Posts Tagged ‘rent control’

Ugly New Statue Appears South of Market – Like the Goddess of Democracy But Without Arms – “Venus de Rent Control”

Monday, June 13th, 2016

Man, this thing is surprisingly ugly. Here’s prolly the best way to show it, with the perpetually-clogged 8th Street (considered “excess road space” by our corrupt SFMTA, somehow).

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A little closer and now it looks out of focus, non? The buildings in front and behind look to be in focus, but not the thing itself.

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And here it is. (I swear this is in focus.)

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Anyway, just like the real Goddess of Democracy, this thing was made in China, for better or worse.

IDK, man. Who signed off on this? Wouldn’t it have been better to have taxed the Father of Rent Control $5,000,000 and then have put the money in our General Fund?

Word on the Street: “RENT CONTROL 4 MIDTOWN” – No Mercy from the Politically-Connected Sisters of Mercy

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

As seen on Divisadero, north of the NoPA Northeast of Panhandle Area:

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Why don’t these people have rent control in a pre-1980 building in Frisco? Here’s the story from Joe Eskenazi and here’s the official story from, IDK, a public relations-type that we’re, somehow, paying for? Take your pick.

Twitterloin Update: How Do I “Live NeMa?” – I’m Glad You Asked, New Market Building! – SF’s City Part of Town

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Here’s the question, from the new NEw MArket Building on Market in our Twitterloin / Mid-Market /South of Market / Tenderloin Adjacent area, you know, The City Part of Town:

How do you #liveNEMA?

And here’s the answer – like this, via The Lofts at SoDoSoPa:

And here’s your catchphrase:

NeMa: 24 months old and still no rent control.**

FIN.

* NEW YORK TIMES: The prospective changes to the Tenderloin — a noirish haunt of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and arguably the central city’s last working-class neighborhood — have given rise to a new nickname: the Twitterloin.

* FORTUNE: Welcome to the Twitterloin, where tech-savvy cool meets gritty hood

**After 10 months of living in the NeMa, you just might ask yourself why you’re getting hit with a rent increase what’s 25 times more than most of your coworkers are facing, just saying…

Outrageousness: Area Attorney Takes It Upon Herself to Issue Subpoenas Compelling Attendance at SF Rent Board Hearings? – WTF

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

I’ve never heard of this, page 7:

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What what?

“Page 7 of the Minutes of August 18, 2015

A. Status Report Letter to Attorney Regarding Unauthorized Use of Civil Subpoenas in
Rent Board Proceedings

At the July 14th meeting, Executive Director Wolf told the Board that Attorney Karen
Uchiyama has been issuing civil court subpoenas to compel persons’ attendance at Rent
Board hearings under threat of civil penalties and contempt of court. Ms. Wolf had sent a
letter to Ms. Uchiyama letting her know that the Rent Ordinance does not authorize the use
of subpoenas to compel attendance and that civil subpoenas are limited to actions that are
filed in court. Ms. Wolf requested confirmation by July 24th that Ms. Uchiyama would stop
this practice, and agreed to let the Board know Ms. Uchiyama’s response.

On August 6th, Ms. Wolf received a letter from Ms. Uchiyama confirming that she would no
longer issue civil subpoenas for Rent Board hearings and stating that she had been
misinformed about their use.

After discussion, the following motion was made, but failed:

MSF: To direct staff to contact the City Attorney for advice as to how to proceed
with a referral to the State Bar. (Marshall/Mosbrucker: 2-3; Abe, Gruber
and Dandillaya dissenting)

After further discussion, the Board asked staff to continue to monitor Ms. Uchiyama’s
compliance, talk to the City Attorney as to the Board’s options, and report back at a future
meeting.”

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Cracking Down on Developer Angelo Sangiacomo – TRINITY APTS / “SOMA SUITES HOTEL”

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Here’s a new update on this sitch.

“Herrera subpoenas Trinity over rent-controlled apartments used as ‘SOMA Suites Hotel’

“After request for cooperation is met ‘with obfuscation and deflection of responsibility,’ City Attorney moves to compel production of evidence in housing investigation

“SAN FRANCISCO (Sept. 8, 2015) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today formally subpoenaed documents and information relating to the apparently illegal use of Trinity Place residential units — including at least 16 rent-controlled apartments — for tourist accommodations as “The SOMA Suites Hotel.” The administrative subpoenas served on Trinity’s ownership and a single lessee of some 23 dwellings comes after a month of “repeated, unsuccessful attempts” by Herrera’s office to gain voluntary cooperation in a City Attorney investigation of potentially unlawful and unauthorized uses of the properties at 1188 and 1190 Mission Street.

Herrera initially requested cooperation from developer Angelo Sangiacomo and his legal counsel in an Aug. 5, 2015 letter that sought a full account of the uses of residential units authorized under the city’s 2007 agreement for the Trinity Plaza Development Project (since renamed Trinity Place). But the request was instead met “with obfuscation and deflection of responsibility,” according to a letter from Herrera that accompanied his subpoena to compel Trinity’s production of requested evidence.

“I find your responses on behalf of your clients particularly difficult to accept given the nature and history of the properties,” Herrera wrote to Trinity’s attorney, Andrew Wiegel. “The Trinity Plaza Development Project permitted your client to build high-density, largely residential buildings that, among other things, would preserve 360 units of rent-controlled housing. The benefits of those units that your client committed to provide in the Development Agreement continue to be critically important to the City, especially at a time where the paucity of affordable housing is driving out long-term residents, disrupting communities, and altering the very fabric of our City. Leasing a number of those units to the same individual, under the facts and circumstances we believe to have been the case, violates the letter and spirit of the Development Agreement, and the conditions of approval for the Project.”

A primary focus of the investigation Herrera identified in his letter is the developer’s business relationship with Catherine Zhang and her company, LUMI Worldwide. According to evidence so far established in the City Attorney investigation, Trinity Management Services entered into leases with Zhang for 16 apartments, each subject to rent-control, and each exclusively intended for residential occupancy. Apart from recognizing the obvious — that a single individual can’t simultaneously reside in 16 apartments — Trinity’s management knew that Zhang was subleasing the rent-controlled units, according to Herrera, in apparent violation of its own lease provisions expressly forbidding subletting, and its development agreement with the city. The arrangement may also violate state and local law.

“Leasing a number of those units to the same individual, under the facts and circumstances we believe to have been the case, violates the letter and spirit of the Development Agreement, and the conditions of approval for the Project,” Herrera wrote. “For these reasons, you have left me no choice but to formally subpoena this information.”

Apart from the 16 rent-controlled apartments at 1188 Mission Street (where “The SOMA Suites Hotel” is located, according to its marketing content), another seven Trinity Place apartments at neighboring 1190 Mission Street were also leased to Zhang for concurrent and overlapping periods. Evidence indicates that Zhang similarly subleased those apartments to tourists for short-term stays. Although none of the apartments at 1190 Mission Street is subject to rent-control, the use of dwellings in both buildings is restricted to residential housing under terms of the 2007 development agreement and related City approvals. Herrera today served a similar administrative subpoena on Zhang and LUMI Worldwide.

Additional documentation from the City Attorney’s Office’s investigation is available at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.

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.”

But What’s The Rent? – A 65 Square-Foot Studio Trailer Gets Parked on Market, to “Activate” the “Street Scene”

Friday, July 10th, 2015

This is what it looks like:

Studio-1a

Sam Whiting explains here in the San Francisco Chronicle:

Art studio on wheels moves down Market Street

Mmmm, no comments? Perhaps this attempt at a paywall is working too well.

But all right, here’s the SFGate version – surely the rabble will chirp up with comments like, “Well, what’s the rent?” Or maybe, “Smallest Studio in the Twitterloin, 0 bdrms, o bths, reclaimed wood?” 

Art studio on wheels moves down Market Street

Nope. Just one comment. This is the least amount of NEMA-mocking I’ve ever seen, when the topic of the NEMA is raised:

“So, if Studio One were to break down, would it be NEMA-towed?”

Get it? Nematode – cause like “worms,” right? (Oh, I don’t get it, oh well.)

Hey, speaking of NeMA, there’s still no rent control there, so giant rent hikes are coming your way. It will happen like this:

“We looked at what we’re charging for new rents and what the rent trends are in the market. We came up with the following renewal offer by lease terms…”

And then BAM! You get hit with a 24% (or whatever) rent increase (on top of an already high rent) after just one year. Speaking of which, here’s what one Yelper recently had to say about the NEMA. So many details!

I’ll tell you, lots of SF newcomers move into buildings without knowing that rent control won’t apply to them. And they don’t know the first thing about rental deposit refunds until they hit for charges that they don’t have to pay and that they shouldn’t pay. IMO.

And I’ll tell you, I don’t work for SFGov, so it’s not my job to “activate” the “New Market” “Streetscape” with umpty-up art displays. IMO. SFGov should focus on the basics.

JMO

The San Francisco Chronicle’s CW Nevius Pushes Advocacy Journalism Beyond Its Limits: Rent Control en la Mision

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Is this bit here from CW Nevius at all persuasive to you? It’s not to me. And probably it’s not to most people.

And you know, there’s not a whole bunch of “tenant activists” in the bay area either. Yet CW seems to think the world is divided into two sections:

1. Right-thinking, right-side-of-the-aisle activist people such as himself; and

2. Tenant activists

But IRL, most people aren’t activists.

And the reason why it seems that CW Nevius works hand-in-hand with local pols who despise rent control is that CW Nevius actually is working hand-in-hand with local pols who despise rent control. Except CW doesn’t have to worry about losing future elections, so he’s free to speak out on behalf those pols who are terrified of being depicted as anti-rent control. So that’s your symbiotic relationship. I’m unaware of anybody else at the SF Chronicle who has this kind of relationship with local pols. I’m saying, from an outsider’s perspective, the writings of CW Nevius really stand out. He’s an outlier.

Leave us begin:

Through no fault of their own, the married couple has been displaced from their Mission District home by tenants who refuse to move unless they receive a payment of well over $100,000.

UH, NO THEY WEREN’T “DISPLACED.” WHAT HAPPENED WAS THEY MOVED OVERSEAS AND THEN RENTED OUT THEIR PART OF A TIC TO A COUPLE OF TENANTS IN A RENT-CONTROLLED CITY. THE OBVIOUS SOLUTION IS AN OMI PROCEEDING. SO, IN FACT, THEY CAN MOVE BACK “HOME.”

…an eviction would violate the terms of a TIC-to-condo conversion ordinance and they — and the other two co-owners of their building — would never be able to convert their tenancy-in-common unit to a condominium.

TICs AREN’T FOR EVERYBODY, RIGHT? LOTS OF THINGS CAN GO WRONG WITH A TIC, RIGHT?

“We may lose control of our home for the rest of our lives,” Rumpler said. “They must have been instructed that they are sitting on a gold mine. They’re dug in, and we’re stuck.”

AGAIN, YOU DO AN OMI OR YOU DON’T DO AN OMI – CALLING UP CW NEVIUS ISN’T GOING TO HELP WITH THIS SITUATION.

When the condo conversion ordinance was passed in June 2013, it seemed like relief for thousands of San Franciscans.

THOUSANDS OF WEALTHY SAN FRANCISCANS WHO WERE TAKING A CHANCE ON AN INHERENTLY RISKY TIC INVESTMENT, RIGHT?

They were buyers who purchased tenancy-in-common units and then spent years on a waiting list, hoping to be one of 200 chosen in the conversion lottery each year.

HOW IS THIS NOT LIKE ROULETTE?

“In this case the tenants were able to take advantage of the rules that were probably not designed to work this way,” Meirson said.

THIS IS RENT CONTROL IN ACTION. THE RULES WERE EXACTLY DESIGNED TO WORK THIS WAY. EXACTLY.

“It is a very real possibility that these tenants will remain with a lifetime lease and the owners may never be able to move back home. Is this what the law was meant to do?”

THIS IS RENT CONTROL IN ACTION. THE RULES WERE EXACTLY DESIGNED TO WORK THIS WAY. EXACTLY.

The irony, of course, is that if the roles were reversed and an older, married gay couple — one of whom has ALS — were being asked to leave a rental unit…

WHOA NELLIE! THE NEVIUSNESS OF THIS SENTENCE IS QUITE HIGH ALREADY, SO LET’S SLOW THINGS DOWN HERE. ALL RIGHT, IS IT REALLY A SMART IDEA TO “ASK” A TENANT TO LEAVE A RENT CONTROLLED UNIT? I SURE AS HECK DON’T THINK SO. THERE ARE POTENTIAL LEGAL IMPLICATIONS OF DOING THAT, RIGHT? WE’RE NOT TALKING ABOUT WALNUT CREEK HERE, RIGHT? WE’RE TALKING SAN FRANCISCO, HOME OF SOME OF THE MOST EXTREME PRO-TENANT LAWS IN AMERICA, RIGHT? SO, IF YOU’RE NOT CUT OUT TO BE A SAN FRANCISCO LANDLORD, WHY WOULD YOU PICK THIS PLACE, OF ALL PLACES, TO BECOME A LANDLORD? AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T TAKE LANDLORD-TENANT ADVICE FROM CW NEVIUS, THE SAN FRANCISCO NEWCOMER STRAIGHT OUTTA THE 925.

…by a young, financially well-off couple in their 20s, there would be an uproar from tenant advocates.

WELL, NUMBER ONE, THERE WOULDN’T BE AN UPROAR. AND NUMBER TWO, WHERE DOES THE “OF COURSE” COME FROM, WHERE’S THE “IRONY?” THIS IS RENT CONTROL IN ACTION. IT SOUNDS LIKE CW NEVIUS DOESN’T LIKE SF RENT CONTROL.

Instead, this turns the whole scenario on its head.

I’M STRUGGLING TO UNDERSTAND HERE. IT WOULD BE NICE IF CW NEVIUS COULD FIND HIS WAY DOWN TO THE RENT BOARD TO SEE HOW THE RULES WORK IN HIS NEW-FOUND HOME. I DON’T THINK HE UNDERSTANDS.

The tenants, who declined to be interviewed, are in their early 20s and hardly impoverished. Rumpler says both of them work in the tech industry.

HERE’S A NEWS FLASH FOR CW NEVIUS: RENT CONTROL ISN’T MEANS-TESTED IN SF. IMPOVERISHMENT ISN’T A FACTOR. WHAT INDUSTRY THE TENANTS WORK IN IS NOT A FACTOR.

“My understanding is that they work in a high-income profession,” said Meirson. “They probably make more than the landlords in this case.”

OH “PROBABLY.” AND THEY PROBABLY HAVE LESS WEALTH TOO, RIGHT? I’M FAILING TO SEE HOW THIS ISN’T A RUN-OF THE-MILL RENT CONTROL SITUATION, SIMILAR TO OVER 100,000 OTHERS IN SF.

“We would be very happy to settle with them for a reasonable amount of money. We said, ‘We can give you $25,000 and they said, ‘Not even close.’”

ALL RIGHT, $25K. LET’S REMEMBER THIS FIGURE.

The quirky part of this story is that Rumpler and Scovern are victims of bad timing.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING IN REAL ESTATE, RIGHT? BUYING A TIC HOPING TO “WIN” A “LOTTERY” WHEN THE RULES ARE NOT AT ALL STABLE IS EXPOSING YOURSELF TO POLITICAL RISK, RIGHT?

When Scovern got a short-term job offer in Melbourne, Australia, in September 2012, Rumpler says they “pretty naively entered into the rental market.”

“NAIVELY?” DING DING DING DING DING DING! AND HEY, SPEAKING OF SCOVERN, GUESS WHO HAS AN INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING DEGREE? SO NEVIUS RELIES ON A SECOND-HAND SOURCE FOR THE OCCUPATIONS OF THE TENANTS, BUT IGNORES THE “TECHIE” LANDLORD IN THIS CASE. THAT’S SO RAVEN NEVIUS!

They used a rental agent to find tenants, with the idea that they’d be back in two years.

IN A RENT-CONTROLLED UNIT. SOUNDS LIKE A BAD IDEA.

Because they are less expensive than an outright condo purchase, they have been a gateway to ownership in a city where housing is incredibly expensive.

TICS HAVE A LOT OF BAD ASPECTS. IS OWNERSHIP SUCH A GOOD IDEA IN SF? IT WORKS OUT FOR MOST PEOPLE, BUT THERE ARE RISKS. ALTERNATIVES INCLUDE DALY CITY AND … WALNUT CREEK. SRSLY.

At this point the two sides are at stalemate.

I DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS. IF THIS LL/TENANT COMBO IS AT STALEMATE, THEN SO ARE MOST LL/TENANT COMBOS IN SF. WHAT MAKES THIS UNIT SPECIAL?

Rumpler says the first suggestion by the tenants for a payout to move was based on the idea that they would have to pay an additional $1,500 a month for 10 years. That’s $18,000 a year for a total of $180,000. “It might as well have been a million,” Rumpler said. “We’re not paying the ransom.”

SO YOU’RE WILLING TO PAY $25K IN RANSOM BUT NOT $180K IN RANSOM BUT THE $25K ISN’T RANSOM? MMMM…

WHAT NEVIUS DOESN’T SHARE WITH HIS READERS IS THE DOLLAR AMOUNT SPENT FOR THE TIC AND THE VALUE OF IT NOW AND ALSO THE VALUE OF IT AFTER CONDO CONVERSION. THESE NUMBERS ARE PRETTY KNOWABLE BUT THEY MIGHT TURN OFF SOME OF THE READERS THAT NEVIUS IS TRYING, FOR SOME REASON, TO PERSUADE.

AND YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE BOUGHT REAL ESTATE IN 2006, AND, “THROUGH NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN,” ENDED UP UNDERWATER. WHERE’S THEIR NEVIUS COLUMN?

IF I WERE THE NEVIUS, I WOULD HAVE GIVEN UP ON THIS STORY.

SOME FISH YOU SHOULD JUST THROW BACK.

Advice for San Francisco Newcomers: What’s “Rent Control?” It’s Something You Might Want – Not Now, But Next Year

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Or not. It’s hard to say how much rent control would benefit you next year once your lease is up.

But these days, there’s a ton of SF newcomers who are just figuring out the big benefit of RC.

Check it:

“Unfortunately most residents can’t afford to stay longer that 1 year. We’ve been living at Argenta for 10 months and have been very happy with the apartment. But we began to suspect that things weren’t quite right with management shortly after moving in. People we met in the elevator, lobby and our floor were all saying the same thing — rent had been raised to ridiculous heights and they were moving out. Over the last 10 months we have watched many of the tenants on our floor leave because of the rent increase.”

So that’s what you get with your brand-new building – a huge rent increase after your first year.

Generally speaking, older buildings have rent control and newer buildings do not. One exception is federal land, like Treasure Island and The Presidio. In those places, you can live in an older building but still get with huge rent increases.

Of course, it always pays to check.

Here’s a test – can you tell which places are rent controlled?

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You see, it’s hard.

Choose wisely.

ATTENTION RESIDENTS OF THE NEW “NEMA” BUILDING: A Massive Rent Increase is Coming Your Way – ‘Cause No Rent Control

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

But don’t take my word for it, listen to one of your neighbors at 8 Tenth Street, 94103, via the Yelp:

“Please read this if you are considering any non-rent control building in San Francisco. I wish someone had told me this when I moved to the city and chose Nema. Please consider this advice.

If you have visited Nema, you probably can tell that the management, amenities and staff are outstanding. You may also notice that everyone living in the building has just moved from another city or state. Here’s why:

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you rent in a non-rent control building, unless you can sign a multi-year lease. Could you afford a double digit rent increase? 50% rent increase? Is your income doubling next year? It seems far away now, but you will probably want to renew your lease. Now is the time to make a good decision about housing, not next year because you will be paying much more then.”

So basically, buildings built AFTER rent control came to San Francisco in 1979 don’t have no rent control. (The relevant date is printed on your landlord’s Occupancy Permit, but if your crib went up in 1980 or later, don’t even bother checking.)

That means that your friends renting units in older buildings will face a maximum annual rent increase limited to 60% of a certain Cost of Living Index dealing with the Bay Area. That means one-something percent per year.

OTOH, if you moved into the NeMA at $1950 per month last year (as some did, 2nd or 3rd floor, lousy view* – Unit 324, for example**) and your lease is coming up, consider that there are no units available now for less than $2800 (I’m srsly – some studios go for $4000+)

Are you, the NeMA renter, looking at a 40% rent increase soon? 

If not this year, what about the next year too? How long will it take to have a 40% increase for your unit, you know, cumulatively?

Sooner than you think Auslander.

Sooner than you think, Outlander.

Why don’t websites aimed at tourists and newcomers tell you this? Well, because they’re on the take from … The NEMA!

I assign this story to the San Francisco Chronicle – this one writes itself. (This would be a good CW Nevius, I’m seriously.)

*Compared with the rest of the units in the Nema.

**This was not a BMR (Below Market Rate) unit reserved for those people making less than $38,000 per year, no no. Those places went for around $950 per month. I’m talking about market rate units back when market rate was $1950 per month for the least desirable apartments at NeMA – that was all the way back in 2013.