Archive for the ‘housing’ Category

Wow, the NeMA Building People are Back with “Jasper” – But is Frisco REALLY “Starved for Highrise, Luxury Rental Housing?”

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Well, here it is – the people behind the bizarre New Market Building campaign are back:

“When Miami-based real estate developer Crescent Heights started to market the two Mid-Market apartment towers next to Twitter’s headquarters two years ago, the complex’s splashy website featured psychedelic signage for hippies and hipsters.

Crescent Heights’ follow-up act to Nema is the 400-foot, 320-unit Rincon Hill tower known as Jasper, at 45 Lansing. Its branding took on a different flavor. This time, potential Jasper renters got to see a black-and-white video of a bespectacled little girl talking up the building’s refined tastes.

“It’s for people who know good things when they see them,” she says in a high-pitched voice. “It’s like when you saw Star Wars for the first time — it changed everything.”

It’s a different kind of pitch because 20-somethings probably won’t be knocking down the leasing office doors to rent in Rincon Hill — a neighborhood that’s full of condo towers, not rentals. But that’s OK.

The neighborhood, on a hilltop near the Financial District, is set to lure in a professional class that Crescent Heights knows is starved for highrise, luxury rental housing.”

All right, here’s the pitch:

Oh My, Airbnb’s Huge Donations to Local Dems Pay Off! – Scott Wiener as Puppet – Annual SFFD X-Mas Toy Drive Now Stripper-Free?

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Let’s see if I can pay off on the headline.

Ever since I can remember, SFFD Local 798 has sponsored an annual Christmas Toy Drive, you know, for kids! And our local strip clubs have been involved – imagine smiling faces and giant checks for 25 large.

(I can recall riding my bike to the stoop of the Gold Club (aka Conference Room G? Good one, Yelp!) on Howard Street back in The Aughts during my lunch hour – somebody (some blogger/media type, I forget who) wanted a photo of the scene. I get there, and it was so sad. Three strippers had been driven there just for a press conference, but at least one of them didn’t get it. “Is my picture going to be in the paper? I don’t want my family to see that!” (Girl, do you have agency? No? OK fine.) Obvs, there wasn’t a meeting of the minds on this deal and it gave me a sad, so I left. And then they decided to move the venue of the presser, ’cause people were worried about have the embarrassing GOLD CLUB marquee in the photos.)

Anywho, this whole program with the strippers…


…has not been without controversy.

Oh, check it, from our local Paper Of Record:

Firefighters, strip clubs’ holiday connection seen as odd, sexist, by Heather Knight, December 15, 2014.

Now let’s think here – who could replace the strippers this year? It would have to be an image-sensitive entity with a worser image than the sex trade, but with loads of cold hard cash to spend all over town.

Uh, what about Airbnb? (You know they have a big election coming up come November.)

Hey look, no strippers, but it’s Supervisor Scott Wienerhe‘s Airbnb’s biggest friend in town, right?


Hey what about Airbnb itself – take a look at what they have to say about all this, after the jump.

Hey Airbnb, is this the kind of thing you were looking for when you gave the SFDems five figures not too long ago?

Hey Airbnb, you let the strippers do this work for years and years just until you have a big election coming up and you want to show yourselves as a great corporate citizen?

Just asking.

(And also asking: What of poor Lexus, Mercedes, and Porsche? They’re OUT, after all these years of giving to the kids?)

I’ll tell you, I have no beef against the idea of Airbnb per se, but man, your sausage factory isn’t pretty, A.

In fact, it’s offal.

All right, click on over to get Airbnb’s side of the story from their fresh news release. (And don’t forget to read the fine print – see if you have to sign away your first-born when you  click on an ad for Airbnb…)


Hilarious: Upper Haight Building in the Western Addition Near Clayton ID’s Itself as “CLAYTONIA”

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Oh dahling, you simply MUST flee your humid, steaming walk-up in the Mission – come to the West and spend the summer months with me at my Estate, CLAYTONIA:

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Trouble for “SOMA SUITES HOTEL” – Rent Controlled Units Leased to Tourists? – City Attorney Dennis Herrera v. Angelo Sangiacomo

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Just released by the City Attorney’s Office

“Herrera demands answers from Trinity Place on tourist uses of rent-controlled dwellings – Investigation finds evidence that nearly two-dozen residential apartments—including 16 rent-controlled units—were apparently leased to tourists as ‘SOMA Suites Hotel’

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 6, 2015)—A major residential development project, hailed as “the Miracle of Mission Street” for overcoming years of opposition with promised benefits including 360 new apartments designated as rent-controlled, is facing scrutiny over apparently unlawful uses of residential dwellings for short-term tourist accommodations. City Attorney Dennis Herrera publicly acknowledged his office’s investigation into the potentially unlawful and unauthorized uses at 1188 and 1190 Mission Street in a letter delivered yesterday to Trinity Place developer Angelo Sangiacomo and counsel.

According to the letter, Herrera’s investigation found that at least 16 rent-controlled apartments, all intended as replacement units for residents at 1188 Mission Street, were instead leased to a single individual for the apparent purpose of marketing them as short-term tourist rentals. Another seven apartments in neighboring 1190 Mission Street were similarly leased to the same person for concurrent and overlapping periods, with evidence indicating those units were also then rented to tourists for short-term stays. Although apartments at 1190 Mission Street are not subject to rent-control, the required use of dwellings in both buildings is residential housing, under terms of the 2007 development agreement between Sangiacomo and the City and related City approvals.

The findings corroborate other evidence Herrera identified in his office’s investigation that Trinity Place dwellings have been marketed for transient occupancy as “The SOMA Suites Hotel,” an unincorporated and apparently unregistered entity that identifies its location to prospective hotel guests as 1188 Mission Street in San Francisco.

“For those of us who worked on the agreement, the full promise of Trinity Place wasn’t solely about 1,900 units of badly needed housing,” Herrera said. “It was also about proving that developers, city officials and the community could resolve differences creatively, and rise to the challenge of our housing shortage. What makes this apparent misuse so disappointing is that it betrays that promise on both counts. The conduct, if it is what it appears to be, reduces the number of apartments that should rightfully be available to San Francisco renters, and they undermine the trust necessary to make similar progress in the future. It’s my hope that Mr. Sangiacomo will appreciate the seriousness of this apparent wrongdoing. I hope, too, that he will cooperate with our investigation, and fully remedy all violations that may have occurred to restore the good faith and trust that made this project possible.”

Herrera’s letter requests the full cooperation of Sangiacomo and his agents in his office’s investigation, to thoroughly account for the uses of the rent controlled units and other residential units authorized under the Trinity Place development agreement since its execution. The letter specifically requests documents, contracts, leases and other information detailing financial relationships among Sangiacomo’s business interests and individuals and companies identified in Herrera’s investigation that appear to be involved in the short term rental violations.”

Uh Oh: “New Violations Escalate Mel Murphy Case” – “Yet Another Illegal Conversion” – More Trouble in the Troubled Mission District

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Oh, this guy is still a Port Commissioner?

(Oh fuck, Man.)

Hey, I’ll give you just one guess as to who wrote this mini-hagiography:

“Mel Murphy, Commissioner 

Commissioner Mel Murphy is a licensed California Real Estate Broker, Licensed California General Contractor and successful real estate developer in San Francisco and Scottsdale, Arizona. Commissioner Murphy manages Pattani Construction, a development property management firm. He is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Murphy & O’Brien Real Estate Investments.

Commissioner Murphy was appointed to the Port Commission by Mayor Edwin Lee in March 2013. He previously served on the San Francisco Building Inspection Commission from 2006 to 2012. Appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom, Commissioner Murphy served two terms as President and two terms as Vice President of the Commission. Commissioner Murphy is a founding member of the San Francisco Coalition for Responsible Growth, a group that has a mission to promote public policies which will provide responsible growth and rational community development in San Francisco.

Commissioner Murphy was born in Westmeath and educated with the Christian Brothers and St. Mel’s College of Technology in Longford, Ireland, where he developed a lifelong interest in construction engineering and management.

In the early 1970’s he moved to San Francisco where he was headhunted by Bechtel Corporation who appointed him to manage large construction projects in Saudi Arabia. Commissioner Murphy’s technical and managerial competencies were further recognized and he was selected for other projects including the Alaskan pipeline and oil rigs in the North Sea and Chile. Commissioner Murphy returned to San Francisco in 1976.

News from Dennis Herrera’s City Attorney’s Office:

“New violations escalate Mel Murphy case. – Yet another illegal conversion of a residential development by city commissioner demonstrates ‘a pattern that is well-devised, carefully-executed and, above all, willful’

“SAN FRANCISCO (July 28, 2015) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera has amended his civil suit against city commissioner Mel Murphy to include another residential property that the veteran developer converted in violation of state and local laws, and then deliberately concealed for years from his annual disclosures to the San Francisco Ethics Commission.


Frisco’s Shortest Railroad: This Huge, Century-Old House on Oak Street is Rolling Today – “A Little to the Left” – Photos

Monday, July 20th, 2015

Get up-to-speed on the massive Urban School Oak Street expansion here and also from Camden Avery at the Hoodline

This has been the scene in the Upper Haight / SoPA (South of Panhandle Area – srsly, some people actually use this term) lately:


And here’s how things looked yesterday – we’re all set to go:

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See that, the entire crib has been mounted on rails. The entire house is going to start moving today, Monday, July 20th, 2015 at 8:00 AM, or at least that was the plan at the close of bidness a few days ago.

Here’s your detail:

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All right, bon courage L’ecole Urbaine!

Here It Is: The Urban School’s Huge Pixar UP House, Completely Surrounded by Earth Movers – Soon to be Moved

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Where they’ll move it to – no one can say:

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It won’t be long now…

1637 Oak Street Now Looks Like Carl Fredricksen’s House from Pixar’s Up Movie – The Urban School’s “Oak Street Project”

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Here’s real estate holdout Edith Macefield’s house from up north.

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And here’s Carl Fredricksen’s house in the east bay as seen from a scene in Up

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And this is 1637 Oak as it looks right now – The Urban School’s Oak Street Project worksite complete surrounds the place now:

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It was built in 1904 – this is no way to celebrate your eleventy-first birthday, I’ll tell you. All the deets:

1637 Oak St has 1 bath and approximately 2,850 square feet.

(Well, that’s what they call obsolete in the real estate biz.)

Anyway, this house is empty now, and they’re fixing to move it someplace, I don’t know where, this summer.

Then this parcel will look like this, sort of:

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(I’d add about ten times as many cars to this depiction, but that’s just me.)

IDK how they’ll move it – I suggest balloons:

Get all the deets about all the hullabaloo from the Urbanists themselves right here:

“Over the past two years, Urban and St. Agnes have shared our plans with local community groups and our neighbors. We are committed to keeping our community informed throughout the approval process and are available to answer your questions. We invite you to contact us at any time via phone (415 626 2919) or email

BluesNotes for Neighbors

May 2015

December 2014

July 2014

Oak Street Project In the News

Hoodline Blog

Haight Ashbury Voice

Sean Sullivan Blog

Uppercasing Blog

Curbed San Francisco

Aspirational – Marketing a New Apartment Building to Newcomers in Hayes Valley

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

[Camera Left] That’s who I am, I’m a god-damned troubadour! (Well, maybe not yet, but that’s who I am inside – that’s the kind of person I am. Man, I gots to get me an axe as soon as I move to Frisco…)

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[Camera Right] I’m a City Girl, here’s my Vespa – BEEP BEEP! I’m going to use it to buy a baguette every day, soon as I move to the 415.*

As seen at the horrible, man-made** disaster known as Octavia “Boulevard.”

*NO NO NO NO, I want 415! Area code 628?! WTF. 

**Person-made? Is that a phrase? Octavia was supposed to spawn a “boulevard movement” across the country. It didn’t. 

Blaming the Suburbs: A CityLab Urbanist Parachutes into Frisco to Diagnose Our High Rents – Oh the Urbanity!

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Here it is:

The Biggest Problem With San Francisco’s Rent Crisis – The Suburbs, by Henry Grabar

This is in Slate, so it can’t be ignored, right? Read along with me, by the numbers.

1. “Crisis.” Well, our current sitch of high inflation of rents and property values is a crisis for some, but not for all. What if certain people, certain industries actually approve of this “crisis,” what then? Of course most renters in town pay slightly to substantially less than a market rate rent because most have the benefits of rent control. Is the author aware of this? We’ll see.

2. Photo. This one – I’ve seen it before. Since we’re toning down the words in Slate, let’s take the time to do the same to Slate’s illustrative photo illustrations. Here’s my stab at how things really looked in this part of Frisco, the ‘burbs of Frisco, if you will. Note the lack of nuclear yellow trees:

3. San Francisco “doesn’t deserve to be the poster child for inaction in the face of inequality?” Uh, why not? (One suspects author Hank has been talking with too many local urbanists.) Why doesn’t SF build more housing if it wants more housing? That’s what I’d ask myself before demanding other towns and counties to “do more.”

4. “The biggest problem with housing in San Francisco isn’t actually in San Francisco.” There’s your SlatePitch, there’s your everything-you-know-is-wrong. I’m not seeing any possibility of this article being useful at all. But let’s continue.

5. “‘The smaller communities, in my opinion, need to step up, and I don’t see that happening,’ San Francisco planning director John Rahaim says.” This sounds like a another pitch for regional government. I’ll agree – I too don’t see that happening. This is a big non-starter.

6. Prop 13. Yep. But are you going to get rid of Prop 13? IDTS. Hey, we’re halfway through.

7.  The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). Yep, there’s your regional government, your corrupt regional government what can’t understand how unpopular it is.

8. “For municipalities, Rentschler said, the offer is simple: Build more housing, get more money.” So this is the point – a promised $1.5 billion per year for transit from the MTC? I’m not seeing this as a game-changer.

9. “Naturally, some conservatives see Plan Bay Area as part of the broader, Soviet-style plot to urbanize America.” Whoah! Uh, the people who are against all that this Slate bit endorses mostly voted for Obama – they’re mostly big “D” Democrats, right? (This could be confusing to Slate’s readers, non?)

10. “Agenda 21?” Man, poll Bay Areans about “Agenda 21″ and less than 5% would have any idea what it means, just saying.

11. “Writing in National Review, Kurtz warned AFFH would ‘urbanize suburbs and Manhattanize cities.’” Uh, Dude, didn’t you have the same person making the very same point two just grafs above? Get me Rewrite!

12. “But a modern-day building boom in the inner suburbs wouldn’t repeat those mistakes—it would correct them. This time, it would do a city like San Francisco good.” Huh, so that’s it, huh?

Well, I don’t see a modern-day  building boom happening anytime soon in Frisco’s “inner suburbs,” so I guess that’s that. We’re talking Pie In The Sky here. JMO

And sorry, Newcomers. Everything’s stacked against you here in the 415.


Got nothing against a big town
Still hayseed enough to say
Look who’s in the big town
But my bed is in a small town
Oh, and that’s good enough for me