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January 31, 2014

Elbo Room At Risk Of Being Razed For Mission Housing Development


The owners of the two-story Mission district building at the corner of Valencia and Sycamore which is currently occupied by the Elbo Room have quietly drafted plans to raze the bar and construct a new five-story building in its place.

Early plans for the development include nine (9) residential units, three one-bedrooms and six two-bedrooms, ranging in size from 500 to 1,000 square feet over a 770 square-foot commercial space and parking for six (6) cars on the ground floor.

While the existing building at 645 Valencia Street wasn’t deemed to be historic when reviewed as part of the Inner Mission Historic Resource Survey in 2011, the Planning Department has since "received additional information that suggests that the subject property may have associations with the history of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) individuals in San Francisco."

As such, the owners will be required to provide a Historic Resource Evaluation (HRE) to determine whether the subject property is a historic resource for the purposes of CEQA in order to move forward with any development.

UPDATE: While some might wish it were, and others seem to be implying that it is, our report isn't based on rumor or speculation but rather the Preliminary Project Assessment for the development which was submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department for review. The first page and a quarter of the Planning Department’s response to the application, click to enlarge:

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Comments (79)

East Bay Asking Rents Slip Overall, But Studios Set A New Record

The average asking rent for an apartment in the East Bay ticked down a few dollars from $1,686 to $1,674 a month in the fourth quarter of 2013 but remains 8 percent higher on a year-over-year basis, according to Cassidy Turley.

The average asking rent for a studio in the East Bay, however, is up to $1,322 a month, a new record and 12 percent higher versus the fourth quarter of 2012.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)

Redesigned Apple Store Renderings Redux

Another set of renderings of the redesigned Post Street façade for Apple's proposed flagship store on Union Square which now features two full-height sliding glass doors, each measuring 23 feet wide and 44.5 feet tall, allowing the store to be opened to the street:

Note the regular sized all-glass doors in the non-sliding bays (click to enlarge) which would act as the primary access points for the store when the full-height doors are closed. There are two sets of doors from the redesigned plaza behind the store as well.

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

Bay Area Million Dollar Homes Sales Jump, East Bay Jumps The Most

The number of California homes that sold for a million dollars or more rose to 39,175 last year, the highest level since 2007 when the number totaled 42,505, but 28 percent fewer than the all-time high of 54,773 in 2005. A quarter of the sales were all-cash transactions.

In the Bay Area, home sales over the million dollar mark were up 40.6 percent from the year before and the most since 2007, up 29 percent in Santa Clara to 4,806; up 34 percent in San Francisco to 2,483; up 39 percent in San Mateo to 2,815; up 63 percent in Contra Costa to 9,130; and up 70 percent in Alameda to 1,721.

The number of Bay Area homes which traded for over two million dollars totaled 2,604 in 2013, up 28 percent from 2012 and an all-time high.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)

The Odds Are Against The Warriors Moving To SF In 2017

The projected cost to rebuild San Francisco's Pier 30-32 in order to support the development of the Warriors' proposed waterfront arena is up to $180 million, $10 million more than the $170 million estimated last summer.

While the extra $10 million is a relative drop in the bucket with respect to the overall budget for the project, it’s indicative of a more complex and time consuming project than originally projected, increasing the odds that the Warriors won’t have an arena ready for the 2017 NBA season in San Francisco.

The original timeline and critical path for the proposed arena to be ready in time for the 2017 season required the project’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to have been prepared by the summer of 2013 and certified last fall. The report has yet to be finished.

The arena project cannot be approved by the city nor any permits issued until the EIR is certified, a legal challenge of which is sure to come. And even assuming no setbacks at the ballot-box or in the courts, construction of the arena will take around two and one-half years to complete and was scheduled to start this summer in order for the arena to ready for a 2017 opening.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Comments (31)

January 30, 2014

The Recommendations For Accelerating Housing Production In SF

Responding to an executive directive from Mayor Lee last month, a working group co-chaired by the directors of San Francisco’s Planning Department and Department of Building Inspection has drafted a list of recommendations to accelerate the production of new housing in San Francisco and protect the city's existing housing stock.

The working group’s thirty-six recommendations are a mix of short-term, mid-term, and long-term ideas and include the priority processing for projects with at least 20% on-site affordable housing; encouraging maximum permitted density for development sites; requiring property owners to justify the removal, rather than legalization, of existing illegal units in the city; lifting the 375 unit cap on the production of micro-units; and building code amendments to facilitate building up to seven stories in height.

With the estimated number of existing dwelling units in the city currently used for short-term occupancy versus their legal use as conventional, permanent housing running as high as 5,000 units thanks to "sharing" sites such as airbnb, another recommendation of the working group is to crackdown on the enforcement of illegally renting an apartment for less than 30 days in San Francisco.

While a crackdown on illegal short-term rentals could quickly move the needle with respect to available housing supply and affordability, it would likely put the Mayor at odds with airbnb, a site that he has championed. It will be interesting to see which side he favors.

The draft memo which details all of the working group's recommendations to date: Executive Directive 13-01 Recommendations.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Comments (54)

Façade For Apple's Flagship Store Redesigned, Opens To The Street

The Post Street façade for Apple’s proposed flagship store on Union Square has been redesigned by Foster + Partners to feature two full-height sliding glass doors, each measuring 23 feet wide and 44.5 feet tall, allowing the store to be opened to the street.

When closed, the columns of the steel-framed doors would divide the façade into four discrete glass bays of 23 to 31 feet each. A six-bay design was also rendered, but the four-bay design above is Apple's preferred execution. Click images to enlarge.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Comments (21)

Nob Hill Neighbors' Appeal Denied, Development Clear To Commence

First St. John's United Methodist Church at Larkin and Clay (Image Source: MapJack.com)

A plugged-in tipster reports that the Nob Hill Neighbors’ appeal to block the development of 1601 Larkin Street was denied by a vote of 4-0 last night, clearing the way for the demolition the dilapidated First St. John's United Methodist Church at the corner of Larkin and Clay and the construction of a five-floor building with 27 dwelling units on the site.

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

Mortgage Rates Dip On Weakness While The Fed Cuts On Strength

The average rate for a conforming 30-year mortgage ticked down from 4.39 to 4.32 percent over the past week, 26 basis points below the 4.58 percent two-year high rate recorded this past August but 1.01 percentage points higher than the all-time low of 3.31 percent in November 2012.

The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 3.53 percent at this time last year, a little over half the 6.71 percent it has averaged since 1990. The fixed 30-year mortgage rate has averaged 8.61 percent over the past 40 years.

While the move in rates has been attributed to weaker housing data, yesterday the Federal Reserve announced another $10 billion reduction in their monthly bond purchase program based on "underlying strength in the broader economy."

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Comments (0)

A Doubling Indeed


As we wrote about the Potrero Hill home at 1422 Rhode Island earlier this month:

Purchased as a "classic" two-bedroom, one-bath home of 1,095 square feet with "separate living and dining rooms...and [a] bonus room downstairs" for $820,000 four months ago, 1422 Rhode Island is already back on the market for $1,495,000 as a "fully renovated 4 bed/3.5 bath beauty."


A great room encompasses the living room, dining room, den and kitchen, "the highlight" of the now 2,250 square foot Potrero Hill home according to its listing.

On tuesday, the sale of 1422 Rhode Island closed escrow with a reported contract price of $1,610,000. And that's how you move the median.

Highlighting The Great Room Trend And Doubling Down In Potrero [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Comments (3)

January 29, 2014

San Francisco Launching Railyard Redevelopment And I-280 Study


The City of San Francisco has just released an official Request for Proposals (RFP) to study the feasibility and alternatives for redeveloping the 20+ acre Caltrain Depot at 4th and King Streets, connecting rail to the Transbay Center (and possibly the East Bay), and reconfiguring the terminus of I-280 in the city.

The Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study will build upon the Planning Department’s 4th & King Street Railyards Study, the Caltrain North Terminal Feasibility Assessment, and past work by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority and California High Speed Rail Authority to develop a coordinated vision for the area and transportation plan for connecting the adjacent neighborhoods.

The five key components of the study:

1. Potential refinements to the alignment and construction methods of the Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) to the Transbay Transit Center;
2. Potential construction of a loop track from the east end of the Transbay Transit Center (TTC) allowing for future connection to East Bay and return train trips southbound;
3. Potential construction of a surface boulevard in place of the elevated portion of I-280 in the area in order to facilitate the construction of the rail projects and connect the neighborhoods of South of Market (SoMa), Potrero, Moscone Center, and Central Waterfront for vehicles, transit, pedestrians and bicyclists;
4. Potential consolidation and/or relocation of the 4th/King Railyard; and
5. Land use responses to the above infrastructure changes, including economic effects and opportunities.

Proposals to tackle the first two phases of the project (Visioning and Concept Development and then the Refinement of Alternatives and Determination of Final Alternatives) are due at the end of February with a budget of $1.45 million and roughly two years to complete.

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 PM | Comments (78)

Downsizing Of Valencia Street Development Could Be Against The Law

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

With San Francisco's Board of Supervisors having narrowly upheld the Planning Department's approval for the five-story development at 1050 Valencia Street to rise, a subsequent appeal of the project's building permits resulted in 5-0 vote by San Francisco's Board of Appeals to issue the permits, but under a couple of conditions, including that the developer only build four stories rather than five as approved.

The problem for the Board of Appeals, they might have overstepped their legal bounds.

Following their public meeting, the Board of Appeals will move behind closed doors this evening to meet with legal counsel in anticipation of having to defend against litigation. The likely action would be based on the California Housing Accountability Act which prevents local agencies from reducing the density of code-complying residential projects.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Comments (22)

Fearing The Feds, Marijuana Shop On Mission Planning To Move


Two years ago the United States Department of Justice notified the owners of 2441 Mission Street that their tenant, the medical cannabis dispensary doing business as the "Shambhala Healing Arts Center," was operating in violation of federal law.

Facing a hastily drafted notice to vacate the premises, the operator of the Shambhala Healing Arts Center shut the dispensary down but reopened at the end of 2012 at which point the Fed’s sabre-rattling had seemed to subside.

Last year, however, the U.S. attorney for Northern California filed a forfeiture proceeding against the property at 2441 Mission Street, the first such forfeiture filing for a leased dispensary's real estate in San Francisco.

While the dispensary could not be legally evicted as it does not violate any state or local laws, Shambhala is now planning to move in order to kindly assuage their landlords' ongoing concern with respect to fines, forfeiture, and /or imprisonment. But they’re not planning to move too far.

The likely new location for the dispensary is 2489 Mission Street, a location which San Francisco’s Planning Department has deemed to be permitted for a dispensary business but will require a Mandatory Discretionary Review hearing before the Planning Commission.

San Francisco Landlords Caught Between The Feds And A Pot Club [SocketSite]
A Real (Estate) Attack On Medical-Marijuana Dispensaries [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Comments (5)

Twelve Months Later And Twice The Price In Pacific Heights


With a bit of original period detailing having survived its recent renovation, including the refinished banister connecting the main and upper floors, the remodeled Pacific Heights home at 2775 Clay Street is back on the market for $5,395,000 having sold in semi-original condition for $2,700,000 in December of 2012 (click floor plan to enlarge).

Purchased with a three-car garage and an unwarranted in-law, the garage has been downsized to tandem with a new bedroom, bathroom and media room on the ground floor:


Above, there's an all-new kitchen with a south facing NanaWall as well.


∙ Listing: 2775 Clay Street (5/4.5) - $5,395,000 [2775claystreet.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Comments (22)

Jimbo’s Bop City Building Unanimously Approved For Landmark Status


Moved from Post to Fillmore Street as part of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s plan to redevelop the Western Addition, 1712-1716 Fillmore Street is set to become San Francisco’s 266th Historic Landmark.

Unanimously approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors yesterday, the building which once housed Jimbo’s Bop City - the place to play as a Jazz artist from 1950 to 1965, with the likes of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, and John Coltrane having graced the stage which was open until 6am - is a ceremonial second Board vote and the Mayor’s signature away from landmark status.

Marcus Books, the nation’s oldest continuously operating and independent Black-owned and Black-themed bookstore, moved into the ground floor of the building in 1980.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Comments (7)

January 28, 2014

Secluded Stanyan Street (Steps) Home Is Listed Anew


Abutting the Mt. Sutro Open Space Reserve, the only way to reach the Clarendon Heights home at 1335 Stanyan is by way of Clarendon and then down the Stanyan Street Steps.


But once you reach the secluded home in the city which was designed by Lun Chan, you’ll find a light-filled open interior with an enclosed lap pool and views across Cole Valley.


Not to mention a couple of rather nice little decks on which to relax after your trek:


Listed for $3,498,000 this past July, reduced three times, and then withdrawn from the MLS in November, the 3,877 square foot home has been listed anew for $2,595,000, the same price at which it was last listed.

∙ Listing: 1335 Stanyan Street (5/3) 3,877 sqft - $2,595,000 [clarendon98point5.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Comments (23)

San Francisco Home Prices Tick Up, Condos And Middle Market Slip

According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, single-family home values in the San Francisco MSA ticked up 0.4% from October to November 2013. Up 23.2% year-over-year, the San Francisco Index remains 17.5% below a May 2006 peak.

For the broader 10-City composite, home values dropped a nominal 0.1% from October to November and are up 13.8% year-over-year but remain 20.4% below a June 2006 peak.

Despite the slight decline, the 10-City and 20-City Composites showed their best November performance since 2005. Prices typically weaken as we move closer to the winter. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Phoenix stand out as they have posted 20 or more consecutive monthly gains.
Beginning June 2012, we saw a steady rise in year-over-year increases. November continued that trend with another strong month although the rate of increase slowed. Looking at the year-over-year returns, the Sun Belt continues to push ahead with Atlanta, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco and Tampa taking eight of the top nine spots. Detroit continues to recover but remains the only city with prices below its 2000 level.

While home values ticked up for the top and bottom thirds of the San Francisco market, they slipped a bit at the middle, the first month-over-month decline since February of 2012.

S&P/Case-Shiller Index San Francisco Price Tiers: November 2013 (www.SocketSite.com)

The bottom third (under $496,154 at the time of acquisition) gained 0.3% from October to November (up 34.5% YOY); the middle third dropped 0.2% from October to November (up 25.3% YOY); and the top third (over $800,957 at the time of acquisition) gained 1.0% from October to November, up 18.5% year-over-year.

According to the Index, single-family home values for the bottom third of the market in the San Francisco MSA are back to July 2003 levels (37% below an August 2006 peak); the middle third is back to September 2004 levels (18% below a May 2006 peak); and the top third is just below June 2005 levels and 5% below its August 2007 peak.

Condo values in the San Francisco MSA slipped 0.3% from October to November 2013 but remain up 24.8% year-over-year and are within 4.8% of a December 2005 peak.

S&P/Case-Shiller Condo Price Changes: November 2013 (www.SocketSite.com)

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).

Winter Shows No Signs of Cooling in Home Prices [Standard & Poor's]

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

Six Months Later And Ninety-One Grand More? Nein, A Little Less


Purchased as new for $1,160,000 in 2008, the 1,146 square foot southeast corner condo on the 18th floor of the 22-story SOMA Grand resold for $1,198,000 a year ago next month.
Six months later, the two-bedroom hit the market listed for $1,289,000, a price which was reduced to $1,199,000 two months ago.

Yesterday, the sale of 1160 Mission Street #1806 between 7th and 8th Streets (“in the heart of SOMA's Tech Belt”) closed escrow with a reported contract price of $1,175,000, fifteen grand more than in early 2008 but twenty-three grand less than a year ago.

While the condition of the condo was "apples-to-apples" with respect to the sales, keep in mind that the SOMA Grand's homeowners association filed suit against the building’s developer, builder, and architects eight months ago, a fact that can affect financing and limit the pool of potential buyers.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Comments (5)

January 27, 2014

Remains Of Collapsed Home Hoisted, "Remodeling" To Recommence


Having collapsed last month, what little remains of the original home at 125 Crown Terrace has been jacked, hoisted, and craned back up the hill a bit.

According to a plugged-in tipster, the remains will be surrounded by new construction and become part of the garage, a supposed city mandate to allow Mel Murphy, the well-connected local developer who once served as president of San Francisco's Building Inspection Commission and was denied a permit to demolish the original structure on the site in order to build an all-new home, to continue with his "remodeling" project.

Once "remodeled," the Twin Peaks home at 125 Crown Terrace will measure 5,139 square feet. As the then closer to 1,000-square-foot home looked a little before its collapse:


Collapsed Home Was Being "Remodeled" By Prominent Developer [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Comments (20)

They Dug It Downtown On Fremont Street, And It’s A Bad Mother...

Bored to a depth of 263 feet below street level, the deepest known construction shaft in the history of San Francisco has been drilled at 181 Fremont Street, one of 42 shafts which will embed the 802-foot tower's foundation into the ground.

With a six-foot diameter, the shaft is a bad mother…and Malcolm Drilling dug it.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)

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