The Designs For Apple's Proposed Union Square Store Plaza
As part of the design for Apple's proposed flagship store on Union Square, the Grand Hyatt Hotel Plaza between the existing Levi’s Store and Grand Hyatt Hotel will be reconfigured.
In addition to moving Ruth Asawa's San Francisco Fountain a little to the north and a foot closer to the street, the rectangular tree-lined plaza behind the proposed Apple store would terminate at a new water feature wall at the west end of the plaza with concrete benches, large planter boxes, and a stone-paved area for tables and chairs between.
Recessed light fixtures would illuminate the plaza, fountain and wall of water at night:
(Continue reading: "The Designs For Apple's Proposed Union Square Store Plaza")
November 26, 2013
High Speed Rail Ruling Threatens Transbay Terminal Plan As Well
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny has ruled that California's High Speed Rail Authority cannot access the $9 billion in bonds that voters had approved for the HSR project back in 2008. While the ruling doesn’t kill HSR in California outright, it does drive a significant stake, or sharp tie, through the project's pocketbook. From the LA Times:
Kenny ruled that the state does not have a valid financing plan, which was required under the 2008 bond measure, Proposition 1A. The measure included provisions intended to ensure the state did not start the project if it did not have all of the necessary funds to complete a self-supporting, initial operating segment.
The state rail agency created a funding plan, but it was an estimated $25 billion short of the amount needed to complete a first working section of the line.
Kenny ruled that the state must rescind the plan and create a new one, a difficult task because the state High-Speed Rail Authority hasn't identified sources of additional revenue to allocate to the project.
In addition, Kenny ruled officials "made critical errors in approving the sale of the bonds" and declined to legally validate their sale but did refuse to grant a request to stop California's HSR project in its tracks or cancel construction contracts which have already been issued.
The state has argued it can use federal grant funds, which are not subject to the conditions of Proposition 1A, to start construction. But eventually the state will have to match federal grant funds. Without access to bond funds, the legislature would have to appropriate money from a different source.
The ruling doesn't only threaten California's High Speed Rail project but also the 1.4 mile extension of Caltrain from Forth and King to San Francisco's new Transbay Transit Center, a billion-dollar-plus project which would have to be funded by the City and Caltrain if the dollars for HSR fall short.
Seeing Red And Green At 285 San Anselmo Avenue
Sitting on a near half-acre lot, the 6,700 square foot St. Francis Wood home at 285 San Anselmo Avenue was originally designed by Samuel Lightner Hyman and Abraham Appleton.
The interior, however, has since undergone a contemporary remodeling, including a modern high-end kitchen finished with white Zodiaq quartz counters and Spanish red Poggenpohl cabinetry:
(Continue reading: "Seeing Red And Green At 285 San Anselmo Avenue")
Former Giants Party Pad Facing Strike Three
The one-time Marina party pad of former San Francisco Giants' pitchers Brian Wilson and Barry Zito, 3157 Baker Street was on the market in 2008 for $5,000,000 before being relisted for $3,695,000 in 2010 as the "former residence to celebrity chef, CEOs, [and] professional athletes" and then offered for rent at $13,500 a month via Craigslist.
Having avoided being foreclosed upon 2011 despite being in default since 2009 when $35,875 behind on a $2,283,000 loan, the five-bedroom "Marina Mansion" at 3157 Baker Street is once again scheduled to hit the courthouse steps this afternoon in San Francisco with what would appear to be over $800,000 in past due payments and fees now owed on that aforementioned loan.
San Francisco House And Condo Values Tick Up But Slow Their Roll
While the pace continues to slow from the record setting gains recorded in April and May, single-family home and condo values in San Francisco continued to tick up in September.
According to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, single-family home values in the San Francisco MSA rose 0.8% from August to September 2013. Up 25.7% year-over-year, the San Francisco Index remains 17.6% below a May 2006 peak.
For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), home values gained 0.7% from August to September and are up 13.3% year-over-year but remain 20.4% below a June 2006 peak.
"Twelve cities posted double-digit annual returns. Regionally, the West continues to lead with Las Vegas gaining 29.1% year-over-year followed by San Francisco at 25.7%, Los Angeles at 21.8% and San Diego at 20.9%. San Francisco and Los Angeles showed their highest annual returns since March 2001 and December 2005. Although Chicago has not reached double-digit growth, the city recorded its highest year-over-year gain since November 2005.
The strong price gains in the West are sparking questions and concerns about the possibility of another bubble. However the talk is focused on fear of a bubble, not a rush to join the party and buy. Moreover, other data suggest a market beginning to shift to slower growth rather than one about to accelerate. Existing home sales weakened in the most recent report, home construction remains far below the boom levels of six or seven years ago and interest rates are expected to be higher a year from now.
Housing continues to emerge from the financial crisis: the proportion of homes in foreclosure is declining and consumers’ balance sheets are strengthening. The longer run question is whether household formation continues to recover and if home ownership will return to the peak levels seen in 2004."
On a month-over-month basis, prices ticked up across all three San Francisco price tiers but at less than one percent for those in the middle and top tiers.
The bottom third (under $494,717 at the time of acquisition) gained 1.0% from August to September (up 39.2% YOY); the middle third gained 0.4% from August to September (up 27.0% YOY); and the top third (over $814,084 at the time of acquisition) gained 0.6% from August to September, up 19.3% year-over-year versus 18.5% in August.
According to the Index, single-family home values for the bottom third of the market in the San Francisco MSA are back to June 2003 levels (38% below an August 2006 peak); the middle third is back above August 2004 levels (18% below a May 2006 peak); and the top third remains just above April 2005 levels and 6% below its August 2007 peak.
Condo values in the San Francisco MSA rose 0.5% from August to September 2013 and are up 27.2% year-over-year, within 4.6% of their December 2005 peak.
Our standard SocketSite S&P/Case-Shiller footnote: The S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices include San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda in the "San Francisco" index (i.e., greater MSA) and are imperfect in factoring out changes in property values due to improvements versus appreciation (although they try their best).
∙ Home Prices Advance in Third Quarter [Standard & Poor's]
∙ Home Prices In San Francisco Tick Up But The Pace Is Slowing [SocketSite]
November 25, 2013
Moving Fast In San Francisco, But Even Faster In San Jose
Just over 43 percent of the homes listed for sale in San Francisco metropolitan area were in contract within two weeks of their listing date last month, up from 41 percent in September but down from 46 percent in October 2012.
Listings in San Jose have been moving even faster, with 49 percent of listings in contract within two weeks last month, but that’s down from 54 percent at the same time last year.
Across the 23 metro areas which Redfin measured, the median time it took a listing to go into contract was 31 days last month, down from 43 days at the same time last year, with 28 percent of new listings pending within two weeks versus 23 percent last year.
The Final Map For 115 Miles Of Green Connections To Crisscross SF
The final map for 115 miles of walking and biking paths to crisscross San Francisco will be officially unveiled next week on December 4, along with the conceptual plans for the first six "Green Connections" in the Bayview, Chinatown, Potrero Hill, Tenderloin, Visitacion Valley, and Western Addition neighborhoods.
As we first reported last year when the draft map and 25 proposed routes were announced, the goal of San Francisco's "Green Connections" project is to improve non-motorized access to San Francisco's parks, open space and waterfront by re-envisioning target City streets and paths as a network of 'green connectors' to be landscaped, traffic calmed, and improved for pedestrian and bicycle access over the next twenty years.
Bay Area Commercial Boom: San Francisco Second To Santa Clara
Spending on commercial real estate construction activity around the Bay Area this year is expected to top the record $6 billion mark set in 2000 and could reach as high as $6.7 billion by the end of 2013.
The Bay Area County with the most commercial construction activity is currently Santa Clara County which should cross the $2.1 billion mark by the end of the year, a total which doesn’t include the $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium project for the San Francisco 49ers.
Behind Santa Clara, San Francisco County should just miss the $2 billion mark which would be higher than in 2011 and 2012 but below the spending in 2010.
And at a projected $765 million in 2013, spending on commercial real estate construction in San Mateo County should be six times the amount in 2012 while the projected $681 million to be spent across Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in 2013 would be the lowest in five years.
The Soul Of San Francisco And The Backlash By The Bay
"As the center of the technology industry has moved north from Silicon Valley to San Francisco and the largess from tech companies has flowed into the city — Twitter’s stock offering unleashed an estimated 1,600 new millionaires — income disparities have widened sharply, housing prices have soared and orange construction cranes dot the skyline. The tech workers have, rightly or wrongly, received the blame." (Backlash by the Bay: Tech Riches Alter a City)
Catching Fire On Mission Street At $2,550 Per Square Foot
As we noted when the 1,664 square foot condo on the 48th floor of San Francisco’s Millennium Tower hit the market in February asking $4,500,000, the Millennium Tower wasn't built with any fireplaces in place, but that didn’t stop the buyer of 301 Mission Street #48B from adding one.
Purchased as new for $2,400,000 in February of 2010, the Grand Residence was more or less gutted and rebuilt over the course of a year. And in addition to the new alcohol burning fireplace, the second bedroom was reconfigured as a library with an electronically controlled Murphy bed behind the Ebony cabinetry and the master bathroom was rebuilt in marble, limestone and glass:
(Continue reading: "Catching Fire On Mission Street At $2,550 Per Square Foot")
November 22, 2013
Clearing The Way For San Francisco's First Micro-Unit Building
Unless an appeal is filed within the next few hours, the permit to demolish the one-story building on the southwest corner of Mission and Ninth will be issued, clearing the way for San Francisco’s first micro-unit building to rise and be ready for occupancy in 2015.
Originally proposed as student housing, the 11-story building to be constructed at 1321 Mission Street and dubbed "SoMa Central" will have a total of 160 market-rate units, 120 of which will be so called micro-units with as little as 220 square feet of space.
And yes, that's 220 square feet in total, including the closets and bathroom.
San Francisco Unemployment Drops But Employment Drops As Well
The unemployment rate in San Francisco ticked down to 5.3 percent in October, the second lowest level since the 5.2 percent rate in June of 2008 when 434,000 people out of a labor force of 457,800 were employed in the city.
The drop in San Francisco’s October unemployment rate, however, was driven by a 4,100 person decrease in the current labor force to 481,900 rather than an increase in employment, with the number of employed in San Francisco dropping by 3,600 as the number of unemployed dropped by 500. That being said, some impact from the Federal shutdown was likely in play.
The number of employed in San Francisco now totals 456,400 which is up by 12,600 workers on a year-over-year basis but is 9,100 workers below a December 2000 dot-com peak at which point the unemployment rate measured 3 percent. The unemployment rate in San Francisco peaked at 10.1 percent in January of 2010 when 48,700 fewer San Francisco residents were employed than today.
The unadjusted unemployment rate in California ticked up to 8.3 percent from September to October as the number of unemployed increased by 7,600 and employment fell by 152,600. The unemployment rate in Marin ticked up by 0.1 points to 4.8 percent while it remained at 5.1 percent in San Mateo.