Archive for October, 2010

Happy Ending for Blighted Hugo Hotel

You’ve probably heard of the “broken window” theory. It says that if a broken window isn’t fixed it sends a message to the neighborhood that the people who live here don’t care, so go ahead and spray graffiti, vandalize property, and break more windows.

In San Francisco we don’t have broken windows. We have broken buildings.

Exhibit A is the “furniture building” near the base of Sixth Street. Vacant since 1988, the Hugo Hotel is a claptrap building with a single defining feature – artist Brian Goggins’ Defenestration. Gaudy orange, green and purple pieces of furniture teeter half in and half out of windows and are stuck to the outside walls like armchair barnacles.

Motorists roll off the 280 exit ramp onto Sixth, and are confronted by this graffiti-splattered eyesore with gaping, empty window cavities. As a gateway building to downtown, the message is pretty clear: Welcome to San Francisco. It’s a mess.

But Friday the Redevelopment Agency shared with us that, for the first time since 1989, there is finally hope. A developer has been picked, plans are being drawn, and as soon as 2012 construction will begin on a structure that will transform the corner and may even have a lasting impact on the troubled Sixth Street corridor.

Cue the sigh of relief in the neighborhood.

Read more: Happy ending for blighted Hugo Hotel []

Meredith Martin is a life long resident of the bay area and a real estate professional with over 15 years experience. She can be reached at

San Francisco Residential Housing Permits Fell Off a Cliff

It will come as no surprise that SF residential housing permits dropped due to the Great Recession.  What was of interest to me is how dramatically they declined in relation to the past decade.

This chart comes courtesy of Ted Egan, Chief Economist for the Office of Economic Analysis in San Francisco, who hosted a very thorough discussion on the state of the San Francisco economy for the quarterly meeting of the Residential Builders Association.

Other sound bites of the half hour talk that caught my attention:

  • Bay Area Venture Capital Has Returned to Pre-Recession Levels
  • Although Unemployment is at Historic Highs, San Francisco has fared the best of any major CA city
  • SF usually enters recessions late, but takes longer to fully recover.  This recession appears to be following suit.

Meredith Martin is a life long resident of the bay area and a real estate professional with over 15 years experience. She can be reached at

Artspan features Open Studios for the next 4 weekends!

The open studios are a great way to check out neighborhoods and artists that you might not be familiar with!  It’s all free admission, you’ll meet new people and see new things.  Why not go out and see some art this month!

2010 SF Open Studios Weekend Dates:

Weekend 1: October 9 & 10, 11am to 6pm
Bernal Heights, Castro, Duboce, Eureka Valley, Glen Park, Mission, Noe Valley, Portola
Download Weekend 1 Map

Weekend 2: October 16 & 17, 11am to 6pm
Bayview, Excelsior, Financial District, North Beach, Potrero Hill, Russian Hill, SOMA, Tenderloin
Download Weekend 2 Map

Weekend 3: October 23 & 24, 11am to 6pm
Buena Vista, Diamond Heights, Fort Mason, Haight, Hayes Valley, Marina, Mount Davidson, Ocean Beach, Pacific Heights, Richmond, Sunset, Twin Peaks, West Portal

Weekend 4: October 30 & 31, 11am to 6pm
Hunters Point Shipyard & Islais Creek Studios

Directions to Hunters Point Shipyard:
– From North or South on HWY 101
– Take Cesar Chavez exit. Go east on Cesar Chavez. Turn right onto Third Street. Turn left onto Evans. Evans becomes Innes near the PG&E plant and brings you to the Shipyard front gate.
– From North or South on HWY 280 – Take Cesar Chavez exit. Go east on Cesar Chavez. Turn right ont 3rd Street. Turn left onto Evans. Evans becomes Innes near the PG&E plant and brings you to the Shipyard front gate.
– Public Transit: Muni line 19


One Ecker Resurrected

Coming back on the market after being finished by another developerPolaris Group will be marketing the project and is expecting to open up the sales office this weekend. It’s a brick and timber conversion building with some nice finishes, but no parking in building.

Originally the 51 Condos which range from 475 to 1270 square feet were priced from $450K to $1.4M.  Now, prices for junior one-bedrooms start at $299,000, One-Bedrooms start at $439,000 and Two-Bedrooms start at $599,000.

I remember that some units had great outlooks, but I’m looking forward to seeing the project now! Socketsite has a great thread on this project.


Join the 350 Kitchen Garden Challenge

It’s everywhere, this idea of growing food in small spaces, at home; anywhere there’s some light and space.

And there’s a group who wants to help you do it too!  Do you have a balcony, patio, or a yard?  You could be one of the new wave of urban gardens growing food to help the environment, the over burdened sewer system and your self!

Already have a kitchen garden?  Register it with the project and be counted as working towards positive change!

Maybe you don’t have anywhere to plant your own kitchen garden but would like to be involved?  You can volunteer to help install gardens, meet other folks and go the the party at the Hayes Valley Farm at the end of the afternoon!

So what’s happening you ask?

In a single day 350 San Francisco yards, balconies and community spaces will be transformed into bountiful food gardens, bringing local food production back to our 7 square miles. Kitchen Garden SF and Hayes Valley Farm host a global environmental work day with garden installations, maintenance and harvesting, workshops, a harvest party at Hayes Valley Farm and a bike tour of urban farms built on formerly vacant land.Stand up to be counted, register your kitchen garden action now!
Be one of the 350 Kitchen Garden Challengers and show the world that you have a
solution to climate change, growing your own food! Register here.

Always wanted a kitchen garden but don’t know where to start?
Kitchen Garden Sf can help! Register a garden action and let us know what kiind of help you need.
Register here.

Want to volunteer in someone else’s garden?
Join the 350 Kitchen Garden Challenge and help out your neighbors. Register here.

By signing up soon, you can get help with design, planting, get compost and supplies, as well as  seeds and seedings for your new kitchen garden.