Archive for October, 2005

Noe Valley explores new restaurants

From today’s Examiner, “After nearly 20 years with no new restaurants allowed on 24th Street, Noe Valley is poised to allow three more eateries to open in the next five years.”

“…after a neighborhood survey two years ago found residents eager for more options, [Friends of Noe Valley] changed its tune and now is advocating three more full-service restaurants with liquor licenses over the next five years. Supervisor Bevan Dufty recently introduced a zoning amendment to that effect, which is expected to pass in the next month or so.”

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Yahoo is hunting for space to put thousands of planned new workers

As the economy ramps back up again post-dot com, Yahoo! is expanding its offices around the Bay Area including a new 200,000 square foot office in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Business Times.

“Yahoo Inc. is on the prowl for what commercial real estate industry sources say could be as much as a million square feet of new office space in the Bay Area. That would be enough space for 3,500 to 4,000 employees. The space is for expansion, not consolidation, according to a knowledgeable source, and Yahoo wants to occupy the space soon. At the end of last year, Yahoo reported having 7,600 employees worldwide.”

I’d love to see historical evidence of a housing market that has declined significantly in an expanding, healthy economy… I just can’t see it happening…

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Concept of putting housing with transit begins to take off

From this week’s San Francisco Business Times, “The transit village concept — building residential and commercial units near transit hubs — has been around for 15 years. But just four of BART’s 43 stations and Emeryville’s Amtrak station have completed first-phase projects. The Peninsula is in earlier stages of developing its Caltrain stations.”

“Meanwhile a dozen other stations are in the planning stages, including San Francisco’s Balboa Park. Fremont, San Leandro, South Hayward and Daly City are also being studied for developments, according to Val Menotti, who heads BART’s planning. Phase I developments have been completed at Richmond, Fruitvale, Castro Valley and Hayward. Over the next decade, most major BART and Amtrak stations could have a mixed-use project attached to them, but transit villages are not just relegated to the BART map.”

And the best line of the whole article, “Despite the Bay Area’s current activity, this region was not an early arrival at the transit-village party.” No! Really?!? Why do you think we have such awful traffic and such sprawl everywhere but San Francisco? Why do you think that San Francisco is so much more expensive (with a couple of exceptions, of course)? Because, IMHO, we have the desirable benefit of walkable and transit-friendly neighborhoods. The best example of this is how expensive housing is in Oakland and Berkeley near BART stations. People often move out of the city on the condition that they can be within walking distance of a BART station which will bring them back to their job (or their social scene) in the city.

Let’s hope that this idea actually makes it to reality. If San Francisco can’t get their housing act together, let’s hope that neighboring locales can provide viable (and affordable!) ways for people to stay in the region.

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Growth Factor – from 7×7 – Nov 2005

Unfortunately, there’s no online component to this article, but I feel it’s worth mentioning… The newest issue of 7×7 Magazine (Nov 2005) has a great article on urban planning and more specifically on Rincon/South Beach.

If you have a chance to pick this one up (or just stop by a bookstore and read it), the article is on page 128.

The article is a Q&A with a group of four guys who work in urban planning, non-profit architecture, the planning department, and the redevelopment agency.

I have a personal fascination with the idea of urban planning, and I really like how these guys have come together to attempt to create a more liveable city. The supervisors can fight all day long about whether stuff gets built or not, but once it gets approved, these guys have the right ideas about how it should look, from wide sidewalks (a la Duboce Triangle), to narrow buildings, small retail spaces, attractive street-level appearance, etc.

There will continue to be a debate about how much housing gets built, but if this vision gets adopted, I think San Francisco would be proud of the outcome ten years from now…

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Watermark Announces Sale of Affordable Units

There’s a small ad in today’s Chronicle Real Estate section (pg. K9) that announces the upcoming lottery and sale of the Watermark’s affordable housing units.

Since there’s no online version of this, I’m just copying the information here:

An exciting home ownership opportunity is being offered in San Francisco’s South Beach neighborhood. Available home types include one to three bedroom floor plans that range from approx. 751 to 1,237 square feet.

Come to a meeting to learn about the selection process and eligibility requirements, and to receive and application, description of the homes and pricing. All applications must be submitted by 5:00 pm PST on Friday, December 2nd, 2005 in order to be included in a lottery to determine which of the eligible applicants will be offered an opportunity to purchase an affordable home.

MEETINGS ARE SCHEDULED FOR:
Tuesday, November 8th, 2005 at 6:30pm
Thursday, November 10th, 2005 at 6:30pm

Both meetings will be held at Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts, located 701 Mission Street at 3rd.

To be eligible for the lottery process, your household must qualify under the Moderate Income designations, which are based on your household’s total annual income and number of occupants. The chart below lists maximum annual household income:

Size of household / Maximum for “Moderate Income” units
1 / $66,500
2 / $76,000
3 / $85,500
4 / $95,000

These affordable condominium units have resale controls. Home prices are based on Area Median Income (AMI) in combination with current interest rates. Prices, terms, and availability are subject to change without notice. If, based on disability, you need changes in the way we communicate with you, please contact us at 415-371-1608. Such changes can include requests for notices or applications in large print or a request to receive an application by mail. In addition, we can be reached through the California Relay Service at 1-800-735-2929 for those with a hearing impairment.

For those that saw the lottery that happened a couple of weeks ago at the Beacon, you know that they had 4300 applicants for only 20 units. If you’re interested, you should find out everything you need to know about the Mayor’s Office of Housing and their restrictions.

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