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June 28, 2013

Those Amazing Medians Versus An Actual San Francisco Home


Having been listed for $1,495,000, the remodeled single-family Forest Hill home at 14 Ventura Avenue was purchased for $1,680,000 a year ago. Since then, the oft-quoted "median price" for single-family homes in San Francisco has increased 36 percent! The median price in Forrest Hill’s District 4 is up nearly 32 percent.

Today, the four-bedroom home at 14 Ventura returned to the market listed for $1,650,000, two percent under its sale price in May of 2012. Did we mention that the average single-family home in San Francisco sold for "over asking" last month at 108 percent of list price? Go figure.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Comments (12)

Unconstitutional Takings Closer To Home(s)?

Overshadowed by the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act, this week the Supreme Court also handed down a big land-use decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, ruling that the District’s denial of Koontz’s application to build a shopping center upon three acres of wetlands constituted an unconstitutional "taking" when the permit for development was denied after Koontz declined to reduce the size of the development or fund wetlands restoration projects, conditions under which the District had indicated it would be willing to approve the development of the land which Koontz owned.

From the majority opinion:

Extortionate demands for property in the land-use permitting context run afoul of the Takings Clause not because they take property but because they impermissibly burden the right not to have property taken without just compensation. As in other unconstitutional conditions cases in which someone refuses to cede a constitutional right in the face of coercive pressure, the impermissible denial of a governmental benefit is a constitutionally cognizable injury.

From the dissenting opinion:

Our core disagreement concerns the second question the Court addresses. The majority extends Nollan and Dolan to cases in which the government conditions a permit not on the transfer of real property, but instead on the payment or expenditure of money. That runs roughshod over Eastern Enterprises v. Apfel, 524 U. S. 498 (1998), which held that the government may impose ordinary financial obligations without triggering the Takings Clause’s protections. The boundaries of the majority’s new rule are uncertain. But it threatens to subject a vast array of land-use regulations, applied daily in States and localities throughout the country, to heightened constitutional scrutiny.

And from a number of wondering readers, to which you're welcome to provide a well reasoned opinon of your own:

Are there any parallels in terms of potential unconstitutional "takings" in San Francisco with respect to condo conversions, Below Market Rate (BMR) requirements for private developers, or the denial of a Chipotle?

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Comments (14)

Rising Shoreline Tides (And Barbeques) Down In South Beach?


At 1,617 square feet, #23 is the largest of nine condos in the boutique South Beach building at 41 Federal named Shoreline. Purchased for $1,495,000 in 2007, with three bedrooms, two terraces, and one parking spot, 41 Federal #23 is back on the market and listed for $1,495,000 again.


And yes, you can barbeque on the back patio (although we’re guessing gas only).


Early last year, the 1,365 square foot two-bedroom Shoreline condo #21 resold for $1,135,000, one percent below its purchase price of $1,150,000 in October of 2006.

∙ Listing: 41 Federal #23 (3/2) 1,617 sqft - $1,495,000 [mcguire.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Comments (1)

June 27, 2013

One Picture, A Thousand Words, And A Greater Number Of New Rights

San Francisco’s City Hall was illuminated in honor of the Supreme Court’s ruling against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, captured by David Yu (click image to enlarge).

It’s one picture, a thousand words, and an even greater number of recognized rights for married same-sex couples, including a full $500,000 tax-free gain upon the sale of real estate and tax-free transfers of property between spouses.

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 PM | Comments (13)

LINEA's Floor Plans Online, Sales "Gallery" Opening Next Month


Ranging in size from 450 to 1,198 square feet (click the image below to enlarge), the floor plans for all 115 condos coming to the market at 8 Buchanan (aka "LINEA" or 1998 Market Street) are now online with the sales office "gallery" slated to open at the end of July.

As plugged-in people know, all 115 units will be market rate with the affordable housing (BMR) component for the project being built offsite in the 24-unit building at 1600 Market Street.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:45 PM | Comments (27)

Another 400-Foot Rincon Hill Tower Is Ready To Break Ground


Building permits for the redesigned 400-foot residential tower to rise at 399 Fremont Street have been approved and issued, redesigned to hit the market as smaller rental units rather than condos.


As we first reported last year, the 42-story Rincon Hill tower and podium to rise on the corner of Fremont and Harrison will yield 452 residential units with 238 parking spaces for autos (including 36 tandem spaces served by valet) and 150 spaces for bikes under the podium.

399 Fremont Rendering: Aerial

Atop the podium there's a pool and clubroom. And atop the tower, trees and a roof-top lounge:

399 Fremont Rendering: Roof

399 Fremont: Interim Plans Set To Bloom For The Californian Site [SocketSite]
399 Fremont Scoop: Redesigned And Pursuing Construction Permits [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Comments (22)

June 26, 2013

LUMINA (The Development Heretofore Known As 201 Folsom)


The name for the development heretofore known as 201 Folsom Street has been revealed. Presenting LUMINA, a joint venture between Tishman Speyer and China Vanke.

LUMINA’s 655 condos, studios to three-bedrooms, will average 1,275 square feet and should be ready for occupancy by summer of 2015. The building's sales office is slated to open mid-2014.

The development's two commercial spaces include a 1,000 square foot space at the corner of Folsom and Beale envisioned as a cafe and a 9,500 square foot space along Folsom Street envisioned as "a restaurant or upscale market."

The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop [SocketSite]
201 Folsom Towers Floor Plan Sneak Peek [SocketSite]
Tishman Teams With China On 201 Folsom, Plans To Start Soon [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Comments (68)

Planning’s Assessment Of Apple’s Union Square Plans: Concerns And Considerations


With Mayor Ed Lee having prematurely deemed the design and plans for Apple's proposed retail store on Union Square as being "quite simply incredible," San Francisco’s Planning Department is now on the record with their preliminary assessment of Apple’s plans, including concerns about "the proposed building’s energy performance, particularly given San Francisco’s commitments to climate change mitigation and adaptation."

The challenge of this site is arriving at a design that must serve several objectives equally: first, it must respond to the desired identity of the heart of San Francisco as defined in the Downtown Plan and the Urban Design Element of the City’s General Plan, and the KMMS Conservation District, while also answering to the desired identity of Apple Inc. In other words, it must be an integral part of San Francisco’s historic Union Square district and Apple both at the same time. Second, the design must also respond to San Francisco’s particular environment – its sun, wind, fog and the color of its light. Finally, the building should not be so purpose-built that it will look out of place in the future and not work for potential future tenants.

The Planning Department’s specific concerns with Apple’s proposed plan for the 300 Post Street site and a few suggestions for the project’s facades and integration:

1. Open Space Design. The Planning Department has concerns about the relationship between the proposed plaza design and the adjacent sidewalk. The proposal would reduce public visibility from the street toward the plaza by providing only a narrow stairwell, rather than the current wide cascading stairs. It would also result in a broad blank wall along much of the Stockton Street the sidewalk. Specifically, the Planning Department would like to see the edge of the open space along Stockton Street more integrated with the sidewalk. The Planning Department recommends the following modifications to the plaza so that it feels open and inviting to the public:
a. Maintain as wide of a staircase as possible into the plaza, in order to create a more visible, inviting and usable edge along the sidewalk. Consider eliminating the walls at the sidewalk and extending the stairs the entire width of the plaza to enhance the invitation and quality of the plaza area fronting the street.
b. Reduce the riser height and extend the tread depth of the staircase leading into the plaza.
c. Consider the retention or relocation of the Ruth Asawa fountain as a part of the new reconfigured plaza, perhaps connecting it to, and integrating it with, another water theme within the plaza. If not feasible, the Department would like to work with the Sponsors to find an alternative location for its display within the City.
d. Include identifying signage for the open space, consistent with Planning Code Section 138(i).
2. Historic Preservation. The design as proposed requires modifications to demonstrate compatibility with the KMMS Conservation District. The Department encourages a contemporary design for this project; however, the overall design and detailing should relate to the established patterns, rhythm and architectural character found within the District. Please see the description of the District’s character-defining features and design guidelines summarized in the Planning Code Compliance section of this letter, as well as Appendix E of Planning Code Article 11.
3. Architecture. While it is understood that the large transparent façade along Post Street and a large nontransparent wall along Stockton Street is integral to the design concept, the Planning Department believes that there are ways of achieving the desired design concept while still responding to the fine-grain scale found within the District.
Post Street Façade: The Post Street façade should feature increased modulation and definition, such as strengthening and defining the top and bottom of the building, incorporating vertical elements to break the contiguous plane of the glass wall, and/or adding color, pattern or texture to the glass wall. The Planning Department recommends creating a distinct and identifiable entry and articulating a base to create a usable edge of the building. The lack of articulation and the single-surface glazing wall of approximately 115’ absent a defined pedestrian entry is a departure from the characteristic pattern of the District.
Stockton Street Façade: The Stockton Street façade should include a more active, transparent treatment, as required through Planning Code Section 145.1, and discussed in more detail under the Planning Code Compliance section of this letter. The lack of transparent fenestration and articulation proposed along the Stockton Street façade would create an approximately 80’-0” blank wall along an important commercial street with high pedestrian volumes in the heart of the City’s premier retail district. While the slope and location of structural and programmatic building elements may preclude an ideal solution, possible means of achieving the intent may include a combination of the following: (a) fenestration that increases visibility into the store; (b) display windows; and (c) recessing the building wall from the street to allow for landscape, water and/or seating to generate an active zone, thereby tempering the otherwise minimally embellished Stockton Street façade.
Service Tower: The service tower should create a transition between the massing and detailing of the primary retail frontage and the adjacent historic fabric. Specifically, the service tower should use cladding material and fenestration patterns that are compatible with the surrounding context.
4. Streetscape. The Department recommends incorporating features recommended in the Downtown Streetscape Plan such as street trees and benches into the design, particularly along the Post and Stockton Street frontages.
5. Green Building. Proposed design features for the Post Street façade, particularly the contiguous expansive glazing wall, may result in a significant increase in energy consumption. The Planning Department recommends modifying the design by incorporating passive shading structures or by employing advanced glazing systems to reduce thermal loading and demonstrate a net reduction in energy consumption within the new structure. The San Francisco Department of the Environmental also expressed initial concerns to the Planning Department about the proposed building’s energy performance, particularly given San Francisco’s commitments to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

"The Planning Department will provide further detailed design review on the subsequent submission of materials and details to insure that an acceptable and compatible design is achieved."

Apple's Union Square Store Design: Simply Incredible, Indeed [SocketSite]
Apple's Plan For A Flagship Store On Union Square [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Comments (17)

Hiding Behind The Façade Of A Historic Resource

Deemed a historic resource, the façade of 421 Arguello Boulevard was saved while the building behind was razed to make room for 8 new housing units to rise (click image to enlarge). It’s the same approach that’s being proposed for the six story project at 1335 Larkin Street.

We’ll let you debate the effectiveness of the approach and 421's execution.

An Ideal Location For Twenty New Condos To Rise [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Comments (23)

The Development Known As 201 Folsom To Be Named This Afternoon


Having physically broken ground last week, the ceremonial groundbreaking for Tishman Speyer’s 655-unit development at 201 Folsom Street takes place this afternoon.

As part of the groundbreaking ceremony, the name for the Bernardo Fort-Brescia designed development will be announced. With Tishman's Infinity across the street, we're wondering if they considered "Beyond."

Twin-Towered Folsom Street Development Is Underway [SocketSite]
The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Comments (12)

June 25, 2013

Bay Commission Votes To Oppose Warriors Arena Bill Without Delay

Having passed in the State Assembly by a vote of 59-10, Phil Ting’s Assembly Bill 1273 which would revise the existing authorization to develop San Francisco’s Pier 30-32 for use as a cruise ship terminal and authorize the Port to approve the building of the proposed Warriors Arena without additional review or oversight from the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) is now in the hands of the Senate.

Following a full-court press from the Mayor and local labor leaders last month, the BCDC agreed to avoid a formal vote opposing the bill and simply send a letter to legislators expressing their concerns about the attempted end run, giving the Warriors a month to work out their differences over the proposed arena project with the commission's staff.

Having failed to resolve their differences, the Commission has now formally voted 12-6 to "request that AB 1273 (The Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act) be placed on a two-year timetable so that it is not acted on by any Senate committee during this legislative year," or to formally oppose the bill should Assembly Member Ting decline the Commission's request to delay the legislation.

Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act Aims To Clear The Way For The Warriors [SocketSite]
Redesigned Warriors Arena Unveiled: A Peek Inside And Out [SocketSite]
Full-Court Press Postpones Bay Commission's Opposition To Arena Bill [SocketSite]
BCDC Letter to The Honorable Philip Y. Ting (Pier 30-32 Revitalization Act) [ca.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Comments (53)

San Francisco Posts Record Monthly Home Price Gain

San Francisco home and condo values continue to build upon their big first quarter gains. According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA rose 4.9% from March to April 2013. Up 24.0% year-over-year, the San Francisco Index remains 26.1% below a May 2006 peak.

For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), home values gained 2.6% from March to April, up 11.6% year-over-year, 26.8% below a June 2006 peak.

"The 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest monthly gains in the history of S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices," says David M. Blitzer, Chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Thirteen cities posted monthly increases of over two percentage points, with San Francisco leading at 4.9%.
"The recovery is definitely broad based. The two Composites showed the largest year-over-year gains in seven years. Atlanta, Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco posted year-over-year gains of over 20% in April. San Francisco was the highest at 23.9%. Phoenix posted 12 consecutive months of double-digit growth. Recent economic data on home sales and inventories confirm the housing recovery’s strength."
"Last week’s comments from the Fed and the resulting sharp increase in Treasury yields sparked fears that rising mortgage rates will damage the housing rebound. Home buyers have survived rising mortgage rates in the past, often by shifting from fixed rate to adjustable rate loans. In the housing boom, bust and recovery, banks’ credit quality standards were more important than the level of mortgage rates. The most recent Fed Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey shows that some banks are easing credit restrictions. Given this, the recovery should continue."

On a month-over-month basis, prices jumped across all three San Francisco price tiers.


The bottom third (under $417,633 at the time of acquisition) gained 4.9% from March to April (up 30.2% YOY); the middle third gained 4.0% from March to April (up 25.9% YOY); and the top third (over $728,831 at the time of acquisition) gained 4.3% from March to April, up 16.4% year-over-year versus up 15.1% in March.

According to the Index, single-family home values for the bottom third of the market in the San Francisco MSA are back above April 2002 levels (48% below an August 2006 peak); the middle third is back to March 2004 levels (26% below a May 2006 peak); and the top third is back to February 2005 levels, 13% below an August 2007 peak.

Condo values in the San Francisco MSA jumped 5.1% from March to April 2013 and are up 28.0% year-over-year, 14.0% below their December 2005 peak.


Our standard SocketSite S&P/Case-Shiller footnote: The S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices include San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda in the "San Francisco" index (i.e., greater MSA) and are imperfect in factoring out changes in property values due to improvements versus appreciation (although they try their best).

Home Prices Set Record Monthly Rise in April 2013 [Standard & Poor's]
San Francisco House And Condo Prices Soar In First Quarter [SocketSite]
Uneasy Expectations For Higher Mortgage Rates [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Comments (66)

June 24, 2013

Sitting Pretty Atop The Brannan Down In South Beach


As we wrote about the sale of 219 Brannan's penultimate penthouse #17D last month:

If the Warriors’ plans for Pier 30-32 and penthouses aren’t your cup of tea, you might want to look elsewhere. But if they are, you might take a peek at 219 Brannan #17D.
The 2,005 square foot three-bedroom unit features big Bay, Bridge, and downtown views from windows that reach from the eleven foot ceilings down to the blonde wood floors.
Purchased as new for $2,307,500 in 2001 and barely lived in since, 219 Brannan #17D is about to hit the market for $3,500,000 with parking for two and dues of $1,047 per month.
As plugged-in people know, the penthouse unit with the exact same floor plan one floor above (219 Brannan #18D) sold for $2,942,500 this past September having been purchased for $2,810,000 in August of 2005.

The sale of 219 Brannan #17D closed escrow today with a reported contract price of $3,625,000. Call it a little over $1,800 a square foot, fifty-seven percent over its 2001 sale price, and twenty-three percent over the price which was paid for the identical unit one floor above nine months ago.

Fancy The Warriors' Plans And Penthouse Views? [SocketSite]
Redesigned Warriors Arena Unveiled: A Peek Inside And Out [SocketSite]
A Million Dollars Under Dotcom Days For The Brannan's Penthouse [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:45 PM | Comments (12)

Facing Foreclosure Having Cash Out For A Gain


Purchased for $1,080,000 in November of 2006 with 20 percent down, eight months later the Lower Pacific Heights property at 1611 Broderick was refinanced with a $1,330,000 loan. And four months later, the property was put on the market for $1,995,000 but failed to sell. No building permits were issued for the property in-between.

Permits to renovate the basement were issued in 2008. And in 2011, the property returned to the market first listed for $1,711,000, reduced to $1,599,000 that March.

Withdrawn from the market in September of 2011 and in default since 2012 with $1,519,406 now owed on that aforementioned $1,330,000 loan, 1611 Broderick is scheduled to hit the courthouse steps this afternoon.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Comments (2)

San Francisco Set To Sell Six City-Owned Acres For Development, Down In Mountain View


Since 2002, the City of San Francisco has been trying to sell six undeveloped acres of land down in the middle of Mountain View.

Owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), two water lines from the Hetch-Hetchy reservoir to San Francisco run beneath the parcel at 450 North Whisman Road.

In 2005, the City of San Francisco entered into an option agreement to sell the parcel to developer KMJ Urban Communities (KMJ) for $8,100,000 with an easement to allow the SFPUC to service its water lines. And by 2007, a proposal to build a 69-unit development of rowhouses upon the 6.4 acre site had been proposed.

Facing neighboring opposition ("the proposed rowhouse development would undermine our neighborhoods identity and spirt, eroding the cooperation and mutual concern that now thrives here, and in time could destroy the sense of community that exists in out neighborhood") and pushback from the City of Mountain View, the option agreement between KMJ and the City of San Francisco expired in 2011.

This afternoon, the sale agreement is slated to be revived without any adjustment in the sale price and with KMJ planning to immediately develop a 3.59 acre portion of the site which would be consistent with the City of Mountain View’s General Plan, circumventing additional environmental review and pushback from the City.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:45 AM | Comments (10)

June 21, 2013

Mid-Market's NEMA Priced, Leasing Office Opening Monday

1401 Market Rendering

The leasing office for the 750-unit "NEMA" development on the corner of Market and Tenth is opening its doors for the first time this coming Monday, June 24, at 9am.

The first release of studios have been priced from $1,950 per month for 469 square feet on the third floor to $2,854 per month for 604 square feet on the tenth. The first release of one-bedrooms have been priced from $2,683 per month for 789 square feet on the second floor to $4,399 per month for 969 square feet on the twelfth.

Building amenities include a 7,000 square foot fitness center and three outdoor terraces with grills, outdoor TVs, and a heated 60-foot lap pool (click renderings to enlarge):

And there's a "Club Solarium" on the third floor with obligatory pool table.

Occupancy is slated for October, as is the opening of The Market accross the street.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:45 PM | Comments (19)

Living Large In 259 Legal Square Feet For $1,695 Per Foot


Keep in mind that the listed 259 square feet of living space within the Book Concern Building’s unit #505 doesn’t include the 150 square foot sleeping loft which is technically "storage" space and accessed by way of a custom installed spiral staircase.


And as such, with a list price of $439,000, the well designed 83 McAllister Street #505 has just been listed for $1,695 per square foot, which isn’t much more than the $1,610 per square foot ($417,000) at which the studio had first been listed back in 2006.

∙ Listing: 83 McAllister #505 (0/1) 259 sqft - $439,000 [via Redfin]
Book Concern Building (83 McAllister) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:15 PM | Comments (12)

The Chips Don’t Fall In Chipotle’s Favor: Request Denied


Following the Planning Department’s reasoning and recommendation, San Francisco’s Planning Commission has denied Chipotle’s application to renovate and occupy the empty one-story building at 2100 Market Street, formerly home to "Home" which vacated the building in 2011.


Keep in mind that the Commission’s rejection of Chipotle’s request was based on Chipotle being a formula retailer, not based on there being a better use for the Upper Market site which is zoned for development up to 65-feet in height.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Comments (52)

Closing In On Peak Employment In San Francisco

Having fallen to 5.4% in April, the lowest rate since June of 2008, the unemployment rate in San Francisco fell another 0.2 points to 5.2% in May as the number of employed San Francisco residents increased by 1,200 to 455,900 and the number of unemployed fell by 600 to 25,200. The unemployment rate in Marin and San Mateo fell to 4.5% and 4.9% respectively.

The unemployment rate in San Francisco peaked at 10.1 percent in January of 2010 when 49,400 fewer San Francisco residents were employed than today.

Employment in San Francisco is currently up by 22,100 workers on a year-over-year basis versus 20,900 the month before but remains 8,400 workers below a December 2000 dot-com peak at which point the unemployment rate measured 3 percent.

The unadjusted unemployment rate in California fell to 8.1% in May as the number of employed increased by 136,300 and the number of unemployed fell by 68,600.

Nearly 50,000 More Employed In San Francisco Since 2010 [SocketSite]
San Francisco Employment Trends And Dot-Com Context [SocketSite]
Monthly Labor Force Data for Counties: May 2013 (Preliminary) [EDD]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Comments (14)

Plans To Develop A Potrero Hill Parcel, I-280 Be Damned (Or Not)


Purchased for $1,400,000 this past December having been listed for $1,800,000, the buyers of the 12,000 square foot Potrero Hill parcel at 98 Pennsylvania Avenue have drafted plans to construct a five-story residential building on the irregularly shaped site which currently serves as a parking lot.

The draft plan for the parcel includes 45 units over an underground parking garage with space for 36 cars and 22 bikes.

Bounded by the elevated I-280 Freeway along the northeastern and eastern borders of the site and 17th Street to the south, you can bet there’s at least one group who wouldn’t mind if the conceptual plan for razing I-280 north of 16th Street was extended a few blocks to the south.


A Bold Plan To Tear Down I-280 North Of 16th Street In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Comments (4)

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