July 27, 2007

The Californian on Rincon Hill (375 Fremont): Website And Renderings

The Californian on Rincon Hill (375 Fremont): Rendering

A tipster notices a placeholder website for The California on Rincon Hill (375 Fremont) as well as a few new renderings (at least to us) over on the developer's site.

Once again: 41-stories; 393 luxury units (averaging 1,048 square feet) with 24-hour valet parking for “approximately 393 cars”; and construction beginning November of 2007 (and sales in early 2008).

The Californian on Rincon Hill [375 Fremont]
The Californian on Rincon Hill: 375 Fremont St. [SocketSite]
The Californian On Rincon Hill Construction/Sales Pushed Back [SocketSite]

First Published: July 27, 2007 3:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I'm excited to see what Rincon Hill finally looks like when The California and the other towers are all built. It will certainly extend the skyline!

At this point, I think ORH looks a little odd all by itself. But someone else posted pics of what it may look like with all the other towers up there. Much more integrated look.

I hope they all get built. This would help give SF a "modern" neighborhood and would help relieve housing pressure...

The best way to help relieve SF's housing crunch and sky high COL is to build more housing. Plain and simple. More supply=lower prices.

Posted by: ex SF-er at July 27, 2007 3:54 AM

Interesting how their "renderings" conveniently omit One Rincon Hill.

Posted by: GoatseMan at July 27, 2007 7:20 AM

^and the infinity

Posted by: martin at July 27, 2007 7:59 AM

I'm with ex-SFer on need for more housing in SF. Many pluses -- more supply eases price pressures, and downtown housing (close to work) is good for the environment. My biggest beef is the low % of all the new construction that is suitable for families with kids. A city with no kids is no fun, and more middle class families would improve the schools.

Posted by: Trip at July 27, 2007 8:17 AM

Trip,

I agree with you regarding the need for more housing for kids. However, I also think the developers are building what the market will bear. I think another reason why more and more families are moving out of the city is because they cannot afford to raise a family here. If we were to build a large 3 bedroom + den in the Californian (in my opinion, minimum suitable size for a family of 4), it would cost around what, $2MM? You are probably look at around $15,000 per month for mortgage + other home expenses. If you add on top of that the fact that most people who are raising kids here in the city may want to send them to private school ($30,000 per year each), how many families can actually afford this type of lifestyle?

Posted by: SFhighrise at July 27, 2007 8:37 AM

I love kids, as long as they go home to the east and south bays....and with the tourists.

Posted by: SFperson at July 27, 2007 8:41 AM

Californian, Rincon, Infity, etc... are not going to ease housing pressures here at all. These units will be (and are) very expensive. Are there any two bedrooms in any of these buildings for less than 850K?

Posted by: anono at July 27, 2007 9:15 AM

Agree that it is a tough nut to crack. But some of the problem could be solved with different layouts. I have friends in New York, Paris, and London who live in tiny places (1000 sf or even less) with 2 kids, but the apartments are well-laid out with 3 small bedrooms, living room, and a decent kitchen with space for a small table. It can be done at the same prices we're seeing on 2-BR places.

There are other problems in this city driving families out (notably lousy schools), but a city with no kids resembles an old-folks home a decade or two later. We've seen a little of that in SF just since I moved here in the early '90s. SF is still a magnet for young adults, but you don't want them all to move away as soon as they have kids or you get a not-fun city of blue-hairs.

Posted by: Trip at July 27, 2007 9:22 AM

I'm almost certain that this rendering is NOT a good representation of the final result. If it were, then it's just one disappointment after another on Rincon Hill. This is probably one of the very first iterations at early design stages, the building doesn't seem to address any of its site conditions at all. Compare the midrise level in this rendering with the ones on the developer's website. It's completely different how the street level and the traffic condition are being responded. Anyone with more renderings to share?

Posted by: blahhh at July 27, 2007 9:28 AM

Can't wait for them to demolish the decrepit former homeless shelter on that site. This will do wonders for the neighborhood.

Knock down Transbay next!

Posted by: will_h at July 27, 2007 9:31 AM

I'm almost certain this building is NOT going to be that color. This color just doesn't address the site conditions of Rincon Hill at all so that means we must be looking at a first iteration. I mean, architects always get it right so this must be a mistake.

Posted by: anonymon at July 27, 2007 10:12 AM

If I remember correctly (check it out for yourselves as my brain is overloaded), Mission Bay may have some new school buildings in the works. That would probably be the better spot for families to look.

Posted by: Jamie at July 27, 2007 10:44 AM

Well, I'm holding out hope that the homeless shelter and other buildings on that block will be demolished within the next month. I did see a 90-day demolition permit placed on these buildings at the end of May. A couple weeks later, folks were surveying the site, but no activity since then. Does anyone have any additional knowledge about this?

Posted by: SFhighrise at July 27, 2007 10:58 AM

"Californian, Rincon, Infity, etc... are not going to ease housing pressures here at all. These units will be (and are) very expensive. Are there any two bedrooms in any of these buildings for less than 850K?"

It doesn't matter... Either:

1. so many "luxury condos" will be built that ORH and Infinity condos will fall in value as new units come online

OR

2. ORH/Infinity, etc will be really awesome, so San Franciscans will move there, vacating their old places. These other places will then become cheaper.

Simple math of supply and demand.

The thing that keeps SF so expensive is the artificial restriction of supply. remove the artificial restrictions (i.e. allow for higher building height) and supply will increase. Increased supply will mean lower prices.

Before you say "there's no more land to build on" consider this:
Paris has 2.2 million people living in only 33.56 square miles.
SF only has 750,000 living in 47 square miles.

Paris density is: 24,783/km²
SF density:6,111/km²

The MOST EXPENSIVE neighborhoods (Like St. Germain-Des-Pres) in Paris go for about 9,000 Euros/sq meter. This roughly translates to $1100/sq ft (and this has more to do with current exchange rates than anything else... more typical in the posh neighborhoods is around $800/sq ft).
(sorry, not many english RE sites I can link to):
http://matrix.millersamuel.com/?cat=61

Posted by: ex SF-er at July 27, 2007 10:59 AM

I'm not sure what Paris real estate has to do with prices in S.F. You're forgeting that a substantial portion of S.F. will never increase in density- Sunset, Richmond, Ingleside, Russian Hill, Marina, Pac Heights. No tall, or even taller, buidlings are going up in most of the city. It's really only downtown- and a little in the Mission though there are 40-50 foot height restrictions there.

I just don't see lots of San Franciscans giving up their comparable value condos elsewhere in the city to move to Infinity, etc... They would probably take a huge tax hit, and though these neighborhoods will likely improve, some of the locations for these new towers do not have the S.F. "feel" that exists in the neighborhoods where people would be moving from. I could be very wrong, but my understanding is that many of these units are being bought up by out of town owners and financial district renters (who could always have afforded to own), not by people leaving their Pac Heights condos to move to SOMA.

However, if ex Sf-er is right, the only way these new units in SOMA/Mission Bay etc... will impact the price in the rest of the city is if other people in S.F. are selling to move there in droves. Though, their ability to occupy these new towers would seem dependent on being able to sell their current units at the price they want.

I don't know, obviously, but I am quite skeptical that a couple of thousand luxury 1 and 2 bedroom condos in SOMA coming online over the next several years will result in price declines in the rest of the city. SOMA/Mission Bay/Rincon Hill would have to turn into a much more lively and interesting neighborhood than they are now. Though I was near 177 Off Third recently and was blown away by how much the neighborhood has changed in the last few years- I actually found myself thinking that it might be cool to move there so I suppose you never know.

Posted by: anono at July 27, 2007 11:23 AM

"Simple math of supply and demand."

For prices to go down demand must stay the same. I dont believe this is going to happen. These new lux condos are appealing to a market that would not otherwise buy in SF. So, my guess is as lux condo supply goes up, lux condo demand goes up. Prices stay the same or go up.

Posted by: notaneconomist at July 27, 2007 11:23 AM

Demand may be flat or even decline in the short term (who knows), but in the long term demand is going to dramatically increase. The bay area population is forecast to grow by a couple of _million_ people over the next 20 years. And there are several _thousand_ new units being built in SF.

SF is an unfortunate place for families to live. Seems like SF families are either poor or very rich. There are not many middle class families, and the only way that would ever change is to improve schools, and that's not going to happen when a few thousand students leave the district every year. Anytime someone I know in SF has a kid, I can start a countdown clock on when they are going to leave The City!

Posted by: cb650 at July 27, 2007 12:36 PM

Schools are actually getting better. They were horrible in the 1980-1990s

I have an uncle making a go at this now and is sending his daughter to public school. Until High School there are some good ones. For High School pray they get into a magnet school or is 15-20K per for private

With regard to the simple supply and demand equation the housing issues are really a regional problem. The idea that people are vacating houses in the Sunset to move into these luxury condos is simplistic. Lots of these people work in the Silicon Valley, are buying second homes or are empty nesters

Not that I am against luxury housing or rich people. I do think that with all the fees, mandates and Byzantine planning process this is all the market can produce here. Of course other issues are the job housing mix and zoning in established neighborhoods. Very complicated problem but one we could help some if we had the political will

Posted by: zig at July 27, 2007 1:37 PM

Not and economist either but from what I have read between 10-15K units have been developed in SF last 10 years while the census indicates that the population declined and prices tripeled

It is more complicated than simply building luxury condos

Posted by: zig at July 27, 2007 1:44 PM

"census indicates that the population declined..."

Federal estimates are that the population has declined, but the state of California disagrees-- the state Dept of Finance estimates that SF's population is now at an all-time high of about 808,000.

Posted by: Dan at July 27, 2007 3:34 PM

I would think that folks who are doing well at their jobs and who currently commute from the middle of nowhere (anything east of Oakland in my book) would consider transplanting to Rincon Hill (unless they have kids, like mentioned above)

Posted by: Jamie at July 27, 2007 3:44 PM

"It is more complicated than simply building luxury condos"

of course. the real reason for the explosion was loose lending. but building more units will not hurt when it comes to helping with price alleviation!
--------
"I'm not sure what Paris real estate has to do with prices in S.F."

I guess I should clarify...

I only brought up Paris because I keep hearing that "there's no land to build" and "SF is expensive because it's world class".

However, Paris has LESS land to build upon than does SF, and is FAR more dense. And housing is cheaper there. Yet it has everything that SF has and more (excluding the ocean), and is also more "world class". Thus, it isn't just SF's 'world class' designation, nor its density that is causing the expense.

Therefore, I maintain that the housing shortage in SF is ARTIFICIAL. It could be easily alleviated with increasing density around the city... either by imitating Vancouver and developing a new high rise neighborhood in Rincon/SOMA, or by allowing higher and more dense building in the other neighborhoods.

I agree with many of you, that the CURRENT crop of highrises will do little to decrease home prices in SF... but if ALL of the proposed towers go up (including Transbay, especially if it is 1500 ft tall or whatever) you can add 10's of thousands of housing units.

Many of those units will be bought by out of towners and investors and what not, but a large proportion will be bought by San Franciscans as well.

For instance, look look now further than socketsite... I've seen many posts from people who live IN THE CITY who are buying properties at one of the new highrises. I have 3 groups of friends who live IN THE CITY who are buying into the big towers as well.

Posted by: ex SF-er at July 27, 2007 3:49 PM

Valet parking...hmmm. I wonder if they'll put in dryer vents:)

Posted by: anono at July 27, 2007 4:09 PM

Says it has valet service for approx. 393 cars. No mention of deeded spaces. So it's no different from Onerincon.
Developments like Infinity with deeded parking is looking more and more golden as more 'parking-less' projects go up....

Posted by: missionbay res at July 27, 2007 4:56 PM

I am so sorry I did not get in on the beginning of the Infinity sales. It may be the best investment of all the new tower projects. Still, owning a 2bd with deeded parking in the Marina that I bought for less than half (8 years ago) of what current tower units sell for is not that bad. Was the valet parking forced on the developer of the "Californian".

Posted by: anon94123 at July 27, 2007 6:03 PM

"I am so sorry I did not get in on the beginning of the Infinity sales. It may be the best investment of all the new tower projects. Still, owning a 2bd with deeded parking in the Marina that I bought for less than half (8 years ago) of what current tower units sell for is not that bad. Was the valet parking forced on the developer of the "Californian".

anon94123,
I think any unit that has deeded parking will always sell higher than comparable units with no deeded space.

And from what I understand, there is a SF ordinance that requires new downtown developments to only build 1 parking space for every 2 units. So developments like Californian and OneRincon don't need to a 1:1 ratio of parking space per condo. Other development that don't have a 1:1 ratio include SomaGrand and Symphony Towers(though most of the larger units include a deeded space).
I don't know if the Californian was forced to provide valet parking only (they may have some deeded spaces), but OneRincon is valet only and nothing deeded.
Infinity may be the last highrise development to provide at least one deeded space per unit. In fact they even offer tandem parking and enclosed "garage type" parking for the more expensive units.

Posted by: missionbay res at July 27, 2007 8:09 PM

"I am so sorry I did not get in on the beginning of the Infinity sales. It may be the best investment of all the new tower projects. Still, owning a 2bd with deeded parking in the Marina that I bought for less than half (8 years ago) of what current tower units sell for is not that bad. Was the valet parking forced on the developer of the ‘Californian’."

anon94123,

No need to feel sorry. There's still the second tower to look forward to. And the Marina will stay as the beautiful Marina, there will always be people who prefer your neighborhood over any of the new ones.

Over the coming decade we’ll see more and more families and empty-nesters moving to these luxury condos as neighborhoods evolve. If you think about it, they really have a lot to offer for that extra $300/month you pay on HOA than you would to maintain a house on your own. But to accommodate this increasing need, it takes more than just great amenities and people who pick up your mail. The rule of location/location/location is still the single most important factor above all when buyers choose a home. I think what the city has committed for the Folsom Street is without comparison for example. Being water front certainly does also make the Infinity stand out even more. The parking situation will differentiate the desirability of a complex to great extent. The valet pkg alone can drive away many of these family buyers. Imagine what it’s like to wait for your keys in the mornings when you are rushing every minute to drop off a 9 year old...

People can speculate on supply vs. demand all you want forging any future fundamental changes in demographics and needs, but a significant part of the demand is always derived no matter what you sell. And not every complex is blessed with equal advantages. Most of them, in fact, will have very different things to offer at different price levels. The very few prime locations are already spoken for. There won’t be, for instance, another waterfront location near downtown with pkg for every unit like the Infinity, it really is that simple. Developers aren't dumb enough not to understand market conditions and what it takes to compete, and neither are most buyers. Chances are the market will be more rational than some of you predict it to be.

Posted by: blahhh at July 27, 2007 11:21 PM

Infinity wins as I cannot see how any of these other projects are going to have all the same advantages. As for Rincon Hill, I have read again and again about we need to be "patient" until all of the new towers are built, but what will the views and neighborhood "atmosphere" be like then? I would imagine that street level walking would not be a "Noe Valley" type experience, but instead rather dark and windy. The Infinity may indeed be the last luxury high rise project with not only decent clothes dryers and deeded parking, but a desirable location on the waterfront close to the heart of San Francisco. It will be interesting to see in 10 to 15 years how much value was gained by Infinity vs. the other Towers.

Posted by: Anom at July 28, 2007 2:22 AM

"Infinity may be the last highrise development to provide at least one deeded space per unit. In fact they even offer tandem parking and enclosed "garage type" parking for the more expensive units."

Those privately enclosed garages at the Infinity will be worth a fortune. They are huge with plenty of space for storage. I believe this feature will be a first and last among the developments in this city.

Posted by: blahhh at July 28, 2007 2:41 AM

A question:

I have a few friends who bought into the new towers with valet parking. none of them have cars. All of them are planning on leasing their valet parking to downtown buiseness people or something to generate income.

Is this allowed? And even moreso, is it feasible? If not "allowed", is it enforceable?

Anybody know the details of this?

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: ex SF-er at July 28, 2007 3:51 AM

I can't speak for new developments, but in my 1991 building (Baycrest), we can only lease our parking spaces to our neighbors in the building. This makes a lot of sense to me from a security perspective.

Posted by: Jamie at July 28, 2007 10:03 AM

I highly doubt you will be able to lease the space to someone besides another owner or tenant in the building. Most CC&Rs are pretty boiler plate.

That being said, Rincon Hill is really starting to take shape with 4 major buildings within 1 block of the intersection of 1st and Harrison: The Metropolitan, One Rincon Hill, The Californian, and Turnberry SF.

Retail will follow even if it is a little windy and slowed with traffic at times. Sure it is uncertain, but uncertainy equals opportunity.

[Editor's Note: Links removed by Editor.]

Posted by: Paul Hwang at July 28, 2007 10:24 AM

"Developers aren't dumb enough not to understand market conditions and what it takes to compete, and neither are most buyers."

Are you kidding? It's not that developers are dumb, but that market conditions can quickly change which is a problem when financing, design and construction were all put into place years before. Almost any developer can print money in a great market and almost any developer can go belly-up when the market turns. Same goes for individual buyers/sellers.

Posted by: BullVBear Market at July 28, 2007 10:46 AM

I don't understand the picture above and the renditions on the developer's website:
http://www.fifieldcompanies.com/index_s.html
Both OneRincon and Infinity are topped off and nearly finished. Why not show it in their renderings? Isn't it false advertising or false marketing to omit structures that are already existing?
Potential buyers interested in Californian, but not familiar with the area will think their bay or SW views are unobstructed (at least until they visit the area).
And finally, how much will the Californian block OneRincon's downtown and NE bay views?

Posted by: missionbay res at July 28, 2007 12:01 PM

I completely disagree. This is a rendering from the developer’s website not a sales or marketing brochure. It is meant to highlight the building/architecture/location, which it does.

As for your final question, it does look like the Californian will impact the NE views of the second ORH tower which will impact the NE views of the first tower of ORH.

Posted by: Michael at July 28, 2007 1:37 PM

"A question:

I have a few friends who bought into the new towers with valet parking. none of them have cars. All of them are planning on leasing their valet parking to downtown buiseness people or something to generate income.

Is this allowed? And even moreso, is it feasible? If not "allowed", is it enforceable?

Anybody know the details of this?

Thanks in advance."

Good question. According to the sales people at various different developments with valet situations, leasing out spaces to non-residents is "strictly prohibited". It's reasonable to expect a lot of unhappy owners if the building starts to turn into a public garage. However, they told me the same thing at the Palms last year. Then a while back I saw an ad on craigslist advertising a pkg to the public at the Palms. The ad went away quickly, so either it was rented, or possibly reported and removed. People can be adventurous with things that are becoming so valuable such as parking, but that’s why you have the HOA and the board meetings.

Posted by: blahhh at July 28, 2007 2:20 PM

"I completely disagree. This is a rendering from the developer’s website not a sales or marketing brochure. It is meant to highlight the building/architecture/location, which it does."

Well I find that pretty lame. Why not just omit The Met, The Avalon, Bridgeview, etc so they can really highlight the building and design? And if they wanted to highlight the location, Infinity and ORH are now permanently part of the Rincon Hill landscape so it should be included.

I don't think the marketing team took out Infinity and OneRincon intentionally to deceive, but instead never updated their photo and renditions (which I think they should since those 2 towers have been rising for over a year, and those photos are probably well over a year old).

Posted by: missionbay res at July 28, 2007 5:25 PM

thanks for responses!
I'll have to speak with my friends... one couple is sort of counting on the income from leasing
'their' parking spaces.

Posted by: ex SF-er at July 28, 2007 10:06 PM

"I have a few friends who bought into the new towers with valet parking. none of them have cars. All of them are planning on leasing their valet parking to downtown buiseness people or something to generate income."

I don't think your friend will have to rely on non-residents to lease their spaces. There should be plenty of demand from residents living in the building.

I live in a building with around 150 units and one deeded space per unit. Street parking is abundant outside our garage but when people lease their spaces they go in a flash. There is always another resident who needs an extra space. In SF I think there would be even more of demand since the street parking is scarce.

Posted by: anonymon at July 28, 2007 11:45 PM

woah!

if your friends didn't buy a deeded parking space ex-sfer, they have no right or owned space to lease. they are screwed!

Posted by: james at July 29, 2007 7:00 PM

Post a comment


(required - will be published)


(required - will not be published, sold, or shared)


(optional - your "Posted by" name will link to this URL)

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)


Continue Perusing SocketSite:

« Going Green In The Mission (3280 22nd St.): Prices/Additional Details | HOME | Two-Year Payout For Evicted Tenants Accelerated And Approved »