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September 30, 2013

Governor Brown Signs Bill For Warriors Arena Development

A watered down version of Phil Ting’s Assembly Bill 1273 which could help clear the way for the proposed Warriors Arena to be built upon San Francisco’s Pier 30-32 was signed into law by Governor Brown on Friday.

The amended legislation will require the project to undergo CEQA review and gives the State Lands Commission the final say on whether the proposed project complies with the public trust doctrine governing waterfront development.

The Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) which had formally opposed the bill as it was originally drafted appears to be ok with the revised 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]
Warriors bid to move to S.F. gets lift from Brown [SFGate]
Bay Commission Votes To Oppose Warriors Arena Bill Without Delay [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 AM | Comments (49)

Planning To Fill The Geary Underpass And A Cranky Citizen's Concerns


On the agenda for San Francisco’s Land Use and Economic Development Committee this afternoon, a hearing to begin planning the filling of the Geary underpass between Webster and Steiner Streets, the reunification of the Japantown and Western Addition communities, "and all other aesthetic, transportation, infrastructure, and community opportunities and challenges therein, including the possibility of coordinating efforts with the Central Subway Project and/or Geary Bus Rapid Transit."

As part of the official packet for today's hearing, a cranky citizen's demand for more oversight of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Association (SFMTA) and Muni:

Dear Ostrich Family,
It has become exceedingly obvious that the Mayor and Board of Supervisors are sucking hind teat behind the SFMTA/Muni. This omnipotent agency runs amok without the slightest oversight from those elected officials who should be monitoring this runaway train. Need more money to waste? Raise parking fees and fines. Can’t maintain existing rolling stock? Borrow O&M funds to play for the two-car underground light rail that will serve no purpose and be an additional drain on the broke and broken Muni.
Muni apparently has the power to whatever they want – especially in North Beach. The Pagoda demolition and other Muni construction does not have to follow the Department of Building Inspection (DBI) process: no right to appeal, no noticing requirements, no review of hazardous material disposal plans, no binding public input whatever. This was related by Cynthia Goldstein, the head of The Board of Appeals. It seems that Section VIII A of the City Charter can be interpreted to give SFMTA/Muni self-granting of construction permits, and to operate outside the usual DBI rules. Ed Reiskin, John Fungi, and the rest of the SFMTA/Muni hooligans were NOT elected – yet they have carte blanche to do whatever the hell will satisfy other unelected power players – Willie Brown and Rose Pack for example.
This usurpation of power from duly elected officials is unacceptable. It smells of corruption and borders on the criminal. It must be stopped. When the Central Subway bombs – as it surely will – and costs the city diminished service and tax dollars for cost overruns – do-nothing city officials must be held accountable for their negligence.
You have been informed,
Constant Cranky Curmudgeon
(aka Lee Goodin)

The New Plans And Latest Recommendations For Japantown [SocketSite]
As Central Subway Contingency Fund Shrinks, Contract Up For Vote [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 AM | Comments (83)

September 27, 2013

Mortgage Rates Drop To Two Month Low


As expected, the average rate for a conforming 30-year mortgage fell 18 basis points last week to 4.32 percent, its lowest level since July and 0.26 points below the two-year high of 4.58 percent recorded last month.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.40 percent at this time last year having averaged 6.75 percent since 1990.

While the advertised rate for a conforming 30-year loan at Wells Fargo has fallen to 4.375 percent, their rate for a Jumbo 30-year loan of over $625,500 in San Francisco remains at 4.125 percent, unchanged from the week before.

Fed Backs Off Tapering Talk, Expect Mortgage Rates To Ease [SocketSite]
30-Year Fixed-Rate Mortgage at Nine Week Low [Freddie Mac]
Spike In Sales Due To, Rather Than Despite, A Spike In Rates [SocketSite]
Mortgage Rates Dip And The Discount For Borrowing More Grows [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Comments (1)

The Revised Designs For 555 Fulton Street

While the plans for the Hayes Valley development with 139 residential units and a ground floor grocery store at 555 Fulton Street have been dusted off, as a number of plugged-in readers quickly noted, Ian Birchall and Associates is the new architect of record, having drafted a "distinct evolution" of the approved Saitowitz design.

The revised exterior design now employs "horizontally striped glass in two offset panels to assist the privacy of the units" (click images to enlarge).

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Comments (8)

September 26, 2013

Modern Hayes Valley Development And Grocery Getting Ready To Go

555 Fulton Site (Image Source: MapJack.com)

Approved for development in 2010, the permits to demolish nearly the entire Hayes Valley block bounded by Fulton, Octavia, Birch and Laguna and build a five-story mixed-use building at 555 Fulton Street are making their way through Planning with a revised design.

The development will yield 139 new dwelling units with a garage for 70 cars and over 30,000 square feet of ground floor retail space designed for a neighborhood grocery:

The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses on the corner of Fulton and Octavia will be the one building on the block to remain (click renderings to enlarge).

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 AM | Comments (21)

September 25, 2013

Plans For Four Stories Of Condos At Pennsylvania And 17th


As proposed, the single-story Potrero Hill warehouse at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street will be razed and two residential buildings will be built upon the site.


The building to be known as 1001 17th Street would be 4-stories and 48-feet tall with 26 condos and a ground floor garage for nine (9) cars and 28 bikes. The sister building at 140 Pennsylvania Street would be 4-stories and between 40 and 48 feet tall with 11 condos and a garage for 8 cars and 11 bikes. The proposed condos average 800 square feet.

An earlier plan for the site called for a four-story commercial building with retail on the ground floor and 57 parking spaces underground. San Francisco’s Planning Commission is set to approve the revised plans this week.

As plugged-in people know, plans to build 45 new units on the parking lot across the street at 98 Pennsylvania Avenue are in the works while the approved 468-unit Daggett Place development is a block away at the corner of 7th and 16th Streets.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Comments (30)

Nearly Two Million For This Mission District "Fixer"


As we first wrote about the 1870’s era Victorian on a 6,000 square foot lot at 837 South Van Ness Avenue last month, "while we do see the potential for a spectacular Mission District compound, calling it a "fixer" seems a bit gracious and it's not a project for the faint of heart (nor pocketbook)."


Having been listed for $1,395,000, the sale of 837 Van Ness Avenue closed escrow last week with a reported contract price of $1,901,000. We'll let you know when the plans are drawn, the permits are filed, and whose pocketbook ends up financing the fixing.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Comments (75)

74 Condos Ready To Rise At 72 Townsend Street

72 Townsend Rendering

With the building permits to add seven stories and seventy-four condos atop the existing 31-foot warehouse at 72 Townsend Street quietly reinstated at the end of 2012, the project has been sold to KB Homes which plans to start work next month.

The 74 new South Beach condos which will range in size from 810 to 2,859 square feet and come with one parking space apiece should be ready for occupancy by the middle of 2015 with a sales office opening next summer.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Comments (2)

September 24, 2013

San Francisco's Top Tier Homes And Condos Within 6% Of Peak

While the pace of increases has continued to slow from the record setting gains recorded in April and May, single-family home and condo values in San Francisco continued to climb in July.

According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, single-family home values in the San Francisco MSA rose 2.2% from June to July 2013. Up 24.8% year-over-year, the San Francisco Index remains 19.0% below a May 2006 peak.

For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), home values gained 1.8% from June to July and are up 12.3% year-over-year but remain 22.0% below a June 2006 peak.

The Southwest continues to lead the housing recovery. Las Vegas home prices are up 27.5% year-over-year; in California, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are up 24.8%, 20.8% and 20.4% respectively. However, all remain far below their peak levels.
Since April 2013, all 20 cities are up month to month; however, the monthly rates of price gains have declined. More cities are experiencing slow gains each month than the previous month, suggesting that the rate of increase may have peaked.
Following the increase in mortgage rates beginning last May, applications for mortgages have dropped, suggesting that rising interest rates are affecting housing. The Fed’s announcement last week that QE3 bond buying will continue for the time being may have only a limited, though favorable, impact on housing.

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


The bottom third (under $474,575 at the time of acquisition) gained 4.2% from June to July (up 40.0% YOY); the middle third gained 2.5% from June to July (up 28.6% YOY); and the top third (over $799,304 at the time of acquisition) gained 1.7% from June to July, up 18.8% year-over-year versus 18.1% in June.

According to the Index, single-family home values for the bottom third of the market in the San Francisco MSA are back near April 2003 levels (40% below an August 2006 peak); the middle third is back near August 2004 levels (19% below a May 2006 peak); and the top third is back above April 2005 levels (6% below their August 2007 peak).

Condo values in the San Francisco MSA rose 2.3% from June to July 2013 and are up 29.1% year-over-year, within 6.4% of 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 Steadily Rise in July 2013 [Standard & Poor's]
Spike In Sales Due To, Rather Than Despite, A Spike In Rates [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Comments (8)

Tosca’s Return To Its Restaurant Roots


Gesualdo Francesconi, Ugo Pied and Fred Landi founded the Tosca Café at 242 Columbus Avenue back in 1919. A few weeks after they opened the bar, prohibition went into effect. Gesualdo’s mother was quickly drafted into service as the cook and the Tosca Cafe was transformed into a restaurant.

While Tosca’s kitchen served its last meal in the 1950’s, it remains in place and operational (as does San Francisco’s first espresso machine atop the bar). And if the bar’s new owner receives the blessing of San Francisco’s Planning Commission this week, the bar will once again become a bona-fide restaurant with late night food service until 2 AM.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Comments (4)

September 23, 2013

Plans For Seven Stories Of Infill Along Folsom Near Sixth


Goldman Architects is quietly working on plans to demolish the single-story Arroyo Carlos & Sons auto repair shop at 980 Folsom Street and build a seven-story, mixed-use building in its place.

As drafted, the new building would consist of 34 residential units over ground floor commercial space and a garage entrance fronting Folsom Street. At the rear of the lot, the Clementina Street frontage would only rise four stories with residential units over the ground floor garage.

The draft design for the garage includes 21 stacked parking spaces, but as new buildings in the Mixed-Use District are limited to one off-street parking space for every four dwelling units, an exception would need to be granted for more than nine (9) parking spaces to be built based on the number of dwelling units proposed.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Comments (6)

Request "To Preserve Noe Valley's Character And Charm" Rejected

San Francisco's Planning Commission has voted 7-0 to reject the requested Discretionary Review (DR) for the home to be built at 645 Duncan Street, approving the designs for the new 4,820 square foot Noe Valley home as proposed (click renderings to enlarge).

And while we'll have to consider it a rumor for now, if a plugged-in tipster is correct, the modern 6,000 square foot home next door at 625 Duncan might soon hit the market, a move which would appear to have been planned prior to last week's ruling against the owners who had requested the Discretionary Review to block the building of 645 Duncan as proposed, characterizing their request as a fight to preserve "the character and charm" of the neighborhood.

A Rather Ironic Noe Valley Fight Continues, Decision This Week [SocketSite]
Buyers Of 6,000 Foot Home Now Fight To Preserve "Noe's Charm" [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Comments (39)

A Classic San Francisco Georgian Returns A Little Less Gilded Inside


Of the 119 newly listed homes for sale in San Francisco last week, the most expensive is 2090 Vallejo which has just been listed for $10,950,000, roughly seven million less than the $17,800,000 price at which the property had been listed in 2007 without a sale.

Designed by Clarence Tantau for City of Paris founder Benjamin Schlesinger in 1919 and restored by European craftsman in 1993, the listing for the classic Georgian home had boasted an "exquisite jewel-like interior including lavish wall panels, columns, extraordinary three-dimensional moldings, impressive Frescos and opulent 24-carat gildings" six years ago.


The less gilded and lavish dining room today:


By the numbers in 2013: seven bedrooms, six full baths, five fireplaces, four floors, a three car side-by-side garage, a couple of great views, and approximately 10,563 square feet inside.


∙ Listing: 2090 Vallejo (7/7) 10,563 sqft - $10,950,000 [stevegothelf.com]
Versailles On Vallejo (At Least Inside) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Comments (10)

September 20, 2013

SFMTA Reverses Course On Kirkland Yard Redevelopment


The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has operated the Kirkland Yard bus depot on Beach Street between Powell and Stockton for over sixty years.

The 2.6 acre Fisherman’s Wharf adjacent parcel was once part of San Francisco Bay before it was filled in 1886 and was privately owned until 1942 when it was acquired by the Department of War. In 1947 the parcel was transferred to the City of San Francisco. And in 1950, the site began to serve as a bus storage and maintenance yard.

A relocation of the Kirkland Yard's buses and operations to a new, larger facility at Cesar Chavez and I-280 was originally scheduled for 2008, but the new Islais Creek depot won't be finished until 2014. And while the SFMTA had been in negotiations to sell the current Kirkland Yard site to the Mayor’s Office of Housing for the development of 220 rental units once the depot was moved, the SFMTA has reversed course and declared the existing Kirkland Yard "an essential element" of their real estate portfolio.

According to San Francisco's Director of Transportation, Edward Reiskin, "given the growth in the City and the new transportation projects and vehicles required to support the growth plus the fact that most of the transit facilities are now in the southern part of the City, the SMFTA [feels it is] imperative that we continue to use Kirkland as a transit facility."

That being said, the SFMTA is considering covering the existing Yard with a canopy to reduce its impact on the surrounding neighborhood. The North Waterfront site is zoned for development up to 40-feet in height.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 PM | Comments (23)

Potrero Hill Compound Takes A Million Off The Top


If it was the $5,995,000 price tag which was keeping you away from making an offer to buy the Potrero Hill compound on the corner of Mariposa and Utah, perhaps the one million dollar price cut will make you change your mind; now asking $4,995,000 for the 6,645 square foot former art school building which was converted to legal dwelling units in 1987.

2255 Mariposa Living

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 PM

Unemployment Drops In San Francisco, But Employment Drops As Well

Having ticked up to 5.9% in July, the unemployment rate in San Francisco ticked down to 5.6% in August but was driven by a loss of 2,000 people from the labor force and the number of people employed in San Francisco fell by 500 as well. The unemployment rates in Marin and San Mateo fell by 0.3 and 0.4 points respectively.

The number of employed in San Francisco now totals 457,100 which is up by 16,600 workers on a year-over-year basis but 8,400 workers below a December 2000 dot-com peak at which point the unemployment rate measured 3 percent. 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.

The unadjusted unemployment rate in California ticked down to 8.8% in August as the number of unemployed fell by 93,600 and employment increased by 58,900 people.

Unemployment Up In San Francisco, But Employment Up Even More [SocketSite]
San Francisco Employment Trends And Dot-Com Context [SocketSite]
Monthly Labor Force Data for Counties: August 2013 (Preliminary) [EDD]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Comments (53)

Hidden Behind A Neo-Gothic Façade On Hyde Street


Behind the neo-Gothic façade of the single-family Russian Hill home at 2430 Hyde Street, a courtyard English Garden and renovated interior are hidden.


The kitchen and adjacent mud room overlook and open to the garden as well.


The rounded stairway with arched windows leads to three bedrooms on the upper level, including the four-chambered master suite.


And yes, there are famed and framed Bridge and Bay views.


Full Disclosure: The listing agent for 2340 Hyde Street advertises on SocketSite but provided no compensation for this post.

∙ Listing: 2430 Hyde Street (3/3.5) 2,880 sqft - $4,950,000 [gregglynn.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Comments (10)

September 19, 2013

Looking For A Two-Bedroom That Could Flood For $12K A Month?

If you’re looking to rent a "Prime Russian Hill" two-bedroom in the $12,000 a month range you might be in luck. Unfortunately we can’t give you the address as according to the listing on craigslist, one "must qualify first before any address or details to be given."

Apparently it’s "nothing personal," they’re just trying to be "low profile." That being said, we’d be willing to bet a plugged-in person might be able to figure it out based on the drawing for the pad:


As you'd expect for the price, there is a washer and dryer in the unit. But as you might not expect for $12,000 a month, you "must be in attendance when [using the washer] to avoid [flooding]."

If you lock it down, forget our invitation to the housewarming as there will be "no parties" in the pad. And if you’d rather not rent, apparently they’ll consider selling the two-bedroom as a TIC for $6,000,000. Or heck, they'll lease you the entire building for the next 34 non-partying years.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Comments (9)

Mortgage Rates Dip And The Discount For Borrowing More Grows


Having ticked up to 4.57 percent last week and to within one basis point of last month's 4.58 percent rate, the highest average rate in over two years, the average rate for a conforming 30-year mortgage has ticked back down to 4.50 percent and should fall at least another ten basis points based on the Fed's move yesterday.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate which has averaged 6.75 percent since 1990 was 3.49 percent at this time last year.

As the advertised rate for a conforming 30-year loan at Wells Fargo has ticked down to 4.50 percent, the rate for a Jumbo 30-year loan of over $625,500 in San Francisco has ticked down to 4.125 percent and the discount for a Jumbo loan has widened to 0.35 percentage points versus a historical premium for the larger non-conforming loans.

Mortgage Rates Move Lower [Freddie Mac]
Spike In Sales Due To, Rather Than Despite, A Spike In Rates [SocketSite]
Fed Backs Off Tapering Talk, Expect Mortgage Rates To Ease [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2013

The Sports Basement's New Presidio Home


While it’s not a done deal, when the Sports Basement vacates the Presidio’s former Commissary building in order to make way for the winner of the Presidio Trust's Cultural Center competition, the retailer will most likely be moving down Mason Street to the warehouses at the Marina Gate.


As proposed, the seven warehouses at the eastern entrance to the Presidio will be renovated, connected, and their loading docks extended to yield 93,000 square feet of space for the retailer and nearly 30,000 square feet of exterior deck and courtyards for strolling, gathering, and events.


Parking for the new Sports Basement would be accommodated within the 213-space parking lot which will be built behind and beside the warehouses as part of the ongoing Doyle Drive project.

The Three Competing Designs For The Presidio's Commissary Site [SocketSite]
Presidio Parkway's Final Phase And Commissary’s Sporting Days [SocketSite]
Sports Basement Mason Street Warehouses Project [presidio.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Comments (19)

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