Unanimously supported by San Francisco’s Planning Commission back in May, San Francisco’s full Board of Supervisors is now slated to hear and potentially vote on the passage of the City’s ambitious Central SoMa Plan on July 17.

Keep in mind that one of the items upon which the Board will be voting is a CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) based appeal of the potential environmental impacts of the plan and the City’s plan to mitigate said impacts.

But if the Board follows Planning’s lead and votes (twice) to reject the appeal and adopt the Central SoMa Plan, it would then head to the Mayor for a signature. And if signed, the plan – which could pave the way for an additional 8,300 units of housing and enough office space for an additional 39,000 workers to rise in the area roughly bounded by Folsom, Second, Townsend and Sixth Streets, as newly amended and massed at full build-out around the 725 Harrison Street project above – would go into effect after 30 days, assuming no legal challenges are filed.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Orland

    What are the chances no “legal challenges” will be filed, and what will be the effect?

  2. Posted by socketome

    So let’s see…5 roommates per housing unit…that works.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Luckily, we’ve been informed that people working in new developments within the Central SoMa plan area will, in fact, be allowed to live in other neighborhoods, or even cities, as well! Perhaps even within the borders of the nearby Hub District, the long-range plans for which don’t include nearly enough office space to accommodate all the new residents which could be housed in the area.

      • Posted by Dave

        The Hub? Where One Oak has effectively been abandoned. That HUB? Don’t hold out hopes that the envisioned “Hub” will see build out – as envisioned – anytime soon. But the potential Central SOMA developers – their effort to get an exemptions from M (dead in the water) – tells one where their priorities are. Build out the office parcels and let the residential parcels sit undeveloped indefinitely.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          Don’t confuse near-term cycles with long-range planning nor a single area plan with the overall plan for the city (not every area of which should have commercial, industrial and residential parity).

          • Posted by Dave

            Not every area should see parity between residential and commercial but the fact is no area does. It is weighted far too heavily towards commercial overall. And even at HP/CP (which may be in limbo now) the ratio was not even 1/1. Close but no cigars. Beyond that there is simply no space left for major office development in SF. Even ceding the developer’s Central SOMA schemes. It’s time for the new Mayor to call for a 10 – 20 year moratorium on major new office development in SF. And shift any major development to residential. Even at that there are 8 million or so feet of office development in the pipeline. SF is built out. Office and jobs growth will shift to Oakland and the East Bay whether SF likes it or not. The City can facilitate that or play stubborn and in so doing hurt the region as a whole.

          • Posted by spencer

            SF is not built out. we have so much room to grow.

          • Posted by that_dude

            I’m with SS on this one.

      • Posted by spencer

        it would be nice to see Western Soma upgraded and be at least 1:1 housing . A Western SOMA packed with 8-12 floor buildings would be a nice complement.

        • Posted by Hunter

          Agree. Western SoMa is currently a huge waste of land.

      • Posted by gggggggg

        While I almost always tend to agree with comments from the editor, I think I actually disagree here. Demand for housing is and has been so high not just locally but regionally that I think it is irresponsible to build such a disproportionate ratio of commercial to residential square footage. It is easy to say these employees will live a neighborhood or even a county away, but guess what, that neighborhood or county is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis as well.

      • Posted by Moratorium

        Too bad there isn’t enough housing in other neighborhoods or nearby cities to accommodate the workers. The Hub will not come close to providing enough housing for the region. No more jobs!

  3. Posted by Dave

    The housing/jobs imbalance is absurd. Expect legal challenges. In the best of worlds the office component would be all but eliminated and the housing component doubled or tripled. SF is built out in terms of major office projects (sans those on the SE waterfront in development) and developers trying to squeeze a few last major office projects into SF will have major negative impacts on SF transportation, housing and quality of life in.

    • Posted by Adam

      It would be fine if the city and state were showing any real effort to complete the Downtown Extension before the end of the next decade. But, alas…

      • Posted by RobBob

        … meanwhile the SFMTA is deferring improvements to Townsend St so they can be built at the same time as said unfunded Downtown Extension.

      • Posted by Zig

        Downtown extension so people can commute from the Pennysula which also has a bad jobs housing imbalance

    • Posted by Anonymous

      It’s really not that absurd. You’re looking at somewhere in the ballpark of 19,000 people living in these units, if calculated on the citywide average of ~2.25 people per unit of housing. Considering it’s increasingly a business district as the center of economic gravity continues to shift south of Market, that is not an absurd ratio, even if it’s not “ideal”.

      • Posted by Zig

        I’d have to guess it would be lower than the citywide average without SFHs and a lot of children

        From this plan south through the Pennisula the housing jobs imbalance is just getting worse

        • Posted by spencer

          i agree it would be lower, but 2 per unit seems reasonable. forget the .25

          • Posted by JWS

            I live in a larger scale new high rise and 2 per unit sounds about right, if not maybe a hair lower. Studios are mostly one person, most one bedrooms are two (lots of couples vs single people due to the expense of it all), and two bedrooms mostly two people (more of the single guys seem to double up in a 2-bed with roommates than spring for a one bed). But then you do see small younger families in two beds, so that 3-4 load in the twos probably offsets the singles in the studios.

  4. Posted by Pablito

    Probably 80-90% of the City’s population would rather see more housing here than office. So what does Planning propose? More office.

    • Posted by that_dude

      You don’t slam a suburb in the downtown core. The existing balance is correct.

      • Posted by Pablito

        Meh. Who said anything about suburbs? Housing can be just as high density as office.

        Given the ridiculous housing crisis in the City – it’s our local governments obligation to encourage more housing to be built.

  5. Posted by Monica

    Does this affect the bay club rebuild at 5th and Brannan, or is that unrelated?

  6. Posted by Dave

    It’s to the point, in terms of major office development, of the proverbial golden goose. Large amounts of new office space are a net negative for the city now. Large amounts of new housing a net positive. Yet Planning and the City PTB insist on more offices which is causing all kinds of quality of life issues. The SF brand is becoming exorbitant housing costs, homelessness and filthy, crime ridden streets. Look no further than the news this week that a major medical convention group which has been coming to SF since the 80s will no longer do so. That is a red flag for SF’s largest industry. Tourism. This group pours 40 million into the SF economy each time it meets here.

    It is time Mayor Breed and others in city government to work towards a moratorium on office development. Focus only on housing and cleaning up the streets. As to this plan, the fact that the HP/CP housing development (up to 10K units) may be in jeopardy makes it more imperative to add thousands of additional housing units (above the 8900 proposed) to the Central SOMA plan.

    • Posted by spencer

      thats absurd. the golden goose is office space. they just need to plan for 3:1 or 2:1 office to housing for the city as a whole. many people working downtown will live in the suburbs like oakland and san mateo and can BART in. it doenst need to be 1:1

    • Posted by SFRealist

      The city could build housing, build office space, AND do something about street life. Those are not incompatible. It just depends on priorities.

    • Posted by 101

      That is funny. So office development is causing homelessness, crime ridden streets and other problems. You are suggesting building BMRs is more lucrative for the City and Office development is not. If there is no room to build Office development, per you, I guess there is no room to build theses BMRs. For tax purposes, Office developments takes in far more than housing. Furthermore, with all these “new” people living in the City, our infrastructure , ie: transportation, cannot support them.

      • Posted by Moratorium

        Externalities homie. The problem is that the bay area has too many jobs. Why are the freeways so insanely congested? Why is housing so expensive? Why is BART at capacity during rush hour? If the city can’t support “new” people living here because our infrastructure can’t support them, then we cannot afford to take on more jobs. That same infrastructure that locals would use if they had the housing to shelter them is instead being used by commuters. Either build more housing or let the offices move to a region/city that can support them. People should not have to commute from Tracy to work in San Francisco.

        • Posted by Brian M

          Good points. But overcoming prejudices and momentum and “agglomeration effects” is difficult (and climate. And culture. And landscape…although given the haze of smoke this week the landscape is losing its charm).

          I love Google Maps Street View. While parts of Chicago are booming as much as the Sunbelt (the Loop, Near West Side, and North Side), it is shocking how many thousands and thousands of acres of land on the South Side are just…empty. Contaminated, perhaps. But given political and racial and social realities, everyone still wants to come to Northern California. Despite some very present charm in Chicago (the vernacular architecture, the everyday “stuff” in the bungalow belt and the three-flats is so much more attractive architecturally than much of the everyday California vernacular). The jobs should be going to the Midwest. But, they seem to be choosing a few favored cities-and increasingly Asia.

          • Posted by Orland

            A recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau statistics performed by Wall Street 24/7 identified the 50 American cities with the highest net negative out-migration rates. SF not there. NYC, LA and Chicago all within the top 10.

        • Posted by Harvey

          too many jobs??

    • Posted by JWS

      Your posts are always beyond disingenuous. Here you are talking about how we need to add housing and yet in every single thread where housing is proposed, here comes Dave whining about everything…too tall, too dense, not enough stoops and shrubbery. The Hub plan is doing just that, and yet in every Hub thread you are in there calling it a disaster and gleefully pointing out that One Oak is on the market as if there are not literally two other buildings on its SAME BLOCK under construction at this very moment, not to mention several other projects under construction in the immediate vicinity including the Goodwill tower. Literally everything that has been approved has been built except One Oak.

      I have never ever seen somebody root for their own city to fail as consistently as you do. Just move to Seattle already since you are constantly gushing over that city (and ironically commending them for building housing although you whine about every single project in SF).

    • Posted by Harvey

      Those with this myopic focus on an imaginary “parity” really need to feel the cold slap of reality.

      Commercial office space contributes a great deal more in tax revenue to SF coffers than residential construction. Can you believe that may be what informed city planners on this? I know, right?

      You can’t add 20,000 dwelling units to a city with no offsetting increase in the tax base to pay for the infrastructure all of those future residents will require. For instance, do you really think your $20 a month covers trash collection costs? Please open your eyes, and not be a single issue guy – the world is quite complex and even lovely if you let yourself see it!

      • Posted by Pablito

        SF govt coffers are fine. Flush even. And since crazy when did the point of public policy become providing for local bureaucracy?

        The point of governments is to provide for the general welfare of the citizens. SF can well afford to build more housing. We don’t need another gold plated marble dome the size of the US Capitol at Civic center. We need 6,500 fewer homeless drug addicts roaming the streets breaking into cars and stealing bikes.

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