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Updated: 2017-07-21T13:36:41-07:00


Plans for 29-unit building near 17th and Mission reappear


Old Saitowitz designs and neighborhood dollar store both on the way out In 2015, the owners of 2100 Mission, a 7,600-square-foot building on the corner of 17th Street, petitioned the Planning Department with plans to turn the site into a 29-unit, six-story mixed-use development, resurrecting a proposal from 2010. “The proposal would involve the demolition of the existing one-story plus mezzanine [...] industrial building circa 1963,” the application says, which would mean saying goodbye to the neighborhood discount store that presently resides in that storefront. The new building would have over 2,600 square feet of new retail beneath the housing element, with an estimated $7.5 million construction cost and sleek designs by Natoma Architects and outspoken designer Stanley Saitowitz. Google The intersection today. Nearly two and a half hours later, the 17th Street dollar store is still there and the only change to the site comes from sales, but MissionLocal reports that nearby neighbors received notice this week of a community outreach meeting by the developers to discuss plans on July 25. “‘Please join us for an open house to discuss updated plans to convert 2100 Mission Street into 29 transit-oriented homes and new, community-focused retail space,’” the missives read, according to the site. Anyone with an opinion can head to the Mission Pool Clubhouse at 19th and Linda streets at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday to speak their mind. Previously, outspoken Natoma architect Stanley Saitowitz created a striking silvery design for this corner development invoking an almost dystopian use of vertical lines and slats. “The building is faced with fins which provide a layer of privacy and act as baffles at this busy intersection” the Natoma site says of the design. But it seems new and more conventional ideas for the look, with alternating banks of recessed and protruding windows, since replaced that one. Natoma Architects The older design. 2100 Mission Street [Accela] Dollar Store May Become Housing [MissionLocal] What Is An Acoustic Baffle? [Sound Control Tech] 2100 Mission Design [Saitowitz] Planning Director Defends From Architects [Curbed SF] [...]

SF skyscraper rents third highest in U.S. despite growth



And we’re running out of space too

Turns out there’s at least one metric by which San Francisco rents are not quite the highest in the nation, although it’s still unlikely to leave anyone happy.

The professional service company JLL released its annual Skyline Report this week breaking down the price of office space in some of the tallest buildings in major U.S. cities (in the case of San Francisco ranging from the 19-story Hills Plaza to the 1,000-plus foot Salesforce Tower).

The big takeaway: Renting office space in any of these overwhelming obelisks cost $76.11/square foot in the first quarter of this year.

For perspective, that’s the third highest rate in the country, after only New York ($87.90) and Washington DC ($83.09).

This time last year the same figure was $75.88, which makes this such a small hike that its significant is hard to pinpoint.

But as recently as 2014 it was less than $64, so vertigo is still an appropriate response to recent gains.

Meanwhile, although most cities shoulder a vacancy rate of 12.9 percent in these kinds of buildings, San Francisco’s is a tidy 8.5 percent, while Oakland’s is an almost shockingly low 4.9.

But possibly the reason Oakland is filling in faster is that it has less space for which to account. Says JLL:

Already far and away the largest [...] market in the Pacific Northwest by number of buildings (54), San Francisco’s skyline keeps expanding while Oakland and San Jose’s have remained stable.

Just less than 4 million square feet of new Skyline product is under construction in San Francisco while the first construction in Oakland for several years began in the first quarter. A single 120,000 square foot project is underway in San Jose’s Skyline.

(image) Christopher Michel

Note that San Jose’s rate is a somewhat tepid 12.4.

Despite the price squeeze, most of the city’s soaring spires are filling in fast, including several that have not yet even built.

Of the 54 buildings on the Skyline list, 10 of them are completely full, while only 15 are operating below 90 percent (including those not yet finished or not yet leasing).

For the curious, JLL reports that Salesforce Tower is already two-thirds full. And they haven’t even finished installing all the windows yet.

Spanish-Med condo in Pacific Heights asks $1.6 million


Tranquility galore inside renovated 1920s gem Mere steps from Lafayette Park, this top-floor unit inside 1940 Sacramento is a treat for anyone with an eye for San Francisco’s 1920a Spanish-Mediterranean look. "It represents a great opportunity for a buyer with his/her heart set on Pacific Heights,” said realtor Mike Yrazabal. "Being a top rear unit, you are completely isolated from street noise." Featuring three beds, two baths, and roughly 1,700 square feet, unit #6 has been renovated as of late to feature enlarged bathrooms, new wood flooring, and more. The space also comes with a skylight and views of a tranquil, fountain-blessed rear yard. Asking is $1,650,000. 1940 Sacramento, #6 [Mike Yrazabal at Compass] Pacific Heights [Curbed SF] [...]

Noe Valley Victorian ‘sisters’ sold


Beloved home with stained glass, period details, and cow emblems galore finds a buyer That sound you hear is yours truly’s heart shattering after hearing word that the downright stunning Noe Valley “sisters,” located at 656-658a Elizabeth, sold this month. Our pipe dream’s loss is one lucky buyer’s gain. The former owner of the Eastlake Victorian “sisters,” who purchased the property in the 1970s, was an architect-slash-Victoriana buff who resurrected the space to its original splendor. The print wallpaper, the woodwork, the stained glass, the conservatory—each room a time-capsule feast for the eyes. Asking $2,900,000 in April, it sold for $2,500,000. And now, a public service announcement: Please, lucky buyer, do not drastically alter the aesthetic of this home too much. Granted, asking a Noe Valley buyer to resist an open-floor plan or antiseptic interiors is asking for the moon. But this is one Victorian that deserves to be seen as-is for years to come. Thank you. Stunning Noe Valley Victorian “sisters” seek $2.9 million [Curbed SF] Noe Valley [Curbed SF] [...]

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: a brief history of the Beaux-Arts gem in SoMa


Described as “the best constructed public building in the country” when it opened, this South of Market structure reads like a love letter to granite and marble San Francisco’s own U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit received national attention after it played a prominent role in federal politics this year. Intended to represent the affluence and increasing importance of the United States as it became a world power, this 1905 gem, located at the corner of Mission and Seventh streets, has been standing strong as a symbol of justice for over 100 years. It is considered one of the most ornate public buildings in the west Let’s take a look at how this Beaux-Arts structure got its start. A court without a home Prior to the current building, the federal courts and post offices were housed in a variety of different locations throughout the city. The first federal court in California was established in 1851 immediately after statehood and met at the Merchants’ Exchange building on Battery Street. Located in the heart of the Financial District, the early court was kept busy with ownership cases from the chaos surrounding land grants made under Spanish and Mexican rule. Soon after a U.S. Circuit Court of California was formed and moved into their own separate building on Battery Street. This grew to become the Federal Ninth Circuit in 1866 and included Oregon and Nevada. Soon after, their building on Battery burned down and the court would meet in several temporary locations around the Financial District. Likewise, the Postal Service first opened shop in San Francisco in 1848 and was housed in several downtown buildings. They moved to the U.S. Customs House on Battery Street in 1855, but soon built additional branches. Image via SF Public Library Image via SF Public Library Need for a new building By the 1870s, the country acknowledged that it would make more sense to house all the federal courts in one place. Like everything in San Francisco at the time, a commission was formed to select a site in 1887. Congress allocated $350,000 for the project, but the commission pooh-poohed that amount as too low. After negotiations, the government increased the amount to $2,500,000. (That’s around $68 million by today’s standards; for comparison’s sake, the contemporary Federal Building on the other side of Seventh Street cost $144 mission in 2007.) At the time, Seventh and Mission was far away from the central business district and surrounded by immigrant working-class neighborhoods. The area featured mostly small manufacturing businesses and warehouses, as well as a lot of railroad yards. Known as “South of the Slot” (the basis of a Jack London novel of the same name), the area was known for factories, slums, and working-class housing. The downtown crowd was hardly thrilled to have to travel more than a mile to the new courthouse site, but it was cheap and it was available. The site was purchased in 1891. Image via SF Public Library Image via SF Public Library Construction begins At the time, the federal government had their own in-house architects tasked with designing buildings across the country. Starting in 1836 with Robert Mills, these architects launched a new era of Greek Revival and Renaissance Revival federal architecture (think Washington DC’s General Post Office and Patent Office Building.) Things took an eclectic turn after the Civil War, but by the end of the Nineteenth Century there was a backlash against the Victoriana styles as more architects studied at École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. After the game-changing White City at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, private architects around the country pushed for a widespread acceptance of Beaux-Arts planning and classical design. William Martin Aiken and James Knox Taylor, along with their crew of U.S. Treasury[...]

San Francisco Marathon street closures and Muni disruptions


Public transit will be the wisest bet this Sunday Sunday marks the 38th annual San Francisco Marathon. While participants (up to 20,000 expected) eat carbs and don their finest jogging gear before taking to city streets, those of us not partaking in the yearly shin-splint fest should take note of the minor Muni disruptions and the many—many—street closures happening. Also of importance, Sunday is a game day. So traffic will be even more congested than usual. The annual San Francisco Marathon will begin from The Embarcadero and Mission Street at 5:30 a.m., with staggered starts from 5:30 a.m. until 6:30 a.m. The race route will loop north along The Embarcadero, through the Presidio, the outer Richmond District, Golden Gate Park, the Haight, the Mission District, Inner Bayview and back to The Embarcadero. Roughly 20,000 runners are expected to attend this year’s race. The ultramarathon, a 52.4-mile marathon that completes two loops, begins at midnight. As for Muni disruptions on Sunday, here’s the story from SFMTA: “The 6 Haight/Parnassus, 7 Haight/Noriega, 10 Townsend, 19 Polk, 22 Fillmore, 24 Divisadero, 28 19th Avenue, 29 Sunset, 33 Ashbury/18th Street, 37 Corbett, 43 Masonic, 44 O’Shaughnessy, 48 Quintara/24th Street, and 55 16th Street routes will be rerouted.” And here are your Sunday street closures, per the SF Marathon site: The Embarcadero – 12:01 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Northbound Embarcadero/King St. will be closed from 3rd St. to Broadway. Southbound Embarcadero will be closed from Broadway to Harrison. Map via SFMTA Suggested detours. Fisherman’s Wharf – 5 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. On Jefferson Street between Northpoint and Hyde, no vehicles will be allowed. Golden Gate Bridge Roadway Lanes – 1:00am to 10:00am Southbound traffic: from 1:00am to 10:00am, expect delays crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. There will be southbound traffic lanes open at all times. Northbound traffic: from 6:00am to 9:00am, all northbound traffic will be closed across the Golden Gate Bridge. Vehicles should use the Bay Bridge to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge instead. Northbound traffic will resume by 9:00am. The entire roadway will return to normal operation by 10:00am. Golden Gate Bridge Exit and Parking Area – 12 a.m. to 10 a.m. Please see this 2017 press release for more info. The last northbound San Francisco exit, off Doyle Drive and just before the toll plaza, will be closed from midnight to 10:00 am. The southeast parking lot will also be closed from midnight to 10:00 am. The first southbound exit after the toll plaza onto Merchant Road will have no access beyond the toll plaza itself and no access into the Presidio from Midnight to 10:00 am. Vista Point exit (northeast side) and the Vista Point parking lot will be closed from midnight to 10:00 am. Presidio and Golden Gate National Recreation Area – 12 a.m. to 10 a.m. From midnight to 10:00am, there will be no access to the Golden Gate Bridge through the Presidio. Lincoln Blvd. and all intersections onto Lincoln Blvd. from the 25th Ave. gate to Lendrum Ct. will be closed from4:30 am to 10:00am. Baker Beach residents may enter and exit the housing areas via the service road from Battery Caulfield. Traffic will be allowed access and egress from Brooks Court and Baker Court via Lincoln Blvd.. Mason Street and all intersections onto Mason Street will be closed from the Marina Gate to Crissy Field Avenue from 4:30 am to 10:00am. Crissy Field Avenue will be closed from 4:30 am to 10:00am. Richmond District – 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eastbound and Westbound Vehicle Traffic should expect delays at 26th Ave. and 27th Ave. 26th and 27th Avenues from Fulton Street to Lake Street closed to through traffic. Cross traffic will be allowed intermittently on California, Clement, Geary, Balboa or Cabrillo. Expect significant delays. Residents west of 27th Avenue are encouraged to use the Great Highway. [...]

What $3,000 rents you in San Francisco right now


Five new rentals, from Cole Valley to Westlake Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person's studio another person's townhouse? Today's price: $3,000. ↑ Note that the house for rent in the Richmond here is not the one facing the street with the sloped roof, but rather a separate unit stationed behind it, a one-bedroom, one-bath bit of business entirely independent of the main house. The landlord (who lives in the front property) promises “quiet living in the city” for $2,925/month for this 35th Avenue location. A bit snug at 630 square feet (not counting the deck, advertised as an extra 125), it’s still a detached and freestanding home nonetheless. No pets allowed, despite (or because of?) the easy yard access. ↑ Those who insist on facing the curb when paying $3,000/month for a house can head south to the Westlake neighborhood. Where is Westlake? Turns out it’s in Daly City right next to the unincorporated town of Broadmoor, which this landlord tries to pass off as the “SFSU” area “on the border” between the two cities. Pretty sneaky. But with more and more San Francisco renters edging over that southern-lying line toward slightly more affordable prices, this two-bed, one-bath, 1,000-square-foot house makes it onto the slate anyway, as an acknowledgment that times are tough. No pets here either. ↑ Just to get potential renters calibrated to San Francisco again after that brief foray south, here’s a Victorian in Cole Valley from 1908 with a creamy cheesecake-esque finish. The price point of $3,000/month rents not the entire home, of course, but rather one of the six one-bedroom, one-bath apartments inside. Looks like it’ll probably display a bit better once they get that paper off the floor. Notice that someone removed the old fireplace at some point in the past, but left the hearth. No mention of pets in this place one way or the other, which might qualify for the “no news/good news” policy.. ↑ It’s tough to find a facade more intriguing than the Beaux-Arts variety. And this building, a circa-1916 gem at 946 Geary in the Tenderloin, offers just that. The two-bed, one-bath apartment inside is not nearly a dramatic as the exterior, sadly, but still perfectly pleasant, with a set of bay windows for good measure. No pets here though, even for $2,995/month. ↑ This SoMa offering seems to be coping with an identity crisis, billed in the ad as “live/work loft/1.5 bath condo.” Whichever of those it is rents for $2,995/month. Indeed, the upstairs loft has the makings of a separate studio all on its own (spaces not much bigger rent in the Tenderloin for well over $1,200/month nowadays), complete with its own sky-blue fireplace. And, lucky day, the lease permits both cats and dogs. [...]

SFMTA approves red bus lanes for Geary


City’s busiest commute line may soon see red On Tuesday the SF Municipal Transportation Agency gave a green light to red lanes on Geary by casting an approving vote for the final Environmental Impact Report of the Geary Bus Rapid Transit plan. The multi-million dollar project, a decade in the works, aims to transform—and hopefully expedite—bus service on one of the city’s busiest and most crowded Muni lines. The staff report from Tuesday’s meeting notes that “the almost 54,000 people who rely on the 38 Geary [...] experience crowded buses and uneven wait times.” SFMTA Project Manger Liz Brisson called the 38 “a victim of its own success.” While the BRT is still a work in progress, plans as of this week include: “Dedicated bus lanes separated from regular (mixed-flow) traffic to reduce delays and improve reliability.” “Relocating and removing certain bus stops.” “High-quality stations, with more room for passengers to wait for buses.” “Improved transit signal priority to provide additional green light time for buses approaching intersections.” Note that “dedicated bus lanes” translates to the red carpet treatment that proved successful yet divisive on other San Francisco corridors, particularly Mission Street. Right now red lanes can be found on Geary Street up to Polk. The red lanes would extend up to Geary Boulevard and beyond. Of the options laid out in the Environmental Impact Report, the SFMTA Board members favored the “hybrid” design, which would mean “buses would operate in [curbside] bus-only lanes from Market Street to Palm Avenue” and then switch over to “bus-only lanes in the center of the Geary corridor from Palm Avenue to 28th Avenue,” then go back to the curb lanes the rest of the way. Right now the proposal calls for a two-phase implementation, the first a $65 million kickoff that’s already funded, the second a much more ambitious $235 million metamorphosis that’s still searching for grants. Although there are still more steps toward final approval, City Hall hopes to be painting Geary lanes red by the end of this year. SFMTA Board Meeting, July 18 [SF Gov TV] Transit Officials Finally Approve Geary Plan [Curbed SF] BRT Staff Report [SFMTA] About BRT [SFCTA] Study Stays Red Lanes Work [Curbed SF] [...]

Average cost for a spare room in San Francisco: $1,815/month


That’s more than the rent on an entire apartment in almost every city in the U.S. Even though thousands of San Franciscans make ends meet not by renting an entire apartment but instead just a single room in a divvied up household, it’s difficult to find research on the cost of one-room renting. The real estate site Trulia did throw the curious a bone on that subject this week, though, with a study titled “Boom-Mates” looking at how much Baby Boomers stand to make renting out extra rooms in major cities. No points for guessing that San Francisco offers the biggest dividends on empty space: Boston, Cambridge, Mass., New York, Oakland, Calif., and San Francisco would be the top five most profitable metros if you wanted to rent out a room, with San Francisco coming out on top with an annual income of around $22,000. Renting out a spare bedroom in San Francisco can bring in more than $1,800 a month in supplemental income. The actual total comes to $1,815 in all. Trulia bases this on a median whole-apartment rent price of $3,000/month in the city. In Oakland it’s $1,064/month for one room versus $2,000 for the whole space. For perspective on just how alarming of a figure $1,815/month is if accurate, note that it’s more money than the rental site Zumper estimated it costs to rent an entire apartment in all but nine U.S. cities this month. And it’s more than the price of a two-bedroom apartment in all but 14 cities. Trulia’s figures do come with some important caveats: For one thing, the methodology extrapolates price based on three-bedroom homes, as “single bedroom costs tend to normalize at 3 bedrooms or more.” Patrick Civello And with the Baby-Boomer theme of Millennials renting from Baby Boomers in mind, the site “filtered for household heads over the age of 53, [...] owner occupied residences, and non-multigenerational households.” So the figures provided are from a highly singular data set. Over on Craigslist, the median rent for single bedrooms in ads posted in the last 24 hours is $1,175/month. Of ads posted in the last seven days, the median is $1,200. Maybe more important than the figure itself is the huge gap between the SF number and the rest of the country: None of the other cities in the study even came close. The next highest is Miami at $1,087/month. Then Boston at $1,068/month. After Oakland, no other city even breaks the $1,000 threshold. Indeed, of the 25 cities, SF was at least twice as expensive as 18 of them, and nearly three times as expensive or more as 12 of them. Boom-Mates Report [Trulia] SF Rents Topping NY Again [Curbed SF] SF Rooms For Rent [Craigslist] [...]

SF’s El Rey Theatre, home of the first Gap, granted landmark status


Onetime movie house turned Pentecostal church makes a comeback Ingleside’s El Rey Theatre, an Art Deco treasure at 1970 Ocean Avenue, was awarded landmark status by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. Opening in 1931, the 1,800-seat space was designed by Timothy Pflueger, who helmed such iconic structures as the Castro Theatre, 450 Sutter, and the Pacific Telephone Building at 140 New Montgomery. When it opened, the San Francisco Chronicle described it as “richly decorative,” with a “gallery of mirrors” in the lobby. What’s more, the theater was home of the very first Gap, located in the building’s retail space in 1967. Photo via The Gap/Facebook After business slowed down, the Voice of the Pentecost church purchased the movie house in 1977. It operated as a church until it was bought by investors two years ago. According to Hoodline, “The landmarking process was steered by community members who worked with the San Francisco Planning Department, Art Deco Society, and Historic Preservation Consultant Christopher VerPlank.” Photo by throgers Three diamond tiling outside the former theater. As for what’s next, that remains a mystery. According to a January article in the Chronicle, the interiors, which now include broken plaster and water damage, will be rehabbed. “Looking forward to working with the property owner and neighbors on developing a plan to bring arts and culture back into this remarkable space,” said Supervisor Norman Yee. Ideally, El Rey will remain a movie theater or museum of some sort. Realistically, like Russian Hill’s Alhambra Theater (also a Pflueger) and Cow Hollow’s Metro Theater, it could very well turn into another upscale gym. A post shared by Jordan Gehman (@jordangehman) on Jan 3, 2015 at 2:05pm PST Ingleside's El Rey Theatre Designated A City Landmark [Hoodline] Church’s exit offers new hope for SF’s historic El Rey Theatre [SFGate] San Francisco's 25 most iconic buildings [Curbed SF] [...]