October 21, 2013

Approved Valencia Street Development Waylaid Anew Again

1050/8 Valencia

Perhaps the record setting price per square foot numbers being pushed by 3500 19th Street will take some of the sting out of the delays caused by the challengers of the plans to demolish the one-story building at the corner of Valencia and Hill between 21st and 22nd Streets and build a five story building with sixteen condos over 2,000 square feet of new restaurant space at 1050 Valencia.

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

Then again, it has been over three years since the early approvals for the 1050 Valencia Street project were first appealed and the issues raised in the latest appeal of the project "are nearly identical to those raised in the [Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association’s] previous appeal," issues which were addressed and rejected by San Francisco’s Planning Commission back in 2010.

The latest appeal of the previously approved 1050 Valencia Street Project will be heard by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this week. An appeal of the project's building permits has also been filed, but that appeal has been tabled until after the Board of Supervisors vote.

First Published: October 21, 2013 9:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Well, it's official, that building is STILL super tragically hideous.

Posted by: PepeSF at October 21, 2013 10:02 AM

As The Atlantic Cities pointed out, NIMBYs in SF have chosen to preserve the cities architecture instead of its culture.

It's impossible to build new housing in most neighborhoods here, so rent is through the roof and only the super-rich can afford it.

Posted by: OMN at October 21, 2013 10:11 AM

@PepeSF - I agree, the building currently at the location is hideous and needs to come down soon. The proposed building is meh, but much, MUCH better than what's there now.

Posted by: anon at October 21, 2013 10:13 AM

ergo Unaffordable SF Rents

Posted by: sf at October 21, 2013 10:14 AM

what's the big deal? That hole in ground in the Castro stood empty for 35 years before finally getting filled in.

The Armory stood vacant for 37 years.

And the list just goes on.

This has only been going on for 3 years. They are well under par for SF.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at October 21, 2013 10:35 AM

I have given up on this city. There just seems to be no future here for anybody unless we build an obscene amount of housing soon (read: not likely). People are squabbling about parking lots and warehouses and one story restaurants all to protect views and "charm", and in the process are continuing to exacerbate the chronic lack of supply. I had a rather depressing talk with many of my friends yesterday (and these are 20 and 30 something consultants and engineers with six figure salaries for major household name companies...not even the artists/teachers/tradesmen we hear about) and ALL of them said they are facing the expectation that they cannot stay in this city more than a couple more years because of how unaffordable housing is, despite the fact that they would love to.

The city will not wake up in time. The ridiculous planning process, down zoning, and ability for anybody with a slight gripe to get something on the ballot is suffocating this city. Everybody recognizes this EXCEPT for San Francisco.

Posted by: JWS at October 21, 2013 11:14 AM

It's a shame to have facts interfere with your storyline, but the Liberty Hill community which has mobilized to express their deep concerns about this development tomorrow are the victims of this delay, not its cause.

The hearing was put off today by the Board of Supervisors because of a death in Scott Wiener's family.

Posted by: BellaDancer at October 21, 2013 11:19 AM

I would say the problem will correct itself due to vacancies because of high rents.

Unfortunately, the tax advantages granted to owners by Prop 13 minimizes the effects of vacancies for many owners, keep supply artificially constrained, and values artificially high.

Mix that in with SF's 'formula retail' restrictions, legendary nimbyism, and the outflow of young professionals to East Bay and I can definitely see SF choking on it's own success.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at October 21, 2013 11:22 AM

Whoever you are, SocketSite, if you have any interest at all in reporting the truth, you will rewrite your story to correct your misrepresentation of today's events.

While you're at it, you might want to identify yourself.

Oh, and offer condolences to your friend Scott.

Posted by: BellaDancer at October 21, 2013 11:23 AM

BellaDancer, I eagerly await your explanation of how the residents of Liberty Hill are "victims" of development on Valencia Street.

Posted by: Po Hill Jeff at October 21, 2013 11:47 AM

BellaDancer, please explain how one Board of Supervisor meeting being postponed supposedly because of a death in Scott Weiner's family has anything to do with the 3-YEAR delay this project has experienced since first being approved? Also, if Mr. Weiner did experience a death in his family, then why don't you offer condolence to him directly instead of posting a nasty and sarcastic comment on this website? Obviously, you are lacking in both basic decency and honesty.

The reason the project has taken so long to go through the planning process is because the Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association has continously appealed the process. It's fine if you and the other neighbors have played the system to the fullest to attempt to block a project you disagree with, but you should own up to doing so, rather than pretending to be a "victim."

Posted by: Chris at October 21, 2013 12:00 PM

I'd be willing to bet that the people who are opposed to this development are the same people who will cry crocodile tears for and pay lip service to the people who can no longer afford to live in the city.

Posted by: mercury613 at October 21, 2013 12:10 PM

The test is whether 3500 19th actually sells at those prices.

Posted by: Marten at October 21, 2013 12:23 PM

JWS, are all those 20 and 30 somethings coming to Berkeley and paying 600-700 per square foot in cash for all those houses in North Berkeley? It's insane.

Fortunately, for those willing to take some risk, Oakland is a huge untapped market with great weather.

Posted by: djt at October 21, 2013 1:33 PM

@djt - The common consensus was getting out of the area entirely, for various cities. All want to stay in SF/Bay Area, but all seem to be realizing the writing on the wall. I am fighting to stay here long term, but once you have your first child it seems incredibly daunting. It is also so difficult to save money for downpayment/kids when the overwhelming majority of your pay check is going toward rent, which is what most of my friends are saying. The general consensus seems to be they love the area, but living here is getting more and more unfeasible every day. And to reiterate, we are talking single/engaged guys on 6 figure salaries, not the teachers/artists/blue collar workers that we already know are suffocating here.

I just cannot believe nobody (I mean nobody in charge) is really seeing the forecast here...we need SO much more housing up and down the Bay Area, not just in SF, but certainly there.

Posted by: JWS at October 21, 2013 2:16 PM

JWS

Why won't people move to southern SF neighborhoods, San Bruno, SSF, Brisbane, Daly City

Posted by: Zig at October 21, 2013 2:20 PM

I've been saying the same thing Zig is saying: Why not moving to some of these southern SF neighborhoods, where prices are still affordable, and begin to create NEW livable enclaves?

No disrespect to JWS, but all I hear from these young tech people, well paid, is the whining and complaining about not being able to afford to "cool, hip areas". They don't seem to want to move farther out, and then just complain about having to move from the Bay Area.

Yes, we all get that Noe, Glen Park, Bernal are very pricey these days. So is the Mission, and upper Market.

But those are NOT the only SF neighborhoods that are available.

Posted by: Futurist at October 21, 2013 2:28 PM

@ Zig - that's what I can never figure out. There's so much bellyaching here and elsewhere about how SF is getting too expensive. True, no doubt, in about 5 zip codes. But a short BART or Muni ride away there are options. Maybe SF is only great if you get to live in Hayes or Noe to some people?

Posted by: rabbits at October 21, 2013 2:40 PM

@Futurist and Zig -
These are people that are completely comfortable in the areas they are living NOW for their lifestyle. They are projecting forward to when they have children, and are starting to see that to be able to support 2 or 3 kids with even decent schools is incredibly difficult in the Bay Area. When they can get similar salary in other parts of the country, and yet live like kings and own a larger home with excellent schools for a fraction of what you have to pay in the Bay Area, and thus instead save for college/retirement, the obvious decision for many is to move.

I also think the whole "Well, why don't you move to Excelsior or San Bruno then!" is missing the point. Professionals (lawyers, engineers, doctors, consultants) are finding it unrealistic or extremely difficult to support families in the Bay Area, even when making the mental adjustment for significantly smaller space than the rest of the country. This has gone far beyond just the blue collar jobs and artists and underprivileged communities that are often cited. This goes far beyond "entitlement". Prices are beyond outrageously highly. It is starting to become prohibitive, not for just the marginalized, but for people at the top of their profession. We cannot continue to develop at the rate we are. It is baffling to me that this problem is simply ignored.

Posted by: JWS at October 21, 2013 2:42 PM


Rather than trying to change an entire city to fit your needs, change your income level.

I prefer the KFC building.

Posted by: Mike at October 21, 2013 2:48 PM

JWS- I'm glad you're giving up on this city. It's you and your carpetbagging, young tech-transient friends who have made it so unaffordable to live here.

Posted by: two beers at October 21, 2013 2:48 PM

@ JWS: I hear you, and "sort of" get your thoughts.

But why can't these young families/couples/singles create a comfortable lifestyle for themselves in their outer areas, or Oakland, or DC? You still seem to imply it's either Noe or nothing. Am I reading that wrong?

And what is this "living like kings" mean? I mean, we all should tread this planet lightly. Wanting the larger house only fuels the suburban sprawl that is so prevalent in much of the country and just outside San Francisco.

I have neighbors immediately across from me and up the street with 1-3 young kids, both working tech parents and buying a nice, but small house, here. They love sending their kids to Alvarado School or Fairmount.

It's not all doom and gloom. I think many of these southern neighborhoods are just waiting to be discovered. It will happen.

Posted by: Futurist at October 21, 2013 2:50 PM

@ two beers -
The absurd lack of housing is what has made it so unaffordable to live here, not "tech transients".

I grew up in the Bay Area. I love it here. I'm aiming to live here as long as I feasibly can. But when I look at people in SF and beyond fighting tooth and nail to prevent intelligent development on empty parking lots, I do give up on the idea of this place ever keeping up with demand and thus being even moderately affordable.

Posted by: JWS at October 21, 2013 2:52 PM

Most of the folks I know, which is more than a few, resembling JWS's friends are not really invested in this area. They are not from here, did not plan on living in a small space their entire lives, and ultimately want a typical suburban space at some point in their lives. No judgement here, as this is what I may want too if I deem it necessary. But there is a strong tendency to claim that "SF made me do it" in order to retain your urban cred, when in reality it is a personal choice to move to Denver instead of Westwood Park.

Posted by: rabbits at October 21, 2013 2:59 PM

@ Futurist -
Those are fair objections. It's not "Noe or nothing", and in fact many would be fine even with suburban living. But suburban living in many spots of the Peninsula (I'm sure East Bay is cheaper, I can only claim expertise in Peninsula real estate) is MORE expensive than SF. I would say without a doubt in my mind that Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Los Altos, the portions of Mountain View with good elementary schools, Burlingame, San Carlos (home prices in San Carlos are skyrocketing), and obviously Atherton/Woodside/LAH/Hillsborough are far more expensive than SF real estate as well. And the further you get out from the city centers, obviously the longer your commute and the farther you are removed from the culture you enjoy in the first place.

I do think some could take the move to gentrify the outer neighborhoods, which of course creates new problems for all the people that live there currently.

I guess is what I think many find frustrating about this area is that in most parts of the country, you don't have to "settle for significantly less space and work hard to bring new life to a blighted neighborhood in hope for future gentrification" if you are a married couple each making six figures. SF/Bay Area has rapidly produced that, and yet has kept policies and procedures in place that limit the efficiency of the development that is sorely needed to meet the insatiable demand. And this goes just as much for Menlo Park (citizens of one affluent neighborhood are fighting, successfully, to block the development of large empty concrete fenced-off lots on a major thoroughfare, development that is sorely needed and not even close to their community).

In short, yes, one COULD squeeze their $300K a year earning family of 5 into a 3 bedroom home in a marginal neighborhood with marginal schools and convince their friends to further gentrify the neighborhood (which, of course, further creates housing issues for those being pushed out). OR we could stop letting those with no economic/real estate expertise, or rich citizens fighting to protect views, make crucial decisions about development where people actually do want to live, whether it be in a suburb or in the city.

Posted by: JWS at October 21, 2013 3:03 PM

It took a couple of years of earning a combined income that's squarely in the 2% income bracket, and some tricky behind-the-scenes finagling for me to buy my first 4 houses on the Peninsula. I can only imagine the unfathomable challenges of owning in SF if you do not have the cash or earn upwards of $500k/year.

I'm sure its possible if you really want it but if I was stuck in the $250k/year income bracket then I would definitely consider moving to Boston or DC for the low cost of living.

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at October 21, 2013 3:04 PM

"Why won't people move to southern SF neighborhoods, San Bruno, SSF, Brisbane, Daly City"

There's some truth to this, but a big stumbling block is that housing turnover is very low, partly due to regulations such as rent control and prop 13, which really limits how quickly you can turn a neighborhood around.

If only a few homes turn over in a bad area and you pay $700k for one, you haven't created a $700k neighborhood, you've just bought an expensive house in a bad hood.

Noe and GP have gotten more expensive recently, but when was the last time they were considered bad neighborhoods? Someone told me Bernal was bad in the 70's, but 40 years is a long long time.

The same goes for stores and amenities. Having professionals sprinkled out here and there over many neighborhoods makes it harder for any one area to have the local economic base to support amenities that professionals find attractive.

Posted by: anon2 at October 21, 2013 3:14 PM

JWS- as long as housing is unaffordable for blue collar and artist types, we can all agree that it is their fault for not pulling down multiple six figure incomes.

But if housing is unaffordable for the professional set, then the problem is certainly that there are simply not enough luxury condolofts being built on the former living and working spaces of the aforementioned blue-collar and artist types.

An unlimited supply of luxury condolofts will certainly solve the housing problem for the transient-professional set! And if the blue-collar and artist types can't afford the thousands of luxury condolofts being built, tough titty!

There are thousands of luxury condoloft units currently now coming on-line, in the process of being built, or to be built in the next year or two. To complain that opponents of one relatively small (but still too big for the neighborhood) development are somehow the cause of the housing crisis is absurd.

Building only luxury housing _does not_ lower the cost of housing: it raises it! It skews the mix of housing so that the avg ppf goes way up, and this pulls the ppf of all other mixes up with it.

The only way to lower the cost of housing is to build....._affordable_ housing.

Simply mechanically invoking supply and demanding without analyzing what is really happening with the mix of housing being built is a canard.

Posted by: two beers at October 21, 2013 3:14 PM

I find it absolutely unbelievable that a 2 earner family, with our without kids cannot POSSIBLY afford a house in a good area of SF.

Are they people spending ALL that they earn? Do they have no savings? Do they have huge credit card debt? What gives?

$300k a year and they can't be saving a large amount for a down payment? I suspect they could "live" on 1/2 that amount and sock the other 1/2 away for a nice house.

What is the lifestyle that allows that amount of income and still not be able to buy a house in SF?

Posted by: Futurist at October 21, 2013 3:15 PM

Bernal was bad up until the 90s, not just the 70s. Upper Noe wasn't that great in the 70s, talk to some old timers about how people used to get robbed on the corner of 30th and Church all the time.

I think there are safe neighborhoods with good schools that have homes that are in the price range that a $200k family can afford. Check out the $600-700k homes in the Outer Sunset. Sunset Elementary is a great school, with a a +900 API.

But I wouldn't want to live in the fog either.

San Francisco has a serious housing crises. It has always been expensive but things today are totally nuts. It costs over $4k now to rent a 1 bedroom! What kind of salary does it take a single earner to afford that. Now you can always rent in room in shared house, which is what I did until I was 35, but most people are not going to do that.

And anyone making less than six figures is totally screwed. We are going to be the victim of our own success if we don't build more housing. Hopefully the new wave of construction will help.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 21, 2013 3:27 PM

@Futurist -
Student debt (omnipresent in our generation, although I luckily have none) and paying outrageous money for rent in the first place make it difficult to save up. When you add children to that equation, it becomes a whole other ballgame. Where somebody might be able to buy a 1,000 square foot 2 bedroom fixer-upper for $1M before kids, that becomes a whole other reality if they want children.

Once again, I find it ludicrous that people act as if it is the most normal thing in the world for extremely well paid couples to scrimp and save (while paying rent in the most expensive rental city in the US) to afford a 2 bedroom fixer uppers with terrible school that does not have room for children over toddler age, and dare to question those that suggest this might indicate a gigantic problem. If you managed to make it work in today's current environment (meaning, you started off renting in a similarly priced market and bought a home in today's market, and didn't do this years and years ago when it was cheaper on both fronts), kudos to you. But most are looking at it in the face and realizing it is not doable for them, even if they are making extremely strong salaries.

Once again, I love SF. I love the Bay Area. I am fighting tooth and nail to try to stay here. I am just pointing out that we are at crisis level of affordability for just about everybody, not just marginalized classes.

And the point about turnover in San Bruno/Daly City/etc is right on as well.

Posted by: JWS at October 21, 2013 3:28 PM

I can second that-- I ended up moving to a tiny house in San Bruno and drastically cutting my spending in order to get the downpayment together for my first house purchase in 2010.

After that, the next three houses came easily through the magic of a high income and huge debts!

It's the California way! Debt is wealth, more debt is more wealth, and nothing can ever go wrong.

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at October 21, 2013 3:45 PM

J(NLB), you bought four houses in 3 years? LOL

Maybe we really are in a new bubble.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 21, 2013 3:48 PM

A bubble? What's a bubble? All I can see is green fields full of unicorns from here to eternity.

Yes, I bought four. Sold two. One of them closed last week (Champagne!). Two more being rehabbed and onto the market next year.

I noted with vague interest that my personal debts had climbed to about $1.9 mil sometime in mid-September. Not bad for someone who had no debts only four years ago. Getting into that kind of debt is tough to do in most parts of the world. Over here you just need half a mil in cash and enough breath to fog a mirror.

I really only do this for fun, because getting money for nothing is so much more fun than working, which incidentally is what I should be doing now.

Posted by: Jimmy the House Flipper at October 21, 2013 4:02 PM

I want to support JWS's comments. We moved from the mission to bernal and then to Portland, Oregon. We considered an intermediate stop in Marin/Oakland/Berkeley/Lafayette but ultimately decided to move out of the area. My partner and i are both professionals, but after our first kid it became very difficult to live in the City. Could we afford to stay? Probably, but the financial strain just stopped being worth it.

We ultimately rejected Marin/Oakland/Berkeley/Lafayette because it would still be pretty expensive and we would have all sorts of commuting issues.

You guys can argue with JWS all you want, but the reality is that there are many many people in a similar position as us, making similar choices. That is a fact.

I loved the Bay Area and was (still am) sad to leave it. But I've been really surprised and impressed with life outside of SF. In Portland you can still buy an affordable home within the city, that is close to work and near decent-enough schools. The weather sucks, but if it was nice, it would be as expensive here as in SF. Incidentally, half the people I've met in Portland have been transplants from Noe Valley and BH!

Posted by: Ex-Bernaler at October 21, 2013 4:12 PM

Excelsior, Mission Terrace, et al actually used to be pretty desirable areas and they still have good bones and a pretty easy commute when BART is running.

Yes, schools in SF are not the greatest but that's the same in every part of SF. Even in a good area your kids may not get into the public school of your choosing.

This is all about perception. These guys want a "sure thing" - they don't want to live outside the core of the city. But these things do ebb and flow and there is no such thing as a sure thing. Bernal/Mission was actually cheaper than Excelsior 30 years ago and now things have reversed.

Posted by: S at October 21, 2013 4:24 PM

@two beers, I'm not in tech, and I've lived in the city for several years, so you can't dismiss my comments as coming from a "carpet bagger." The city needs more housing of all kinds, and yes, it does need more designated affordable housing; however, if more market-rate housing is not also built, then people with means will use those means to purchase the existing housing stock, including existing rental stock and Ellis Act it, which drives up housing across all levels. San Francisco is finally building more housing, but it is not even coming close to building the 5,000 to 10,000 new units a year it needs to build to catch up with the demand, so your comment about how the supposed "thousands of new luxury lofts" aren't helping to lower housing prices is misleading.

Also, I am not sure how a five-story building on a major street with good bus transit, which already has various five story developments is somehow out-of-scale with the neighborhood. Even the much more buccolic Outer Sunset has some buildings much bigger than this proposed development. The Mission is a dense urban neigborhood, not a sleepy little suburb, and the proposed development is certainly within the existing urban scale of the neighborhood.

While I am sure the new condos will be expensive, I am not sure they constitute "luxury" housing, except for their price. In a nice large city like Indianapolis, these condos would be considered middle-of-the-road. Again, the issue is that the local shortage of housing has created hyperventilated pricing for what would otherwise be considered middle-class housing.

So, yes, increase public subsidies to constructe more designated affordable housing, but also just build, build, and build more housing at all levels.

Posted by: Chris at October 21, 2013 5:05 PM

I've lived in Bernal since the '90's, and I disagree that Bernal was "bad" back then. The edges of Bernal (e.g. near projects) were sketchier, and there were more homes that needed paint jobs, but up on the hill was tranquil and felt safe to me back then.

Posted by: Dan at October 21, 2013 5:12 PM

" not for just the marginalized, but for people at the top of their profession."

Every tech worker I know "at the top of their profession" make well north of $500k. And that's why housing can stay this high. The 100k tech workers are entry level

Posted by: Moto mayhem at October 21, 2013 5:59 PM

Ex Bernaler, I think we chatted the other night a few weeks ago. Congrats on the sale.

Posted by: Truth at October 21, 2013 6:57 PM

Chris,

By "luxury," I'm referring to price tag, not quality. The price of the average condoloft here would get you a mansion in Indianapolis, even though most of these SF condolofts I'm calling "luxury" are actually hideous, poorly-designed and poorly-built crap boxes.

But the important point that most people don't consider is that different market segments aren't necessarily fungible.

Hypothetically, building thousands of surplus Jaguars would have negligible impact on the price of scooters.

With housing, it's even worse: building only expensive units has not merely a negligible impact on affordable housing, it actually has a negative effect, because it drives the average price per foot UP, which then becomes the new target neighborhood benchmark price for landlords, home sellers, and developers. This mechanism is one of the drivers of housing bubbles, and yes, we are in an epic one now.

I have a hunch that most of you condo-pumpers, build-it-tallers, and build-it-all-NOW!-ers know this dirty little secret, and just hope that the rabble you loathe and want displaced from "your" neighborhoods don't figure it out.

Again, how does building extra Jaguars lower the price of scooters?


Posted by: two beers at October 21, 2013 7:23 PM

@two beers -
What is your background in economics or real estate? I ask because you grossly fail to understand the correlation all housing types in a market have with each other.

If there are enough Jaguars and scooters around for everybody, then your analogy makes sense. The problem is that the supply is completely constrained.

In your analogy, SF has 20 Jaguars, 80 Scooters, and 200 people who need to get around. The 20 Jaguars are going to get snapped up by the wealthiest 20 people, which leaves 180 people fighting over 80 Scooters. Seeing as how they all need transportation, some people are going to upbid scooters, raising the new price for scooters, and then the bottom portion of the people who need transport will move themselves out of the market because the new price is too high.

By building more Jaguars (let's say there are 60 originally, and 80 scooters) then the 60 richest get Jaguars, and then you have 140 fighting for the 80 scooters. The price will still rise, but by less than if there were 180, as the 40 richest of that 180 are in Jaguars.

Of course, in real estate it does not go Jaguar --> Scooter. There are tiers in between. But you see this attitude in hot real estate markets. Take the Peninsula. Palo Alto gets hot first, the price adjusts upwards, the Palo Alto buyers who get priced out spill into Menlo Park/Mountain View, they price out those buyers, the priced out buyers spill into San Carlos, into Burlingame, into Belmont, into San Mateo, etc.

The problem with your analogy is that scooters and Jaguars can be easily replicated. Real estate cannot. You cannot simply churn out houses until the demand is met like you can with cars and scooters, because the production is limited by zoning, available space, etc. Therefore, at some people say, "Forget it! I have to get around somehow, I'll fight tooth and nail for the scooter and overbid to make sure I get one."

Posted by: JWS at October 21, 2013 7:35 PM

You know, all this back and forth, pro and con of living in SF, and the high cost associated with housing and cost of living here, in general is just the way it is here; yes, it has evolved that way probably over the past 20-30 years.

We need to remember a few things: not much land left in SF to build.
Most likely our neighborhoods will remain low density.
Demand and desirability drives UP the cost.
Our urban lifestyle is the envy of many larger cities: we are walkable, full of culture, arts, food, events.

Yes, you can go to Indianapolis, or Des Moine or Cleveland or many other cities and buy a house for a fraction of a house here. But you cannot compare the quality of urban living to any of those cities.

Try getting thru a winter in Cleveland in your 4 bed house you just paid $259k to buy.

We are unique. We are desirable and I think we always will be. Get used to the prices or try moving to Cleveland.

Posted by: Futurist at October 21, 2013 9:35 PM

I would really trash most of the comments here except I know that most of them are authored by friends and lovers. Which is a nice segue to how SF operates -- right, Gavin, Ed, Rose, Willie, Kamala, etcetara etcetara fah la la?

Posted by: $AN FRANCI$CO at October 21, 2013 9:45 PM

"Incidentally, half the people I've met in Portland have been transplants from Noe Valley and BH!"

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/10/san-francisco-exodus/7205/

Posted by: anon at October 21, 2013 9:57 PM

JWS, you said on an earlier thread that you took Uber every day and used it exclusively to move around The City. How much a year do you spend on this? I am willing to guess if you gave up your Uber habit, you could save for a down payment on a house pretty quickly. Just trying to be helpful here.

twobeers, your knowledge of economics is sorely lacking. At least you have a mechanism to describe your madness, but brand new condos are not used as comps for older construction. Wait until at least the new stuff under construction currently gets on the market before you declare it a failure.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 21, 2013 11:29 PM

@NoeValleyJim - I primarily use MUNI but absolutely will use Uber if I'm in a rush, it's a distance that is far enough that MUNI would take 30+ minutes, or it's a date night or something of that ilk. I also walk if it's a radius of 30 minutes or so from my place. The thread you are referencing is where I claimed that many 20 somethings in the city primarily or exclusively use Uber/Lyft/Sidecar because they find Muni to be inefficient, painfully slow, unreliable, and in some cases dangerous. Which is still true.

Posted by: JWS at October 22, 2013 8:19 AM

I work at a company with mostly 20 and 30 somethings and while it is true that many use Uber (and have gotten me to using it occasionally) even more bicycle most of the time. I was counting bicycles yesterday and about 25% bicycle to work, which is pretty awesome.

I think it is smart to avoid Muni if you are in a rush, it is fine for some things, but not if you are on a tight schedule.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 22, 2013 9:00 AM

Futurist - you're right, BUT, people who disagree with you have the right to organize politically and try to create what I would call better rules (i.e. create pressure to build much more to create at least some improvement in affordability). I think SPUR is doing good work, as is ABAG.

IMO, the smart thing to do would be to fight opponents and create this pressure. If not SF, in the long run (10,20,30 yrs), Oakland and San Jose might be smart enough to grow significantly enough to make a difference, and the tech industry will decentralize. We'll see.

But yes, people are screwed in the near term and should plan their life accordingly. I'm in that boat, too.

Posted by: Frank C. at October 22, 2013 9:31 AM

Applause to JWS for breathing some sense into the Jaguar/scooter metaphor.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at October 22, 2013 9:42 AM

"Bernal/Mission was actually cheaper than Excelsior 30 years ago and now things have reversed."

This is true. These areas to some extent (some development is older) along with areas like Miraloma Park (to a greater extent) were built for nuclear families to live in a suburb like environment.

The problem with this is now people are favoring walkable compact areas well served by transit and these areas are not meeting this. Another problem is because of our market failure with housing because of zoning we had such a mismatch of housing stock to demand for a generation so now these areas have SFHs that have been turned into boarding houses with cars everywhere. It is way different in the Excelsior now than 30 years ago and I can't see that changing with demographics. Those people pushed out the Mission etc. had to go somewhere and not all went to the East Bay.

So to be honest I was being somewhat rhetorical when I said white collar people need to move to the southern parts of SF or SSF. Those areas have a lot of things not going for them.

Posted by: Zig at October 22, 2013 10:21 AM

@NoeValleyJim - You actually make a good point, in the sense that in my head I was not thinking about commutes. I actually know very few, if any, people that commute via Sidecar/Uber/Lyft. I was thinking more of, "OK, I live in the Mission and have to get to the Embarcadero Street BART to get to Oakland" or "I live in the Marina and have to meet friends at Don Pisto's in North Beach" type of thing. The type of social commute that people would use subways/the EL for in NYC/Chicago/London. The newest class of SF citizen seems completely resistant to using MUNI and light rail systems to get around, which I think says something about the need (although I get that it won't be immediately) for more efficient transport.

Posted by: JWS at October 22, 2013 10:22 AM

Before the Socketsite harpies descend, yes, I realize that Mission residents going to Oakland would get on the BART in their own hood. I'm an idiot. Replace Mission with Richmond or whatever. Point still stands.

Posted by: JWS at October 22, 2013 10:30 AM

Another questions for JWS' friends

If we massively upzone and build all this new housing would it be a match for their expectations as a 3-4 person family? In other words do they want to live with a family in a very dense city or are they experiencing the cognitive dissonance of liking city living as singles but wanting little Johny to grow up like they did in a safe suburban setting with a big house and safe (read all white or white/asian) schools? Because no matter the outcome of this the reality is no matter what we are all not getting decent sized houses in Noe Valley for anyone but the very rich.

I am not judging and my wife and I are struggling with this too. It is not easy and we missed the window of buying a house we wanted in Bernal Heights by a matter of months and are now priced out from what we want.

I think there is a lot of potential in Alameda, San Rafael is nice, San Mateo on the East side has some potential, Redwood City around the downtown.

But with these you get into other issues people have which is our poor regional transit, challenging geography, two-income traps for people here with kids but no extended family etc.

Posted by: Zig at October 22, 2013 10:37 AM

@two beers. Again, you seem to miss the boat. The "luxury" units are only expensive because there is a shortage of housing. Even so-called "affordable" housing in San Francisco is greatly over-priced, again, because there is a lack of supply of housing across all levels, and so people with money, but not enough money, are forced to buy "down" in units they would not otherwise consider.

Building these sort of new condos is not the equivalent of building a bunch of Jaguars because if there were enough of them built, THEY WOULD NOT COMMAND A JAGUAR PRICE. Affluent individuals who can afford an $800K-$1.1 million condo, but who don't have enough money to just buy anything, would actually prefer to get more bang for their buck. If there were more supply on the market, then those people would prefer to buy the true Jaguars, not these Indianapolis lower-middle class units at the million dollar price.

As for your insinuation about the supposed agenda those avocating for more building have, I cannot speak for others, but as a non-techie, long-term SF resident (probably much longer than you've lived in the City), I can definitely say I have no agenda to get myself displaced along with the other "rabble."

Posted by: Chris at October 22, 2013 2:01 PM

Hey Zig, I can answer for myself and my family: I would definitely be interested in raising a family in a high rise. I tried to get my wife to take a look at one of the 2/2 1100 sq ft Infinity condos when they first came out. I thought it would be nifty to live in that developing neighborhood.

She was not interested at all and wanted to live in a more suburban setting.

I think if you want to stay in The City, you have to find the next "up and comer" and work with your neighbors to build a great neighborhood. You said that you missed the boat on Bernal. I have said this before, but I think Mission Terrace is a gem in the rough. All those suburban areas you mentioned have potential too.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 22, 2013 2:20 PM

The newest class of SF citizen seems completely resistant to using MUNI and light rail systems to get around, which I think says something about the need (although I get that it won't be immediately) for more efficient transport

Um, or get over themselves? You can take 10 Muni trips for the price of one Uber, so maybe look at these kinds of lifestyle choices when figuring out where their downpayment money is going.

With all the back and forth in this thread one thing that's clear is that JWS's friends' habits and expectations are way out of line with each other, and dare I say a bourgeois black hole. Keep in mind that Manhattan has 2x the population of SF in 1/3 the area.

Posted by: EH at October 22, 2013 2:54 PM

Oh, and at any rate, large school loans put people in "mortgage poor" slots pretty easily. They likely shouldn't even think of buying houses and starting families before they're paid off (or they 2-3x their salary).

Posted by: EH at October 22, 2013 2:57 PM

And large school loans also fuel the business of way too many and often useless MBA degrees.

Oh, but then again. Lots of college kids would rather just stay in college until they're 35.

More fun. More beer. No responsibility.

Just more debt.

Posted by: Futurist at October 22, 2013 3:57 PM

NVJ - Mission Terrace has already been "discovered". You're better off looking in Portola, Excelsior, or Crocker Amazon for the next undiscovered 'hood.

Futurist - so glad you're on here to dispense such wisdom and pass judgements on other people's life choices.

Posted by: Fishchum at October 22, 2013 4:13 PM

I am not sure who the newest class of SF citizen supposedly is, or who these folks are who are supposedly adverse to using MUNI. However, everyone I know, whether a long-term or recent resident, wealthy or working class person, kids or no kids, artist or executive, uses MUNI, and sometimes cabs, to get around the City.

While most people I know own cars, they are only used for commuting outside of the city to work (for those who work outside of the city), big shopping trip (e.g. weekly groceries, etc.), and traveling out-of-town. No one I know, and I know a very diverse group of people from a wide-range of backgrounds, routinely drives their car in the city.

Posted by: Chris at October 22, 2013 4:35 PM

I lived in Russian Hill for two years and I'm proud to say I never used Muni. Ever.

Posted by: Jimmy (not a Real San Franciscan (TM)) at October 22, 2013 5:45 PM

ive never used MUNI, but i have a motorcycle. I ahve also never taken a taxi or uber. I can get anywhere in the city in 15 minutes. I would highly recommend it and am thinking of putting together a motorcycle coalition so the needs of motorcyclists can also be met in the city. We want our own lanes too dammit.

Posted by: moto mayhem at October 22, 2013 6:12 PM

I've lived/owned in SF for 15 years and have never once been on Muni. Walk, run, bike, cab and drive.

Posted by: Skirunman at October 22, 2013 7:01 PM

Rarely use Muni. The ONLY route I ever use is the J.

We can drive downtown, park at 5th/miss garage, shop for 2 hours and still get home, quick and safe, and pay less for parking than 2 round trip Muni passes.

I too drive all over, walk a lot.

Posted by: Futurist at October 22, 2013 7:40 PM

Futurist,

I call BS on that one. 2 hrs. At the garage is not less than $4

Posted by: sparky*b at October 22, 2013 7:55 PM

Ok, if you want to.

Even if we stay 4 hours at the garage from 6-midnite it's only $1.50/hour = $6.00

@ Muni R/t passes is $8.

But my primary choice is that I'd pay more just to drive and park.

Any problem with that?

Posted by: Futurist at October 22, 2013 8:44 PM

JWS- "Of course, in real estate it does not go Jaguar --> Scooter. There are tiers in between. But you see this attitude in hot real estate markets."

The problem in SF is that you cannot build enough new housing to fill in all those tiers (barring something crazy like high rises in the sunset and Richmond :) so for every dual $100k earners who leave, there will be others coming into the city for 2-5 years' stay. And, the wealthier will continue buying in the city- upgrade buyers, those with assets, family money, etc.

If you and your friends want to stay here and build a life, you have to get innovative. The southern parts of SF offer that- there are many SFH's that are great for families. Excelsior, misson terrace, Crocker amazon and the bayview are all on good transport corridors. (I like Portola and sunnyside, but they are more isolated transport wise.)

Nothing wrong with what noevalleyjim said- you help create a new neighborhood in the process. It takes time, but neighborhoods definitely change, and it happens by people of your ilk.

What do people here think of the future of bayview/3rd street corridor vs. excelsior? Anyone look into both areas in detail? I'm looking to learn more about both.

Posted by: 49yo hipster at October 23, 2013 7:41 PM

Something is annoying me about these comments. There aren't "good neighborhood schools" and "bad neighborhood schools" in San Francisco. I'm raising two children in the city, both go to public schools.

In San Francisco you have the right to put your child in your neighborhood school and you also have the right to apply for any of the many alternative public schools all over the city. When we lived in the Mission I never considered our neighborhood school My son went to an alternative school in the Castro, and later to one in the Excelsior.

Now we live in the Excelsior and my youngest goes to a charter in the Fillmore, my oldest to Lowell public H.S. in the Sunset.

Schools can be a consideration when you are buying in SF, but WAY LESS than in other places like Oakland. Unlike many cities, SF residents are not tethered in anyway to their neighborhood schools. There are some good choices in SF- Mandarin immersion, arts schools. Sometimes you don't get your first choice right away but you if you plug away at getting your kids into any public school you desire here, eventually you will get them in.

Posted by: mamiel at November 4, 2013 12:28 AM

Posted by: SocketSite at November 7, 2013 8:43 AM

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