85 Natoma
Assuming the Board of Supervisors pass a motion tomorrow, on December 7 the Board will hold a public hearing “to consider the acquisition of various real properties by eminent domain for the public purpose of construction the Transbay Transit Center Program.”
As we reported by way of a plugged-in tipster back in 2007:

The Transbay Joint Powers Admin [TJPA] over that past few weeks has been sending out offer letters to purchase properties around the Transbay Terminal. The TJPA is moving forward with their acquisition plan for 20+ properties (maybe 33 if memory serves me correct) for their right of way needs. It’s very hush hush as they do not want the “offers” to be made public – but “fair market” values are being tossed out there to the land owners. “Fair Market” – mind you the only people the land owners can sell to is the TJPA.

Negotiations will go on for the next few months, but if no final “fair” price is agreed to, then the TJPA will go the [Board of Supervisors] and play the eminent domain card.

Properties now under consideration to be domained: 60 Tehama, 564 Howard, 568 Howard, and the 10 units at 85 Natoma, the Jim Jennings designed Steel Arc building in which “Boom Dizzle” (a.k.a. Baron Davis) once resided.
A TJPA Offer You Really Can’t Refuse [SocketSite]
Boom Dizzle (AKA Baron Davis) Is In The His House (And SoMa) [SocketSite]
Steel Arc Building: 85 Natoma [jimjenningsarchitecture.com]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by sfrenegade

    RIP Zebulon.

  2. Posted by Dubocian

    Such great planning in this city. Approve a new residential project (in this case, a very unique and nice modern design) and a scarce 12 years later, force all the homeowners out and bulldoze it. If I owned there, I’d be beyond incensed.
    They should pay them 2006 or 2007 market prices for their trouble. I’m all for the new Transbay terminal, but the new terminal has been on the table for a LONG time. While they may not have known the specifics, it just seems wrong to tear down and throw away a brand new building, just because we can’t plan ahead.

  3. Posted by me

    In the make believe best case world, it would be terrific if they just ran it down 6th Street and clean up all the 6th Street urban historical significance and priceless longshoreman/brothel housing. Referring to a recent article from the SF Examiner a few days ago about a 6th Street historical district. Maybe they will find crack pipes burried there 400 years from now…..

  4. Posted by redseca2

    I still miss Cadillac Bar which disappeared for yerba Buena West.

  5. Posted by railfan

    Dubocian, you make a good point, but without the completion of environmental documents and an approved project, cities have no legal right to acquire property. Had the city denied approval of development of these properties “just in case” the properties were needed for a yet to be approved public project, they would have been subject to charges of inverse condemnation.

  6. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I liked the chow at Cadillac Bar too but that place was one of the loudest dining rooms in the world. Those glossy painted masonry walls created the perfect echo chamber. And then when the waiters performed for someones birthday flan, watch out ! Those 7oz Corona bottle “castanets” create an ear piercing of high frequency spike of noise. Whole tables would plug their ears with their fingers.

  7. Posted by sf

    This is one of the only cool things built in soma in the past 20 years. I will really miss it.

  8. Posted by stucco-sux

    Has a virtually brand new residential development ever been demolished anywhere for eminent domain? Its the 1st time I’ve ever heard of it.
    Yeeowwza is all I can say.

  9. Posted by railfan

    “Has a virtually brand new residential development ever been demolished anywhere for eminent domain? Its the 1st time I’ve ever heard of it.”
    Back in the 80′s when planning for the reconstruction of the 24/680 interchange was underway; the city of Walnut Creek approved a condo complex adjacent to the freeway partially on property needed for the interchange improvements. One of the buildings in the complex was completed but never occupied. This particular building had to be moved when the interchange project was approved. I think it was relocated close by to the original site and sold to a community housing agency.

  10. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Not so much Eminent Domain rather than Ego Demand : Silicon Valley regularly demolishes new office buildings to build new-er office buildings. Its the first place I saw the use of onsite concrete recycling. They demolish the old building, grind up the concrete into gravel, and then use that to make concrete for the new building.

  11. Posted by eric

    Besides 60 Tehama, 564 Howard, 568 Howard, and 85 Natoma, what are some of the other properties to go ? Any idea ?

  12. Posted by steve

    Doesn’t grinding up the concrete to make new concrete lead to mad cow disease?

  13. Posted by Mole Man

    In the Transbay Redevelopment Plan from the SF Redevelopment Authority site on page 41 of 46 there is a map showing the approach of rails to the site superimposed with the existing developed lots.

  14. Posted by Boongoggle

    You all VOTED FOR THIS !!!
    And now some state legislators are looking at defunding the Hi Speed rail project. Go figure….
    No doubt with property values down by 30-50% the city will take advantage of the property owners situation.
    You all VOTED FOR THIS !!!

  15. Posted by sfrenegade

    “You all VOTED FOR THIS !!!”
    Yes, thank you, now go away. It’s a good thing we all voted for this.

  16. Posted by anon

    “You all VOTED FOR THIS !!!”
    I didn’t vote for it.

  17. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    I voted for it and I’m glad I did. I live on the Peninsula (on the west side of El Camino, of course) and I’m happy that the crummy east side neighborhoods are going to be cut off from the rest of us. That will boost my property value and keep the riff-raff out.
    Electrification of Caltrain and eliminating grade-level crossings will reduce the train noise that I hear and reduce pollution. I don’t actually take Caltrain so service improvements aren’t that important to me but perhaps for some people it’ll help.
    Third, high speed rail is a means to reduce our dependency on foreign oil since the trains are fast and electric powered. Of course there are other infrastructure concerns such as power generation but you can’t solve all the world’s problems in one step.
    Weaning ourselves off foreign oil will take a generation or more and infrastructure projects like this one are the first step in the right direction. People who complain about high speed rail are just luddites living in the past.

  18. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Jimmy, to give the high-speed rail skeptics their due, they aren’t all just luddites, they are mostly complaining about the cost of the infrastructure in the context of the budget deficits that the state has been running over the course of the past several years, a deficit that’s been largely papered over with clever accounting gimmicks and borrowing.
    That said, I agree with the view that in the post Prop. 13-era, you could and can say at any given point in time that the state couldn’t or can’t afford to do anything because California didn’t or doesn’t have the money. Using that logic, we should have left the Bay Bridge the way it was after the 1989 earthquake.
    Of course, you’re correct that we have to do all sorts of expensive things to reduce our consumption of foreign oil. We also have to be concerned with climate change. If we’re taking predictions, I predict the idiot minority in the California State Legislature who are grumbling about defunding HSR won’t succeed.
    Lastly, although it seems crass to note this, if you want an omelette, you have to be prepared to break some eggs. Even ultra-cool Jim Jennings designed Steel Arc buildings.

  19. Posted by sfrenegade

    “they are mostly complaining about the cost of the infrastructure in the context of the budget deficits that the state has been running over the course of the past several years”
    No doubt the legislature of this state is rather incompetent. However, if we’re ever to dig ourselves out of the hole, revenues will have to go up, and infrastructure is a good investment.
    In addition, the Peninsula NIMBYs are a joke. HSR will be quieter than Caltrain due to being electric and due to being grade-separated (and safer!) so that no horns are blown at intersections. It will go 125 mph, which is faster than the 79 mph max of Caltrain, but not by much, so the increased noise complaints are a farce.
    This rail right of way has existed for over 100 years, and people who bought near the right of way knew it was there and that it could be used in any way. They were able to pay less for their houses due to the right of way, and will now get a windfall due to being close to prime infrastructure. I’m not sure why we should feel sorry for them.
    It was stupid to put this building where it was because the HSR plan has been around for ages. Blame the developer, not the CA HSR authority.

  20. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I forgot to point out that I did vote for Proposition 1A and am still glad that I did.
    Milkshake wrote:

    Its the first place I saw the use of onsite concrete recycling. They demolish the old building, grind up the concrete into gravel, and then use that to make concrete for the new building.

    And you even get LEED credit for doing this, if you’re trying to get Green Building certification:

    Recycled Content (Materials and Resources Credit 4). The requirements of this credit are for using materials with recycled content. One point is awarded if the sum of the post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer recycled content constitutes at least 10% of the total value of the materials in the project…using recycled concrete or slag instead of extracted aggregates would qualify as post-consumer.

    According to the Transbay Center website, “the project intends to meet the LEED requirements for construction waste management while the new Transit Center is being built” but they don’t say they are aiming for a specific LEED certification level for the building itself.

  21. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Thanks for the info Brahma. It makes sense that using recycled materials adds to LEED certification. I hope that they also take into account the net improvement between the old and new buildings. If you tear down a building that housed a hundred people and replace it with one a fifty person habitat then it seems as if the whole project has moved backward regardless of the other LEED factors. But in every one of the “metamorphic” projects I’ve observed the newer building was bigger and better.

  22. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    What about 580 Howard? I used to lease an office there and I was told that building was doomed as well.

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