Re-imagining Stonestown

By Sally Stephens : sfexaminer – excerpt

Owners hosting gatherings to find out how to make mall a ‘place people love over the long-term.’

Nearly everyone who lives in the southwestern part of San Francisco knows the Stonestown Galleria. We go there to buy clothes, eat dinner, get help at the Apple Store’s genius bar, browse the weekly farmers market, watch a movie, or just hang out. But the closing of the two main anchor tenants — Macy’s and Nordstrom — over the last two years has some people wondering if the mall has a future.

On Oct. 7, I attended a meeting that current owner Brookfield Properties organized to get people’s input on long-range plans for Stonestown. Brookfield sees an opportunity to create a mixed-use community centered around the mall, including building housing on some of the 20 acres of parking lots…(more)

Bills Attempt to Reach California Housing Goals Through Accessory Dwelling Units

hosted by Michael Krasny : kqed – excerpt (includes audio track)

California leaders want the state to build half a million new homes each year until 2025 — a rate of housing construction that has never happened before. Some legislators think we could help reach this goal by easing the path for single-family homeowners to build accessory dwelling units, often called “in-law” or “granny flats,” on their property. To that end, the state just approved a number of bills that allow construction of backyard units and garage conversions. We’ll hear about the bills, and find out why some residents are worried that the changes will negatively impact the character of single-family neighborhoods.

Karen Chapple, professor of city and regional planning, UC Berkeley
Liam Dillon, reporter, Los Angeles Times
Susan Kirsch, founder; former president, Livable California
Steve Vallejos, president, prefabADU… (more)

Proposed SF City Office Would Vet Emerging Tech

By Dennis Noone : tech wire – excerpt

The city has been a fertile testing ground for new technologies — rental electric scooters, dockless bikes and sandwich-delivery robots — but now the Board of Supervisors is poised to start regulating emerging technology’s access to public thoroughfares.

San Francisco is moving to bring some oversight to the proliferation of new technologies in the city — a repudiation of the adage that it’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask permission.

Under Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee’s proposal, a city “Office of Emerging Technology” would vet any new tech that could create a nuisance in the public right-of-way or risk a violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Yee’s proposal came up Oct. 8 and is in a 30-day review phase…(more)

Can’t the city authorities see that their policies are responsible for emptying the retail spaces by allowing companies to operate rent-free on the streets? The more companies operating on the streets without paying rent, the more empty retail spaces there will be. The easy solution to fill the empty retail is to force those companies operating on the streets to rent a space to park their rental toys in SF. Let’s see who survives. The traditional experienced shop owner or the new on-demand operator that is no longer being given special treatment, but must pay rent like the competition. If they really want to be operate 24-7 they can unlock the doors, and hire a human or robot cop.

What San Francisco Gets Wrong (and Kind of Right) About Retail Vacancies – Unintended Consequences

By Cathy Reisenwitz : thebaycity – excerpt

It’s disquieting, and more than a bit depressing, to see so many empty storefronts in a growing, dynamic, and wealthy city like San Francisco. Members of the Board of Supervisors think the retail vacancy rate in their neighborhoods is too high, and suspect that landlords may be intentionally keeping their spaces vacant so they can wait for higher rents…

The first thing to know about S.F.’s citywide average retail vacancy rate is that it’s likely lower than that of comparable cities. The second thing: there’s precious little evidence that retail landlords are holding out for high-paying tenants…(more)

A lot of facts and opinions in this piece, so it is well worth reading, even though the emphasis is on supply and demand and the real estate aspects of running a business, high rents and difficult city bureaucracies. It doesn’t help that all new multi-use buildings are adding more retail units.
If there is a supply problem stop adding more retail units.

The author fails to mention the negative effects of constant construction that make walking difficult and unpleasant. There is no mention about the impassable sidewalks, problems with traffic, parking, delivery, competition from online sales, or the rise in crime on the streets. San Francisco streets and sidewalks are unpleasant dangerous and often disgusting.

Replacing single family homes with micro units not only drives families into the suburbs, the reduced living space removes the market for products to used to fill a home. Consumables account for more sales and a lot of those are delivered because stores don’t carry them. There is no easy answer to reviving retail under the current environment.

Sup. Vallie Brown evicted low-income tenants

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

History as a landlord is missing from her campaign’s well-crafted narrative.

Sup. Vallie Brown has a narrative driving her campaign: She had a difficult childhood, faced evictions and homelessness, and is now working to protect the rights of tenants. Here’s what a Brown mailer says:…

The SF Weekly broke the story today that Brown was not just a tenant in the lower Haight – she was a landlord who evicted two long-term African American tenants when she moved into their unit.

Nothing she did was illegal. But the fact remains that she was not only a victim of evictions – she was an evictor who forced very low-income tenants out of their home. For a lot of tenant activists, that’s not, and never will be, acceptable…

According to public records collected by the SF Tenants Union (and I have confirmed it all), Brown and three friends bought the property at 148-152 Fillmore for $275,000 on April 13, 1994. Within days, the group filed eviction notices against all of the tenants (three filed wrongful eviction notices at the Rent Board on April 25.) The unit Brown wound up occupying had tenants named Thomas and Eleanor Cotton; they got an eviction notice April 21…(more)

SF Planning’s really weak ‘Community Stabilization Policy’

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Plus: A developer lawyer on the commission? And Sups. Haney and Ronen to grill DPH on mental-health beds. That’s The Agenda for Oct. 14-20

The San Francisco Planning Commission will hear a presentation Thursday/ 17 on the department’s Community Stabilization Policy– supposedly an interagency effort to fight the disaster of displacement that has plagued San Francisco for the past decade or more.

There are a few bright spots in the proposal – it calls for more money for acquiring small buildings that could be bought by speculators, and it actually mentions pressuring Sacramento to repeal the Ellis Act and Costa Hawkins to allow the city to protect existing tenants…(more)

Community groups, homeowners not sold on ‘Green’ tax district proposed for Mission Dolores

by Laura Waxman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Property owners seeking to create a special tax district in a roughly 90-block area surrounding Mission Dolores Park to pay for additional cleaning and security efforts have run into stark opposition from neighborhood groups.

The proposed Mission Dolores Green Benefit District would impose an additional tax on some 4,000 property owners within its boundaries to tackle quality of life, pedestrian and public safety issues in a neighborhood where its proponents — a self-described group of “residents and local business owners who love our neighborhood and are motivated to make a difference” — say The City has failed…

But neighborhood groups and some homeowners wary of the proposal contend that “green” stands for city and taxpayer dollars that would go toward increased privatization of public space, rather than additional investments in greening or the creation of more public parks, as its name may suggest…

Privatization of public services

The emergence of green districts some five years ago inspired a website urging property owners to vote them down.…(more)

The public is becoming wise to bait and switch promises that take more and deliver less. Why should citizens tax themselves to get the services the city should deliver? Higher taxes, fines and fees have resulted in cuts to service and quality of life.