What, exactly, is going to get built on Geary and Masonic?

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

It was first described as a mixed-use development, then as housing for families …. and now it’s furnished studios for ‘students and visiting professors.’

Just before the Board of Supes voted to approve a new 101-unit project on Geary and Masonic, we learned a critical piece of information:

The developer isn’t planning just to build housing for “working people and families” It’s going to be at least in part furnished rentals, which often becomes corporate rentals.

Sup. Dean Preston said that the developer told him the project only “pencils out” if a significant amount of it is furnished rentals – which bring in higher prices.

“All of their projections are based on furnished rentals,” Preston said. He said the developer needed 19 percent return, that 17 percent wasn’t enough.

The project, the supervisors were told, will be financed by a union pension fund…

So the project – whatever it actually is going to turn out to be – was approved 10-1. But the question still remains: Why is the city going along with a developer’s demand that the rules be relaxed for financial reasons – when nobody but a few supervisors have been able to see the data?… (more)

Walton wants tech, healthcare to hire more SF residents

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

One of San Francisco’s newest supervisors said Tuesday he plans to introduce legislation to expand local hiring requirements to businesses in technology, healthcare and other sectors.

The City has required since March 2011 that builders of public construction projects hire a certain percentage of their workers from San Francisco. The program, commonly referred to simply as local hire, is largely celebrated for connecting those most in need to well-paying jobs.

Now Supervisor Shamann Walton has asked the City Attorney to draft legislation that would extend that requirement to other job sectors, like technology and healthcare.

Walton told the San Francisco Examiner in a text message that he is still working out the details. There are legal challenges to telling private businesses who they must hire, but Walton said the requirements could come through contracts that tech companies and hospitals need to have with city government. He will also explore whether just having a city business license would be sufficient for the city to require local hire… (more)

Why hire people from outside the area that need new housing when you can hire residents who are already housed? I like this thinking.

A Day Without a Woman rallies unite thousands in Bay Area and beyond

By Kevin Fagan, Filipa Ioannou and Jenna Lyons : sfgate – excerpt (includes video)

Rallies took place around the Bay Area as part of International Women’s Day.

The Women’s March that spilled millions into the streets in January was no one-off, thousands of women loudly declared Wednesday from one end of the country to the other. It was the beginning of a movement.

From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., they punched home their point with their own bodies, gathering in protests to show what life is like at the workplace without women… (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)