November 21, 2013
Plans For Two Jack London Square Towers And Nearly 700 Units
Having completed the first phase of its redevelopment of Oakland's Jack London Square in 2008, Ellis Partners' plan was to add a 120,000 square foot office/retail building at the corner of Broadway and Embarcadero and a 135,000 square foot office building on Embarcadero between Harrison and Alice. Instead, two residential towers with up to 665 units are now being proposed for phase two.
The new plan calls for "two housing towers of more than 20 stories" on the parcels and the city of Oakland appears to be supportive of the change from commercial to residential use, "as long as it activates the area and [they] become landmarks for the neighborhood."
First Published: November 21, 2013 11:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Great stuff, very happy to see some additional housing coming to Oakland. Hopefully Oakland can soak up some of SF's demand.
Posted by: anon at November 21, 2013 11:37 AM
heh. Oakland has a lot of neighborhoods that could use "activation". This is the one with the highest potential. It would be great for JLS to become so much of a success that it rubs off on West Oakland.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 21, 2013 11:40 AM
I wonder why the building site between Alice and Harrison does not include the eastern lot next to it that is dirt and also vacant, seems like it should also be developed as it is the waterfront part of the site. Anyone know why?
Posted by: dogwood at November 21, 2013 11:51 AM
^dogwood. In their approved site plan, that site is specified for a 250 room hotel. They apparently decided not to suggest a change of use on that one as well, although I think they probably should have...I don't see that location as being a great one for hotels. But it might be more politically controversial to make that change.
I do hope this goes forward. Note that it is only getting planning authorization to change use. There is no actual proposal yet, just some massing studies of twenty story towers. We'll see what project the developers actually come up with.
Link to the approved site plan:
Posted by: curmudgeon at November 21, 2013 12:10 PM
Wonderful news, great location, good sized project, and a pro developer I have some personal experience with.
JLS has huge potential. I'd live there if there was a little more development...this will provide critical mass.
Posted by: Frank C. at November 21, 2013 12:10 PM
More residential in this area would be a great stimulus for all of Oakland to provide more housing for folks, especially families, priced out of SF. Now to get that second TB tube built to include a station here...
Posted by: Mark at November 21, 2013 12:11 PM
"Now to get that second TB tube built to include a station here..."
Posted by: anon at November 21, 2013 12:37 PM
Already some great bars and restaurants in JLS but the area could definitely do with more activity. Additional housing will definitely help with that.
Now if they could only secure a stadium for the A's just south of here...that would seal the deal.
[Editor's Note: Oakland's Coliseum City Dream, And Spending, Continues On.]
Posted by: Willow at November 21, 2013 12:40 PM
Any hopes of burying the downtown stretch of 80 to open up the waterfront to the rest of the area? I remember reading a couple years ago the city's idea of putting in a streetcar system to connect JLS, Chinatown Lake Merritt and downtown in a loop.
Posted by: Mark at November 21, 2013 1:14 PM
I worked in JLS area for 3 yr; the 80 overpass was a huge barrier between downtown and JLS and I hope just a matter of time to underground that portion of 80 so the two neighborhoods can be reconnected. With the recently announced 1400 homes in Alameda, and the Brooklyn project (1000+), Oak Knoll 500 homes -- looks like a nice growth spurt in the East Bay. Also noticed recently 450 homes in planning for the former Sherwin Williams site nr Pixar. Not next door, but encouraging for the EB in general.
Posted by: Invented at November 21, 2013 1:51 PM
"Now to get that second TB tube built to include a station here..."
-YES! But you can always walk to 12th st or take the ferry. This location already has great transit options.
Posted by: trentblase at November 21, 2013 1:58 PM
^^^ We're talking about I-880, right? While it is an unpleasant barrier to traverse it is quite porous and results in no more than a one small block detour for any journey. Very good as far as freeways go.
I suspect that lowering I-880 into a trench would be a very expensive project that delivers minimal benefit.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 21, 2013 2:08 PM
Agree with MOD. While 880 may act as a psychological barrier, it certainly is not a physical barrier. The historic street grid exists beneath the freeway with only one exception, Franklin Street. The cost would be prohibitive, especially when accommodating the 880/980 interchange. Oakland has other more pressing transportation needs. Undergrounding the rail lines that carry both Amtrak and freight trains down the middle of Embarcadero would benefit the area much more than undergrounding 880.
Posted by: emanon at November 21, 2013 2:18 PM
"With the recently announced 1400 homes in Alameda"
Curious what the plan is?
If we want to have more successful ferries this is the way to do it.
The Alameda to SSF ferry is a total fail because there is not a dense node on either end. It is really transit planning 101 and I know the planners know better but by the time they are involved politicians have already decided what will happen.
[Editor’s Note: The City of Alameda is preparing to formally seek proposals for the redevelopment of Alameda Point. With voters having rejected a proposal for 4,500 homes to be built on the land in 2010, the city is now targeting 1,425 homes and 5.5 million square feet of commercial space on the site.]
Posted by: Zig at November 21, 2013 2:18 PM
"Now to get that second TB tube built to include a station here..."
I seriously doubt a second tube in our lifetimes will be built.
I may be mistaken but my understanding is BART will have a capacity issue at Embarcedero and Montgomery stations soon and not with the tube itself. I would think solutions before building a new tube will be longer and higher capacity trains, re-engineered stations with additional platforms and maybe new stations in San Francisco utilizing the same tube. I am not sure the feasibility of that last one but maybe they could have a train go down Mission St as an example.
Posted by: zig at November 21, 2013 2:31 PM
I'm glad people dream big, but 880 is not going to be depressed, and neither is the rail line.
One location under discussion for the A's ballpark is immediately north of here at Howard Terminal. It may also have little chance of happening; I've read conflicting things about the feasibility, but it is one of the straws that the Mayor is grasping to try to keep the A's in Oakland.
It is important to make porous barrier of I-880 feel a lot more inviting, especially to folks on foot or on bikes. That would help Jack London Square a lot.
Finally, there is currently a free shuttle that connects Jack London to downtown, and there is a study to potentially replace that with a streetcar.
Posted by: curmudgeon at November 21, 2013 3:33 PM
Mark said: I remember reading a couple years ago the city's idea of putting in a streetcar system to connect JLS, Chinatown Lake Merritt and downtown in a loop.
The Free B shuttle runs between Oakland Uptown and JLS every 10 (peak time) to 15 minutes. This one simple way to combat the "psychological 880 barrier".
Posted by: EBGuy at November 21, 2013 3:41 PM
Posted by: emanon at November 21, 2013 3:48 PM
I've never personally been a fan of the path the street car takes. I guess its an ok starting point, but to be actually useful I think Telegraph has to be included, and Id like to see it head east towards Lake Merritt, maybe on Grand avenue as listed on the map.
Posted by: Sam at November 21, 2013 4:02 PM
Why not make it a full LRT line from JLS to UC Berkeley along Broadway and College Ave. Too obvious to actually happen? And a second line on San Pablo all the way to Richmond. Crap, now I'm going to spend the rest of the afternoon drawing fantasy transit maps.
Posted by: outtahere at November 21, 2013 4:09 PM
Ah, they do comment on extension to Rockridge in the streetcar plan. Still getting up to speed on existing published fantasy plans in the Bay Area. :)
Posted by: outtahere at November 21, 2013 4:32 PM
"I may be mistaken but my understanding is BART will have a capacity issue at Embarcedero and Montgomery stations soon and not with the tube itself."
That is correct. In fact Montgomery is already at capacity during parts of rush hour and is causing delays, but they are not yet serious.
The tube is not yet at capacity, I believe it could handle 30 trains per hour, but there are other choke points that currently can only handle 24 trains per hour. I believe dwell time issues at Embarcadero & Montgomery, and the Oakland Wye, are the biggest current problems. They would be far cheaper to upgrade than building a new tube. In fact, I think at this point, building a new tube would have little impact on BART's capacity.
"I would think solutions before building a new tube will be longer..."
This won't happen as it would require lengthening every single station on the system, which would probably be more expensive than building a new tube!
"... and higher capacity trains..."
Fortunately, this is actually in progress.
"... re-engineered stations with additional platforms and maybe new stations in San Francisco utilizing the same tube. I am not sure the feasibility of that last one but maybe they could have a train go down Mission St as an example."
There are actually proposals for all of the above: 2 new stations could be built in SF, one at 30th & Mission, and another at Market & Van Ness, as well as a number of new infill stations in the East Bay.
The Embarcadero & Montgomery stations can only handle more traffic through some reconfiguration, some more dramatic than others.
Unfortunately many of these projects are probably still many years from becoming at all real, and some may never happen at all.
SPUR has a pretty good overview of some of the various ideas being discussed.
Posted by: lyqwyd at November 21, 2013 4:56 PM
That Oakland Streetcar Plan does something some here refuse to do because of constant Bay Area narcissism, and that it discusses and highlights transit success stories from other cities including Portland, Washington, San Diego, etc.
It is an outstanding document and a fantastic idea. When San Francisco stops pretending it is the best place on earth and becomes willing to learn from other cities, it may finally have a chance at getting things right.
Posted by: anon3 at November 21, 2013 5:14 PM
See, this type of development here is why I will continue to vehemently and vocally oppose all large scale development in the city. We are bursting the seams as it is, and fast approaching a Manhattan density...who wants this, other than greedy developers and their paid commenters? In my mind, affordable housing should be built here. Oakland and other cities like it can take the brunt of the housing needed, we need to be focused on stopping the Kowloon Walled City...erhmm...I mean, Transbay/Rincon/Mid-Market plans, and also making sure that most of the new housing in SF should be affordable.
Posted by: Hawkins at November 21, 2013 5:40 PM
Manhattan is over 4 times as dense as SF. Brooklyn and The Bronx are both more than twice as dense as SF. Queens is 50% more dense than SF.
It's pure BS to claim SF is approaching Manhattan density. We would have to quadruple the height of every building in SF to equal Manhattan density.
Posted by: lyqwyd at November 21, 2013 5:57 PM
LYQWYD, please bear in mind that San Francisco has significantly more park space than Manhattan. Golden Gate Park ALONE is bigger than Central Park, nevermind The Presidio, Twin Peaks, McLaren Park, Ocean Beach, Lake Merced, and the myriad other park spaces that San Francisco has provided over the years. Without those park spaces, we would surely be nearing, if not surpassing, the density of all the boroughs you so smugly mention. The reason why San Francisco has this extra park space is that we have made it a point to carefully construct a human scaled city. The greed of Ed Lee's regime and the rampant hoard of developers threaten to undermine the very principles this city was founded upon, and it grieves me to see you so misled. We do not need a single additional unit in our city...our infrastructure is stretched as it is! What we DO need is a way to find out how to make sure the housing stock we do have is affordable to teachers, artists, immigrants, blue collar workers, and the many other demographics you would love to ship off to Tracy in the name of "progress".
Posted by: Hawkins at November 21, 2013 6:14 PM
What's worse, a greedy developer or a miseducated liberal?
Guess what, every building built in America, ever, was built by what you would call a "greedy developer," or, should I say, by somebody who expected something in return. You expect somebody to build without making a profit? That will happen as soon as you work (assuming you have a job) 40 hours a week for free, with no benefits for you in return. Otherwise you are just greedy (see how that works?)
As far as SF bursting at the seams, it seams that way (see I have a sense of humor :)) because the transit structure was built by the same mentality that thinks restricting a commodity (housing) will magically make it affordable for everyone, and so the system doesn't work properly. I hear it spouted by every single fauxgressive with an agenda- "we should only build 4 story buildings.. And they should be affordable! No big buildings! Only single family homes!" The average height of the city is 3 stories, and you think that is comparable to Manhattan density? Lol! Even Los Angeles, known for its sprawl is catching up to SF in its ppm (people per mile). Most of the city is one and two stories, and a lot of that wasted space is located on major transit lines. Just go out to West Portal where there is a light rail hub where trains converge, and you will see single story buildings as far as the eye can see. That is totally irresponsible because SF already has the transit infrastructure laid, but you seem to think that other cities should invest heavily in the infrastructure required to build dense, and then start building. That doesn't make any sense.
SF already has the bones, it just doesn't have politicians with any gravitas or vision who will stick up to the self entitled ego maniacs so that SF can become more efficient and able to operate like a big city instead of a the multiple personality woman your uncle brings to Thanksgiving dinner who is afraid of her own shadow. It's no wonder you think SF is bursting at the seams- it is mentally unstable!
Posted by: sf at November 21, 2013 6:18 PM
in the rush to densification, we californians tend to forget about water, sewage, and to some degree energy. Poor people do not fare so well in dense neighborhoods, the well to do indeed live above it all.
I am sure many of these same conversations occurred in Detroit during the boom years of the auto industry
Posted by: contraian at November 21, 2013 6:57 PM
I always find it amusing when the Progressive mantra for housing invariably comes down to "What we DO need is a way to find out how to make sure the housing stock we do have is affordable to teachers, artists, immigrants, blue collar workers, and the many other demographics……."
And it stops there. Not one of them has ever put forward a proposal on how to make this happen.
Posted by: Fishchum at November 21, 2013 7:03 PM
A majority of comments on SS on almost every new thread is about complaining that what is about to be built/proposed is:
NEVER tall enough. The chief complaint here.
Too tall. But ignores the actual legal allowable height limit.
Hates the design. But has nothing constructive to say except that it's "ugly".
Too much parking. Because, of course, cars are evil monsters.
Not enough bike parking. Because, of course, we all should ride bikes. Everywhere. With kids and 5 bags of groceries in tow.
And never offers solid, valid, reasonable, viable solutions.
Posted by: Futurist at November 21, 2013 7:34 PM
Solution to not tall enough: build taller because there is strong demand for high density in San Francisco. This adds to the tax base which funds additional public transit infrastructure and road upgrades, as well as new parks.
Solution to hates the design: hire competent architects and not cronies of politicians. Let them build what they want, instead of legislating that everything have a top hat.
Solution to too much parking: residential buildings in SF without any parking are as much at capacity and in demand as those without. The more off street parking you build, the more car traffic you create on the streets, the more tax money necessary to repave the roads. But the transit infrastructure needs to be in place before taking away parking.
Not enough bike parking: it makes sense to have bike parking in areas like Soma, where there is a demand (I do believe you are a free market thinker who adheres to supply and demand, are you not?) but bikes can also fit easily into a walk in closet. Solution could be to build bigger closets in new units.
I'll add one more that you conveniently left out: not enough parking. This argument is like "there aren't enough freeway lanes." Every time the state builds more freeway lanes, they clog up in a short time period, and the cycle perpetuates. The 680 is probably the widest freeway in the Bay Area and is also one of the most congested. Sometimes parking is necessary, I'll give you that. Private autos are very convenient. I own one myself. But I'm not entitled to live in dense downtown areas and expect to bring my car too. There are pros and cons to living in a city. Being able to take your BMW 325 everywhere you go is not a right. I prefer buildings and cities built for people and not cars.
Posted by: sf at November 21, 2013 8:09 PM
HAWKINS, please bear in mind that Manhattan is half the size of SF, with double the population. If 3/4 of SF were park, and there were no parks in Manhattan, we would have equal population density.
NYC actually has more land than SF dedicated to parks as a percent of the total land in the city:
New York 195,072 38,019 19.5%
San Francisco 29,884 5,384 18.0%
You are wrong.
Posted by: lyqwyd at November 21, 2013 9:12 PM
LYQWYD, even a quick Google Maps search shows virtually ALL of that parkland happens to be in Staten Island. Manhattan has very little parkland outside of Central Park, as do the other boroughs. And while we may not yet have the density of Manhattan even with our parks removed, with 10 more years of the corporately sponsored "up-zoning" we have become so comfortable with and fond of, we will certainly be there. By that point, our infrastructure will be strained and the charm that has always defined this city will be irreversibly eroded...but hey, we are a "global city" on par with Hong Kong and NYC according to the "build taller" crowd, what good is historic architecture and neighborhoods if they are just getting in the way of "progress"?
Posted by: Hawkins at November 21, 2013 9:52 PM
LOL @ all parkland being on staten island, you realize the Bronx is only 42 square miles, has nearly double the population of SF and has 25% of its land devoted to parks. San Francisco can never turn into NYC with building codes and such present today, and no one wants it too. Smart growth policies and careful up zoning will allow the city to prosper and diversify though.
Posted by: frshmn at November 21, 2013 10:07 PM
There are people here seriously arguing that we'll be reaching Manhattan densities in 10 years...lol.
And no, as someone from NYC, "virtually ALL" of the parkland is not on Staten Island. Not even 20% of it is. Educate yourself before spouting nonsense.
Posted by: anon at November 21, 2013 10:24 PM
Hawkins, it's a very simple matter to plot census tract population densities of NYC and SF. This is a convenient way of making an apples-to-apples comparison of similar neighborhoods and accounting for large parks, industrial sites, water, etc. You'll quickly see that the vast majority of SF is much lower density than Manhattan or Brooklyn. Typically, by about half.
Posted by: outtahere at November 21, 2013 10:46 PM
Waiting for Hawkins plan to keep SF the way it is and have itbe affordable for middle class.. .
Posted by: sf at November 22, 2013 12:01 AM
@ at Hawkins
I don't see how anyone who has been to Manhattan or Brooklyn can make these comments with sincerity. It is absurd. The only more absurd comments I hear is people comparing SF to Hong Kong which is delusional
Posted by: Zig at November 22, 2013 7:45 AM
You know sf, most of your comments are the same thing you say over and over, and some are truly laughable.
Let's just agree to disagree. You seem to have a penchant, maybe obsession for every single proposed building to become taller than what is proposed or built. I'm a supporter of what IS or about to be, because I believe that the codes defining heights are appropriate. If you don't like them why not attend lots of planning commission meanings, voice your concerns to get the heights increased?
Design issues? well, I suspect you will not like anything, so what's the point? As a member of the profession, I know that "politicians" are really not part of the design process. That's your myth.
parking? you don't support it. I do. Without an appropriate (mostly 1:1 ratio) of parking, our streets would be filled with drivers constantly looking for a curbside parking spot, endlessly. What does that solve? nothing.
Bike parking? fine, whatever. It doesn't take up much space. Build all you want. Biking is not a significant factor in getting around here. It works for some, that's cool. It will always be a small amount.
Freeways? Ah...gee. they are part of our major transit system throughout the state. When are you going to start to advocate tearing down 101, 280, 680, I-5...etc?
Cars? See, it is my right to drive anywhere (legally) that I want to. You forget that public streets are PUBLIC. FOR ALL. If congestion pricing happens, or more part of downtown turned into public plazas, then great. We won't drive there. What's the problem? See, you have the right to walk, or bike or hop on Muni. And so do I, when I choose.
But the entire absurdity of your comments is your choice to actually mention a car model. Amazing.
BTW, I don't own a 325 (used to), but what if I drove a Smart Car, or a Tesla, or an Suv or a truck, or a farm tractor?
Posted by: Futurist at November 22, 2013 10:44 AM
I know that "politicians" are really not part of the design process.
That is all. lol.
Posted by: anon at November 22, 2013 10:58 AM
LOL all you want. They may be part of "entitlements" and views and all that crap, but I think we're just talking semantics.
"Design" process no. sf was specifically talking about design quality and so was I.
And besides, if you don't like buildings with or without "tophats" then that's the issue. Let's be clear. Don't try to twist things around.
Posted by: Futurist at November 22, 2013 11:03 AM
Futurist, FYI - Driving is a privilege, not a right.
Posted by: Fishchum at November 22, 2013 11:04 AM
Semantics again. Fishchum. You know what I mean and I know what you mean.
It's your right as an adult, to take a driving exam, pass it, get a drivers license, get insurance, buy a vehicle, and drive on the public road paid by public taxes.
Any other questions?
Posted by: Futurist at November 22, 2013 11:14 AM
You can make the numbers look any way you want. While Manhattan may have us beat, I simply do not agree that Brooklyn and the Bronx are denser than SF. SF has already breached the critical mass of density, (for example, the garish new condos on Market) and our infrastructure is strained beyond belief. The traffic is unbearable in virtually every neighborhood, and views that we have cherished for decades are being blocked left and right by the elite class and developers.
As for my plan to keep housing affordable, it is very simple. Stop. Building. Luxury. Condos. Why else do you think so many of the 1% elite are flocking to the city? They would not come here if there wasn't something for them to buy! Build affordable housing instead. Now, where's your rebuttal to this simple argument? "Oh no, affordable housing is too expensive, trickle down economics, blah blah blah"...guess what, Ronald Reagan, reality is calling, and the citizens of San Francisco are finally standing up to the greed of the 1%. Prop B and C are just the beginning. We are taking back our city!
Posted by: Hawkins at November 22, 2013 11:17 AM
"I simply do not agree that Brooklyn and the Bronx are denser than SF"
Thanks Hawkins, you've made it quite clear your position is entirely based on denial of reality.
Given the above, it comes as no surprise you think prop B & C were of some value. The only thing you did was protect some luxury condo views. I'm sure the millionaires who's views you protected appreciated your vote.
Posted by: lyqwyd at November 22, 2013 11:27 AM
Wow Hawkins! time for an uprising. shades of the 60's. Let's drag out our bell bottom jeans.
I do think you're being a bit dramatic. My comments:
"garish" condos on Market have nothing do with density. You don't like the design, fine, but eliminate the design discussion from a density discussion.
traffic is unbearable? Really? where? I can drive downtown (faster than Muni) to the 5th/mission garage to go to an event at Metreon. takes me maybe 20 minutes. Traffic is normal. go to the neighborhoods. Traffic is normal in Noe, Glen Park, Sunset, Parkside, etc.
Now the "affordable" vs. "luxury" definition is a hot button. And very subjective. What is "affordable" to you? Under $1m? under $500k? what? In SF today, there is really no such thing as 'affordable". It's market/demand driven. That won't change. The small amount of BMR's being built will not help those who can't afford to live here.
Land and entitlements, fees, process, time to get a permit ALL affect the cost of housing here.
People flock to this city, 1% elite or young techies or hard working middle class just out of college BECAUSE we are a great place to live. Not being able to afford to live here hopefully will trickle down to the outer neighborhoods and East Bay/Oakland creating great neighborhoods.
The so called elite are not going away, neither are so called "luxury" condos. Reality.
Posted by: Futurist at November 22, 2013 11:33 AM
OK Hawkins, where and how do we build "affordable housing"? Who is going to pay for it? Who is going to force a developer to build housing and sell/rent it for less than market rate?
If we stop building "luxury condos" as you call them, those buyers then filter out to other neighborhoods and pay ridiculous prices on homes that Mike & Molly Middle Class have been looking at.
Posted by: Fishchum at November 22, 2013 11:34 AM
While Manhattan may have us beat, I simply do not agree that Brooklyn and the Bronx are denser than SF.
lol. You do understand that this isn't debatable, it's simply math. Divide the population by the square mileage. Brooklyn and the Bronx are significantly more dense than SF, period.
Posted by: anon at November 22, 2013 11:36 AM
There is more to density than just people per square mileage (and, as I've discussed ad nauseum in this thread, parks sway these numbers significantly). Density also has a lot to do with traffic, infrastructure, how cramped a city feels, whether the residents appreciate or even want density, etc. San Francisco is indeed more dense than those neighborhoods in all those criteria. The original residents of this city prefer a human scale neighborhood, and yet the developers and Ed Lee push for monstrous towers on every block?
And there is no traffic in Glen Park and Noe Valley, Futurist, because those densities are appropriate for our city. The density of the Hong Kong styled "Transbay Plan" is not. You are all in denial.
Posted by: Hawkins at November 22, 2013 11:43 AM
They would not come here if there wasn't something for them to buy!
Is that why Bernal, Noe Valley, and Glen Park have all seen no increase in value over the past ten years? Lack of new luxury buildings being built? lol.
Posted by: anon at November 22, 2013 11:46 AM
There is more to density than just people per square mileage (and, as I've discussed ad nauseum in this thread, parks sway these numbers significantly).
Yes, and you've been shown that NYC has more parkspace than SF on a percentage basis. Any other math that you'd like to dispute?
Posted by: anon at November 22, 2013 11:50 AM
So lay it out for us Hawkins.
How to build your definition of "affordable" housing?
And what is your definition of said housing.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Posted by: Futurist at November 22, 2013 11:53 AM
Every building built before the dot com boom of the late 90s.. Let's be conservative and say, 95% of the city.. Are not luxury units, yet they still sell for premium prices. So your theory doesn't work. For a builder to break even, a unit has to sell for $500,000. This is due to all the fees, taxes, and regulations on construction in SF. Get rid of height restrictions and union demands and then we can start building more affordable housing.
And your comment about how something "feels" to you makes it so, facts be damned, is just proof that you are not a serious contender in any debate. That is why you and your ilk always lose in he long run, truth always wins.
Posted by: sf at November 22, 2013 12:56 PM
A map is an easy thing to read, and the data doesn't support your assertions, Hawkins. And without measurable observations, it's just an argument about style.
Housing preferences are swinging away from the suburbs, and SF is one of the few places in the country with great climate, natural beauty, walkability, transit infrastructure, and human capital to support high wage industries. You can't decrease housing demand without kicking out some of the legs of the stool. And unless new supply is constructed, demand just bids up prices for the existing supply.
Given this, I don't see a way to build affordable housing in San Francisco without rationing and lotteries. If you want to propose that all housing in SF is allocated in this way, and you want the lottery algorithm to enforce demographic preferences (artists, teachers, etc.), then you should state this explicitly. If you want to state that demand is infinite, and no amount of new construction could possibly satisfy this, and thus is a futile effort that shouldn't be attempted, then you should also state this explicitly.
Posted by: outtahere at November 22, 2013 1:06 PM
OK, but more than one of the existing condo associations in JLS are bankrupt. Why are more condos desired when they can't get people to live in the existing ones?
Posted by: jwb at November 22, 2013 1:29 PM
jwb - are you asserting that there's a glut of condos for sale in JLS? (And thanks for bringing this back on topic!)
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 22, 2013 1:49 PM
"OK, but more than one of the existing condo associations in JLS are bankrupt. Why are more condos desired when they can't get people to live in the existing ones?"
jwb: I didn't know that. Which building are you referring to? The Sierra? 200 Second Street? Definitely am interested in finding out which one...Please do share.
Posted by: Willow at November 22, 2013 3:03 PM
"It would be great for JLS to become so much of a success that it rubs off on West Oakland."
... though there is a downside of that success: pushing out long time residents. It would be great if this could become a win-win situation.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 22, 2013 5:12 PM
"If you want to propose that all housing in SF is allocated in this way, and you want the lottery algorithm to enforce demographic preferences (artists, teachers, etc.), then you should state this explicitly. If you want to state that demand is infinite, and no amount of new construction could possibly satisfy this, and thus is a futile effort that shouldn't be attempted, then you should also state this explicitly."
This is exactly what I'm saying. I would love to see each new development focused toward a group that is being pushed out of San Francisco by this wave of gentrification. Imagine how world class our city would be if, say, we created a brand new community for artists, a community for teachers, all state of the art and architecturally significant. Only San Francisco could pull off such a feat. Additionally, to your second point, pretty hard to satiate the "demand" when it is well documented that the vast majority of these new units are selling to luxury global 1% who will use them as a vacation home every other blue moon. They are just parking money.
Posted by: Hawkins at November 22, 2013 6:30 PM
Additionally, please look at a Google Map image of Staten Island and realize that the park percentage is clearly coming from this island. It looks to be half park. The other boroughs do not have anywhere near the same park space as SF, hence why the "density" is supposedly higher there. You have convinced me on Manhattan, but that's what we are trying to avoid in the first place! I remain unconvinced on the other boroughs. I don't see any skyscrapers in the Bronx...and in SF, we ignore every other zoning law in order to build more!!
Posted by: Hawkins at November 22, 2013 6:32 PM
@Hawkins - Brooklyn is 34,000 ppsm, SF is 17,000 ppsm. Twice as dense. With ~25% of the burough set aside as park space, identical to SF.
I have no idea why you're refusing to believe easily referenced facts with actual numbers attached, but instead believing your eyes looking at Google maps and saying, "Duhr, Brooklyn don't be lookin' so dense to me!" It's obvious that you've never been there if you seriously think that SF is even in the same ballpark as Brooklyn in density.
Next you're going to be telling us that Paris is less dense than Hong Kong, because Hong Kong has taller buildings.
Posted by: anon at November 22, 2013 7:00 PM
"I would love to see each new development focused toward a group that is being pushed out of San Francisco by this wave of gentrification. Imagine how world class our city would be if, say, we created a brand new community for artists, a community for teachers, all state of the art and architecturally significant."
- Damn, I have read some pie-in-the-sky pipe dreams in my day, but this absolutely takes the cake. There isn't enough room on the entire internet to describe the different ways that this isn't possible.
Posted by: Fishchum at November 22, 2013 8:44 PM
Most of what looks like parkland on Staten Island is wildlife preserve or island. That open space is nearly inaccessible and in no way compares to Central or Golden Gate Park.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 23, 2013 12:25 PM
pretty hard to satiate the "demand" when it is well documented that the vast majority of these new units are selling to luxury global 1% who will use them as a vacation home every other blue moon.
Where is this documented? Show me the evidence for this statement please, something more heavyweight than an editorial in the SF Bay Guardian.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 23, 2013 7:13 PM
This thread is supposed to be about building 700 units in Oakland. Somehow I doubt the "luxury global 1%" are demanding pied-a-terres in Oaktown.
Posted by: Dan at November 23, 2013 8:32 PM
Have developer do something for JLS residents as part of deal. Put barriers around trains so they won't have to blow their horn at every intersection or put them underground.
Posted by: JLS dweller at December 8, 2013 7:11 AM
Hey JLS, what did the developers of your building do for the JLS residents who were there before you? Just curious.
Posted by: emanon at December 8, 2013 11:39 AM
JLS Dweller - There's no quick and cheap fix for the train horn issue. By law they need to toot their horn at every grade crossing and those tracks are punctuated by frequent grade crossings all the way up to Gilman St.
The most feasible solution to grade separation is to elevate the passenger trackway. That's both expensive and will result in other negative impacts.
It is reasonable to expect train horn noise for at least the next twenty years.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 9, 2013 10:45 AM