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News + PoliticsThe Agenda, Nov. 16-22: Supes will decide on giant...

The Agenda, Nov. 16-22: Supes will decide on giant waterfront and SoMa projects

And the role of Sup. Jane Kim in cutting a deal on one of them is raising all sorts of questions

The 5M project will create far more jobs than housing and make the crisis worse
The 5M project will create far more jobs than housing and make the crisis worse

By Tim Redmond

(UPDATED — this story is updated to include comments from Sup. Kim)

NOVEMBER 16, 2015 – Major development projects in the heart of Soma and along the waterfront will come before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday/17, and there’s a storm brewing over the role Sup. Jane Kim played in cutting a deal with one of the building groups.

It’s possible that one or both projects could be decided by a narrow margin, meaning the outcome would be different if they were delayed even a few weeks until Aaron Peskin replaces Sup. Julie Christensen.

The simpler of the two in procedural terms is 75 Howard. It’s currently a parking garage, which can hardly be called the best use of the property. The developer, however, wants to put a 220-foot building on the site, all market-rate housing (of course) – and the appellants have a lot of issues, but the biggest one is that the city has consistently moved away from upzoning the waterfront. And this building is at Howard and Steuart, right off the Embarcadero, and would cast a significant shadow on Rincon Park.

The Planning Commission certified an Environmental Impact Report that relied on a traffic study using baseline data from five years ago – and one that, the appellants argue, is so far out of date that it can’t adequately address the impact of the project. Dave Osgood, who filed the appeal on behalf of the Rincon Point Neighbors Association, also notes that the EIR didn’t consider seriously whether the project could go forward at the existing building’s height because, the report says, that wouldn’t be financially feasible.

According to the appeal:

The FEIR, however, has provided no evidence to support this assertion – the FEIR simply asserts that the alternative would not have “sufficient economic viability to warrant construction of such a building.” While the City is correct that economic feasibility is not required to be discussed in an EIR, where the EIR rejects an alternative on the basis of financial feasibility the EIR should include sufficient analysis to support that conclusion.

That’s an interesting issue. The project sponsor argues in its brief that the city wasn’t required to analyze a smaller alternative, but there’s no discussion anywhere of what “sufficient economic viability” means. We hear this all the time from developers: If I can’t have what I want, then I won’t be able to build. That typically means: If I can’t have what I want, I won’t make as huge a profit as I’ll make if I have to build smaller (or add more affordable housing, or whatever).

There’s no law that requires private developers on private land who get no city subsidies to make public their finances, but it’s worth talking about.

 

The other, much more complex, project is the massive complex planned for Fifth and Mission, sponsored in part by Hearst Corp., which owns the Chronicle. The plan involves more than 800,000 square feet of office space, which would mean about 3,200 new workers. (That’s assuming 250 square feet per employee, which is probably high; tech companies often use 200 square feet or even less, which means more workers crammed into the office complex.)

It’s likely many of those workers will be people who move here from somewhere else.

The project will create about 600 housing units, not even enough for half the workforce.

So from the start, the plan would make the city’s housing crisis worse.

It’s also, opponents argue, inconsistent with the city’s existing plan to create a Filipino Cultural Heritage District and “will unnecessarily impact surrounding neighborhoods and result in the displacement of the Filipino community.”

And it will “Obliterate the Youth and Family Special Use District,” according to the appeal by the South of Market Community Action Network, the South of Market Action Committee and Save our SoMa.

Now here’s where it gets strange. The Board of Supervisors has to approve the development agreement for the project, and make some zoning changes to allow it. The supes also have to sit as quasi-judges on the appeal of the EIR and the Conditional Use permits, and they aren’t supposed to endorse or oppose the project before they consider those appeals.

At the Land Use Committee Nov. 9, all three members – Malia Cohen, Scott Wiener, and Jane Kim – carefully voted to send the measure to the full board without recommendation. But Kim announced that she had cut a deal with the project sponsor to increase the affordable housing component from 33 percent to 40 percent.

The low-income part of that – 71 units – will be built off site, in the Tenderloin. The on-site units will be targeted to people who make 100-150 percent of the area median income.

So in a sense, opponents say, Kim has already said she supports the project. At the hearing, she said:

“I want to acknowledge Forest City and Hearst Corporation for working closely with my office to reach this deal … And in voting no on a project where a developer is willing to come to this standard will ensure that no other developer will ever commit to 40% affordable housing.”

It would be highly unusual for a supervisor to make a deal with a developer – one that includes significantly increased affordable housing – and then turn around and vote to kill the project by upholding an appeal over the EIR and conditional use authorizations.

So the opponents have asked that Kim recuse herself from voting on the appeal. Here’s what the letter from attorney Rachel Mansfield-Howlett, representing SOMCAN and the others, says:

Appellants have a fundamental right to a fair hearing involving unbiased decision makers. The Board of Supervisors is the ultimate decision making body in this matter. Accordingly, each Board of Supervisor must protect the parties’ due process rights, including barring private communications with any party behind closed doors, pursuant to San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance (S.F. Adm. Code Ch. 67).

By, privately meeting with the developer to negotiate a non-public deal and by expressing her support for the revised Project, Supervisor Kim cannot fairly consider the merits of the appeal and her actions have negatively prejudiced the appeal process.

Citizens now pose the following question. Were any other Supervisors involved in the privately negotiated deal with the developers? Citizens also request a 60-daycontinuance to resolve this question.

Kim told me that she can’t comment on the legality of her actions, since she’s asked the city attorney for advice. But she said she was in touch with the community activists all along: “We met many times over the last two years, and at least three times leading up to the Land Use [hearing] and [talked] over the phone,” she told me.

But Dyan Ruiz, a spokesperson for the project foes, told me that none of the activists knew anything about the deal Kim had cut “until we read about it in the press.”

The whole thing raises these kinds of tricky issues that come into play when elected officials are able to negotiate with developers – and community advocates aren’t in the same room.

In this case, Kim told me that the groups Ruiz represents weren’t interested in cutting a deal for higher affordability. They wanted a very different, smaller project from the start. “So no, they weren’t in the room, because they didn’t want to negotiate on this issue,” she said.

Kim was clearly out to demand more affordable housing — 0h, and to set the standard, as she did with the Giants, that 40 percent is the new required level. (SOMCAN was very involved in the Giants deal, Kim said.)

Forty percent is a lot better than the 12 percent the city requires, and a lot better than we’ve gotten in many other projects.

But that assumes that it’s better to build the project in the first place. If 5M creates more jobs than housing, by a long shot, and if many of them are high-end jobs that then create other spillover jobs for people who make less money and have nowhere to live, then the net impact is bad for the city, right?

We drive out the Filipino community and give the Hearst Corp. huge profits (for land, by the way, that the company has owned for years, land that used to be owned by the family that owned the Chronicle, that’s been paid for generations ago and that has no – zero – acquisition cost.)

And this is the best we can do?

The appeal will be technical, all of these things are, and when the supes consider the EIR, they will have to vote on whether the report is accurate, not on whether the project makes sense. The conditional use appeal is a bit different – the supes can say that the EIR is legally sound, but the special permission the Planning Commission gave to this developer isn’t warranted. Even if the developer is a partnership that includes the city’s biggest daily newspaper.

Jane Kim is one of the progressives on the board, and if the appeal were to have any chance of success, the odds are she would have to be among the Yes votes. If she can’t vote at all, the foes still need six to uphold the appeal.

So recusing her might not help the appeal. But delaying it for 60 days absolutely will, because we will see a different board in 60 days.

The vote will be a big deal. The meeting starts at 2pm, and this will be heard around 3pm. Expect a packed room.

 

Two big events this week: Jobs with Justice celebrates its fifth anniversary Thursday/19, and El Tecolote celebrates its 45th Friday/20.

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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131 COMMENTS

  1. Arguing over whom eligible for new chosen neighborhoods of gentrification those displace due “Ellis Act” immediate area. Yes, lower income denied to receive consideration 5M Project is “charade” enjoy selling vague rendering hidden agenda. San Francisco attraction not “parks or no shadowing” 40% are you sure subject to change. Forest City LLC. reputation get civil funds basically direct as private interest failure of [Atlantic Yards of NYC former name now Pacific Park Brooklyn} why? NYC promise “BMR” housing increase 6,000 joint project Sino firm haven’t learn going deny majority fair housing! Don’t be fooled whom going selected units, those employee city hall or agencies associated with civil administration. You place on the ballot majority only see rental units do believe concept mistrust of MODCH ask Rondey Fong give accuracy impossible! Instead speculation of projected housing concepts due: increase cost going decrease former units due cost lampoon lies! Forest City eager to build not communities revenue former Naval Yards collaborated with Lennar whom continue ignore rentals. Preference “BMR” sale units due, banking affiliations, your learning bureaucratic: absolutely Hearst owns development. Surrounding buildings zoned for high rises business office space whom eager banks foreign. Listing Generali Group, S.p.A,UOB ltd Porto Seguro S.A former SRO and rehabilitation clinics have
    priority of residency 5M notice. Excluded the homeless, also “Moscone Center expansion anticipated hospitality industry office towers Ed gotten caught another lie!

  2. Not for you to say.

    They’re as much of a community as any other. I can’t think of any criteria that discounts them, including our ignorance, or apathy.

    Had I not happened on a school yard full of kids speaking tagalog and English, in the middle of the day, and started reading the signs on buildings around there, I would have tried to discount the claim too. But we would be wrong. You’re wrong.

  3. What pro forma meeting? Do you think all the developers show up in miniature cars wearing a Fez, and they discuss the cost of cranes?

  4. Nothing is fixed except for permit fees. Is every 2 bedroom the same size? Built in the same location? You can estimate general terms, but to talk like there’s a firm amount is nonsense. Not all glass costs the same. Not all buildings use the same amount of lumber, or require the same concrete work. Not all buildings are financed the same way, or even involve lenders, an increasing amount are backed by capital groups with foreign funds.

    But I’m glad you agree we’re talking about high end housing here. Luxury housing for shorthand.

  5. base costs are fixed and very easy to estimate. Materials are non-negotiable. Concrete costs what concrete costs. Lumber costs what lumber costs. Glass costs what glass costs. In SF labor is also non-negotiable, you sign a PLA or you don’t get a permit….and labor costs are inflating at over 10% p/a right now. Parcel F at transbay just solf for $165 million! so land ain’t exactly cheap. You add on $130,000 per door in city exactions, which is the norm for highrise and the building that you produce can only be sold as high end housing. NOTHING ELSE pencils in SF. the only way to bring down costs are to reduce labor costs by removing mandatory union contracts, reduce fees, and while you’re at it shorten the permitting timeline and add some certainty to the process….investors and lenders charge a premium for SF projects because so many of them run into costly permitting and political problems. That’s how you make housing more affordable in this city.

  6. There’s also no accurate formula to estimate base costs, and anyway, I’m not claiming it’s going to be affordable, on the contrary. They’re throwing up buildings to get the high end, and ultra high end markets. That is their intent. The luxury condo crowd is what drives development.

    Are people so wrapped up in the “build, baby build” mantra that they’re really in denial of this?

    The costs AND profits in building a Nema, Arden, Madrone, etc. are higher than independently building something like the Pink Palace or even Park Merced Apartments (which they’re rebranding and renovating to compete).

  7. It costs $800,000 to build a single 2 bedroom unit of housing in San Francisco. Finish quality…the luxury perks are about $25,000 of that. So an IKEA finish is $775,000 give or take. How is that affordable to anyone other than an upper income earner? At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if the finish is IKEA or Restoration Hardware, the unit is still going to be unaffordable because we pill a whole bunch of really expensive mandates on builders and somehow expect them to produce affordable housing.

  8. No kidding, but your rates aren’t set by those things, they’re set by what you offer to a renter/buyer. Brochures mention the heated bathroom floors, not the labor agreements.

  9. Diswashers aren’t making units unaffordable; its CEQA consultants and lawyers, Title 24, Project Labor Agreements, $100,000 per unit impact fees, local hiring ordinances, minority hiring ordinances…a shake down everywhere you look…but hey, if you think diswashers make the median construction cost of a unit of housing in SF close to $800,000 be my guest.

  10. It would be better for them, for the environment, and for transportation infrastructure if they didn’t have to commute 3 hours a day to work.

  11. The whole thing raises these kinds of tricky issues that come into play when elected officials are able to negotiate with developers – and community advocates aren’t in the same room.

    Basically, elected officials need to kiss the asses of advocates who get paid by the City.

  12. “We are creating over 5 jobs for every new home we build.”
    That’s the point of this article. Don’t create jobs (as offoce spaces) if you can’t house the people who will take them.

  13. I was replying to someone asking “What Filipinos?” and it’s literally a Filipino cultural hub.

    Like Chinatown, and Japantown, there was a Little Manilla (or two). It wasn’t much but it existed. If we’re displacing communities, it doesn’t matter what race, or ethnicity, or nationality, OR religion, but one way to prove the validity of the claim is to name the specific community in question. In this case, it’s Filipinos.

    It shouldn’t be inconvenient to appreciate that.

  14. I never said I’m against new housing.

    I am against the misnomer of referencing high end new construction as if it’s subsidized affordable designed with a low income market in mind. Or that it will serve a low income market. The difference isn’t Realtor fluff. I’m not sure why anyone is pretending otherwise just because developers are paying off the city by restricting some units to people who make under 120k.

  15. there are billions of dollars of private capital sitting on the sidelines unwilling or unable to get into this housing market because of anti growth politics. Change the politics and the money will flow and that $800K per unit number will be $400K.

  16. the non partisan Legislative Analysts Office produced a report this year, California’s High Housing Costs; causes and consequences. Tim Redmond needs to read it. We are grossly under producing housing at all levels of affordability, IN the early 1970s the Bay Area was producing close to 70,000 units a year. Today its about 20,000. San Francisco is 25% more populous than Seattle yet permits 50% fewer new homes. We are creating over 5 jobs for every new home we build. the shortage is impacting the poor and the least able to compete in this super heated market caused by NIMBYs like Aaron Peskin and Tim Redmond who don’t want anything to be built…waterfront views are more important than housing for the working poor.

  17. Agreed. So that means that with more money sloshing around than ever before, SF is just as constrained as it was during the lean times in managing its housing situation. Something is fundamentally wrong.

  18. Then I guess I don’t understand your point. You’re against new housing because realtors are annoying?

  19. I am not a fan of Moretti, but this is what I could find on short notice.

    I haven’t found adequate job breakdown for the area, but from what I have seen the ratio of “support” jobs (government, services, anything else dependent on local population) to others (things like manufacturing and high tech, which depend on external consumption) is not far from Moretti’s 4:1.

  20. The percentage reflects the ratio of lower-paying jobs generated for every high-paying job. If you build less than that ratio, then there will be more lower-paid employees commuting in. Given all the choices, the best solution is 1. build sufficient lower income housing, 2. build nothing and maintain the inadequate status quo, or 3. build only market-rate (these days, higher-income) housing, and make the situation worse. 3 is what has been done and what this project, with its vaunted 40% BMR, will continue doing.

  21. BMR’s are better built offsite from the “luxury” housing. It enables cheaper build and avoids the inevitable social clashes implied by thrusting rich and poor together. Poor doors alone don’t avoid that totally, and poorer folks often cannot afford the HOA fees and management charges of pricey units

  22. 80% is never possible. What is possible is relaxing the zoning to allow developers to build many more market-rate units, and then use some of that money to build more BMR’s.

    The percentage is less important than the absolute number

  23. Are you implying all these addresses are prime? They’re not.
    You’re mistaking property values, and the overall market with the costs of developing and building. Sure, materials are the low end of the over all cost to build, but they are everything to how these apartments are marketed, alongside the rooftop televisions, and bbq pits, and solariums.
    p.s. It’s great that you can find a cheap fridge at Home Depot, but they’re installing designer high end products and bragging about it.

  24. For a project like 5M, with no land costs, it might work without a subsidy.

    But if you are right, that means that any new construction in SF will make things worse, in that it will require larger number of low-income commuters from out of town to work the additional jobs in service, government, education, etc.

  25. I just looked at Home Depot’s website.

    The cheapest fridge I see is $298.
    The cheapest stainless fridge is $569.

    The cheapest showerhead is $2.
    The cheapest rain showerhead is $20.

    For floors, let’s assume a 1,000 sqft apartment and ignore installation costs.
    The cheapest laminate flooring I found would be $590.
    The cheapest bamboo flooring I found would be $1790.

    A stainless dishwasher is $248.

    So, all told, your idea of luxury housing has a price tag of $2,627. Spend quadruple that amount, get really really nice stuff, and you’ve spent just over $10k.

    Housing is expensive because there isn’t enough of it, not because it’s fancy.

  26. 5,000 is pure fantasy. Land plus build costs for “affordable” projects averages $800k per Unit in SF. Please tell me where you’re going to find $4 billion per year to pay for this in a city with a total budget of $9 billion.

  27. The is no affordable housing in SF. There is luxury housing you pay for and for the few lucky BMR lottery winners, there is luxury housing you get someone else to pay for. Look at Campos’s planned project at 16th and South Van Ness. $900,000 per unit for units that average 880 sq ft. Affordable?

  28. Affordable = subsidized. Which means you are really asking how many people should we subsidize just so they can afford to live in a place they cannot afford.

    And that in turn depends on the ability and willingness of the majority of us to pay more in taxes to benefit some lottery winners.

  29. Did somebody say AMBER?

    I thought the 5M plan was a good one. Is it going to get hamstrung now that the election spotlight is turned down?

    You know, SF is really a small town, when you look at it. That’s not going to last.

  30. It’s not a full neighborhood, let alone a “single-ethnicity” one. Does a single ethnicity neighborhood exist in all of SF right now?
    There’s a leftover Filipino presence from the community, most of us didn’t know was there (hence the flippant comment from the guy above).

    SF isn’t serious about inclusiveness anyway. Not that this has anything to do with that.

  31. Nice to see Tim’s true colors. Oppose development no matter what. Which just means lower supply and higher prices for everyone.

    The 5M deal has 40% affordable housing. You should be congrstulating Kim on a job well done. More than 3x the 12% required by law.

  32. I did not say “pants on fire.” Builders market their new product as luxury, that’s good enough for me. Unless builders are lying liars?

  33. Colen wants the city to build 5,000 homes a year. A worthy aim, perhaps, but also fairly modest. What number do you think he should be advocating for?

  34. If SF is serious about diversity and inclusivity, maybe it should stop encouraging single-ethnicity neighborhoods?

  35. But remember that not all of those extra service workers will live in SF.

    While we could aim for 80% the effect of such a high number would be that a lot of developments would not pencil out. Achieving 80% isn’t so great if the actual number of affordable units that it leads to is trivial.

    What we really need is a “sweet spot” where the actual number of affordable units built is maximised. That won’t be anything like 80%. But it could certainly be a lot more than the 12% current minimum.

    The key, as with this proposed project, is to give the developer more height and more market-rate units, and get more affordable units along with that.

  36. Found one:
    http://documents.bayareacouncil.org/TechReport.pdf, p.25:

    The ‘multiplier effect’ is 4.3 for high tech jobs: “These jobs could be for lawyers, dentists, schoolteachers, cooks or retail clerks.” For manufacturing jobs, the multiplier is only 1.4. “The especially large local multiplier for high-tech reflects the fact that workers in these industries have higher levels of disposable income, which is spent on meals, transportation, housing and other services in the local community. It also reflects the fact that high-tech companies tend to cluster around one another, which attracts additional high-tech firms and the local service-providers that support their business activities.”

    So, each tech job creates 4.3 jobs with (mostly) lower salaries. Call it 4 even. Sounds like 80% affordable housing is the number to aim for.

  37. You forgot to plug your $h1tty plan to make san francisco cheap by halting all construction in the city permanently.

  38. Kim isnt up to the job because she has caused her impartiality to be called into question and therefore her vote on the project – though maybe that was her goal to begin with.
    I’m still waiting on the progressive plan for dealing with housing in SF. Not looking for the opinion of a misanthrope tech worker million dollar home dweller.

  39. No, seal the City in Amber!

    Let me get this straight, Kim cuts a deal on 5M to build out of scale housing and you say that her progressive answer is pulling up the drawbridge?

    You need for your programmers to tweak your algos.

  40. Citizens, and some at City Hall are asking: What does
    affordable mean? Affordable to whom? and is there any net affordable
    being built, or are we merely trading in existing units, and residents
    for smaller units and new transient residents, who see their stay in SF
    as a step on the ladder of their career path?

  41. What is “progressive” about opposing the zoning change? You do realize the site is currently zoned for the 800k sq ft of offices and no residential is currently permitted at all, right?

  42. You’re being intentionally literal. Are we going to argue over which dishwasher brand constitutes a luxury appliance now, while you disregard the intent of the developers?
    What for? To argue on the internet? These are not apartments geared towards working families. In a flatter market, these developments wouldn’t be competing for the same market. They don’t offer the same comforts unless you’re talking about complete gut renovations, purposely done to mimic big condo developments.

  43. SENATE RACE.
    Think strategically. Whoever ‘wins’, Mr Ed will be instructed to anoint another Conway-clone in either D6 0r D8. Again we are, as usual, given a choice between the ‘lesser of evils’. I firmly believe that Kim will be more receptive to the needs of ‘We the People’ in the years ahead. “We the People of D8” will just have to do our best to throttle the little weasel, and start working now to select and support an ‘acceptable’ replacement when we next are granted the ‘right’ to continue the illusion that we actually have the opportunity to elect a peoples representative. Just my 2c.

  44. Kim isn’t up to the task of State Senate, her fumble on 5M clearly shows that.
    What is the progressive answer to what we are seeing now in San Francisco?
    Pull up the drawbridge? Make San Francisco less appealing to new businesses? Have a San Francisco resident review board to meet with every potential new resident?
    I am consistently overwhelmed with what counts as the progressive response to the housing crisis.
    All I hear is build nothing; We’re Full

  45. None of which supports the idea that a dishwasher is a “luxury item”, as you explicitly said previously.

  46. Look, marketing is an illusion, but in 2015, new developments in tall glass boxes require a certain aesthetic….big wide windows….stainless steel appliances, etc.

    Your replies are the equivalent of saying “Since when are windows a luxury item?”, willfully missing the point.

  47. These aren’t average homes. They’re not putting in the cheapest dishwasher on the market. The pull out drawer units are pricey, for example.

  48. I don’t think Progressivism will ever be a factor for Peskin, if he’s predetermined something is in hi best interest to push forward.

    It’s just an added bonus that they have an angle to say “look, affordable housing here! Affordable city! Like I promised”. It’s a sham.

  49. See, but now you’re moving the goalposts – so a dishwasher isn’t actually a mark of luxury after all? Square footage isn’t enough?

    The point is that “luxury” is meaningless and only exists as a marketing hook (by developers) or as a political pejorative (by housing activists). It isn’t actually an inherent quality of any of the homes in question.

  50. Is it brand new construction?
    Is it marketed for the materials and finishes?
    Is the appliance a Bosch, or equivalent?

    Most people interested in Luxury Condos wouldn’t appreciate period molding or original hardwood floors, they’ll want distressed reproduction manufactured flooring that’s green certified.

    And yes, I know of people who have tricked out their Excelsior rentals to mimic luxury condo finishes, to get more money. It worked.

  51. So is an ordinary single family home in the Excelsior with two longtime residents, original hardwood floors, a dishwasher, a washer and dryer, and slightly more square footage than a new Mission condo a “luxury” home?

    I’m just trying to get my head around this uniquely SF definition of “luxury” that seems to magically exclude anything a longtime resident might live in, whatever it may look like, and magically include anything a new resident might live in.

  52. No, I do not have a general sense of what people mean by “luxury”. I opined that it probably starts around 5 million, and therefore that the average SF home cannot be luxury by definition.

    You are entitled to a different view. But either way the idea that building million dollar homes in SF is part of the problem when that is in fact below the average price appears to be without merit or logic.

  53. I have no idea why you’re struggling with the term when it’s an accurate one.

    If this were a one on one discussion, that would be one thing…but you’re talking to a crowd, and you have more than a general sense of what I mean.

    And most importantly, these condos don’t fall into the previous concept of subsidized new housing.

  54. There are only two real progressives on the board – Campos and Avalos. Which is to say that they vote mindlessly left no matter what.

    Kim, Mar, Yee and Peskin are often progressive but they are not ideologically skewed, and they will listen to all viewpoints.

    And of course a newly re-elected Lee can veto anything he doesn’t like anyway. You’ve been sold a bill of goods if you think Peskin is your savior.

  55. Our ‘democratic process’ was bought and sold a long time ago. Currently it is the Conway or the Highway.

  56. These aren’t typical SF homes, in any case. These aren’t John Muir apartments, or Westlake Apartments, or Lakeside Village. I may think they’re tacky, with shoddy workmanship, but they are being sold to clientele looking for luxury living. It’s only because the market is so hot that we’re not seeing the amenities of New York condos.

  57. You already argued all housing in SF is a luxury.

    Then you also argued that you think luxury requires a minimum price tag of 5M and up.

    Well kiddo, these are both in SF and are the kind of buildings where top units approach 5M and up. Luxury yet?

  58. Pitchfork humor aside, these are buildings with overpriced architects and designers, and marketing teams, and stupid names. These are *not* just condos. Not all condos are luxury condos. These are luxury condos. If these were for sale, they would be 2M to start….and there would be units in the buildings for 5M+…and some buildings would sell units in the 10-20M range.

  59. There are some pretty small dishwashers specifically designed for small kitchens.

    You seem to be talking not about the homes themselves but rather the kind of people that can afford them. By definition the average home cannot be luxury.

    A million dollar home in SF is not luxury, and is affordable to a couple on average earnings.

  60. Sorry the entire “you have a roof over your head in SF, so that is a luxury in and of itself” argument still isn’t impressive.

    SF homes are expensive.
    They are building new homes, and designing them for a luxury tier tenant. We’re talking about apartments with iPod docks built in, and Nest heating controls.

  61. Not really relevant, you’re talking about market rate housing that apparently had the kitchen square footage to accommodate a dishwasher.

    But hey, you don’t think it’s about appliances, then how about the rest of the finishes? These are designed to be high end apartments not war time housing. Is there a higher end? Uh, yeah, and so? These are built for a higher end clientele, they’re not building them for the low cost renters, they’re building them for the other 60% of the residency. And they’re using the same materials. To compete, you have to have flashy finishes. Have you ever been in this obnoxious thing?

  62. The average home in SF is worth 1.25 million. By what definition of “average” can that be construed as “luxury”?

    I thought the complaint was more that SF homes are expensive and not luxury?

  63. Did I say a refrigerator or a stainless steel fridge?
    And yes, a dishwasher is a luxury item whether it’s in a trailer or a condo….but in this case, we are talking about modern designer finished. Newsflash, that’s not what they normally put in subsidized housing until we got into the subsidized luxury housing racket.

  64. There may be a good reason to delay, such as we are awaiting the results of a study. But to delay it just because you think that will yield a result that you personally prefer smacks of an abuse of process and democracy.

  65. True but the left have never really accepted Kim nor forgiven here for beating the hopeless mindless Debra Walker. And for the Twitter tax enhancement

    I hardly ever hear Tim criticize Farrell or Tang. But when Kim doesn’t vote kneejerk progressive, Tim sets the hounds on her.

  66. If the gossip I’ve heard is true, developers are counting that Peskin will stand right alongside Kim. Same deals were made.

  67. Reasonable people can debate where luxury starts. I happen to agree that basic kitchen appliances are not luxury items.

    But the sad part is how the word “luxury” has been co-opted by the left to denigrate what are for the most part average homes for middle income SF residents.

  68. When did a dishwasher and refrigerator become luxury finishes?

    This isn’t Burkina Faso. That definition is expansive.

  69. I forget, how many votes does it take to ‘delay’. It could be a good indication of where Aaron will be standing.

  70. Plenty of luxury housing is under 5m.

    Does it have a dishwasher? Stainless steel fridge? Rain shower head? Bamboo green certified floors?

    It’s not bare bones housing being built.

  71. Liar liar pants on fire. Seriously, that’s your “adult” argument? “Market rate” does not equate luxury. The mean in this city is not luxury no matter how much you despise the numbers.

  72. Nah, they’d be too afraid of the precedent it would set for themselves. And there’s no real benefit to getting on her bad side, on the narrow chance she finds her way to Sacramento.

  73. So you admit that capitalist developers who seek public entitlements lie both during application and marketing.

    Perhaps we should start swearing in project sponsors prior to testimony at the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to catch any perjury!

  74. No more than progressives and NIMBY’s who miscategorize average homes as luxury in order to peddle and promote their politics of envy.

  75. They do not lie any more than realtors or anyone selling their home, selling their auto. And I’ve looked at a lot of resumes in my time and not many of them are 100% accurate. It’s called marketing.

    Anyway, bottom line, the average home value in SF is now nudging 1.25 million. Luxury starts way north of there and is not the problem.

  76. If developers lie about their market rate housing being luxury, and that is a big if, then what else are developers lying about?

  77. Tim was all set to get behind Kim in the state race, and then she goes and does something stupid like support a project with 40% affordable.

    She is dead to Tim now.

  78. As long as we both agree that it is not luxury housing, then there is no reason to not build it. Even real luxury housing (5 million and up) more than pays for itself and is not a major factor either way.

  79. Nobody appealed it, idiot, because it met Tim’s test of having “community advocates” in the room.

    Where does Dyan Ruiz live? Which supervisor does her partner work for? Hint: not the SOMA, not Jane Kim. When “community advocates” have dwindling connection to “the community,” then crap like this happens.

    One corrupt hand washes the other corrupt hand.

  80. Your use of the word “luxury” seems out of touch. A million dollar condo is not luxury. The fact that some people cannot afford one does not change that.

    And the prohibitive cost of housing the middle class majority is not any less just because you think that you can credibly stick it to someone else, even assuming that would work.

    We need to build a lot more homes for everyone rather than playing class warfare games.

  81. The very poor and homeless get a minor amount of help as concessions from luxury market rate housing.

    There is a black hole, not a donut hole, where the middle class should be.

    Housing for the middle class should not be subsidized. Market rate developers should not be allowed to build luxury, especially with zero acquisition costs for land, unless they build for the homeless, low income and middle class, it is as simple as that.

  82. The very poor and the homeless already get a lot of help. There is currently a “donut problem” where the poor get help, the rich are fine anyway and the people in the middle get screwed.

    That said, most people are “in the middle” so the cost of subsidizing their housing is prohibitive.

  83. Tim always makes the error (probably deliberately since it suits his NIMBY outlook) that every job created is a net increase of a person living in SF. This ignores:

    1) Many of the people who take those jobs are already here, already employed or here and unemployed

    2) Many of these workers will live outside SF

    Tim should be more honest and admit that he opposes any increase in local employment, the local economy and our tax-base. It’s what NIMBY’s do.

  84. I can’t see the logic of asking Kim to recuse herself. She is surely entitled to hold an opinion on the project and to negotiate with interested parties in her district. That is her job.

    Did Daly recuse himself when he made a deal for the Rincom Towers? I cannot imagine that he did.

  85. “Kim cut a deal”

    Typically these deals involve a lifting of a bldg cap/ height limit/ or other City restriction – such as the height limit on the Giants Prop D parcel.

    40% ‘affordable’ for those making 150% of AMI – come on! Is she serious? When voters hear “affordable” they think of some homeless person getting a room or some struggling service worker or beginning teacher getting an apt in the City.

    Thats hardly what that ‘deal’ produces. But it makes good press for Kim, and deep-pocketed developers in the Rolodex for our aspiring pol.

  86. yes, every new office project makes the city’s housing crisis and transportation crunch worse. and yes high priced market rate housing doesn’t help. but if the office space isn’t built at 5M it will just be built at another SF location in other projects with the same bad overall consequences for the city. the total amount of office space built over time in the city is driven by the overall market demand. and the 280 or so affordable 5M project units will be that many more than we have today.

    SOMCAN should just be forthright and ask for a halt to ALL new development in the City until … whenever. that’s the only way their position makes sense. but the problem is we all know the votes for that aren’t there on the board or on the ballot. Prop I, a much more modest delay in development in just one neighborhood did not come close to passing last week.

    Kim is making the realistic best of the situation. but that is never good enough for some.

    as to Peskin, the Flower Mart project deal he made earlier this year includes an office building twice as big as 5M. get a clue, people.

  87. If Kim is behind a project in her district does anyone really think the other supes will go around her to kill it?

  88. >”if many of them are high-end jobs that then create other spillover jobs for people who make less money and have nowhere to live, then the net impact is bad for the city, right?”

    Um……

    So the project will likely create a number of semi skilled jobs which I guess is a bad thing somehow??? Because the people who get these newly created jobs will have nowhere to live?

    Because none of them are currently unemployed or underemployed? Because none of them live in multi income households? Because none of them already live in the city but would have an easier commute? Because none of them are just entering or reentering the work force?

    Can someone explain why these new semi skilled jobs would be bad for the city?

  89. Has anyone (like the SF city economist) calculated how many of these ‘spillover’ lower-paying jobs are created for each high-tech job?

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