CATEGORY ARCHIVE: Breaking News

April 22, 2014

The Warriors San Francisco Sports And Entertainment Center Plan

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While the Golden State Warriors have yet to announce their specific plans for the San Francisco Sports and Entertainment Center to be built on 12 acres of land bounded by 3rd, 16th and South Streets, and Terry Francois Boulevard to the east, the basic elements of their Piers 30-32 plan remain in effect: the arena will hold about 18,000 seats, will rise around 125 feet in height, and will showcase NBA basketball games as well as concerts, events and convention activities.

The Warriors proposed development will be privately financed and the transaction with salesforce.com to acquire the land did not include any naming or sponsorship rights.

In addition, the build-out of the Mission Bay site will trigger the construction of a five-and-a-half-acre waterfront park across Terry Francois Boulevard, with water-oriented activities and large lawn areas to accommodate a variety of recreational uses similar to Marina Green.

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Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (56) | (email story)

April 21, 2014

Warriors Drop Plans For Piers 30-32 Arena, Moving To Mission Bay

The Golden State Warriors have dropped their plans to build an arena on San Francisco's Piers 30-32 but will still be making the move to San Francisco, landing on the parcels pictured above.

Having just purchased Salesforce.com's remaining 12 acres in Mission Bay, the Warriors are now committed to building an 18,000-seat arena upon the undeveloped site which fronts Third Street in time for the 2018-19 NBA season, financing the project themselves, according to The Chronicle.

As we wrote about the Warriors' original plans in late 2012:

"With San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee deeming it his legacy project, and the project sponsors lining the pockets of nearly every political, development, and public relations consultant in the city, some might consider the Warriors Arena that’s proposed to be built upon Piers 30-32 to be too big or connected to fail. But this is San Francisco, after all."

In early 2012, we first characterized the plans for an arena upon San Francisco's Piers 30-32 as a pipe dream and put the odds of the Warriors piers project succeeding at 5 percent, noting: "we would love to be proven wrong. And of course, there is another large parcel of undeveloped land around the corner that recently became available." That large parcel of land is the very parcel upon which the Warriors now plan to build.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (108) | (email story)

April 18, 2014

Dogpatch Development Refined, Ready To Be Approved

The plans to raze Café Cocomo at 650 Indiana and construct two distinct five-story buildings with a total of 111 new apartments on the Dogpatch block between 18th and 19th Streets have been refined, are ready to be approved, and will be presented to San Francisco's Planning Commission in two weeks. Click the new renderings to enlarge.

An underground garage will provide parking for 79 cars and 103 bikes and the mid-block alley between the buildings which was to be a driveway is now a landscaped space. The new entrance to the garage is behind the "660" in the rendering above.

At the southern end of the development, the dead end spur of 19th Street would become a 8,200 square foot public space connected to retail, a proposed "Decompression Plaza":

The green building (680 Indiana) was designed by Pfau-Long Architecture. The patina metal building with the white tower (660 Indiana) was designed by Kennerly Architecture & Planning.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

April 15, 2014

Two-Year Payout For Evicted Tenants Accelerated And Approved

Originally written to become operative 120 days after enactment, the legislation which will require landlords in San Francisco who evoke the Ellis Act to pay their evicted tenants an upfront sum equal to the difference between their current rent and a market rate unit over the course of two years has been amended to become effective 30 days after enactment and the amended legislation was approved by the Board of Supervisors in its first reading this afternoon by a vote of 9 to 2.

As we first noted last month, any tenant who has not yet vacated their unit by the effective date of the ordinance shall be entitled to the full two-year subsidy, regardless of whether their eviction notice was served prior.

Assuming the legislation is passed in a second vote next week, it will be sent to the Mayor to sign, veto or ignore. The countdown to the effective date will start ticking once the Mayor returns the ordinance, signed or unsigned; a veto is overridden by the Board; or the Mayor ignores the ordinance for ten days.

Positioned as an act "to combat displacement" rather than to discourage use of the Ellis Act which is state law, expect the ordinance to be challenged in the courts after adoption.

UPDATE: We originally reported that the legislation as amended would become operative 60 days after enactment, the amended effective date is actually 30 days after enactment as the entire 90 day operative period has been dropped.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

April 11, 2014

Transbay Tower To Become "Salesforce Tower" With Monster Lease

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Salesforce.com will lease just over half of the 1,070-foot-tall Transbay Tower rising at 415 Mission Street, adding 714,000 square feet of space to their collective San Francisco "campus."

The 61-story building will be renamed "Salesforce Tower" and be ready for occupancy in 2017, at which point Salesforce will control over 2 million square feet of office space in the city.

"Salesforce Tower represents an incredible milestone in our company’s history—it will be the heart of our global headquarters in San Francisco," said Marc Benioff, the company chairman and CEO. "We founded salesforce.com in San Francisco 15 years ago and this expansion of our urban campus represents our commitment to growing in the city."

Salesforce is paying $560 million for its 15-1/2 year lease and naming rights, with plans to move into the tower in early 2018. Salesforce will effectively occupy the bottom 30 floors of the tower along with the very top floor.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (45) | (email story)

April 3, 2014

An Unexpected Transbay Twist And Block Redesign

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With San Francisco’s Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure having determined that "economic conditions create a strong preference for commercial development over residential and hotel development" on Transbay Block 5, a request for proposals to build a 550-foot office tower with ground floor retail on the northeast corner of Howard and Beale has been issued.

Originally slated for a residential tower to rise up to 550 feet on the eastern portion of the block at the corner of Howard and Main, as we first noted yesterday, "unforeseen circumstances" have resulted in an unexpected configuration for the site and tower to rise.

The story behind the unforeseen circumstances which involves the driveway for 201 Mission Street (which runs through the middle of the block), the little Art Deco structure and open space on the corner of Howard and Beale (which is owned by 301 Howard across the street) and, of course, a concern about a potential loss of views:

The [Transbay Joint Powers Authority] attempted to negotiate an acquisition of the 201 Mission Street driveway in order to develop the site according to the standard configuration in the Development Controls – with the tower on the eastern portion of the block at the corner of Main and Howard Streets. However, the property owner expressed strong concerns that tenant views in 201 Mission Street would be negatively impacted by a tower on the eastern portion of Block 5 and demanded a price far in excess of the standard market value of the driveway parcel.
In addition, the driveway parcel provides the only access to 201 Mission Street’s parking and loading and therefore it would not be possible to develop the driveway without also negotiating a land swap with TJPA to provide alternate access. As a result, OCII does not expect the property owner of 201 Mission Street to submit a proposal in response to this RFP – and if that property owner did submit a proposal, it would need to conform to all of the restrictions described in this section.
Because of the time spent negotiating an acquisition of the 201 Mission Street driveway and the need to issue the RFP, neither OCII nor TJPA has had discussions with the owner of 301 Howard Street regarding its parcel.

That being said, while a proposal which includes either the parcel owned by 201 Mission Street or the parcel owned by 301 Howard Street will not be considered, once a development team is selected, the OCII is open to exploring alternatives for the open space on the corner of Howard and Beale, "in cooperation with the property owner." Proposals are due at the end of June.

An upside to the unforeseen circumstances, a 10,000-square-foot open space on the corner of Howard and Main is now part of the Block 5 plan as well.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

April 2, 2014

The City Opts For New Office Tower Over More Housing

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The City's official Request For Proposals to develop a 550-foot tower with ground-floor retail and 15,000 square feet of open space on San Francisco's Transbay Block 5 has just been issued with an explicit note attached: "Proposals that include any amount of residential and/or hotel space will not be accepted."

While the Transbay Block bounded by Beale, Howard and Main was originally slated for a residential tower and townhomes, San Francisco's Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure has determined that "economic conditions create a strong preference for commercial development over residential and hotel development on Block 5."

In addition, "unforeseen circumstances" have required an unexpected configuration for the site and tower.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

March 28, 2014

Plans To Convert Mission Armory From Porn Studio To Office Use

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Peter Acworth has quietly drafted plans to convert Kink.com's Armory building at Mission and 14th Streets from fetish porn studio to "traditional office use," with the 39,000 square foot Drill Court proposed for "spectator sports, arts, or nighttime entertainment."

San Francisco Armory Drill Court

If approved, the conversion would yield over 140,000 square feet of office space, including 67,000 square feet in the basement of the Armory which is currently used to film the "Arts."

Acworth purchased the Armory for $14.5 million in 2007, at which time a number of plans to convert the building to condos and commercial space had been proposed and rejected.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

March 26, 2014

Foster + Partners Tapped For Two Towers At First And Mission

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Foster + Partners will team with Heller Manus Architects to re-design the two towers to rise at First and Mission. The two million square foot project includes an 850-foot office tower fronting First Street and a 605-foot condominium tower fronting Mission.

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The existing 88 First Street building on the corner between the two towers to rise will be renovated rather than razed for a third tower as was previously proposed.

As we first reported last year, the 850-foot tower will contain 1,220,000 square feet of office space over ground-floor retail with a garage for up to 187 cars while the 605-foot tower will contain up to 500 residential units over ground-floor retail and a five-level subterranean parking garage for 136 cars.

From Lord Foster, Founder and Chairman of Foster + Partners, with respect to the project, the condominium portion of which will be taller than any residential project on the West Coast:

The First and Mission towers are incredibly exciting in urban and environmental terms bringing together places to live and work with the city's most important transport hub, the project further evolves a sustainable model of high density, mixed-use development that we have always promoted.
The 605-foot residential tower reflects the scale of San Francisco's existing tall buildings, while the 850-foot hotel, residential and office tower rises above it as a symbol of this new vertical city quarter. The super-sized office floor plates will give tenants a high degree of flexibility, and their open layout is supported by an innovative orthogonal structural system developed for seismic stability.
The point where the towers touch the ground is as important as their presence on the skyline. At ground level, the buildings are open, accessible and transparent their base provides a new 'urban room' for the region, and the new pedestrian routes through the site will knit the new scheme with the urban grain of the city.

TMG Partners and Northwood Investors paid $122 million for the Transbay site known as 50 First Street in bankruptcy court. A collection of seven parcels, David Choo had originally proposed to build a quartet of slender towers designed by Renzo Piano rising up to 1,200 feet on the site.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

March 21, 2014

San Francisco Employment Within Reach Of All-Time High

With the number of San Francisco residents with jobs having increased by 3,400 since the beginning of the year, the unemployment rate in San Francisco has dropped to 5.2 percent and employment in the city is within 1,000 people of San Francisco's all-time high.

With a current labor force of 490,100, the number of employed San Francisco residents now totals 464,600, an increase of 11,500 residents with jobs over the past year and within 900 of the 465,500 people employed at December 2000's dot-com peak when the unemployment rate in the city measured 3 percent.

The unemployment rate in San Francisco topped out at a little over 10 percent in January of 2010 when 56,900 fewer San Francisco residents were employed than today.

The unemployment rates in Marin and San Mateo ticked up 0.1 percentage points to 4.8 percent and 5.0 percent respectively in February while the unadjusted unemployment rate for California was unchanged at 8.5 percent as a 70,300 person increase in the labor force was met with 74,700 new jobs.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

March 17, 2014

A Near Meaningless Analysis Of Ellis Act Profiteering That's Likely To Make The News

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At the request of Supervisor Campos and based on "a random sample of 15 properties" as outlined above, San Francisco's Budget and Legislative Analyst has just completed an analysis "on the level of profit landlords have made when they sell a building after evicting tenants using the Ellis Act over the last ten years."

Based on the data collected by the Budget and Legislative Analyst, the average level of profit owners earned selling their properties after Ellis Act evictions was $1,545,949 or 116 percent. Inflation-adjusted profits ranged from -$278 to $4,785,522 for the properties reviewed. The median period between sales for these properties was 3.4 years.

The fatal flaw(s) in the analysis with respect to calculating the average profit:

This return rate does not account for any owner expenditures for improvements made to the properties.

And in addition, "the calculations of profit are not adjusted for the impact of elapsed time between the original purchase of the property and post-eviction sale."

Analysis of Profits of Ellis Act Eviction Property Sales [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

March 13, 2014

Modern Noe Valley Home Sells For A Record $7 Million

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Listed for $6,750,000 last month, the sale of 625 Duncan Street has just closed escrow with a reported contract price of $7,000,000, eclipsing the sale of 526 Duncan for $6,100,000 in 2011 to become the most expensive home sale in the history of Noe Valley.

Having characterized their efforts as a fight to preserve "the character and charm" of the neighborhood, the sellers of 625 Duncan who paid $5,818,000 for their 5,933 square foot home back in 2008 were unsuccessful in their bid to downsize the plans for a neighboring 4,820 square foot home to be built on the vacant lot next door.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

March 11, 2014

Mission Bay 360 Building Is On Fire, Quite Literally

Half of BRE Properties' Mission Bay 360 project under construction at Fourth and China Basin has been on fire since 5pm with firefighters trying to contain the five-alarm fire to the 170-unit building on Mission Bay Block 5 which is expected to be a complete loss.

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The second-half of the of the Mission Bay 360 development with 190 units on Mission Bay Block 11 appears to have been spared.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

Salesforce Ready To Sell Two Mission Bay Parcels, And Not To Google

Salesforce.com Mission Bay Parcels

As we originally reported when Salesforce acquired 14 acres in South Mission Bay with the intention of building a nearly 2 million square-foot urban campus in San Francisco:

Two of the acquired lots are directly across the street from UCSF’s new Mission Bay Medical Center which is now under construction, thanks in large part to a $100 million donation from Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff.

With Salesforce having since abandoned their Mission Bay plans and rumors flying that Google might be planning to acquire the parcels to build an urban campus of their own, UCSF is now in "advanced discussions" to purchase Mission Bay Blocks 33 and 34 from Salesforce to build administrative offices and consolidate their leased and remote sites.

UCSF will be presenting their proposed purchase to the Mission Bay Citizens Advisory Committee this week. No word on the fate of the other five and one-half blocks of land.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

March 7, 2014

San Francisco Employment Hits Second Highest Level In History

Having dropped to 4.8 percent in December, its first time below 5 percent since early 2008, the unemployment rate in San Francisco ticked back up to 5.3 percent in January.

The up-tick in San Francisco’s unemployment rate, however, was driven by a 4,100 person increase in the labor force and the number of employed in the city actually increased by 1,400 from December to January and is now at its second highest point in history.

With a current labor force of 488,300, the number of employed residents in San Francisco now totals 462,600, an increase of 14,000 people with jobs over the past year and within 2,900 of the 465,500 people employed at December 2000's dot-com peak when the unemployment rate measured 3 percent.

The unemployment rate in San Francisco topped out at a little over 10 percent in January of 2010 when 54,900 fewer San Francisco residents were employed than today.

The unemployment rates in Marin and San Mateo ticked up to 4.7 percent and 4.9 percent respectively in January while the unadjusted unemployment rate for California jumped from 7.9 to 8.5 percent as 68,100 jobs were lost across the state.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

March 4, 2014

Six Story Folsom Street Development Rendered, Dubbed 99 Rausch

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The Local Development Group has officially filed their application to raze the former Bay Lighting & Design building and adjacent parking lot on the northeast corner of Folsom and Rausch and construct a mixed-use development with 112 residential units, 5,600 square feet of ground floor retail, and 100 parking stalls on the West SoMa site.

While currently known as the 1140 Folsom Street project, the development which is being designed by BAR Architects will be dubbed 99 Rausch.

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The design details and full Rausch Street facade by way of a plugged-in source:

The plan is to demolish the existing commercial building on the site and construct a project that will include 45 two-bedroom units, 52 one-bedroom units and 15 studios at a height of 6 stories along Folsom and 4 stories along the Rausch frontage. Additionally, one level of underground parking would be access from Rausch Street. We are excited to activate the Folsom frontage with ground-floor retail and building entrances where the current building has only a blank façade all along Folsom.
The project design builds on the unique character of the Rausch Street neighborhood. The Folsom façade highlights three elements. First, a clearly defined retail base will enhance the pedestrian experience by lowering the façade’s scale and providing richness with stone material and storefront variety. The housing above the retail is appropriately scaled with large windows and brick material, reminiscent of several brick buildings along Folsom Street. Finally, the corner of Folsom and Rausch will be accentuated by a lighter structure with expansive windows to create a sense of openness and maximize views. The developer is committed to activating the street-level experience along Folsom where they propose sidewalk bulb-outs at Folsom/Rausch, public bicycle parking, and enhanced landscaping at street level designed by landscape architect Cliff Lowe.
Along Rausch, the project utilizes a rhythm of smaller scaled units that is contextual to the charming nature of the existing environment. The project steps down to four stories along Rausch and the building features garden stoop entrances, enhanced landscaping and trees to activate the sidewalk experience. Bay windows will also reduce the scale along Rausch and provide southern light and views to the residents.

The full Rausch Street facade and elevation, click the rendering to enlarge:

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (39) | (email story)

February 28, 2014

Decision To Downsize Mission District Development Reversed

1050 Valencia Street 2012 Rendering

San Francisco’s Board of Appeals has reversed their December decision which had required the previously approved five-story project at 1050 Valencia Street to remove a full floor and three units in order to move forward with development

As we first reported last month which led to the reversal this week:

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.

Apparently counsel was convincing and the developer's argument sound as the Board voted 4-0 to reverse their previous decision and allow 1050 Valencia to rise a full five floors, the height for which the parcel is zoned. That being said, attached to the Board's ruling was a mandate that the project be redesigned with the fifth floor setback from the street.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

February 18, 2014

They've Literally Struck Gold While Digging Downtown

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A plugged-in tipster reports that they have struck gold, quite literally, while excavating Transbay Blocks 6 & 7 for the 32-story tower and mid-rise to rise along Folsom Street.

Okay, so it's only the single Chilean gold doubloon pictured above and dated 1838 that has been uncovered so far, or at least that's all that has been reported by the crew.

Ironically, the tower to rise on the site is designed to be LEED Gold certified.

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

Google Is NOT Moving Into The Mission, At Least Not Yet

While the Financial Times has reported that Google is taking over the industrial space at 16th and Alabama in the Mission, a story which has been picked-up and republished by numerous other publications including ourselves, we have just confirmed that Google has not signed a lease nor purchased the building.

In fact, the building at 298 Alabama is currently undergoing renovations with plans to subdivide the space for multiple tenants. And while numerous parties have expressed interest, not a single lease has been signed nor negotiated, not by Google nor by any of their acquisitions.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (41) | (email story)

February 10, 2014

San Francisco's Deficit For Hosting America’s Cup Doubles To $11.5M

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Having failed to account for $5.5 million in net costs incurred by the Port of San Francisco, the City's revised deficit for hosting the 34th America’s Cup has risen from $5.5 million to $11.5 million according to San Francisco's Budget and Legislative Analyst's Office.

From the conclusion of the analyst’s full report:

As a result of these net costs to the City of $11.5 million, any agreement between the City and the Event Authority to host a future America’s Cup should require payment to the City for use of City property and for City services, other than services routinely provided by the City.

Estimated at $364 million, the total economic impact to the city from hosting the America’s Cup was 27 percent of the $1.372 billion originally projected. Also noted, the impact of America’s Cup tourism on hotel occupancy was minimal with increases in hotel occupancy rates during the events generally less than 1.0 percentage point versus prior non-event years.

Analysis of the Impact of the 34th America's Cup to the City [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

Measure To Limit Waterfront Building Heights Qualifies For June Ballot

The proposed Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act has qualified for the June ballot.

If passed, the ballot measure would prohibit increasing the existing maximum building heights for parcels along San Francisco's waterfront unless explicitly approved by voters on a project-by-project basis.

The measure defines "waterfront" as public trust property that the State transferred to the City to be placed under the control of the San Francisco Port Commission, as well as any other property that the Port owns or controls as of January 1, 2014 or later acquires.

Examples of such waterfront property include the pier and Embarcadero parcel upon which the Warriors would like to build their proposed 125-foot-tall arena and condo/hotel complex rising up to 175 feet, and the Mission Bay parking lot upon which the Giants would like to build their proposed Mission Rock neighborhood rising up to 320 feet in height.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

February 7, 2014

Plans To Raze The Elbo Room Are More Than Preliminary

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As we first reported last week, the owners of the Valencia Street building which is currently leased to the Elbo Room have filed their preliminary plans to raze the Mission district building and construct a five-story condo building in its place.

While some felt our report overstated the intent and seriousness of the plans, including Matt Shapiro, the operator of the Elbo Room, who dismissively posted that the Elbo Room wasn’t closing "any time soon" and that the owners of the building weren't serious about acting on the plans, our report was actually understated.

A detailed set of architectural plans has been drafted for the project and the building’s owners have authorized the architects to act as their agents in submitting applications for environmental reviews, a historic resource evaluation, variances and Conditional Use. That's every step required to get the project formally approved.

In fact, a month after the Planning Department provided their feedback on the preliminary plans, the application fee for which was nearly $5,000 alone, a follow-up meeting was scheduled between the Planning Department and architects to discuss next steps and plans for submitting the Environmental Evaluation and Historic Resource report for the project to move forward.

Our report isn't based on hearsay, a carefully worded statement or conjecture, but rather actual documents of which we have copies in hand. And yes, we have the preliminary designs for the proposed five-story building to replace the Elbo Room as well:

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We don’t know if Mr. Shapiro is simply out of the loop or trying to cover up the extent of planning for the project that has been happening behind the scenes. And while it is, of course, entirely possible that the building’s owners abandon their plans at any stage, the extent of work, forward progress and expense to date would suggest that this is more than simply an exploratory exercise.

Elbo Room At Risk Of Being Razed For Mission Housing Development [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (50) | (email story)

February 4, 2014

Folsom Street Park Cleared To Move Forward (With Possible Flooding)

17th and Folsom

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has determined that building a wet weather storage basin to reduce neighborhood flooding as part of the park project at 17th and Folsom "would not make enough of a beneficial impact locally to justify the high costs to San Francisco ratepayers" and the SFPUC will not proceed with their storage basin plan.

Final park design and construction are now clear to move forward with the new tentative opening date for the park scheduled for Summer 2015. And while the SFPUC will continue to assess their options for reducing area flooding, in the near-term they're recommending property owners install protective measures for when the storms do come.

Posted by socketadmin at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

February 3, 2014

Sponsors Of Measure To Limit Building Heights Deliver 21K Signatures

Needing 9,702 valid signatures to qualify for the June ballot, the sponsors of the proposed Waterfront Height Limit Right to Vote Act delivered over 21,000 raw signatures to the Department of Elections this afternoon.

Designed to prohibit the increasing of existing building height limits for parcels along San Francisco's waterfront, such as for the Warriors' proposed arena project, the measure would require voters to approve the upzoning of waterfront parcels on a project-by-project basis.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (62) | (email story)

Presidio Trust Rejects All Three Proposals For Mid-Crissy Field Site

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Having reviewed the final three proposals for redeveloping the Presidio’s Mid-Crissy Field site last week, proposals which were revised at the request of the Presidio Trust late last year, the Trust has decided not to pursue any of the proposed projects.

As we first reported in December, the National Park Service was "strongly recommending" that the Trust defer any decision for several years to allow the Crissy Field site and current home to Sports Basement to develop "in a more comprehensive, thoughtful, integrated, and planned manner."

While now noting that they "do not believe any of the projects [are] right for this location," the Trust plans to continue discussions with each of the teams to bring elements of their programs to the Presidio and is "extending an invitation to George Lucas to work with [the Trust] to identify an alternative location for his proposed museum within the Presidio."

Lucas had intimated that his art collection and dollars for the proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum would head to Chicago if his proposal wasn't selected for the Crissy Field site.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

January 31, 2014

Elbo Room At Risk Of Being Razed For Mission Housing Development

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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 | Permalink | Comments (79) | (email story)

January 29, 2014

San Francisco Launching Railyard Redevelopment And I-280 Study

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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 | Permalink | Comments (78) | (email story)

January 24, 2014

San Francisco Unemployment Rate Under 5%, First Time Since 2008

The unemployment rate in San Francisco fell from 5.2 percent in November to 4.8 percent in December, the first time the unemployment rate in the city has been below 5 percent since May of 2008 when 432,700 people out of a labor force of 454,100 were employed.

With a current labor force of 484,200, the number of employed residents in San Francisco now totals 461,200, up by 13,400 workers over the past year and within 4,300 of the 465,500 people employed at December 2000's dot-com peak when the unemployment rate measured 3 percent. The unemployment rate in San Francisco topped out at a little over 10 percent in January of 2010 when 53,500 fewer San Francisco residents were employed than today.

The unemployment rates in Marin and San Mateo are down to 4.2 percent and 4.6 percent respectively while the unadjusted unemployment rate for California has fallen to 7.9 percent.

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

January 17, 2014

The Lucas Team's Two New Schemes To Sway The Presidio Trust

As rendered above, the original design for George Lucas’ proposed Cultural Arts Museum to be built in the Presidio was panned by the Presidio Trust which expressed "significant issues with the proposed building – its massing and height, and its architectural style," and believed "it should be redesigned to be more compatible with the Presidio."

This afternoon the Lucas team submitted two new design schemes for consideration.

Scheme one is a "gentler, more welcoming" variation on the original, rising to a height of 61 feet with a simplified facade that's reduced in scale and ornament (click to enlarge):

An alternative second scheme reduces the museum to one-story and a maximum height of 45 feet but covers 30 percent more of the site for the same 93,000 square foot mass:

With the National Park Service continuing to challenge the appropriateness of the Lucas proposal, regardless of the museum's design, and seeking a several year deferral of any decision for the site, the Presidio Trust Board is set to meet on January 27 to review the revised proposals for the Mid-Crissy Field site, a meeting which ought to be a rather lively affair.

Lucas Cultural Arts Museum Revised Designs [presidio.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

January 13, 2014

Site Prep For Redesigned 400-Foot Tower On Fremont Is Underway

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With the clock ticking and nine days to spare before their construction permit would have expired, UDR has started preparing the Rincon Hill parcel at 399 Fremont Street for the redesigned 400-foot residential tower to rise on the site with 452 units over parking for 238 cars and 150 bikes.

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A permit to erect the construction crane for the tower has been triaged and is pending.

The Clock Is Ticking For This 400-Foot Tower On Rincon Hill [SocketSite]
399 Fremont: Interim Plans Set To Bloom For The Californian Site [SocketSite]
399 Fremont Scoop: Redesigned And Pursuing Construction Permits [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

December 30, 2013

Demo Approved But Permit To Build 40-Story Tower Suspended

As we reported in September, "with the one-year extension to start work on the 40-story residential building approved to rise at 340 Fremont Street set to expire in two months, the building permit for the 348-unit development has yet to be approved but it is making its way through Planning with the demolition permit to clear the site for construction awaiting a few signatures as well."

340 Fremont Site

Today, the demolition permit to clear the site for the 40-story tower to rise at 340 Fremont Street was approved and it would appear that they're getting ready to rubble. That being said, having been issued last month, the permit to actually build the tower has been appealed and suspended.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

December 17, 2013

A Game Of Remodeling Jenga: Before The Collapse

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It was yesterday morning that a plugged-in neighbor found himself looking up at the approved "remodeling" of 125 Crown Terrace underway and thinking, "that can't be stable." And it wasn't.

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

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (51) | (email story)

Collapsed Home Was Being "Remodeled" By Prominent Developer

125%20Crown%20Terrace%20Collapse.jpg

The Twin Peaks house at 125 Crown Terrace which partially collapsed last night and slid down the hill toward Graystone Terrace is owned by Mel Murphy, the prominent and well-connected local developer who once served as president of San Francisco's Building Inspection Commission.

Having been denied a demolition permit to raze the existing 854-square foot home on the parcel and build a new 4,019 square foot home in its place, Murphy applied for a permit to simply "remodel" the Twin Peaks house into a 5,139 square foot home instead.

The permit to "remodel" 125 Crown Terrace was approved by the City. And with the foundation for the 5,000 square foot "remodel" having been poured, it's the original 854-square foot structure for which demolition was denied that has collapsed.

125%20Crown%20Terrace.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (58) | (email story)

December 16, 2013

Lucas' Proposed Presidio Museum Panned By National Park Service

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The Presidio Trust’s primary partner, the National Park Service, has just reiterated its concerns with the Trust's plans to redevelop the Presidio’s Commissary site across from Crissy Field and is strongly recommending that the Trust defer any decision for several years "to allow the site to develop in a more comprehensive, thoughtful, integrated, and planned manner."

The National Park Service has also expressed "serious concerns about the programmatic fit of the Lucas proposal," regardless of its architecture and design.

"From the information that has been presented to the public to date, we believe the program of the proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum has no genuine or substantive connection to the themes or programs of Crissy Field or the Main Post, or to other Presidio-connected themes that extend far beyond the boundaries of the post. While the programs of the proposed museum seem interesting, the museum’s offerings could be located anywhere; therefore, the museum does not merit one of the most important sites in the entire Presidio. The Trust’s own “Request for Proposal” spoke to the “Power of Place” as a primary theme: the Lucas proposal has no concrete reference to or interpretation of the Presidio."

The full letter to the Presidio Trust Board of Directors which was sent this past Thursday from Frank Dean, General Superintendent of the National Park Service:

Dear Trust Board Members:
We are proud to partner with the Presidio Trust in management of the lands, stories, and themes that comprise the Presidio. We have been pleased that the Presidio Trust has looked to the National Park Service for advice on the future use of the Commissary site. Because this site is located in a uniquely central position - precisely at the connection point between the NPS-managed lands of Crissy Field, and the Trust-managed Main Post - our interest in the right choice for the Commissary is very strong.
We appreciate that the Trust Board has at least temporarily delayed reaching a decision on the future use of the Commissary site. However, we must again express our strong recommendation, echoed by many others, that the Trust defer any decision for several years to allow the site to develop in a more comprehensive, thoughtful, integrated, and planned manner.
As we conveyed in our September 23, 2013 letter, the national landmark designation of the Presidio - and especially this site - deserves a use that relates to the Presidio’s mission and values and that fits seamlessly within the surrounding parklands. The proper stewardship of the Presidio merits taking a long view. The Presidio Trust should not rush a decision of this importance, especially if there is a lack of public consensus and if obvious controversy exists. With the many improvements already approved and planned, such as the new tunnel top parklands and the Presidio visitor center, there is wisdom in allowing these new uses to settle in before selecting a major new use and tenant for the Commissary site.
In our earlier letter we outlined what we believe are critical questions that should be addressed by the project proponents. The key questions related to programmatic and architectural fit. They were framed to insure that any future use of the site would enhance its national park values, become part of a carefully crafted continuity of programs that illuminate the Presidio’s cultural and natural themes, and respect important design guidelines and standards.
We are aware that the Trust has raised serious issues regarding the architectural design and scale of the proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum. But architecture aside, we have serious concerns about the programmatic fit of the Lucas proposal - something that is of paramount importance to us.
From the information that has been presented to the public to date, we believe the program of the proposed Lucas Cultural Arts Museum has no genuine or substantive connection to the themes or programs of Crissy Field or the Main Post, or to other Presidio-connected themes that extend far beyond the boundaries of the post. While the programs of the proposed museum seem interesting, the museum’s offerings could be located anywhere; therefore, the museum does not merit one of the most important sites in the entire Presidio. The Trust’s own “Request for Proposal” spoke to the “Power of Place” as a primary theme: the Lucas proposal has no concrete reference to or interpretation of the Presidio.
As you know, we have been working hard – together – to provide a cohesive visitor experience from the future Heritage Center on the south end of the Main Post to Crissy Field and its array of recreational activities and the acclaimed youth and family programs of the Crissy Field Center. We feel that only a use that enhances the opportunity to build the thematic and programmatic connections that NPS and the Trust have been working closely together for years to achieve should be selected for the site.
We offer these additional comments out of a desire to make certain the decision of the Trust Board is clearly informed by the perspective of the Trust’s primary partner at the Presidio, the National Park Service. To reiterate a point from our September letter, we commend the Trust for the openness of the very public process you have employed in reaching this very challenging decision. We request that you continue this openness throughout the rest of the process.
Sincerely,
Frank Dean
General Superintendent

As it stands, revised proposals for redeveloping the Presidio’s former Commissary and current Sports Basement site across from Crissy Field are due on January 17, 2014 with the Trust Board having originally planned to indicate a direction for the Mid-Crissy Field site soon thereafter.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

December 12, 2013

Modern Hayes Valley Development Breaks Ground, Opening 2014

DDG and DM Development have just broken ground on 400 Grove Street, the modern 34-unit Hayes Valley development designed by Fougeron Architecture to rise at the corner of Grove and Gough Streets.

Reaching a maximum height of five stories, the 400 Grove Street building includes a little over 2,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space on the corner and 17 off-street residential parking spaces with access on Grove. The building should open in late 2014.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (231) | (email story)

Proposal To Immediately Revitalize San Francisco's Pier 38 Picked

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While it hasn't been announced, TMG's proposal for the redevelopment of San Francisco’s Pier 38 has beaten out the competing proposal from San Francisco Waterfront Partners according to a plugged-in tipster.

TMG's proposal emphasized the speed of redevelopment with a plan for the "immediate revitalization of the Pier 38 Bulkhead with a mix of public, office, and maritime uses." The Waterfront Partners' proposal included a tech co-working facility on the second floor of the building at the front of the pier and a beer garden facing the new Brannan Street Wharf.

The Pier 38 buildings have been red tagged as unsafe for occupancy since 2011 when serving as office space for a number of startups and a couple of venture capital firms. The Port's pick of a plan to quickly re-tenant the front part of the pier shouldn’t catch any plugged-in people by surprise.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

December 4, 2013

San Francisco's Yellow Cab Cooperative Could Be Cashing Out

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With revenues for taxi companies in San Francisco having dropped an estimated 30 percent over the past year thanks to "ridesharing" startups such at Lyft, Sidecar and UberX, and land values rebounding (thanks to startups such at Lyft, Sidecar and UberX), the largest cab company in the city, the Yellow Cab Cooperative, has quietly put its six-acre headquarters and parking lot at 1200 Mississippi Street on the market and is offering to deliver it vacant.

The parcel at the southern base of Potrero Hill between 25th Street and Cesar Chavez is currently zoned for Production, Distribution and Repair (PDR) which generally prohibits the building of housing, large office developments or large-scale retail but could support light industrial, small scale retail, office or entertainment uses. A tennis club with 31 courts had been proposed to be built upon the site back in 1974, well before the Yellow Cab Cooperative took control.

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San Francisco's Yellow Cab Cooperative is seeking $16,000,000 for the six-acre site with Kidder Mathews handling the offering. No word on the Cooperative's next move.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (69) | (email story)

November 27, 2013

Dorms For Developers In San Francisco?

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While it was originally reported that Build Inc. was planning to build around 120 rental units on the half-acre SoMa parking lot which fronts 12th, Norfolk and Harrison Streets, plans for the construction of three six-story buildings with 235 group housing suites and up to 470 individual beds, common living areas and shared kitchens have been drafted for the 1532 Harrison Street site.

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The full scoop on what’s being planned and the rendering for what has been proposed:

In total, the project would construct approximately 235 group housing "suites" designed for single or double occupancy which would be grouped into nine "houses" per building. Each house would each feature common kitchens, dining areas, living areas and balconies.

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The individual suites would range in size from 227 to 409 square feet and include individual bathrooms, sinks, two-burner "kitchenettes" and balconies for suites above the first floor.

The three proposed buildings would rise up to 65 feet in height and be joined by a series of sky bridges over two mid-block alleys between 12th and Norfolk Streets.

In addition to the housing, just under 5,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space would be constructed at the northern edge of the project off Norfolk Street and at the corner of Harrison and 12th Streets (click the rendering above to enlarge).

The plans which will require Conditional Use Authorization from the Planning Commission to proceed include 480 underground parking spaces for bicycles and only one off-street parking space for car share as well as one space for a handicap van.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (98) | (email story)

November 20, 2013

San Francisco's Transbay Block 8 And 550-Foot Tower Back In Play

Transbay Block 8 Massing (steelblue and NEORAMA via SocketSite.com)

Suspended back in 2009 when bids for the property came in "well below the potential value of the site in a healthier real estate market," San Francisco's Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure has just issued a new request for proposals to purchase and develop Transbay Block 8, the one-acre parcel fronting Folsom Street between First and Fremont.

Transbay Block 8 (First and Folsom)

Zoned for a 550-foot tower to rise on the site, the City is seeking proposals for "a high-density, residential project with approximately 740 units, 27 percent of which must be affordable to qualifying households, and ground-floor retail in multiple building types, including a 550-foot tower, townhouses, and podium buildings" as rendered in red above.

The Request For Proposals to develop Transbay Block 8 back in 2008 had targeted the development of 597 housing units on the site, nearly 20 percent fewer than is now being sought.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (62) | (email story)

November 15, 2013

Designs For Developing Half A City Block Along Hayes

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As we first reported last week, the Emerald Fund is quietly working on plans to raze the 108-foot building at 150 Van Ness Avenue and build a half-block building rising 12 stories on the site, and we now have the renderings for the development that's being proposed.

150%20Van%20Ness%20Rendering.jpg

Once again, the building would rise up to 120 feet high and house 429 apartments averaging 734 square feet apiece, running the length of Hayes Street from Van Ness to Polk Street:

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And as proposed, 9,000 square feet of retail would be constructed on the ground floor of the building with parking for 215 cars and 207 bikes in a level below.

150%20Van%20Ness%20Rendering%20Detail.jpg

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

San Francisco's Certified 2013 Election Results

With late vote-by-mail and provisional ballots having been added over the past week, the San Francisco election results from November 5, 2013 have just been certified and the final count for the number of ballots cast is 128,937 which represents 29.3 percent of registered voters, 66 percent of which voted by mail.

The final count for the percentage of NO votes cast on Measures B and C is 62.79 and 66.96 percent respectively with 84,083 NO votes cast on Measure C, a vote which reversed the Mayor's supported increase in allowable height for the development of 8 Washington Street.

As a reader originally pointed out, when Mayor Ed Lee was elected in 2011, an election with an effective turnout of over 40 percent of San Francisco voters and 196,756 ballots cast, the Mayor garnered a total of 84,457 votes.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

November 14, 2013

Plans For An Upscale Seven-Story SRO Building On Market Street

1700%20Market%20Street%20Site.jpg

Plans to raze the two-story commercial building occupied by Fastframe and a few offices on the northwest corner of Market and Gough and build a 7-story mixed-use building on the parcel has quietly been submitted to San Francisco’s Planning Department for review.

The proposed 75-foot-high building to rise at 1700 Market Street includes 42 "single room occupancy" units which would be market rate but with limited individual kitchen facilities and a communal kitchen, gathering areas, and 1,498 square feet of ground floor retail below.

While the proposed building does not include any off-street parking spaces for autos, it does include a room for 25 bikes. And of course, residents would still be able to apply for permits to park their cars on the street.

If Off-Street Parking Is Limited, Should On-Street Parking Be Limited As Well? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (47) | (email story)

November 13, 2013

Previously Unreleased Renderings For The Warriors' Arena 3.0

A previously unreleased round of renderings for the Golden State Warriors' slimmed-down arena Design 3.0 provides greater detail with respect to the proposed height and mass of the retail and event center buildings to be built along the Embarcadero (click renderings to enlarge).

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (47) | (email story)

November 8, 2013

Big Plans For 12 Stories And Over 400 New Apartments On Hayes

150%20Van%20Ness.gif

With the re-skinning and conversion of 100 Van Ness Avenue from an office building to 400 apartments underway, the Emerald Fund has quietly submitted plans to raze the adjacent 108-foot building at 150 Van Ness and build a new 12-story, 120-foot tall building stretching all the way from Van Ness to Polk along Hayes Street.

In addition to the 150 Van Ness parcel on the corner, the proposed half city block project would cover the four adjacent surface parking lots and yield 429 new apartments over 9,000 square feet of retail and an underground garage with parking for 218 cars and 211 bikes.

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The propose unit mix for the 429-unit development is currently 112 two-bedrooms with the rest one-bedrooms and studios. As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

November 6, 2013

Voters Reject Measures B/C And Designs For 8 Washington Street

With 100 percent of San Francisco's precincts reporting and the mail-in ballots counted, the "No Wall on the Waterfront" forces have defeated the "Open Up The Waterfront" initiative and San Francisco Ballot Measures B and C.

The NO votes totaled 62.22 percent for Measure B (which would have upheld the approvals for the development of 8 Washington Street as rendered above) and 66.56 percent for Measure C (which would have upheld increased building heights for the project of up to 136 feet).

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With the up-zoning for the approved project overturned, it's now back to the drawing board for the development of 8 Washington Street which we believe will still get built at some point, but not to a height of over 84 feet.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (54) | (email story)

November 5, 2013

Early SF Election Results: Measures B And C Facing Defeat

Based only on the results of 56,131 mail-in ballots returned, a quarter of the 238,235 which were issued, San Francisco Ballot Measure B which would clear the way for the development of 8 Washington Street as approved is losing the dueling ballot measure fight with 55% of the mail-in ballots marked NO versus 45% YES.

The "No Wall on The Waterfront" folks are also ahead with respect to San Francisco Ballot Measure C which would allow the approved Ordinance increasing the building height limits for the 8 Washington Street Development to take effect with 61% of the mail-in ballots marked NO versus 39% YES.

The mail-in ballot counts for Measure A (Retiree Health Care Trust Fund changes): 69% YES / 31% NO; and Measure D (Prescription Drug Purchasing Policy for the City): 80% YES / 20% NO.

We'll have the early counts for the votes cast at polling places in San Francisco later tonight.

UPDATE: Including 23,032 election day ballots from half the polling places in San Francisco, the percentage of NO votes on Measures B and C have increased to 60% and 65% respectively. If the early results hold, it's back to the drawing board for the development of 8 Washington Street.

UPDATE: With 98 percent of San Francisco precincts reporting and 39,240 election day ballots counted, the percentage of NO votes on Measures B and C have increased to 62% and 67% respectively. The "No Wall on the Waterfront" forces have won and the up-zoning for the development of 8 Washington Street has been overturned at the polls.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

November 1, 2013

Conversion Of Illegal Mid-Market Apartment Building Suspended

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Noted by a plugged-in reader last week, San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection and the San Francisco Planning Department have just suspended the building permit for the conversion of 1049 Market Street from its current illegal residential use in order "to enable the City to obtain additional details about the building's historic and current occupancies."

On the radar of the Department of Building Inspection since at least 2007, around half the 75 units within the Mid-Market building between Sixth and Seventh Streets lack windows and are not code compliant for residential use but have been illegally rented to artists and others as "live-work" spaces for over a decade, as have the majority of other units within the building which have windows but were never legally converted from office to residential use.

"We clearly need to investigate further the recent residential occupancy of this building," said John Rahaim, Director of Planning. "Given the apparent long-term residential uses of the building, the owners may be required to undergo additional Planning Department review and public hearings, and to pay impact fees if they want to pursue the eviction of the tenants and establish an office building."

San Francisco’s Building Inspection Department issued a notice to the owners of 1049 Market Street to either legalize the building or clear the building of residential tenants a few months ago at which point eviction notices were prepared and served.

The building's former owners had filed a permit to legalize the building for residential use two years ago but never commenced the conversion and the building's new owners have decided it makes more economic sense to convert the Mid-Market building back to office use.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 24, 2013

Ten Story Building Proposed Atop 16th Street BART Station Site

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Maximus Real Estate Partners is in contract to buy the 57,000 square foot parcel above the 16th Street BART station on the northeast corner of Mission Street and has submitted plans to build a 10-story building designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill with 351 housing units, 32,000 square feet of retail and a 56,000-square-foot basement parking garage on the site.

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From JK Dinnen at the Business Times:

The proposal calls for airy plate glass storefronts, with 14-foot floor-to-ceiling heights, which would wrap around the BART plaza and continue along Mission and 16th streets. The group says the blank facades currently ringing the BART Plaza on Mission and Capp streets represent "a significant contributing factor to the high crime rate at the intersection of 16th and Mission."

The sale of the parcel which includes an existing Walgreens, the Hwa Lei Market, the City Club bar, two restaurants and a defunct dollar store, all of which would be razed, is contingent upon approvals of the proposed development by the city.

16th%20Street%20BART%20Station%20Site%20Aerial.gif

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (92) | (email story)

September 10, 2013

Fresh & Easy Saved, But Bayview Store To Be Shuttered

A U.S. based private investment firm has agreed to purchase the Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain from the U.K. based Tesco with plans to continue operating the stores "with some changes...[to] make it even more relevant to today’s consumer" and plans "to build Fresh & Easy into a 'next-generation convenience retail experience,' providing busy consumers with more local and healthy access for their daily needs."

As part of the purchase agreement, however, a number of the stores will be shuttered, including San Francisco's Bayview location which will close on September 20.

Fresh & Easy's Parent Company Is Calling It Quits In The U.S. [SocketSite]
Fresh & Easy Acquired by The Yucaipa Companies LLC [freshandeasy.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

September 5, 2013

Buyers Of 6,000 Foot Home Now Fight To Preserve "Noe's Charm"

625 Duncan Street (www.SocketSite.com)

As we first reported earlier this week, the approved plans for a staggered three-story over garage Noe Valley home to be built at 645 Duncan Street have been challenged by the "Noe Valley Neighbors" who have gathered support for their requested Discretionary Review to overturn the project's approval by characterizing it as "a precedent setting five story single family home in Noe Valley, potentially altering the character and charm of this neighborhood forever."

As we pointed out, the proposed "precedent setting" home would rise adjacent to 625 Duncan Street, the modern 6,000 square foot home above which was built in 2008 and is currently the second most expensive home in the neighborhood having been bought by the former COO of MobiTV for $5,818,000 in 2008.

And as a number of plugged-in readers correctly surmised, the "Noe Valley Neighbors" who filed the Discretionary Review and are campaigning for its support based on their concerns for the "the character and charm" of neighborhood are none other than the owners of 625 Duncan whose charming views to west would just so happen to be blocked by the new home.

A Threat To "The Character And Charm" Of Noe Valley? [SocketSite]
The Spec-tacular 625 Duncan Sells For $5,818,000 In Noe Valley [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

August 19, 2013

Builders Follow Citizens' Suit, Challenge Plan For Bay Area Growth

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Earlier this month, a citizens group calling themselves "Bay Area Citizens" filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court challenging the approved Plan Bay Area which calls for up to 660,000 new housing units to be built around the Bay Area over the next thirty years, 92,480 of which would be built in San Francisco alone, double San Francisco's current pipeline of development.

The underlying concern of the Citizens: the impact on their property values.

This past Friday, the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area literally followed suit and filed a lawsuit of their own in Superior Court, charging that Plan Bay Area "illegally locks future workers out of the Bay Area housing market and relies on hundreds of thousands more commuters driving long distances from outside the region to get to work."

According to the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) conducted by the agencies themselves, Plan Bay Area would result in a massive increase in the number of Bay Area workers who would commute long distances by freeway. In fact, the FEIR shows that by 2040, Plan Bay Area will result in 40,000 more individual inbound trips a day (14.6 million each year) than an alternative approach also studied in the FEIR that plans for more housing in the region.
The primary contributor, the FEIR shows, was the series of decisions by regional planners at [the Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission] to artificially reduce the total number of new housing units provided for under Plan Bay Area—which started out at 902,000 but was ratcheted down to 660,000 in the final version.

It's not exactly an altruistic challenge, however, as the Building Industry Association is angling for the adopted plan to be dismissed and a competing plan that provides for the construction of 770,000 new housing units be adopted instead.

Bay Area Plan To Support 2 Million More People Up For Vote [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

August 6, 2013

San Francisco Fountain Sculptor Ruth Asawa Has Died

Sculptor Ruth Asawa passed away last night at the age of 87. The survival of Asawa’s San Francisco Fountain, a fixture of the Grand Hyatt Plaza, had been threatened by Apple’s proposed plans for a Union Square store, plans Apple has since been forced to revisit.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

August 5, 2013

Dueling 8 Washington Street Ballot Measures Designated B And C

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With big money fueling the fire and the ballot measure battle over the development of 8 Washington Street heating up, San Francisco's Department of Elections has just designated the "Open Up the Waterfront" initiative as Proposition B on this November's ballot.

The "No Wall On The Waterfront" referendum, which opposes the approved upzoning for the development, will be Proposition C.

The Brewing 8 Washington Street Ballot Measure Battle Simplified [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

August 1, 2013

Yahoo! Inks Lease For Chronicle Space And San Francisco Team

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Yahoo! has officially inked a lease for the Chronicle building space at Fifth and Mission which Square will be vacating in September and to which Yahoo! plans to move their San Francisco team later this year.

In the process of "designing a cool, fun and beautiful space to inspire collaboration and innovation," Yahoo’s office will include the requisite onsite food service and game room.

Technically within the old Examiner Building at 110 Fifth Street which is connected to the Chronicle Building by a pedestrian bridge over Minna, the space into which Yahoo! is moving is slated to demolished in 2018 as part of Forrest City’s massive 5M Project.

With over a million new square feet of office space, 750 new dwelling units, and 150,000 square feet of ground floor retail planned as part of the 5M Project, there will be plenty of options for Yahoo! to move and expand, a discussion that's already in the works.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

July 29, 2013

Potential High-Rise Hat Trick On Folsom For Tishman Speyer

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Having just broken ground on the twin condo towers to rise at 201 Folsom Street (aka LUMINA) last month, yesterday Tishman Speyer closed escrow on the purchase of the parking lot at 100 Folsom Street and a couple of adjoining parcels across from the Infinity, a development site which is zoned for a 300-foot tower and could accommodate of up to 400 residential units according to the Business Times.

Tishman will need to acquire an adjacent city-owned parcel in order to proceed with the overall development, but according to Mike Grisso, senior project manager at San Francisco Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, "It has always been [the City's] intention to negotiate a sale of our parcel to whomever owns the other three."

Posted by socketadmin at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

Condo Conversion Program Kicks-Off With A Lawsuit In The Works

Upheld by San Francisco's Board of Supervisors and signed into effect by Mayor Ed Lee, the first round of applications for expedited condominium conversion in San Francisco are being accepted as of today.

As the program which is slated to suspend San Francisco’s annual condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024 goes into effect, word on the street is that the owners of a five-unit building are preparing a legal challenge of the program, the impact of which could bring the program to a premature halt (and shouldn’t catch any plugged-in people by surprise).

Expedited Condominium Conversion Application: Group 1 [sfdpw.org]
Condo Conversions: The Clock Is Ticking For The Mayor To Act [SocketSite]
Potentially Problematic Condo Conversion Legislation Approved [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

July 18, 2013

Polk Street Showdown: The Redrawn Lines, Lanes, And New Plan

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Having run head-on into a wall of seemingly unexpected opposition, the SFMTA was forced to revisit and redraw their plans for removing metered parking along Polk Street to make way for dedicated bike lanes from Union to McAllister.

The revised project has been divided into two segments, with two different designs for Polk Street, one from Union to California and another from California to McAllister.

Roughly 90% of the metered parking spaces on Polk Street between Union and California will be retained by adding a green bike lane in one direction, adding green shared lane markings in the other direction, and implementing morning tow-away regulations on the shared side of the street to provide more space for cars and bikes to share the road (click plan to enlarge):

From California to McAllister, roughly 50% of the metered parking spaces on Polk will be removed in order to install buffered bike lanes on either side of the street with a raised "cycle track" in the southbound direction (click plan to enlarge):

High visibility crosswalks, red zones near intersections to improve visibility, and corner "bulb-out" sidewalk extensions at key locations remain part of the overall plan for both segements.

The revised plan and designs will be presented to the public on July 25 (5pm at 1751 Sacramento Street) after which they will undergo a full environmental review. If approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors, the project will implemented as part of the planned repaving of Polk Street in 2015.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (90) | (email story)

July 8, 2013

Archeologists Descend On San Francisco Construction Site

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Two weeks ago the ground was first broken for the 655-unit LUMINA to be built at 201 Folsom Street, a joint development between Tishman Speyer and China Vanke.

This weekend, a plugged-in tipster captures the archeologists who have since descended upon the fenced-in parcel, once the site of a ship-dismantling yard run by Charles Hare in the 1850’s before the San Francisco shoreline was in-filled and expanded.

As some might recall, excavation for Tishman’s 650-unit Infinity development across the street was temporarily halted when the bones of the three-masted whaling bark Candace were unearthed back in 2005. There’s no official word on whether the team at 201 Folsom Street has unearthed anything of significance, but we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

201%20Folsom%20Arch%202.jpg

Ironically, while China Vanke is the majority equity partner in LUMINA having committed $175 million to its development, Hares' old shipyard only employed Chinese workers, "men on the margins of society at that time, workers who were excluded from most employment."

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

June 26, 2013

LUMINA (The Development Heretofore Known As 201 Folsom)

LUMINA.jpg

The name for the development heretofore known as 201 Folsom Street has been revealed. Presenting LUMINA, a joint venture between Tishman Speyer and China Vanke.

LUMINA’s 655 condos, studios to three-bedrooms, will average 1,275 square feet and should be ready for occupancy by summer of 2015. The building's sales office is slated to open mid-2014.

The development's two commercial spaces include a 1,000 square foot space at the corner of Folsom and Beale envisioned as a cafe and a 9,500 square foot space along Folsom Street envisioned as "a restaurant or upscale market."

The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop [SocketSite]
201 Folsom Towers Floor Plan Sneak Peek [SocketSite]
Tishman Teams With China On 201 Folsom, Plans To Start Soon [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (68) | (email story)

June 14, 2013

Proposed Cathedral Hill Tower Redesigned, Planning Powering Up

1481 Post: SOM Model

While SOM’s designs for a 38-story, elliptical-shaped glass tower to rise atop Cathedral Hill have been kicked to the curb, ADCO has dusted off their plans to build a tower at 1481 Post Street with new designs for a 36-story tower rising up to 416 feet across from Saint Mary's Cathedral.

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An existing parking structure with tennis courts and a pool building would be razed to make way for the proposed tower off of Geary, the designs for which includes 262 condos, a subsurface garage, and café along Post Street at the northwest corner of the project site (click to enlarge):

The proposed 1481 Post Street building would consist of a ground-floor podium element, surmounted by a vertical tower element (398 feet tall, plus mechanical equipment, screening and architectural features to reach a total height of 416 feet). The 20-foot-tall ground floor would be set back about 47 feet from the Post Street sidewalk and about 10 feet from the Geary Boulevard sidewalk.
The proposed café at the northwest corner of the project site would project northward toward Post Street, set back about 15 feet from the Post Street sidewalk. Along its west façade, the ground-floor podium would bow outward in plan. The podium would be set back a minimum of 10 feet from the west property line shared with The Sequoias at the midpoint of the podium (separated by about 16 feet, 8 inches from the low-rise portion of the Sequoias building at that building’s nearest point). Within the west setback, a ground-level, publicly accessible pedestrian walkway would be constructed to provide a midblock passage between Post Street and Geary Boulevard. The pedestrian walkway would be gated at both ends and would be open to the public during daylight hours.
Along Geary Boulevard, the ground floor of the proposed 1481 Post Street building would include extensive glazing along its frontage, and would be separated from the sidewalk by a 10- foot-wide landscaped strip. The one-story street frontage of the proposed building’s base along Geary Boulevard would extend eastward with the proposed covered and enclosed loading area and a proposed one-story pool addition further east along Geary Boulevard, forming a continuous one-story structure spanning the project site. A new fitness center entrance would be located along Geary Boulevard. The proposed pool addition frontage along Geary Boulevard would likewise include large glazed areas.
Above the podium, the proposed 1481 Post Street building tower shaft would be set back from Post Street by about 40 feet, from Geary Boulevard by about 46 feet, and from 1333 Gough Street on the project site by about 41 feet. The tower shaft would be set back by about 12 feet from the west property line shared with The Sequoias (separated by about 82 feet from the high-rise tower of The Sequoias). The proposed project’s tower shaft would rise straight upward for most of its height. The proposed 1481 Post Street building would be contemporary in architectural vocabulary and would include contrasting cladding systems, glazed curtain walls with metal mullions, and masonry-clad piers and spandrels.

Currently only zoned for 240-feet in height, San Francisco’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will need to approve an upzoning of the parcel to 410-feet in order for the project to proceed as proposed.

The shadows which would be cast by the proposed tower upon Cottage Row Mini-Park, Hamilton Recreation Center, Peace Plaza, and Raymond Kimbell Playground would also need to be deemed as not adverse to the use of the parks.

JustQuotes: The People (And Politics) Behind Buildings And Design [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

June 13, 2013

Occupation Of Hayes Valley Farm Ended, Development To Begin

Parcel P Site

Following an early morning raid, the activists who were occupying the former Hayes Valley Farm site have been removed in order to clear the way for Avalon Bay’s development of 182 apartments, retail, and 91 parking spaces upon the Hayes Valley Parcel P.

The development, for which building permits have been issued, will vary in height across the site, reaching a maximum height of five stories (click the image above to enlarge).

Plans For Parcel P: On This (Hayes Valley) Farm They're Building... [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

June 12, 2013

T-Minus Two Days Until Towering Folsom Street Development Begins

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The no parking signs for have been hung on the parking meters around the parking lot bounded by Folsom, Main, and Beale Streets, and on Friday, June 14, Tishman is slated to start preparing the site for the two big towers, 8-story midrises, and podium building to rise at 201 Folsom.

201 Folsom Street Site

Monthly parkers in the 390 Main Street lot which will be closed at the end of the day tomorrow (Thursday, June 13, 2013) will be getting pro-rated refunds which shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

Potentially Problematic Condo Conversion Legislation Approved

With supervisors Farrell, Tang, and Wiener opposing, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have voted 8-3 to adopt the proposed condominium conversion lottery bypass legislation as last amended.

Assuming it isn’t vetoed by the Mayor, the legislation will establish a bypass period during which qualifying TICs can condo convert for a fee; establish lifetime leases for tenants in converting non-owner occupied units; restrict future condominium lotteries to buildings with no more than four units; and suspend San Francisco’s annual condominium conversion lottery until at least 2024.

Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of owners for no less than five years as of April 15, 2013 will immediately qualify for the bypass. Buildings which participated in either the 2012 or 2013 lottery and have been continuously occupied by the required number of owners for no less than three years as of April 15, 2014 would qualify on that date.

Buildings which did not qualify or participate in either the 2012 or 2013 lotteries will eventually be eligible to participate in the bypass assuming a formal TIC agreement was in place as of April 15, 2013 and the required number of owners have continuously occupied the building for at least six years by April 15, 2019.

In other words, TIC buildings in which the owner applicants weren't in place by April 15, 2013 will never qualify for the bypass and five or six unit TIC buildings which don't qualify for the bypass will never qualify for condo conversion.

As amended and approved, if any lawsuits are filed against the legislation (see previous paragraph), the bypass will be suspended along with the lottery until the lawsuits are settled or until 2024, whichever comes first.

Will San Francisco's Condominium Lottery Legislation Be A Winner? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (83) | (email story)

June 6, 2013

Deal Reached For Massive First And Mission Street Towers Site

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As we first reported two weeks ago, the plans for a couple of big towers to rise at First and Mission streets were recently reworked and resubmitted to Planning with designs for an 850-foot-tall office tower fronting First Street, a 605-foot-tall condo tower fronting Mission Street, and a renovation of the 88 First Street building on the corner rather than a third tower as was originally proposed.

Today, TMG Partners and Northwood Investors tentatively agreed to pay $122 million for the site in United States bankruptcy court having "hammered out [a deal] between investor David Choo, the previous owner of the site, and MS Mission Holdings, which had bought the loan on the property and foreclosed on it after Choo had defaulted."

With the disputed ownership of the site now settled (Choo was contesting the foreclosure), expect the project to quickly power up.

Plans For Landmark Tower(s) At First And Mission Are Powering Up [SocketSite]
TMG Partners, Northwood to take over massive Transbay project [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

June 3, 2013

Open Up The Waterfront!

Open%20Up%20The%20Waterfront.jpg

The approved 8 Washington Street project would raze the existing Golden Gateway Tennis and Swim Club and adjacent Port of San Francisco owned parking lot and construct a 165-unit condo building rising up to 136 feet in height upon the site which was originally zoned for up to 84 feet. The development would also yield new retail, a fitness facility with outdoor pools, and 30,000 square feet of public open space, playgrounds, and parks.

8%20Washinton%202013.jpg

From the "Open up the Waterfront" website which backs a proposed "8 Washington Parks, Public Access and Housing Initiative" to uphold the upzoning for the 8 Washington site, the signature gatherers for which were on the sidewalks of San Francisco this past weekend:

The 8 Washington Parks, Public Access and Housing Initiative is a proposed city measure that, if approved by voters, will open the way for new public parks, increased access to The Embarcadero Waterfront, hundreds of construction jobs, new sustainable residential housing and funding for new affordable housing. And it empowers voters with the decision on how to best utilize our waterfront.
Currently the site at 8 Washington has a 1,735 foot fence — over five football fields long — that blocks public views and public access to the waterfront. Today, the is site is also defined by a 27,000 square foot asphalt parking lot, which draws toxins into our Bay waters and an exclusive private tennis club behind the massive fence.
In the event that this Initiative and any other [related] initiative are approved by the voters at the same election, and this initiative receives a greater number of affirmative votes than any other such measure or measures, this measure shall control in its entirety and the other measure or measures shall be rendered void and without any legal effect.

The Open up the Waterfront initiative is being paid for by "San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs and Housing" with major support from Pacific Waterfront Partners, the developer of the proposed 8 Washington Street Project.

Consider "Liking" this post in order to show your support for the proposed Open up the Waterfront ballot measure which will also register your vote in our informal poll.

And while there’s no "Dislike" button for those who oppose this proposed pro-8 Washington Street measure, there is a countermeasure for you to "Like" instead: No Wall On The Waterfront!

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

May 30, 2013

Permits For Tishman's 201 Folsom Street Towers Project Issued

201 Folsom Street Site

As we first reported last month, while Tishman Speyer was still waiting for final sign-off on the permits to start construction on their 201 Folsom Street Project, according to a plugged-in source, the timing was imminent.

Yesterday, building permits for the two towers, two 8-story midrises, and a podium building to rise on the site pictured above were approved and issued. While now waiting for sign-off on the permit to commence excavation and shoring, the building(s) should soon begin.

The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop [SocketSite]
201 Folsom Street Timing: Immediately (Upon Approval Of Permits) [SocketSite]
Timing For Tishman’s 201 Folsom Street Towers: Imminent [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

May 24, 2013

Plans For Landmark Tower(s) At First And Mission Are Powering Up

50%20first%20Street%20Site.jpg

Having been on hold for a few years, the plans for a few big towers to rise at First and Mission, a.k.a. the 50 First Street site, have been reworked and resubmitted to Planning.

As currently envisioned, the existing office/retail buildings at 50 First, 62 First, and 76-78 First would be razed to make room for a 850-foot tall, 59-story tower fronting First Street as well as a 605-foot tall, 56-story tower fronting Mission Street.

The 850-foot First Street Tower One would contain 1,220,000 square feet of office space over ground-floor retail, as was previously proposed, with a garage for up to 187 cars.

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Plans for the 605-foot tower fronting Mission now call for 500 residential units over ground floor retail and a five level subterranean parking garage with 136 parking spaces. Earlier plans to include hotel and entertainment components in the tower have been dropped.

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Plans for a third tower on the corner of First and Mission have also been dropped and the existing building at 88 First Street would be rehabilitated as part of the 50 First project.

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Noting that because of its height, "the proposed [850-foot] Tower One would stand out as a major landmark on the skyline," and as such, "the design should exceed conventional standards and should be a stellar piece of contemporary architecture comparable to the best tall buildings worldwide," the Planning Department has offered a few suggestions for the tower's design, the images of which above are simply placeholders at this point:

Consider design options that sculpt the building to create a unique feature on the skyline. The top of Tower One should feature a dynamic and interesting top that presents an interesting profile. To the extent that shadow considerations, based on further analysis, might prevent major additional decorative rooftop elements from rising above a height of 850 feet, the Department expects a reduction of sufficient occupied space at the top of the building below 850 feet to allow for a satisfying sculpted building top within the 850-foot height envelope.

As part of the project, Jessie Street would be rerouted and the portion of Tower One that spans the existing Jessie Street route would be converted into a three-story public galleria (Jessie Street Galleria); Elim Alley would be converted to a two-story galleria with lobby and retail uses (Elim Alley Galleria); and a public plaza would sit at the base of Tower Two.

A Trio Of Renzo Piano SOM Towers At 50 First Street As Proposed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

May 21, 2013

Bay Area Scores Super Bowl 50: Levi's Stadium Will Host In 2016

Levis%20Stadium%20Rendering.jpg

With the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara set to open next year, the NFL has selected Levi's Stadium to host Super Bowl 50 in 2016, the first Bay Area Super Bowl since Stanford Stadium hosted the championship game which the 49ers won in 1985.

San Francisco will host pre-game activities, including the NFL Experience, an interactive pro football theme park which will be held at Moscone Center the week before the Bowl.

Santa Clara Approves 49ers Stadium Contract And Plans For 2014 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (45) | (email story)

May 20, 2013

Planning For The Upzoning Of SF's Central Corridor, And Then Some

725%20Harrison%20Street%20Site.jpg

First proposed in 2005, the plan to demolish all the buildings along the south side of Harrison Street between the surface parking lot at 725 Harrison and west to the corner of Fourth Street have been quietly dusted off and revised.

While the original plan called for 572 residential units over retail in six buildings up to 85 feet in height, the new plan proposes to build a sixteen-story, 240-foot office building at the corner of Harrison and Fourth Streets with the remainder of the site covered by a six-story, 95-foot tall office building connected to the high-rise building at the ground floor.

Harrison%20and%20Fourth.jpg

Currently zoned for up to 85-feet in height, while the Planning Department's proposed Central Corridor Plan would upzone the 725 Harrison Street site to a maximum of 160-feet, and only for a portion of the parcel, apparently "the Department is evaluating a 240-foot height limit" for the corner.

The revised project also includes the construction of a two-level subterranean parking garage with up to 575 parking spaces and 113 bicycle spaces for tenants.

The final Central Corridor Plan is anticipated to be up for approval in late 2014.

Are The Big Plans For San Francisco's Central Corridor Big Enough? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

May 15, 2013

Dogpatch Development Scoop: The Designs For 1201 Tennessee

1201-1225 Tennessee Street Site

As we first reported last June, AGI Capital was quietly testing the waters of Dogpatch with plans to raze the existing structures and surface area parking lot stretching from Third to Tennessee along 23rd Street and construct a six-story mixed-use building with 300 dwelling units over 255 parking spaces and up to 5,500 square feet of retail on the site.

1201%20Tennessee%20Massing.gif

And now, we have the early designs and project update (click renderings to enlarge).

The proposed 1201 Tennessee project is down to 258 units and roughly 200 parking spots with 2,500 square feet of retail and 12,500 square feet of flex space along Third Street:

A mid-block passage with public open space will run between Third and Tennessee.

1201%20Tennessee%20Massing%20Revised.gif

And townhomes will line the lower level of the development along Tennessee.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in as 1201 Tennesseee moves through Planning.

Third Street Scoop: Three Hundred New Units In The Works [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

May 9, 2013

Starbucks' Market Street Plan Shot Down By Planning

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Following the Planning Department's recommendation and reasoning, San Francisco’s Planning Commission has voted 5 to 1 against Starbucks' proposal to take over the retail space at 2201 Market Street at the corner of Sanchez in the Castro.

The Designs For 2201 Market Street And Great Starbucks Divide [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (64) | (email story)

April 17, 2013

Fresh & Easy's Parent Company Is Calling It Quits In The U.S.

Fresh & Easy Outer Richmond

As a plugged-in reader first warned six months ago:

I LOVE [Fresh & Easy] but they just announced last week that they're stalling almost all of their US store openings due to the chain's inability to gain traction and likely won't open more than a couple more in the next year. I think the proposed ones...are unlikely to ever open.

Two months later Tesco announced their plans to either sell off all their Fresh & Easy stores in the U.S. or shut them down. As we wrote at the time, until a decision is made, it's business as usual for the existing stores but their unopened Fresh & Easy locations on South Van Ness and Ocean Avenue appear to be DOA.

And as a reader adds today: "It's official, [Tesco] is out of the US market."

The timing for Tesco's exit and plans for their existing San Francisco and other Bay Area Fresh & Easy stores have yet to be disclosed.

UPDATE: A message from Fresh & Easy this afternoon:

As many of you have heard or read today, our parent company Tesco updated on the future of Fresh & Easy. While we don’t yet know who our new owner will ultimately be, Tesco has already received interest from a number of parties including groups looking to purchase Fresh & Easy as an operating business. We appreciate all the support and love we’ve received from our loyal customers and even though our parent company plans to leave the US, we’re pleased to confirm there are no plans to close any portion of Fresh & Easy.

As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

A Fresh & Easy Start On Ocean Avenue? [SocketSite]
Fresh & Easy Is Having A Hard Time, Likely To Exit The SF Market(s) [SocketSite]
Fresh & Easy At 1245 South Van Ness Set For Approval This Week [SocketSite]
Tesco quits U.S. and takes $3.5 billion global writedown [reuters.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

April 15, 2013

A Record Setting Sale On Billionaires Row

2950 Broadway (Image Source: 2950broadway.com)

Hidden behind non-disclosure agreements and tax records stamped "DO NOT FILM," you’re not supposed to know about the sale of 2950 Broadway which was purchased for $29,500,000 in 2011, remodeled a bit last year, and very quietly traded hands last month.

And you're definitely not supposed to know the confidential sale price which has set a new record for homes in San Francisco.

With $875,000 in transfer tax paid to the city, the sale price for 2950 Broadway was $35,000,000 or roughly $3,182 per square foot, displacing 2840 Broadway to become the most expensive single-family home ever sold in San Francisco.

As we first wrote about 2950 Broadway back in 2009, "it’s the outer Broadway mansion from which Melvin Belli ran naked firing a pistol at his wife who hosted a real estate show for the highest priced properties on television," the only one with a heated outdoor pool.

2950 Broadway Pool Aerial

The seller of 2950 Broadway was musician (think Tangerine Dream) turned real estate and natural resource investor Peter Baumann. The buyer was hidden behind an LLC.

Stay tuned for the hidden identity of the buyer who wasn't a Facebook, Apple or Twitter founder. Nor was the buyer from overseas.

UPDATE: The Trainas Are Trading Up On Billionaires Row.

2950 Broadway Sells For $29,500,000 (And No, That's Not A Typo) [SocketSite]
The Confidential Sale Price For 2840 Broadway On Billionaire’s Row [SocketSite]
When Friia Ruled San Francisco Real Estate (A Reader’s Recollection) [SocketSite]
From Tangerine To A Gold Coast Dream [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

April 12, 2013

America's Cup Waterfront Concert Series Permit Suspended

Pier 27 Pavilion

Ten days ago San Francisco’s Entertainment Commission approved the plans to hold 30 ticketed concerts at the upsized America’s Cup pavilion on Piers 27/29 which is two-thirds built, granting Live Nation a conditional Place of Entertainment Permit for the series.

While the first concert by Imagine Dragons is scheduled for May 31, the Entertainment Commission's approval has been appealed by the "Recreation and Open Space for the Waterfront" neighborhood association and Live Nation's permit has been suspended.

The Board of Appeals hearing is scheduled for May 8. The basis for the appellant's appeal:

1. Pursuant to Police Code § 1060.5, the Entertainment Commission was not authorized to issue the permit because, pursuant to Police Code § 1060.5:
a. The premises or proposed operation of the Business does not comply with the health, zoning, fire and safety requirements of the laws of the State of California or ordinances of the City and County of San Francisco applicable to the Business;
b. Notwithstanding the mitigation provided under the Security Plan submitted by the applicant, the building, structure, equipment or location of the proposed Business cannot adequately accommodate the type and volume of vehicle and pedestrian traffic anticipated;
c. The premises or the proposed operation of the Business lacks adequate safeguards to prevent emissions of noise, glare, dust and odor that would substantially interfere with the public health, safety and welfare or the peaceful enjoyment of neighboring property;
d. The permit applicant has not provided a Security Plan that adequately addresses the safety of persons and property and provides for the orderly dispersal of individuals and traffic.
2. Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the Entertainment Commission was not authorized to issue the permit because:
a. The City has not yet certified a supplemental Environmental Impact Report to assess new and more severe significant impacts caused y changes to the Project;
b. The Noise Control Plan adopted as a required mitigation measure under CEQA is vague and unenforceable.

We've been told that additional legal action is being considered by the group should the approval fail to be overturned by San Francisco's Board of Appeals.

America's Cup Amphitheater Ready For Commission's Rubber Stamp [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

April 11, 2013

$1.7B Treasure Island/Hunters Point Development Deal Falls Apart

Proposed Hunters Point Waterfront Promenade

While $1.5 billion has just been secured to develop Oakland's Brooklyn Basin, the $1.7 billion loan needed to develop San Francisco's Treasure Island and Hunters Point has fallen through as Lennar and the China Development Bank have failed to reach terms.

As noted in December when Lennar had announced the Bank's approval of the loan:

While the deal is not complete, both sides have incentives to wrap it up before Dec. 31 in order to avoid the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which starting in 2013 will require foreign financial institutions to enter into disclosure compliance agreements with the U.S. Treasury.

Unresolved tax issues and issues of control have been identified as the deal breakers.

Oakland's Brooklyn Basin Development Secures $1.5B To Build [SocketSite]
Treasure Island Redevelopment Plans Approved! (Appeal Rejected) [SocketSite]
Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan For 10,500 New Units Approved! [SocketSite]
$1.7 Billion Approved For Hunters Point/Treasure Island Development [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

April 10, 2013

Oakland's Brooklyn Basin Development Secures $1.5B To Build

In the works for over a decade, Signature Development Group’s 66-acre Brooklyn Basin development on Oakland's waterfront has been funded by way of a $1.5 billion investment from China's Zarsion Holdings Group and is slated to break ground next year.

The development of the former industrial site adjacent to Oakland's Jack London Square will yield 3,100 housing units, 200,000 square feet of retail/commercial, and 30 acres of waterfront parks, trails and open space along with new marinas and renewed wetlands.

The project will be built in phases and likley take around a decade to complete, eventually connecting Brooklyn Basin to Lake Merritt by way of bike and pedestrian paths. Click either of the images above, or an aerial of the area as it looks today, to enlarge.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

April 9, 2013

San Francisco's Reconstruction And Latest Landmark District

1580%20Market%20Street.jpg

While it won’t be official until Mayor Lee signs on the line, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has just approved landmark status for the "Market Street Masonry District," a grouping of eight buildings on or near Market Street between Franklin and Valencia.

The notable eight buildings in the District were designed by architects such as August Nordin, G. Albert Landsburgh, Conrad A. Meussdorffer and George Applegarth and are known for their association with San Francisco's reconstruction after the 1906 earthquake, constructed out of earthquake and fire-resistant materials between 1911 and 1925.

With another reconstuction of Market Street and a dozen new developments around the Masonry district underway, the landmarking should support "a balance of new development while retaining historical features around Market Street" as envisoned by Planning.

The newly landmarked district will be the twelfth in San Francisco, the first new district to be designated as such in ten years and the eleventh of which is the Dogpatch Landmark District which was designated in 2003.

San Francisco's Market Street Masonry Discontiguous District [SocketSite]
San Francisco's Historic <1 Percent And Eleven Landmark Districts [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

March 29, 2013

181 Fremont Tower Fully Rendered, Animated, And Ready To Rise

Having acquired the Transbay parcel and approved plans to build a 52-story tower with 14 floors of condos over 400,000 square feet of office space and a spire reaching 800 feet, Silicon Valley builder Jay Paul plans to break ground on 181 Fremont as soon as possible.

While many have seen the renderings, for the first time we're publicly serving up the animation for the tower which was filmed by steelblue for the Jay Paul Company. And yes, RocketSpace will soon need to find a new home.

Latest SF Skyscraper Scoop: 181 Fremont Redesigned And Rendered [SocketSite]
Jay Paul ‘hits the ground running' [San Francisco Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

March 26, 2013

Landmarked Doelger Building Is Going To The Cats, Not The Dogs

The%20Doelger%20Building%202012.jpg

Having been recommended for Landmark Status by San Francisco’s Planning Department last year, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors just unanimously approved the landmarking of the Art Deco Doelger Building at 320 Judah Street out in the Sunset, soon to be San Francisco Historic Landmark No. 265.

Purchased out of probate for $1,450,000 this past September, the building is planned to be used as a new location for Mission: Cats, a family-owned cat hotel.

Once again, a bit of history on the namesake, and somewhat eccentric, Henry Doelger and as Doelger's building looked when it served as his headquarters, warehouse and sales office for the San Francisco developer extraordinaire:

The%20Doelger%20Building%201940.jpg

For two decades, beginning in the mid 1920s into the 1940s, merchant builder Henry Doelger constructed thousands of single‐family houses atop the sand dunes in San Francisco’s emerging Sunset District neighborhood. Pioneering mass construction house building techniques such as assembly‐line production, Doelger’s Sunset District houses rapidly transformed large swaths of southwest San Francisco.
Designed for middle‐income home buyers and built to Federal Housing Administration specifications, Doelger’s houses share near‐identical massing, floor plans, materials, and form, with differentiation provided by a profusion of facade styles. Doelger is widely considered San Francisco’s most prolific and significant merchant builder active during the pre‐War era. In 1946, the San Francisco Chronicle dubbed Doelger “the poor man’s Frank Lloyd Wright,” and his residential tracts are often affectionately referred to as Doelgerville and Doelger City.
Doelger’s financial success allowed him many personal luxuries and stories about him abound in the society pages of local newspapers. He collected cars, yachts, toupees, shoes, ties, and custom‐made sport coats. On Sundays the Doelgers often invited 10 to 40 of their friends to join them on their yacht. Nearly everyone knew Doelger, and some — especially columnist Herb Caen — derived some pleasure from hearing gossip about the millionaire.
Caen opined about a Doelger purchase in November 1954 writing, “Henry Doelger’s ’54 Cad El Dorado has 4,500 miles on it, so naturally he’s turning in the old wreck on a ’55. Gets it Wednesday.” He reported again three days later, “Henry Doelger not only bought the first ‘’55 El Dorado in town, he got a new Fleetwood, too. ‘For the nighttime,’ he explains patiently to the peasants.”
The Doelgers were known for their extravagant lifestyle and eccentric hobbies. Henry’s wife, Thelma, had a heart for stray animals and was drawn toward the exotic. The San Francisco Examiner reported in 1940 that the Doelgers’ pet deer, Timothy, had escaped and was wandering around 15th and Taraval Streets in the Sunset District. Construction workers employed by Doelger recognized the animal and he was returned home, where he was “welcomed by three Great Danes which [were] his constant playmates.”

The Doelgers also had pet monkeys. In 1949 one of the monkeys, Chichi, "broke several dishes and glasses in their home before biting Thelma, requiring her to get stitches." Following the incident, the family donated the monkey to the San Francisco Zoo.

The Prolific Henry Doelger And His Likely To Be Landmarked Building [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

March 21, 2013

Plans For Two Big Towers On Pine Have Been Revived And Rendered

1634-1690%20Pine%20Site.jpg

As the northeast corner of Pine and Franklin Streets currently appears above, and as it would look with the two 13-story towers which are proposed to rise with 262 condos over two stories of commercial and 245 parking spaces below:

1634-1690%20Pine%20Site%20Rendered.jpg

Originally proposed for development with plans for 282 condos in a seven-story building stretching from 1634 to 1690 Pine Street from which a 25-story and 12-story tower would rise, those plans were cancelled in 2007 having raised concerns among area residents.

"People don’t want more residential. That’s what it comes down to," a San Francisco Planner was quoted as saying about the concerns at the time.

1634-1690%20Pine%20Rendering.jpg

The full scoop with respect to the existing site and design for what is now being proposed:

Currently, the site is occupied by five vacant one- to two-story buildings (two, two-story unreinforced masonry buildings; two, one-story unreinforced masonry buildings; and a one-story concrete building) and a parking lot. Past uses of the buildings include a car rental office and distribution center, furniture showroom, and a warehouse. The parking lot, located on the northeast corner of Pine and Franklin Streets, is 7,563 sf in size, contains no structures, and provides approximately 22 parking spaces.
Four of the structures (1650, 1656, 1660, and 1670-1680 Pine Street) have been recognized as having contextual architectural significance to their neighborhood. In addition, three of the buildings on the project site (1650, 1660, and 1670-1680 Pine Street) were designed by the firm Heiman & Schwartz. Many of the firm’s surviving works are local landmarks, either eligible for the National Register or contributory to a historic district. Finally, the buildings on the project site represent a dwindling number of early ancillary automobile-oriented structures, such as storage and repair garages, tire shops, and showrooms.
The proposed project would merge the six lots into one parcel, demolish most of the existing five buildings on the project site, and construct one building with two, 13-story residential towers with commercial use on the ground and second floors. The existing building facades of three of the buildings would be restored and incorporated into the proposed project (click image to enlarge).

The project would have a total area of 353,360 gross square feet (gsf) and would include approximately 262 new for-sale residential units totaling approximately 221,760 sf; 5,600 sf of commercial space, and 34,600 sf of subterranean parking with 245 parking spaces on one level. No off-street loading spaces are proposed. The proposed towers would be approximately 130 feet tall.

As proposed, the condos would range in size from 530 to 1,600 square feet with a unit mix of 24 studios, 120 one-bedrooms, and 118 two-bedroom units. The subterranean parking level would provide 240 spaces with mechanical stackers and five spaces accessible to persons with disabilities. The basement level would include parking spaces for 91 bicycles.

While the project’s proposed uses and heights are allowed by right in the District, the project will require the Planning Commission’s approval and authorization with the density, parking, and bulk as proposed. As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Who Are These “People” And What The Heck Are They Thinking? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

March 5, 2013

Compromise Reached For CPMC's Cathedral Hill Campus To Rise

CPMC Cathedral Hill Rendering

Sometime today, California Pacific Medical Center and City Hall are expected to announce a compromise which will allow the development of a downsized Cathedral Hill campus to move forward and ensure the rebuilding of St. Luke’s over in the Mission.

With the paperwork having been filed to demolish the existing Cathedral Hill Hotel early last year but CPMC's pre-construction teams sent packing last August, the City and Sutter Health have been wrangling over the rewritten terms for CPMC's Cathedral Hill campus which was approved by Planning, but then appealed, ever since.

According to the Business Times, the expected compromise calls for CPMC's Cathedral Hill complex to be downsized from an orignally proposed 555 beds to 274 while CPMC's St. Luke’s hospital would be expanded from an existing 80 beds to 120.

UPDATE: The compromise has been confirmed with 304 beds at CPMC's Cathedral Hill campus versus the originally reported 274. The revised plan will be reviewed by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors on March 12. If approved, the project will likely take until the end of the decade to complete.

A Scaled-Down Cathedral Hill Campus And Expanded St. Luke's [SocketSite]
Cathedral Hill Hotel Demolition Paperwork Filed, Poised To Fall [SocketSite]
CPMC's Pre-Construction Teams Sent Packing [SocketSite]
Mayor Lee To CPMC: Save St. Luke's Or Cathedral Hill Campus Is DOA [SocketSite]
City Hall, California Pacific to announce Cathedral Hill compromise Tuesday [bizjournals]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

February 11, 2013

Café Cocomo's Dancing Days Are Numbered, Condos Coming Soon?

Cafe%20Cocomo%20-%20650%20Indiana.jpg

A plugged-in tipster first put the pieces together. And now, our sources confirm the proposal which suggests that Café Cocomo’s dancing days at 650 Indiana are numbered.

The Potrero Hill parcel upon which Café Cocomo sits and includes 630, 666, and 698 Indiana Street was purchased by 650 Indiana Investment, LLC last year. While members of the LLC are hidden, a business address associated with 650 Indiana Investment just so happens to be 315 Linden, the office of developer Build Inc.

While not yet permitted nor approved, according to our sources a proposal has quietly been pitched to San Francisco’s Planning Department with plans to build residential units on the site with ground floor retail and no mention of a replacement club. The site is currently zoned for development up to 58 feet in height.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

February 7, 2013

San Francisco's Condominium Conversion Lottery Results 2013

While San Francisco’s Land Use Committee couldn’t reach a decision and decided to delay their vote on the proposed condo conversion lottery bypass for another month in hopes of finding an undefined compromise that would satisfy both proponents and opponents of the proposed legislation, San Francisco’s Department of Public Works has drawn the lucky 200 winners and standby list for San Francisco’s 2013 Condominium Lottery.

We're still working on the official numbers, but according to our sources around 2,500 units entered the lottery this time around, including at least one belonging to a plugged-in reader who has entered eight years in a row, has yet to win, and remains stuck with a TIC loan he hasn't been able to refinance.

∙ San Francisco Condominium Lottery 2013 Results: Winner List | Standby List
A Clash Over Condo Conversions At City Hall [SocketSite] 
The Devilish Details For Bypassing SF's Condo Conversion Lottery [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

February 4, 2013

Demolition Of Derelict North Beach Pagoda Theater Set For Approval

North Beach Pagoda Theater (Image Source: MapJack.com)

The rehabilitation and rebuilding of the gutted and long blighted North Beach Pagoda Theater was first approved in 2008, with plans to convert the theater into 18 condos over two ground floor commercial spaces and parking for 27 cars.

Seeking to quell the concerns of North Beach merchants and residents who would be disrupted by the digging up of Columbus Avenue in order to extract the tunnel boring machines for San Francisco's Central Subway project, Muni now plans to the raze the Pagoda Theater, extend the subway tunnel to the Columbus and Powell Street site, and extract all the machinery from there.

Following the extraction of the boring machines, an all new five-story building with 18 dwelling units over a single 4,700 square foot restaurant and parking for 27 cars, but no new Subway station, would be allowed to rise on the site at the same height and configuration as the previously-approved rehabilitation project, since dubbed The Palace at Washington Square:

Pagoda Theater Rendering 2010

San Francisco's Planning Commission is set to vote on approvals for the project this week.

Demolition of the existing theater is expected to take 4 months with 6 months to construct the extraction shaft and 5 months to extract the machinery and close the shaft, for a total of at least 15 months before construction on "The Palace" could begin.

Inside The “Landmark” Pagoda Theater (And Tussle) In North Beach [SocketSite]
A Plan For San Francisco's Central Subway To Stop In North Beach [SocketSite]
Pagoda Theater Preview (And Signs Of Progress All Around) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (43) | (email story)

January 31, 2013

UCSF Seeking Developers For Their Prime 10-Acre San Francisco Site

UCSF Laurel Heights Campus (www.SocketSite.com)

UCSF's Chancellor's Executive Cabinet has approved the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop UCSF's 10-acre Laurel Heights campus at 3333 California Street, seeking to realize "the highest and best use of the site [and] maximize the value of the property." UCSF will be exploring options for relocating its 1,200 Laurel Heights employees to other campuses in San Francisco over the next couple of years.

The Laurel Heights campus which was first developed by the Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in 1955 and acquired by UCSF in 1985 encompasses an oversized city block, with fronts on California, Presidio, Masonic, Euclid, and Laurel Streets.

UCSF%20Laurel%20Heights%20Campus.gif

The campus site with a current 40-foot height limit is located in an RM-1 residential zone which permits approximately one dwelling unit per 800 square feet of land or one dwelling unit per 600 square feet of land if approved as a Planned Unit Development. There are 43,560 square feet per acre. The property could also be used for offices, which is the existing legal non-conforming use.

Proposals are tentatively scheduled to be due in May with a developer and plan set to be selected in June. The selected developer "will be capable of achieving entitlement approvals from the City as early as possible" with an expected time horizon of 4 to 10 years to complete the development.

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

January 28, 2013

ACT(ing) Out: 970 Market Street Site Hits The Market Sans An Arts Use

970 Market Street Site

Over the past two years, the Tenderloin Economic Development Project (TEDP) has been advocating to secure the three Mid-Market parcels between 966 and 974 Market Street for the development of an "arts & education facility with retail, restaurant and residential uses" with the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) as a partner.

Having been in negotiations with the Loan Star Fund, the Dallas based hedge fund which acquired the parcels out of distress a few years ago, and having seemingly secured a soft agreement to incorporate TEDP’s arts and education vision into any development, Lone Star suddenly went silent at the end of last year and quietly listed the parcels for sale as "970 Market Street" with bids due by February 15, 2013.

While not yet entitled for development, the offering memorandum for the 25,557 square foot site with over 100 feet of Market Street retail frontage notes "the potential for over 250 residential units or over 250,000 gross square feet of office and retail space."

970 Market Street Rendering

From the Tenderloin Economic Development Project’s Executive Director, Elvin Padilla:

In response to TEDP’s confronting the hedge fund over bad faith negotiation practices the mayor [has] decided to host a breakfast with developers that may be interested in the site to impress upon them the importance of and the city’s support for arts & culture.

The breakfast meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday.

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

January 24, 2013

Add 291 Units To Potrero Hill's Housing Pipeline

1601 Mariposa Site

Related California, the Irvine based developer of The Paramount in San Francisco, has quietly filed a proposal to demolish the three one-story industrial buildings at 1601 Mariposa Street with plans to construct two buildings with 291 dwelling units over 5,300 square feet of commercial space and parking for 235 cars on the site across from Jackson Playground (and Anchor Brewing Company) at the base of Potrero Hill.

1601%20Mariposa%20Map.jpg

While we haven’t yet seen the design, the site is zoned for 40 feet and the development includes a mid-block pedestrian mews, connecting 18th and Mariposa Streets. And with 291 proposed units, which were not counted in Planning's last report, the housing pipeline for the Potrero Hill/Showplace Square area is now over 3,000 units.

The 43,580 New Units In San Francisco's Current Housing Pipeline [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

January 19, 2013

The 43,580 New Units In San Francisco's Current Housing Pipeline

San Francisco's Housing Pipeline: Q2 2012 (www.SocketSite,.com)

In 2011, less than a hundred market rate housing units came to the market in San Francisco. Including subsidized housing and accounting for units lost through demolition, merger or the like, a total of only 269 housing units were produced.

Today, there are over 3,930 new housing units under construction in San Francisco, most of which are market rate and a couple thousand of which will hit the market over the next year, numbers which shouldn't catch any plugged-in people by surprise.

Building permits for another 2,700 units having been approved with permits for 2,870 units requested, a total of over 5,500 mroe housing units which should start hitting the market in two to four years.

Another 28,010 housing units have been approved to be built by Planning which includes 10,500 units by Candlestick, 7,800 units on Treasure Island and 5,680 units in Park-Merced, projects which still have timelines measured in decades, not years.

With plans for an additional 6,080 housing units on the boards, San Francisco’s total Housing Pipeline currently totals 43,580 units. For context, a total of 10,438 housing units have been constructed in San Francisco since 2007, a total of 24,519 new units since 2000.

With respect to the pipeline of commercial development in San Francisco: 830,000 square feet are under construction; building permits for 963,000 square feet have been issued; building permits for another 2,546,000 square feet have been requested; and another 5,828,000 square feet of commercial development has been approved.

The latest San Francisco Pipeline Report which includes a breakdown of all the development by neighborhood:

San Francisco's Housing Pipeline: 4,200 New Units On The Way [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Total Housing Inventory And Pipeline Report [SocketSite]
Is A Lack Of Density Cooking San Francisco's Golden Tech Goose? [SocketSite]
Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan For 10,500 New Units Approved! [SocketSite]
Treasure Island Redevelopment Plans Approved! (Appeal Rejected) [SocketSite]
The Parkmerced Thirty Year Plan: Public Scoping Meeting Tonight [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

December 24, 2012

From David Sacks With Respect To 2845 Broadway (And SocketSite)

Straight from David Sacks with respect to the sale of 2845 Broadway which we first reported having sold for $20,000,000 last month but Trulia just reported having sold for $34,500,000 with "a portion of the sale...recorded as alternative personal property for tax reasons" according to their "in-the-know" sources:

There's no "tax tomfoolery". You correctly reported the sale price of 2845 Broadway when you checked the public records. Trulia didn't bother to. It's just sloppy reporting on their part. As the publication that appears to do actual research and fact-checking, rather than just quoting unnamed sources, you should have stuck to your guns and stood by your original story.
That said, I remain a fan of your blog.

Cheers and agreed, but we've always stood by our due dilligence and story. As we wrote yesterday, "we have reviewed the public records which pegs the recorded sale price at $20,000,000...which begs the question, if the "in-the-know" sale price Truila is reporting is correct...," a question that is now moot.

More Yammerings And Apparent Tax Tomfoolery [SocketSite]
The Massive 2845 Broadway Misses The Mark And Record Books [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

December 18, 2012

Salesforce Signs Deal To Occupy Entire 350 Mission Street Tower

350 Mission Rendering

As we first reported in October, the permits to demolish the existing four story Heald College building at 350 Mission Street and construct a 27-story office tower reaching 350 feet on the site have been issued with construction to start early next year.

Today, Salesforce announced it has signed a 14 year lease for the entire tower. In fact, the lease is not only for all 27 stories, but for 30 stories and 444,000 square feet should the developer get approval to construct an additional 3 stories on the site.

350 Mission Street: Permits Issued For 350-Foot Tower To Rise [SocketSite]
Salesforce inks deal to occupy new San Francisco highrise [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (46) | (email story)

Butterflies Facing Eviction As 45 Lansing Lands A General Contractor

45 Lansing: Site (www.SocketSite.com)

According to a plugged-in source, Build Group has been selected as the general contractor for the construction of the 39-story tower to rise at 45 Lansing.

45 Lansing Rendering 2011

With construction permits in hand, as we first reported last month, the butterflies will likely soon be evicted from the Lansing Street Pollinator Garden on the site.

45 Lansing Take Two: Latest Renderings And Smaller Units Proposed [SocketSite]
Permit Issued For 39 Stories And 320 Condos At 45 Lansing To Rise [SocketSite]
‘∙ 45 Lansing: Busy As For The Bees As Another Extension Is Expected [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

December 12, 2012

$1.7 Billion Approved For Hunters Point/Treasure Island Development

Proposed Hunters Point Waterfront Promenade

The China Development Bank has approved a $1.7 billion loan to finance the development of the Hunters Point Shipyard, Candlestick Point and Treasure Island, developments which represent nearly 20,000 new homes in San Francisco's housing pipeline.

From the Business Times with respect to the timing and deal:

The loan will provide $1 billion for Hunters Point Shipyard, where the first 1,400 homes could be under construction by the first quarter of next year. Treasure Island, which is at least a year behind the Hunters Point project, will get $700 million.
Lennar is the managing developer of the Hunters Point project. On Treasure Island, Lennar is in a 50/50 partnership with Wilson Meany, Kenwood Investments, and Stockbridge Capital Group.
While the deal is not complete, both sides have incentives to wrap it up before Dec. 31 in order to avoid the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, which starting in 2013 will require foreign financial institutions to enter into disclosure compliance agreements with the U.S. Treasury.

China Development Bank approves $1.7B loan for Hunters Point, Treasure Island [SFBT]
Turning To China For Capital To Kick-Start Developments In SF [SocketSite]
Hunters Point Redevelopment Plan For 10,500 New Units Approved! [SocketSite]
Treasure Island Redevelopment Plans Approved! (Appeal Rejected) [SocketSite]
San Francisco's Housing Pipeline: 4,200 New Units On The Way [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

December 7, 2012

Will This Be San Francisco's Most Expensive Home By Year's End?

2901 Broadway: Aerial

First listed for sale for $55,000,000 in 2007 having served as the 2007 Decorator Showcase Home, the seller of 2901 Broadway received a rumored four offers that year, all of which were countered at asking and all of which walked away.

Having been on the market since and reduced a number of times, most recently to $34,000,000 four months ago, the Gold Coast mansion is in escrow and slated to be sold by the end of the year according to a couple of plugged-in sources who also say the buyer is local, the identity of whom we can’t yet confirm.

If 2901 Broadway sells for within 3 percent of its current list price, it will become the most expensive home ever sold in San Francisco, relegating 2840 Broadway to the penultimate position at $33,000,000.

As plugged-in people know, 2845 Broadway which was listed for $38,500,000 and had a shot at the title ended up selling for $20,000,000 last month, unless a major miscalculation or other tomfoolery by San Francisco's Assessor Recorder's office is in play.

And yes, the city will be a big beneficiary of the sale of 2901 Broadway as the property tax bill for the Gold Coast mansion totaled $7,790 last year. The transfer tax alone on this sale should be over half a million dollars and the tax bill should be over $200,000 a year.

Go Ahead And Ask: 2901 Broadway Is Listed (And Priced) [SocketSite]
Your Chance To Slip Inside 2901 Broadway [SocketSite]
Rumor Has It: Four Offers On The 2007 Decorator Showcase Home? [SocketSite]
With A Local Whale Landed, Another Mansion Is Reduced [SocketSite]
The Confidential Sale Price For 2840 Broadway On Billionaire’s Row [SocketSite]
The Massive 2845 Broadway Misses The Mark And Record Books [SocketSite]
Proposition 13 In Practice Along San Francisco’s Gold Coast [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

December 5, 2012

Scoping The Warriors Arena Impact And Options, Like Moving Red's

With the financial framework for the proposed Warriors Arena on Piers 30-32 having been approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, San Francisco’s Planning Department is quickly moving forward with the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) necessary for the billion dollar arena and proposed mix-use project on Seawall Lot 330 to rise.

Under the proposed project (click the image above to enlarge), Piers 30-32 would be developed with several levels, including an Embarcadero Level (pier level), Levels 2 and 3 (approximately 10 and 22½ feet above pier level, respectively), a Main Plaza/Concourse Level (approximately 35 feet above pier level), and a Terrace Level (approximately 50 feet above pier level). The tallest structure on Piers 30-32 would be the proposed event center building, at approximately 135 feet above pier level.

Seawall Lot 330 would be developed with a four-story building (ground level plus three podium levels), above which two 10-story towers would be developed. The maximum height of the podium component would be 45 feet above ground level; the tower components would each measure approximately 105 feet in height, for an approximate building height of 150 feet above ground level.

Scheduled to be ready for review by summer 2013, a plugged-in tipster delivers the hot off the presses notice of preparation and public scoping meeting for the EIR which has been scheduled for January 15. From the notice which mentions a couple of interesting project variants to be explored and omits one big variant which some were hoping to see:

The EIR will discuss the proposed project’s potential conflicts relating to physical environmental effects with the San Francisco General Plan and its relevant elements, particularly the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plan. The EIR will also analyze the project’s potential conflicts with the Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s (BDCD’s) San Francisco Waterfront Special Area Plan and the Port of San Francisco’s Waterfront Land Use Plan. Other applicable planning documents will be discussed for context, including, the Bicycle Plan, Sustainability Plan, Climate Action Plan, and Better Streets Plan, as well as the City’s Transit First policy.
The EIR will also discuss the conformance of the proposed project with the San Francisco Planning Code, including the specific sections relevant to the area, including but not limited to, Sections 829 (South Beach Downtown Residential Mixed Use District), 260 (Height Limits), and 240 Waterfront Special Use District. Inconsistencies with relevant plans or zoning that could result in physical effects on the environment will be analyzed in the applicable environmental topic sections, such as noise and air quality.

While the EIR has been scoped to consider several project variants for both Piers 30-32 and Seawall Lot 330, including a potential relocation Red’s Java House to the south end of the piers and a single, even taller tower upon Seawall Lot 330, it hasn't been scoped to consider an alternative site for the arena.

Financial Framework For Warriors Arena Development Endorsed [SocketSite]
Board Of Supervisors Unanimously Approve Warriors Arena Resolution [SocketSite]
The Design For The Warriors San Francisco Arena On Piers 30-32 [SocketSite]
The Conceptual Details And Design Discussion For Seawall 330 [SocketSite]
All The Devilish Details For The Development Of Piers 30-32 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

November 29, 2012

Trader Joe's At California And Hyde Has Opened Its Doors

1401 California Trader Joe's (www.SocketSite.com)

While the ribbon cutting ceremony isn’t until next week, the new Trader Joe's at 1401 California and Hyde has opened its doors. A CVS Pharmacy will join the redevelopment of the former Cala Foods in early 2013. And there’s currently no queue for parking. Yet.

1401 California: Trader Joe's And CVS Authorization This Week
From Cala To Condos To Trader Joe's At 1401 California [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

November 20, 2012

Board Of Supervisors Unanimously Approve Warriors Arena Resolution

Having been endorsed by their Budget and Finance Committee last week and right on schedule, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved the resolution backing the proposed financial framework for the rehabilitation of Piers 30-32 and development of the proposed Golden State Warriors arena upon the site.

San Francisco’s Planning Department can now officially start work on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) necessary for the billion dollar arena to rise. The EIR is scheduled to be ready for review by summer 2013.

Supervisor Kim's amendment to the resolution which provides the Piers 30-32 Citizens Advisory Committee an opportunity to formally review the proposed financial terms for the development deal prior to a Board vote on ther terms early next year survived, but doesn't guarantee anything more than an opportunity to comment.

Timeline And Key Milestones For Building The Warriors Arena In SF [SocketSite]
Financial Framework For Warriors Arena Development Endorsed [SocketSite]
All The Devilish Details For The Development Of Piers 30-32 [SocketSite]
The Design For The Warriors San Francisco Arena On Piers 30-32 [SocketSite]
Piers 30-32 Citizens Advisory Committee Members Call Foul [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

November 9, 2012

Neighborhood Scoop: 340 Fremont's Refined Design And Parking

As we first reported in September, the developers of 340 Fremont have filed for permits to build the 400-foot tower with over 300 new housing units on Rincon Hill. And if you were wishing for a refinement of the approved Heller-Manus tower and podium, you’ll be happy learn the design has been tweaked by Handel Architects, click the renderings to enlarge:

While the dwelling unit count has increased from 332 to 348, the number of proposed parking spaces has decreased from 332 to 269, with the vast majority in stackers.

The refined design will be presented to the Planning Commission next week.

340 Fremont Scoop: Building Permit Filed For 400-Foot Tower [SocketSite] 
340 Fremont Seeks 12 More Months As Housing Recession Remains [SocketSite]
New Developments: 340 – 350 Fremont [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

November 6, 2012

All The Devilish Details For The Development Of Piers 30-32

As we reported last month, the draft development deal with the Golden State Warriors to build an arena upon San Francisco’s Piers 30-32 would cap the City's exposure on the billion dollar project to a $120,000,000 reimbursement (the "Maximum Reimbursement Amount") for pier rehabilitation and potential public improvements with funding of the reimbursement limited to rent credits, the sale of Seawall 330 for an estimated $30,400,000, and new property tax revenue generated by the development.

While not highlighted in the summary Fiscal Feasibility and Conceptual Framework presentation for the Piers 30-32 project, however, as Jamie Whitaker over at Rincon Hill notes, according to the detailed Findings of Fiscal Responsibility and Feasibility report, the Golden State Warriors will receive a guaranteed 13 percent annual rate of return from the City on the $120 million they spend for the rehabilitation of Piers 30-32, a return that's above and beyond the Maximum Reimbursement Amount.

A few other assumptions for the project: 205 events a year with roughly 2 million attendees (1.4 million of which will be from outside the city limits) and an average of around 2,000 cars in need of parking per event.

With a tight timeline in play, the Port Commission has until to February 1, 2013 to endorse the proposed Term Sheet while the Board of Supervisors has until February 15, 2013.

It's No Slam Dunk Nor Layup For A Warriors Arena In San Francisco [SocketSite]
The Design For The Warriors San Francisco Arena On Piers 30-32 [SocketSite]
Plans For Seawall 330 Remain As Murky As The Rendering [SocketSite]
Findings of Fiscal Responsibility and Feasibility: Piers 30-32 Arena Project [Box.net]
Timeline And Key Milestones For Building The Warriors Arena In SF [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (53) | (email story)

November 2, 2012

The Massive 2845 Broadway Misses The Mark And Record Books

2845 Broadway

As plugged-in people know, the two-parcel site which includes 2940 Pacific and upon which 2845 Broadway was built was purchased for $32 million in 2002, the cost of construction for the 17,500 square foot home and 6,000 square foot guest house has already reached $20 million, and the "buzz among brokers" is that it will cost another $8-16 million to finish.

And as we first reported last month:

While the listing for 2845 Broadway at $38,500,000 was quietly removed from the MLS without a reported sale last week, as a tipster notes, the unfinished Gold Coast property which is currently owned by the Sperlings is actually under contract to be sold.
Originally listed for $65,000,000 in 2006, if the sale of 2845 Broadway closes within 14 percent of its most recent list price it will be the most expensive home ever sold in San Francisco, relegating 2840 Broadway to the penultimate position at $33,000,000.

Unless a major miscalculation, fat finger error or tomfoolery by San Francisco's Assessor Recorder's office is in play, based on the recorded transfer tax paid, the copy of the deed we received pegs the sale price of 2845 Broadway at $20 million.

A $20 million sale is just a bit below the original $65 million ask, $18.5 million (48 percent) under its last list price, roughly $32 million less than has been invested in the property to date, and nowhere near the $33 million 2840 Broadway commanded.

In terms of the buyer, while we've heard various yammerings, the legal entity on the deed is Broadcliff LLC with a mailing address of a wealth manager out of Dallas, Texas. We can't yet officially confirm the individual hidden behind the LLC.

The Most Expensive Home Ever Sold In San Francisco Is... [SocketSite]
The $65,000,000 House [SocketSite]
Over $50 Million Invested And Now Asking $38.5M For 2845 Broadway [SocketSite]
Behind The Sperling’s Shocking "Sale" Of 2323 Hyde For $9,000,000 [SocketSite]
The Confidential Sale Price For 2840 Broadway On Billionaire’s Row [SocketSite]
The Political Case Of A 38 Percent Reduction In Property Tax Paid [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

October 24, 2012

Financial Partner Secured To Build San Francisco’s Transbay Tower

As we wrote last week with respect to the recently approved 61-story Transbay Tower to rise at 101 First Street:

In terms of the land on which the tower would rise, while the deadline for Hines to complete the $185 million purchase of the site from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority has passed, and Hines has yet to announce a new financial partner, negotiations continue.
The chance that Hines will fail to complete its purchase of the site (click image to enlarge) and that the Pelli Clarke Pelli design would be shelved? We'd put that at well under one percent.

Boston Properties has just been announced as Hines’ new financial partner on the project. The acquisition of the site from the TJPA is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013.

Proposed 1,070-Foot Transbay Tower Approved To Rise [SocketSite]
Transbay Land Cost Cut Another $50 Million For Shrunken Tower [SocketSite]
Transbay Tower's Financial Backer Has Left The Building [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

October 15, 2012

The Design For The Warriors San Francisco Arena On Piers 30-32

Scheduled to be presented to the Citizens Advisory Committee this week, Snøhetta’s preliminary design for the proposed Golden State Warriors arena to be built upon Piers 30-32 in San Francisco have just been released (click any of the images to enlarge).

The proposed arena would rise 135 feet (AT&T Park is 183 feet to the light standard, 132 feet to the top of the seating bowl) and seat 17,500 (Oracle Arena seats 19,596).

Other key arena facts and the site's open space overview:

Venue Footprint: 170,000 square feet
Venue Total Square Footage: 740,000 square feet
Community Event Room: 10,000 square feet
Retail: 105,000 square feet
Parking Spaces: approximately 630 covered by tiered landscaping (Piers 30-32 currently parks 1,500 cars out in the open)

The Warriors are committed to no less than 50 percent of the site being dedicated to open space (333,000 square feet out of 548,500 square feet as proposed) and the site will include a ferry and water taxi landing, a fire boat station, and a kayak launch.

The Warriors are budgeting $100 million to fix the piers and another $500 million to build the arena with a tight timeline to get the ball rolling (or bouncing as the case may be).

The Plans For A Legacy San Francisco Warriors Arena Upon The Piers [SocketSite]
Golden State Warriors Snag Snøhetta For Piers 30-32 Stadium Design [SocketSite]
Piers 30-32 Citizens Advisory Committee Tips Off Tonight [SocketSite]
Neighborhood Survey Says: Mixed Sentiments For Warriors Arena [SocketSite]
Timeline And Key Milestones For Building The Warriors Arena In SF [SocketSite]
Warriors San Francisco Arena Development Project: Venue Site and Images [nba.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (59) | (email story)

October 12, 2012

201 Folsom Street Timing: Immediately (Upon Approval Of Permits)

201%20Folsom%20Street%20Rendering.jpg

As we first reported last month, Tishman Speyer has officially filed for their building permits to construct two towers rising 37 and 42 stories, and two 8-story plaza buildings, with a total of 669 new residential units over underground parking and street level retail on the 201 Folsom Street site.

As we also first noted, having missed the September 3, 2012 deadline to start construction per the terms of Planning's approval for the massive 201 Folsom Street project, Tishman also filed for an official extension, a request which is simply procedural and necessary to secure permit approval. Now, in the direct words of the Tishman's legal team:

"Upon issuance of those permits, [Tishman] intends to commence construction immediately."

The eventual (and existing) view from the street:

201 Folsom Street Rendering: Street Level

As the corner of Folsom and Main currrently appears:

201 Folsom Street Site

Permits Filed For Tishman's 201 Folsom Street Towers [SocketSite]
201 Folsom: The Revised Plans For The Two New Towers To Rise [SocketSite]
The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop [SocketSite]
201 Folsom Street Scoop: Don’t Panic, The Extension Is Procedural [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

A Proposed Cap On Smaller Residential Units In San Francisco

Last month, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors elected to postpone until November their vote on the proposed ordinance sponsored by Supervisor Wiener which would reduce to the minimum legal living room for a residential unit in San Francisco from 220 to 150 square feet, requiring the total area of the unit to be no less than 220 square feet.

The proposed amendment would help clear the way for buildings such as the proposed 11-story high-rise at 1321 Mission with 200 micro-apartments designed for students to rise.

Market rate developers, buyers and renters take note, however, Supervisor Wiener has just introduced another proposed ordinance "to put a cap on the number of Efficiency Dwelling Units, as defined in the Building Code, that can be constructed with reduced square footage unless the units are group housing, affordable housing, or student housing."

A Big Vote For Micro-Units In San Francisco [SocketSite]
32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco As Proposed [SocketSite]
32 Percent More Or Less Efficient In San Francisco Part Two [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 11, 2012

Details For The Starchitect Designed SF Tower Dubbed One Van Ness

One Van Ness Rendering

The Richard Meier & Partners designed 37-story tower that’s proposed to rise at the corner of Market, Van Ness and Oak Streets would reach 445 feet, 435 feet to the roof line with mechanical hidden by a parapet above (click elevations to enlarge).

Tentatively dubbed One Van Ness, the tower would contain 258 condos (one, two and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 500 to 2,500 square feet), 5,377 square feet of ground level retail, and 69 underground parking spaces accessed by way of a car elevator.

The proposed project also includes pedestrian improvements on Oak Street to the north of the project site that could include the installation of decorative paving/bricks, benches and landscaping. Additionally, the project entails construction of a wind screen structural feature that would extend across the width of Oak Street. Preliminary conceptual descriptions indicate that it would consist of a free standing, horizontal canopy that would allow wind to pass through.
The proposed wind screen would extend from the third floor roof (top of the base) across Oak Street at a height of 42 feet over the length of the project site. The wind screen would be anchored to the ground near the existing buildings at 11-35 Van Ness Avenue and 70 Oak Street. The canopy would consist of a porous material to diffuse the effects of ground-level winds.

Click the proposed ground level and plaza plan to enlarge:

In the words of a plugged-in reader earlier this year:

The tower would be a joke if the [All Star] Donut Shop remains in front as proposed. The developer currently will not buy the property and included it in the tower as the Market-Octavia Plan intended. The shop owner is willing to sell. People should tell the Planning Department that this project would be an abomination if the Donut Shop is not included.

The All Star Café site is still not include in the plan and the building will remain at the base of the modern One Van Ness tower as proposed.

All Star Cafe

An All-Star Architect's Design For An All Star Site At One Van Ness [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (88) | (email story)

October 10, 2012

Scoop: YouTube Co-Founder's Ritz-Carlton Penthouse Up For Grabs

690%20Market%20%232402%20Dining.jpg

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen purchased one of four penthouse shells atop the Ritz-Carlton Residences in San Francisco for $4,850,000 in 2007 and proceeded to have the 3,000 square foot, two-level condo built-out as an überswank one-bedroom bachelor pad.

690%20Market%20%232402%20Bedroom%20Detail.jpg

Having since gotten married and had two kids, the family has recently moved south to the Peninsula. And according to a plugged-in source, Chen is finally giving up the penthouse.

690 Market Street #2402 Living Room

From Interior Design which featured the build-out and design by Melissa Winn Interiors with Joel Sanders and Winder Gibson Architects back in 2010:

Unifying [the two levels] visually, a double-height living area is overlooked, mezzanine-style, from the balconies of the master suite and a contiguous space designed as a game room that could double as guest quarters.

690 Market Street #2402 Game Room

An Eero Saarinen armchair and a Vladimir Kagan lounge chair and footrest outfit a sitting area in the master bedroom, where the bed's blue-gray upholstery plays off the blue wall paint. The wool-silk shag, meanwhile, is a slightly creamier white than the oatmeal-colored rug down in the living area.

690 Market Street #2402 Bedroom

Behind [the bed's Corian headboard], dividing the bedroom from the bathroom, a glass wall can change from clear to frosted and back again at the flip of a switch. A less high-tech privacy device is the set of white stacked pocket doors that slide out to close off the bedroom from the game room.

While Chen's penthouse pad isn't yet listed, nor up on YouTube for that matter, it is very quietly being shopped. So quietly, in fact, that we haven't been able to confirm a price. But if a couple of our sources are correct, Chen is estimated to have spent nearly as much on the build-out as the shell, so the asking price should be interesting.

UPDATE: The day after we broke the news, the penthouse was listed with two bedrooms, which includes the game room, and a price of $8,000,000 ($2,612 per square foot).

∙ Listing: 690 Market Street #2402 (2/2.5) 3,063 sqft - $8,000,000 [ritzph.com]
YouTube founder shares his San Francisco penthouse [interiordesign.net]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

San Francisco's First Target Has Opened Its Doors

San Franciscio City Target (www.SocketSite.com)

While the official Grand Opening isn't until this Sunday, San Francisco’s first Target at Fourth and Mission, an 85,000 square foot "CityTarget" with merchandise tailored for city-dwellers, including fresh groceries, opened its doors at 7am this morning.

The San Francsico CityTarget's store layout and offerings (click map to enlarge):

Go bananas, they're $.24 a piece. And don't forget the milk.

San Francisco CityTarget Grocery Section (www.SocketSite.com)

Metreon 1.5 Opens Tomorrow (2.0 And Target In October) [SocketSite]
Target + Metreon = (Twenty-Two Foot) Bull's-Eye In 2012 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

September 27, 2012

San Francisco Named "America's Best City" By Businessweek In 2012

3322 Market Views

Ranked by leisure attributes (the number of restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, professional sports teams, and park acres by population); educational attributes (public school performance, the number of colleges, and graduate degree holders), economic factors (2011 income and June and July 2012 unemployment), crime and air quality, Businessweek.com has named San Francisco America's Best City in 2012.

San Francisco's number one ranking is up from number nine in 2011, displacing Raleigh, N.C. atop last year's list. That being said, "as the methodology has changed since the 2011 ranking, a city’s rise or fall compared with last year does not suggest that it has gotten "better" or "worse." Whatever.

Oakland was ranked 31st out of the 100 cities evaluated while San Jose ranked 33rd. The rest of the top ten cities and San Francisco's winning metrics by Businessweek's counts:

Population: 808,854
Bars: 394
Restaurants: 3,430
Museums: 70
Libraries: 52
Pro sports teams: 2
Park acres per 1,000 residents: 7
Colleges: 17
Percent with graduate degree: 16
Median household income: $90,640
Percent unemployed: 7.8

Rounding out the top ten below San Francisco on Businessweek's Best American Cities list: Seattle (2); Washington, D.C. (3); Boston (4); Portland, Oregon (5); Denver (6); New York (7); Austin (8); San Diego (9); and St. Paul, Minnesota at number ten.

America's 50 Best Cities [businessweek.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (78) | (email story)

August 27, 2012

Tech Jobs Up By A Third In San Francisco, Filled Mostly By Commuters

From the Examiner, to SFAppeal, to TechCrunch, news sites across the country have been misreporting that the number of tech jobs in San Francisco has tripled from January through June of this year, from 13,000 to 44,000. The actual increase was 13,000, up a third from 31,000 to 44,000.

Directly from San Francisco's Center for Economic Development in response to our inquiry into the reported tripling that simply didn't make any sense:

Since early 2012 the number of workers in San Francisco's tech sector has grown by 13,000 to total 44,000. During the same time period, 150 more technology firms moved to the city, bringing the total number to 1,850. This growing trend is helping eliminate commutes to Silicon Valley for many San Francisco-based workers and, analysts believe, strengthening the city's housing and rental markets.

Note that employment within San Francisco has increased by 6,200 workers from January through June, suggesting that over half of those 13,000 new tech jobs have been filled by workers commuting from housing outside the city.

UPDATE: Four hours after we uncovered the link to the correct data and first published our report, the Chronicle figured it out. The first line of the Chronicle's report: "SF Appeal, Tech Crunch, the Examiner and others are all reporting that tech jobs tripled in San Francisco this year — a growth rate that would be stunning, if only it were true." Stunning, indeed.

Tech jobs in SF triple in first half of 2012 [SF Examiner]
SF Tech Job Numbers Triple In 2012 [SFAppeal]
Tech Jobs Have Tripled In San Francisco Since The Start Of 2012 [TechCrunch]
Employment In San Francisco Up By 4,600 In July, Up 24,900 YOY [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

July 27, 2012

Designs For A Market Rate Tenderloin High-Rise At Mason And Turk

Mason and Turk High-Rise Site.jpg

Speaking of market rate development in the Tenderloin, and the demise of surface area parking lots, a plugged-in tipster reports that Heller Manus has been working on plans for a twelve-story high-rise with 110 residential units over ground floor retail and a 23-space garage to be built on the lots surrounding The Metropolis Hotel at Mason and Turk.

While we haven't seen the renderings (tipsters?), apparently the early design actually incorporated bay windows which the Planning Department suggested should be nixed.

Affordable Housing Headwinds And TNDC's New Tack In San Francisco [SocketSite]
399 Fremont Scoop: Redesigned And Pursuing Construction Permits [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

July 26, 2012

399 Fremont Scoop: Redesigned And Pursuing Construction Permits

399%20Fremont%20Rendering%202012%20-%20From%20First.jpg

The proposed 400-foot tower to rise at 399 Fremont has been redesigned, and while the project sponsors are now seeking another extension to start building, according to a plugged-in source, financing has been arranged, they are in the process of pursuing construction permits, and they expect to break ground on the site by the end of this year.

399%20Fremont%20Rendering%202012.jpg

Additional renderings and details for the now 452-unit tower and podium to rise:

399 Fremont Rendering: West

Parking under the podium will now total 238 spaces for autos (including 36 tandem spaces served by valet) with two (2) spaces for car shares and space for 150 bikes.

399 Fremont Rendering: Aerial

And of course, the design prior to the redesign:

399 Fremont Rendering

UPDATE: And to answer a reader's question, yes, those are trees atop the new tower:

399 Fremont Rendering: Roof

399 Fremont: From Condos To Rentals And Flowers For Another Year [SocketSite]
399 Fremont: Interim Plans Set To Bloom For The Californian Site [SocketSite]
The Californian On Rincon Hill: No Longer Coming Soon (If At All) [SocketSite]
The Californian on Rincon Hill: 375 Fremont St. [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (102) | (email story)

July 23, 2012

The Money And Motivation Behind The Anti-8 Washington Measure

Golden Gateway Commons Aerial

As a plugged-in reader wrote last month with respect to the threatened anti-development referendum that seems to have materialized in an attempt to thwart the approved development of 8 Washington Street:

What the opponents are about is a "referendum", a provision in the City Charter which allows a law passed by the BOS and signed by the Mayor to be repealed by the voters. The process requires the necessary signature to be collected within 30 days from the day the BOS refused to repeal the law itself. It could trigger a special election. It will take a lot of effort and money to accomplish this task in this short time period.

Of the $150,000 raised to fund the signature gathering for the ballot measure, over half came from a single couple which seems to have left some scratching their heads.

From the listing for the three-bedroom Golden Gateway Commons on condo on Davis Street that the aforementioned couple purchased for $2,400,000 back in 2004:

Rarely available Bay and Bridge view 3 bedroom…This home faces to the east and enjoys views of the Bay, Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, Ferry Building and the pools and tennis courts of the Golden Gateway Club.

Looking for the political views and motivation behind the funding of the anti-development ballot measure? You're looking in the wrong direction.

8 Washington Opponents Deliver On Anti-Development Threat [SocketSite]
8 Washington Gets The Board's Votes, Will It Need Yours As Well? [SocketSite]
8 Washington Watch: Development Approved! [SocketSite]
Tennis Anyone? No Longer At 8 Washington As Now Proposed... [SocketSite]
Protest Alert: Rally Against 8 Washington [SocketSite]
SWL 351 And The Proposed 8 Washington Street Project: Port Hearing [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

June 15, 2012

Sue Hestor Seeks To Stop Transit Center Tower Development Short

Speaking of the Planning Commission approved Transit Center District Plan necessary for the Transbay Transit Tower and Terminal to rise, yesterday Sue Hestor filed an appeal of Planning’s approval on behalf of the Save Our Parks Sunlight Coalition, membership of which is comprised of Ms. Hestor’s organization, San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth.

The appeal alleges the Transit Center District Plan’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR): "Understates the shadow impacts on parks under the protection of Proposition K, a voter-approved ordinance that precludes new shadows on parks under the jurisdiction of the Recreation & Parks Commission" and "[m]isapplies Proposition K by assuming that the Planning Commission and Recreation & Parks Commission can increase the amount of shadow allowed on downtown parks."

In the opinion of Reuben & Junius:

Though the appeal is completely without merit, CEQA nonetheless mandates the Board of Supervisors consider it-an exercise that will needlessly consume the time and attention of elected officials and waste public funds. To add insult to injury, none of these costs will be paid by the appellant. San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth, which to most regular observers seems to be an organization consisting of one person, apparently received a fee waiver as a “community organization.”

The appeal will likely be heard by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next month.

Planning’s Towering Transit Center District Plan Decision: Approved [SocketSite]
Transbay Tower Timeline Moved Up, Payment To City Stays Down [SocketSite]
Shining Light On The Shadows Of The Proposed Transit District Towers [SocketSite]
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Transit Center EIR Appealed [reubenlaw.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

June 8, 2012

TIC Lottery Bypass Legislation Will Be Introduced Next Week

TIC Lottery Applicants 2001-2011 (www.SocketSite.com)

As we first reported two weeks ago:

While conspicuously absent from the Mayor’s Housing Trust Fund proposal, according to a plugged-in reader, condo conversion lottery bypass legislation will be introduced before San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in the next few weeks. It remains unclear, however, whether the Mayor will be openly supportive or not.
Keep in mind that despite the then Mayor's support, it was San Francisco's Budget and Finance Committee that killed a proposed lottery bypass in 2010.

This coming Tuesday, Supervisors Farrell and Wiener will introduce legislation to San Francisco Board of Supervisors which would allow any of the roughly 2,500 units which either participated in, or could have qualified for, the 2012 condo lottery to convert for a fee.

Condo Lottery Bypass Legislation Coming, Mayoral Support Unclear [SocketSite]
The Mayor's Housing Trust Fund And Missing Lottery Bypass Fee [SocketSite]
TIC Conversion Lottery Bypass And Mayoral Take Two [SocketSite]
Condominium Conversion 2012 Lottery Deadline And Odds (Against) [SocketSite]
Condo Lottery Bypass For A Fee Resurfaces In Mayor's New Budget [SocketSite]
Budget and Finance Committee Kills Condo Lottery Bypass For A Fee [SocketSite]
Condominium Conversion 2012 Lottery Deadline And Odds (Against) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

June 4, 2012

The Political Case Of A 38 Percent Reduction In Property Tax Paid

27 Athens

We received the following statement from Chief Appraiser Matthew Thomas in San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder's Office in response to accusations of impropriety in the reassessment of 27 Athens from $1,170,218 to $725,000, a 38 percent reduction in assessed value for the home of a fundraiser for Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting:

We strive to help every constituent that contacts our office to ensure they receive a fair assessment and excellent customer service.
A homeowner brought a case into the office, the case was reviewed on the merits and an adjustment was reached that followed the facts and applicable regulations. The Assessor-Recorder does not get involved personally with constituent appraisals. All constituent cases are handled by our staff of professional appraisers. We encourage any property owner who feels they are entitled to a reassessment to contact our office.
Last year the Assessor-Recorder’s Office proactively reduced over 18,600 properties that have declined in market value. Under state law (Proposition 8) if the current market value is lower than the assessed value, a temporary homeowners’ property tax reduction may be applied.

The property at 27 Athens is a 2,096 square foot three-bedroom single-family home with two baths which was built in 2007 and purchased that December for $1,150,000 ($549 per square foot). At $725,000, the tax assessed value is $346 per square foot.

While we haven't been presented with the homeowner’s case, the median price per square foot for single-family homes that sold in 27 Athen's zip code (94112) dropped 21.2 percent from 2007 to 2010, 23.6 percent from 2007 to 2011, but the median area home is much smaller (around 1,200 square feet) and older construction. We couldn't find any decent 2010 era comps, in terms of sales, for the property.

We haven’t received any statements addressing the cancelling and reissuing of a past property tax bill for 27 Athens which appears to have wiped out interest and penalties due.

And if a plugged-in reader is correct, the original source for the accusations of impropriety works in the Assessor-Recorder's office and is a political opponent of Mr. Ting, which might explain the motivation for the accusations but wouldn’t change what transpired.

Accusations Of San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Office Impropriety [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | (email story)

May 24, 2012

2001 Market Street: Let’s Get Ready To Rubble And Build!

2001 Market Street Site: 5/24/12 (www.SocketSite.com

Demolition and excavation permits have been granted, as a plugged-in tipster reports, a construction fence now surrounds the former S&C Ford dealership at Market and Dolores, and the Prado Group has started clearing the way for 2001 Market Street to rise.

2001 Market Street Rendering

Once again, an eight story building along Market Street (stepping down to four stories at 14th Street) with 82 residential units over a 31,000 square foot Whole Foods and 101 parking spaces will rise on the site over the next 19 months if all goes as planned.

2001 Market Street Demo (www.SocketSite.com)

UPDATE: Speaking of going as planned, from the comments:

There have been rumors floating around that Whole Foods has pulled out of this project, having decided that building new stores is not cost-effective when compared to rehabilitating existing buildings. Their withdrawal would endanger the entire project. Anyone plugged-in to be able to confirm or deny that?

At this point, that's a rumor we can neither confirm nor deny. Readers?

UPDATE: Consider the rumor busted. From the Prado Group: "...Whole Foods is happening. Look forward to the store opening in fall 2013." Pass it along.

2001 Market Street Development (AKA Whole Foods Castro) Approved [SocketSite]
2001 Market Street Prepares To Meet The Planning Commission [SocketSite]
Drawings And Details For The Proposed Development Of 2001 Market [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

May 22, 2012

The Plans For A Legacy San Francisco Warriors Arena Upon The Piers

Piers 30-32 Stadium Watercolor

With San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee characterizing it as his "legacy project" and the Golden State Warriors owners now making statements ("It is going to happen - let there be no doubt"), a scheme to bring the Warriors back to San Francisco with plans to build a new arena upon Piers 30-32 in time for the 2017-18 season is moving full steam ahead.

The arena would also host conventions and entertainment events such as concerts, [Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob] said. Plans for the site also include 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space.
The crumbling, 13-acre pier is owned by the Port of San Francisco, which now uses it for parking. Under a deal between the team and Mayor Ed Lee's administration, the port would hand the Warriors a long-term lease in exchange for the team building the arena and investing heavily in fixing the pier.
In addition, the team is seeking control of a port-owned, 2-acre lot across the Embarcadero from the pier, which is also now used for parking. The Warriors haven't said what they would do with the land.

As proposed, the estimated $500 million project would be financed by the team and not the city (nor its taxpayers) and the designs at this point are simply conceptual.

Warriors Stadium Interior Concept

While the development would include parking for the team and a few "premium" spots, the team plans to leverage existing "public and private lots and garages within walking distance of the site" for fans that drive to the arena.

Keep in mind that in addition to any neighborhood opposition and Planning "hoops" that the project will have to jump through, development on the piers will require Bay Conservation and Development Commission approval which the Warriors hope to secure by including "a new marina, or ferry and water-taxi service to the arena" as part of the project.

ESPN Source: Warriors Are Committed To Moving To San Francisco [SocketSite]
Warriors to build new arena, move back to S.F. [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (72) | (email story)

May 21, 2012

One Rincon Hill's Tower Two Targeting June 11 Construction Start

One Rincon Hill's TwoTowers

As we first reported with respect to One Rincon Hill’s Phase and Tower 2 in March:

Construction is anticipated to start approximately June 1, 2012 and be completed in an estimated 26 months. The building design, unit size and unit mix can be summarized as a 50 story [or 450 foot] version of Phase I...
For the floor plans and unit layouts, Phase II will combine the two adjacent small one bedroom units at the center of the building curve above floor 25 into one two bedroom unit. The number of two bedroom units will increase and the number of one bedroom units will correspondingly be reduced. Approximately 60% of Phase II unit plans are the same as Phase I.
Significant improvements in the Phase II building will include a 3,600 square foot exercise facility and a top floor 4,000 square foot penthouse "Sky Lounge." (As comparison, current Phase I amenities include a 750 square foot exercise room and an 1,100 square foot Party Room). All amenities, including the existing swimming pool and spa deck facilities, will be available to occupants of both towers.

Having first been approved for development in 2005 before falling on hard times, on Thursday San Francisco’s Planning Commission is expected to extend the development’s expired entitlement and clear the way for a groundbreaking next month (June 2012).

One%20Rincon%20Hill%20Two%20Towers%20Site%20Plan.jpg

One Rincon Hill’s Second Tower will yield 299 units all of which will be market rate with a $15,090,879 fee paid to the city in-lieu of including any Below Market Rate (BMR) units.

In addition to the BMR fee, the city will collect a $4,035,150 Rincon Hill Infrastructure Impact Fee, a $5,140,726 SOMA Stabilization Fund Fee, and a School Fee of $988,431.

The target date for pulling the Site Permit and to begin shoring is now June 11, 2012.

The One Rincon Hill Tower Two Timing, Design And Details Scoop [SocketSite]
One Rincon Hill Tower Two Site In Play [SocketSite]
Where The Development Fee Dollars Are (And Are Going To Be Spent)

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

May 18, 2012

Groundbreaking Mid-Market News: 900 Folsom At Fifth

Speaking of San Francisco's housing pipeline and new construction slated to rise, while site work has already commenced at the corner of 5th and Folsom, Avant Housing will officially break ground on 900 Folsom this coming Monday, May 21. The build is slated to take 19 months with 282 new units and retail along Fifth ready for occupancy at the end of 2013.

Full disclosure: We were engaged by Avant Housing to consult on the development of 900 Folsom but received no compensation for this post.

San Francisco’s Total Housing Inventory And Pipeline Report [SocketSite]
New And Approved: 900 Folsom/260 Fifth Street Project [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

May 15, 2012

8 Washington Watch: Development Approved!

8 Washinton Revised Rendering: North

In just under an hour at 4pm, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is scheduled to hear the appeals and either uphold or overturn the Planning Commission’s approvals for the 8 Washington Street development. Feel free to plug in and comment during the hearings.

Bonus points for breaking the Board's news as well as best quotes.

UPDATE: A plugged-in Steven Aiello reports at 12:58AM:

[Environmental Impact Report approval] upheld 8-3
[Conditional Use Authorization approval] upheld 8-3

The 8 Washington Street development has been approved by the Board of Supervisors.

8 Washington Could Be Approved, Financial Deal And All, Next Week [SocketSite]
Planning Approves 8 Washington Street Development As Proposed [SocketSite]
Tennis Anyone? No Longer At 8 Washington As Now Proposed... [SocketSite]
Protest Alert: Rally Against 8 Washington [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

May 9, 2012

Protest Alert: Rally Against 8 Washington

San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu is expected to join the San Francisco Tenants Union, a couple of "Occupy" groups, and a few neighborhood associations who oppose the 8 Washington Street development that was approved by Planning in a protest this evening.

Protestors plan to rally at 550 Battery Street at 5pm and march to the office of Golden Gateway’s Oak Hill Partners at Montgomery and Columbus at which point the protestors will present Golden Gateway (which owns 80% of the 8 Washington site) with a tax default notice from "the people."

According to Ted Gullicksen of the Tenants Union, the "people’s default notice" is on account of Golden Gateway having "found a way to avoid paying taxes on the real value of their property, resulting in a potential loss of $30 million to the city."

Planning Approves 8 Washington Street Development As Proposed [SocketSite]
Art Agnos’ Open Opposition To The Development Of 8 Washington [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

March 23, 2012

CityPlace Parcels Lost To Foreclosure

As a plugged-in reader reports, the Market Street parcels upon which the approved CityPlace development was to be built between Fifth and Sixth Streets were just foreclosed upon and taken back by the bank.

Comments: CityPlace Parcels Rescheduled For Foreclosure [SocketSite]
CityPlace EIR Approved Appealed Approved! [SocketSite]
CityPlace Parcels Along Market Scheduled For Foreclosure This Week [SocketSite]
Details To Augment Designs For "CityPlace" (935-965 Market Street) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | (email story)

February 27, 2012

Salesforce.com Kills Mission Bay Campus, Open To Offers For Land

Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Olive Building Rendering

Poised to receive Planning's approval to move forward with the first four buildings at the center of their proposed 14-acre campus in South Mission Bay this week, Salesforce.com has just killed any near-term plans for the massive development.

According to the Business Times, Salesforce "needs space faster than it can build it and thus will focus its efforts on expanding into existing buildings in downtown San Francisco."

"We just took a look at our long term and really our short term needs. The reality is we are going to need the square-footage before we can build it," said Bruce Francis, Salesforce vice president of corporate strategy. "We came to the conclusion this is the way to go."
While there are no immediate plans to sell the Mission Bay land that Salesforce bought in late 2010 for $278 million, Francis expressed openness to offers.

No, it's no February Fools. And yes, the salesforce story does sound a bit iffy. One more strike and it's officially a development turkey for San Francisco today.

First Four Salesforce.com Campus Buildings Poised For Approval [SocketSite]
Salesforce suspends plans for huge San Francisco campus [Business Times]
Salesforce.com Acquires 14 Mission Bay Acres To Build 2 Million Feet [SocketSite]
Piers 30-32 Dropped From AC34 Development Plan, Lawsuit Filed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (46) | (email story)

February 8, 2012

The Arquitectonica Redesigned 201 Folsom Street Rendering Scoop

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Arquitectonica blows the 725 doors off the old Heller Manus design for Tishman Speyer’s development at 201 Folsom. And as promised, we’ve got the rendering and design scoop.

The 80 foot full-lot podium is gone, instead two podium buildings topped with park-like outdoor areas for residents rise on the northeast (Folsom and Main) and southwest corners of the site while the two towers rise on the northwest (Folsom and Beale) and southeast corners with pathways and green space between.

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Continue on for a few more renderings, design details and links...

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Once again, the two towers of 201 Folsom will still rise 38 and 43 stories, but instead of 725 units, the new plans call for 671 units with 12 studios, 234 one-bedrooms, 333 two-bedrooms and 92 threes across the four buildings.

201 Folsom Arquitectonica Design

Per the terms of Planning's approval, Tishman Speyer currently has until September 3, 2012 to commence work on the project, the "sister" to Tishman's Infinty across the street.

201 Folsom: The Revised Plans For The Two New Towers To Rise [SocketSite]
201 Folsom: Three More Years To Contemplate And Start Construction [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (42) | (email story)

February 7, 2012

Scoop: A Record $3,000 Per Square Foot In San Francisco Within Sight

1170 Sacramento #19B View

Quietly delisted from the MLS last week, tongues are wagging, and lips are being licked, with respect to Penthouse B atop 1170 Sacramento Street. And yes, it’s in contract.

According to our sources, the sale of 1170 Sacramento #19B should close at $6 million and set a new all-time residential record in San Francisco at over $3,000 per square foot.

The buyer hasn't been revealed. And while the sale hasn’t yet closed, don’t forget those invitations to the housewarming. Cheers.

Shooting For A Record $3,000 Per Square In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

January 6, 2012

Salesforce.com Campus Key Elements And Design Preview

Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Olive Building

Scheduled to be presented at San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week, we’ve got a preview of the key elements (no private cafeteria on campus), latest building designs (continue reading below), and phasing for the 1.9 million square feet of office, 65,000 square feet of retail, 4.2 acres of public open space, 2,111 auto parking spaces, and 450 bicycle parking spaces proposed for Saleforce.com’s Global Headquarters to rise in San Francisco’s Mission Bay.

Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Phases

Key programmatic and design elements of the proposed campus by way of Planning:

Retail Program and Childcare
In addition to 1.92 million square feet of office space, the Major Phase calls for 65,000 square feet of retail and 21,000 square feet of on-site childcare. The retail program will include a mix of sitdown restaurants, casual cafes, shops and services, located in key areas on the ground-floor to help integrate the campus with the larger community and activate the pedestrian realm.

Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Pink Building

The retail is intended to serve Mission Bay’s residents and daytime worker population, as well as Salesforce employees. Unlike other corporate campuses, Salesforce will not have private cafeterias or other eateries for its employees. Rather, Salesforce employees will use the public retail spaces, adding to the vitality of the area’s street life...

Under the Major Phase, Salesforce will provide up to 21,400 square feet of on-site childcare space, consistent with the Mission Bay Redevelopment Plan childcare requirements and Section 414 of the San Francisco Planning Code. The proposed on-site childcare will accommodate approximately 200 children. While priority will be given to children of Salesforce employees for the on-site childcare spots, to the extent space is available, Salesforce and the childcare provider may make spaces available to the public.

Open Campus and Active Pedestrian Realm
The proposed design is intended to create a vibrant, urban campus that is intended to be well integrated with the Mission Bay neighborhood and establish a clear corporate identity for Salesforce. The Salesforce headquarters is intended to be an open campus, with publically accessible and inviting ground floor uses such as retail, restaurants, childcare and open space. Each building will have its own entrances and the campus is designed to be permeable, with access points off all major streets.

The Salesforce campus will provide a total of 4.2 acres of publically-accessible open space including a large plaza on Blocks 29-32 – referred to as the Town Square – as well as a series of smaller, interconnected open spaces and plazas. The Town Square will be at the center of the campus and is intended to be a gathering place for the public as well as Salesforce employees. It will contain seating, farmer’s markets, outdoor café space, art work and other programming.

Several key elements will help define the open space and Town Square. There will be two pavilions that will serve as sculptural elements in the space. The pavilions will include retail, meeting spaces and other uses to help activate the open space. One of the pavilions will be designed by local or international artists to create architectural variety and interest. The second pavilion, located adjacent to the building on Block 31, will be designed by Legorreta + Legorreta in the same architectural vocabulary as the campus and will support an outdoor electronic screen. The screen will provide public programming, such as baseball games or movies, to help activate the central open space.

The Town Square will include water features that lead from 3rd Street to Terry Francois Blvd, – the visual axis to the Bay – fountains, runnels, a large vernal pool that will expand and contract, depending on the season or use in the center, terminating in a wetlands maze. This axis will also be marked at each end by two slim, vertical “pylons” rising to 165 feet. These pylons will help define the entries to the Town Square, and will relate to an existing visual language in Mission Bay of vertical elements in public spaces, including the Richard Serra sculptures on the UCSF campus and the tall campanile on the UCSF Community Center building. The pylons, to be built of natural red sandstone, are intended to be an iconic and easily identifiable part of the Salesforce campus.

Circulation, Transit and Automobile and Bicycle Parking
The Salesforce campus is well-served by local transit. The site is adjacent to the Third Street Light Rail line. In addition, the 22 Fillmore bus line will be rerouted to extend along 16th Street and will travel north along Third Street in front of the site. The Caltrain station is located less than a half-mile north of the site. The site is also well served by bicycle infrastructure, with dedicated bike lanes planned for 16th Street and Terry Francois Boulevard.

The Design for Development requires one parking space for each 1,000 square feet of gross floor area of office space. It also permits additional parking for retail space depending on the size and specific use. The Major Phase application therefore allows a maximum of 2,211 vehicular parking spaces. Salesforce will build two new parking structures on the campus to accommodate 1,836 parking spaces. Car parking will be concentrated in two above grade structures on Block 31, (accessed from South Street), and on Block 34 (accessed from Illinois Street). Vehicular curb cuts are not allowed on Third Street, the main transit spine in Mission Bay. The remaining spaces will be provided in the existing parking garage on Block 27 (Parcels 2 and 3), previously developed by ARE.

Lastly, the Design for Development requires one secured bicycle parking space for every 20 vehicular spaces for a total of 111 bicycle spaces. Salesforce is providing 450 bicycle parking spaces, well more than the number required. Salesforce will also provide showers and storage areas to support bicycle riders.

Building Siting and Massing complements Open Space and Urban Context
The location and massing of the buildings will reinforce Mission Bay’s urban setting, while being sensitive to the surrounding context. Buildings have been sited to preserve mid‐block views and pedestrian access to downtown and the waterfront. Blocks 29-32 on the Salesforce campus will be divided by north-south and east-west “varas” or privately-maintained, pedestrian public rights-of-way that help breakdown the scale of the development and improve pedestrian circulation. The north-south vara will connect to an existing vara on Blocks 26-28, referred to as Bridgeview Way. The east-west vara will allow pedestrians to walk from Third Street, through the campus, to Terry Francois Boulevard and beyond to the future Bayfront Park and the waterfront.

Along Third Street, the buildings will create a street wall [while] the buildings step down towards the waterfront along Terry Francois Boulevard, creating a sense of openness and expansiveness along the Bay. In addition, the stepped massing provides outdoor terraces that break down the mass and activate the facades. Taller building massing punctuates and anchors key locations and gives visual wayfinding cues to the town center as well as provides visual variation. The parking structures are located internally to the project and hidden from view.

Schematic Building Design of first phase Blocks 29, 30, 31, and 32
The first phase consists of a public open space bounded by four buildings. The first phase of development consists of 1,259,680 s.f. of office space, 49,318 s.f. of retail, and 6,000 s.f. of childcare space. A subterranean service tunnel provides access to loading docks to all four buildings.

The overall vocabulary of the buildings is a consistent but playful variation of a theme: boldly scaled solid masses that wrap around and past other masses, articulated by vertical and horizontal glazed curtain walls and punctuated by deep fenestration. The buildings are further punctuated with vertical masses; deep horizontal overhangs and thick walls layered with varied materials.

Block 29, Olive Building
Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Olive Building

The Olive building will clearly articulate the role of primary entry to Salesforce headquarters. Located on the corner of 3rd and South Street, the building contains office space and retail space in the heart of the town square. The building is composed of a 10-story tower that steps down to a 6-story mass that further steps down to a 4-story structure along 16th Street. The 6-story mass is covered by a folded plane overhang that is supported by colorful columns. A 165’ tall campanile attached to Building 29 will visually mark the center of the town square.

Block 30, Purple Building
Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Purple Building

This building, at South Street and Terry Francois Boulevard, contains six stories of structured parking and office space. In addition to the office and entrance lobby, the ground floor is programmed with a fitness center and retail space which is setback from the street, providing a plaza that faces onto the waterfront park across Terry Francois Boulevard.

The building is strongly articulated into three segments: the parking structure, which is clad with a vertical orange terracotta rainscreen; the office block, which is clad with orange terra cotta and punched window openings; and an amenity wing which is clad with a purple accent material fenestrated with a square lattice grid.

Block 31, Pink Building
Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Pink Building

The Pink building at the corner of 16th and 3rd St. occupies an important corner of two prominent streets. It is composed of three distinct building masses: a five to six-story bar along 3rd Street that intersects with a ten-story office building as it wraps around the 16th street corner, and a six-story building mass in the mid-block of 16th that is separated by the office entrance lobby.

Ground floor retail along 3rd street wraps around 16th Street and into the “town center” plaza, and office uses occupy the majority of the remaining sides. The composition is solidly massed blocks punctuated by deeply recessed punched fenestration, contrasted by upper story setbacks and clad with glazed curtain walls, and capped by a flat roof plane with deep overhangs that folds down into a thickened wall.

Block 32, Yellow Building
Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Yellow Building

The smallest of the four buildings occupies the corner of Terry Francois Boulevard and 16th
Street. The building steps down to create a series of terraces that face the waterfront. A glass and steel bridge spans the vara to connect the Yellow building to the Pink building.

Salesforce Mission Bay Campus Yellow Building

Designs For Salesforce's Global Headquarters Complex in Mission Bay [SocketSite]
A Bit Of Color On (And For) Salesforce's Campus In Mission Bay [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (65) | (email story)

January 5, 2012

One Rincon Hill Tower Two Site In Play

One Rincon Hill Tower Two Site (www.SocketSite.com)

Back in 2008, the phase two second tower of One Rincon Hill was officially "put on hold." And as we first reported early last year, the 64 percent partnership interest held by Urban West Rincon Developers II, LLC in the One Rincon Hill Phase II Limited Partnership and the entire general partner interest held by Rincon Developers Phase II, LLC were headed for a foreclosure sale.

While not a done deal, according to a plugged-in source the undeveloped site for the second tower of One Rincon Hill is now in contract. And if our source is correct, Miami-based Crescent Heights which has started construction on 749 units at 1401 Market Street and owns the parcel at 45 Lansing on which a proposed 320 units will rise across the street from One Rincon Hill should emerge as the buyer, or possibly an equity partner.

As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.

It's "Official," One Rincon Hill's Tower Two Is Indefinitely On Hold [SocketSite]
One Rincon Hill Phase II Partnership Interests Headed For Foreclosure [SocketSite]
1401 Market Street: Redesigned And Cleared For Construction [SocketSite]
45 Lansing Site In Contract, No Imminent Eviction For The Bees [SocketSite]
45 Lansing Take Two: Latest Renderings And Smaller Units Proposed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

December 16, 2011

Penthouse Atop San Francisco St. Regis Sells For A Record $28 Million

188 Minna Penthouse Sunset View

As we first reported earlier this week, the bank-owned penthouse atop the San Francisco St. Regis was in contract having been listed for $35 million, down from $70 million in 2008.

According to our sources, the sale of the penthouse atop 188 Minna has just closed escrow with a recorded contract price of $28 million, nearly double the previous record for a condo in San Francisco set by the penthouse atop the Royal Towers with an unreported but rumored sale price of $15 million a decade ago.

As plugged-in people know, it was real estate developer Victor MacFarlane who deeded the penthouse atop the St. Regis back to the bank earlier this year having purchased the space as three unfinished units for roughly $30 million in 2005 and having invested 5 years of time and money combining the units to construct and finish the 17,000 square foot penthouse with 2,900 square feet of outdoor terrace space.

As always, don’t forget those invitations to the housewarming and thanks for plugging in.

UPDATE: A plugged-in reader with photoshop skills submits, "So, how good do you have to be to find something like THIS under your tree?"

188 Minna Penthouse Under Tree (www.SocketSite.com)

Full Disclosure: The co-listing agent for the penthouse atop the San Francisco St. Regis advertises on SocketSite but couldn't comment on the sale.

Buyer Emerges For The Most Expensive Bank-Owned Condo In The US [SocketSite]
$70M St. Regis Penthouse Goes Back To The Bank And Drops To $35M [SocketSite]
St. Regis Penthouse Asking $70M: Is San Francisco All Growns Up? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

December 14, 2011

Buyer Emerges For The Most Expensive Bank-Owned Condo In The US

188 Minna Penthouse Living View

According to a plugged-in tipster over at the St. Regis, a buyer has emerged for the $35 million bank-owned two-floor penthouse atop the building at 188 Minna, the most expensive bank-owned residential property in the U.S.

We’re working on details, but "no comments" and apparent non-disclosure agreements keep getting in the way. That being said, according to our tipster, the buyer isn’t Mark Pincus unless he was wearing one hell of a disguise.

A sale within two million dollars of asking would make it the most expensive residential sale in San Francisco history, with 2840 Broadway relegated to runner up we do believe. Oh, and remember that uberexpensive staging job we first reported? It’s now on display, so grab some popcorn and take a peek inside while you can.

188 Minna Penthouse Theater

Full Disclosure: The co-listing agent for the penthouse atop the San Francisco St. Regis advertises on SocketSite but couldn't comment on the sale.

$70M St. Regis Penthouse Goes Back To The Bank And Drops To $35M [SocketSite]
The Confidential Sale Price For 2840 Broadway On Billionaire’s Row [SocketSite]
A Half-Million Reasons To Start A Staging Company [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: The Penthouse atop the St. Regis Hotel [museumtowerpenthouse.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

December 3, 2011

Santa Clara Scores $850 Million To Finance New 49ers Stadium

Santa Clara Football Stadium

Having stiff armed and broken a potential tackle in September, the San Francisco 49ers are now streaking towards an end zone in Santa Clara having announced Goldman Sachs, Bank of America/Merrill Lynch and U.S. Bank have pledged a combined $850 million to help finance a new 49ers stadium down south.

The target opening for the proposed Santa Clara stadium remains 2015, the year in which the 49ers’ lease expires at Candlestick, the long-term redevelopment plans for which most likley no longer call for a replacement stadium.

Candlestick/Hunters Point Rendering: Proposed 49ers Stadium

49ers "Affiliated Entity" Partnering On Acquisition Of Great America [SocketSite]
Santa Clara Scores A Potential Stadium/Team As Measure J Passes [SocketSite]
First And Goal For The San Francisco Santa Clara 49ers Stadium [SocketSite]
Four More Years For The 49ers At Candlestick [SocketSite]
The Grand Plan And Aesthetics For Candlestick/Hunters Point [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

November 14, 2011

Not Only Kinky, But Perhaps Somewhat Hinky As Well

A pair of emails forwarded from a plugged-in tipster reveals that the owner of the Armory, who was leading the charge against the development of 49 Julian, had made an all cash offer for the property and was seeking "to move forward ASAP with escrow, in order to avoid any additional work having to be done for the [Historic Preservation Committee] and Planning Commission hearings."

Following the offer to acquire the entire property, and despite continuing to publicly oppose the project, the owner of the Armory then proposed "to pre-purchase units on the top two floors [of 49 Julian]" in order to "assist [the developer in] financing and remove a certain amount of risk of house price fluctuations from [the developer’s] plate."

Once again, following a few modifications, the project appears to be headed for approval this week. And as far as we know, all offers from the owner of the Armory to purchase the property in part or in whole have since been withdrawn.

The "Kinky" Opposition To 49 Julian Avenue As Proposed [SocketSite]
Working Out The Kinks To Build Eight Homes At 49 Julian [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

November 2, 2011

2950 Broadway Sells For $29,500,000 (And No, That's Not A Typo)

2950 Broadway (Image Source: 2950broadway.com)

The sale of 2950 Broadway closed escrow yesterday with a reported contract price of $29,500,000 ($2,682 per listed square foot).

In the absolute, call it the second most expensive single-family home sale in San Francisco history, for as plugged-in people know, 2840 Broadway quietly sold for $33,000,000 this past August (albeit for only $1,909 per listed square foot).

As we first wrote about 2950 Broadway back in 2009:

It’s the outer Broadway mansion from which Melvin Belli ran naked "firing a pistol at his wife who hosted a real estate show for the highest priced properties on television."
It’s a Frederick Herman Meyer design, and an ex-Decorator Showcase home (Miss 1987 to be exact). And as a tipster notes, 2950 Broadway is in the process of getting prepped for sale and "coming soon" (asking $39,500,000).

And once again, it's the one with the heated outdoor pool.

2950 Broadway Pool Aerial

UPDATE: Okay, while we weren’t going to name names, apparently the Wall Street Journal did, and the buyer of 2950 Broadway was German musician (think Tangerine Dream) turned real estate and natural resource investor Peter Baumann.

24 Karat Gold Coast (2950 Broadway) Brochure, Plans, And History [SocketSite]
Belli Would Be Fired Up As 2950 Broadway Is Reduced By $5,600,000 [SocketSite]
The Confidential Sale Price For 2840 Broadway On Billionaire’s Row [SocketSite]
24 Karat Gold Coast Coming Soon (2950 Broadway) [SocketSite]
When Friia Ruled San Francisco Real Estate (A Reader’s Recollection) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (66) | (email story)

October 28, 2011

The San Francisco Foreclosure Rigging Four

Amongst eight Northern California real estate investors who have pleaded guilty to rigging public foreclosure auctions are Laith Salma, Patrick Campion, Keith Goodman and Craig Lipton, all of San Francisco.

The men agreed not to bid against each other for foreclosed properties auctioned off outside the county courthouse in Redwood City and in San Francisco County. Instead, they kept the winning price low which, in turn, federal prosecutors say, damaged the real estate market and defrauded those expecting a fair marketplace.
When property is auctioned, the proceeds pay off the mortgage and debt with any remaining money going to the homeowner. Squelching competitive bids limits how much money is available for both.
The men used the U.S. mail and Federal Express to send the Trustee’s Deeds Upon Sale and other title documents to others in the conspiracy, leading to the mail fraud charges.
For their roles, the investors face up to a decade in federal prison for violating the antitrust law known as the Sherman Act and up to 30 years for conspiring to commit mail fraud, the DOJ announced yesterday.

And amongst the properties purchased on the courthouse steps by Craig Lipton was 2209 9th Avenue, a property with which plugged-in readers should be rather familiar.

Investors guilty of rigging real estate auctions [smdailyjournal.com]
FBI Looks Into Auction Bid Rigging (And Shouldn’t Have To Look Far) [SocketSite]
The Full 2209 9th Avenue Scoop: Sold And...Coming Back Soon [SocketSite]
2209 9th Avenue Sports An Open Market Eight In 2011 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

October 5, 2011

Supervisors Reject NIMBY Appeal Against Transitional Housing

Edward II Inn (Image Source: MapJack.com)

As we reported earlier this week, Supervisors Avalos, Campos, Chiu, Mar, Mirkarimi, and Kim were all sponsors of the proposed Special Use District legislation which would pave the way for the previously approved transformation of the Edward II Inn from hotel to group housing for transitional 18 to 24 year olds while Cow Hollow Supervisor Farrell was not.

And as a plugged-in reader reports today, the Board of Supervisors unanimously rejected the Cow Hollow Association’s appeal of Planning's approval for the project and only one Supervisor, Farrell, voted against the creation of the Special Use District in Cow Hollow.

Whether or not the project makes financial sense is a valid debate, but it wasn’t the basis of the Association’s appeal or stated in the opposition to the spot zoning for the corner of Lombard and Scott.

NIMBY Opposition To Transitional Cow Hollow Housing Continues [SocketSite]
Support For Supportive Housing...Just Not Here [SocketSite]
Appealing The "Unappealing" Neighbors To Be At Scott And Lombard [SocketSite]
The Cow Hollow Association Might Say Both Are For The Birds... [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (46) | (email story)

September 19, 2011

49ers "Affiliated Entity" Partnering On Acquisition Of Great America

Santa Clara Football Stadium

San Francisco based JMA Ventures is in contract to purchasing California’s Great America amusement park in Santa Clara from Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment Company for $70 million, and they're not acting alone in the acquistion:

An entity affiliated with the San Francisco 49ers has been working with JMA and is expected to partner with them in the acquisition of the theme park, which is located adjacent to the new Santa Clara stadium site. The acquisition will position the park for future long-term growth and clears the way for the new stadium project to move forward.

The San Francisco (for now) 49ers lease at Candlestick park runs until the end of 2015 with an option to leave a year early.

UPDATE: "Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews told [the Mercury News] that the York family -- owners of the 49ers -- is investing in the purchase with JMA Ventures."

Santa Clara Scores A Potential Stadium/Team As Measure J Passes [SocketSite]
First And Goal For The San Francisco Santa Clara 49ers Stadium [SocketSite]
Four More Years For The 49ers At Candlestick [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

September 2, 2011

2840 Broadway Quietly Sells On Billionaire's Row (And Not To Ellison)

2840 Broadway Aerial

The sale of the late Dodie Rosenkrans’ Pacific Heights mansion at 2840 Broadway, the Willis Polk designed 17,000 square foot home adjacent to Ellison’s modern manse on San Francisco’s Billionaire's Row, has quietly closed escrow.

While the buyer’s identity was hidden behind an LLC ("2840 Broadway Street") managed by William McClure down in Menlo Park, according to a plugged-in tipster the buyer wasn’t Ellison, a fact that we’re still trying to confirm along with the official sale price.

UPDATE: We've got confirmation on the buyer who is from the 'hood but isn't Ellison which shouldn't catch any plugged-in readers by surprise. We're still working on the sale price.

As always, don't forget those invitations to the housewarming. Cheers.

Another Big Billionaire's Row Home Coming Soon: 2840 Broadway [SocketSite]
Ellison Report Kicked To The Curb [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

August 30, 2011

Conforming Loan Limit Extension Gains Obama's Support

As plugged-in people are well aware, the super/jumbo conforming loan limits that provide for federally backed mortgages up to $729,750 in high cost areas like San Francisco were first passed as part of an economic stimulus bill back in 2008, were extended by President Obama last year, and are currently set to expire on September 30, 2011.

This past May, the New York Times quoted an Obama administration’s position paper on reforming the housing market stating: "Larger loans for more expensive homes will once again be funded only through the private market." In other words, another extension was not to be expected.

Today, it’s a plugged-in reader that points to a research note by Capital Alpha Partners in Washington DC that suggests the Obama Administration has decided to support a two-year extension for the higher conforming loan limits.

If Lowering Rates Isn’t Working, Perhaps Increasing Limits Will [SocketSite]
Another Year For Super Conforming Limits (Assuming Obama Signs) [SocketSite]
Super Conforming Limits In San Francisco Set To Expire September 30 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (133) | (email story)

August 2, 2011

Millennium Tower: "Confidential Investment Opportunity" (And Sales)

San Francisco's Millennium Tower (www.SocketSite.com)

A plugged-in tipster delivers the email from the Managing Director of Carlton Advisory Services, Inc. with respect to a "Confidential Investment Opportunity" in San Francisco:

Carlton has been retained on an exclusive basis by a European investor to sell a membership interest in a luxurious 60-story residential tower in San Francisco, CA. The development was delivered in 2009 and consists of 419 units. At 645 feet, the development is the fourth tallest building in San Francisco and the tallest residential building in the United States west of Chicago.
Through June 30, 2011, 188 units have already been sold. During 2011, sales have accelerated substantially. The developer has closed 40 units for the period from January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011 and approximately 16 more units are under contract.

Said building would be Millennium Tower.

To be clear, the offering isn’t for any specific units but rather an interest in the development by way of a minority investor within the development group. And it’s entirely possible the offering is simply an attempt to value said interest.

The Millennium: A Few Things You Might Know (And A Few You Don’t) [SocketSite]
Millennium Tower (301 Mission) Update: 30% Closed Or In Contract (2009) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

July 15, 2011

The House Google Facebook Bought: 526 Duncan

The T House (Image Source: Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects)

While you won’t find any record of the sale on the MLS, we’ve been told the agents involved were required to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), and a blind entity (the "526 Duncan, LLC") was employed to quietly make the purchase, we’re pegging the new owner of 526 Duncan as a former Facebook engineer turned angel investor.

While we can’t yet confirm the sale price, we can report the purchase was financed with a first mortgage for $3,240,000 and line of credit for up to $1,000,000 more.

As plugged-in readers might recall, the seller was a former Google engineer who paid $5,300,000 in cash for the property known as the "the T House" in 2005 and was quietly asking $6,400,000 for the property today.

526 Duncan (The Noe Valley "T House") Quietly Hits The Market [SocketSite]
Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects: The T House [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

July 11, 2011

The 34th America's Cup Environmental Impact Report (And Issues)

America's Cup Venue Map

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 34th America’s Cup (AC34) and James R. Herman Cruise Terminal Project was just been published. The Report will be formally reviewed on August 11 with comments from the public accepted until August 25.

The San Francisco Planning Department published a Notice of Preparation on February 9, 2011 to notify the public of its intent to prepare an EIR on the AC34 and Cruise Terminal projects. During the public scoping process held in February and March 2011, the Planning Department received numerous comments from public agencies, organizations, and individuals regarding the scope and content of the EIR, including comments on environmental effects of the AC34 and Cruise Terminal projects as well as on the details of the projects themselves.
Comments received during the scoping process on the proposed projects and their potential environmental impacts are addressed in this EIR. This section lists the areas of controversy and major concerns raised during the scoping period as well as issues to be resolved. Issues to be resolved include those areas of concern that will be addressed either (1) during the permitting and approval processes for the projects subsequent to the completion of the CEQA process, (2) as part of the environmental review requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the applicable aspects of the project, (3) during design and implementation of the projects (assuming the projects are approved), or (4) as part of future proposals for long‐term development on Port properties as provided for under the Host Agreement and the associated environmental review process.

The areas of controversy and issues to be resolved include the following:

Details of the People Plan (including Transportation Management Plan), Waste Management Plan, Sustainability Plan, and other implementation plans as proposed.

Coordination of the AC34 project sponsors with federal, state, regional, and other local agencies for the planning and implementation of AC34 events.

Management and coordination of large private spectator yachts expected to view the AC34 events and impacts of increased boat traffic Long-term development rights of Port properties provided for under the Host Agreement following completion of the AC34 events, and environmental implications of such development.

Tenant relocation from Port properties that would be necessary for both the AC34 and Cruise Terminal projects.

Impacts of the AC34 events on views, traffic, services, utilities, recreational resources, and public access at proposed venue locations as well as at adjacent and nearby areas.

Potential conflicts of both projects with adopted plans applicable to the project sites, including effects on public access.

Effects of AC34 racing events on existing maritime and commercial uses of San Francisco Bay.

The first volume of the report is 746 pages while volume two is 698. So if you plan to comment or complain intelligently, you had better start reading now. Luckily volumes three and four are simply appendices.

The Scope Of Development For San Francisco’s First America’s Cup [SocketSite]
Pier 27 Terminal Rendered And Ready For Fiscal Feasibility Vote [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Last Minute Giveaways To Get The America’s Cup [SocketSite]
∙ 34th America’s Cup Draft EIR: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 [sfplanning.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

June 8, 2011

Treasure Island Redevelopment Plans Approved! (Appeal Rejected)

Treasury Island Development Aerial SOM Rendering (Image Source: SOM)

Narrowly passed by San Francisco’s Planning Commission in April, last night San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the 550 acre redevelopment of Treasure and Buena Vista Island and rejected the appeal backed by the Sierra Club and Aaron Peskin.

Treasure Island Promenade

Over the next few decades, 240,000 square feet of retail and commercial, 10,680 parking spaces, 8,000 new residences (2,000 of which will be affordable), and over 300 acres of open space will be developed on the islands, with ground slated to be broken next year.

Treasure Island City View

UPDATE: As a plugged-in reader notes (and links to a good overview that's been modified a bit since), the maximum building height on Treasure Island will be 450 feet.

Treasure Island Building Heights

Planning Commission Approves Treasure Island Redevelopment Plan [SocketSite]
The Draft Plan For 550 Acres In The Middle Of San Francisco's Bay [SocketSite]
Treasure Island/Yerba Buena Island Redevelopment Project EIR Appeal [sfbos.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (74) | (email story)

June 7, 2011

Board Denies Appeal Of North Beach Branch Library Project Report

North Beach Branch Library Rendering

Having previously sided with the Land Use and Economic Development Committee with respect to voting against landmark status for the North Beach Branch Library late last year, today San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors sided with the Planning Commission and voted down an appeal of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the North Beach Library/Joe DiMaggio Playground Master Plan, clearing the way for the current library to be razed and a new North Beach library and playground to rise.

North Beach Branch Library: No Landmark Status For You! [SocketSite]
North Beach Public Library and Joe DiMaggio Playground Master Plan Appeal [sfbos.org]
North Beach Library/Joe DiMaggio Playground Master Plan Report [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

May 24, 2011

555YVR Scoop: Half Sold And Now Going Rental With The Rest

555YVR Courtyard

On the market since 2009, and with only half of its 87 condos having sold and one in contract, according to a plugged-in tipster, 555YVR (Ygnacio Valley Road) over in Walnut Creek will be going the rental route with its unsold inventory starting June first.

In the words of our tipster: "After going through [two] sales teams and fighting an uphill battle amidst all the foreclosure activity in CoCo County, the developers will rent the homes for now and attempt to resale them in the future."

Currently asking from $349,000 to $449,000 for one-bedrooms which range from 763 to 1,080 square feet, and $499,000 to $675,000 for two-bedrooms ranging from 1,147 to 1,308 square feet, according to our tipster they’re going to be targeting rents from $2,000 a month for the one-bedrooms up to $2,800 for the twos.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

May 3, 2011

Castle On The Park (601 Dolores) In Contract For $6,600,000

601 Dolores

A plugged-in tipster delivers the news that 601 Dolores, a.k.a. the "Castle on the Park," is now in contract with an accepted offer of $6,600,000 for the 17,000 square foot property which was last officially listed for $7,490,000.

Born the Mission Park Congregational Church in 1909, 601 Dolores was purchased in 2007 and transformed into a single-family home. And as we first reported, the property returned to the market in 2008 listed for $9,950,000.

601 Dolores Bedroom

And no, it's not a high flying tech exec nor newly minted millionaire that's in contract to buy the Castle, but rather Children’s Day School which plans to use the space for classrooms, a large community gathering and performance space, and offices.

The big challenge now, an "upcoming heroic and unprecedented fundraising effort this spring to close the deal." We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Sweet Jesus (So To Speak): 601 Dolores On The Market And Inside [SocketSite]
Unofficial Inventory (And A Righteous Reduction) At 601 Dolores [SocketSite]
One Hell Heck Of A Bedroom Overlooking Dolores Park... [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

April 30, 2011

The Now Public Details For The Painful Situation We Posted Last Week

While we didn't disclose the details last week, the recent buyer of a unit above an S&M enthusiast has decided to go public, perhaps as the reality of our reader's words of wisdom with respect to litigation has set in. The first third of the buyer's detailed public plea:

When I closed the deal last Friday for [removed by editor] in Glen Park, my new condo in a 2-unit building, I had no idea my downstairs co-owner was a self-described "sex enthusiast" who engages in loud S&M "leather sex" on a regular basis. I learned this not from the seller or his agent, but via an email from the co-owner himself, which I received last Sunday night, after close.
The mere fact of the co-owner's sexual preference doesn't bother me in the least. But the possibility of it coming to the attention of my 10 year old son, whose bedroom was to be directly over the downstairs bedroom, enrages me.
By what measure does this not require disclosure? All parties to the sale knew I had a young boy who would be living with me. And I had expressed to my agent directly my concern over the possibility of an S&M dungeon in the common garage area, as that would be an inappropriate feature in a child's environment.
Neither the seller or his agent told me about the use and type of noise coming from the lower unit, though the co-owner writes that this was a topic of conversation several times between the seller and him.
The level of noise transmitted between the units has been an ongoing issue. In fact, renovation of the seller's unit was undertaken as recently as this year to help abate the noise: new sound proof padding and carpeting were added.
Despite the possibility that my 10 year old would be negatively affected by this noise type and unit use, this fact was kept from me during a full 6 weeks while I decided whether to purchase the condo.
I implored both realty companies to rescind the sale. They both said get a lawyer, we can't help.

While we tried to keep the details private, and encouraged others to do so as well, we can't put the genie back in the bottle for the buyer's now very public plea.

A Painful Situation For A Plugged-In Reader (And Plea For Help) [SocketSite]
No disclosure + no due diligence = New mortgage but no new home [Redfin]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (65) | (email story)

April 8, 2011

Forest City Receives Port Staff’s Final Pier 70 Rose

Pier 70 Project Area

From six suitors to a short list of four competing for the opportunity to redevelop San Francisco’s Pier 70, Port of San Francisco staff have awarded the Forest City development team their final rose and recommends that the San Francisco Port Commission endorse their choice of Forest City for the 69-acre and likely decade long redevelopment project.

Letters of intent to rehabilitate the six historic buildings along 20th Street which form the "portal" to Pier 70 are due by June 1.

Forest City wins nod on San Francisco's Pier 70 [bizjournals.com]
San Francisco's Pier 70 Redevelopment Attracts Six Suitors [SocketSite]
Now Calling All Developers For San Francisco’s Pier 70 [SocketSite]
Let The Courting Begin For Pier 70’s Historic Core [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

March 18, 2011

301 Howard And 195 Beale Have A Date With NYC's Courthouse Steps

With a courthouse auction for the membership interests in "W2007 HWD Realty" scheduled for next week in New York, it’s a sale that’s likely flying under the radar for most locals. But as a plugged-in tipster notes, the entity scheduled for auction is a holding company for the 23-story building at 301 Howard and the parcel at 195 Beale here in San Francisco.

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

March 11, 2011

Notice Of Default Filed For CityPlace Parcels

CityPlace Rendering

Five parcels along Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets have been hit with Notices of Default (NOD's) including 935-939 Market, 943 Market, and 949-961 Market.

If that stretch of Market sounds familiar, it should. For as plugged-in people know, and PropertyShark catches, those parcels comprise the site of the proposed and approved CityPlace development.

Apparently Connecticut-based Commonfund Realty, which partnered with San Francisco based Urban Realty on the CityPlace development, "has stopped investment in real estate projects as it seeks to restructure a $1 billion fund that lost most of its value."

As best we can tell there’s approximately $36 million of cross collateralized debt on the three parcels and it’s a $9,680,000 note from 2007 which filed the notice of default.

Details To Augment Designs For "CityPlace" (935-965 Market Street) [SocketSite]
Foreclosure Proceedings Started Against City Place Site in San Francisco [PropertyShark]
CityPlace EIR Approved Appealed Approved! [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

Tsunami Warning For San Francisco

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Japan has triggered a tsunami warning for the U.S. West Coast with an estimated time of arrival of 8:08 AM in San Francisco.

Keep in mind that the "arrival time" is for the initial wave which is not necessarily the largest, wave activity would actually peak a few hours after arrival, and the warning does not indicate an imminent tsunami but better safe than sorry.

West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center [noaa.gov]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:20 AM | Permalink | (email story)

March 8, 2011

Trader Joe's Withdraws Application For Castro Store

Market and Noe Center (Image Source: MapJack.com)

Despite a recent outreach campaign, according to a plugged-in source, Trader Joe's has withdrawn their application to open a store at the Market and Noe Center (2280 Market) in the Castro and San Francisco's Planning Department has closed the file.

Disputing Parking Demand, Trader Joe’s Continues Castro Outreach [SocketSite]
Trader Joe’s Reportedly "Outed" From The Castro Over Traffic [SocketSite]
Trader Joe's In The Castro Currently Stymied By A Shack [SocketSite]
Out With Tower Records (Three Years Ago), In With Trader Joe’s? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (89) | (email story)

February 8, 2011

One Rincon Hill Phase II Partnership Interests Headed For Foreclosure

As a plugged-in tipster notes, the 64 percent partnership interest held by Urban West Rincon Developers II, LLC in the One Rincon Hill Phase II Limited Partnership and the entire general partner interest held by Rincon Developers Phase II, LLC have been scheduled for a foreclosure sale down in Los Angeles on March 10.

The One Rincon Hill Phase II, LLC recently requested a $24,069,433 reduction in assessed value on their parcel at 401 Harrison, from a current assessment of $39,069,433 to $15,000,000.

Stay tuned. As always, we'll keep you plugged-in.

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

January 7, 2011

The Proposed 34th America’s Cup Course For San Francisco’s Bay

34th Americas Cup Course: 1/6/11 (www.SocketSite.com)

A plugged-in tipster delivers the proposed race course scoop for the 34th America’s Cup in San Francisco’s bay. Races will be held July through mid-September in both 2012 and 2013 with up to three races each day beginning at 1:00pm and ending by 6:00pm.

As proposed, the race course will be viewable across the San Francisco Waterfront north of the Bay Bridge and broadcast live on big screens throughout the city.

Organized viewing areas will stretch from Treasure to Angel to Alcatraz Islands and include Crissy Field while high points (Financial District office buildings, Telegraph and Russian Hills, Pacific Heights, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Marin Headlands) will offer views as well.

We’ll keep you plugged-in.

And The 2013 America’s Cup Will Be Held In…San Francisco! [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

January 4, 2011

Ritz-Carlton (690 Market Street) At 39 Percent Off This Afternoon

San Francisco's Ritz-Carlton Residences (www.SocketSite.com)

Scheduled to hit the courthouse steps at two this afternoon, it’s a plugged-in tipster that notes the previously published opening bid of $1,407,739 has just been dropped to $1,144,024 for the two-bedroom Ritz-Carlton condo known as 690 Market #2003.

Purchased for $1,890,000 ($1,320 per square) in September 2007 with what would appear to have been a $1,322,978 loan and 30 percent ($567,022) down, the 1,431 square foot luxury unit was listed for $2.35M in 2008, reduced to $1.9M in 2009, and then reduced to $1.69M before being withdrawn.

We don't consider courthouse auction prices to be "apples-to-apples" on account of their all cash and no contingency nature, but as our reader notes, it will be a 39 percent haircut in value if it sells for its opening price of $799 per square.

That being said, 690 Market #1502 which was purchased for $1,481,000 in October 2007 ($1,239 per square) and then taken back by the bank is currently pending having last been listed for $949,905 ($795 per square), a sale at which would represent an apples-to-apples 36 percent decline in value for the luxury unit over the past three years.

And once again, while "still not cheap" at almost $800 per square, we’re guessing that’s of little solace to those who were sold on $1,200 $1,300 per square or more.

UPDATE: While still noted as pending on the MLS, a plugged-in reader reports that 690 Market #1502 actually "sold for $805K, plus the auction fees, in early December." Once again, the condo originally sold for $1,481,000 in October 2007.

UPDATE: With no bidders yesterday at $1,144,024 ($799 per square foot), 690 Market Street #2003 is now bank owned. Once again, the luxury two-bedroom Ritz-Carlton condo had originally been purchased for $1,890,000 ($1,320 per square) in September 2007.

Puttin' On The Ritz (And Pressure) At Under Eight Hundred A Square [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

December 14, 2010

San Francisco Board Of Supes Unanimously Back America’s Cup Bid

As a plugged-in tipster reports, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to back the Mayor’s latest proposal to host the next America’s Cup in San Francisco. Larry?

Free Commercially Reasonable Rents For America's Cup As Proposed [SocketSite]
The Pitch To Sail The America’s Cup Into San Francisco's Bay [SocketSite]
A Cup Plan B And Latest Economic Impact Report [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

December 10, 2010

Did They Say November December? Make It January.

Pier 70 Project Area

With three days to go before the December 13 deadline, which was extended to December ten days before the original November 18 deadline, the deadline for developers to declare their intentions to compete for the development rights to San Francisco’s Pier 70 was just extended once again.

The new new dealine is now noon on Monday, January 10, 2011. Interns, you should now feel free to enjoy those holiday parties this weekend.

Pier 70 Deadline Extended (Prior To Any Punking) [SocketSite]
Now Calling All Developers For San Francisco’s Pier 70 [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: Bad Market, Then Back To Big Projects Like Pier 70 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

November 3, 2010

The Day After: November 2 Real Estate Related Election Results

With 100% of the San Francisco precincts reporting, but not including vote-by-mail or provisional ballots, it would appear that San Francisco Measure A (Earthquake Retrofit Bond) failed, while Measure L (Sit/Lie Ordinance) and Measure N (increases the transfer tax rate for real property valued at $5 million and above) have passed.

The margins:

Measure A – Failed* (64.22% voted Yes in San Francisco, 35.78% voted No)
Measure L – Passed (53.33% voted Yes in San Francisco, 46.67% voted No)
Measure N – Passed (58.66% voted Yes in San Francisco, 41.34% voted No)

Our thanks to those who voted, whichever way you did.

As an aside, while Proposition 19 which would have legalized marijuana under California law has failed with 53.7% of California voters voting against (based on 97% of precincts reporting), in San Francisco 65.2% of voters voted for the legalization.

*NOTE: Measure A required a 66⅔% (plus 1) yes vote to pass.

San Francisco Department of Elections: November 2 Election Summary [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

October 15, 2010

Cassidy’s 1844 Market Street Holding Company Files For Chapter 11

1844 Market Street (www.SocketSite.com)

As we first reported a week ago, builder Joe Cassidy’s 113-unit mixed-use project at 1844 Market Street was headed for a foreclosure sale on the courthouse steps next week with an estimated $12,329,428.48 owed.

And while a plugged-in reader noted that a lawsuit over a reneged loan agreement was to blame and forecast the property would not be lost to the bank, it’s a plugged-in tipster that reports that Cassidy has just filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition for the entity which owns the 1844 Market Street property ("Upper Market Place, LLC").

The filing claims eight creditors, the largest of which is East West Bank with $12,330,254 owed. Cassidy's own Granite Construction & Demolition company is also listed as a creditor with $112,500 owed.

Cassidy's 1844 Market Street Project Facing Foreclosure [SocketSite]
1844 Market Watch: Movement On 113 "Fabulous" Units And Retail [SocketSite]
The Inside Scoop With Respect To 1844 Market’s Foreclosure Filing [SocketSite]
It’s Back To Building Digging At 1844 Market (Not So Much At 2200) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

October 13, 2010

Rincon Center Towers (88 Howard) Falls To Foreclosure

Rincon Center Residential Towers

According to a plugged-in reader Rincon Center Residential Towers was foreclosed upon yesterday with no bidders at the opening bid of $72,150,000 but "a LOOOOOT of suits [showing] up to watch it go down."

Once again, the 320-unit building at 88 Howard was purchased for $143 million in 2007 by way of a $110 million note and with an additional $10 million invested since.

And as another plugged-in reader reported last month: "The ‘lender’ is a real estate investor who bought the loan at a discount...with the full intention of foreclosing and acquiring Rincon Center at whatever price they paid for the loan." Done.

Rincon Center Towers: Disputed Default Now Foreclosure In Process [SocketSite]
Rincon Center Towers $110M (And Possibly In Default) Debt For Sale [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

October 8, 2010

Bank Of America Extends Foreclosure Sale Moratorium To All States

From Bank of America this morning:

Bank of America has extended our review of foreclosure documents to all fifty states. We will stop foreclosure sales until our assessment has been satisfactorily completed. Our ongoing assessment shows the basis for our past foreclosure decisions is accurate.

While sales have been halted, notices of default (NOD) will continue.

Statement from Bank of America Home Loans [bankofamerica.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (45) | (email story)

October 6, 2010

Fillmore Park (1345 Turk) Prepares To Break Ground

1345 Turk: Design Rendering

It’s been almost three years since we first turned you on to the David Baker + Partners designed development at 1345 Turk, and in two weeks "Fillmore Park" will break ground.

1345 Turk Street offers thirty-two affordable new homes for first-time homebuyers, specifically working families and individuals earning between 70 and 100% of Area Medium Income.

Fillmore Park Aerial

Flats and townhouses with outdoor patios ring a private landscaped courtyard, creating a quiet community just a block from the bustling Fillmore District and walking distance to shopping, entertainment and transportation.

Seven (7) one-bedrooms, seventeen (17) two-bedrooms, and eight (8) three-bedrooms over twenty-four (24) parking spaces. Prices are currently estimated to be "mid-$100,000s to low-300,000s" with construction complete late 2011 or early 2012.

Festivities, refreshments, and perhaps a ceremonial shovel or two on site from 11 am to 12:30 pm on October 21.

UPDATE: A reminder with respect to the substation next door (lower right hand corner in the image above): Bailing On The Substation To Bailout Yoshi's Et Alli.

The (Re)Development And Design Of 1198 Fillmore And 1345 Turk [SocketSite]
Fillmore Park (1345 Turk) [dbarchitect.com]
1345 Turk [1345turk.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 4, 2010

Cassidy's 1844 Market Street Project Facing Foreclosure

1844 Market Street (www.SocketSite.com)

While it was a plugged-in tipster that first noticed movement on builder Joe Cassidy’s 113-unit mixed-use project at 1844 Market Street last May, and earlier this year a plugged-in reader reported Cassidy was continuing site excavation for the unfunded project on his own dime ("He can sell the dirt...and can keep his guys working since he owns Granite Excavation."), it’s another plugged-in reader that first catches the foreclosure filing for 1844 Market Street with a courthouse sale currently scheduled for October 18 and an estimated $12,329,428.48 owed.

1844 Market Watch: Movement On 113 "Fabulous" Units And Retail [SocketSite]
It’s Back To Building Digging At 1844 Market (Not So Much At 2200) [SocketSite]
1844 Market Street Development Hits A Banking Speed Bump [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

September 4, 2010

The Pitch To Sail The America’s Cup Into San Francisco's Bay

Pier 30-32 SOM Rendering

San Francisco’s pitch to bring the next America’s Cup to The Bay includes providing the "free [use of] land and future development rights on the property in exchange for the America's Cup event authority paying $100 million to $150 million to shore up the piers, dredge the area around them, and install new breakwaters and utility lines."

At the center of it all, a proposed amphitheater at Piers 30-32 designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to be covered by "a tensile net structure evocative of a sail that would allow diffuse light through but provide shelter from rain, wind and direct sun."

Teams would be based at Pier 50, event offices would occupy Pier 48, a temporary marina for mega-yachts would be built off the Brannan Street Wharf, and Pier 28 would become a media center.

The plan will soon be presented to San Francisco's Board of Supervisors for approval with City officials pledging to have the facilities ready for racing by the end of 2012.

San Francisco's plan for hosting America's Cup [SFGate]
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) [som.com]
SocketSite Weekend Special: One Proposal For San Francisco SWL 337 [SocketSite]
From Piers To Park And The Brannan Street Wharf By 2012 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

August 11, 2010

San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center About To Has Broken Ground

Transbay Transit Center Groundbreaking (www.SocketSite.com)

Nine shovels are in place, and with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara Boxer, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mayor Gavin Newsom soon to be speaking (amongst others), the Transbay Joint Powers Authority is about to ceremonially break ground on San Francisco’s New Transbay Transit Center.

UPDATE: While Governor Schwarzenegger had to send a representative (something about being busy dealing with some necessary budget reforms), the others have spoken and ground has officially been broken on San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center (referenced throughout the ceremony as the "Grand Central Station of the West").

Transbay Center Plans: Revised, Refined, And Unveiled Today [SocketSite]
All Aboard As San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal Nears Its Close [SocketSite]
Transbay Terminal Walking...Into The Sunset Tonight [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

June 25, 2010

Development Of 1601 Larkin Disapproved By Planning Commission

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

Last night the San Francisco Planning Commission voted 6-1 to disapprove the application to raze the First Saint John’s Methodist Church at 1601 Larkin and redevelop as proposed.

1601 Larkin Rendering as Proposed

The sole dissenting vote was cast by Commissioner Michael Antonini who apparently prefaced his vote with a remark about the proposed project needing to be redesigned.

The project's Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was deemed to be "inadequate in its consideration of project alternatives, among other things" and the project's requested Conditional Use Authorization for height and other variances were denied.

And yes, plugged-in people should have seen this coming.

UPDATE: Another perspective on the proposed project:

1601 Larkin Rendering

City Loses Landmark Appeal, Church Of The Pagoda Theater Anyone? [SocketSite]
1601 Larkin: Comments, Responses And Latest Renderings [SocketSite]
1601 Larkin Reignites An Architects Versus Planning Design Debate [SocketSite]
Planning Disapproves Of Proposed Height For 1601 Larkin Project [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

June 24, 2010

Fannie Mae's Sabre-Rattling In Response To Rising Strategic Defaults

From Fannie Mae today:

Defaulting borrowers who walk-away and had the capacity to pay or did not complete a workout alternative in good faith will be ineligible for a new Fannie Mae-backed mortgage loan for a period of seven years from the date of foreclosure. Borrowers who have extenuating circumstances may be eligible for new loan in a shorter timeframe.
Fannie Mae will also take legal action to recoup the outstanding mortgage debt from borrowers who strategically default on their loans in jurisdictions that allow for deficiency judgments. In an announcement next month, the company will be instructing its servicers to monitor delinquent loans facing foreclosure and put forth recommendations for cases that warrant the pursuit of deficiency judgments.

Seven years is up from the typical five Fannie Mae requires in cases of foreclosure, borrowers with "extenuating circumstances" could see that five reduced to as little as two.

Fannie Mae Increases Penalties for Borrowers Who Walk Away [fanniemae.com]
The Rapid Rise Of "Strategic" Defaults [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (27) | (email story)

June 23, 2010

Budget and Finance Committee Kills Condo Lottery Bypass For A Fee

By way of a plugged-in tipster and Supervisor Carmen Chu, San Francisco's Budget and Finance Committee "voted 3-1 on Monday to table/not to advance the [one-time condo conversion lottery bypass for a fee] proposal forward. Unless the Budget and Finance Committee reverses its decision or a majority of the Board reverses the motion, the proposal will not move forward with the budget."

Condo Lottery Bypass For A Fee Resurfaces In Mayor's New Budget [SocketSite]
Details, Dollars, And Devil For SF Condo Conversion Lottery Bypass [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

June 9, 2010

Real Estate Related June 8 Election Results: F Fails, G And 13 Pass

With a voter turnout of 23.35% and 104,616 ballots cast in San Francisco, Measure F (rent increase postponements due to financial hardship) has failed with 56.83% voting no while Measure G (making it city policy that San Francisco’s High Speed Rail terminal is located in the new Transbay Transit Center) has passed with 83.51% voting yes.

Statewide Proposition 13 which provides that a seismic retrofit will not trigger a property tax value reassessment received yes votes from 85.79% of San Francisco voters, it's headed for the same margin of victory statewide.

June 8, 2010 Election Results: San Francisco | California

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

April 20, 2010

555 Washington's EIR Certification Reversed

555 Washington At 200 Feet

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has upheld the appeal of the San Francisco Planning Department’s certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the 555 Washington project voting 10 to 0 to reverse said certification.

True to our headline and tone in March ("EIR Approved But…"), the Board focused not only on concerns related to height, wind, and shadows but also objections with respect to land use and the inclusion Redwood Park in the project’s floor area-ratio (FAR) calculations (an approach which Planning staffers had recommended against but were overruled by Planning’s higher-ups).

A Hail Mary request from the developer to certify the EIR on the condition that the development adhere to current height restrictions of 200 feet was deemed too little, too late (and as far as we’re concerned, too damn short for the design) and failed to address the underlying concern that the existing EIR doesn’t meet California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) guidelines for the project as proposed.

All eyes and ears are now back on developer Andrew Segal who intimated that upholding the EIR's appeal would kill the project (an action which was characterized by at least one Supervisor as "holding a gun to our heads").

Will Segal throw in the towel or reenter the ring for another round? We'll keep you posted.

555 Washington: Round Four On Hold Pending EIR Appeal [SocketSite]
555 Washington Round Two Vote Redux: EIR Approved But… [SocketSite]
555 Washington EIR Appeal: An Expected Response (From Both Sides) [SocketSite]
Let’s Get Ready To Rumble Over 555 Washington [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:27 PM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

April 8, 2010

HSR: Beale Street Alternative Rejected, Transbay Recomended

High Speed Rail San Francisco Terminal Alternatives

Breath a little easier Watermark and Baycrest owners, and Transbay proponents cheer, as a plugged-in tipster notes the California High Speed Rail Authority has rejected the Beale Street Alternative (Option d) and recomended a Transbay terminus (with service at 4th and King) for high speed rail into San Francisco.

From the California High Speed Rail Authority's preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report:

Only Option [a], in which HST and Caltrain service is offered at the Transbay and 4th & King locations, has been identified to be carried forward into further engineering and environmental analysis.
Option [b], with which all HST service goes to the Transbay Transit Center and there is no HST service at the 4th & King station, is not practicable and does not meet project purpose and need and objectives due to insufficient capacity.
Option [c], which assumes that all HST service terminates at the 4th & King station, does not satisfy Proposition 1A as HST service would not reach the Transbay terminal as a San Francisco terminus.
Option [d] with which HST service would go to a Beale Street station at Transbay Terminal and also to a 4th & King station is not practicable because of difficulties constructing the tunnel along The Embarcadero and under the Bay Bridge and because it would have extensive impacts to properties and displacements.

As the sole dissented, chairman Kopp was left unsatisfied.

High Speed Rail Scoop: Build On Beale, Demolish The Watermark [SocketSite]
While San Francisco Might Get High-Speed Rail, Will The Transbay? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (48) | (email story)

March 30, 2010

One Hawthorne: The SocketSite Straight Scoop (And Sales Update)

One Hawthorne Aerial (www.SocketSite.com)

While One Hawthorne's website has been live since last October (to which floor plans for the first seven floors have since been added), and the onsite sales office has been "open" for a few months, pricing has yet to be finalized and tours still aren’t being offered.

The disconnect between an "open" sales office and lack of information has led to a slew of One Hawthorne related readers' tips like the following:

I've toured the One Hawthorne sales office 3 times over the past 2 months now and I find it a bit unsettling that the building still does not have pricing or models and DOES NOT anticipate pricing and tours until "late Spring" without further specifics….I'm a highly interested and qualified buyer looking to downsize from my home in Marin but I feel like this developer must not have their act together if the sales office have been open for almost 3 months (the office opened on January 4th) with no idea of pricing or when people will begin to write contracts.

So here’s the inside scoop...select brokers will be getting their first tours of the building on April 19 at which time pricing will be released. Brokers will also tour on the 20th and the sales office will start writting contracts on April 21.

Once again, One Hawthorne consists of 165 units (26 junior one's, 74 one-bedrooms, 59 two-bedrooms, and 6 three-bedroom penthouses) with 124 non-deeded parking spaces which will be valet and are expected to run around $300 per month.

With a $120 million construction loan, whether or not the developer of One Hawthorne will end up underwater on the development, and what role that’s played in any delay to date, is open for debate.

We'll wait for actual pricing and early sales figures before we join the fray.

One Hawthorne: A Couple Of Renderings To Accompany Our Reality [SocketSite]
One Hawthorne: Close To Being Closed In But Without Its Crown? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (51) | (email story)

February 26, 2010

A One Time Fire Sale To Address An Ongoing Budgetary Problem

909 Tennessee

From Guardians of The City with respect to old Engine Company No. 16 at 909 Tennessee:

City Architect John Reid Jr. designed this two-story brick structure to replace the original 1887 home of 16 Engine that was a block away at 1009 Tennessee Street. A two-story brick firehouse with a cornice brightened with small colored tiles, terra cotta keystones accent the arched dormitory windows and plaques above the doors.
Off of Third Street, near the Pier 70 complex, in what is called the "Dogpatch" section of the Potrero District, Engine Company 16 was considered a waterfront company. From the 1880's through World War II the Potrero Point Pier 70 area was a very active shipbuilding and steel manufacturing district. It became the largest civilian shipyard on the west coast.
This firehouse is located on a bigger plot of land owned the City. To the rear of the firehouse on the corner of 3rd and 19th Streets are the former Potrero Police Station and the neighbor Public Health Emergency room.
Engine Company No.16 was disbanded on July 1, 1970, due to ordered City budget cuts to the Fire Department. From 1970 to 1976 the firehouse was used by Toy Program. From 1976 to 1992 the house was used as a Museum annex apparatus workshop and collection storage area. Since 1992 the firehouse is being used by the Department for storage.

According to a plugged-in tipster the San Francisco Fire Department will be selling 909 Tennessee in order to help balance its budget.

And our tipster’s (paraphrased) question: Does it make sense to address an ongoing budgetary problem with a one time sale of an asset in a down market?

UPDATE: The asking price is expected to be around $735,000.

Engine Company No. 16 (909 Tennessee Street) [guardiansofthecity.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (72) | (email story)

Flipping A Few Lembi Properties Through Foreclosure

A plugged-in tipster reports:

Coastal Capital of Sausalito, which bought a portfolio of loans secured by Lembi properties, foreclosed on the properties [yesterday]. Coastal reportedly paid $24.1 million (64% of face value) for the package of loans originated by Tamalpais Bank, and today's sales at the steps totaled $29,049,100. Pretty nice annualized return! It should be noted that a Coastal affiliate did some of the buying.

Among the foreclosed upon properties sold: 1235 Bay, 2285 Bay, 1125 Broadway, 479 Buena Vista East, 6242 Geary, 315 Hyde, 1651 Larkin, 725 O'farrel, 1701 Turk, and 2350 Van Ness.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

February 4, 2010

San Francisco's 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Results

San Francisco's 2010 Condo Conversion Lottery Winners List

As promised and originally reported, certified results for San Francisco's 2010 Condo Conversion Lottery are now online with the winners embeded above and the standby list embeded below.

San Francisco's 2010 Condominium Lottery Standby List

We're keeping all related reader's comments on yesterday's post.

It's Golden Ticket Day For 200 Condo Conversions In San Francisco [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | (email story)

February 3, 2010

It's Golden Ticket Day For 200 Condo Conversions In San Francisco

As plugged-in people know (and numerous readers were sure to remind us), San Francisco’s 2010 condominium conversion lottery kicked off this morning.

According to our sources a total of 2,170 units entered the lottery representing 662 properties in total (and versus 2,030 units in 2008). Certified results for the lucky 200 have yet to be posted but should be online by tomorrow morning (if not the end of today).

UPDATE (2/4): Apparently we've got conflicting information coming out of the DPW with repect to when the certified lottery results will be online ("DPW is saying 7 days after Feb 3rd"), stay tuned (and plugged-in).

UPDATE: As promised and originally reported, lottery results are now online.

San Francisco’s 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Kicks Off [SocketSite]
2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Results [sfdpw.org]
San Francisco's 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Results [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (41) | (email story)

January 29, 2010

Artani (818 Van Ness) Scoop Redux: Unsuspending Sales

818 Van Ness: 8/11/08 (www.SocketSite.com)

It was a little over a year ago we broke the news about Artani (818 Van Ness) suspending sales and going the rental route. Today, we break the news that they’re about to dust off the sales center and suspend their rental program.

Current residents of the building (the 54 units of which are nearly all rented) will be given the first right of refusal to purchase their units at a discount to 2010 "market rates." Unclaimed units will be made available to the public in April.

And while we (nor they) have exact pricing, according to a plugged-in source the 2010 market rate is expected be set at a discount of around 20-25 percent from 2008 prices.

The SocketSite Scoop And Rumor Confirmed: Artani Suspending Sales [SocketSite]
The Artani (818 Van Ness) Opens And A Plugged-In Reader Reports [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (56) | (email story)

January 27, 2010

And San Francisco's Transbay Joint Powers Authority Rolls…A Seven!

Last year San Francisco's Transbay Joint Powers Authority rolled the dice by modifying construction plans for San Francisco's Transbay Transit Center.

The modified plan to pre-build the train station component of the center will save an estimated $100 million in construction costs but banks on $400 million in federal stimulus funds, without which the move will likely end up burning $15 million worth of engineering and design and delay the project by at least four months.

Tomorrow morning President Obama will formally announce $8 billion in stimulus funds to 13 U.S. rail corridors ($50 billion was requested). But according to a White House pre-release, California's high-speed train project is getting $2.25 billion of that eight.

Exactly how that $2.25 billion will be divvied up between California's four corridors still needs to be determined. Will San Francisco’s $15 million bet payoff or crap out?

Stay tuned (and plugged-in).

UPDATE: And it's lucky number seven (or rather four hundred) for the TJPA and San Francisco:

Department spokeswoman Maureen Knightly said the $2.25 billion includes a reservation of $400 million for construction of an underground train station at the Transbay Transit Center.

Cheers!

Transbay Terminal: Banking On Stimulus Funds And Opening In 2015 [SocketSite]
Obama to Give 13 Areas $8 Billion for High-Speed Rail [Bloomberg]]
Scoop: Transbay Interactive Map (And New Transit Center Website) [SocketSite]
High-speed train project gets $2.25 billion from Obama [mercurynews.com]
$400M to go toward Transbay Transit Center train station [San Francisco Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

January 25, 2010

Tishman Speyer’s Stuyvesant Town Going Back To The "Banks"

As we wrote in October:

As a plugged-in reader notes, Tishman Speyer’s led 2006 investment of $5.4 billion in Manhattan’s Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village continues to head south with all equity investors likely being wiped out.
Amongst those equity investors, the California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers) to the tune of $500 million and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (Calstrs) to the tune of $100 million.
That being said, "Tishman-Speyer apparently has very little skin in the game. The firm contributed just [$112 million] of its own money to the $5.4 billion purchase price and did not use any of its other properties as collateral."

As the Wall Street Journal reported late last night:

A group led by Tishman Speyer Properties has decided to give up the sprawling Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town apartment complex in Manhattan to its creditors in the collapse of one of the most high-profile deals of the real-estate boom.
By some accounts, Stuyvesant Town is only valued at $1.8 billion now, less than half the value of its price. By that measure, all the equity investors—including the California Public Employees' Retirement System, a Florida pension fund and the Church of England—and many of the debtholders, including Government of Singapore Investment Corp., or GIC, and Hartford Financial Services Group, are in danger of seeing most, if not all, of their investments wiped out.

We're kicking ourselves for not putting the apostrophe "s" in "Speyer’s" in quotes.

The California Connection(s) To Tishman Speyer’s Manhattan Flop [SocketSite]
Tishman Venture Gives Up Stuyvesant Project [WSJ]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

January 15, 2010

As One Ecker Turns (Over): Lender Forecloses As Nobody Bids

 One Ecker: Exterior (Image Source: oneecker.com)

As we broke the news with respect to One Ecker last May: "The development is in receivership (and all deposits have been returned)."

As a plugged-in reader reports today: "Construction lender foreclosed on the project [an hour ago]. Beneficiary (represented by an attorney from LA) bid $14,000,000. No takers."

As One Ecker Turns: (Our Fourth Update): Selling In Receivership [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

January 11, 2010

Scoop: Transbay Interactive Map (And New Transit Center Website)

Transbay Interactive Neighborhood Map

While it hasn’t yet been officially announced, plugged-in people know a new Transbay Transit Center website is now online. And while the intro animation should look (and sound) familiar, a new interactive map (a.k.a. "walk around the project") is filled with graphics and drill-down animations for the Transit Center and its surrounding 40-acres.

Transit Center Rendering

Transit Center and City Park? Check. Temporary Transbay Terminal and future Transbay Park? Check. How Folsom Street looks today...

Folsom Street 2010

...and a peek at what Folsom Street is envisioned to become with widened sidewalks, street level retail, and trees, glorious trees? Check.

Folsom Street Future

And so much more.

Transbay Transit Center: Interactive Map [transbaycenter.org] [Videos]
Transbay Transit Center Video: The Director’s Cut With Smooth Tunes [SocketSite]
Hines And Pelli Clarke Pelli Bid The Most (And Get The Transbay Nod) [SocketSite]
Temporary Transbay Terminal Cam And Construction Update [SocketSite]
Transbay Park Potential: Post-Temporary Transbay Terminal (Et Al.) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

December 22, 2009

Landmark Bourn Mansion (2550 Webster) Bankruptcy Sale Approved

2550 Webster (www.SocketSite.com)

As we reported with respect to the landmark Bourn Mansion (2550 Webster) via a plugged-in tipster a week ago:

...[they] had to find a trustee for Chapter 11 so all previous bids were thrown out. Now the trustee has ratified an offer and an overbid schedule has been made, so now the overbid and sale approval will take place on December 22. Overbidders must have offers in by no later than December 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm and the first minimum overbid has to be $2,550,000 (the list price is $2,900,000).

As a plugged-in source reports today:

The sale of the house was approved this morning. The motion to dismiss was denied.

UPDATE: The approved sale price: $2,790,000.

The Bourn Foreclosure Bankruptcy And Bidding Scoop [SocketSite]
The "Plugged-In(side) Scoop" And Candid Peek Inside: 2550 Webster [SocketSite]
Landmark Bourn Mansion (2550 Webster) Listed And Your Peek Inside [SocketSite]
Bourn To Run Party: A San Francisco Mansion Of Ex-Glory And Dreams [SocketSite]
The Bourn Foreclosure (2550 Webster) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

December 16, 2009

High Speed Rail Scoop: Build On Beale, Demolish The Watermark

HSR Beale Street Terminal Required Watermark Demolition

A plugged-in tipster reports with a bit of concern:

I am a resident at the Watermark [501 Beale], and we just received a lovely bulletin that our building is right in the path of the planned California Highspeed rail...
If you go to Page 13 of the [December 8 Transbay Transit Center Rail Update] you'll see that the plans are to "demolish residential highrise" with an image of the Watermark.

Keep in mind this Watermark demolition scare is all in the context of building San Franciso's High Speed Rail terminus on Beale rather than at the Transbay Terminal as is being evaluated by the California High Speed Rail Authority but as is opposed by Pelosi, Schwarzenegger and others.

And if we’re interpreting the presentation correctly, Baycrest Towers at 201 Harrison Street would have to be demolished as well. Again, assuming it's the Beale Street Alternative terminal that's adopted for California's High Speed Rail rather than the Transbay.

12/8/09 HSR Rail Update/Beale Street Alternative [transbaycenter.org]
More Evidence Of A High Speed Snub For The Transbay Transit Center [SocketSite]
Pelosi And Schwarzenegger Type For A Transbay HSR Terminus

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (64) | (email story)

December 4, 2009

The Citadine (1299 Bush) Scoop: Seeking A Bulk Sale Of The Building

According to a plugged-in tipster, the developers of Citadine (1299 Bush) are now seeking a bulk sale of the entire building. Details when we have them and can confirm.

Twenty-Six In The Bush At 1299 Rising (And A Reality Check) [SocketSite]
Citadine (1299 Bush): Current Pricing And A Peek Inside [SocketSite]
Citadine Cuts Between Four And Ten Percent For Listed Condos [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

November 23, 2009

Infinity Tower I Sold Out, Tower II At 70 Percent, 85 Percent Overall

Infinity Tower One (www.SocketSite.com)

From the sales office at The Infinity:

The Infinity San Francisco, a 650-unit luxury condominium development by Tishman Speyer, announced today that its 237-unit Tower I is 100 percent closed out. The Tower I close out caps off an extraordinarily successful year in which The Infinity recorded 292 net sales – nearly 45 percent of its total 650 units of inventory. The development’s 285-unit Tower II is nearly 70 percent closed just nine months after opening in February 2009. The entire development is now more than 85 percent closed.

UPDATE: Parsing the language, we estimate the treetops to be roughly 90 percent sold and “Phase One” (Tower I and the Treetops) at 97 percent closed overall. We’ll also call it roughly 40 net new Phase One sales and roughly 165 net new Tower II sales over the past eight months.

Keep in mind significant sales office discounting (over 30% for some) has been in play but has also eased up over the past couple of months.

UPDATE: A plugged-in reader believes that all the treetop units have all closed. If so, call it closer to 50 net new Phase One sales (and a Phase One closeout) over the past eight months. And either way, call it just under a hundred to go.

UPDATE: Another plugged-in reader adds: "As of two weeks ago, there were 47 available units at the Infinity...so that translates to something like 552 closed, 51 under contract, 47 available."

Infinity Tower Two Sales Update: 50 Contracts Total Since January 1 [SocketSite]
Infinity Sales Update: New Contracts Up But Driven By Discounts [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (75) | (email story)

November 12, 2009

The Grand Plan And Aesthetics For Candlestick/Hunters Point

Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II Development Rendering: Northwest View

The full Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II Development Plan Draft Environmental Impact Report is now online in six volumes and thirty-eight parts. The overview:

The Project proposed by Lennar Urban includes a mixed-use community with a wide range of residential, retail, office, research and development, civic and community uses, and parks and recreational open space. A major component would be a new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers National Football League (NFL) team.

Proposed San Francisco 49ers Stadium at Hunters Point

Additionally, new transportation and utility infrastructure would serve the Project including a bridge across Yosemite Slough.
Specifically, the Project proposes development of 10,500 residential units with an associated population of 24,465 residents; 885,000 gross square feet (gsf) of retail; 150,000 gsf of office; 2.5 million gsf of Research & Development (R&D) uses; a 220-room, 150,000 gsf hotel; 255,000 gsf of artist live/work space; 100,000 gsf of community services; 251.3 acres of new parks, sports fields, and waterfront recreation areas...

Proposed Hunters Point Waterfront Promenade

...as well as 84 acres of new and improved State parkland; a 69,000-seat 49ers stadium; and a 75,000 gsf performance arena. The permanent employee population associated with the Project would be 10,730.

CPHP%20Phase%20II%20Overview.gif

In addition, a 300-slip marina would be provided. Shoreline improvements would also be provided to stabilize the shoreline. The Project would include structured and on-street parking and various infrastructure improvements to support the development.

And of course, a bit more in terms of the big picture aesthetics and design.

Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II Development Rendering: Southwest View

Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II: Project Overview [SFGov]
Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Shipyard Phase II: Aesthetics [SFGov]
JustQuotes: The Redevelopment Of Hunters/Candlestick Point [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (69) | (email story)

Mission Walk (330/335 Berry) Lottery Redux: Second Round Soon!

Mission Walk

While the lottery earlier this year attracted four times as many applicants as there were available Mission Walk (330/335 Berry) BMR condos, you might not be out of luck after all. From the folks at BRIDGE Housing Corporation (emphasis ours):

Mission Walk is not oversubscribed. As of Nov. 12, more than half of the homes are in contract. From the initial round of applications, some applicants didn't meet the income qualifications, or were unable to secure a mortgage, or there was a mismatch between the applicant's household size and size of available units (for example, a one-person household is not eligible for a two-bedroom unit).
The developer and the SFRA anticipate that a second application round will open up in the next few weeks, primarily for two-bedroom homes. Interested first-time homebuyers should contact 415.495.HOME (4663) or visit http://www.homebricks.com to be placed on the interest list for Mission Walk.

Our apologies for the confusion (and cheers).

Mission Walk (330/335 Berry) Prepares To Strut [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

November 2, 2009

Cubix Straight Scoop Redux: 766 Harrison Sales About To Resume

Cubix 11/2/09 (www.SocketSite.com)

The Cubix sales office (766 Harrison) is about to re-open their doors. Lost to foreclosure in July, it’s no longer a HausBau property. And according to our sources it's still bank owned (although the paper has bounced from bank to bank via a number of acquisitions).

As a plugged-in tipster notes, a new banner now touts "from the high $100,000’s" versus the "starting from high $200K" of yesteryear (2008). And a new website sports a hyphen (now cubix-sf.com versus cubixsf.com).

As we reported in July when the bank took over, 80 of the 98 residential condos and the commercial space remained unsold. It was in January that the sales office had reduced prices by "up to 29.5%" with the goal of hitting 50 percent sold.

SocketSite’s Straight Scoop On The Collapse Of Cubix (766 Harrison) [SocketSite]
Cubix (766 Harrison) [cubix-sf.com]
766 Harrison: Condos Indeed And A Brand New Brand (“Cubix YB”) [SocketSite]
Cubix (766 Harrison) Officially Cuts "Up To 29.5%" For Stimulus Sale [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (31) | (email story)

October 22, 2009

CitiApartments Is No More! Well, Sort Of…

A plugged-in tipster reports:

Just finishing up escrow on our first condo purchase and trying to get out of…CitiApartments. This morning called them and a receptionist answered “First Apartments how can I assist you?”
First Apartments? I asked her, is this still CitiApartments? She said, “We have changed our name”
Their website is gone too. Also, due to the PGE bills not being paid in our building, they have shut off all common area electricity.

There's nothing like a little rebranding to make all your problems go away.

JustQuotes: Citi Draws Deposit Ire (And Lawsuits) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

August 30, 2009

Landmark Bourn Mansion (2550 Webster) Listed And Your Peek Inside

2550 Webster: Entrance

As a plugged-in reader reported a week ago, "[The Bourn Mansion] is finally being emptied and mountains of trash removed." And with bankruptcy heading off its courthouse sale, the landmark 2550 Webster has hit the MLS with an asking price of $2,900,000.

2550 Webster: Stairs

The bad news, the past three decades have not been overly kind to the Willis Polk designed mansion. The good news, "Transfer of Possession: Close of Escrow" rather than subject to tenants rights and some gorgeous detailing still remains.

2550 Webster: Living

∙ Listing: 2550 Webster (14/4.5) 9,762 sqft - $2,900,000 [MLS]
Bourn To Run Party: A San Francisco Mansion Of Ex-Glory And Dreams [SocketSite]
The Bourn Foreclosure (2550 Webster) [SocketSite]
The Eccentric Arden Van Upp Might Be Feeling A Bit Antsy These Days [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (92) | (email story)

August 18, 2009

Scoop: Examiner’s Move To Corner Weekend Open House Readership

You probably won’t read about it in the Chronicle, but the scoop according to a plugged-in source is that the San Francisco Examiner is a week away from announcing the free publication of weekend open house ads through a deal with the San Francisco Association of Realtor’s new sfopenhomes.com site.

Look for a test run and official announcement next week (or perhaps now a bit earlier). And expect a quick response from the Chronicle which counts on its weekend real estate section and related advertising for a significant share of its revenue.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

August 13, 2009

Not A Done Deal But Closer To Closing Mirant's Power Plant In Potrero

Potrero Hill Power Plant:Aerial (Image Source: local.live.com)

From the Chronicle with respect to Mirant's potrero hill power plant between 22nd and 23rd Streets off of Third:

San Francisco's dirty power plant on the eastern waterfront would shut down by end of next year, under a legal agreement announced today between Mirant Corp. and City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO) which manages the state's power grid "has long maintained that San Francisco must have some power generation within city limits" and would need to agree to the closure.

The city, meanwhile, has argued that a major transmission line from the East Bay will ensure a reliable energy supply when it is completed in March or April.

Filthy SF power plant to close [SFGate]
JustQuotes: Potrero Hill Power Plant Plan Paused (For A Week) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

July 27, 2009

SocketSite’s Straight Scoop On The Collapse Of Cubix (766 Harrison)

Cubix 7/27/09 (www.SocketSite.com)

As a plugged-in reader noted this morning, the sales office at Cubix (766 Harrison) never managed to re-organize and re-open and a trustee sale of the unsold condos is scheduled for the courthouse steps this afternoon at 2 p.m. The outstanding developer's loan balance on the building is $21,050,440.

According to our sources the loan balance is split roughly two-thirds ($14M) on a first and one-third ($7M) on a second, today's trustee sale is likely a move to simply wipe out the second, and the unsold inventory includes 80 of the 98 residential units and the commercial space (i.e., 18 of the condos, including 7 BMRs, actually sold).

We know of at least one pre-emptive offer that was made and rejected for the units. And as an aside, Temecula Valley Bank which holds the first has been taken over by the FDIC.

As always, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

UPDATE: With an opening bid of $5,000,000 but no bidders, the auction of Cubix likely played out as planned (as written above "today's trustee sale is likely a move to simply wipe out the second"). And as a plugged-in reader correctly notes:

As I suspected, you could not have bought it for 5 million as the trustee had instructions to check back with the lender if any bidders came to the the starting price. BTW, my source says George Hauser (developer) made an appearance at the steps.

Let the real bids begin.

Cubix (766 Harrison) Sales Office Currently Closed But Not Sold Out [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (87) | (email story)

July 20, 2009

Pacific Union Sold To Morgan Lane Marin Principals

From a plugged-in tipster, Pacific Union Real Estate is being acquired by the principals of Morgan Lane Marin. The sale is expected to close in August and the Pacific Union brand will remain, but Mark McLaughlin of Morgan Lane will replace Avram Goldman as CEO.

With respect to the "Are any offices going to close?" question: "We are currently evaluating all options."

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

June 19, 2009

San Francisco County Unemployment Up To 9.1 Percent In May '09

Preliminary May labor force data counts for San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo counties puts the unemployment rate at 9.1%, 7.5% and 8.4% respectively, up 0.3 percentage points from April across the board.

The 9.1% unemploment rate for San Francisco in May represents a new 25 year high.

Extending the observations of a plugged-in reader last month, the number of unemployed in San Francisco increased by 1,000 from 39,800 to 40,800 in May while the number of employed fell by 5,800 (from 412,900 to 407,100) as the labor force fell by 4,800 (from 452,800 to 448,000), a loss of 7,000 over the past two months.

Monthly Labor Force Data for Counties: May 2009 (Preliminary) [EDD]
San Francisco County Unemployment Dips To 8.8 Percent In April '09 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

June 5, 2009

The 1960-1998 Market Street Scoop: Unanimously Approved Design

1960-1998 Market: Revised Design

A plugged-in tipster reports with respect to the proposed development at 1960-1998 Market Street which was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission last night:

The following describes the design changes that were have made to the project over the last several weeks in response to the comments that were received from the Planning Commission, SF Planning Department and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association.
Bernardo Fort-Brescia and the team at Arquitectonica amazingly improved upon their original design while going through what almost turned into design by committee. These Architects were challenged to respond to community and incorporate changes while still maintaining the integrity of the building, which is a bold, iconic statement for such a prominent comer location.
Market Street: Additional vertical fins have been added to strengthen the vertical expression. The major horizontal mullions have been reconfigured in a staggered pattern, eliminating their alignment and further reducing the horizontal emphasis of the façade. A canopy has been introduced along Market Street to reinforce the pedestrian and retail environment.
Buchanan Street: The changes described above have been incorporated into the first bay along Buchanan Street. The second bay has been modified significantly, stepping up in height to relate to the change in street level. The vocabulary of the second bay now relates to the adjacent residential buildings by incorporating stone and a more regularized window arrangement.
Light well: A light well has been incorporated at the northwest corner of the building that corresponds to the neighbor’s exiting light well.
Rear yard setback: The northeast corner of the building has been pulled back to allow a greater separation between this building and the neighbors to the north.

Another tipster adds, "In a topsy-turvy hearing, the local neighbor associations supported the project, while the Building and Construction Trades Council was opposed to it."

UPDATE: A close-up on the corner (and how it looked before):

1960-1998 Marke Street: Revised Design

Now THAT’s Not The Arquitectonica Design For Market At Buchanan [SocketSite]
Now THAT’s The (An) Arquitectonica Design For Market At Buchanan [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:55 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

May 28, 2009

The 690 Stanyan Project Scoop: Scaled Back To An Interior Gutting

690 Stanyan Site (www.SocketSite.com)

A plugged-in reader reports on the proposed 690 Stanyan Project:

The other half had a storewide meeting at Whole Foods last night. It was told to them that the Stanyan Project has been scaled back to be just like the Noe Valley project. No external construction - no condos, just a interior gutting of the old Cala foods and a small format Whole Foods going into it.

The mixed-use design as was proposed (and conditional use approved):

690 Stanyan Project: Revised Design

The 26 studio units, 20 one-bedroom units, 15 two-bedroom units, and one three-bedroom unit have been removed from our pipeline inventory watch list.

UPDATE: Confirmation this afternoon from the Business Times with regard to the project:

The developer of a Whole Foods and housing development approved for a vacant lot at Haight and Stanyon streets has decided to shelve the project, citing high city fees [of between $5 million and $6 million] and the economic downturn.

According to the developer, however, an agreement with Whole Foods on the scaled back plan has not been reached (but is being discussed).

The 690 Stanyan Project Update: Conditional Use Approved 6-0 [SocketSite]
The 690 Stanyan Project: Overview And EIR Hearing Tomorrow (2/28) [SocketSite]
Whole Foods Green-Lighted In Noe (And As Proposed On Market) [SocketSite]
Developer scraps S.F. Whole Foods project because of city fees [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

May 7, 2009

Turnberry Stops Shopping, Takes Its Bags Wallet And Heads Home

45 Lansing: Site (www.SocketSite.com)

Plugged-in people knew Turnberry was quietly shopping their 45 Lansing lot. Now J.K. Dineen reports that they’ve stopped shopping, asked for a refund and are headed home:

Rincon Hill developer Turnberry Associates has cancelled its a 40-story deluxe condo tower at 45 Lansing St., and asked the city to refund an $8.4 million affordable housing fee it paid when the building permit application was filed in 2007.
In a letter dated May 4, land use attorney Andrew Junious said the building permit for the 227-unit tower “will be withdrawn immediately by the project sponsor.”
The cancellation is a significant blow to the future of highrise development in Rincon Hill and other downtown neighborhoods. Turnberry bought the property in September, 2006, near the height of the market, paying $30 million, or $130,000 per buildable unit.

According to Assistant Planning Director Larry Badiner, Turnberry is entitled to a refund of the fee which "went to the Mayor’s Office On Housing for the purpose of funding affordable housing projects."

And as we wrote last month:

The implications: likely no new building at 45 Lansing for 5-10 years, and extremely low odds that once developed it will be the uberluxury product Turnberry (and neighbors) had envisioned.

UPDATE (5/8): An update with regard to the refund from J.K. Dineen:

Douglas Shoemaker, director of the Mayor’s Office On Housing, confirmed that the city would refund the $8.4 million fee.
"It’s a substantial loss for the city, but we don’t spend in lieu fees until a project begins constriction, so we have the money available," said Shoemaker.

And once again, it's not the fee (or "Daly") that killed this project but rather a substantially weaker market than when the $240 million development was first proposed.

The 45 Lansing SocketSite Scoop: Turnberry Quietly Shopping The Lot [SocketSite]
Rincon Hill condo tower cancelled; Turnberry seeks $8.4M refund [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (73) | (email story)

April 20, 2009

Michael Kriozere (ORH) Responds: We're Planning To Pay, Damn It!

From Michael Kriozere in response to the Chronicle's "he ain't planning to pay" piece:

While it is unfortunate that my discussion with the San Francisco Chronicle was taken out of context and thus reflected inaccuracies, it does provide me with an opportunity to share what has been and continues to be our commitment to both the project and the City. As such, I share the following.
Not only is One Rincon Hill more than 70% sold*, but sales once again are brisk; in fact, sales traffic has been above the pre-crash level (60-100 tours) every week in 2009. We are pleased to report that we have almost fully paid our construction lender and contractors, have no liens against the building and appreciate the unwavering support of our partners. We have not received any funds from the City in any aspect of the development of this project.
We have every intention to complete Tower II, but, as I said publicly months ago, we are waiting for the economy, and the residential real estate market in particular, to turn on the upswing. There is no rush to proceed at this time.
In specific response to the reporting in the San Francisco Chronicle that “he does not plan to pay the $5 million in fees that were central to obtaining city approval to build the high-rise,” this is not my plan. In fact, to date we have paid more than $16.6 million in fees:
Affordable housing in lieu fee (offsite) $11,026,146 (Dec. 2005)
S.F. public school fee $858,448 (Feb. 2006)
Rincon Hill Community Improvement fee $3,162,889 (Sept. 2006)
SOMA Stabilization Fund fee $1,268,306 (Dec. 2005 and Sept. 2006)
Total: $16,615,789
The sole remaining fee to be paid is the balance of the SOMA Stabilization Fee of $13.75 x 393,884 square feet or $5,415,905. This payment is not yet due. The payment becomes due when we obtain a final Certificate of Occupancy (which has not yet occurred); or, alternatively, we can post a letter of credit at that time to delay the payment by 6 months. In other words, we are not in default nor do we intend to be. Furthermore, the developer will not receive any distributions from the project before the SOMA Stabilization Fund fee is paid.
In my typical candor, I shared with the Chronicle the realities of today’s economy on our project – no different from what most every project is the country is experiencing. As we are in the most egregiously difficult financial environment of our times, I am realistically concerned with the burden of this fee. This was the intent of my discussion with the Chronicle, and I am disappointed it was not more clear. That said, we plan to pay the fees when due and proceed onto Tower II of this project which will provide a very singular living experience in a world class city.
Thank you for this opportunity to update our project and our vision.
Michael Kriozere

*Officially 72% of the 376 tower one condos are now either closed or in contract, but just under 70% if you include the 14 townhomes. And while this really doesn't change our accounting with respect to net-new contracts since October, we will publish a more complete sales breakdown tomorrow.

One Rincon Hill Still 70% Sold (And Reneging On Development Fees?) [SocketSite]
One Rincon Hill’s Townhome Collection “Officially” Released [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (109) | (email story)

April 19, 2009

One Rincon Hill Still 70% Sold (And Reneging On Development Fees?)

According to the developer, Mike Kriozere, One Rincon Hill Tower One sits at around 70 percent sold which would suggest almost no net-new contracts since October of 2008 when roughly 30 percent of Tower One inventory had yet to close.

And according to The Chronicle, said developer "does not plan to pay the $5 million in fees that were central to obtaining city approval to build the high-rise."

The poor economy has stalled plans to build a second, adjacent tower, and Kriozere said he anticipates that the existing building will lose money. As a result, he does not expect to pay the development fees that would have been spent on things like affordable housing, rent subsidies and job training programs.
"I did not give a personal guarantee that if the building failed to make a profit I would personally write them a check," Kriozere said. "Any money has to come out of the sale of the units because I've made no personal guarantee of anything."
Kriozere left open the possibility that sales could improve and the fees could be paid, but he was not optimistic.

The question(s) to be answered, were the fees to be paid upon success or simply upon development? And if the agreement was written based on success, who did the writing?

City fees for One Rincon unlikely to be paid [SFGate]
It's "Official," One Rincon Hill's Tower Two Is Indefinitely On Hold [SocketSite]
A Return To Reality For A One Rincon Hill "02" Stack Resale (#2202) [SocketSite]
One Rincon Hill (425 First Street): Secondary Market Stumbles [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (66) | (email story)

April 8, 2009

A Step Forward For The Plans To Expand Fox Plaza (1390 Market)

1390 Market Site

A Preliminary Mitigated Negative Declaration has been issued by San Francisco’s Planning department for Archstone-Smith’s proposed expansion of Fox Plaza (1390 Market Street).

Fox Plaza: Existing View

The proposed project would entail demolition of an existing two-story retail and office building adjacent to the existing Fox Plaza office/residential tower and construction of a new 120-foot-tall, ll-story building containing up to 250 residential units above approximately 19,880 gross square feet of retail use on the ground floor. There would be no change to the existing Fox Plaza mixed-use tower, and no new parking would be provided (18 existing spaces would be removed): parking for the new residential units would be within the existing two-level basement garage at Fox Plaza.

1390 Market: Proposed Design

The proposed new 120-foot-tall, ll-story building would be generally triangular in shape, with the point at the corner of Hayes and Market Streets. The new building would be connected to the existing 29-story tower by an existing approximately 50-foot-wide atrium and retail space on the ground floor. Current plans call for the building to be clad in a combination of glass and stone with pre-cast elements, with punched square windows making up most of the Market Street and Hayes Street facades, while the Hayes-Market corner would be clad in a curving glass curtain wall that would extend up to an oval-shaped form on the roof that would enclose mechanical equipment, elevator rooms, and-at the corner-the upper level of the 11th-floor residential unit.

Design by Heller Manus Architects.

And while we don't have an official update on the appetite or intentions of Archstone-Smith to move forward, we do have the following comment from a plugged-in reader:

I've heard it's a done deal on Archstone's end, but they are having some issues moving people out who are in current retail leases. From what I hear Starbucks doesen't want to move to the tower where Archstone has set aside a space for them, unless A/S pays to move the Starbucks, and a couple other little snafus like that...

UPDATE: And another perspective:

This is not going through. This ridiculous proposal has been in planning for quite some time with Presidio Development. Unfortunately, no development wants to by the annex of Fox Plaza and seeing how recent condo projects have flopped (especially right next store @ the Argenta) it would make no sense for them to build 250 more condos just to have them converted into rentals.

Fox Plaza (1390 Market): 250 New Condos In The Works [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (37) | (email story)

April 1, 2009

The 45 Lansing SocketSite Scoop: Turnberry Quietly Shopping The Lot

45 Lansing: Site (www.SocketSite.com)

The word on the street as confirmed by a plugged-in developer: Turnberry is quietly shopping their 45 Lansing lot (outlined above in blue).

The implications: likely no new building at 45 Lansing for 5-10 years, and extremely low odds that once developed it will be the uberluxury product Turnberry (and neighbors) had envisioned.

And sorry folks, no April Fools.

The Turnberry (45 Lansing) Scoop: Construction Starting Early 2009? [SocketSite]
True Luxury Condos At 45 Lansing? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

March 17, 2009

Board Of Supervisors Uphold Appeal Of Babylon By The Bay Approval

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has spoken, and the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval for 110 Embarcadero has been upheld. Next up, an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

Babylon By The Bay Hits A Bagdad By The Bay Styled Road Block [SocketSite]
Forget Bagdad By The Bay, This Is More Like Babylon (By The Bay) [SocketSite]
No love for 110 The Embarcadero -- study ordered [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

March 16, 2009

1268 Lombard Losing Its Battle Against The Granite Wrecking Crew

1268 Lombard: Demo on 3/16/09 (www.SocketSite.com)

It’s not down yet, but 1268 Lombard is on the losing side of its battle with the Granite wrecking crew (although it does appear to be putting up a good fight). No update on the investigation into whether or not the current owners "willfully neglected" the building in order to obtain a permit to demolish.

The "Resourceful" Demolition Of A Historic Resource? (1268 Lombard) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

March 5, 2009

Local Housing Developer AF Evans Files For Bankruptcy Protection

In what's likely not to be good news for the development of 55 Laguna (at the very least with regard to timing), Oakland based developer AF Evans has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection citing "plummeting house prices and the credit crunch."

AF Evans Co. files Chapter 11 [San Francisco Business Times]
55 Laguna: The Plugged-In (And AF Evans) Development Update [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

March 2, 2009

The Argenta (1 Polk) Scoop Redux: Riverstone Residential To Manage

Argenta (One Polk) Offering Image

Stop the presses (or rather refresh that browser). While one plugged-in reader reports that "Riverstone Residential came through with the winning offer on the Argenta," another shoots us the following note:

Riverstone Residential is not an investment firm. It’s a management company. They don’t invest only manage residential properties.

Give us a minute while we sort this one out. Or better yet, help set the record straight.

UPDATE: We hate to hypothesize, but as we haven’t been able to officially confirm (and we’ve already put it out there) here’s what we think happened: Anka couldn’t get their ask and has decided to keep the property and have Riverstone Residential run it.

Please feel free to prove us wrong (or right). And our apologies for any initial confusion.

UPDATE Redux: We might hate to hypothesize, but we got it right. Confirmation this afternoon from the San Francisco Business Times:

The decision came after a number of suitors, including Tishman Speyer-owned Archstone-Smith, made offers on the property. Offers were significantly below the debt the developers owe on the property, according to sources.

The Scoop: Archstone-Smith Negotiating To Acquire Argenta (1 Polk) [SocketSite]
The Scoop: Argenta (1 Polk) On The Market As An Apartment Building [SocketSite]
Anka not selling Polk Street building, hires management company [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

February 12, 2009

$15,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit Cut, Conforming Loan Limits Restored


“A proposal to provide a $15,000 tax credit to homebuyers was stripped from a $789 billion economic stimulus package that appears headed for a vote Friday, but a restoration of higher loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan guarantee programs appears to have made the cut.”

“According to a summary of the compromise bill released by lawmakers Thursday, the tax credit will still be available only to first-time homebuyers -- those who haven't owned a principal residence in the last three years. But they won't have to pay it back, as is currently the case, and the credit will be increased to $8,000 and be available through the end of November.”

“[NAR President Charles McMillan] said the bill will also reinstate the $729,750 loan limit in high-cost areas for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan guarantee programs that was in place throughout much of 2008…”

$15,000 homebuyer credit cut in compromise [Inman]
Proposed $15,000 Homebuyer Tax Credit Clears The U.S. Senate [SocketSite]
The American Recovery And Reinvestment Act Of 2009: Summary (pdf) [senate.gov]
Jumbo-Conforming Loans Going, Going, And Almost Gone [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

January 24, 2009

SocketSite Weekend Special: One Proposal For San Francisco SWL 337

Mission Rock - SWL 337/Pier 48 - Proposal (click to enlarge)

The one proposal for San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337/Pier 48 (dubbed "Mission Rock") by the numbers: 875 rental residential units; 2,650 parking spaces; 240,000 square feet of retail; 1 million square feet of office; 181,000 square feet of exhibit/event space at Pier 48; and 8.7 acres of public open space (including a 5+ acre park to the north).

Mission Rock - SWL 337/Pier 48 - Proposal (click to enlarge)

The one (big) development team: San Francisco Giants, Wilson Meany Sullivan, Kenwood Investments, The Cordish Company, Stockbridge Capital, and Farallon Capital Management. A few bigish buildings (max height of 37 stories/380 feet):

Mission Rock (SWL 337/Pier 48): Proposed Buildings

And how we got here in (more than one) links:

Request For Proposals For San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337 [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337 Design Proposals: In Summary [SocketSite]
The Development Of Seawall Lot 337: And Then There Were Three [SocketSite]
Joint Giants/Kenwood Proposal For SWL 337 Into Extra Innings [SocketSite]
Mission Rock (SWL 337/Pier 48) Proposal: Executive Summary (pdf) [SFGov]
Information on China Basin Seawall Lot 337 (SWL 337) [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

January 21, 2009

The SocketSite Scoop: Radiance To Announce Price Cuts Next Week

A plugged-in tipster reports on Radiance at Mission Bay:

I received an email from the sales person at Radiance "pre-announcing" a sales cut that will go out to the broker community next week. Looks like things aren't moving. On a similar note, I saw on sfgate.com that unit 116 (1722 SF, east facing) sold for $960K. Original asking? $1.39M.

As we noted in August, “while prices reductions haven’t officially been advertised, according to our sources there's definitely room for negotiation (especially on the mid-priced units).”

Yes, it's good to be plugged-in (and details on the "official" cuts when we have them).

Radiance At Mission Bay Phase I Update: 55% “Sold” And Closing [SocketSite]
Radiance At Mission Bay Phase II Update: Officially "Suspended" [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

January 17, 2009

The SocketSite Scoop: Millennium Cuts Prices 15% Across The Board

San Francisco's Millennium Tower: 1/17/09 (www.SocketSite.com)

From a plugged-in tipster with a unit in escrow at San Francisco’s Millennium Tower:

I have a deposit down in a unit in the Millennium and just received a call informing me that prices have been cut 15% across the board, including those already in escrow. They still intend to maintain their "no negotiating" policy and claim that this will be the last (only) drop for a very long time.

A tip of the hat to the Millennium team for taking care of their early adopters. And of course to our tipster, let's not forget those invitations to the housewarming.

The Millennium: A Few Things You Might Know (And A Few You Don’t) [SocketSite]
Millennium Tower Sales Watch: Rumors Of Day One Results [SocketSite]
San Francisco Rising And A Fresh Perspective On Millennium Tower [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (207) | (email story)

January 6, 2009

Reader Reports: 1286-1298 Treat Avenue Goes Up In Flames. Thrice.

1286-1298 Treat Avenue (www.SocketSite.com)

A plugged-in tipster reports (and we edit):

I heard whispers but haven't seen it in the press yet that there was another fire in those treat avenue buildings over the weekend--there are three side-by-side buildings that are selling--the little birdie said it was the same one that was burned twice already. Word on the street is that they caught the arsonist and reports, albeit as of yet unconfirmed, are that it was one of the tenants who was fighting the ellis act eviction.

As always, we hope nobody got hurt and that's the last of the flames.

A Reader Reports: 1286-1298 Treat Avenue Goes Up In Flames. Twice. [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

December 16, 2008

The FOMC Speaks (And Not In Tongues): It Ain't Pretty Out There

"The Federal Open Market Committee decided today to establish a target range for the federal funds rate of 0 to 1/4 percent.

Since the Committee's last meeting, labor market conditions have deteriorated, and the available data indicate that consumer spending, business investment, and industrial production have declined. Financial markets remain quite strained and credit conditions tight. Overall, the outlook for economic activity has weakened further.

Meanwhile, inflationary pressures have diminished appreciably. In light of the declines in the prices of energy and other commodities and the weaker prospects for economic activity, the Committee expects inflation to moderate further in coming quarters."

Federal Open Market Committee Statement: December 16, 2008 [federalreserve.gov]
The Fed Cuts Rates To One Percent To Avert "Prolonged" Recession [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

December 5, 2008

The Scoop: Wells Fargo Moves to 50% "Sold" In Order To Fund

The word on the street two months ago was that Wells Fargo was requiring 25% of the units in a new development be in contract or closed before they would fund the first loan. From a plugged-in tipster yesterday:

Wells Fargo had a guideline change this morning, they are now at 50% pre-sale [required].

Not quite a rumor, but yet to be officially confirmed.

UPDATE: Confirmed ("Wells Fargo has formally raised their new construction pre-sale requirement to 50% from 25% placing them on par with Chase and B of A") and effective December 15th.

Developers In San Francisco Getting Squeezed From Both Sides [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

November 20, 2008

The SocketSite Scoop And Rumor Confirmed: Artani Suspending Sales

818 Van Ness: 8/11/08 (www.SocketSite.com)

From a reader's rumor last month, to a plugged-in tipster's confirmation today:

The developer of [The Artani] is temporarily suspending sales and will continue to offer these units as rentals. It will be public information soon enough but I'd appreciate it if you kept my name and email anonymous.

Done. And now who's next?

Argenta's Confirmed And Artani's Rumored, Will 77 Van Ness Be Next? [SocketSite]
The Artani (818 Van Ness) Opens And A Plugged-In Reader Reports [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

November 12, 2008

The Market Might Not Like It, But We Do: Paulson Changes Rescue Plan

"U.S. Secretary Henry Paulson plans to use the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue program to help relieve pressures on consumer credit, scrapping an effort to buy devalued mortgage assets....Buying 'illiquid' mortgage-related assets -- the reason the Troubled Asset Relief Program was established a month ago -- is no longer being considered, he said."

Paulson Shifts Focus of Rescue to Consumer Lending [Bloomberg]
$700 Billion Bailout Bill Round Two: One Down, One To Go [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

November 6, 2008

The Turnberry (45 Lansing) Scoop: Construction Starting Early 2009?

45 Lansing: Site (www.SocketSite.com)

From a plugged-in tipster with respect to Turnberry's development at 45 Lansing:

They just sold a 50% stake in the project to another group led by Mike Zoi. Expected to start construction early 2009.

Once again, cater-corner to One Rincon Hill, 45 Lansing is slated to become a 40-story tower consisting of around 300 217 uberluxury condominiums (“the most upscale development the new neighborhood has seen, with “exotic” marble baths, Italian Snaidero cabinetry, Gaggenau cooking appliances, Jacuzzi hydrotherapy tubs with built-in TVs, individual security systems, and 12-foot penthouse ceilings”).

UPDATE: Additional details via GlobeSt.com:

While the financial details of the partnership were not immediately available, GlobeSt.com has learned that...$275-million represents the total development cost of the project, versus a gross sell-out value of approximately $350 million. Turnberry president Bruce Weiner tells GlobeSt.com that all the necessary entitlements and approvals have been finalized, permits have been pulled and impact fees paid and that excavation for the subterranean garage should begin in the first quarter of 2009 and that the entire project should take 30 months to complete.
Due to turmoil in the credit markets, Weiner says final construction financing has been delayed. “That said, the major banking participants are fully committed and the consortium is being assembled,” he adds.

True Luxury Condos At 45 Lansing? [SocketSite]
Out With The Old: 45 Lansing And The Lot Around Watermark [SocketSite]
Turnberry Sells 50% Stake in Condo Project [GlobeSt.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

Hold The Phone (Or At Least The Official Local Election Results)

While the San Francisco Department of Elections website notes 241,090 total ballots cast on November 4th in San Francisco and includes 191,962 from “Election Day Reporting” and 49,128 “Vote by Mail / Absentee Reporting,” according to the Examiner and The City’s elections chief up to 136,000 vote-by-mail and provisional ballots have yet to be counted.

In theory the 136,000 votes could change the results of any of the local measures except for A (General Hospital). In reality it’s Measure B (affordable housing) that could most easily swing from failing on the initial count to passing in the end. And perhaps even Measure J (preservation commission) in reverse.

We’ll update the election results as the uncounted ballots are tallied. And assuming all 136,000 ballots are valid, 78.95% of those registered in San Francisco voted (not 49.79% as previously reported). And on this point we are more than happy to be wrong.

San Francisco Department of Elections: November 4 Election Summary [SFGov]
More than one-third of The City’s ballots are left to be counted [Examiner]
The Day After: November 4 Real Estate Related Election Results [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:15 AM | Permalink | (email story)

It’s Official: McGuire Real Estate Acquires Urban Bay Properties

Yesterday's scoop via a plugged-in Charlie Moore (CEO of McGuire):

I wanted to personally give you the official word that McGuire and Urban Bay are merging. The companies have been in discussion for well over a year, and both felt there were strong benefits to joining forces: McGuire has strong traditions and is well-established in north of Market neighborhoods, while the Urban Bay brings more of a "hip" brand to the South of Market neighborhoods. What's more, McGuire has offices in Burlingame and Mill Valley, and Urban Bay has a presence in Oakland's Jack London Square.

And via an “Insider”:

For now UBP will retain current branding but will change color schemes to match the new McGuire coloring. Tom Brown becomes COO of McGuire. No news on closing of the McGuire Davis Street office or the UPB Bluxome street office.

Cheers. And as always, thank you for plugging in.

RandomRumors: McGuire Real Estate/Urban Bay Properties In Talks [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 29, 2008

It's "Official," One Rincon Hill's Tower Two Is Indefinitely On Hold

One Rincon Hill: The site of tower two (www.SocketSite.com)

It’s now "official" and in the open. The construction of One Rincon Hill's second tower has been indefinitely put on hold. And roughly 30% of tower one inventory has yet to close.

The plugged-in word on the street: talk of potential class action lawsuits with regard to the loss of tower two amenities and the handling of closings/deposits in tower one.

And with regard to a reader’s comment: “So how come CBS has the story of One Rincon cancelling/delaying the second tower before SocketSite??” Good question. There's no excuse. And perhaps that's the price we pay for delaying our latest Complete Inventory Index (Cii).

UPDATE: Keep in mind there's a big difference between “cancelled” and “on hold.” And while we’re done holding our breath for the actual groundbreaking of tower two, we do believe it will eventually come (and that we'll be the first to report it when it does).

UPDATE: Or in the words of developer Mike Kriozere, “We own the land, we have the financing and our construction [plans and] contracts are in place...Like others, our team is watching the economy for the proper time to re-commence construction.”

Rincon Hill Among SF Building Projects Put On Hold [CBS]
SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii): Q1 2008 (San Francisco) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (93) | (email story)

October 25, 2008

Price Cuts Of Up To 30% At Symphony Towers (750 Van Ness)

Plugged-in people knew the cuts were coming. And as one reports, they’re here. Prices at Symphony Towers (750 Van Ness) have been reduced by up to 30% or $136,000. A few examples:

∙ 750 Van Ness #T-405 (1/1) - $399,000 (was $535,000)
∙ 750 Van Ness #T-601 (1/1) - $459,000 (was $577,000)
∙ 750 Van Ness #T-602 (1/1) - $449,000 (was $565,000)
∙ 750 Van Ness #T-804 (0/1) - $295,000 (was $420,000)
∙ 750 Van Ness #T-806 (0/1) - $319,000 (was $455,000)
∙ 750 Van Ness #T-907 (0/1) - $419,000 (was $515,000)

Once again, currently around 55% sold. And with The Hayes cutting prices by up to 21%, the race for buyers in San Francisco is on. And it's plugged-in people that will win.

Symphony Towers (750 Van Ness): Announcing Additional Cuts [SocketSite]
Symphony Towers Update: Buying Love (But Dropping Prices Too) [SocketSite]
New Development “Closeout” Sales: The Potrero And 170 Off Third [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (68) | (email story)

October 1, 2008

The SocketSite Scoop: Four ORH Penthouses Back On The Market

ORH 60th Floor: Floor Plans

From a plugged-in tipster:

As of [yesterday] afternoon, the last contract holder of one of the 4 [penthouses] on the 60th Floor at [One Rincon Hill] canceled on their 2006 Reservation.
ALL 4 Penthouses are now back on the market, and the whole floor prices out just under $13MM. ALL 4 of these PH's were reserved on the sales offices opening night of 2006.

We haven't yet been able to confirm, so for now we'll just have to consider it a "random rumor" (but we do trust this tipster). And yes, it might be time to get those "One Gincons" flowing again in the sales office. Of course that's assuming they aren't already...

UPDATE: Confirmed.

First Impressions: One Rincon Hill Sales Center [SocketSite]
The “Signature Cocktail” Of One Rincon Hill [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

September 29, 2008

$700 Billion Bailout Breaking News: Round One Rejected By The House

"The fate of a controversial $700 billion financial bailout plan was in doubt Monday as a House vote turned against it. The next steps were not immediately clear but supporters were scrambling to put it up for another vote."

"The measure needs 218 votes for passage. Democrats voted 141 to 94 in favor of the plan, while Republicans voted 65 to 133 against. That left the measure with 206 votes for and 227 against."

Bailout plan rejected [CNN]
Once Again, We’ll Simply Go With The Worst (In Terms Of The Bailout) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (169) | (email story)

July 30, 2008

A Less Than Smooth Closing Of Their Own: Financial Title Shuts Down

Financial Title: 'Smooth Closings' Irony

According to a plugged-in tipster, Financial Title received a cease and desist order courtesy of the Insurance Commissioner a few hours ago. And while escrows were to be transferred to other title companies for closing, apparently some files have been confiscated which is making it difficult for some parties (like our tipster's client) to locate their funds.

UPDATE: Following in the footsteps of sister company Alliance Title, Financial Title which was the largest real-estate title agent in Silicon Valley and has four offices in San Francisco has officially closed its doors.

Sources who have spoken to Financial Title employees said the title company began closing its doors in Santa Clara County Tuesday night. Those sources said all employees have lost their jobs, and Financial's underwriter, First American Title Co., has been collecting open escrow files at the closed offices.

No update on the Insurance Commissioner angle, the "confiscation" (versus collecting) of files, or the irony of misplaced escrowed funds. Tipsters?

Tag Line Irony From Alliance Title: “Closing The California Dream” [SocketSite]
Financial Title company shuts down [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

Quick Tease: No Museum Of Performance & Design For Mr. Dziewulski?

From a plugged-in reader with regard to the Mark Dziewulski design for a new Museum of Performance & Design in San Francisco: “It won't be built. Diller Scofidio & Renfro won the competition.”

UPDATE: Stop the presses rumor mill! According to a conversation with D. Donald Spradlin, Director of External Affairs for the Museum of Performance & Design, four firms remain on the short-list (down from the 17 that responded), the subcommittee responsible for recommending one of the four to the Museum Board has yet to make its pitch, and the Board’s final vote won’t occur until September 11th. Also noted, an option for the site has been secured and the target opening date is 2012.

Our apologies for any confusion and our thanks to the good natured Mr. Spradlin ("...it’s great to see the museum generating so much interest!"). Of course that's not to say Diller Scofidio & Renfro won't be the eventual winner, but they aren't yet. Now back to the site and Mark Dziewulski design...

Museum of Performance & Design: Familiarity With The Corner/Design [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | (email story)

No Longer Just A Bill Sitting On Capitol Hill: Foreclosure Prevention Act

The House passed the bill last week, the Senate in a special session last weekend, and this morning President Bush signed the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 into law.

As we pointed out last week, while the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 temporarily raised the conforming loan limit in San Francisco (and other high-cost areas) to $729,750, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 establishes a new maximum of $625,500 (effective January 1, 2009).

A decent summary of "what the new housing law means for you" from Holden Lewis.

Bush Signs Measure for Homeowners, Fannie, Freddie [Bloomberg]
Will San Francisco Suffer From Premature Loan Limit Reduction? No. [SocketSite]
If Lowering Rates Isn’t Working, Perhaps Increasing Limits Will [SocketSite]
What the new housing law means for you [bankrate.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

July 25, 2008

1285 Sutter: Fully Entitled, Retail Pre-Leased, And...On The Market

1285 Sutter Street

Even though the site is fully entitled for a 12-story, 106-unit condo tower, and the theoretical ground level retail space has been pre-leased to Trader Joe’s, it might be a while before – or even if – 1285 Sutter Street (currently the defunct Galaxy Theater) becomes a reality. For as a plugged-in tipster notes, BayRock has put the undeveloped site on the market with Colliers (asking $18,000,000).

As we wrote seven months ago: "If all goes smoothly with the Planning department and as planned (uhh...), the “grocery store could open by 2009” (and we’re guessing the condos soon thereafter)." Note the "uhh." And we're now going with no chance (in terms of 2009).

1285 Sutter Street: The Proposed Design To Replace The Galaxy [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

July 24, 2008

Will San Francisco Suffer From Premature Loan Limit Reduction? No.

In case you missed it, some great reader discussion and debate on the potential impact of H.R. 3221: Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 yesterday (which passed in the House and is on to the Senate).

Amongst other things, H.R. 3221 permanently increases GSE "conforming loan" limits from $417,000 to a maximum of $625,500 (or 115% of the local median home price, whichever is lower). And it’s that “maximum” that has a few readers worried (or at least a little confused).

The question: will H.R. 3221’s conforming loan maximum of $625,500 supersede San Francisco's temporary conforming loan limit of $729,750? Our answer: we very much doubt it (we know, not exactly definitive but we’re still seeking written confirmation).

Regardless, do keep in mind that the $729,750 conforming loan limit for high-cost areas as brought about by the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 is set to expire in five months. And whether or not that act gets extended is another issue altogether.

UPDATE: Definitively confirmed (and thank you for plugging in).

Bam! Bam! Barney Frank’s Bailout Bill Survives As A Provision [SocketSite]
H.R. 3221: Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 [govtrac.us]
If Lowering Rates Isn’t Working, Perhaps Increasing Limits Will [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (12) | (email story)

July 17, 2008

San Francisco Recorded Sales Activity In June: Down 9.8% YOY

San Francisco Recorded Sales Activity: June 2008 (www.SocketSite.com)

According to DataQuick, home sales volume in San Francisco fell 9.8% on a year-over-year basis last month (571 recorded sales in June ’08 versus 633 sales in June ‘07) and fell 3.7% compared to the month prior (See UPDATE below).

Keep in mind that DataQuick reports recorded sales which not only includes activity in new developments, but contracts that were signed ("sold") many months or even years prior and are just now closing escrow (or being recorded).

San Francisco's median sales price in June was $726,750, down 11.9% compared to June ’07 ($825,000), 8.0% compared to the month prior, and the lowest recorded median since March 2005. And yes, we're doing some digging on the effect of mix.

For the greater Bay Area, recorded sales volume in June was down 9.9% on a year-over-year basis but increased 15.5% from the month prior (7,178 recorded sales in June '08 versus 7,964 in June ’07 and 6,216 in May '08). And the recorded median sales price fell 27.1% on a year-over-year basis (down 6.2% compared to the month prior and "the first time in more than four years that it was below the half-million mark").

At the extremes, Marin recorded a 35.4% year-over-year reduction in sales volume (a loss of 124 transactions) and a 12.0% decrease in median sales price, while Contra Costa recorded a 14.6% drop in sales volume (a loss of 207 transactions) and a 36.7% drop in median sales price.

UPDATE: In our words this morning, it "seems a little strange" that sales volume would have been absolutely flat from May to June. And lo and behold, DataQuick has since adjusted the number down from 593 to 571 sales in June.

Bay Area median price dives below $500K; sales near record low [DQNews]
San Francisco Recorded Sales Activity In May: Down 3.7% YOY [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (167) | (email story)

July 14, 2008

Countrywide Requiring 25% Down For All Bay Area Jumbo Loans

From a plugged-in tipster late last week:

Just got an email from my mortgage broker...countrywide is now requiring 25% down payments on jumbo mortgages in the bay area.

No word on whether or not that’s both wholesale and retail. Can anybody confirm?

UPDATE: We'll consider it confirmed. And in a related reader report:

I spoke to a reputable agent at length over the weekend about the mortgage market. He said the main players left still writing San Francisco mortgages were the big money center banks (citi, BofA, etc). He said most are requiring 20% down these days. He spoke of one client who did a 10/10, but the second 10% was guaranteed by the guy's employer (~1.2m purchase price). It is pretty amazing that someone "in the market" for 1m+ home can barely scrape together $100K.
He also said the total debt/income ratio was going down from a previous 65% (wow!) to something like 45-50%. He said the bank tightening really only kicked in heavily in the last week or two which implies the market probably is not reflecting this yet.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (59) | (email story)

July 8, 2008

Govenor Schwarzenegger Signs The Perata Mortgage Relief Bill

California SB 1137 (a.k.a. the Perata Mortgage Relief Bill) has been signed into law. The bill will require lenders to "begin contacting homeowners at least 30 days before issuing a notice of default," gives residential tenants "more time to move out of foreclosed dwellings," and "authorizes local governments to impose fines as high as $1,000 [per day] on lenders who do not maintain foreclosed properties."

The new law "applies to loans made between January 1, 2003 and December 31, 2007."

Unfortunately, we doubt the new law will have any meaningful impact on foreclosure rates throughout California other than to delay the inevitable. The only real impact we expect: making properties that have been foreclosed upon more palatable to the public.

California SB 1137 -- Perata Mortgage Relief Bill Fact Sheet (pdf) [ca.gov]
Governor signs law to help homeowners keep their properties [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

July 2, 2008

The SocketSite (Reader's) Scoop: Daly's Two-Unit TIC Legislation DOA

We've fielded more than our fair share of questions and concerns over the past month regarding Supervisor Daly's proposal to require two-unit buildings to participate in San Francisco's condo-conversion lottery.

And just as we were about to publish a summary, a plugged-in tipster comes through with the scoop via the office of Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier:

Thank you for your letter concerning draft ordinance #080820. This ordinance would require that 2 unit buildings go into the condo conversion lottery. You will be glad to know that I spoke with Supervisor Daly's office yesterday and this legislation is not moving forward.

Again, Supervisor Daly's proposed ordinance to require two-unit buildings to enter San Francisco's condominium conversion lottery will not be on the November ballot.

Potential November Ballot Measures: Condo Lottery For Two-Units? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

June 18, 2008

The SocketSite Scoop: Wells Fargo To Offer Fractional TIC Financing?

Despite what some might sell, TICs financed with fractional (or “individual”) loans are not substantively the same as condominiums. While fractional financing does mitigate a large portion of the commingled financial risk associated with a TIC purchase, it doesn’t address our larger concern of liquidity in terms of access to equity (no HELOCs here) or major lenders when it comes time to liquidate (not everyone wants – or will qualify – to borrow from a boutique bank).

That being said, and while we haven’t yet confirmed it, according to a trusted plugged-in tipster Wells Fargo is about to roll out fractional TIC financing.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

June 12, 2008

The Proposed Sixty-Six Forty-Five Condos (And Parking) Of 300 Grant

300 Grant: Rendering (Image Source: MBH Architects

It was sixteen months ago that we first plugged you in to the proposed design for a ten-story mixed use development at 300 Grant (corner of Grant and Sutter). At the time the design called for 66 units, two floors of retail, two levels of below grade parking, and a “landscaped terrace, clubhouse and solarium on 3rd floor for residents.”

And while we haven’t heard much about the project over the past year or so, next week it’s in front of the planning commission today. The proposal still calls for ten-stories with two floors of retail and up to 40 parking spaces, but the application cites “up to 45 units.”

No word on whether or not the proposed design (by MBH Architects) has evolved as well.

UPDATE: From a pluggged-in reader: "Project (different design) was approved today." Now don't be coy, who's got the design?

The Proposed Sixty-Six Condos (And Parking) Of 300 Grant [SocketSite]
MBH Architects: Mixed-use in development [mbharch.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

June 9, 2008

Plans For The Presidio’s Post: Four Alternatives And Visualizations

Presidio Main Post: Existing Condition

From the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Presidio’s Main Post (released this morning), a series of “Existing Conditions” (above) with visualizations of what could come to be (the four alternatives below).

Presidio Main Post: Four Alternative Visualizations

Alternative 1 - Would increase built space on the Main Post by 64,000 square feet. New construction would include a 57,000-square-foot office building at the Graham Street infill site and an 18,000-square-foot addition to the Presidio Theatre.

Alternative 2 (The "Proposed Action") - Would increase built space on the Main Post by 141,000 square feet. New construction would include the 100,000-square-foot contemporary art museum south of the Main Parade (between Sheridan Avenue and Moraga Street), the 95,000-square-foot lodge at the Graham Street infill site, and the Presidio Theatre addition.

Alternative 2A - Similar to Alternative 2 but would locate the contemporary art museum farther from the Main Parade, south of Moraga Street and north of Infantry Terrace.

Alternative 3 - Would increase built space on the Main Post for the 48,000-square-foot, one-story history center south of the Main Parade.

Another perspective on the Presidio Trust’s proposed alternative (and readers' comments):

Presidio Main Post: Existing Condition and Proposed Alternative

Comments: Presidio Plans, Proposals, And Preservationist Protests [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | (email story)

June 4, 2008

Results: Proposition 98 Fails/99 Passes, Measure F Fails/G Passes

With 100% of both statewide and San Francisco precincts reporting, Proposition 98 and Measure F have failed while Proposition 99 and Measure G have passed. The margins:

Proposition 98 – Failed (61% voted No statewide, 74.23% voted No in San Francisco)
Proposition 99 – Passed (62.5% voted Yes statewide, 71.01% voted Yes in San Francisco)

Measure F – Failed (63% voted No in San Francisco, 37% voted Yes)
Measure G – Passed (62% voted Yes in San Francisco, 38% voted No)

With respect to Measure G and the development of Hunters and Candlestick Point, it's now up to the city to negotiate a binding agreement with Lennar and the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors to approve the plan.

Only 27.82% 40.22% of voters cast a ballot in San Francisco. Our thanks to those who did.

San Francisco Department of Elections: June 3 Election Summary [SFGov]
California Statewide Primary Election Results: Sate Ballot Measures [ca.gov]
Gone Voting (And If You Haven’t Already, So Should You) [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: The Ballot Battle Over Hunters And Candlestick Point [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (41) | (email story)

May 8, 2008

Not Exactly Cheap, But A Bit Below Their Initial Great Expectations

2645 Lincoln Way

Granted, it was officially listed at just over 4,000 square feet (but according to one appraiser, is closer to 5,000); and it does offer an in-law unit, six parking spaces, and some fine woodwork (all in a package fit for Miss Havisham).

2645 Lincoln Way: Staircase

But the initial list price of $3,000,000 for 2645 Lincoln Way in Parkway Terrace (central Sunset) still managed to shock quite a few (and likely sent the neighbors into a frenzy). And while the asking price on the home was subsequently reduced down to $2,375,000, according to a plugged-in tipster it just closed (or is about to close) escrow for $1,900,000.

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

May 1, 2008

The Potrero Update: 85% Sold And Offering 12 Months Paid Mortgage

The Potrero: Interior

According to a plugged-in tipster, The Potrero has moved roughly 25 units over the past five months (~5 per month) and is now 85% sold with 25 condos left to move. And as of today, the sales team is offering twelve months of paid mortgage payments on any of the remaining units (versus only six months on one-bedrooms earlier this year).

The Potrero Sales Team is proud to announce an unbelievable, limited-time incentive - No Mortgage Payments for 1 Year* on any of our 25 remaining homes! This offer starts May 1st and must end June 15th, so don't miss the chance to take advantage of our attractive prices and this special incentive.

A bit of the fine print: first mortgage only with a maximum loan to value of 80%. No word on what happens if you're currently in contract but haven't already closed (although we can probably guess). And once again, don't forget to adjust those future median sales price and comp calculations accordingly (as they'll be overstated by somewhere around 6%).

A New Incentive At The Potrero: Six Months No Mortgage Payment [SocketSite]
The Potrero (451 Kansas) Update: Now 70% In Contract Or Closed [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

April 28, 2008

The SocketSite Scoop On One (1) Ecker Place: Going Condo Rental

 One Ecker: Exterior (Image Source: oneecker.com)

From a plugged-in tipster:

One Ecker is going the route of Apartments. After pre-selling 10 of 51 units, the building refunded deposits and is going to rent instead of sell.

No word on the proposed rents nor whether or not the official explanation will be unexpected strength in the rental market (versus unexpected weakness in demand for the condos).

One (1) Ecker Place Update: Sales Office Open (And A Few Details) [SocketSite]
A Heller Manus Renovation Of 1 Ecker Place [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

April 22, 2008

The Development Of Seawall Lot 337: And Then There Were Three

SWL 337: Three proposals invited to the RFP phase

Three development teams (Kenwood Investments, San Francisco Giants, and Build Inc.) will be moving forward to the RFP phase for the development of Seawall Lot (SWL) 337. And while it’s almost certain that they wouldn’t have been invited to move forward anyway, the Federal Development team officially withdrew themselves from consideration.

The official Request for Proposals (RFP) should be published mid-May and will “provide approximately three months for the development teams to the prepare and submit their RFP proposals.” Scoring of the RFP’s will be based 60% on the Design and Development Program and 40% on the Financial Proposal and will likely take between 90 and 120 days.

And in moving from RFQ to RFP, emphasis and addendums have been added to the Development Objectives and Criteria. Two that stood out: 1. Minimum size for contiguous major open space, 5 acres at the northeast area of the site, and 2. Consideration for up to three "slender towers of 300 feet or more, to create an inspiring architectural identity."

The Development Of Seawall Lot 337: Rankings After Round One [SocketSite]
Request For Proposals For San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337 [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337 Design Proposals: In Summary [SocketSite]
The Kenwood Proposal For Seawall Lot 337: Details And Design [SocketSite]
The Rendering And Additional Details For The Giants SWL 337 Proposal [SocketSite]
The SocketSite Scoop: The Build Inc. Proposal For Seawall Lot 337 [SocketSite]
The Federal Development Proposal For SWL 337: Details And Design [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

March 31, 2008

Coming Soon! Bayshore Boulevard Home Depot Development Is Dead

Home Depot Not Coming Soon

"A controversial plan almost a decade in the making to open a Home Depot store on San Francisco's Bayshore Boulevard has been scuttled because of the flagging home-improvement market, company officials said today."

Controversial plan for S.F. Home Depot falls apart [SFGate]
The First Physical Sign (Quite Literally) Of Home Depot Development [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:35 PM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

March 29, 2008

Supervisor Peskin Engineers An End-Run (And Ending) For 55 Laguna

The alert from the developer (AF Evans):

Unfortunately, at the last possible moment, someone is trying to stop the 55 Laguna project. Supervisor Peskin is going to introduce amendments this coming Monday that will KILL the entire project permanently.
He is asking that the Landmarks Board and the preservation planners at the Planning Dept. be the body to review and approve the design of the project and not the Planning Commission or the senior staff in the Planning Department. This is highly irregular but also specifically against our project.
The Landmarks Board has vociferously opposed our project for over two years. If this amendment is approved, the project is over. We have already said in the Environmental Impact Report that we have a significant preservation impact and we are doing everything we can to mitigate that impact. The Planning Commission and the Board approved the EIR unanimously. This issue of preservation has been discussed multiple times and has been put to bed.
The editorial from our plugged-in tipster:
We regret to inform you that San Francisco is closing down.
Should we all just go home and gate this as Colonial Williamsburg by the Sea - perhaps a retirement village with nice light, no mosquitoes and artisan everything?

And how AF Evans suggests you respond:

Please send an email to the four supervisors below. It is important to use the same words in the subject sentence (“APPROVE 55 LAGUNA WITHOUT CHANGE NOW!”), so they don't have to read the emails to know what they say. It is our goal to fill up the email boxes and the voicemail boxes of these supervisors so they can know that this project has gone through its paces and it is time to start building housing, not wasting time and money on throwing up road blocks.
Then you can add a few lines about how the project has been approved by the Commission and the Board with full knowledge of the preservation impacts and that it is highly irregular and completely damaging to the project to remove the review and approval process from senior planning staff and the Planning Commission.
The emails and phone numbers are below. Please call this weekend and let them know you are frustrated, angry and disgusted by the changes proposed at the last minute when this project has been in review at the Board and Planning Commission since January 2007.
Aaron Peskin: (415) 554-7450, Aaron.peskin@sfgov.org
David Noyola (Peskin's Aide): (415) 554-7451, david.noyola@sfgov.org
Ross Mirkarimi: (415) 554-6715, ross.mirkarimi@sfgov.org
Other Land Use Committee Members
Sophie Maxwell: (415) 554-7670, Sophie.maxwell@sfgov.org
Geraldo Sandoval: (415) 554-6975, Geraldo.sandoval@sfgov.org

55 Laguna: Approved On Appeal And In Front Of San Francisco’s BOS [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

March 16, 2008

Sunday Night Special: The Bear Stearns Blowup (And Balance Sheets)

From a market capitalization of over $10.8 billion last month ($20.2 billion last year), to $3.6 billion on Friday, to an implied $240 million today, roughly $10.5 billion in Bear Stearns’ shareholder equity has evaporated over the past six weeks. And with a third of the bank owned by its employees, employee wealth has been reduced by at least $3.5b during the same period (dropping over $1 billion since Friday alone)*.

From a plugged-in reader who was listening in on the Bear Stearns (BSC) JPMorgan Chase (JPM) conference call earlier this evening:

In effect, JPM is "writing down" the value of nearly $33B in BSC mortgage-related assets to approximately $13B (after giving effect to the $20B of Fed backstop related specifically to these assets). Yes, the value of the mortgage assets on BSC's books, of which only $2B is estimated to be subprime specifically, has been marked to market at a greater than 50% discount to the market value as of 2/29/08. Now, clearly JPM was able to leverage the imminent liquidation of BSC to drive the mark to market value of these assets below the JPM-perceived value of the assets (or they wouldn't have done the deal), but why aren't the rest of the banks going to be forced to further write down the value of their mortgage-backed assets by some amount greater than what's already been done (since the true mark to market value of these assets now lies somewhere between par and more than 50% less than par)? And what does this mean to the value of the average household balance sheet, where the value of the home is a large part, if not a majority, of the "book value" of the average American household?

And then of course there’s the fact that the Fed is operating in complete crisis mode. Don’t think these things will affect all levels of our lilttle local real estate market way out here (from credit to rates to values)? You might want to think again.

*Note: Updated to include shares beyond those in the employee-incentive plan.

JPMorgan Chase to Buy Bear Stearns for $240 Million [Bloomberg]
Fed Lowers Discount Rate, Expands Lending to Prevent Meltdown [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (63) | (email story)

March 13, 2008

If The Plugged-In Readers Are Right, Jumbo-Conformings Are Here

From a plugged-in reader last week:

[E]ffective date of the conforming limit increase, it's going to happen 3/14 (not public knowledge yet).

From a plugged-in reader today:

My mortgage broker just called me and told me [he] had one provider (indymac) who was now providing CA jumbo loans under the new limits ($700k+ vs $417k). He said the spread between the new Jumbo rates versus non-conforming (<=$417k) is 50 basis points as opposed to the 100-150 basis point spread a few months ago.

Fannie Mae's New "Jumbo-Confirming" Loan Guidelines (In Summary) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

March 7, 2008

Fannie Mae's New "Jumbo-Confirming" Loan Guidelines (In Summary)

A summary of the new "jumbo-conforming" guidelines (and a link to Fannie Mae's updated sales guide) by way of a plugged-in "ex SF-er":

- 30 yr fixed, 15 yr fixed, 5 year ARM, and 5 year IO ARM only
- 1st lien mortgages ONLY; no cash out refinances
- Can refinance a first loan, but cannot refinance a first and second into the new loan; if there is a second loan it must re-subordinate
- Maximum Loan to Value ratio (LTV) is 90% on fixed mortgage
- Maximum LTV is 80% on an adjustable
- Maximum LTV is 60% on an investment property
- Private mortgage insurance must be bought for all loans with LTV >80%
- Max Debt to Income ratio (DTI) of 45%
- FULL documentation of everything required

UPDATE: A couple of points that we’ll add as well:

- For loans originated between 3/1/2008 and 12/31/2008
- Fixed-rate paper available as soon as April 1, 2008
- Adjustable-rate paper available as soon as May 1, 2008
- Not available for Cooperative or multi-unit properties
- Fixed-rate loans will be subject to a .25% price adjustment (LLPA)
- Adjustable-rate loans will be subject to a .75% price adjustment (LLPA)

Temporary Increase to Conventional Loan Limits: Selling Guide (pdf) [efanniemae.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (38) | (email story)

March 5, 2008

Loan Limits Have Been Raised For FHA-Backed Loans In California

We’re still looking for additional details, but according to the AP conforming FHA-backed loan limits have officially been raised (albeit temporarily) in 14 high-cost California counties. "Bay Area counties at the maximum level [of $729,750] for FHA loans are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara."

California gets first crack at new FHA mortgage limits [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

February 15, 2008

When Hell HELOCs Freeze Over...

A local heads-up from Julian Hebron at RPM Mortgage:

Be advised that most banks and lenders nationwide have begun freezing Home Equity Line of Credit 2nd mortgages. Even borrowers with significant equity and perfect credit have been receiving HELOC freeze letters. In many cases, it's not about borrower creditworthiness but rather the institutions shoring up their balance sheets. The reserve requirements banks need for open lines of credit are significant, and with mass losses reported by nearly all major financial institutions over the past 2 quarters, the strategy to freeze HELOCs is a quick way for them to gain some footing.

Posted by socketadmin at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

February 7, 2008

Senate Passes Bill To Temporarily Increase Conforming Loan Limits

The good news (to some), the Senate passed an economic stimulus bill which temporarily increases conforming loan limits in high cost areas:

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance companies, will be allowed to buy loans worth as much as $729,750 in expensive markets, an increase over the current $417,000 loan limit, a move that could help struggling homeowners to refinance large mortgages at a lower interest rate.

The bad news (to most), the reason why:

Economic growth in the fourth quarter slowed to a 0.6 percent pace, and U.S. employers cut jobs in January for the first time in four years, raising concern among some economists that the economy may slip into recession.

Senate Approves $151 Billion Economic Stimulus Bill [Bloomberg]
Senate Advances Stimulus Plan Without Any Loan Limit Adjustments [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (45) | (email story)

February 4, 2008

The SocketSite Scoop: Francisco Street Reservoir On The Market

San Francisco's Francisco Street Reservoir

We’re still trying to nail down details (tipsters?), but the word on the street is that the City of San Francisco has decided to put the Francisco Street Reservoir up for sale and development. The completely unconfirmed price tag: up to $70 $50 million.

A number of Russian Hill neighbors are obviously concerned with this turn of events and have organized a neighborhood meeting to be held this evening (2/4 at 6:30pm) at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church (corner of Hyde and Francisco).

UPDATE (2/5): From a plugged-in reader's comment below: "I attended the meeting. The property nearest Chestnut Street is privately owned. The proposed building(s) would cover the resevoir and potentially the park along Bay Street. I don't think a figure of $70 million was mentioned - the highest price was $50 million. Much depends upon whether someone is willing to buy the property without any existing ability to build anything - a huge risk."

Posted by socketadmin at 5:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (41) | (email story)

January 22, 2008

The Federal Reserve Cuts Benchmark/Discount Rates By 0.75%

Twelve weeks ago the Federal Reserve cut the benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points (0.25%) and signaled that further cuts were unlikely. Six weeks ago they cut again by 25 basis points as house prices continued to drop, spending continued to slow, and banks continued to tighten their lending standards.

And in an unscheduled session this morning, the Feds have further cut the benchmark interest rate by 75 basis points (0.75%):

The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate in an emergency move for the first time since 2001 after stock markets tumbled from Hong Kong to London and the U.S. economy showed increasing signs that it's headed into a recession.
The central bank cut the target overnight lending rate to 3.5 percent from 4.25 percent, the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement in Washington. Policy makers weren't scheduled to gather until next week. It's the biggest single reduction since the Fed began using the rate as the principal tool of monetary policy around 1990.

And once again we ask, will the cuts help revive our national housing market? And of course, what impact (if any) will the cuts have on mortgage rates closer to home?

The Federal Reserve Cuts Benchmark/Discount Rates By 0.25% [SocketSite]
It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again: Fed Cuts Benchmark/Discount Rates .25% [SocketSite]
Fed Cuts Rate 0.75 Percentage Point in Emergency Move [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (33) | (email story)

December 12, 2007

Tag Line Irony From Alliance Title: “Closing The California Dream”

Alliance Title

A reader notes that Alliance Title seems to have suddenly closed its doors in San Francisco and wonders what’s going on. And while we can’t confirm a why, we can confirm a what: it appears as though Alliance Title is shuttering their Escrow Services in San Francisco and San Mateo but continuing to operate their Default Services (in both cities).

Perhaps it's simply a coincidence (considering the state of the market). Or perhaps it's a canary (considering the state of the market). Regardless, we do have to note the irony (considering the “Closing the California Dream” tag line).

Posted by socketadmin at 5:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (81) | (email story)

November 8, 2007

Millennium Tower Sales Watch: Rumors Of Day One Results

Millennium Tower: Grand Residence Plan B Floor Plan

The early word on the street is that after a single day of sales, over 10% of the 419 Millennium condos have been reserved with 10% deposits (which will convert to firm contracts in five days if not cancelled).

And perhaps the even bigger story (on many different levels) is that of those units that have received deposits, rumor has it that five (5) are Grand Residence “B” plans above the 48th floor (of which there are only ten and are priced in the neighborhood of $5M).

The Millennium: A Few Things You Might Know (And A Few You Don’t) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:06 PM | Permalink | Comments (57) | (email story)

October 25, 2007

A Huge (Potential) Development For The Mid-Market/SoMa 'Hood

Hearst's Chronicle Building (Image Source: sfgate.com)

“The Hearst Corp. is quietly seeking a developer for 3.9 acres of prime property in the fast-changing Mid-Market neighborhood, 20 separate parcels that include the current home of Hearst's San Francisco Chronicle at Fifth and Mission streets.”

“Hearst owns most of the land from Mission Street south to Howard Street between Fifth Street and Mary alley. In addition to the Chronicle's current headquarters, the portfolio covers five parcels along Fifth Street, including 110 Fifth St., the former San Francisco Examiner building that is connected to 901 Mission St. by a bridge over Minna alley.

The Hearst holdings also take in properties along the 900 block of both Mission and Howard streets, as well as a dozen small lots along Minna and Natoma alleys. There are a number of surface parking lots, as well as at least one historic building, a brick former label printer at 447-449 Minna."

Hearst puts S.F. Properties, including Chronicle HQ, on block [Business Times]
Hearst to consider offers for Chronicle building, other S.F. sites [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

October 19, 2007

One Rincon Hill: Now Accepting Online Registrations For Tower Two

One Rincon Hill: Tower Two Registration

One Rincon Hill is now accepting online registrations for tower two which will likely form the basis for their reservation priority list come the release of tower two inventory. So if you're interested, sign up. And yes, we'll publish an update on the status of both towers early next week.

One Rincon Hill: Registration [onerinconhill.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:48 PM | Permalink | Comments (70) | (email story)

October 12, 2007

Big House, Big Views, Big Dreams, And Big News…It’s In Contract

120 Sea Cliff Avenue: Aerial (Image Source: 120seacliff.com)

It was but seven days ago that we introduced you to the $15,000,000 120 Sea Cliff Avenue. And now, it's in contract. And not only in contract, but rumor has it with multiple offers. So if you’re interested in taking a peek, you might want to do so now (a few more photos have appeared on the property website).

120 Sea Cliff: Bathroom (Image Source: 120seacliff.com)

And as always, if you happen to be the highest bidder, let's not forget those invitations to the housewarming...

∙ Listing: 120 Sea Cliff Avenue (6/8.5) - $15,000,000 [120seacliff.com] [MLS]
Big House, Views, And Dreams (And Not Necessarily In That Order) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

October 11, 2007

The SocketSite Scoop On Frank Norris Place (81 Frank Norris)

Frank Norris Place (81 Frank Norris)

What most people already know about Frank Norris Place (81 Frank Norris): it’s a new development of 32 one bedroom “luxury condos” on Polk; it’s been selling for about six months; and it was originally designated “City Living For City People 55 and Over” (i.e., at least one occupant per unit had to be 55+).

What plugged-in people know: it’s roughly 50% “sold”; prices have been reduced by as much as $50,000 (11%) since their initial “pre-release pricing”; the website is advertising 2 years of paid HOA dues (which range from $330 to $430 per month); and perhaps most interestingly, we’ve been told that the building’s CC&R’s are in the process of being amended to allow residents under 55 to occupy up to 20% of the development.

And while we don’t have an answer as to how that amendment was even possible (as far as we know the developer was able to double the density of the development based on the original age restrictions), we do know that it might make it worth taking another look if you liked the design, location, and pricing of the condos (but simply weren’t old enough to occupy at the time).

Current pricing on sixteen of the units (only eight of which are official inventory on the MLS):

∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #301 (1/1) - $399,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #302 (1/1) - $399,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #303 (1/1) - $479,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #305 (1/1) - $459,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #401 (1/1) - $449,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #405 (1/1) - $539,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #501 (1/1) - $459,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #503 (1/1) - $529,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #505 (1/1) - $549,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #506 (1/1) - $469,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #601 (1/1) - $479,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #603 (1/1) - $539,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #605 (1/1) - $559,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #703 (1/1) - $559,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #705 (1/1) - $579,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #706 (1/1) - $499,000

A couple of other notes: parking spaces are unbundled from the list prices and four remain available at $50,000 per space; and while the age restrictions apply to residency, they don’t apply to holding title (i.e., anybody can buy). And our pick of the (remaining) litter? Number 705.

Frank Norris Place (81 Frank Norris Street) [franknorrisplace.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

September 26, 2007

RandomRumors And Readers Report: Countrywide Cuts Commence

From a plugged-in tipster: "I talked to my friend who was just let go [at Countrywide]. Seems they're going to go into the direction right now of letting those people go who started after June 11th, 2007. He said company wide so we shall see how it unfolds. Weird to begin letting people go on a Weds as well." And yes, unconfirmed (for now).

From Rumor To Reality: Up To 12,000 Layoffs At Countrywide [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (11) | (email story)

September 20, 2007

It’s Official: Pelli Clarke Pelli/Hines Win The Transbay Competition

It’s Official, the Pelli Clarke Pelli/Hines team have won the Transbay Terminal and Tower design competition.

But even as they selected the Hines-Pelli team over two rivals, leaders of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority stressed that the proposal now on the table is a starting point, not a fait accompli.

Although the authority board was unanimous today in their decision to select the Hines-Pelli team, several members said they expected the tower to eventually include both residential and commercial space. The original tower proposal included only commercial space.

And while nobody should be too surprised, some are sure to de disapointed.

Skyscraper team chosen for giant Transbay Terminal project [SFGate]
Transbay Terminal (And Tower) Design Competition: The Teams [SocketSite 1/07]
Hines And Pelli Clarke Pelli Bid The Most (And Get The Transbay Nod) [SocketSite 9/07]
The SocketSite Scoop: San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal Designs [SocketSite 8/07]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

September 18, 2007

Reader Dave Is In The Money As The FOMC Lowers By Half A Point

“The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark interest rate by a half point to 4.75 percent, the first cut in four years, hoping to keep the U.S. from sinking into a recession sparked by spreading housing-market fallout.”

And while (according to our lawyers) we don’t condone betting, it’s time to make good if you participated in the friendly wager. Then again, you could always go double or nothing on the actual impact on mortgage rates (if any) and local sales.

Fed Lowers Rate to 4.75 Percent, First Cut Since 2003 [Bloomberg]
JustQuotes: Why Listen To This Guy About The Housing Market? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

Unplugging Tonight’s Gathering (But Planting The Seeds For October)

Our plans to host a post FOMC meeting happy hour this evening have unfortunately run awry (i.e., it's been cancelled). We are, however, working on an even grander event for plugged-in people next month. And this time it will be in ink.

A SocketSite Save The Date/Time: September 18, 2007 at 6PM [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:59 AM | Permalink | (email story)

September 10, 2007

Hines And Pelli Clarke Pelli Bid The Most (And Get The Transbay Nod)

Pelli Clarke Pelli's Transbay Terminal and Tower ('City Park')

It's true, the Hines/Pelli Clarke Pelli proposal for "City Park" has won (save an uprising by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors, or the Planning Commission) the design competition for San Francisco's new Transbay Terminal and Tower.

The winning Transbay terminal proposal by developer Hines and architect Pelli Clarke Pelli offered $350 million for the tower property, more than twice what the other two teams were willing to pay, according to the nine-person jury appointed by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.
The astounding offer blew away the team ranked second in the competition, Richard Rogers Partnership and Forest City Enterprises, which offered $145 million for the tower land. The third-place team, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and Rockefeller Group Development Corp., made a purchase price offer of $118 million.

As previously noted, the proposed “City Park” combines a 'complex' 5.4 acre park elevated above the transit center with a 'simple and calm' 1,200-foot glass wrapped tower housing 1.6 million square feet of commercial office space (and no residential).

Jury picks Hines for Transbay tower [Business Times]
Jury names favorite for Transbay terminal, tower [SFGate]
Transbay Terminal (And Tower) Design Competition: The Teams [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center + Tower: More Proposal Porn [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal Design Proposals: Highlights [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (49) | (email story)

September 7, 2007

From Rumor To Reality: Up To 12,000 Layoffs At Countrywide

It was two days ago that “ex SF-er” commented: “Rumor alert: Countrywide may be laying off 6,000 to 10,000 employees.”

And it was but less than two hours ago that Countrywide announced possible workforce cuts of between 10,000 and 12,000 people over the next three months. The culprit, a sharp drop in expected demand: “New mortgages probably will drop 25 percent in 2008 from this year's levels, the Calabasas, California-based company said in a statement today.”

And no, perhaps not entirely unexpected.

What Happens When It’s Time To Fund? We’ll Have To Wait And See [SocketSite]
Countrywide May Cut Staff by 12,000 as Demand Wanes [Bloomberg]
U.S. Economy: Employment Unexpectedly Drops in August [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

August 31, 2007

Read Our Lips: President Bush Announces FHA Secure

Three weeks ago we pointed out President Bush’s careful choice of words when he spoke out against federal bailouts for struggling homeowners ("If you mean direct grants to homeowners, the answer would be `No, I don't support that.'"). This morning, the President spoke again.

President George W. Bush today pledged to help people who've fallen behind in their mortgages keep their homes and to tighten safeguards against predatory lending, while rejecting a bailout for ``speculators.''
``I plan to help homeowners, the government's got a role to play,'' Bush said in a statement at the White House. But, he said, ``it's not the government's job to bail out speculators, or those who made the decision to buy a home they knew they could never afford.''
Bush said he will let the Federal Housing Administration, which insures mortgages for low- and middle-income borrowers, guarantee loans for delinquent borrowers, allowing them to avoid foreclosure and refinance at more favorable rates.
Bush said that ``in the coming days'' the FHA will begin a new program called FHA Secure that will permit homeowners who have a good credit rating but can't afford their current payments to refinance into FHA-insured mortgages.

According to Bloomberg, "The president gave no estimate on the cost of his proposals. He said he also will support proposals in Congress to provide tax relief for homeowners who refinance." Is it a token act, or simply act one of an even larger production?

Housing And Credit Concerns Abound (Here And Abroad) [SocketSite]
Bush Pledges FHA Help for Subprime Borrowers [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (26) | (email story)

August 6, 2007

The SocketSite Scoop: San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal Designs

Yes, all three proposals include wind turbines on top of their towers; will aim to achieve either Gold or Platinum LEED certification; and plan to rise between 1,100 and 1,350 feet in the air. Other than that, all three aim to redefine "the center of San Francisco" in very different ways. Pictures (and a few details) now, highlights to follow.

From Pelli Clark Pelli Architects/Hines:
San Francisco's Transbay Terminal and Tower: Pelli Cark Pelli Preliminary Design
Proposed Tower Height: 1,200'
Proposed Tower Use: Commercial (1.6 million square feet; "potential for residential")
Proposed LEED Certification: Gold (possibly Platinum)

From Richard Rogers Partnership/Forest City Enterprises/MacFarlane Partners:
San Francisco's Transbay Terminal and Tower: Richard Rogers Preliminary Design
Proposed Tower Height: 1,155' (skyview roof); 1,287' (top of turbine)
Proposed Tower Use: Mixed (600K sq.ft. commercial; 200+ hotel rooms; 200-300 condos)
Proposed LEED Certification: Platinum (tower) / Gold (terminal)

From Skidmore Owings and Merrill/Rockefeller Group Development Corporation:
San Francisco's Transbay Terminal and Tower: Skidmore Owings and Merrill Preliminary Design
Proposed Tower Height: 1,200' (occupied floor); 1,375' (top of parapet)
Proposed Tower Use: Mixed (31 floors office; 42 floors residential; 8 floors hotel)
Proposed LEED Certification: Platinum

A few more renderings:

Inside the Pelli Clark Pelli design (bus terminal level):
Inside The Pelli Clark Pelli Transbay Terminal Design

The Richard Rogers design at dusk:
Richard Rogers Design At Dusk

The Skidmore Owings and Merrill proposed tower plaza and terminal entrance:
The%20SOM%20Tower%20Plaza.jpg

Note: Design models for all three proposals will be on display to the public Tuesday, August 7th, 2007 from 8 am to 6 pm in the North Light Court at San Francisco City Hall.

Transbay Design Competition: The Revised Schedule And Unveiling [SocketSite]
Transbay Terminal (And Tower) Design Competition: The Teams [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (165) | (email story)

July 31, 2007

MAC (Narrowly) Loses Appeal Of 3400 Cesar Chavez Development

From Left in SF (via a plugged-in reader): “The appeal of the 3400 Cesar Chavez project was denied, by a vote of 6-5, with Mirkarimi, Daly, Ammiano, Peskin and Maxwell voting for the appeal and the rest voting against.”

3400 Cesar Chavez appeal denied [Left in SF]
Will The Supervisors Martyr (3400) Cesar Chavez In The Mission? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (39) | (email story)

July 2, 2007

For Policy Wonks Only, Or Simply Those Who Care

Are Eastside development battles finally going to be brought to a close? The San Francisco Planning Department's draft Eastern Neighborhoods Environmental Impact Report (600 pages) was approved for release Saturday. Decisions about zoning in these four neighborhoods – the Mission, Showplace Square/Potrero Hill, East SoMa and Central Waterfront – have been years in the making. In fact, the process started in the dot-com boom days and seems to have progressed though a full economic cycle in the meantime.

The plan aims to support long-term Planning Department goals such as greater density and housing affordability, and particularly attempts to better define zoning uses, especially for Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR). The plan sets out three specific plan options. According to the report "...Implementation of any one of the proposed project options would result in more housing options and a broader range of housing prices and rents, compared to conditions under the No-Project scenario." There are already several housing developments being held up for the completion of this report.

The period of public comment is June 30, 2007 through August 31, 2007 with a public hearing August 9, 2007. If any plugged-in readers have strong opinions, let them be known. Oh, and for those who don't want to read all 600 pages there is a good 60-page summary as well.

Eastern Neighboorhoods Draft EIR [SF Planning Department]
Developers await verdict on planned residential units [SFGate}

Posted by SFEditor at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (30) | (email story)

May 27, 2007

2626 Sutter: Little Did We Know (Or Perhaps We Did)

Fifteen months ago we snapped a picture of 2626 Sutter and wrote: “Three weeks ago 2626 Sutter was just another “renovated” property with fresh paint, sloping floors, and a price tag destined to land it in the RealRecentReductions archive. Today it’s a burned out shell. Our first thought? We hope nobody got hurt. Our second thought? Well, let's just say it was probably the same as yours.

Well, Matier and Ross are now reporting that the house is owned by embattled San Francisco Supervisor Ed Jew. And anybody who's "plugged-in" shouldn't be too surprised by the following: “[In November 2005] Jew put the two-story house on the market for $1.19 million, but it didn't sell. The property was still vacant and available in February 2006, when, according to the Fire Department, an arsonist set it ablaze in the dead of night, causing $260,000 in damage. A Fire Department incident report said the arsonist apparently walked through an unlocked door, doused the den and living room with gasoline, and set the place on fire.”

From Flip To Flames? [SocketSite]
Another house's hazy history haunts supervisor [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

May 14, 2007

Local Brokerage Consolidation: Droubi Acquired By Coldwell Banker

Last month Alain Pinel Realtors acquired San Francisco Brokerage Ritchie Hallanan Real Estate. And according to a seriously "plugged-in" tipster, Droubi (formerly BJ Droubi) was just acquired by Coldwell Banker (although we haven't been able to confirm).

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (29) | (email story)

March 30, 2007

Another Way To “Plug In” (And Never Be Off Topic Again)

We still haven’t worked out all the kinks, and we aren’t “officially” launching until Monday, but we wanted our readers to be the first to know: www.forums.socketsite.com

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

March 1, 2007

The Soma Grand: The SocketSite Straight Scoop

Soma Grand: Street Level Rendering

The Soma Grand christened their sales office at 1085 Mission with a packed Friends and Family event last night. We were lucky enough to score an invitation. And smart bold enough to ferret out the straight scoop:

While March 7th marks the VIP grand opening, the first official release (and actual taking of deposits) isn’t expected to kickoff until mid-April. (And a blowout "Rincon style" launch party is tentatively planned for May 2nd.)

The first year of twice-monthly housekeeping service is included in the purchase price, but a la carte thereafter. Yoga, car service, and massage (in the "private studio [or] meditation garden") are a la carte from the get go. Monthly HOA fees are expected to run under $600/month.

And while an official price list still hasn’t been released, an insider assures us they’re shooting for an average of $600-$800 a square foot (depending upon unit size/floor).

And of course, the extra special SocketSite scoop for our “plugged in” people: rumor has it the developers are in discussions with Charles Phan (of Slanted Door fame) to develop a new dining concept for the larger of their two ground floor retail spaces.

UPDATE: We’re blaming one too many “Soma Gs” for the fact that we failed to get the scoop on parking. We do know there is room for 504 cars in the Soma Grand garage, but we honestly don’t know how the spaces are being allocated or priced (yet).

UPDATE (3/5): According to the developer, “everyone with a unit should be able to park a car, whether its deeded, assigned, or valet is still in the works.” As always, details when we have them.

It’s All About Service And Style At The Soma Grand (1160 Mission) [SocketSite]
The Soma Grand: Topped Off And VIP Opening March 7 [SocketSite]
The Slanted Door: Biographies [slanteddoor.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (110) | (email story)

February 23, 2007

Beacon Class Action Lawsuit Dismissed Without Prejudice

Thanks to a “plugged in” tipster (and homeowner at the Beacon), we have the scoop on some big Beacon news: the class action lawsuit against The Beacon has been dismissed by Catalano without prejudice. (No word on the status of similar suits filed against The Metropolitan or Watermark.) Also from our tipster:

One other good piece of news that we homeowners received was that the ground lease was terminated 3 years early and in January everyone received a deeded interest in their unit (rather than the leasehold interest that we were sold). In my book, that makes my unit more valuable than when I bought it!
Overall, I'm really happy with my unit. Its a great location and a great place to live. I'm sure I'd get flamed for saying that by the "condoistas" on your site, but the truth is I'm happy and I didn't pay $1,000+ psf so I never expected it to be the St Regis.

This should brighten the weekend for the sales office (20 units left the last time we checked) and any owners who are currently trying to sell (~15 resales currently listed) as it removes the stigma of pending litigation and increases the pool of potential lenders.

Celebratory party in the clubhouse/pool? You know where to send our invitation.

A Big Bad Lawsuit At The Beacon [SocketSite]
A Class Action Suit At The Metropolitan? [SocketSite]
Now Serving: The Watermark [SocketSite]
A Sales Office Shakeup At The Beacon? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

February 22, 2007

The Californian On Rincon Hill Construction/Sales Pushed Back

An eagle-eyed tipster notices that Fifield's website for The Californian on Rincon Hill was just changed to reflect a “Sales Start” of Early 2008 (was February 2007) and a “Construction Start” of November 2007 (was March 2007). It's also worth noting that the average unit size has increased (from 988 square feet to 1,048 square feet) as the number of planned condos has decreased (from 420 to 393).

Our Complete Inventory Index (Cii) has been updated to reflect all three changes (we were forecasting 420 units hitting the market in the second half of 2007). And we have a feeling this news explains that “Rincon Hill” rumor.

The Californian on Rincon Hill [fifieldco.com]
The Californian on Rincon Hill: 375 Fremont St [SocketSite]
SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (CII): Q1 2007 [SocketSite]
The SocketSite Scoop On Two Very Big (Unconfirmed) Rumors [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

February 18, 2007

The SocketSite Scoop On Two Very Big (Unconfirmed) Rumors

Okay, so for a while we’ve been hearing rumblings from brokers to builders that the developers of The Infinity have been discussing going rental rather than sales with their second tower (at least initially). That being said, we haven’t been able to confirm it as fact (and perhaps it's simply contingency planning gone awry).

And now according to a "plugged in" reader, it’s rumored that One Rincon Hill’s second tower has been put on hold "held back." Once again, we haven’t been able to confirm (and we’re not sure if the rumor simply refers to sales, construction, or both).

If either of these rumblings are true, it’s not particularly positive commentary on the near-term strength of the market (or new development absorption). On the flipside, either action would increase the near-term scarcity of ownership opportunities in these developments (and help throttle back San Francisco's condominium pipeline).

And as far as our inventory index (Cii) is concerned, we're still assuming both towers will hit the pre-construction market in 2007.

UPDATE (2/20): Just to be clear, we haven’t heard even the faintest whisper about “cancelling” either of these towers. At this point it’s simply a question of timing with one and initial use with the other.

UPDATE (2/22): We’re now guessing our “plugged in” reader was absolutely correct about a big project that's being "held back" on Rincon Hill, but that it’s The Californian on Rincon Hill and not One Rincon Hill that has changed its sales/construction dates. (And that’s news, not rumor.)

The Infinity Continues To Grow Up [SocketSite]
JustQuotes: Nope, Not Included In Our "Near-Term Likely" Cii Pipeline [SocketSite]
One Rincon Hill: Hovering Around 90% Sold [SocketSite]
SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (CII): Q1 2007 [SocketSite]
The Californian On Rincon Hill Construction/Sales Pushed Back [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (109) | (email story)

February 15, 2007

Versailles On Vallejo (At Least Inside)

2090 Valljeo: Exterior (Image Source: deckerbullock.com)

2090 Valljeo: Dining Room (Image Source: deckerbullock.com)

Thanks to a “plugged in” tipster, we’ve got the scoop on tonight’s coming out soiree for the uberdecadent 2090 Vallejo Street. It’s expected to be one of the open houses of the year, and it’s most definitely by invitation only (but we do have photos and links for the masses).

Designed by Clarence Tantau for a local department store mogul (think City of Paris), the home boasts an “exquisite jewel-like interior including lavish wall panels, columns, extraordinary three-dimensional moldings, impressive Frescos and opulent 24-carat gildings.” And while mention of the 1,000 bottle wine cellar wasn’t too unexpected, the private “fur storage” did raise an eyebrow or two.

By the numbers: Six bedrooms, six full baths and two half baths, five fireplaces; three car side-by-side garage plus motor court for six cars; approximately 10,340 square feet as per appraiser; and asking $17,800,000. And forget the cake, 2090vallejo.com should be delivering some guilt-free voyeuristic pleasure in the not too distant future.

UPDATE (2/16): Thanks to an insider we have the post-“soiree” scoop…lots of unused champagne glasses and uneaten strawberries (looks like the crowds never materialized); while not Georgian, the ornate common area décor and detailing were indeed fabulous (and cost three million dollars to renovate); and while the pentroom could definitely benefit from a major overhaul (and is much larger than it appears in the pictures), the faux balcony and views are breathtaking. (Oh, and that “fur storage?” Well, let’s just say it looked a whole lot like the wine cellar...)

∙ Listing: 2090 Vallejo (6/7) - $17,800,000 [deckerbullock.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (24) | (email story)

February 12, 2007

SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (CII): Q1 2007

SocketSite's San Francisco Complete Inventory Index (Cii): Q1 2007

If you’re truly “plugged in,” you should already be familiar with SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii) for San Francisco. As we wrote last September:

The goal of the Cii (pronounced “see”; we’re hoping Nintendo views it as flattery) is to paint a complete picture of housing inventory and new development in San Francisco; listed, unlisted, pipeline, and potential. In fact, we believe it represents a fundamental shift from the abstract to the tangible with regard to what’s in the works throughout San Francisco.

Over the past quarter, we have doubled the size of our new development database and SocketSite now tracks the size, status, probability, pricing, sales, and available inventory for nearly 125 new developments in San Francisco (15,000+ condominiums in total). We also track 10,000 “net new housing units” (including rental units) that are either proposed or on the drawing boards. And all told, we are actively keeping tabs on a potential inventory of 25,000+ housing units (i.e., San Francisco’s overall housing pipeline).

As it stands, in addition to the roughly 325 San Francisco condominiums that are listed and available for sale on the San Francisco MLS, we estimate that there are approximately 350 new condominiums that are not listed, but are currently available for purchase and immediate occupancy. These condos include unlisted inventory in buildings ranging in size from The Glassworks to The Beacon.

We also estimate that there are currently an additional 1,050 available condominiums that are actively competing for the attention of buyers and accepting non-refundable deposits in sales offices throughout San Francisco (examples include The Infinity, Heritage on Fillmore, and Arterra). And within the next six months, we expect to see an additional 2,450 condominiums begin marketing, accepting deposits, and competing for sales as well (think The Potrero, Symphony Towers, and The Bay).

Looking forward to the second half of 2007, we see an additional 1,575 new condominiums that are likely to start marketing/selling before the end of the year (or relatively soon thereafter). And for 2008/2009, we see 4,000+ units that have a shot of making it to market (and 2,000+ that will likely fall by the wayside).

Beyond that, well…you’ll just have to keep “plugging in.”

SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii) [SocketSite]
Glassworks (207 King): 3 Years Paid HOA And Further Reductions [SocketSite]
The Beacon: Sales Office Incentives [SocketSite]
The Infinity: Online Floor Plans And Condo Specifications [SocketSite]
Heritage On Fillmore: The VIP Scoop [SocketSite]
Evidence Of A Price Reduction At Arterra? [SocketSite]
The Potrero (451 Kansas): Sales Center Opening In February [SocketSite]
Symphony Towers: From The $300,000s [SocketSite]
The Bay (329 Bay Street): Complete Pricing [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (25) | (email story)

January 12, 2007

Redfin: New Maps (Virtual Earth), Areas, And More

Redfin Map Announcement

Redfin is live with a new mapping platform (Microsoft's Virtual Earth), a new legend (listings in green, viewed listings in light green, and recently sold properties in blue), and expanded Bay Area coverage (“Napa, Sonoma, Santa Cruz & more Solano”).

It’s a great complement to their recent upgrade of property listing details. And it’s a smart move to let Microsoft worry about mapping technology (Redfin’s previous technology was homegrown), and let Redfin focus on real estate.

UPDATE: According to Redfin’s press release, they plan to leverage Microsoft’s Virtual Earth “to offer bird’s-eye views of neighborhoods, driving directions, mobile telephone integration and more neighborhood information about local attractions and retail shops.” And an “online agent chat” feature is live as well.

Going Once, Going Twice, Going Three Times... [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

December 21, 2006

They Just Keep Getting Bigger, And Bigger, And Bigger...

San Francisco, corner of First and Mission

J.K. Dineen at the San Francisco Business Times has the scoop on a proposed “1,200-foot tower at First and Mission streets, part of a quartet of astoundingly ambitious buildings being designed by superstar architect Renzo Piano."

The proposed building, which would dwarf any existing buildings on the West Coast, would be part of a 2.9 million-square-foot development that would include 600 condominiums, 470 hotel rooms, and more than 520,000 square feet of office space, according to an application filed Dec. 21 with the city.

The 1,200-foot proposed skyscraper, which would be the third tallest building in the United States, would lag only Chicago's Sears Tower, which is 1,450 feet, and New York's Empire State Building at 1,250 feet. San Francisco's tallest current building is the Transamerica Pyramid, which is 853 feet tall.

For additional perspective, that’s about twice the height of either the Millennium Tower or One Rincon Hill (and 200 feet taller than the proposed Transbay Terminal skyscraper).

Massive new project being proposed for San Francisco [bizjournals]
Millennium Tower San Francisco (301 Mission): Interest List [SocketSite]
The Tallest Residential Tower West Of The Mississippi Los Angeles! [SocketSite]
We're Thinking Gehry (No, Not Geary) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (159) | (email story)

December 14, 2006

San Francisco Sales Volume Falls (Median Sales Price Stagnates)

San Francisco Median Sales Price and Sales Volume (www.SocketSite.com)

According to DataQuick, the median sales price for existing homes in San Francisco was $754,000 last month, up 0.7% from $749,000 in November ’05, but down 2.2% from October ‘06. Sales volume was down 25.8% year-over-year (441 sales versus 594 in November ‘05) and fell 15.7% compared to the month prior (523 sales). Changes in median sales price are interesting. Changes in sales volume (i.e., "demand") are meaningful.

For the greater Bay Area, the recorded median sales price in November was $616,000 (down 1.4% year-over-year but relatively flat as compared to October ‘06) and sales volume was 7,204 (down 25.9% from November ’05 and down 9.7% from October ’06).

Both Napa and Sonoma counties continued to show signs of weakness as year-over-year median sales prices dropped 1.5% and 7.7%, and sales volume dropped 31.7% and 22.5%, respectively.

Bay Area home prices decline, sales at five-year low [DQNews]
San Francisco Median Sales Price Up MOM (But Down YOY) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

December 7, 2006

Zillow Adds Listings (Zlistings?)

Zillow screen shot: Listings

Three days ago we wrote, “Perhaps our real concern should be for the MLS itself. Without some innovative thinking about how to effectively open it up on the front end (i.e., reducing the cost/restrictions of adding/sharing listings), its years could be numbered. (Cue the growing number of alternative listing and non-MLS based real estate search tools.)”

And as if right on cue, last night Zillow announced that they’re joining the fray. And it’s not only real estate agents, brokers, and builders who'll have the opportunity to plant free virtual "For Sale" signs with listing details and contact information.

Zillow maps now include red flags for homes that are "For Sale," yellow flags for homes that have recently sold, and blue flags for homes that aren't actively on the market, but whose owners might entertain an offer they can’t refuse. According to Zillow:

“Make Me Move™”...is [Zillow's] twist on what it means to be "For Sale." Here's the concept: Think about a price that would entice you to hand over the keys to your home and move. We think it's a unique and creative way for homeowners to test the waters and gauge interest in their home, even if it’s not actually on the market. Interested home shoppers can then contact them via an e-mail "anonymizer" to get the conversation started.

While Make Me Move is novel (and sure to drive traffic), we have to wonder how much time and energy serious buyers will invest engaging owners who are perceived to be simply “testing the waters” and haven’t committed themselves to parting with their homes (no matter the price).

We expect to see growing pains with regard to the quality and quantity of listings, and perhaps some seller apprehension with regard to the juxtaposition of list prices and “zestimates.” And in terms of agent/broker adoption, only time will tell if Zillow’s offerings are embraced as complimentary (additional distribution) or shunned as competitive (aiding disintermediation).

Regardless, it's a shot across the bow of the MLS. And it's another catalyst for industry innovation.

The Wrong Reasons (The Right Results?) [SocketSite]
We're Opening It Up! [Zillow Blog]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

November 28, 2006

Heritage On Fillmore: VIP Grand Opening (12/5/06)

Rendering: Heritage on Fillmore at night

It's about two quarters later than expected, but Heritage on Fillmore is opening its sales office doors next Tuesday (12/5/06) with a VIP Grand Opening featuring cocktails, sushi by Yoshi’s, and of course, live jazz.

If you're seriously interested in the development, we suggest you weasel your way onto the VIP list. And if you’re already on the list and plan on attending, we suggest you remember to report back. You know we'd do the same for you.

The Heritage On Fillmore (1300 Fillmore) [SocketSite]
Heritage On Fillmore And 170 Off Third: BMR Updates [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

November 16, 2006

PropertyShark Launches San Francisco Foreclosure Listings

PropertyShark Map: 311 Marina Boulevard

Forget that rogue sea lion, it’s the shark that captures all of our attention today. PropertyShark added free foreclosure listings for San Francisco to its site this afternoon (fourteen currently listed).

For example, according to PropertyShark, 311 Marina Blvd last changed hands on 6/2/2004 for $2,350,000 and the property was refinanced on 6/14/2005 using two variable rate loans (one for $1,950,000 and another for $530,000). The property is currently in foreclosure (with an estimated unpaid balance of $327,573.97) and will be auctioned off on 11/27/2006 at City Hall.

At the other end of the spectrum is 3018 Casto Street which was purchased on 11/09/2005 with a $569,000 variable rate mortgage. A year later, the current unpaid balance on the loan is now $609,014.48 and the property is scheduled to be auctioned off on 12/04/2006 (once again, at City Hall).

If you’re not familiar with PropertyShark you’ll probably be a bit shocked by the depth and breadth of information that’s available for the vast majority of residential and commercial properties in San Francisco (not just foreclosures). Also added to the PropertyShark site today, a number of San Francisco property maps including land use and property outlines.

Rogue sea lion in S.F. menaces swimmers [SFGate]
Circling The Waters [SocketSite]
PropertyShark: San Francisco Foreclosures [propertyshark.com]
PropertyShark: San Francisco Maps [propertyshark.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

November 6, 2006

Reductions At The Infinity?

An Infinity Bathroom (Image Source: the-infinity.com)

Three months ago, two listings for condos in The Infinity were added to the San Francisco MLS (301 Main Street #6G and 318 Spear Street #4A). This evening, the prices were reduced: #6G was lowered $90,000 (7.4%) and #4A was lowered $70,000 (9.3%). We’re trying not to read too much into the reductions, at least until we’ve had a chance to chat with a number of insiders and tipsters. "Plug in" tomorrow for an update and the inside scoop.

In related news, new content has been added to The Infinity’s website since our last visit. The addition of live-action/rendered video clips once again raises the bar for other new developments about town. And yes, we’re biting our tongues with respect to the all too obvious real estate “porn” remarks (see “Residences: Bathrooms”).

UPDATE (11/07): According to a tipster, as of last month the sales office had contracts in hand for ~30% of the development. That’s in contrast to the ~90% figure for One Rincon, but in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a sign of weakness. With well over a year until occupancy of either new development, it’s possible that The Infinity is simply taking a long position that demand (and prices) will increase as the condos become more tangible.

UPDATE (11/07): An HTML glitch truncated a great comment from a recent buyer at The Infinity, “Appliances are now included (washer/dryer/frig) and the prices are a little soft. I got a 1 bdrm [for under] $800 sq/ft. 1 Rincon has a 1 bdrm on the 17th floor (700 sq/ft) for 625K, which is pretty cheap.”

UPDATE (11/07): And now we're trying not to read too much into the fact that the list prices were returned to their pre-reduction levels the very next day...

The Infinity: A Study In Contrast [SocketSite]
The Infinity Hits The MLS [SocketSite]
The Infinity Website [the-infinity.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

October 19, 2006

The Scoop On 188 King Street: Now Selling Leasing

188 King Leasing (www.SocketSite.com)

The links are ours; the words are from a “plugged in” tipster:

First, you are right on, they have sold 12 units with the last two sales coming in the last few weeks. What is not public knowledge, however, is that five of those sales are units that have been, as your site pointed out earlier, retained for investment purposes but marked as sold for marketing purposes.

So they have sold seven units in six months, and that was before all the news of the market going south and before 200 units come on-line at 170 off Third. Their new strategy is to aggressively lease up the back of the building. They are going floor by floor, starting at the bottom. They are also trying to lease the penthouses.

If you’ve been “plugging in,” this new development shouldn’t catch you by surprise. If not, however, perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call (on a number of different levels).

188 King Street Update: 27% Sold? [SocketSite]
188 King Street: An Update [SocketSite]
QuickLinks: New Condos On The Market (Or In The Works) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

September 26, 2006

SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii)

SocketSite Complete Inventory Index (Cii): 9/26/06 (www.socketsite.com)

If you’re a regular reader, you probably know that we always include the following caveat on our San Francisco Inventory Updates: “Not including unlisted inventory.” Well, that’s about to change.

Over the better part of the past year we’ve been building a database on over 60 new developments ranging in size from 5 to 600 condominiums (6,000+ units in total). We track size, status, pricing, sales, and available inventory. And today, we’re finally ready to publish the beta version of our Complete Inventory Index (Cii).

The goal of the Cii (pronounced “see”; we’re hoping Nintendo views it as flattery) is to paint a complete picture of housing inventory and new development in San Francisco; listed, unlisted, pipeline, and potential. In fact, we believe it represents a fundamental shift from the abstract to the tangible with regard to what’s in the works throughout San Francisco.

For example, we estimate there are currently at least 275 condominiums that are not listed on the MLS, but are available for purchase and occupancy. These condos include unlisted inventory in buildings ranging in size from Glassworks to The Beacon. And based on recent sales activity, represent about a month’s worth of condominium inventory.

We also estimate that by the end of this month, there will be at least 750 condos actively competing for the attention of buyers and accepting non-refundable deposits in sales offices throughout San Francisco (examples include Broderick Place, The Infinity, and Arterra). For perspective, that’s effectively another two to three months of inventory. And by the end of the year, we expect that number to nearly triple as buildings like the Heritage on Fillmore, 888 Seventh, and The Hayes begin accepting deposits.

Beyond that, we’re tracking another 500+ condos that are under construction, nearly 3,000 that are in the works, approved or entitled; and a growing list of other large projects that are on the drawing boards. We’ll continue to refine (and build) our database and methodologies (hence the “beta” tag) in order to keep you “plugged in.”

And yes, we do plan to invest in some better charting tools…

UPDATE (9/27/06): Please keep in mind that our “pipeline” only includes developments which we consider to have a relatively high probably of breaking ground and competing for buyers in the not too distant future. Our numbers pale in comparison to the 25,000+ “net new housing units” that are considered to be in the overall housing pipeline for San Francisco. And last year alone, over 300 projects (representing well over 6,000 units) were filed with the planning department.

The Glassworks (207 King Street) [SocketSite]
A Sales Office Shakeup At The Beacon? [SocketSite]
Broderick Place: 83% Sold [SocketSite]
The Infinity: A Study In Contrast [SocketSite]
Arterra First Release: September 30 [SocketSite]
The Heritage On Fillmore (1300 Fillmore) [SocketSite]
888 Seventh Street (f.k.a. 601 King) [SocketSite]
The Hayes "Special" Open House (And Signature Cocktail) [SocketSite]
Five Years Late (And One “N” Short) [SocketSite]
The Californian on Rincon Hill: 375 Fremont St. [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

September 21, 2006

Now Serving: The Watermark

The Watermark

What do the The Beacon, the Metropolitan, and now the Watermark all have in common? That’s right, pending litigation courtesy of Patrick Catalano. According to a tipster:

A lawsuit was filed against the Watermark on September 14th (case CGC-06-456175). The allegation? You guessed it! Square Footage! Does anyone think [Catalano] is the patron Saint of Condo Measurement…

San Francisco Superior Court case number CGC-06-456175 is identified as “CATALINA GARCIA VS. SAN FRANCISCO CRUISE TERMINALS LLC, A LIMITED et al” with the cause of action "CONTRACT/WARRANTY.” (Anybody care to share the filing/complaint?)

And while it might not be a class action suit (yet?), and it’s probably just a coincidence, we can’t help but notice it was filed the day after the Proposed SF Cruise Ship Terminal Sunk. Unfortunately, we’ve just filed this one under “trends.”

A Big Bad Lawsuit At The Beacon [SocketSite]
A Class Action Suit At The Metropolitan? [SocketSite]
Watermark Update: 85% Sold [SocketSite]
Proposed SF Cruise Ship Terminal Sunk [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:31 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

September 20, 2006

San Francisco Median Sales Price Takes A Little Hit

SF Median Price August 2006 (www.socketsite.com)

According to DataQuick, the median sales price for existing homes in San Francisco was $750,000 last month, up 0.7% from $745,000 in August ’05, but down $21,000 (2.7%) from July ‘06. Sales volume was down 7.4% year-over-year (613 sales versus 662 in August ‘05), but jumped 26.4% from the month prior (485 Sales). Based on last months sales volume, San Francisco currently has a 2.3 month supply of listed Single Family Homes, Condos, and TICs on the market.

For the greater Bay Area, the recorded median sales price in August was $620,000 (up 0.2% year-over-year) and sales volume was 9,128 (down 24.9% from August ’05, but up 14.9% from July ’06). Sales in Napa dropped 47.3% year-over-year, and Marin recorded a 2.3% drop in median sales price.

According to DataQuick president Marshall Prentice, "Several things are going on. Many homes are being offered for sale at unrealistically high prices as sellers try to game the peak of the market. Buyers appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach as sellers get real with their asking prices. The market seems to be going into a lull, until this all shakes out. It does appear that the strong appreciation of the recent past is leveling off."

Bay Area home sales decline, prices level off [DQNews]
San Francisco Median Sales Price And Sales Decline [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

September 19, 2006

A Sales Office Shakeup At The Beacon?

The courtyard view from 260 King Street #751

According to a tipster, the sales office at the Beacon is about “to announce 3% broker commissions and…are really negotiating on deals.” And while the Mark Company will still be in charge of selling, they “cleaned house with the staff and are bringing in…new people.” We’re still trying to verify the inventory of developer units (and the tip), but keep in mind that there are currently 23 Active listings in the Beacon (five of which are with the Mark Company).

And while at least five of the resale listings have already been reduced (some more than once), between deals being cut in the sales office on new units, the pending class action suit, and the market in general, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to expect additional reductions in the not too distant future.

UPDATE (9/20): Well, it’s still a shake up, but it’s possible that it might have been the former staff that initiated the act. As one reader notes, “Can anyone blame the salespeople for wanting out? They are compensated on a commission basis and are sitting on the last and least desirable of the inventory and it isn't moving (obviously compounded by the well publicized lawsuit).”

∙ Listing: 260 King Street #751 (2/2) - $815,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (22) | (email story)

September 13, 2006

The President Of N.A.R. Goes To Washington

A couple of quotes from the testimony (pdf) of Tom Stevens, the President of the National Association of REALTORS, at today’s U.S. Senate hearing on “The Housing Bubble and Its Implications for the Economy” (emphasis added):

"Sales are down significantly in Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, and Maryland. These regions experienced the greatest rise in home prices in recent years and affordability has become a major issue. The sharp decline in sales have resulted in a much higher housing inventory (tripling and quadrupling in some cases) and these areas are vulnerable to outright price declines, particularly if interest rates were to rise further."

"Contrary to many reports, there is not a “national housing bubble.” All real estate is local. For example, the housing market in California is extremely different from Oklahoma. Home price-to-income ratio, home price-to-rent ratio, and more importantly, mortgage debt servicing cost-to-income ratio have greatly increased in some markets to worrisome levels. Markets in Florida, California, Arizona, Nevada, Virginia, and Maryland exhibit trends far above the local historical norm, thus it would not be surprising for these markets to experience a price adjustment."

"Due to very high home prices, interest-only, adjustable rate, and/or option-ARMS became the only way to enter the housing market for some homebuyers. In essence, the homebuyers in the coastal markets are at their financial capacity. With rising mortgage rates, homebuyers are becoming exhausted financially, which explains why sales have tumbled in high priced regions of the country."

So ARMs and affordability are pressing problems, sales are slowing, and we're "vulnerable to outright price declines" and “adjustments”? Who could have possibly seen that coming (last November)…

Witness Testimony: Mr. Tom Stevens, President N.A.R. (pdf) [senate.gov]
The Housing Bubble and Its Implications for the Economy [senate.gov]
Top O’ The Market To You! [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

Proposed SF Cruise Ship Terminal Sunk

Crusie Ship Terminal Sunk

A couple of important questions now that the Port of San Francisco has pulled the plug on the proposed Cruise Ship Terminal project at Piers 30-32:

1. How will the loss of the proposed retail, restaurants, cinema, and promenades affect property values in nearby developments?
2. How will this affect development of the Brannan Street Wharf (57,000 sqft public park)?
3. How long will it be before a class action suit is filed by owners at the Watermark...

Soaring costs sink cruise ship terminal plan [Examiner]
Bryant Street Pier Overview [bryantstreetpier.com]
A Class Action Suit At The Metropolitan? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (10) | (email story)

Watermark Update: 85% Sold

View from 501 Beale #8C

Once again, these are not “official” numbers, but as best we can tell another twelve units in the Watermark have sold (leaving around 18 units available or 85% sold). In addition, two new resales have hit the market: 501 Beale #8C ($912,000) and #16B ($1,150,000).

Unit #8C offers the same spectacular views of the Bay Bridge (and potential cruise ship terminal see UPDATE below) as unit #6C (which was briefly on the market for $899,000), but with the added benefit of being high enough to preserve the views once a seven story (height restricted) building is built next door.

UPDATE: The force must have been strong last night. As a reader notes, the “potential cruise ship terminal” has been “scrapped due to skyrocketing costs associated with retrofitting its rotting piers.”

UPDATE (redux) (again): According to J.K. Dineen at the San Francisco Business Times (and the Port report), it's probably closer to 80% sold with 80 units sold, 29 under contract, and 27 still for sale. And while we definitely waffled, right or wrong, we’re now reverting back to our originally reported 18 available (and 85% sold). It’s quite possible that the nine unit difference between our numbers is in part due to the accounting for the 16 BMR units in the building, a time lag between reports, or quite simply the sales office getting the best of us…

Watermark Update: 78% Sold (And Discounting) [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 501 Beale Street #8C (1/1) - $912,000 [Legal One Realty Via Pacific Union]
∙ Listing: 501 Beale Street #16B (2/2) - $1,150,000 [Urban Bay]
Soaring costs sink cruise ship terminal plan [Examiner]
Watermark Signs Of Weakness? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

September 8, 2006

Inventory Update: Four Days Later

You commented. We listened. And from now on we'll report inventory in terms of Single Family Homes (SFH), Condos, and TICs (and just reserve the right to point out significant movements/trends in Multi-Family listings). So without further ado...

Active listings are up ~17% since Labor Day for a new baseline of nearly 1400 listed units (TICs up ~12%, SFHs up ~13%, and Condos up ~21%). Not including unlisted inventory (i.e., new developments), that’s roughly a three month supply of SFHs/Condos and a five month supply of TICs.

SocketSite’s San Francisco Inventory Update: 9/05/06 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

August 28, 2006

A Class Action Suit At The Metropolitan?

333 First - The Metropolitan

According to a tipster, the lawyer who filed the class action suit on behalf of homeowners at the Beacon has also filed a similar class action suit on behalf of homeowners at the Metropolitan (333-355 First). From the tipster, “I heard he pitched Metropolitan homeowners at 6:00 and one of the owners drove him over to the Beacon at 8:00 to meet with their homeowners, then hit both buildings with lawsuits on Friday.”

Can anyone confirm this tip or provide us with a copy of the filing? Keep in mind that if the filing can be confirmed, the homeowners in the Metropolitan will face the same challenges as the homeowners in the Beacon with regard to refinancing or reselling their condominiums.

In related news, the word on the street is that the fee agreement in the Beacon class action suit calls for the attorney to keep somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of any “gross recovery” (but that he will lower his fees to 33% if at least half of the homeowners join as plaintiffs).

UPDATE: It's official, Superior Court Case Number CGC-06-455064 ("BEN BEDI VS. FOLSOM/FIRST, LLC") was filed on August 11, 2006. (Download filing (pdf) at Box.net) Kudos to our "plugged in" readers, commenters, and tipsters.

The Beacon Twenty-Two (And Their Dirty Laundry) [SocketSite]
A Big Bad Lawsuit At The Beacon [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (48) | (email story)

August 24, 2006

Price Reductions At 188 King

188 King Exterior

If you’ve been “plugged in” to SocketSite over the past couple of months this shouldn’t come as any big surprise (if not, well...): As of today, 188 King Street has officially dropped the prices on at least four units by $100,000 (or up to 12%) and removed a number of their listings from the MLS (only seven of what we estimate to be 30+ available units are currently listed). The recent reductions include:

∙ 188 King Street #201: Reduced from $825,000 to $725,000 (12.1%)
∙ 188 King Street #203: Reduced from $925,000 to $895,000 (3.2%)
∙ 188 King Street #301: Reduced from $825,000 to $725,000 (12.1%)
∙ 188 King Street #306: Reduced from $895,000 to $795,000 (11.2%)
∙ 188 King Street #404: Reduced from $925,000 to $825,000 (10.8%)

We're guessing this isn't exactly what they (or the buyers in "Phase I") had in mind for "Phase II" pricing.

UPDATE (8/25): Units #208 ($850,000) and #504 ($950,000) were just listed on the MLS. Deductive reasoning would suggest that the original target price for #504 was at least $1,025,000 (the original list price for #506).

188 King Street: Sales Update [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (29) | (email story)

August 21, 2006

A Big Bad Lawsuit At The Beacon

Despite all the footnotes, disclaimers, and “approximates,” perhaps it was just a matter of time (from the Chronicle):

The builders, owners, operators and homeowners association of a luxury condominium complex across from AT&T Park have been sued for allegedly misrepresenting the size of the units in two buildings and for not repairing a series of defects.

The class-action lawsuit was filed Friday against virtually everyone associated with the Beacon, a 595-unit complex on 250 and 260 King St., in San Francisco's Mission Bay.

The suit, on behalf of the 450 residents, claims the square footage of many units does not match what was advertised to buyers. Representatives of the complex denied the allegation, saying all square footages were clearly listed as approximations.

Keep in mind that most banks don't like lending money for properties that are in litigation, so this will likely exacerbate the problems of anyone trying to sell (or buy) a unit in the Beacon (and negatively impact prices). Let's just hope we shouldn't be filing this under "trends."

Update: We’d really like to hear from more of the current owners/residents of the Beacon, so if you know of any, please consider forwarding this along.

Luxury condo complex spawns lawsuit [SFGate]
Below Developer Pricing At The Beacon [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (16) | (email story)

August 17, 2006

Affordability Is Up! (But Not Really)

Earlier this morning, we referenced the Housing Affordability Index (HAI) which is published by the California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.). According to the last published index (February), the percentage of households that could afford to purchase a median-priced home in the Bay Area was 12% (and only 9% in San Francisco).

Almost right on cue, C.A.R. released a new First-time Buyer Housing Affordability Index (FTB-HAI) this afternoon:

C.A.R. began producing its Housing Affordability Index (HAI) in 1984. At that time, fixed-rate mortgages were the prevailing form of financing a home purchase, while the calculations used to produce the HAI reflected a 20 percent down payment. The methodology also assumed a monthly payment for principal, interest, taxes and insurance that was no more than 30 percent of a household’s income.

In the more than two decades since the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® first conceived the HAI, the mortgage finance landscape has changed dramatically. The range of mortgage products available to buyers as well as underwriting criteria has changed.

C.A.R. developed the new index measuring affordability for first-time home buyers to better reflect the realities of today’s real estate market.

According to the new model, the percentage of first-time buyers able to afford a median-priced home in the Bay Area stands at 24% (16% in San Francisco). And while that’s more palatable than 12% and 9% respectively, keep in mind that based on this new model (which takes into account relaxed lending standards and the shift away from long-term, fixed-rate mortgages), affordability in San Francisco is down about 18% from a year ago, down 28% from two years ago, and down 35% from the second quarter of 2003. That's the market reality.

Nobody Actually Owns A Home In "Bay Area” [SocketSite]
Housing affordability at 23 percent, according to newly developed index [C.A.R.]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (9) | (email story)

August 14, 2006

The Francisco Palms (1229 Francisco)

Francisco Palms Courtyard (artist's drawing)

Say goodbye to the Galileo Court apartment complex at 1229 Francisco. And say hello to the Francisco Palms, a down to the studs renovation, and an ambitious seventeen unit TIC development by Maven Investments. That’s right, our own little “Melrose Place” down in the Marina, complete with four palm trees and a fountain (but no swimming pool).

According to the developer, the first four units (2 two bedrooms and 2 three bedrooms) will hit the market after Labor Day (9/10/06) and are currently slated to be priced from $950,000 to $1,050,000 (~$750/sqft). The Bank of Marin will be offering individual financing (6.95% fixed for 5 years, interest only with a ten year term, and 1 point up front) for up to 75% of the purchase price, and the developer will be offering to carry a second mortgage (8% fixed with a five year term) for another 5% (i.e., 20% down payments).

We had a chance to take a sneak peek a couple weeks back and were relatively impressed by the quality and thoroughness of the renovation. (Our major quibble was the decision to configure a few of the three bedroom units with only one bathroom.) The big question, however, is how the market will respond to million dollar TICs that are priced in-line with condos, but will never have the opportunity to convert (residential buildings over six units aren't eligible).

And while it’s true that the individual financing will mitigate at least one of the major drawbacks associated with TICs (i.e., shared risk of loan default or delinquency), it doesn’t adequately address another: liquidity (more on this later). That being said, one could make the argument that the demand for these units will be a fantastic indicator of how the market is truly valuing the traditional benefits of home ownership (versus a speculative investment in real estate) in San Francisco these days. We’ll keep you posted.

Maven Investments [maveninvestments.com]
The Francisco Palms (coming Soon) [1229 Francisco]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

August 2, 2006

Three Blasts From The Not So Distant Past

Three Recent Reductions

1. Despite a comment that 2760 Sacramento #11 garnered four “competitive offers," it’s back on the market and has been reduced another $6,000 (now listed at $749,000).

2. “Lefty” just might be in luck as 1081 Pine Street #401 was reduced another $200,000 this morning (now listed at $2,095,000). That’s a total reduction of $800,000 (27%) from the beginning of the year, and only $170,000 (10%) over what it first sold for in early 2004.

3. There might only be “three homes left!!” at the brand new Glen Park Market Place, but at least two of them have been reduced (#301 down $40,000; #202 down $50,000). Nothing quite like being in contract only to find out that the unit next door was just reduced $50K...

But Isn't The Median Sales Price Up? [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 2760 Sacramento Street #11 (1/1) - $749,000 [Coldwell Banker]
Comments: 1081 Pine Street Redux [SocketSite]
Not Huge (But Not Bad) [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 1081 Pine Street #401 (3/3) - $2,095,000 [MLS]
Glen Park Market Place: Range Of Prices And BMR Deadline [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 53 Wilder #202 (2/2) - $739,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 53 Wilder #301 (2/2) - $739,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

July 26, 2006

ZMobile: Zestimates By Email

SocketSite has the inside scoop on getting "Zestimates" via email (Zillow Mobile).

Email (or text message) z@labs.zillow.com and include a property’s address, city, state (or zip code) in either the subject line or body of the email/text. Within seconds you’ll get a return email that includes a Zestimate, the number of beds/baths, total square feet, and date of construction for the property. (We’re guessing SMS access is right around the corner Arjun knows better.)

That’s right, you’ll no longer have to wait until you get home to Zillow your dinner party host (or date). And if you haven’t already heard, Zillow is also alpha testing an open API that will allow third-party websites to offer Zillow’s functionality seamlessly on their site.

Zillow Labs: Zillow Mobile [Zillow]
Zillow's Open API [Zillow Blog]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

July 24, 2006

A Quick Flip At One Rincon Hill?

As a reader points out, we now have evidence of the first attempted flip of a One Rincon Hill condo:

I have a 1 bedroom 1 bath unit above the 40th floor, with a balcony, aproximately [sic] 750sqft(not including balcony) reserved in the highly sought after 08 stack(which is the a corner facing Downtown and the Waterfront). My reserve price is $870k, but 1)developer has raised them $60k 2)you probably could not even get this stack because they are all reserved 3)if you go through sales office, you must owner occupy for at least 1yr, but this one is grandfathered because reserved early.

I am asking $920k, or best offer for my unit. We would sign purchase agreement together and close escrow, from which I'd quit claim off title.

Loophole? Anomaly? Trend? This is going to get interesting. And we can hear the lawyers scrambling from here...

UPDATE: The craigslist post has been updated [thanks John]. Don't worry, the unit in the 08 stack is still available, but apparently 04 and 05 stack units have been added to the flippers inventory as well.

Comments: The Infinity: A Study In Contrast [SocketSite]
$920000 - 1BR w/Water Views and Balcony at One Rincon Hill [craigslist]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

July 7, 2006

A Rapid Inventory Rebound In San Francisco

We expected an inventory rebound in San Francisco, just not so quickly. Over 200 new listings have hit - or returned to - the market in San Francisco since the Fourth of July. And it appears that the new listings have outpaced sales by a factor of well over three to one over the past week. So much for “months”...

SocketSite’s San Francisco Inventory Update: 6/30/06 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

June 30, 2006

SocketSite: 2006 Inman News Innovator Awards Finalist

SocketSite: 2006 Inman Innovator Awards Finalist

Okay, so until yesterday we didn’t even know we were nominated, but it appears that SocketSite is one of six finalists for the 2006 Inman News Innovator Awards, Most Innovative Real Estate Blog category.

In all honesty, we probably don’t have a snowball's chance in hell of winning. The competition is tough, and we don’t have any fancy new “Web 2.0” technologies, features, or widgets (yet). Regardless, we’re not only honored to be nominated, but to be the only Blog finalist from California as well (we’ll do our best to represent).

So if we don’t get a chance to say it from the stage, a sincere thank you to all our readers, tipsters, and supporters for helping us to keep you ‘plugged in’ to what’s really going on in the local real estate market - from the anecdotal, analytic, and architectural; to the good, the bad, and the ugly.

2006 Inman News Innovator Awards [Inman]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

June 23, 2006

The Infinity Sales Center: SocketSite’s Inside Scoop

The Infinity Sales Center (www.socketsite.com)

While the sales center for The Infinity opened last week, no units have been offered for sale. In fact, the first release of units isn’t scheduled to occur for another couple of weeks. That being said, the sales center is accepting pre-qualification letters from one of The Infinity’s preferred lenders, and “the order in which the sales center receives the pre-qualification letters is the order in which prospective purchasers will be offered units in the release.” So jump to it if you’re interested.

Other key details, rough pricing, and a couple of sneak peeks:

∙ The first release will consist of 365 "residences" in three buildings: one tower (301 Main) and two mid-rise buildings (333 Main and 318 Spear). First occupancy projected for early 2008 (little mention of the second tower).

∙ Rough pricing: studios (539-690 sq.ft.) from the $500,000’s; one-bedrooms (714-931 sq.ft.) from the $600,000’s; two-bedrooms (800-1,726 sq.ft.) from the $800,00’s; three-bedrooms (1,293-1,755) from the $1,800,000’s; luxury homes and penthouses (3,364 sq.ft.) over $2,000,000.

∙ One deeded parking space per residence and average monthly HOA’s of $700 per month.

∙ Purchasers will be required to make a 5% good faith deposit (held in escrow). (“Investment opportunities [versus owner occupied] are limited.”)

∙ “The Infinity welcomes Real Estate Broker/Agent participation and will pay a commission to qualifying licensed Real Estate Brokers/Agents.”

∙ Model residence sneak peeks:

The Infinity Model Kitchen (www.socketsite.com)

The Infinity Model Living.jpg

Floor plans, design porn, services, amenities, and simulated views are available online. And perhaps most importantly, the air conditioning in the sales center is supposed to be turned on today

The Infinity [Official Site]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

June 21, 2006

San Francisco Year-Over-Year Appreciation Flat

San Francisco Home Price Appreciation: May '06 (www.socketsite.com)

According to DataQuick, the median sales price for existing homes in San Francisco was $767,000 last month, up only 0.3% from $765,000 in May ’05. In addition, sales volume was down 10.3% as compared to the year prior (626 versus 698 sales) but did show signs of a seasonal up-tick as volume increased 26% as compared to April '06 (497 sales).

For the greater Bay Area, the recorded median sales price in May was $631,000 (up 6.1% year-over-year) and sales volume was 9,064 (down 19.8% from May ’05 but up 8.4% from April ’06). While Marin, Napa, and Sonoma all recorded negative year-over-year price appreciation and sales volume growth.

Bay Area home sales continue to drop, prices reach new peak [DQNews]
SF Year-Over-Year Appreciation Now At 3.6% [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

June 20, 2006

One Rincon Hill: 301 Deposits

One week, three hundred and one deposits, 80% sold. Will the South Tower of One Rincon Hill be “sold out” by the end of the second week? Are the developers kicking themselves for not pricing it higher? And what’s going to happen in 18-24 months when it comes time to actually fund the closings?

Posted by socketadmin at 1:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

June 13, 2006

Rumor Confirmed: Mob Scene At One Rincon Hill

From a most excellent tipster:

[One Rincon Hill] had a quiet opening last night that was attended by 400 ecstatic neighbors, realtors and their friends. They opened up the entire inventory (400?) [376 in the South Tower] for the week of reservations. I estimate that they took reservation deposits for 50-75 condos, maybe more. It was a mob scene. One bedrooms began in the 600s and 2BRs in the 900s. Penthouses were $2-$2.3 and a large number of them were reserved. The wait list to see a sales person was over four hours long, but most people were happy to wait and were excited when they got to purchase. They stayed open long past midnight. [Thanks Gregg!]

Now who’s got pictures?

1,091 New Units Hit The Market [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

June 1, 2006

OFHEO Reports 1.15% First Quarter Appreciation For San Francisco

Year-Over-Year Home Price Appreciation (Image Source: OFHEO)

The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) released its first quarter House Price Index (HPI) and appreciation tables this morning. According to the OFHEO, “U.S. home prices were 12.54 percent higher in the first quarter of 2006 than they were one year earlier. Appreciation for the most recent quarter was 2.03 percent, or an annualized rate of 8.12 percent.”

For the San Francisco MSA (which includes San Mateo and Redwood City), home prices were 14.60 percent higher than a year earlier, but appreciation for the first quarter of 2006 fell to 1.15 percent, or an annualized rate of 4.6 percent (about half the national average).

“These data show average housing prices still growing stronger than some might have expected,” said [OFHEO Acting Director James Lockhart]. “They do indicate, however, that price growth is moderating in some parts of the country, particularly in areas where prices have been rising the most.”

OFHEO First Quarter 2006 House Price Index Report [OFHEO - pdf]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

May 26, 2006

A Classic Case Of Tower Envy?

Proposed San Francisco Towers (Image source: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP)

All of a sudden the Rincon Hill towers (400/350 feet) just don’t seem quite so tall (or towering). “A 1,000-foot tower, as well as two 800-foot towers, were proposed Thursday for the area around the Transbay Terminal, as The City moves forward with the rebuilding of the aging bus station at First and Mission streets and the development of the surrounding neighborhood.” At one thousand feet, that’s 147 feet taller than the Transamerica Pyramid (853 feet) and 221 feet taller than the Bank of America building (779 feet).

Champions of the proposal cite both the financial (an additional $250 million in revenue to help subsidize the $3.35 billion Transbay Terminal project) and the aesthetic (“The City’s flat undulating skyline would be significantly enhanced by a higher crown to emphasize its core, at the heart of The City’s activity”) impact on the city. (Opponents have yet to rally.)

Which really only leaves one question: will we be getting more comments from pissed off San Franciscans about that “significantly enhanced” line or from indignant New Yorkers who can’t believe “City” was capitalized?

Spoiler Alert: One Rincon Hill Video [SocketSite]
City eyes raising tallest building on the West Coast [Examiner]
S.F. planners have high hopes for new center of downtown [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

May 18, 2006

SF Year-Over-Year Appreciation Now At 3.6%

SF Median Sale Price and Y-O-Y Appreciation (Data Source: DQNews)

Two weeks ago we made a relatively bold forecast that year-over-year home appreciation in San Francisco would dip below 6%, and could potentially drop to as low as 4% (based on April closings). Well, it looks like we were off by 0.4%.

According to DataQuick, the median sales price in San Francisco was $778,000 last month, up 3.6% from $751,000 in April ’05. In addition, sales volume in San Francisco was down 27% as compared to the year prior (497 versus 681 sales), and perhaps even more telling, sales volume dropped over 11% as compared to March '06 (561 sales).

For the greater Bay Area, the recorded median sales price in April was $628,000 (up 7.2% year-over-year) and sales volume was 8,358 (down 14.2% from March ’06 and down 25.1% from April ’05).

DataQuick Reports Part 2: The SocketSite Insight [SocketSite]
Bay Area home sales and appreciation slow; new price peak [DQNews]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

May 10, 2006

Prohibition On Condominium Conversion Passes

The Board of Supervisors has passed an amended version of Supervisor Peskin’s legislation to prohibit condominium conversions for buildings in which certain types of evictions have occurred (now section 1396.2 of the Subdivision Code).

And while section 1396.2 now prohibits the conversion of a building in which either multiple evictions or an eviction of at least one senior (who has resided in a unit for 10+ years), disabled, or catastrophically ill tenant occurred on or after May 1, 2005, as best we can tell, there are a number of important exceptions:

1. A “building that had one or more evictions, as defined, after May 1, 2005, shall be exempt . . . if each unit in the building was occupied by a separate owner of record on April 4, 2006, the introduction date of this legislation.”

2. A building in which multiple evictions occurred, but did not result in the “eviction, as defined, of a senior, disabled, or catastrophically ill tenant shall be eligible for conversion ten (10) years following the date of the last eviction from the building. Conversion of a 2-unit building pursuant to this section shall be subject to Section 1359 except that both units in the building shall be owner-occupied by the same owners of record for ten (10) years prior to the date of application for Conversion. Conversion of a building of up to six (6) units pursuant to this section shall be subject to the provisions of Article 9 except that the owner occupancy requirements of sections 1396(a) and (b) shall be ten (10) years prior to the date of registration for the lottery as selected by the Director.”

Got that? If not, try contacting Boe Hayward (415.554.6987) in Supervisor Bevan Duffy’s office or Deputy City Attorney John Malamut for clarification (and feel free to share).

The SFHomeBlog has both a tipster’s account of the vote as well as the entirety of Supervisor Duffy’s post-vote spin control (he voted in favor of the legislation).

You Should Have Seen This Coming (Seven Years Ago) [SocketSite]
Dufty's Response to the Peskin Amendment [SFHomeBlog]
Peskin legislation retroactive to May 1, 2005? [SFHomeBlog]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

May 9, 2006

New York Times Not Fact Checking?

The New York Times pronounces “A Chill Is in the Air for Sellers,” especially in San Rafael. In principle we agree, but based on what we know about the market, something just didn’t jibe with at least one part their article. So we did some quick fact checking. From the Times:

A house at 57 Marina Boulevard in San Rafael, across the bay from San Francisco, was originally listed at $1.45 million. The owner recently dropped the price to $949,000 when a competing house on the same street lowered its price to $959,000, from $989,000.

It’s true, the list price of the house at 57 Marina Boulevard has been reduced (in fact, twice). But the original listing price, back in March, was $1,045,000 (not $1,450,000). After a month on the market it was reduced 4.5% to $997,500, and then again by 4.9% to $949,000 last week (for a total reduction of about 9%).

And yes, a 9% reduction is noteworthy, but it’s a far cry from the 34% drop the New York Times is reporting. As far as the rest of the article, it seems right, but we're still checking...

[Update: Rest assured, the principal in charge of proof reading for SocketSite will be reprimanded for not catching that 'principle' blunder...]

A Chill Is in the Air for Sellers [NYT]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

April 28, 2006

The Mayor Is Moving On Up!

The Bellaire Tower

According to Damion Matthews, Mayor Gavin Newsom just closed escrow on a two-bedroom condo high atop Russian Hill in the Bellaire Tower (1101 Green Street). And the purchase price, according to the Business Times, was $2,350,000 (seller none other than Peter Getty).

Good news for those hoping to share an elevator (at least for a couple of floors) and catch his eye, unit number 303 is available and listed for $749,000. Apparently demand spiked at the St. Regis when Gore decided to make it his home, we’re guessing the same just might happen at the Bellaire.

And no, we’re really not expecting an invitation to the housewarming (although it would be nice).

∙ Listing: 1101 Green Street #303 - $749,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

April 27, 2006

You Should Have Seen This Coming (Seven Years Ago)

Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s proposed ordinance banning condominium conversions in buildings where multiple tenants, senior citizens, disabled, or catastrophically ill people were evicted passed a Board of Supervisors committee last night and now heads to final voting for passage. Not too surprising.

What is surprising, however, is that the mayor’s office seems to be hinting that a veto, should the ordinance get passed, is not imminent.

The mayor's office would not say whether Newsom -- whose allies in the business and real estate communities are staunchly opposed to the legislation -- would sign the ordinance if it reaches his desk. But Matt Franklin, director of the mayor's office of housing, hinted Newsom is open to working with Peskin.

Expect the biggest sticking point to be the retroactive date of the ordinance (as proposed, retroactive back to 1999).

TIC eviction legislation progresses [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

April 6, 2006

Be Your Own Agent (And Get Paid Even Better)

BuySide Realty

BuySide Realty quietly launched in California this week under the tag line, “Where it Pays To Find Your Own Home”. The basic premise: you do the research, find the home, and determine what you want to offer while BuySide writes and manages the offer, and then guides you through the closing process should your offer be accepted. At closing, or within 14 days, the buyer receives 75% of the commission offered to the buyer’s agent (i.e. BuySide).

BuySide also offers online property search tools, free phone access to non-commissioned licensed agents (Realtors in fact), and mortgage pre-approvals (through a relationship with Chase).

Funny, just the other day we recieved the following note from a reader, “It kills me [some buyer's agents are] getting 3% for doing nothing except meet with us once or twice and than sign their name to the contract---it's been over almost two months since we heard from [our agent]. We did all the leg work and appointment making ourselves. It's a complete shame that there are a few that ruin it all for the rest.” Not to worry, the days of these few are numbered. (And perhaps we should actually thank them.)

And what’s really ironic? The 25/75 commission split is actually more generous than what the majority of buy side agents would get from their own brokerage (typically split 50/50).

Posted by socketadmin at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

March 28, 2006

Speaking Of Bachelor Pads…

1200 Indiana: Bachelor-tastic!

We’d like to believe that the New York Times drew their inspiration for a piece on bachelor pads from our post on 2002 California (now in contract).

“A bachelor pad is a cultural icon. It has been designed by the architect Frank Gehry for the pages of Playboy and has symbolized an alternative to life as a patriarchal breadwinner for more than half a century. It has earned mythic status. And it has essential ingredients.”

Yes it is, has, and does. And while 1200 Indiana definitely fits the bill (and is still available), we are officially opening up nominations for the best bachelor (and bachelorette) pads in San Francisco.

If the pad is on the market, send us a link, and if it’s not, send us pictures (both to: tips@socketsite.com). And yes, that's a hot tub overhanging the living room...

The Bachelor Pad Still Lives [NYT]
Party Like It’s 2002 (California) [SocketSite]
1200 Indiana: Flip Or Folly? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

March 23, 2006

San Francisco Prices Up/Sales Down

According to the California Association of Realtors, Bay Area median home prices gained 1.7% last month, and on a year-over-year basis remain up 6.1% (8.0% in San Francisco County). Not too surprisingly, Bay Area sales volume was relatively flat as compared to January (-0.4%) and sales volume continues to fall on a year-over-year basis (-12.3%). Overall, relatively in line with DQNews.

Trying to make sense of the seemingly contradictory 'prices up, volume down, and inventory building' stats? You’re not alone.

February 2006 sales/price report [C.A.R.]
February 2006 Median Home Prices [C.A.R.]
San Francisco Sales Slide In February [SocketSite]
It’s All About The Mix [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

March 20, 2006

Update: 2257 Green Sells (Spoiler Alert…)

2257 Green Street (www.socketsite.com)

Our previous coverage of 2257 Green Street generated a fair amount of buzz, intrigue, and speculation. You might remember that this house was originally listed at $5.2M, was later reduced to $3.495M, and was finally reduced to $2.595M.

We also reported that according to Zillow, the house last changed hands on 5/15/2000 for $3.0M. And that Zillow estimated that the house should be worth approximately $3.77M.

Well, according to our sources, the actual contract price appears to be…$2.9M. And while it’s sure to be reported as ‘12% Over Asking!’, it’s also $100K below what the sellers paid in 2000, 44% below it’s original asking price, and approximately $870K, or 23%, below Zillow’s estimate.

Somebody A lot of people have got some a lot of explaining to do. [Note to buyer: don't forget to invite us to the housewarming.]

Did Somebody Just Get Zillowed? [SocketSite]
Third Time (And 50% Off) Is Definitely A Charm [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

March 16, 2006

San Francisco Sales Slide In February

According to DQNews, “Bay Area home sales remained at their lowest level in five years in February, as price increases continued to slow….” San Francisco sales volume is off by almost 19% compared to 2005, and although the median sales price rose 1.5% last month, year-over-year appreciation now stands at 4.9%.

That being said, DQNews also reports, “Indicators of market distress are still largely absent. The use of adjustable-rate mortgages has decreased significantly the last three months…Down payment sizes are stable and there have been no significant shifts in market mix…”

Slowdown in Bay Area home sales, appreciation rate [DQNews]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

March 14, 2006

Hola! Tortilla Heights

tortilla heights (www.socketsite.com)

The doors are now open (and the scaffolding is almost down) at ‘tortilla heights’. Located at the corner of Bush and Divisadero, and just down the street from Frankie's Bohemian Café and the Fishbowl (same owners), it's a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

[Note: we’re not going to make a habit of posting about new restaurants unless it’s in the context of an evolving neighborhood. And with that massive new yoga studio that just opened up right across the street…]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

March 9, 2006

Suge Versus Puffy?

CurbedSF

We’re hoping to avoid all the public insults, nightclub brawls, and gunfire that erupted between the West’s Suge Knight and the East’s Puffy Combs. Instead, we welcome SFCurbed with open arms.

All we ask is that you don’t start calling it “Golden Gate City” (or “Frisco”). (Oh, and no poaching the photos without proper attribution...)

East Coast VS. West Coast [CrimeLibaray]
The New Yorkers Are Coming! The New Yorkers Are Coming! [SocketSite]
Golden Gate City? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

March 6, 2006

The $65,000,000 House

2845 Broadway

Well, 2845 Broadway has quietly replaced 300 Sea Cliff Ave as the most expensive house for sale in San Francisco (and it’s not because 300 Sea Cliff has sold).

Boasting a “Once in a generation opportunity to acquire an extraordinary Gold Coast masterpiece in the making, the house also boasts a price tag of $65,000,000. Then again, at over 20,000 square feet of living space, that's only $3,154/sqft.

[UPDATE: Apparently the original two structures at 2845 Broadway sold for $32 million in November 2002, cost of construction to date is estimated to be $18 million, and the “Buzz among brokers” is that it will cost another $8-16 million to finish the property. Just to clarify, for $65M you won’t be getting any “interior walls, ceilings and finishes”.]

∙ Listing: 2845 Broadway - $65,000,000 [MLS] [Listing Agent]
Checking In On 300 Sea Cliff Ave [SocketSite]
S.F. home hits block for record $65M [bizjournals]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

February 28, 2006

San Francisco Sales/Prices Trend Down

On a year-over-year basis, home prices are up 6.1% in the Bay Area (8.1% in San Francisco County) according to the California Association of Realtors. Yes, single-digit year-over-year appreciation for San Francisco County. Historically irrelevant, but it’s quite a change from the past couple of years of “guaranteed” double-digit appreciation.

And last month, both sales volume and median prices fell (-32.9% and -0.8% respectively) for homes in the San Francisco Bay Area (prices fell 1.2% in San Francisco County).

Jan. 06 sales/price report [C.A.R.]
January 2006 Median Home Prices [C.A.R.]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

February 27, 2006

San Francisco Population 400,000?

Results of the Bay Area Council’s annual poll have been released.

Although 35 percent of respondents ranked transportation as their highest concern, 19 percent said housing was the biggest problem. Forty percent said they have considered moving out of the region, and 70 percent of those cited high housing costs as a major factor.

In 1996, as the real estate market began to recover from the early 1990s recession, only 1 percent of respondents cited housing as a big concern.

The high cost of housing is a concern? That’s no surprise. Forty percent of the population is actually considering moving out of the region? Surprise.

Cost of housing among area's top woes [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

February 22, 2006

Ellis Act Relocation Assistance Upheld

A challenge of San Francisco's relocation assistance law for Ellis Act evictions has failed. From the Chronicle:

A state appeals court on Tuesday upheld a San Francisco law requiring landlords who plan to get out of the rental business to pay relocation assistance to the tenants they evict.

The measure requires all San Francisco tenants evicted under the Ellis Act -- regardless of their income -- to receive $4,500 in relocation assistance, with a cap of $13,500 per household.

A previous city law required landlords to pay that amount only to evicted low-income tenants and $3,000 to disabled tenants or those 62 and older.

Relocation assistance law is upheld [SFGate]
COURT UPHOLDS SAN FRANCISCO RELOCATION ASSISTANCE LAW [CBS5]
Court of Appeal Upholds San Francisco’s...Ellis Relocation Benefits [BeyondChron]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

February 11, 2006

SocketSite Update: You Asked For It

You probably spent this beautiful day outside (as you should have). We spent it inside updating software, tweaking the site (hopefully we didn’t screw things up too badly), and yes, finally adding the ability for our readers to directly share their comments on all future (and some past) posts.

Add your comments to enhance, debate, or praise (we can dream, can’t we?) any of our posts. It’s completely up to you. All we ask is that you keep your comments on-topic; resist the temptation to flame, troll, and spam; and avoid personal attacks (opinions are fair game). In a nutshell, add value.

Oh, and please keep sending all your tips, questions, and ideas directly to SocketSite by emailing: tips@socketsite.com. Either way, we’re looking forward to hearing from you.

Posted by socketadmin at 11:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

February 9, 2006

Are Ikkyu’s Days Numbered?

Japan Center

Rumor on the street is that the Japan Center (a “five-acre complex of hotels, shops, theaters, sushi bars and restaurants at Post and Buchanan Streets”) is up for sale. Yes, the entire thing. Can anybody confirm, elucidate, or debunk?

UPDATE: Uhh, guess this kind of confirms it (that's not too embarrassing...).

Japantown Overview [Merchants Association]
Japantown Experience [New Colonist]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:11 AM | Permalink | (email story)

February 8, 2006

Did Somebody Just Get Zillowed?

2257 Green Street

According to Zillow.com, the house at 2257 Green Street last sold on 5/15/2000 for $3,000,000 and should now be worth (approximately) $3,770,914 (give or take half a million).

What's interesting is that 2257 Green failed to sell when it was listed at $3,495,000, and was recently reduced to $2,595,000 (now in contract). Sombody's got some explaining to do.

And this might be premature, but it's possible somebody just got Zillowed!

UPDATE: 2257 Green Street sold for $2,900,000 on 2/22/06.

Third Time (And 50% Off) Is Definitely A Charm [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

QuickLinks: Power To The People

A busy week for web based real estate tools:
PropertyShark Announces [PrimeZone]
Zillow Launches [Zillow.com]
Redfin’s Coming [Seattle Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:28 PM | Permalink | (email story)

February 7, 2006

From Flip To Flames?

2626 Sutter Street (www.SocketSite.com)

Three weeks ago 2626 Sutter was just another “renovated” property with fresh paint, sloping floors, and a price tag destined to land it in the RealRecentReductions archive. Today it’s a burned out shell.

Our first thought? We hope nobody got hurt. Our second thought? Well, let's just say it was probably the same as yours. And we hope it's not a trend.

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

The New Yorkers Are Coming! The New Yorkers Are Coming!

It’s official: apartment therapy aims to launch it’s San Francisco edition on April 3, and Curbed’s SF edition is in the "incubator".

Perhaps we shouldn’t have gone and pointed out that what Curbed deemed to be “quite possibly the coolest feature ever to be included on a real estate website” just a couple of days ago has actually been around for quite some time on another website...

But seriously, almost an early welcome to the block. Both of you.

UPDATE: Calm down people, besides being rushed and poorly phrased that last sentence was also sincere! (see new phrasing above)

Posted by socketadmin at 8:50 AM | Permalink | (email story)

January 25, 2006

December Prices and Sales Fall In San Francisco

The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) reports that both prices and sales of single family homes fell this past December in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to C.A.R., the median sales price fell 1.4% while sales volume fell 9.8% from the month prior (down 14.2% from December 2004).

As it stands, year-over-year price appreciation for single family homes in the San Francisco Bay Area now stands at around 8%, well below the double-digit appreciation of the past couple of years. It’s also interesting to note that statewide sales prices for single family homes remained flat (condo prices actually fell by .8%) and sales were off by 17.6% compared to December 2004.

December 2005 Regional Sales and Price Activity [C.A.R.]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:07 PM | Permalink | (email story)

December 23, 2005

Sales Of New Homes Tumble

US new home sales fell 11% in November, the biggest drop since 1995, and at 1.25m homes sold, the lowest pace since January. It is important to note that new home sales are considered to be even more of a leading indicator of market health than existing home sales (which dropped 10.8% last month in the Bay Area).

New home sales tumble 11 percent [CNN]
New Home Sales Fall More Than Expected [SFGate]
QuickLinks: Housing Sales Slowdown [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:25 AM | Permalink | (email story)

November 29, 2005

Funny How That Happens

525 Gough Redux.jpg

After nine months, the “sale pending” signs that have been so prominently displayed in the windows of two units in the 21 unit development at 525 Gough have suddenly morphed into “for sale” signs. Not too soon considering, as far as we can tell, they were never actually “pending”.

These two units, along with a third in the back of the building, were marked as “Model - Not For Sale” on the original building statements. We now learn, however, that these three units were actually designated to be “Below Market Rate” (BMR) units and will be offered for sale at $357k through the Mayor's Office of housing program. Yes, just a bit cheaper than comparable units which were priced between $859k and $875k.

We’re all in favor of Below Market Rate units. Really. We’re not, however, in favor of what we might consider to be deceptive marketing practices. And for the sake of all parties involved, we can only hope that the developer’s original disclosure packages specifically mentioned these BMR units (unlike their marketing materials).

525 Gough: Below Market Rate Statement [Brown & Co.]
525 Gough: Overview [Brown & Co.]
525 Gough: No Sell Out [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:50 PM | Permalink | (email story)

The “Rogue” Sales Report

According to the Commerce Department, US new homes (as opposed to existing homes) sold at an annual rate of 1.42 million in October, up from a revised 1.26 million pace in September; a 13 percent increase and the biggest jump since April 1993 (and sales in the West showed more than a 40 percent jump).

At the same time, “the average price fell from September, suggesting that new homes at the upper end of the market had shown more softness than middle- and lower-priced homes.” A point that led economist Robert Brusca to comment, "All other housing signs are in the other direction. For now consider this a reversible, rogue report."

We offer two words to consider: Builder Incentives (i.e. discounting).

New home sales soar [CNN/Money]
US Existing Homes Sales Down, Inventory Up [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:19 AM | Permalink | (email story)

November 28, 2005

California Median Home Prices And Sales Fall

Today’s California Association of Realtors press release carries the bold headline: “Median price of a home in California at $538,770 in October, up 17.2 percent from year ago; sales decrease 2.8 percent”. And while prices are indeed up from a year ago, they are DOWN from the previous month (“The October 2005 median price decreased 1 percent compared with September’s $543,980 median price.”).

In addition, “C.A.R.’s Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in October 2005 was 4 months, compared with 3 months (revised) for the same period a year ago.” The press release also included the following:

“Note: Large changes in local median home prices typically indicate both local home price appreciation, and often, large shifts in the composition of housing market activity. Some of the variations in median home prices may be exaggerated due to compositional changes in housing demand.”

In other words, even if “median sales prices” are increasing, it could be due to a changing sales mix (i.e. wealthy owners/investors getting while the getting is good) rather than any real home value appreciation. Keep that in mind while we report that the median sales price in the San Francisco Bay Area ticked up 1.4% from September to October, while sales activity fell nearly 10% during the same period (and over 10% year-over-year).

California Association of Realtors Press Release (11/28/05) [CAR]
October 2005 Median Home Prices Chart [CAR]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | (email story)

US Existing Homes Sales Down, Inventory Up

We’re not too surprised by a winter sales slowdown, but the nationwide inventory numbers caught us by surprise. According to Reuters:

Sales of existing U.S. homes slowed in October and the inventory of unsold houses rose to the highest level in nearly 20 years, a trade group said on Monday in a report confirming the end of the nation's housing boom.

Sales of previously owned homes fell 2.7 percent from September's upwardly revised 7.29 million unit annual pace, and the drop would have been even larger if not for a surge in home-buying linked to Hurricane Katrina, the National Association of Realtors said.

"The housing sector has likely passed its peak ... and the boom is winding down to an expansion," NAR chief economist David Lereah said. "Many of our hot housing markets are transitioning from a sellers' market to a buyers' market."

Welcome to transition.

US Existing Home Sales Fall 2.7 Percent in October [Reuters]
Top O’ The Market To You! [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:30 AM | Permalink | (email story)

November 18, 2005

Top O’ The Market To You!

Inventories and interest rates are up, sales are down, and prices are either flat or falling. So we’re calling it: welcome to the top of the San Francisco housing market!

For sale signs are popping up left and right, and as one seasoned agent recently commented, “we’re going to wake up one morning and it’s going to be like it snowed ‘For Sale’ signs the night before.” In addition, thousands of new condominium units are either coming on the market, currently under construction, or have recently been funded.

Long-term rates continue to climb, but more importantly, short-term rates have climbed even more: one-year ARMs are at a three year high and are closing in on the 30-year fixed rate. This is extremely significant in a market where buyers have turned to short-term ARMs for affordability reasons rather than financial wherewithal.

The difference in monthly payments between a one-year ARM at 4% versus a one-year ARM at 5% is over 14% (that’s an extra $400 per month on a $600k loan). In other words, and from a cash flow perspective, prices would need to fall at least 14% in order to maintain the same level of affordability in the marketplace.

Year-over-year sales have declined for the seventh month in a row, and the median sales price has flattened over the past quarter. And while many agents are still quick to point out the year-over-year positive appreciation in prices, that number is meaningless if you purchased a home during the past couple of months over which the median sales price has actually fallen.

We’re not predicting, we’re just observing and calling a spade a spade (or a duck a duck). Welcome to the top of the market.

Bay Area prices slow as mortgage rates rise [Chronicle]
San Francisco Housing Inventory: Up, Up, And Away! [SocketSite]
Bay Area Inventories Up, Agent’s Spirits Down [SocketSite]
Median San Francisco Bay Area Home Prices Down $20k [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:43 AM | Permalink | (email story)

October 26, 2005

Median San Francisco Bay Area Home Prices Down $20k

According to the California Association of Realtors, the Median sales price of a San Francisco Bay Area home fell 2.8% last month (from $730k in August, to $710k in September). In addition, sales volume was down nearly 10% from the previous month and down over 8% year-over-year (yes, accounting for that dreaded seasonality).

Funny how some local industry sites choose to focus on either the more rosy year-over-year numbers (or worse, irrelevant national sales statistics). If you live in the Bay Area, the local statistics are what you should be watching (and mining for trends). As they say, past performance is no guarantee of future returns...

Median California Home Prices And Sales Activity [C.A.R.]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:17 PM | Permalink | (email story)

Potential Home (Depot) Wreckers

The Board of Supervisors is considering an appeal of the Planning Commissions approval for Home Depot's Bayview project.

Specifically, the supervisors were charged with looking at whether the project's environmental impact report -- accepted by the Planning Commission -- was accurate, objective and complete.

Paul Maltzer, the Planning Department's environmental review officer, said he is satisfied that the project is environmentally sound and shows no "significant'' problems in such areas as traffic, parking, air pollution and increased demands on city services that should stop it from going forward.

"We've studied this to death, frankly,'' Maltzer told the supervisors.

Despite Maltzer’s expert opinion, Supervisor Ammiano (who represents neighboring Bernal Heights) was quoted as saying, "I see big holes here." We’re not even going there (other than to point out that his quote is not nearly as catchy as “I see dead people”).

Battle over big boxes continues to rage [Chronicle]
Bayview/Bernal Home Depot Update [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:10 AM | Permalink | (email story)

October 11, 2005

San Francisco Loses 85,000 Jobs

Well, so much for justifying the San Francisco real estate run-up over the past five years on a booming local job market. According to the Examiner, “San Francisco has lost 85,000 jobs since 2000 when the flood of high-paying technology jobs began drying up.” That’s 10% of the entire City’s population. Any agents care to comment?

S.F. commissions economic study [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:25 PM | Permalink | (email story)

October 3, 2005

Pier Wars

Piers 27-31

We’d like to believe that we’re such a force in San Francisco that we were singled out as recipients of a very nice voicemail asking us to take a look at the Stop Pier 39 website. But damn, that message sounded suspiciously like a script. Good thing we're pushovers. From the site:

The waterfront should be more than a playground for tourists — it should be a resource for every San Francisco family. But a powerful group of business interests is trying to stop a vitally needed recreation and open space project at Piers 27-31.

Piers 27-31 will create Transit First transportation alternatives, including the purchase of additional historic streetcars. It will provide new pedestrian and bicycle routes and will include the largest free City CarShare pod in San Francisco.

Kind of reminds us of West Coast version of NYC's Chelsea Piers (which rocks, and which we miss). And as we assume that this is just one group of “powerful business interests” pointing fingers at another, we weren’t going to take sides. But what the hell...go Piers 27-31!

Piers 27-31: Overview and Background

Posted by socketadmin at 1:49 PM | Permalink | (email story)

September 8, 2005

SF MLS Quietly Removes Listing Dates

It appears that the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service has quietly removed listing dates from the properties on its website. In other words, the public can no longer see how long a property has been sitting on the market. Not only disappointing, but a bit suspicious as well.

For example, without SocketSite having previously recorded it, you might have never known that the house at 300 Sea Cliff Ave has been on the market for over two years (listed on 1/13/03) and that the original asking price of $23.5m has yet to be reduced.

Tip: You can still get a rough idea of how long a property has been sitting on the market by comparing Listings #’s (the higher the number, the more recent the listing).

· Top Five San Francisco Trophy Homes [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:06 AM | Permalink | (email story)

August 31, 2005

Something To Consider

According to CNN/Money and the Census Bureau, San Francisco ranks as the third richest American city while New Orleans ranks as the ninth poorest ("America's richest and poorest places"). If any community can afford to help New Orleans, it’s us. So as we previously wrote, please consider donating to the American Red Cross.

In addition, SocketSite was recently approved as a Design Within Reach affiliate (and we have an Amazon affiliate program in place). In theory, these affiliate programs might one day help underwrite our operating costs. In reality, it’s the residents of New Orleans that really need the support. As such, we’ve decided to donate 100% of any affiliate commissions we’re able to generate this September to the American Red Cross. You shop, we donate, someone in New Orleans survives.

So if you’ve been thinking about buying anything from either Amazon or Design Within Reach, please consider doing it through one of the following links:

· Design Within Reach Website [SocketSite Affiliate Link]
· Amazon Website [SocketSite Affiliate Link]

And finally, we’d like to see a local real estate brokerage or top agent commit to matching any monies that we are able to collect. Please consider emailing this post to your real estate agent, or simply ask them to drop us a note.

Regardless, thank you for your consideration.

Adam Koval
Editor in Chief

Posted by socketadmin at 1:54 PM | Permalink | (email story)

New Orleans Needs Our Help

Despite all the horrific images, video, and media coverage coming out of New Orleans, we really don’t think most people (ourselves included) can actually comprehend just how much damage, destruction, and devastation has occurred. Or that it’s actually getting worse by the minute.

As such, we are currently spending all our time trying to figure out how best we can help. Our first step is to simply ask all our readers to consider donating to the American Red Cross. Right now.

Online: Donate to the American Red Cross
Phone (English): 1-800-HELP-NOW (1-800-435-7669)
Phone (Spanish): 1-800-257-7575

Posted by socketadmin at 10:33 AM | Permalink | (email story)

August 30, 2005

Yahoo! Coming To The City (Google To Follow)

Looks like Yahoo! has signed a letter of intent for a 200,000 square feet of office space at 475 Sansome Street (and insiders say that Google is looking for 200,000 square feet of San Francisco space as well). According to Commercial Property News, “the [Yahoo!] lease drops the vacancy rate by 0.4 percent, a moderately paltry change in an office market still recovering from the dot-com crash.”

Regardless, expect major employment growth and associated demand for housing. But then again, all our friends that work for Yahoo!/Google already live in the city, so perhaps just expect less traffic on 101/280.

· Yahoo to Lease 200,000-SF Office in San Francisco [CPN Online]
· Yahoo search leads to San Francisco [MSNBC]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | (email story)

August 26, 2005

Sunday Surprise

Keep both hands firmly on that latte. You’re going to be crossing a picket line if you attend the open house of the TIC at 838 Potrero this Sunday (8/28). The San Francisco Tenants Union is organizing the protest in response to an Ellis Act eviction in the building.

We’re trying not to take sides. Just trying to keep you informed and solicit “tips” from anyone that attends (from either side). A gold start for photos. And as a side note, looks like the unit has some great views...

· Listing: 838 Potero [SF MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:09 AM | Permalink | (email story)

August 24, 2005

No Ice For You!

We hate to even mention it (it’s already gotten more than its fifteen minutes of fame), but in case you were actually wondering, Icer Air 2005 (a.k.a. the Fillmore Fiasco) has been CANCELLED. Here's your chance Potrero.

· Pacific Heights ski jumping canceled [Chronicle]
· Ski jump event up in the air [Examiner]
· Norwegians welcome ski jump [Chronicle]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:48 PM | Permalink | (email story)

August 23, 2005

San Francisco Bay Area Sales And Prices Down

According to the California Association of Realtors, the median sales price for existing homes in the San Francisco Bay Area dropped 1.3% from June to July. Perhaps more importantly, sales volume was down 12.1% from June to July of this year, and down 16.3% compared to July 2004 (i.e. accounting for seasonality).

And although we don’t have figures for San Francisco, the C.A.R. “Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes in July 2005 was 3.2 months, compared with 2.4 months (revised) for the same period a year ago.” A 33% increase.

· July 2005 Regional Sales and Price Activity [C.A.R.]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:13 PM | Permalink | (email story)

Time To Send Flowers?

Looks like the rumors are true. Sort of. Although a portion of the historic San Francisco Flower Mart is up for sale, the actual Flower Market appears to be safe. For now...

A housing developer has made a bid to buy a portion of the historic San Francisco Flower Mart, and flower company shareholders are slated to vote on the deal in early September, according to real estate sources.

The California Flower Market portion of the property is not for sale, according to Robert Otsuka, executive vice president and general manager.

Speculation on the flower mart sale has increased in recent weeks, and the market's biggest tenant, Silver Terrace, abruptly vacated its space two weeks ago, according to flower mart workers. Silver Terrace was the largest flower wholesale business among San Francisco Flower Market tenants.

We’re definitely curios as to the move by Silver Terrace (the Markets largest tenant) to vacate. Any insiders care to comment?

· S.F. Flower Mart considers bid for part of property [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:42 PM | Permalink | (email story)

Pier 70 Rehabilitation

Pier 70: EDAW

A group of interns from EDAW have been working on a "vision" for the redevelopment of Pier 70. And it's excellent work.

"Pier 70 will be a diverse working waterfront district that embraces its distinctive arts and industrial character, connects to the local communities, reveals its maritime history and activates the water's edge."

UPDATE: the interns will present to the Port Commission this afternoon at 3pm (Ferry Building hearing room, second floor).

· Pier 70: Vision [EDAW]
· Pier 70: concept vision plan [EDAW Intern Program]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | (email story)

August 16, 2005

Bay Area Sales Slowdown

According to DataQuick, July Bay Area home sales were down 11.9 percent from the month prior. Interesting, but not too surprising considering the typical summer real estate slowdown. Perhaps more telling, however, is the fact that San Francisco sales were down 21% compared to July of 2004 (i.e. apples to apples).

· Bay Area: Home sales and prices step back from peaks [DataQuick]
· Overheated Bay Area home sales take a breather in July [Chronicle]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:06 PM | Permalink | (email story)

August 13, 2005

Weekend Update Special

We don’t usually update the site on weekends, but we have a feeling that tonight’s cocktail parties might be all atwitter over today’s New York Times bubble article, and we want to make sure our readers can intelligently participate in the conversations. Two dueling excerpts:

On Tuesday, David A. Lereah, the chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said that the housing market was "probably close to a peak right now."

John Karevoll, an analyst with DataQuick Information Systems, which provides real estate data to lenders, said: "We've been told for years that the peak is just around the corner. The economists have so much egg on their faces."

· Do Try This at Home: Assess Your Area's Real Estate Bubble [NYT]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:19 PM | Permalink | (email story)

August 11, 2005

Reading Between The C.A.R. Lines

According to the California Association of Realtors, the median sales price of a San Francisco Bay Area home increased 1.8% from May to June.

At the same time, C.A.R. reports that the affordability index (i.e. percentage of households that can afford a median priced home) in San Francisco County increased from 8% to 9%.

So unless household incomes have significantly increased over the past month (which we doubt), and assuming that interest rates haven't dropped (which they haven't), it appears that the median sales price of a home in San Francisco proper has actually dropped over the past month.

· California's Housing Affordability Index – June ‘05 [C.A.R.]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:14 PM | Permalink | (email story)

August 3, 2005

We’re Tired of Being Number One

Once again the San Francisco Bay Area ranks number one in the state. According to the California Association or Realtors (C.A.R.), the average San Francisco Bay Area household income falls $102,230 short of the qualifying annual income ($170,370) required to purchase a local median-priced home (the highest gap in the state).

Yes, the calculation assumes no more than 30% of a household's income is used for housing expense, but the real kicker? The calculation also assumes an average 20% down payment ($144k).

· C.A.R. Homebuyer Income Gap Index™ Report [C.A.R.]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:23 PM | Permalink | (email story)

Update: Hotel Condo Conversions

Instead of an outright ban on condo conversions for hotels with over 50 rooms, Supervisor Peskin has agreed to amend his legislative proposal to create an 18-month ban on condo conversions for “tourist” hotels of 100+ rooms. Guess we won't be moving to the Fairmont anytime soon.

"This compromise will ensure that we protect the workers who have dedicated their lives to our hospitality industry while studying the long-term effects that hotel-to-condominium conversion might have on San Francisco's economy," Peskin said.

Newsom concurred. "This gives us all time to make informed decisions so we can do what's best for the city,'' the mayor said.

Reiterating our original comment, "A bit reactionary and short-sighted if you ask us."

· Hotel workers union, city reach condo deal [Chronicle]
· Fairmont compromise reached [Examiner]
· Fairmont Furor [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:48 AM | Permalink | (email story)

August 1, 2005

SocketSite’s Bay Area Agent Pageant

Damn it! We weren’t planning on announcing this until next week, but those type-a innovative New Yorkers at Curbed just forced our hand...

Have you ever noticed how often property statements/ads seem to feature an agents picture just as prominently as the actual listing? And is it just us, or has the Real Estate Times started to feature glamour shots/profiles of agents almost as frequently as actual real estate? Obviously we have seriously underestimated the importance of being a hottie in this industry. That is, until now...

We are pleased to announce SocketSite’s Bay Area Agent Pageant! That’s right, a good old pageant. Okay, so most likely there’s not going to be any swimsuit competition, nor questions that are likely to result in answers like, “I’d use my title to bring about world peace”, but a pageant nonetheless.

So without further ado, we’d like to open the floodgates for nominations (email: tips@socketsite.com). A couple of basic guidelines for nominees: 1. they must be licensed agents/brokers located in the Bay Area; and 2. their picture must be prominently displayed on a recent statement, ad, business card, or website. That’s it for now, so let’s get on with the nominations!

(yes, we’ll be posting additional details as the week progresses but cut us some slack, like we said, our hand was forced and we're feeling a little flustered...)

Posted by socketadmin at 6:25 PM | Permalink | (email story)

July 28, 2005

Here We Go Again

Remember last May when we first suggested you take a look at the Spring PMI Risk Index? And then how two months later Kiplinger’s finally gets around to publishing a story about the report and gets all the press? Well, here’s another two-month head start for the SocketSite community...

According to the PMI Group’s Summer Market Risk Index, the chance of a price decline in San Francisco increased 6.4% last quarter (the third largest increase amongst all the major MSAs), and now stands at an overall 45.9% likelihood of decline. That’s not good.

Marco Van Akkeren, an economist with PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., explained, "We are continuing to witness record-pace home price appreciation in many markets without the necessary gains in income, home affordability and rent inflation. This is causing the current home price environment to diverge from long-term economic fundamentals, which cannot be sustained indefinitely."

Across the bay Oakland hit 50.9% to become only one of six US markets with a greater than 50% chance of decline.

· Economic and Real Estate Trends: Summer 2005 – pdf [PMI Group]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:49 AM | Permalink | (email story)

July 25, 2005

Sales Activity: National Versus Local

According to the National Association of Realtors, national existing home sales came in at a record setting annual pace of 7.33 million homes as measured in June. And according to the California Association of Realtors, statewide home sales are up 3.6% as compared to June of 2004.

Sales activity in the San Francisco Bay Area, however, fell 11.1% as compared to June of 2004 (up 15.5% from last month). And the median sales price increased to $734,610 (+1.8%), reversing last months downward slide.

· Existing Home-Sales Smash Record Again [NAR]
· June 2005 Regional Sales and Price Activity [CAR]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:57 AM | Permalink | (email story)

July 20, 2005

Home Depot Almost Home?

Home Depot

Next week Home Depot is headed back in front of the Planning Commission. Having signed a lease for the old Goodman Lumber location at 491 Bayshore Blvd. over five years ago, the Depot is still seeking approval to begin development.

Proponents point to desperately needed neighborhood jobs and a significant increase in local sales tax revenues, while opponents “view Home Depot as a goliath that would hurt local hardware stores, tarnish quality of life and create a traffic nightmare on Bayshore and adjacent Bernal Heights.”

Considering the site used to house Goodman Lumber (which we desperately miss), a Home Depot doesn’t really seem like that much of a stretch to us. And we're damn tired of having to drive down to Colma to ogle the power tools.

· Home Depot nears key point in decade-long quest [Examiner]

An extended history:

· 4/00 - Family Feud Dismantles Goodman Lumber [Chronicle]
· 4/00 - Home Depot Lease [Chronicle]
· 4/02 - Neighborhoods divided over Home Depot plan [Chronicle]
· 4/02 - Path cleared for Home Depot to build 1st S.F. store [Chronicle]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:27 PM | Permalink | (email story)

July 19, 2005

Fairmont Furor

Apparently the owners of the 591-room Fairmont Hotel are considering a condo conversion of 226 rooms in the tower annex into 60 housing units. According to the owners group, "The landmark portion of the hotel won't be touched…[t]hat will continue to operate as a hotel. All the ballrooms, all the public spaces will be exactly as they are…We think there's a need for additional housing."

Not too surprisingly Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin is up in arms, “Turning the Fairmont into luxury condos would be like turning the Eiffel Tower into an office building…[I]t's not the Fairmont Condo Tower. It's the Fairmont Hotel." This afternoon Peskin plans to “propose an ordinance…that would prohibit tourist hotels with more than 50 rooms from converting lodging space into condominiums or other housing units.” A bit reactionary and short-sighted if you ask us.

· Condos proposed at the Fairmont [Chronicle]
· Luxury condos proposed for historic S.F. hotel [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:03 PM | Permalink | (email story)

July 18, 2005

199 New Montgomery: Update

It’s been six days since we last reported on 199 New Montgomery unit #1501 and once again the price has been “Reduced!!”. Somehow that original 1.2% reduction failed to generate a ton of interest, so this time it’s down another 2.2% (asking $879k). Death by a thousand paper cuts...

· Listing: 199 New Montgomery #1501 [SF MLS]
· REDUCED!! OFFERS ANYTIME [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:36 PM | Permalink | (email story)

July 13, 2005

Flipping The Bank Of America Building

Last year, San Francisco’s Bank of America Center was sold to a group of New York investors for $825 million. Now, according to the New York Times, “the 52-story reddish-brown granite tower is said to be going on the market again. This time, the sellers are hoping that the price will reach as high as $1.25 billion.”

· Doing Deals While Wary of Bubbles [NYT]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | (email story)

June 30, 2005

San Francisco Population Drops 4.2%

According to a report just released by the Census Bureau, the population of San Francisco declined 4.2% (or 32,000 people) from April 2000 to July 2004.

According to CNN, “Hurt by skyrocketing housing prices, people are leaving San Francisco, Boston and other large cities in droves.” "Droves" might be a bit of an overstatement, but once again, directionally interesting.

· Census lists fastest-growing cities [CNN]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:51 AM | Permalink | (email story)

June 23, 2005

Mid-Market Development “Breaking” News

Mid-Market Redevelopment Map

A city plan to redevelop Market Street between Fifth and 11th is in front of the Planning Commission for approval this evening (6pm). Apparently it’s been in the works for the past 11 years and yet we just heard about it. Nice.

The plan would attempt to create a “self-contained, self-sustained neighborhood...with a feel similar to North Beach” in an area currently “plagued with crime and neglect”. Flip side: according to activist Richard Marquez, this is “the final nail in the coffin in terms of pushing low-income people out of this portion of San Francisco.”

We can’t make it for the fireworks, but please drop us a line if you attend.

· Mid-Market plan: Gentrification or revitalization? [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:51 PM | Permalink | (email story)

June 8, 2005

NoHousingBubble.com

No doubt you've heard that the HousingBubble.com domain name is up for auction. But what happens if a bubble fails to materialize?

Well here’s your opportunity to put all those bubblemongers in their place. That’s right, the NoHousingBubble.com domain name is now up for auction!

What better way for real estate agents and brokers nationwide to demonstrate their convictions in the market and provide their clients with peace of mind! Can you imagine the signal it will send to homeowners if HousingBubble.com sells for more than NoHousingBubble.com?

And yes, we own it. Just couldn't help ourselves.

· eBay Item #5780859198 [eBay]
· BubbleWatch™: HousingBubble.com Hits eBay [Curbed]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:50 PM | Permalink | (email story)

June 6, 2005

Section 1386 Update: Andy Sirkin Weighs In

It’s worth reading Andy Sirkin's overview and perspective on the Board of Supervisors vote to block the condo conversion of a lottery-winning six-unit TIC. Yes, the owners won the condo lottery but were still denied conversion based on Section 1386 of the City’s Subdivision Code. Sirkin writes:

Until the intentions of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors become clear, and until the meaning of Section 1386 is interpreted by those bodies and by the courts, the practical effect of the recent Board decision will be to create slightly more uncertainty in the already uncertain world of San Francisco condominium conversions. But given the incredibly poor odds of winning the condominium lottery, conversion should not be the basis for any purchase regardless of the outcome of the Section 1386 debate.

· Supervisors Disapprove Conversion Based on Section 1386 [Andy Sirkin]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | (email story)

May 20, 2005

TIC Owners/Buyers Beware

Tenancy-in-common (TIC) units created through an Ellis Act eviction of previous building tenants may be denied eligibility for condo conversion in San Francisco.

On Tuesday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors rejected the condo conversion application for the six-unit building at 400-410 Vallejo based on Section 1386 of the city’s Subdivision Code. Section 1386 prohibits the use of evictions “for the purpose of preparing the building for [condo] conversion”.

The once overlooked section of the city's Subdivision Code is no longer flying under the radar of the Board of Supervisors and could have a serious impact on the liquidity and value of existing TIC units in San Francisco that were created by means of an Ellis Act eviction.

· Supes use obscure law to reject condo conversion [Examiner]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)