March 7, 2014
Three Teams And A Starchitect Bidding To Develop Transbay Block 8
Three teams have responded to the city's request for proposals to develop San Francisco's Transbay Block 8, the one-acre parcel fronting Folsom Street between First and Fremont.
The three developers bidding are Millennium Partners (think Millennium Tower), Related California (think the Paramount at 680 Mission), and Golub (think 299 Fremont). And according to the Business Times, a starchitect has been drafted for one of the designs.
The teams feature two well-known local architects as well as one of the "starchitect" variety. Related California has picked Rem Koolhaas' Office For Metropolitan Architecture. Koolhas has never completed a San Francisco building, though he is familiar with the city because a controversial Prada store he designed near Union Square was rejected more than a decade ago.
Golub is working with Chris Pemberton of Soloman Cordwell Buenz, which also is designing 299 Fremont. Millennium has selected Glenn Rescalvo of Handel Architects, who also designed the Four Seasons and Millennium Tower.
With a site that's zoned for a tower up to 550 feet in height, the city is seeking "a high-density, residential project with approximately 740 units, 27 percent of which must be affordable to qualifying households, and ground-floor retail in multiple building types," including the tower, townhouses, and podium buildings as rendered in red above.
A request for proposals to develop Transbay Block 8 was first issued back in 2008 but then cancelled in 2009 when when bids for the property came in "well below the potential value of the site in a healthier real estate market." The cancelled request had targeted the development of 597 housing units on the site, nearly 20 percent fewer than today.
Heads Up: Judge Rules Against FAA's Ban On Commercial Drone Use
A Federal Judge has ruled against the FAA with respect to their ban on the use of drones for commercial purposes, such as filming real estate from overhead, dismissing a $10,000 fine the FAA had issued to one such operator who was filming a commercial in Virginia.
The judge’s decision could open up the skies below 400 feet to farmers, photographers and entrepreneurs who have been battling the FAA over the use of the unmanned aerial vehicles.
NTSB Administrative Law Judge Patrick Geraghty ruled Thursday that the policy notices the FAA issued as a basis for the ban weren’t enforceable because they hadn’t been written as part of a formal rulemaking process.
The ruling, for now, appears to make it legal for drones to fly at the low altitude as part of a business — whether that’s delivering beer, photographing a baseball game or spraying crops.
The FAA had pledged to issue a formal rule on the commercial use of small drones by the end. In the meantime, the FAA could issue an emergency rule or appeal the judge's decision.
San Francisco Employment Hits Second Highest Level In History
Having dropped to 4.8 percent in December, its first time below 5 percent since early 2008, the unemployment rate in San Francisco ticked back up to 5.3 percent in January.
The up-tick in San Francisco’s unemployment rate, however, was driven by a 4,100 person increase in the labor force and the number of employed in the city actually increased by 1,400 from December to January and is now at its second highest point in history.
With a current labor force of 488,300, the number of employed residents in San Francisco now totals 462,600, an increase of 14,000 people with jobs over the past year and within 2,900 of the 465,500 people employed at December 2000's dot-com peak when the unemployment rate measured 3 percent.
The unemployment rate in San Francisco topped out at a little over 10 percent in January of 2010 when 54,900 fewer San Francisco residents were employed than today.
The unemployment rates in Marin and San Mateo ticked up to 4.7 percent and 4.9 percent respectively in January while the unadjusted unemployment rate for California jumped from 7.9 to 8.5 percent as 68,100 jobs were lost across the state.
The Vision For San Francisco's Open Space And Green Streets
San Francisco's Planning Department has updated its vision and policy plan for recreation and open space across the city, adding an emphasis on the recreation in addition to open space, re-prioritizing the high needs areas, and planning for a network of living streets.
The current reality for many blocks in the city:
And the vision for what could be:
(Continue reading: "The Vision For San Francisco's Open Space And Green Streets")
March 6, 2014
Resolution To Develop Last Berry Street Block As Rental Units
A resolution to allow the development of Mission Bay "Block N4P3," the wedge shaped Berry Street parcel adjacent to Mission Walk, across the street from Edgewater, and the last undeveloped Berry Street parcel, has been introduced into legislation.
While originally slated for condos, the resolution would amend the Mission Bay north development agreement to allow a 129-unit rental project with a mix of market rate and below-market rate units for households with incomes up to 90 percent of the area median to be built on the site.
Brooklyn Basin Breaking Ground, Oakland Planning For Growth
With Signature's big Brooklyn Basin project slated to break ground next week, a 66-acre East Bay development which will yield over 3,000 new housing units and 30 acres of open space, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan will outline her plans for attracting 10,000 new residents to the city as part of her State of the City address this evening.
While former Mayor Jerry Brown's original "10K" plan is credited for jump-starting the redevelopment of Oakland's Uptown and downtown, Mayor Quan's "10K Two" plan aims to cast a wider net, with plans for development "all over the city" and along transit corridors.
KRON-TV’s 1001 Van Ness Building On The Market
With KRON-TV planning to vacate its 107,000 square foot building at Van Ness and O'Farrell and sublet space from KGO, a move which is expected by the end of the year, KRON's parent company has placed 1001 Van Ness Avenue on the market.
In addition to marketing the four-story building as ideal for a "tech-office conversion" or medical office redevelopment, the property is also being positioned as an "opportunity to entitle and build over 200 units in one of the nation’s premier residential development markets," the conceptual renderings for which a plugged-in tipster delivers:
(Continue reading: "KRON-TV’s 1001 Van Ness Building On The Market")
March 5, 2014
The Massings For A Not So Massive SoMa Development, By Design
Rather than representing some ubermodern Sleeper-inspired design, the massings for the proposed SoMa development to rise on the corner of 9th and Howard are simply rendered to provide a sense of scale and context for the project.
With a prominent parcel that's only zoned for building up to 55 feet in height along 9th Street, the development would rise five stories on the corner, connected to a four-story building fronting Howard, separated by a mid-block pedestrian alley and onto which a retail space and residences would directly spill (click images to enlarge).
A core tenet of the City's Western SoMa Plan is to "discourage housing production that is not in scale with the existing neighborhood pattern" and restricts the vast majority of new buildings in the centrally located neighborhood to heights of under 55 feet.
As we first wrote about the proposed Western SoMa Plan back in 2012: "Considering San Francisco's struggle to meet its housing needs, and a discernible lack of density, it's a plan which seems rather short-sighted to some, perhaps even to many."
That being said, the Western SoMa Plan was subsequently approved by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors and San Francisco's "housing crisis" has since picked up steam.
A Peek Inside The $9.9M "Terra Rosa" Wine Country Compound
Designed to resemble an Italian hillside village, the 13,000 square foot "Terra Rosa" compound was built on seven acres overlooking the Petaluma Golf Club and finished with limestone floor pavers harvested from a French monastery while a modern Kevlar reinforced door keeps anyone and everything inside the wine cellar safe and secure.
While not listed on the MLS, the property is on the market for $9,900,000 and plugged-in people can take a peek inside and around the village:
(Continue reading: "A Peek Inside The $9.9M "Terra Rosa" Wine Country Compound")
March 4, 2014
Rebuilding Of Bay Bridge Ramps To The Islands Ready To Roll
The rebuilding of the access ramps from the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge to Yerba Buena and Treasure Island is set to commence on Friday.
Phase one of the Yerba Buena Island I-80 Interchange Improvement Project will construct new westbound on and off ramps to the new eastern span of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge (click renderings to enlarge).
Once the ramps are in place on the east side of Yerba Buena Island, which is slated for mid-2016, the existing ramps on the west side of the island will be retrofitted or replaced.
No update on the redevelopment of Treasure Island and plans for 240,000 square feet of new commercial space, 8,000 new residences, and over 300 acres of open space, the ground for which was to be broken this year but the financing for which fell through.