“Prudential Real Estate Investors is in contract to sell the [mostly vacant 188 Spear Street] to Shorenstein for $170 a square foot [$25 million], a 56 percent drop from the $385 a square foot or $56.9 million that the city assessed the…property for last fiscal year. The only other Class A financial district building to sell this year, 250 Montgomery St., traded for $172 a square foot — also a 56 percent drop from its previous sale in 2006.”
Shorensteins prevail in bid for S.F. building [San Francisco Business Times]
A Half-Price Sale For Class A Commercial Real Estate In San Francisco [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by EBGuy

    The company I work for is about 6 months out from negotiating a new lease as the current one expires. Through our broker, we found out that our landlord just forfeited one of their other buildings and the rumor is, ours may be next (bought in 2005 at possibly 40% over the current going rate). Vacancies look to be over 30%.

  2. Posted by Gil

    Despite the bargain basement rents available in SF office space there is virtually no significant leasing activity. Companies sure don’t seem anxious to take more space here or relocate here. Some are in the pocess of leaving like AAA and Schwab. Mery ominous given the “cheap” rents.
    San mateo County on the other hand saw its vacancy rate dip slightly in the latest quarter due to existing large employers taking additional significant amounts of space. A sure sign of significant increases in jobs for SMC once things start to recover.
    The strength of SMC is seen in the huge 3 million plus office project recently announced for SSF. Shorenstein is involved I believe.
    In SF not only are there no new office projects, existing ones have been canceled. Like I said – a very cloudy future it would seem.

  3. Posted by salarywoman

    Not cloudy at all. San Francisco is becoming a bedroom community for the peninsula.

  4. Posted by anon

    I find the “bedroom community for the peninsula” argument quite hilarious when we’re using the better leasing climate in just San Mateo County as the basis for that statement. How many jobs currently exist in San Mateo compared to SF County or Santa Clara County? How is leasing going in Silicon Valley, which equates much closer to Santa Clara County than San Mateo County? The primary reason that SM County is currently doing better is that the few tech companies there have held up better in the current recession AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, biotech has hardly been hit at all – which is basically the only industry that SM County dominates SF and SC at in terms of jobs.
    The three counties are incredibly linked, so singling out one as good, declaring death to another, then not even bothering to mention the third seems like a pretty shoddy and biased analysis.

  5. Posted by Delancey

    So, with all this cheap commercial real estate available, why again is the Public Utilities Commission building itself a *new* office tower in SF?

  6. Posted by dub dub

    MicroSerfs (written in 1995, fictionalizing early-90′s tech — pre tech bubble) explicitly discusses Noe Valley as a bedroom community — the protagonists were shocked at how employees at Sun (the google of the 90′s) were living like adults there. I’ll cut and paste a portion, because you newbies who think Noe has suddenly gentrified will enjoy it:
    “We took the wrong off-ramp (a deadly mistake in San Francisco – they STILL haven’t rebuilt after the 1989 quake; the 101/280 connector
    links are so unbelievably big and empty and unfinished) and we got lost. We ended up driving through Noe Valley by accident – so pretty.
    Such a VISION, this city is. I suppose the City is putting all its highway-building energy into building the mention-it-one-more-time
    and-I’ll-scream information superhighway.”
    “The party: It was in San Francisco (the “sit-tay,” as now cooler-than us-by-virtue-of-living-there Bug and Susan call it), in Noe Valley at Ann and Jorge’s, Anatole’s friends. Jorge’s with Sun Microsystems and Ann’s with 3DO. There were LARGE quantities of delicious, snobby San Francisco food, great liquor, industry gossip, and TVs displaying earthquake damage all over the apartment. Since us Oop!sters are all broke, we saved pots of money by not eating all day before the party.
    We never eat before geek parties.”
    “In the moneyed world of Silicon Valley, nothing is uncooler than being broke. Karla and I were both curious to see how Ann and Jorge live.
    When we arrived, I was overwhelmed by the hipness factor. And where are the GEEKS? Everyone was dressed. . . like real people. Where were the ironic fridge magnets? The futons? The IKEA furniture? The Nerf
    products? The house looked as though it had been made over by Martha Stewart. There were REAL couches, obviously purchased NEW, in red
    velvet with gold and silver silk throw pillows; Matisse-derived area rugs; little candles everywhere; a REAL dining table with SIX chairs
    around it in its OWN ROOM with vases and bowls full of pine cones on the mantel. These people were like ADULTS . . . seamless!”
    ——————-
    Remember, this was written before the 90′s tech bubble.
    SF as a peninsula bedroom community is not new. The Google industrial complex is real though, and it raised the stakes a *great deal* since 2004. As did the credit bubble. Perfect storm.
    Enjoy your solvency taxes :)

  7. Posted by Gil

    Sorry to only give a shout out to SMC. The East Bay and particulaely San Ramon have seen big leases in recent months. Bank of the West chose San Ramon over SF and inked one of the biggest office leases in the Bay Arwa in 2009. Not to mention AAA dumping space in SF for space in WC.
    SF is indeed becoming a bedroom community as someone noted above – but not just to the Peninsula.

  8. Posted by anon

    ^Still no mention of Santa Clara? So, the two largest employment centers in the Bay Area are shedding jobs to other areas? Doesn’t that likely show a simple re-balancing of the jobs within the region? The two places that have huge jobs/housing imbalances are shedding to areas that have huge housing/jobs imbalances?
    Sounds ok to me, and with further housing built in SF and SC, we’ll probably see more jobs in those areas once more housing is built.

  9. Posted by anon

    Didn’t AAA choose WC more than two years ago?
    Regardless, always seemed odd to me that an automobile association would not be in the burbs.

  10. Posted by Gil

    “Didn’t AAA choose WC more than two years ago?
    Regardless, always seemed odd to me that an automobile association would not be in the burbs.”
    This is the type of attitude that no longer hunts – so to speak.
    Great job centers offer a variety and breadth of employment and have a core cadre of middle level jobs that sustain the city and its citizens.
    AAA provided those kinds of jobs. As did AT&T at one time.
    Boutique businesses with very high paid management fill a small niche only. But that is the only niche SF has anymore.
    Boutique businesses won’t fill the millions and millions of square feet of empty office space in SF. How long will it take to corect that imbablance? Decades?
    That SMC has a massive office development proposed at this time tells you it has won the bio-tech war. The promise of Mission Bay as a magnet for such companies was still born. Sure, they will have small offices there with a few employees but the meat and bones – the jobs – will be in SMC.
    With bio-tech bust in SF and banking and insurance and – the list goes on – it is hard to see a future for the City in which middle level good paying jobs will be available to locals. Locals will have to commute to the Peninsula, Oakland/East Bay and Silicon Valley to find work that they pays them what they need to raise a family and maintain a lifestyle.
    SF will become more than a bedroom community for the Peninsula, East bay and Silicon Valley – it will become even more than it has been a sort of entertainment center. Where people come to eat out, see a play or shop for over-priced goods. A Disneyland of sorts but not a “real” place where “real” decisions are made and “real” things get done and where workers can travel ten minutes and be home.

  11. Posted by Justin

    “SF will become more than a bedroom community for the Peninsula, East bay and Silicon Valley – it will become even more than it has been a sort of entertainment center. Where people come to eat out, see a play or shop for over-priced goods. A Disneyland of sorts but not a “real” place where “real” decisions are made and “real” things get done and where workers can travel ten minutes and be home”
    Gil, your post reminds me of the prediction about San Francisco made 15 years ago in the book “EDGE CITY”. EDGE CITY forecast that jobs would travel farther and farther away from San Francisco, while “the city” would become an adult Disneyland where people would live in buildings where former things used to happen and jobs and wealth used to be created. Edge City made the claim that “the city” was now at the urban edge of San Francisco while the historic center was given up to entertainment. San Francisco would become a place where those who collected property could add another residence to their list along with Maui and Palm Desert. What was funny about reading EDGE CITY is that it poked fun at the very smug bias San Franciscan’s had towards Los Angeles, because the sprawl and distances travelled by Bay Area residents to reach their jobs was becoming farther through less dense regions than many parts of the Los Angeles basin.

  12. Posted by anon

    ^Certainly one theory. Of course, you still neglected to answer my question on how vacancies and leasing in Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) is going.
    As long as SF is an extremely desirable place for people to live, employers will want a presence here. If prices fall enough, more places will do like Google has done and open an office here.
    The thought that somehow SF must maintain jobs for all levels and be a stand alone city is ridiculous, IMO. Jobs should be spread around the region much more than they are now – it’s definitely a good thing in the long run for the East Bay to be gaining more jobs and becoming less and less of bedroom communities for SF (if only Marin could do the same). That allows us to leverage more utility out of our transportation infrastructure, whether we’re talking roads, bridges, BART, ferries, or whatever.
    If SF becomes primarily boutique businesses, an entertainment center, place for the rich to live, and a place for a hundred thousand students to live – it won’t look much different from Boston. We simply need more regional cooperation to insure that getting between the areas and sharing the wealth generated in the area is somewhat equitable.
    The type place that you’ve described already exists in the Bay Area (wealthy playground, place for the rich to live, no middle class jobs, bedroom community) – it’s called Marin County (or most of San Mateo County too, if you wish – biotech jobs aren’t exactly middle class jobs for regular people).

  13. Posted by 45yo hipster

    I disagree with Gil. Tons of people still commute into SF for work. It’s a net imorter of jobs, not exporter. We have a llloooonnnggggg way to go before we become Disneyland for adults. Nevertheless, it’s a great time to be a residential landlord in Frisco.

  14. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Nah, the whole Edge City concept is very 80s. The world is turning the other direction now, with city planning and economic policy designed to discourage sprawl, not exacerbate it. If you want an example of a city with a number of job centers, a widely distributed employment base and lots of housing between them, just look 300 miles south. This is a perfect description of LA.
    San Francisco still has over 300,000 commuters coming in every day to work and this number has been growing over the years, not shrinking. We are never going to solve our energy use and carbon emissions problems by sprawling ever outward. $10/gallon gasoline and California’s stubborn refusal to invest in infrastructure will remind people of the value of living close to your jobs.
    Hundreds of thousands of middle class people live and work in San Francisco and they always have. They are called renters.

  15. Posted by Facts Please

    NVJ, I do not know why I am taking your bait, but this subject has been already done for at least two years on this site. A lazy google will show you how many posts here in the past show that the employement base and economic center of the Bay Area is not in San Francisco, but spread around a vast sprawling urban region. This is a regional hub urban area, and though your call towards more people moving back towards historic center city zones is true, it is description that fits Chicago more than San Francisco, for the ACTUAL POPULATION of the city of San Francisco does not agree with your theory.
    But let’s take your comment as fact, which peninsula or south bay company(s) do you forecast will pick up and move their offices to all of this vacant space in the city? Which of YOUR friends who live down in Menlo Park, Portola Valley or Palo Alto are secretly wishing they could live in Bernal and ride MUNI every day to Market Street? Unlike yourself, most of my suburban friends who, especially after they have children, hold no desire whatsover to live or locate their jobs in San Francisco. BTW, why does 101 and 280 look busier going south out of the city in the morning?
    (As for the L.A. bashing (stereotyping), a favorite sport of San Francisco, someone has also posted here in the past that the “urban region” of Los Angeles is FAR more dense than the sprawl of the Bay Area. Bay Area commuters travel some of the longest distances and time periods from home to work of any urban region of the country. Living in Noe Valley without a car is the exception to typical Bay Area resident, not the average.)

  16. Posted by anon

    BTW, why does 101 and 280 look busier going south out of the city in the morning?
    I agree with your other points, but this one should be obvious. More people coming into the city ride transit (because parking is expensive), where more people leaving the city drive (because parking in other places is usually free).
    Net commute numbers are not negative for SF, no matter what it “looks” like on 101 and 280.

  17. Posted by anon

    someone has also posted here in the past that the “urban region” of Los Angeles is FAR more dense than the sprawl of the Bay Area
    This is true, except for the “FAR” part. The two densest urban areas in the country are LA and the Bay Area. It makes sense, since the vast majority of sprawl in both areas is nearly identical. The only difference is that the center of the Bay Area is denser than the center of the LA area, and the far outer fringes are slightly less dense in the Bay Area than in the LA area. Both the LA and Bay Areas are FAR, FAR, FAR more dense than the Chicago, New York, or Boston metro areas, because they sprawl outward for longer distances at extremely low densities (especially Chicago, what with the land being completely flat, mostly worthless for other uses, and not blocked by mountains or water in three directions).
    As far as commute times go, there isn’t much difference between the average commute times in the New York, LA, and Bay Area metros. The biggies that do well in that category are the DC metro (primarily because of well-planned transit-oriented development surrounding Metro stations that has blossomed over the past 30 years) and the Chicago metro (primarily because of an excellent commuter rail network that partially makes up for the terrible underinvestment in the El – just like here in the Bay Area with BART, it’s often faster to get to the center city from some far flung suburb than it is from the other side of the city).

  18. Posted by anon

    As far as NVJ’s notion of people moving back to urban areas, I agree with him – BUT – it’s already happened in the Bay Area. In the 2010 census, SF, Berkeley, and Oakland (basically the inner urban core) will likely all be at all time high populations. This contrasts with places like Chicago, which are still hundreds of thousands of people below their peak.
    The only ways that more people can move “back” to urban areas in the Bay Area are to:
    1. Further add housing to the core
    2. Increase the size of the core
    3. Create more cores
    Number one is clearly happening, though has slowed, but of course things like prop 13 and local zoning/politics have impeded the progress (does anyone really think that we wouldn’t have had 100,000 units built in SF over the past ten years without the massive implicit and explicit controls in place to stop it?). My guess is that it will still happen, but the pace will be so slow that affordability will never really improve vis a vis wages (prices may drop, but not as much as wages, etc).
    Number two seems unlikely to happen much, because as hard as it is to build new housing in SF, it’s even harder in places like the peninsula, Marin, or the rest of the inner east Bay, because those areas are entirely suburban – residents come out in force for even a three story building or squeezing two houses in place of one because it’s “out of character.”
    Number three is probably our best chance. San Jose has had some luck in building some new density and starting to create a downtown. Other areas around BART stops have shown early signs that it might be possible to do some DC Metro style densification, though it’s going to be a long and hard battle.

  19. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Pardon me for bringing facts into the discussion instead of my personal observation about what traffic looks like on one freeway, but here is what SPUR has to report about Downtown Business Disctricts:
    http://www.spur.org/publications/library/article/framingthefutureofdowntownsf03012007
    You can see that both Sunnyvale/Mt. View and Downtown San Francisco have about 300k commuters every day, but about half of the SF commuters use transit and the overwhelming majority of Sunnyvale commuters use a car alone. Which method of transporting people do you think is going to be the prevalent one going forward? As China and India start to consume more and more of the world’s resources, what do you think that will do to the price of oil? It is $70/barrel right now when unemployment is 10%, what is it going to be when the economy picks up? Also, there is going to be a hefty carbon tax, probably $1/gallon slapped on gasoline pretty soon, one way or another.
    In the longer run, we may convert to personal individual transit that runs on electricity, but we are still a long ways a way from that. Building a pile of coal fired power plants is not a solution to global warming problems either.
    Too many of the Administrations policies have been pro-sprawl, like Cash for Clunkers and the Housing Tax Credit, but I think the long history we have of taxing urban residents to subsidize suburban growth is coming to an end.
    There are many companies that are growing in San Francisco, mostly technology companies. More and more South Bay companies are actually opening offices here, since there is an untapped pool of employees here. SOMA is actually growing as a technology center, sort of Silicon Valley North these days. Having lots of empty office space is great for anyone wanting to start or grow a business. There are dozens of growing technology companies in SOMA, one of them will certainly grow into the next Google or Salesforce.com. The latter is based in The City, has thousands of employees and is hiring like mad, btw.
    As for personal observation, I only know a few couples that live in South Bay and they like it there. I know dozens of families that live in San Francisco, many of whom have jobs on The Peninsula or South Bay and they live here because they prefer it here.

  20. Posted by Justin

    First, who isn’t for more transit? Second, thanks to “anon” @9:05am and @9:18am, agree with all your thoughts, especially about Chicago having AND also making more housing so that people can move back to the central core area, while at the same time the outer suburbs of that city do indeed sprawl for miles. Is part of the return to core areas a generational demographic? In Chicago, as an example, the central city is becoming much younger while the sprawling suburbs are now mostly older people.
    My point earlier was that many Peninsula residents have no desire to live or work in San Francisco. It is true, some choose to commute great distances so that they can call San Francisco a bedroom community, but at what cost to the enviroment? If I own a car, but use it infrequently, and live within walking distance of my office in Palo Alto, am I more green than some Caltrain or Google bus rider from Noe Valley? This gets to Anon’s points about increasing other central cores. Someone in Pasadena, Palo Alto or Berkeley can enjoy the same car free lifestyle as Noe Valley Jim without San Francisco smugness.
    I really think the idea of historic central urban cores being the only solution for density and car free living is very 80′s as well. The funny thing is, many of the neighborhoods San Franciscan’s enjoy, such as Noe Valley, have rather suburban density compared to parts of Chicago or New York.
    I would rather see multiple attractive dense cores where people can live pleasant affordable lives close to work, retail and recreation. If only we had stronger regional planning to encourage other possible core areas to allow more density.

  21. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Addressing comment #1, San Francisco has in various states of the process, plans for at least 100k new units. At current people per unit density, this would equal 30% more people. What other Bay Area city is considering 30% more population?
    Certainly not the inner suburbs, which are as resolutely NIMBY as they come.
    It is correct that Santa Clara’s job and population growth rate has outpaced San Francisco’s for a long time, but they are both growing. And who has the larger unemployment rate today? I know that ABAG projects both regions to continue to grow. It is hard to see how Santa Clara can continue to do that without a significant investment in transportation infrastructure which the voters don’t seem to be in any mood to fund. SF is in the same boat, but not quite as badly.

  22. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    You are seriously suggesting that someone who wishes to avoid smugness should move to Berkeley? That one made me LOL. I have actually lived in Pasadena and Berkeley, since I went to college in both of those cities and neither one is the apex of modesty. Palo Alto seems pretty high on itself too.
    But to your larger point, I agree that these communities all offer an excellent quality of life, particularly for those who work locally. All of them are job centers and should zone to increase housing density. Of the three, I only see Berkeley doing that, and that very grudgingly.

  23. Posted by anonn

    Where is the chorus of voices who routinely said SF has been steadily losing population all through this decade? Gone away for good without acknowledgment of error, as unaccountables do. Beware.

  24. Posted by behindthenumbers

    Numbers don’t support migration exodus to “cool cities”….
    http://www.newgeography.com/content/001153-numbers-dont-support-migration-exodus-cool-cities
    This is what we should really be watching, it is not whether the population goes up or down, but who is moving in, and who is moving out. It would seem that areas with affordable housing are attracting youth and jobs

  25. Posted by anon

    ^Why in the world would we only care about domestic migration? Dunno about you, but more than half of the people that I work with are either first generation immigrants or foreign nationals here on H1B visas.

  26. Posted by behindthenumbers

    ^^”^Why in the world would we only care about domestic migration?” (anon at 11:08pm)
    Agreed, as I mentioned above, “This is what we should really be watching, it is not whether the population goes up or down, but who is moving in, and who is moving out”. A deeper investigation into some of the current statistics shows not only higher paid single professionals moving to the city, but also a large population of low wage, low skilled workers. In some neighborhoods what were at one time homes of working class families, are now filled with 8 to 10 workers using the structure as a boarding house, while in other “working class” (hate that term) neighborhoods that have become trendy and upscale, what were at one time homes that had families with children are now mostly being purchased by singles or couples(partners) without children. (Of course I know NoeValleyJim will remind me of the dozens of children on his block, but all posts are not about Noe Valley (aka babystrollerland), and Noe Valley is not the only neighborhood in San Francisco.)

  27. Posted by behindthenumbers

    “This seems true even for those seeking high-end jobs. Between 2006 and 2008, the metropolitan areas that enjoyed the fastest percentage shift toward educated and professional workers and industries included nominally “unhip” places like Indianapolis, Charlotte, N.C., Memphis, Tenn., Salt Lake City, Jacksonville, Fla., Tampa, Fla., and Kansas City, Mo.”
    http://www.newgeography.com/content/001153-numbers-dont-support-migration-exodus-cool-cities
    I am reposting the article above to see if anyone can dispute these findings, which confirm what I have observed with long term Bay Area friends I have had. Most of my circle of professional friends who moved to San Francisco after college, left the city within 8 years, usually for entrepreneurial reasons and have no desire to move their companies or families back to San Francisco. This goes back to the issue of commercial space in the city, and why so little new commericial space is built in San Francico. Can anyone name any major corporation or financial institution that has relocated to San Francisco?

  28. Posted by anaon

    “Where is the chorus of voices who routinely said SF has been steadily losing population all through this decade? Gone away for good without acknowledgment of error, as unaccountables do. Beware.”
    From the 2000 census through 2006 the Bureau initially showed a decrease in SF pop. Even after adjustments as a result of the revisions through 2008, the pop. growth rate is barely 1%/yr. Over the past 20 years it’s amazing how little pop. growth the city has had, appearances to the contrary (pop. mix is a different story). BTW,, SF’s % of over over-65 yr. olds is also higher than the statewide avg. and that of hated rival LA.
    Fantasies of SF’s ability to “consider” adding hundreds of thousands of new residents (as if wishing = reality) aside, SF is well on its way to upper-class Disneyland/bedroom community for the privileged status. A city administration with a different set of priorities than those in place since the 60s is necessary to alter that course.
    BTW, does “unaccountables” include realtrolls(tm) who post under multiple screen names?

  29. Posted by anon

    Can anyone name any major corporation or financial institution that has relocated to San Francisco?
    The Bay Area, and SF as part of it, primarily has been a place to build new companies, not a place to have places relocate to.
    Established companies typically have a much higher incentive to seek out simply the cheapest place to do business, instead of trying to seek out the best talent – because they already have found a niche or slot for themselves.
    Thus, while SF has recently created companies, divisions of companies, or nonprofits like Twitter, iShares, craigslist, and dozens of others, very few established companies will relocate here, because costs are higher. (The only major recent relocation of a HQ that I can think of is Wikimedia, which moved from Florida to SF).
    It’s true that some other major cities have had luck at attracting some high profile large companies to move there, but it’s been through massive incentives and other corporate welfare (think Boeing moving to Chicago, etc) and it typically just means a few hundred or dozen top execs. What benefit would doing the same give to SF, other than an ego boost?

  30. Posted by anonn

    BTW, does “unaccountables” include realtrolls(tm) who post under multiple screen names?
    If you’re speaking to me, I only post under one psuedonym, formerly under another one, and unlike a great many posters who are long gone I answer for what I write. Thanks for saying that SF hasn’t been shrinking in population. I agree.

  31. Posted by tipster

    Annon,you sound so foolish when you make those statements about so called “unaccountables”. In 2002-2006, real estate became free to own: the cost was outweighed by appreciation, so lots of people bought second homes to stay in a few times a year. Why wouldn’t they? They were free to own. That allowed the population to decrease during a building boom.
    Now those second homes are being sold off to people who are living in them. Of course the population is increasing because prices are continuing to fall to make it affordable for more people to do so. The additional temporary government funding helps too.
    Population increases can occur for reasons other than “everyone wants to live there” and we have a great example of that occurring right now.

  32. Posted by diemos

    “unaccountables”
    Is that like Eliot Ness and the “untouchables”? Maybe we should get some warm up jackets made for the gang with “unaccountables” stitched across the back.

  33. Posted by anonn

    Tipster, you can’t begin anything by saying another person sounds foolish in this forum. Sorry. Your reprimand pass was pulled the 900th time you donned the protective foil headgear.

  34. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I am reposting the article above to see if anyone can dispute these findings, which confirm what I have observed with long term Bay Area friends I have had
    They are technically accurate, but extremely misleading, because they measure job growth from 2000, which was the height of the dotcom bubble. Go to BLS and look for yourself, click on the tab labeled “databases and tables->Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages->California->San Francisco and look at the data there. San Francisco county had 599k jobs in Jan 2001, then dropped after the dotcom bust to a nadir of 512k in Jan 2004 and then was steadily increasing since then until Jul 2008, where it hit a high of 577k. Since then employment has dropped slightly to 551k.
    Your source uses the Metro area data, not SF County, so it paints a worse picture. San Francisco actually has better than the region over the last 10 years.
    I suggest that instead of using politically slanted sources for your facts, that you go directly to primary sources, or at the least fact check them. You will find they often do things like cherry picking data periods to provide “proof” of whatever bias they are already suffering under.
    If you look at the regional job tables under BLS (I can show you how to find it if you have trouble navigating the site) you will see that the region suffered even more than SF County from the dot com bust and lost about 20% of total jobs, but the long term job growth rate has been positive, all the way back to the beginning of the data series in 1980.
    Everyone I know is busy starting companies in San Francisco. Do you even live in San Francisco behindthenumbers or are you another of these sour grapes Easy Bay trolls?

  35. Posted by tipster

    “Everyone I know is busy starting companies in San Francisco.” = Everyone I know is unemployed in San Francisco.

  36. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    No tipster, most of them are hiring. Do you know any good java or php front end web developer types? I know of four startups that are looking for one and they prefer to pay cash + equity. Most of them are willing to hire a contractor as well, but all the contractors I know have more work than they know what to do with.

  37. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Digging into the BLS data some more, it appears some of the cities that he touts as job growth centers are actually bubble cities that are experiencing severe job loss right now. Riverside has lost 10% of overall jobs since 2007. The SF metro area for example has only lost about 5% in that same period.
    Orlando is in similar shape to Riverside, though San Antonio is holding up very well, as are the other Texas cities. Texas avoided the worst of the housing bubble that affected to many regions in the country.

  38. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    And oh, in case it isn’t obvious, my statement that “all my friends are working at startups” isn’t an attempt to refute or claim anything about the overall San Francisco economy. My point is that we all suffer from selection bias and it is important to guard against it.

  39. Posted by Gil

    “I am reposting the article above to see if anyone can dispute these findings, which confirm what I have observed with long term Bay Area friends I have had. Most of my circle of professional friends who moved to San Francisco after college, left the city within 8 years, usually for entrepreneurial reasons and have no desire to move their companies or families back to San Francisco. This goes back to the issue of commercial space in the city, and why so little new commericial space is built in San Francico. Can anyone name any major corporation or financial institution that has relocated to San Francisco?”
    Great points.
    Folks want to try to obfuscate the clear implications of the domestic migration article. But it is what it is.
    Sure there is foreign immigration too but, to the extent those folks come here legally, they are initially going to be drawn to the name cities – NY, LA and such. Once they get here however, they too after a time, may join the domestic shift in population out of San Francisco and other regions.
    The story about Oregonians disliking Califonians is true to an extent. The migration north started a long time ago. If anything it is acelerating and expeically with Seatlle. High end jobs, middle level jobs, better educational system. More intimate and friendly neighborhoods.
    I personally know 5 couples who have voluntarilly relocated north (not to mention even more who have gone to SLC, Texas and points further east)in the past 2 years. I was hoping to join them quickly but my company has everything on hold because of the economy so it will be 2 or 3 years before I too can join the domestic migration out of SF and the Bay Area.

  40. Posted by anonn

    “More intimate and friendly neighborhoods”
    It’s not a great idea to compare cities but (pick a Seattle) neighborhood’s feel to (pick a SF) neighborhood’s feel, San Francisco and Seattle are probably more similar than any two cities I’ve spent time in.

  41. Posted by Gil

    “It’s not a great idea to compare cities but (pick a Seattle) neighborhood’s feel to (pick a SF) neighborhood’s feel, San Francisco and Seattle are probably more similar than any two cities I’ve spent time in.”
    I’d totally disagree. I’ve spent time in Seattle and lived in Portland and the differences are, while not night and day, significant. In terms affordability, housing quality, friendliness, open space, local schools and locaal business.
    For instance take Raleigh Hills or Cedar Hills in the Portland/Beaverton area.
    These are middle class neighborhoods where folks with “average” paying jobs live. Though different in expanse and feel, the closest thing in SF would be the Forest Hill area. By all means not middle class and not affordable to most SFers.
    Housing quality can’t compare. The homes in Raleigh and Cedar Hills are mostly nicer, on larger lots often with no backyard fences (course that would never work in SF but that is the point).
    Open space – there is no comparison. SF neighborhoods don’t have it mostly and those few that do like Forest Hill are not that “open” relative to other areas outside SF.
    Folks know their neighbors and neighborhood awareness/pride is much stronger in most of Portland. You see that at Oktoberfest time. Like right now, with the block events and such. Lawns and fronts as wells as backyards are kept up much better up north.
    Schools – SF’s government schools are not only bad compared to Portland and Seattle, they are bad compared to San Mateo and many parts of the East Bay.
    Local business – maybe its the still smaller size of Portland and Seattle, but local owned businesses have been able to withstand the big chains far better than in the Bay Area.
    There are all the extras too. I love greenery and a tree in your backyard in Raleigh hills could well be a 100 plus foot fir. Many streets do not have sidewalks – yeah, you gotta walk to the curb to get your mail from the mailbox but it’s a wonderful option for those moving north.
    The snow on the distant foothills is a treat – especially as snow itself in Portland is rare. Best of both worlds.
    The springs have to be seen to be understood. The colors and variety of plants flowering at the time will blow you away.
    Anyway, we strongly disagree on how comparable Seattle and Portland neighborhoods are to SF neighborhoods.

  42. Posted by anonn

    Why are you talking about Portland?

  43. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Folks want to try to obfuscate the clear implications of the domestic migration article. But it is what it is.
    What are the clear implications? That highly skilled, hard working immigrants are taking the plum jobs in the top tier job markets and driving second tier employees to second tier cities?

  44. Posted by Gil

    “Why are you talking about Portland?”
    Comparing neighborhoods. I’m familiar with Seattle and Portland neighborhoods. Others too, but the starkest comaparion in many ways is with Seattle and Portland.

  45. Posted by anonn

    OK. So you’re saying that Seattle and Portland are more similar than SF and Seattle. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to Portland (tho I’d like to visit, we’ve a friend who apparently runs a great Scottish Pub up there). But just off the top of my head, SF to Seattle, Fremont is not terribly unlike the Haight, Ballard and the Sunset have a bit of a same feel, Queen Anne and Pac Heights, Belltown and South Beach, etc.

  46. Posted by anon

    No one disputes domestic outmigration from the Bay Area and California as a whole. New York has seen this for nearly a century. We’re just into our first couple decades here.
    As places get older, one of two things typically happens. The first option is that of the Rust Belt – an area is more expensive and simply becomes less competitive with other areas in attracting those who create companies and existing companies just looking for worker bees. The second option is that the area becomes expensive but remains a place where people come to create companies. They may move them other places for the worker bee segments, but the majority of the wealth created remains in the area.
    Obviously the second has happened in the Bay Area. This is still one of (if not the) most important and largest new company creation area in the US (of large companies). Sure, it prices some people out, but them’s the brakes. Unfortunately, with a country as large as ours, there’s always going to be other areas that drop costs for the worker bee segment, so without some kind of national cohesiveness (like exists in European countries or Japan), the places that appeal to the lowest common denominator will snag the low paying jobs, while the areas that educated folks want to live in and invest in and create wealth in will become more and more exclusive and expensive – Reaganomics guarantees it. The days of the blue or white collar middle class living close to the upper echelons is over in the country (and the coffin was sealed in the mid-70′s and bolted shut in the early 80′s). It would take another forty years to get back to the level of income equality in the top tier areas of the US in terms of innovation (Boston, NYC, Washington Metro, Bay Area, parts of the rest of CA).
    Don’t worry Gil – in another 20 years, Seattle, Denver, and probably Portland will be just as stratified as the Bay Area. Enjoy the relative income equality while you can.

  47. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Great Schools ranks Seattle, Portland and San Francisco schools with exactly the same ranking: a six.
    San Francisco has more parks as a percentage of total urban area than either of those cities, but I am sure their lots are larger, making them less dense, but more “open” feeling. It is entirely a matter of preference which one prefers. I prefer urban walkability, some prefer a more suburban park like setting. It is entirely a matter of taste.

  48. Posted by Gil

    “San Francisco has more parks as a percentage of total urban area than either of those cities”
    If true that is a quite mis-leading stat.
    What goes for a park in SF (South Park, the poark across from St. Peters & Paul’s, the redwood park at transamerica are postage stamp sprouts of green in a wall to wall sea of asphalt and cement. Many Portland backyards are larger than these “parks”.
    Look at the Mission, Hayes Valley or the Sunset to see how mis-leading that stat is. These are desolate major neighborhood areas starved for greenery and open space.
    Urban walkability means local neighborhood shopping districts, services and restaurants – Seattle and Portland have that as much as SF does.

  49. Posted by anon

    Gil – now you’re just getting ridiculous. Urban walkability means a lot more than just shopping districts that happen to be local. Seattle and Portland are great cities, but most of the residents in both cities are not within a comfortable walking distance of a shopping district or large park. They can drive or bike to them, sure, but SF is MUCH more walkable than either (I’ve lived in all three).
    In terms of parkland, SF has FAR more large ACCESSIBLE parks than either Seattle or Portland. Golden Gate Park is a short Muni or bike ride from Hayes Valley or the Sunset (two areas you mention), as is the Marina Green and the connecting Presidio. Most people who choose SF aren’t looking for large front or rear yards and the “feel” of more open space. I choose SF because it’s a tight urban community with dozens of services within a five minute walk of my house AND I can bike to large open spaces in GGP or the Presidio in ten minutes AND I can bike to COMPLETELY desolate areas (in Marin) in less than half an hour. That combo simply isn’t available in Seattle or Portland (though Portland is a much better biking town).

  50. Posted by anonn

    Come on man. Golden Gate Park and The Presidio have few equals when it comes to city parks. I’m not saying they’re the best anywhere. But a lot of cities would love to have that sort of green space.

  51. Posted by Gil

    “I’ve never been to Portland (tho I’d like to visit, we’ve a friend who apparently runs a great Scottish Pub up there).”
    By all means visit if you can and stay a week anyway if possible.
    Yup, Portland is known for micro-breweries and English like pubs. It most often likened to Boston.
    If you visit take a day to drive over to Mt. Hood (70 miles east) and come back to Portland along the Columbia River Gorge – the highest waterfalls in the continental US can be found there. On rare occasions you can even catch a glimpse of “something” in the forest – maybe Sasquatch?
    To see the high-tech center drive out west to Beaverton, Hillsboro and Forest Grove. The hub of the rapidly expanding hi-tech jobs center. Speaking of biking, many workers in these companies settling into the Tualatin Valley live in neighborhoods with greenways where they can ride their bikes to work, stores and beyond w/o crossing a street or leaving beautiful green open space.
    It can be alluring up there so don’t stay too long – which is what I did and fell in love with the Northwest.

  52. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Portland and Seattle are both beautiful cities with lots of great stuff going on, no doubt about it. I especially appreciate what Portland is doing with regards to Urban Growth Boundaries and their bicycle friendly attitude. They are also have much cheaper housing, but have lower wages as well.
    If you are happy renting, overall you are probably better off economically here, but if you want to buy, it is definitely less expensive in the Northwest.

  53. Posted by Gil

    “If you are happy renting, overall you are probably better off economically here, but if you want to buy, it is definitely less expensive in the Northwest.”
    Actually renting is cheaper in Portland than SF by a fair amount.
    The wages are less true, but overall – counting everything – if you make 50,000/yr in SF you need only make 29,000/yr in Portland to have the same standard of living.
    If you are happy renting, overall you are probably better off economically here, but if you want to buy, it is definitely less expensive in the Northwest.

  54. Posted by Morgan

    Just wanted to jump in regarding Portland and mention I have never seen so many people using bikes except for perhaps Amsterdam and parts of Asia. The bike paved trail network in that city is amazing and used very heavily. I am jealous.
    http://www.portlandonline.com/TRANSPORTATION/index.cfm?a=70221&c=34809
    We have “Critical Mass”, while they actually did something about it.

  55. Posted by anon

    ^Morgan – agreed. The major problem is that SF is really too dense (and hilly) to be an ideal cycling city. Thus, while the vast majority of people in Portland bike some of the time – or at least like the idea of having extensive bicycle infrastructure – we don’t have that here. We have a large group (that is growing) of people who are hard core cyclists and a large group of people like those in Portland – but we also have a large group of people that are anti-bike or at least overly pro-car (feeling that any bike infrastructure is an assault on their way of life and “anti-car”).
    There’s a lot more of a working together feeling in Portland than there is here. Everyone here feels that their way is the best (cyclists, drivers, transit-users, pedestrians).

  56. Posted by Gil

    “There’s a lot more of a working together feeling in Portland than there is here. Everyone here feels that their way is the best (cyclists, drivers, transit-users, pedestrians).”
    Oh yeah – the community/neighborhood feel is greater in Portland.
    Portland is just as hilly and has higher hills actually than SF.
    The hills are not the problem in SF. Besides the animus between the groups in SF, it is hard to safely squeeze bike paths in as the streets are so narrow and buildings are built basically to the curb. Portland just has so much more space between buildings and wider streets and fronts.
    In Portland lots of the neighborhood backyards face onto common green areas and this has proven a antural place to put many bike paths while leaving the green common space basically intact.
    We have friends whose large backyard ends on an 80 ft. wide common green area before joining into the backyards of the homes opposite our friends’ place. A bike path was built there and it is heavily used not just for pleasure but for commuting.

  57. Posted by anon

    ^Hence my density quote. Density is great for pedestrians – I walk more, that’s why I prefer SF. However, cycling requires lower density and/or fewer lanes/space for autos. The auto lobby in SF has never been open to that option.
    Also, the dense parts of Portland are not even close to being as hilly as the dense parts of SF. Downtown Portland and most of the east side is not hilly at all. Hills wouldn’t be a huge problem if a lane could be taken from auto use on the least hilly of the roads.

  58. Posted by Morgan

    This NYTimes video shows the “community” that has developed with bikes being used as transportation. I am now even more interested in how that city is doing transportation planning.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZLwvbLea1o

  59. Posted by dub dub

    This is a fantastic video — but almost everybody in it is white and (apart from the bike sellers) under 30! I’m guessing their other bike is NOT a 1.2M house in Noe Valley.
    Heck I didn’t own a car until I was in my mid-twenties, I remember what those years were like! Are we sure these folks aren’t simply poor? White folks are *experts* at disguising poverty as something more noble and healthy.
    Money quote: “It’s quicker and cheaper than taking the bus!” And the part starting at 3:13 is lol funny, in a stuffwhitepeoplelike kind of way. “Traveling in the vernacular” — awesome stuff!
    It looked pretty dangerous, so I don’t want to hear sanctimonious bicyclists bellyaching about the dangers of intra-city driving again :)
    On a serious note, my neighbor bikes to BART often (East bay), and according to him, they don’t even allow them on during commute hours (he goes off hours). Does anybody know why they don’t fix that?

  60. Posted by anon

    dub dub – almost everyone in Portland is white and young ;)
    It seems that way at least…

  61. Posted by anon

    On a serious note, my neighbor bikes to BART often (East bay), and according to him, they don’t even allow them on during commute hours (he goes off hours). Does anybody know why they don’t fix that?
    Yes, that’s true. It’s because BART is a horribly designed system that peaks worse than any other metro-level system in the world (metro-level as opposed to basic, cheap commuter rail like Caltrain). Basically, the core of the system (SF, Oakland, and Berkeley) was underbuilt in terms of capacity, and the outer areas were overbuilt. This puts too much strain on the inner parts of the system – thus not enough room for enough trains to permit trains with bikes.
    You won’t find transit dollars as poorly spent as in the Bay Area anywhere else in the world – anywhere.

  62. Posted by Morgan

    Anon, do you know why they did not run two tracks in each direction (for a total of 4) under Market Street? Do the limitations of a single track keep them from running trains on a more frequent schedule? How are they able to run trains in European subways with such close frequency where as soon as one train leaves the station, the next one arrives within 30 seconds during rush hour?
    As for Portland, it IS white….
    This link is for dub dub,
    http://www.newgeography.com/content/001110-the-white-city
    Also, excellent articles on Newgeography talking about the 2010 commercial real estate crash.

  63. Posted by anon

    Morgan – the original BART plan (the one sold to voters) had a four track transbay tube, four track Oakland Wye, and four tracks under Market until the Montgomery Station (the tracks were to be set up so that two continued under Market and two angled off under Geary).
    In the first few years after the plan was passed and the BART board was formed, Alameda and Contra Costa County were growing like gangbusters. Reallocation of board seats meant that more seats were now covering the growing suburban areas. At the same time, costs started to escalate. When construction actually started, a “compromise” was made. The tube was cut to two, the Oakland Wye was cut to three, more stations were added on the yellow line (Concord was originally supposed to be the last stop), and the Embarcadero station was added (though part of the deal there was to make Montgomery smaller than it was originally supposed to be.
    As the years passed by, the Geary extension was essentially killed, since almost all population growth was occurring in the outer counties and there was no political will to fund something in an area not growing. So…the Dublin Pleasanton line was built, further extensions on the yellow line were built, and the San Mateo County extension was built. All of these extensions put further stress on the core of the system (the area of Market, the tube, and the Oakland Wye).
    Also, it should be mentioned that each of the extensions is into areas that basically only have demand for a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening, yet trains run to the stations at a minimum every 20 minutes for at least 19 hours a day. This puts further financial stress on the whole system. A Geary extension (or more stations within the core) would have more round-the-clock demand, thus lower net operating costs.
    All of that said, the real bottleneck right now is not the tracks, but the passenger flow rates in Embarcadero and Montgomery Stations (remember the size of the station for Montgomery was shrunk in the “compromise” and Embarcadero was built to the same size). More trains could come through the stations, but there isn’t enough time for passengers to get off the trains and out of the station (part of this could be solved by additional doors on the trains, but the real issue is with too few escalators and stairways).

  64. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    At the risk of steering the conversation back to San Francisco area growth prospects, that New Geography article ranks regions by growth prospects:
    http://www.newgeography.com/content/00745-large-cities-ranking-2009-new-geography-best-cities-job-growth
    The Texas cities all come out on top, not too surprisingly, with the Northern California cites of San Jose and San Francisco around 20, out of 66. Not great, but pretty good.
    The cities that “behindthenumbers” cites as being big job growth cities are all actually collapsing housing bust cities, look at the drops for Riverside and Sacramento!

  65. Posted by Chad

    Totally unrelated, but just saw on CNBC this morning that they are expecting a “blood bath” (exact words used by Analyst interviewed) in the Commercial Real Estate in 2010…
    This is in close heels to remarks by another fund manager yesterday.
    [Editor's Note: Moved to a not so undrelated thread.]

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