The attack on blue collar jobs continues

by Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The Board of Supes goes into a recess after Tuesday/2. The November ballot is all set – while much of the news media and the conservative supes were whining about a lack of civility, that progressives actually got some things done…

So what’s still left? For one thing, a measure that would require a conditional use hearing for any project that removed production, distribution, and repair space or community arts space – and an appeal of the Beast on Bryant project, which does both.

The Planning Commission approved the massive Mission development 5-2, and community activists have appealed. They are technically appealing the planners’ determination that the plan doesn’t need an environmental impact report and the conditional-use exemption. The supes very rarely overturn the Planning Department on these appeals, and the case may wind up in court.

At the same time, the supes have to decide whether to require a (separate) CU for a project like this that has a huge impact on PDR and arts space. If that measure passes, and this project is delayed by the board, or by a lawsuit, the process could in essence start all over again – and the developer’s offer of a deal to the city might not matter…

By the time the community made a huge fuss, Podell offered another plan (message here, particularly as we discuss “by right” development: No developer ever, ever comes forward with the best offer up front, and community opposition almost always leads to a better project). He cut the number of market-rate units to 199, and offered to give a third of the site to the city, which would then pay to build about 136 affordable units. He’s agreed to restore some of the PDR – but not necessarily at the lower rents that allowed places like Cell Space to thrive…

The attack on PDR space continues, unabated – and the displacement impact of new market-rate housing in working-class neighborhoods remains a profound issue in the Mission. While those won’t be the technical issues before the board, they will be the background under which this appeal will be considered.

Meanwhile: More PDR space is on the chopping block every week, including Thursday/4, when the commission looks at (and will probably continue) another plan to replace 20,000 square feet of PDR with more luxury housing, which maybe will provide places for people to live and maybe will provide places for very bad actors to park their money… (more)

Measure to protect SF artist, manufacturing space makes November ballot

Housing Startup Managed SRO Damaged in Fire

By Laura Waxmann and Laura Wenus : missionlocal – excerpt

Up until the five-alarm fire damaged the Graywood single room occupancy hotel and left 58 tenants without a place to live, the SRO was managed by a housing startup that matches roommates and manages co-living spaces for young professionals.

Under its management, the Graywood’s tenants began to include tech workers and others able to pay up to $1,400 a month for a room, compared to the $681 a month the building’s traditional low-income tenants were paying.

After the fire, the Graywood’s landlord, Dipak Patel, ended the hotel’s lease with Alon Gutman and Danny Haber’s housing startup, Negev. The two-year-old company has a history of leasing SROs and renting some, if not all, of their rooms to young professionals, students, and entrepreneurs.

Patel said he took over management from Negev so that he could begin repairs, which are now underway.

Several tenants who rented through Negev said that the company’s management was unresponsive to their inquiries and confusion arose over access to units in the hotel.

“They are not talking to us,” said one younger, newer tenant, who booked his room on a three-month contract through Negev. In San Francisco for an internship, the tenant declined to give his name, but said he only spent a week at the hotel before fire struck.

Attempts to contact Negev on Monday to gain access to the building led nowhere for the intern. He said he was told by a resident manager who lives on site and “moves tenants into the SRO rooms for Negev” that he would be let into the building at 9 a.m to retrieve some of his belongings.

But by 2 p.m., the displaced tenant was still waiting for the management to show. “I think the managers have as much info as we do — nothing,” he said.

Carlos Velasquez, the resident manager, on Tuesday that he indeed had been unable to reach Negev. “Many tenants are asking me if they will get their rent back. I don’t know what to tell them.”

Following multiple calls to Negev, a representative offered to put the intern up at one of the company’s other locations. The representative offered him a 20 percent discount on a $1,400 room that came with three roommates.

The intern, who was paying $1,200 for his own room at the Graywood, said he declined the offer.

The option to relocate was not extended to other Graywood tenants who rented with Negev. Instead, some said that they received emails announcing that they would be billed for June’s rent.

“I wrote them and said ‘don’t charge me because the building burned down,’” said a student who resided at the Graywood for less than a week and also requested to remain anonymous. “They emailed me back and said I had to write a more formal cancellation email.”

The confusion continued on Wednesday, when the SRO tenants were permitted to enter the burned building for the first time under the supervision of building inspectors.

Neither Gutman or Haber were present to answer questions about the tenant’s contracts.

Housing for Young Professionals

On its website, Negev offers five locations throughout the city with rooms renting between $900-$2,000. The hotels come with descriptions like “social, ambitious and driven interns,” aiming to match tenants with similar interests and personality types… (more)

Legal problems continue for two negev tech communes (from 2014 SF Examiner article)


Free City College for all? It’s entirely possible

By Time Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Sup. Jane Kim announced today a plan to make City College free for San Francisco residents – a dramatic step that could end the enrollment crisis at the school, give thousands of additional students the skills they need to compete in the workplace – and cost the city less than $13 million…

Just remove two of the unwanted complete streets programs that costs around 6 million of more apiece and you could covert the tuition costs. Right now there are at least four neighborhoods opposing the SFMTA plans for their streets. Since the red lanes have gone onto Mission Street, there is a huge upheaval and unrest. No one likes the results. The Mission residents would gladly trade red lanes for free City College education.


Activists Fire Shot Across Bow of “Titanic Mess on South Van Ness”

By missionlocal – excerpt

The next battle over market-rate housing in the Mission District took shape Thursday morning as activists met on the corner of South Van Ness Avenue and 26th Street to denounce a five-story housing project they have dubbed the “Titanic Mess on South Van Ness.”

Opponents demanded that its developer — Lennar Multifamily Communities, a subsidiary of the development giant Lennar Corporation — gift the land to the city for fully affordable housing. They also called on the city to delay its consideration of the project.

“Today we’re calling on Lennar to gift this site to the city for 100 percent affordable housing,” said Erick Arguello, a member of the merchants association Calle 24 and a principal opponent of the project.

Arguello said the market-rate building would fuel gentrification and displacement in the neighborhood. He pointed specifically to higher rents for commercial Mission businesses, saying a new clientele would bring upscale shops to a historically lower-income, culturally Latino district.

“When you get more luxury housing, you get people with a lot more money moving into the neighborhood, which creates a different demand for products,” he said.

The project at 1515 South Van Ness Ave. would bring 138 market-rate units and 19 below-market-rate units — fulfilling the city requirement that 12 percent of units on the site be affordable — to the Mission District, as well as six ground-floor retail shops.

The complex would raze and replace the McMillan Electrical building and abut a planned 96-unit fully affordable senior complex to be built by the Mission Economic Development Agency — a point of contention at a February community meeting where audience members wanted a merger of the two sites.

On Thursday, some 25 people gathered at the project site and vowed to fight the project to its death. Roberto Hernandez, founder of Our Mission No Eviction, said the project was out of place in the Mission District.

“It’s a titanic luxury development for the rich people,” he said through a bullhorn…

Just like the Monster, all the little actions [help] delay, delay, delay,” Hernandez said. “That’s why we’re here today, because we’re going to delay, delay, delay until we kill it.”

Delayed it they have. The Lennar project is scheduled to go before the Planning Commission next Thursday, April 21, but will likely be delayed to June 16, according to a spokesperson for the Planning Department.

Dozens of emails written in opposition to the project — as well as a phone call by Supervisor David Campos — were behind the delay, according to Arguello…(more)

Construction Unions Slam Mission District’s Controversial “Beast on Bryant”

The long slog for local developers’ plans to turn the building at the corner of Bryant and 18th into a six-story, 328-unit housing complex goes on (and on, and on).

On Thursday, the Northern California chapter of the Laborers Local 261 held a press conference in front of the flashpoint building to decry the project. According to Mission Local, union complaints were in line with the usual criticisms of the (unaffectionately nicknamed) “Beast on Bryant” — specifically, that it should include more affordable housing and that the developer should have to replace the manufacturing space that would be lost when the current tenants are scattered.

It should go without saying, but Local 261 also insisted on union labor for any construction that eventually happens. Of course.

Nick Podell, whose eponymous company operates out of a Drumm Street office, attempted to placate angry neighbors in the past by offering to find new homes for artist groups displaced by the development. He has also offered 40 percent of the units on site as affordable housing…

Also on hand yesterday were two of the candidates for the Mission’s soon-to-be-vacant seat on the Board of Supervisors. All of the declared candidates say they don’t support the present version of the project. Tough crowd… (more)

Construction Union Opposes Bryant St. Housing Project


By missionlocal – excerpt

A proposed six-story, 328-unit housing project on Bryant Street drew more opposition on Thursday after a press conference called by construction union Local 261 demanded significant changes to the Mission District housing project.

A group of union workers, supervisorial candidates, and local activists spoke outside of 2000 Bryant St. — the so-called “Beast on Bryant” — to demand more affordable housing on-site, replacement all of the manufacturing space currently on the block, and the use union jobs in the construction of the project.

The current project would replace a block of former industrial, arts, and restaurant spaces with two housing towers. At one site — built and financed by developer Nick Podell — 196 market-rate units and three below-market-rate ones are planned.

At the other, 129 fully affordable units would be built and financed by the city on land provided by Podell.

That land dedication — which is about 40 percent of the total project units — wasn’t enough for speakers on Thursday, who called for 50 percent of the units produced on-site to be affordable.

“Building a better Beast is about building more affordable housing for all of us,” said Josh Arce, who works as a liaison for Local 261 and is a leader of the newest opposition.

Speakers also called for 1-1 replacement of PDR space — which is production, distribution, and repair — after data released by the Planning Department on Thursday showed a rapid loss such space in the Mission District and other neighborhoods. The project as currently envisioned goes from 50,000 square feet of PDR to 11,000 across both sites… (more)






Two candidates could split vote in race for District 9 seat

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez sfweekly – excerpt

A new candidate has jumped into what may be one of San Francisco’s hottest political tussles in 2016.

On Monday, Edwin Lindo officially announced his candidacy for District 9 supervisor, which represents the Mission, Portola and Bernal Heights districts.

District 9, Lindo told me, “is in the eye of the storm. We need someone who’ll push solutions bigger than the problems we’re facing right now.”

Lindo, vice president of political affairs for the local Latino Democratic Club, joins Hillary Ronen, who is Supervisor David Campos’ legislative aide, as the only publicly known candidates for Campos’ seat.

Ronen filed a candidate intention statement on Nov. 16.

Lindo said he filed Nov. 2, though the documents are not publicly available online.
Ronen told the San Francisco Examiner she’s running because she has “a deep love of the district,” and, “the knowledge and experience of how to fight and move legislation.”

Now that there are two progressives in the race, however, the vote to beat back moderate opposition may be split. And though ranked choice voting may lessen that impact, a split may shuffle endorsements, allegiances, and overall campaign power – all which will be key for progressives to topple any moderate candidate who comes out of the woodwork… (more)

Condo Seller Gives Up Half a Million Dollars to Help Save the Neighborhood She Loves

By Scott Hutchins : modernluxury – excerpt

A teacher offered her Mission district condo for $500,000 under market value. The only catch: The buyers had to pass her cultural litmus test…

Catherine Lee, a film school instructor who has lived in the Mission district for over 20 years, had a real estate dilemma. She owned two places in the neighborhood—a condo that she was renting out and a two-unit building where she and her ex had lived until they split up. The breakup had catapulted her into a financial dilemma: To keep the two-unit building, she had to buy out her ex; to buy out her ex, she had to sell the condo.

Lee hated to think of losing her first bit of San Francisco—a two-bedroom Edwardian railroad flat on Alabama and 23rd Streets with beautiful hardwood floors, high ceilings, a marble fireplace, garage parking, a great backyard, and location, location, location. She’d bought it in 1993 for $90,000; 22 years later, with the market on fire, it would likely sell for at least 10 times that—in a matter of days, if not hours…

In exchange for a chance at her beautiful condo at a 2005 price, Lee asked prospective buyers to submit to an only–in–San Francisco application process. They had to explain who they were and how they would benefit from the condo. They had to swear that it would be their own home—not an investment or rental—and promise to never complain about Dia de los Muertos. Finally, they had to offer a 10-year “cultural promissory note”: a legally binding, decadelong commitment to provide something of cultural value—theater tickets, writing lessons, organic produce from “your uncle’s farm in Salinas”—to the community or Lee herself.

And so the competition began… (more)