February 12, 2014

6,000 Housing Units Under Construction In San Francisco, Another 44,000 Units In The Pipeline

While fewer than 2,000 new housing units and 140,000 square feet of commercial space in San Francisco was completed in 2013, there were roughly 6,000 housing units and 2.8 million square feet of commercial space under construction at the end of the year, units which will hit the market over the next year or two.

Permits for another 6,600 housing units to be built in San Francisco have either been approved or requested, units which should start hitting the market in two to four years along with another 4 million square feet of commercial space.

In addition to the nearly 12,600 housing units which are either under construction, ready to break ground or awaiting a permit, another 27,300 units have been approved to be built across the city. The approved projects, however, include 10,500 units by Candlestick, 7,800 units on Treasure Island and 5,680 units in Park-Merced, projects which still have overall timelines measured in decades, not years.

And with proposed plans for an additional 10,500 housing units under the Planning Department’s review, San Francisco's Housing Pipeline currently totals over 50,000 units. For context, a total of roughly 12,000 housing units have been built in San Francisco since 2007, a total of 26,000 new units since 2000.

With respect to commercial development in San Francisco, in addition to the nearly 6.6 million square feet under construction, ready to break ground or awaiting a permit, another 5.9 million square feet of commercial development has been approved and plans for an additional 3.5 million square feet are being reviewed.

A breakdown of the residential developments in the works across San Francisco by neighborhood, not including those at Candlestick, Park-Merced or Treasure Island (click the chart to enlarge):

First Published: February 12, 2014 11:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Wait till The Stewarts start putting their money towards a ballot proposition that sends every single building which exceeds site height limits to the SF voters, most of this pipeline will effectively evaporate

Posted by: Bob at February 12, 2014 11:29 AM

The units likely to be built here, just don't seem to add up to an amount that will affect rent prices. I worry we are building enough housing to effectively keep rent raising, albeit at a slower clip.

Posted by: Sam at February 12, 2014 11:35 AM

Most units are in either Candlestick, Park-Merced or TI. Who wants to live there? How many of the 27,300 are BMR or "affordable?"

Maybe the City should be building rental units in those areas as most buyers prefer neighborhoods.

Posted by: jommy at February 12, 2014 11:35 AM

@Bob
I'm already seeing Facebook posts from random friends of friends along the following lines:

"Those greedy developers are trying to build a MASSIVE 3 story condo complex down the street from me. This gentrification is pushing my family out of the city! Who will sign my petition? Let's vote NO on this monstrosity before it ruins San Francisco!"

Said posts are typically followed by dozens of "likes" and many comments of "I vote NO!", and "We need to stop this now! It's time the developers learned they can't take advantage of us any more!"

I know many of these people personally, and they're otherwise very reasonable individuals, but they have vehement, irrational hatred of any new building construction and especially of "greedy developers".

Those of us who believe San Francisco still has a lot of growing to do really need to nip this in the bud, before this anti-development craze sweeps the whole city (if it hasn't already), and some incredibly restrictive laws start going on the books. I'm talking legal challenges, add campaigns, anything it takes to keep this rabid nimby movement from gaining even more resources than it already has.

Posted by: anon at February 12, 2014 12:08 PM

we need much more development

Posted by: the wolf at February 12, 2014 12:16 PM

Agree with anon. It's time reasonable people start organizing as well, i.e. people who care about comfortable, clean and safe urban living and see development as an opportunity, not a threat. Can't let the reactionaries be the face of "community input".

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at February 12, 2014 1:05 PM

In the popular imagination, "gentrification" is now established to mean any new construction at all. Good luck.

Posted by: woolie at February 12, 2014 1:07 PM

@anon I'm in. How should we get started?

Posted by: Will at February 12, 2014 2:45 PM

Most of us will agree that San Francisco needs a lot more housing,
My thought is to make it even more attractive to developers to build thousands of new units in the following areas with Retail on the ground floors and increased building heights so much needed Housing can be added to transit corridors
The Van Ness / South Van Ness corridor,
Along Mission the Bay to Cesar Chavez,

Plus , push through increased heights for the entire area South of Market from Mission Bay to its Channel in the South , to the Central Freeway in the West, to the Bay i the East.

There is no need to nickle and dime developers to add extra subsidized housing if enough market rate housing is added to San Francisco.

Posted by: Joseph A at February 12, 2014 3:28 PM

I agree with those above who believe a lot of this housing in the pipeline, like 8 Washington, will not get built before the next economic downturn puts everything in limbo. As long as San Francisco allows a single individual to stop the process and it is possible to force code-compliant buildings to undergo a vote in order to be built, we will never get the housing we need.

Posted by: BTinSF at February 12, 2014 6:10 PM

Join the SF Housing Action Coalition, pitch in and contribute. There are people already pushing for more housing of all types in San Francisco, and they need your help and support.

Posted by: Mac at February 13, 2014 12:55 AM

This is an absolutely absurd level of development given the abysmal state of Muni, BART, roads, sidewalks and bike lanes. Trains are frequently at maximum capacity...the same with roads and some sidewalks on a regular basis where I live.
Fix transit first!


Posted by: anon at February 13, 2014 8:47 AM

If the would build a Geary and vanness subway, those2 corridors could be built up a lot. Geary between division and park presidio all commercial and all 1 floor. Could build 6-8 floors of residential on top of those businesses

Posted by: Jill at February 13, 2014 8:51 AM

68 percent of San Franciscans want more housing:

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/new-poll-shows-san-franciscans-are-hungry-for-more-housing/Content?oid=2631541

So it is the vocal and well organized minority who are blocking new construction. Join SPUR if you want to help.

There are already plans to put BRT on Geary and Van Ness. The usual NIMBYs are stalling this as well, but it is going forward.

There are plans for more bike lanes and improvements to the ones we already have. Bicycles give you the most bang for your buck in transportation dollars. They also carry more people in a limited space than cars.

And there is the Central Subway. So we are investing in transportation. Not exactly the direction I would choose, but the planners know more about this than I do.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at February 13, 2014 9:01 AM

I can't see the central subway being part of any logical argument for supporting increased density. What an awful waste that subway will be.

A subway down Geary, well then sure, the argument is quite clear.

Posted by: Sam at February 13, 2014 11:39 AM

There's no problem with density in theory, but San Francisco is very bad at dealing with the issues that density brings.

Wasteful transit projects like the central subway, political capture by ideological un-pragmatic groups, seeing Muni as a jobs program not a reasonable transit alternative, homeless and trash issue, Byzantine zoning/permitting process that makes building remodeling expensive and arbitrary.

More density means more of the above problems unless we get better at dealing with them.

There are far more dense cities in the world, so it's obviously possible to deal with these issues. But there's a big gap between what is possible and what the SF city government will actually accomplish.

What I see as a problem is that there's a lot of heat on both the "build it" side and the "no on everything" side, but very little work or interest in fixing issues which could allow more density without impacting the quality of life that attracts many people to this city.

Posted by: anon2 at February 13, 2014 12:30 PM

Well, for one, the misguided ban on building adequate off-street parking in the most congested part of the city means that we are still stuck with on-street parking everywhere. Which in turn means fewer and less safe bicycle lanes, more congestion from cars circling the blocks, etc. I know the SFMTA loves it's meter revenue but we need off-street garages instead.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at February 13, 2014 12:37 PM

"There are already plans to put BRT on Geary and Van Ness."

BRT will cause more problems. a subway it is not.

Posted by: the wolf at February 13, 2014 1:00 PM

The city should hold a referendum on growth. Does the city want to grow or not? If growth, how much?

If the city receives a mandate to grow then let the professional planners propose zoning and transport changes. The anti-growth crowd should then be forced to accept the mandate and get out of the way.

The current system of every little decision being influenced by meddling lay people is a mess and wastes time and money. Let voters have their say on the overall vision and then let the professionals execute unimpeded.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 13, 2014 1:09 PM

Well, for one, the misguided ban on building adequate off-street parking in the most congested part of the city means that we are still stuck with on-street parking everywhere.

Are you suggesting that off-street parking could completely eliminate on-street parking? That sounds horrible, because it would definitely lead to current parking lanes being converted to traffic lanes, as the unlimited additional off-street parking induces additional trips...

We'd be turning every street into 4-6 lane traffic sewers. No thanks. I don't live in San Jose for a reason.

Posted by: anon at February 13, 2014 3:37 PM

That poll is perfect NIMBYism. Most people want housing. Housing is great! But they are horrified when--GASP--that will mean a three story building on their block. Everyone knows that organized neighborhood opposition can really be effective at blocking housing.

Thus we've built hardly anything over the last 50 years. I don't see that changing. Does Ed Lee have the spine and/or persuasive ability to force through changes in the process? I doubt it.

Posted by: SFRealist at February 13, 2014 3:54 PM

Our supervisors are called "progressives".

Posted by: Ted Camesano at February 14, 2014 2:07 PM

The Treasure Island and Parkmerced projects are traffic time bombs that will explode long after the people in City Hall who okayed them will be retired on their generous pension plans.

Posted by: Rob Anderson at February 15, 2014 10:51 AM

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