architect with great training and experience…we need an article about how and why these particular folks are sitting on this critical commission.

  135. Who needs economic diversity when the bubble is still growing? Bye bye blue collar jobs and all non-tech jobs. Hello ghost town when the bubble does finally pop. Sustainable? Bah humbug.

  136. “It would be the first time that the city allowed tech offices to move into space in the Mission”

    So what you are saying is that this will increase the diversity of the Mission?

  137. 10% of SF voters are Republican. Many more voters are pro-development or work in tech, finance or real estate. Are you saying that they should have no voice on the planning commission?

    Isn’t the point of the commission to have a wide range of views and values represented? Including views and values that you personally may not support or share?

  138. RE: Commissioner Michael Antonini , Right Wing Republican Dentist
    “Board President David Chiu came the closest to telling it like it is when he said, “Every person who has reached out to me from the northeast neighborhoods has asked me to oppose this nominee.” And for good reasons: Antonini is a right-winger who votes against neighborhood interests every single time. Not just neighborhood interests, but city interests as well, as shown by the commission’s approval earlier this year of a CPMC project that was found to have fatal flaws that were then exposed by supervisors.


  139. So they folded, just like this. First he tells them a sob story, and as soon as he gets any resistance, he escalates to threats, although he’s too chicken to sue the seller who he says stiffed him out of millions. No hard questions from the commissioners.
    And of course, he might or might not do the seismic work.

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