Archive for October, 2006

New Park Opening in SOMA – Friday @ 3pm

From today’s Examiner,

New park opens in SoMa
The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department will open The City’s newest park this week in the South of Market Area. The City will have a ceremony on Friday to officially unveil Victoria Manalo Drave Park, located on Folsom Street between 6th and 7th streets, at 3 p.m. The community park will feature a playground for children, a small open space and a seating area.

City Hall News [Examiner]
New city park named in honor of Olympian [SFGate]


More info on housing development in the Presidio

The Examiner has a piece this morning with the latest news on the large housing development near 15th Avenue and Lake Street in the Presido…

The creation of a panel that will be directed to come up with new plans for housing at a historic Presidio hospital has been met with skepticism from neighbors, months after a previous proposal garnered little public support.

The plan that fell under heavy criticism this summer called for the construction of 230 apartments in the graffiti-covered Public Health Service Hospital and its two wings on 15th Avenue and Lake Street.

Neighbors say they want the wings torn down and are concerned about the number of residents a new development would attract.

In June, hundreds gathered to oppose the Presidio Trust’s plans and asked the federal decision makers to reconsider. The trust, a federal body created by Congress to oversee the Presidio, has worked since 2000 to rehabilitate the hospital, which has been vacant for more than two decades.

The trust has since announced the creation of a group of 12 to 14 community members and planners to form a panel to develop a compromise for hospital plans. The panel, whose members have yet to be named by the trust, is scheduled to meet three to four times next month, said Tia Lombardi, a spokeswoman for the trust. [more…]

Neighbors not sold on Presidio housing compromise [Examiner]
Presidio housing hits wall with community [SFHomeBlog]
Presidio more of a haven for families with children? [SFHomeBlog]


Will renters and prospective homeowners ever catch a break?

Either the home purchase market is hot or the rental market is hot, and right now the rental market appears to be twisting the knife into would-be renters, while prospective homebuyers are playing the waiting game with the housing market.

From today’s Chronicle,

More than 25 people packed an open house Saturday for a studio apartment on Russian Hill with hardwood floors, a view of the Bay and a monthly rent of $1,450.

By Sunday the unit was snapped up.

That sizzling demand is driving up prices, experts said. The average asking rent for a Bay Area apartment jumped 8.2 percent to $1,415 in the third quarter compared with $1,378 for the same period a year earlier, according to an analysis by Novato research firm RealFacts that included apartments of all sizes from studios to three bedrooms. The occupancy rate rose 1.2 percent, to 96.2 percent.

The apartment rental market and the housing market have traded places. [more…]

Yeah, there’s plenty to debate here, but my point is that you just can’t win in this town if you’re a renter, can you? You want to buy, but it’s “too expensive”, so you rent and now that market is tightening significantly (and has been for a few months now).

I will, however, take this opportunity to remind you of my opinion of the purchase market right now. There is quite a bit of inventory, much of which is stagnant, and much of which could also provide great opportunities for buyers.

Some will disagree, and with that I wish them luck in the rejuvenated multiple-offer world of the renter.

Rental market is red-hot [SFGate]
Rental doors slowly closing on apartment hunters in Bay Area [SFHomeBlog]
Bay Area rental market hits a happy medium [SFHomeBlog]
Up to 25,000 SF residents pay more than half of their income in rent [SFHomeBlog]


RFPs issued for Octavia Boulevard housing parcels

And yet another item from SFGov… They are finally getting around to requesting proposals from developers who would purchase and build-out some of the lots along Octavia Boulevard.

“The demolition of the former Central Freeway north of Market Street and construction of Octavia Boulevard has provided the City with a unique opportunity for urban change in the heart of the City. In 2005, the new Octavia Boulevard and Hayes Green opened for use. MOEWD is now issuing RFPs for the sale of four of the former freeway land parcels.”

These are four of the most-obvious parcels for those that drive down Octavia regularly, and the housing will be a welcome addition to the neighborhood, for sure.

It’s doubtful that anyone who would be interested/capable of developing these parcels is reading this blog, but it is good for neighbors and interested parties to know what’s going on along Octavia.

Octavia Boulevard Request for Proposal’s [SFGov]
Neighborhood plan reviews blamed for construction delays [SFHomeBlog]
Market-Octavia plan mired in red tape [SFHomeBlog]


Auction of City-owned parcels – December 12th

It’s a big news day on SFGov… Not only are they feeling generous with their time by educating us on the permit process, but now they are letting us buy some of those unused parcels of land and vacant buildings that are gathering dust around town.

From SFGov…

The City and County of San Francisco, will conduct a public auction on December 12, 2006, at 9:30 a.m. in Room 408, City Hall (1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place), San Francisco, California for the purpose of selling four properties listed below:

1648 Pacific Ave., San Francisco (former San Francisco Fire Department Station 4)
A two story unreinforced brick building containing approx. 6,790 square feet plus a basement containing approx. 960 square feet. Zoned: NCD Polk Neighborhood Commercial District
Minimum bid: $900,000; APN: 574/11
Inspection dates: 1-4 p.m. Wednesday, October 25 and November 15, 2006

2350 19th Ave., San Francisco (former vehicle storage and maintenance yard)
A 12,500 sq. ft. lot improved with a one-story office building, containing
approx. 557 sq. ft., and a concrete carport containing six double bays. Zoned: RH-2
Minimum bid: $1,800,000; APN: 2347/4G
Inspection date: 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 26, 2006

425 Mason St., San Francisco (former SF Water Dept. administrative offices)
A seven story office building with a rooftop penthouse and full basement, containing
Approx. 34,500 sq. ft. Zoned: C-3-G
Minimum bid: $4,850,000; APN: 306/2
Inspection dates: 1-4 p.m. Thursday, October 26 and November 16, 2006

849 Cesar Chavez St., San Francisco (former railroad right-of-way)
An 8,862 vacant lot. Zoned: M-2
Minimum bid: $157,500; APN: 4357/5
For more information contact: Jerry Romani, Real Estate Division, 25 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102; telephone: (415) 554-9876; and fax: (415) 552-9216. For your convenience, you may download and print bid packages for each of the four properties stated above from the following website:

Nothing here for the average homebuyer, but interesting to see what the city is unloading…

I mean, who wouldn’t want to live in a converted fire house on Pacific (@ Polk)? It is an unreinforced masonry building, but it has had some asbestos abatement done, which ran the city nearly $45,000…

Beyond that, you’d likely need to get a zoning variance to be able to live there, and you’ll need to deal with both the seismic work and the fact that it’s designated as a landmark (I got all of this from their preliminary title report), none of which is going to be cheap. But if you have some extra cash, want to live in a vibrant location, and have the patience to deal with these issues, then this might be the place for you… And since you normally can’t change the look of the facade on a historically registered property, you’ll have some nice, tall roll-up garage doors to drive your Escalade with the 24″ lift-kit into.