Editor's notes

San Francisco's bell curve of income distribution is becoming U-shaped

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(68)

tredmond@sfbg.com

Twenty years ago, if you mapped income distribution in San Francisco on a standard graph, you'd see what the economist call a bell curve: At one end were a small number of very poor families, at the other a small number of very rich, and in between the bulk of the city was somewhere roughly close to what you could call middle class.

Take the 2012 census data and make that graph today and you get the opposite — it's becoming a U-shape, with more people in poverty and more gross wealth and not as much in the center.

You could see that on stark display at City Hall Dec 12.

At 10 a.m., the City Operations and Neighborhood Services Committee heard several hours of testimony on the alarming rise in the number of homeless families. In the end, the Mayor's Office agreed to find $3 million to help out.

At 1 p.m., the Land Use and Economic Development Committee heard testimony on a plan to build more housing — on the waterfront, for the top one quarter of the top one percent of the richest people in America, people who will need more than $3 million just for the downpayment on their new digs.

The plan calls for 145 of what Port of San Francisco officials call "high end" or "luxury" condominiums, along with 400 underground parking spaces. "It's going to be tight on three levels," a Port official testified. "Most of it will be valet parking." The developer wants to raise the height limit along the waterfront for the first time in half a century.

The Port, which controls some of the land, will get a cut of all the condo sales, maybe as much as $500,000 a year; that money will go to rebuild old piers and fund a long list of Port projects — including the America's Cup. (Ted Gullicksen of the San Francisco Tenants Union was sitting next to me at the hearing, and he shook his head at that bit of news. "Condos for rich people to pay for boats for rich people," he said.)

A long list of people, including former City Planning Director Alan Jacobs and former City Attorney Louise Renne — spoke against the project. Jacobs and Renne both explained that this was single-site spot zoning that would change the half-century consensus that the city should "decrease height toward the waterfront so the people can see and enjoy the meeting of land and water," as Jacobs put it.

Jacobs gave the committee members his one "absolute truth" about city planning: "If a developer accepts and knows that a rule can't be broken, then it will be economical to build within it. If he or she think it can be changed, then suddenly it will not be economical. It's called greed."

In other words, Simon Snellgrove, the developer of 8 Washington, could make money with a lower-scale project that conforms to existing height limits. But he can make more money if the city gives him a big honkin favor.

But it's not all about height limits for me. It's not even about the fact that the project will chop up a tennis and swimming club that serves about 2,000 more-or-less middle-class people in an effort to make life nicer for about 145 very rich people.

It's about what kind of housing we're building in San Francisco. "Every study that we've seen shows that we've vastly overbuilt housing for the wealthy," Gullicksen testified.

And we're not just talking the ordinary wealthy here. The most compelling testimony came from Frederick Allardyce, a real-estate broker from Sotheby's who said he had been involved in the sale of about 70 percent of all luxury condos sold from Washington St. to the waterfront. He gave us a glimpse of who would be living — sort of — at 8 Washington.

The cheapest condos would require an income of $469,000, a downpayment of $625,000, and another $493,000 of liquid reserves. Monthly payment: $13,699. The higher-end units would require an annual income of $1.029 million and a downpayment of $6.5 million.

Comments

Again - to TIM:

I propose that we build 40k units of BMR housing.
Where would the SFBG support these units ?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 15, 2011 @ 11:45 am

40,000 more votes he think his side will get in elections. But in practic, he'd oppose it because he opposes almost all new construction unless it's government-sponsored AND skewed towards the unsuccessful.

And of course Tim already owns property, and enjoys the benefits of Prop 13. so he's actually a conservative on such issues. He may be wrong, but he's not stupid.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 15, 2011 @ 11:55 am

Quite an anonymous field day today: red-baiting, flame wars, nimby slurs, class envy accusations. If only anonymous weren't anonymous I'd invite her/him (and the sadly chainsmoking developer client) over to my home to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" with me and my family. Alas, anonymous stays anonymous, embarrassing the entire developer community.

And to all, a good night. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Posted by Bobby on Dec. 15, 2011 @ 5:19 pm

8 Washington Street is a very controversial project.

The present proposal is the 4th attempt to change the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club from a recreational facility into part condominiums and part recreational.

The reason that the use of the site is still recreational is that the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency took control of the area in the 1960's, used Federal Funds to relocate business and residents and with 5 developers bidding, chose the Perini Corp of Boston to develop the Golden Gateway area. Perini won the rights to build the Alcoa Office Building (25 stories), the Golden Gateway Center (1,200+ rental apartments) and the Golden Gateway Commons (mixed use with 3 blocks of office & retail and 155 condominiums).

One of the reasons that Perini was accepted by the Redevelopment Agency is that Perini proposed to build a private 2 acre park (Sydney Walton Park) and build the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club (Club) that was made available to the tenants at the GG Center and GG Commons. This helped create the neighborhood with both office and residential uses and today is the most successful project the SF Redevelopment Agency has ever completed.

Perini paid the Redevelopment Agency market rate land cost for the rights to build the Alcoa Building, the GG Center and GG Commons, but did not pay market rate for the land for the Park & Recreational Club as it was deemed recreation and open space.

The neighborhood and anyone visiting has enjoyed both the Park and Club since the 1970's.

There have been 3 previous attempts to build condominiums on the Club and reduce the size of the Club. All 3 previous attempts were turned down, first by Mayor Diane Feinstein, then Mayor Art Agnos and most recently by the Board of Supervisors.

Members of the Club have formed an organization to "Save the Club" called Friends of Golden Gateway "FOGG" with over 2,200 members. http://fogg.us/.

In December 2006, FOGG joined with the San Francisco Tennis Club, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (www.barbaryneighbors.org) and numerous other City organizations to have the Supervisors (who voted 11-0) to require any changes in public or private recreational facilities in San Francisco to replace the recreational component with 100% of the existing recreational facilities.

This action has saved the SF Tennis Club from being replaced with over 500 condominiums.

Western Athletics Club, which operates the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club and the San Francisco Bay Club has purchased the San Francisco Tennis Club and has spent $15 million+ to upgrade that facility for recreational purposes, not for condominiums.

The neighborhood that enjoys using Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club feels that the project that was approved by the Redevelopment Agency 30 years ago, did not call for it to change at a later date.

If the recreational facility can be taken away, how soon will Sydney Walton Park have a 25 story building replacing that open space?

On July 13, 2011, a CEQA law suit was filed by Susan Brandt-Hawley for a Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhood Organizations.

The Lawsuit was heard before Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith. This law suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court vs. the City of San Francisco Planning Department and The Port Of San Francisco to stop the planning approval process of 8 Washington as there have been no Planning Department approvals of the proposed new height changes, proposed 500 car garage and many other significant changes to the neighborhood.

This suit was filed by the following neighborhood groups: Neighbors to Preserve the Waterfront, Telegraph Hill Dwellers, San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth, Golden Gateway Tenants Association, San Francisco Neighborhood Network, Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Russian Hill Neighbors, Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, Delores Height Improvement Club, Sunset Parkside Education Action Committee, Affordable Housing Alliance, San Francisco Tenants Union and other San Francisco neighborhood associations.

It is also supported by The Sierra Club.

That law suit was turned down by Judge Goldsmith and on December 6, 2011 has been appealed and is expected to get a “fast track” hearing, as the 8 Washington Project is hoping to get Planning Department approval in early 2012.

On July 7, 2011 – Planning Commission received a Presentation of the Asian Neighborhood Design (AND) and Neighborhood Coalition Vision Plan for the Northeast Embarcadero as the Community Plan for the North Waterfront as requested by Supervisor President David Chu, before the Planning Department and the Port was to approve the now 5th vision of 8 Washington Street by Waterfront Partners.

The study was financed by the coalition of residents and groups known as Neighbors to Preserve the Water¬front. The group wants to main¬tain open recreation in the City and believes there should be a blueprint for development on all the Seawall Lots north of the Ferry Building—not just 8 Washington.

The Vision Study also favors bikes over cars, wants better pedestrian flow through to the Embarcadero from Chinatown and other areas, and pro¬jects substantial income for the Port if hotels and moderately-priced housing were built on Seawall Lots north of Broadway.

The Planning Commission has taken the study under advisement. It is the hope of the Coalition that the document is adopted as official City policy. As of December 16, 2011, the Planning Department has still not acted on that plan.

The developers of 8 Washington completed their Draft Environmental Impact Report on the 8 Washington project and public comment on the document was heard at the Planning Commission on July 21, 2011.

Dozens of individuals testified at the hearing, with a large majority questioning the completeness and adequacy of the DEIR. Among the areas that more witnesses felt needed more study were parking impacts, transit use, pedestrian safety, shadowing of parks, view blockage and how the huge proposed garage would toss aside the City’s policy of Transit First. The comment deadline was August 15, 2011.

On December 23, 2011 the DEIR will be available to the community to review the numerous concerns that community has identified in response to the EIR at the San Francisco Planning Department.

On Monday, December 12, 2011, the Board of Supervisor’s Land Use Committee, held a hearing to consider the “Spot Zoning” of the 8 Washington proposal.

Many prominent San Franciscans, including former SF Planning Director Allan Jacobs, former SF Redevelopment Director Ed Helfeld, former City Attorney Louise Renne, former Supervisor Bill Maher (also author of the Prop K shadows ordinance), and Land Use attorney, Sue Hestor gave testimony to the Planning Commission concerning the proposal to change the height of the proposed project.

The present 8 Washington Street proposal (December, 2011) calls for removal of all 9 tennis courts with only 21,000 sq. ft. of outdoor recreational space remaining.

Also it calls for “Spot Zoning” to raise the height of the project from the present zoning of 84 feet to 140 feet.

It’s your waterfront, what do you think?

Frederick

Posted by Guest Frederick on Dec. 17, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

commuters from out of town and affluent residents of that neighborhood - few people live around there and those that do are well-heeled.

So the only question here is whether that extremely low-density and low-revenue use of that land is optimal and appropriate for such a prime downtown, waterfront site.

And I can guarantee you that it is not, which is why the city keeps considering more valuable use. Look at any high-value city in the US or overseas, and such sites get developed at higher-density to maximize use and revenue.

So the only question is - which development? And a mixed-use project that maximizes revenues AND provides BMR untis that would otherwise never be built is clearly desirable. While 12 stories is quite reasonable for this area - many cities would build much higher.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2011 @ 8:45 am

8 Washington Street is a very controversial project.

The present proposal is the 4th attempt to change the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club from a recreational facility into part condominiums and part recreational.

The reason that the use of the site is still recreational is that the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency took control of the area in the 1960's, used Federal Funds to relocate business and residents and with 5 developers bidding, chose the Perini Corp of Boston to develop the Golden Gateway area.

Perini won the rights to build the Alcoa Office Building (25 stories), the Golden Gateway Center (1,200+ rental apartments) and the Golden Gateway Commons (mixed use with 3 blocks of office & retail and 155 condominiums).

One of the reasons that Perini was accepted by the Redevelopment Agency is that Perini proposed to build a private 2 acre park (Sydney Walton Park) and build the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club (Club) that was made available to the tenants at the GG Center and GG Commons.

This helped create the neighborhood with both office and residential uses and today is the most successful project the SF Redevelopment Agency has ever completed.

Perini paid the Redevelopment Agency market rate land cost for the rights to build the Alcoa Building, the GG Center and GG Commons, but did not pay market rate for the land for the Park & Recreational Club as it was deemed recreation and open space.

The neighborhood and anyone visiting has enjoyed both the Park and Club since the 1970's.

There have been 3 previous attempts to build condominiums on the Club and reduce the size of the Club. All 3 previous attempts were turned down, first by Mayor Diane Feinstein, then Mayor Art Agnos and most recently by the Board of Supervisors.

Members of the Club have formed an organization to "Save the Club" called Friends of Golden Gateway "FOGG" with over 2,200 members. http://fogg.us/.

In December 2006, FOGG joined with the San Francisco Tennis Club, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (www.barbaryneighbors.org) and numerous other City organizations to have the Supervisors (who voted 11-0) to require any changes in public or private recreational facilities in San Francisco to replace the recreational component with 100% of the existing recreational facilities.

This action has saved the SF Tennis Club from being replaced with over 500 condominiums.

Western Athletics Club, which operates the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club and the San Francisco Bay Club has purchased the San Francisco Tennis Club and has spent $15 million+ to upgrade that facility for recreational purposes, not for condominiums.

The neighborhood that enjoys using Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club feels that the project that was approved by the Redevelopment Agency 30 years ago, did not call for it to change at a later date.

If the recreational facility can be taken away, how soon will Sydney Walton Park have a 25 story building replacing that open space?

On July 13, 2011, a CEQA law suit was filed by Susan Brandt-Hawley for a Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhood Organizations.

The Lawsuit was heard before Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith. This law suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court vs. the City of San Francisco Planning Department and The Port Of San Francisco to stop the planning approval process of 8 Washington as there have been no Planning Department approvals of the proposed new height changes, proposed 500 car garage and many other significant changes to the neighborhood.

This suit was filed by the following neighborhood groups: Neighbors to Preserve the Waterfront, Telegraph Hill Dwellers, San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth, Golden Gateway Tenants Association, San Francisco Neighborhood Network, Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Russian Hill Neighbors, Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, Delores Height Improvement Club, Sunset Parkside Education Action Committee, Affordable Housing Alliance, San Francisco Tenants Union and other San Francisco neighborhood associations.

It is also supported by The Sierra Club.

That law suit was turned down by Judge Goldsmith and on December 6, 2011 has been appealed and is expected to get a “fast track” hearing, as the 8 Washington Project is hoping to get Planning Department approval in early 2012.

On July 7, 2011 – Planning Commission received a Presentation of the Asian Neighborhood Design (AND) and Neighborhood Coalition Vision Plan for the Northeast Embarcadero as the Community Plan for the North Waterfront as requested by Supervisor President David Chu, before the Planning Department and the Port was to approve the now 5th vision of 8 Washington Street by Waterfront Partners.

The study was financed by the coalition of residents and groups known as Neighbors to Preserve the Water¬front. The group wants to main¬tain open recreation in the City and believes there should be a blueprint for development on all the Seawall Lots north of the Ferry Building—not just 8 Washington.

The Vision Study also favors bikes over cars, wants better pedestrian flow through to the Embarcadero from Chinatown and other areas, and pro¬jects substantial income for the Port if hotels and moderately-priced housing were built on Seawall Lots north of Broadway.

The Planning Commission has taken the study under advisement. It is the hope of the Coalition that the document is adopted as official City policy. As of December 16, 2011, the Planning Department has still not acted on that plan.

The developers of 8 Washington completed their Draft Environmental Impact Report on the 8 Washington project and public comment on the document was heard at the Planning Commission on July 21, 2011.

Dozens of individuals testified at the hearing, with a large majority questioning the completeness and adequacy of the DEIR. Among the areas that more witnesses felt needed more study were parking impacts, transit use, pedestrian safety, shadowing of parks, view blockage and how the huge proposed garage would toss aside the City’s policy of Transit First. The comment deadline was August 15, 2011.

On December 23, 2011 the DEIR will be available to the community to review the numerous concerns that community has identified in response to the EIR at the San Francisco Planning Department.

On Monday, December 12, 2011, the Board of Supervisor’s Land Use Committee, held a hearing to consider the “Spot Zoning” of the 8 Washington proposal.

Many prominent San Franciscans, including former SF Planning Director Allan Jacobs, former SF Redevelopment Director Ed Helfeld, former City Attorney Louise Renne, former Supervisor Bill Maher (also author of the Prop K shadows ordinance), and Land Use attorney, Sue Hestor gave testimony to the Planning Commission concerning the proposal to change the height of the proposed project.

The present 8 Washington Street proposal (December, 2011) calls for removal of all 9 tennis courts with only 21,000 sq. ft. of outdoor recreational space remaining.

Also it calls for “Spot Zoning” to raise the height of the project from the present zoning of 84 feet to 140 feet.

It’s your waterfront, what do you think?

Frederick

Posted by Guest Frederick on Dec. 17, 2011 @ 6:38 pm

8 Washington Street is a very controversial project.

The present proposal is the 4th attempt to change the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club from a recreational facility into part condominiums and part recreational.

The reason that the use of the site is still recreational is that the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency took control of the area in the 1960's, used Federal Funds to relocate business and residents and with 5 developers bidding, chose the Perini Corp of Boston to develop the Golden Gateway area. Perini won the rights to build the Alcoa Office Building (25 stories), the Golden Gateway Center (1,200+ rental apartments) and the Golden Gateway Commons (mixed use with 3 blocks of office & retail and 155 condominiums).

One of the reasons that Perini was accepted by the Redevelopment Agency is that Perini proposed to build a private 2 acre park (Sydney Walton Park) and build the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club (Club) that was made available to the tenants at the GG Center and GG Commons. This helped create the neighborhood with both office and residential uses and today is the most successful project the SF Redevelopment Agency has ever completed.

Perini paid the Redevelopment Agency market rate land cost for the rights to build the Alcoa Building, the GG Center and GG Commons, but did not pay market rate for the land for the Park & Recreational Club as it was deemed recreation and open space.

The neighborhood and anyone visiting has enjoyed both the Park and Club since the 1970's.

There have been 3 previous attempts to build condominiums on the Club and reduce the size of the Club. All 3 previous attempts were turned down, first by Mayor Diane Feinstein, then Mayor Art Agnos and most recently by the Board of Supervisors.

Members of the Club have formed an organization to "Save the Club" called Friends of Golden Gateway "FOGG" with over 2,200 members. http://fogg.us/.

In December 2006, FOGG joined with the San Francisco Tennis Club, the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (www.barbaryneighbors.org) and numerous other City organizations to have the Supervisors (who voted 11-0) to require any changes in public or private recreational facilities in San Francisco to replace the recreational component with 100% of the existing recreational facilities.

This action has saved the SF Tennis Club from being replaced with over 500 condominiums.

Western Athletics Club, which operates the Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club and the San Francisco Bay Club has purchased the San Francisco Tennis Club and has spent $15 million+ to upgrade that facility for recreational purposes, not for condominiums.

The neighborhood that enjoys using Golden Gateway Swim & Tennis Club feels that the project that was approved by the Redevelopment Agency 30 years ago, did not call for it to change at a later date.

If the recreational facility can be taken away, how soon will Sydney Walton Park have a 25 story building replacing that open space?

On July 13, 2011, a CEQA law suit was filed by Susan Brandt-Hawley for a Coalition of San Francisco Neighborhood Organizations.

The Lawsuit was heard before Superior Court Judge Ernest H. Goldsmith. This law suit filed in San Francisco Superior Court vs. the City of San Francisco Planning Department and The Port Of San Francisco to stop the planning approval process of 8 Washington as there have been no Planning Department approvals of the proposed new height changes, proposed 500 car garage and many other significant changes to the neighborhood.

This suit was filed by the following neighborhood groups: Neighbors to Preserve the Waterfront, Telegraph Hill Dwellers, San Franciscans for Reasonable Growth, Golden Gateway Tenants Association, San Francisco Neighborhood Network, Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association, Russian Hill Neighbors, Middle Polk Neighborhood Association, Delores Height Improvement Club, Sunset Parkside Education Action Committee, Affordable Housing Alliance, San Francisco Tenants Union and other San Francisco neighborhood associations.

It is also supported by The Sierra Club.

That law suit was turned down by Judge Goldsmith and on December 6, 2011 has been appealed and is expected to get a “fast track” hearing, as the 8 Washington Project is hoping to get Planning Department approval in early 2012.

On July 7, 2011 – Planning Commission received a Presentation of the Asian Neighborhood Design (AND) and Neighborhood Coalition Vision Plan for the Northeast Embarcadero as the Community Plan for the North Waterfront as requested by Supervisor President David Chu, before the Planning Department and the Port was to approve the now 5th vision of 8 Washington Street by Waterfront Partners.

The study was financed by the coalition of residents and groups known as Neighbors to Preserve the Water¬front. The group wants to main¬tain open recreation in the City and believes there should be a blueprint for development on all the Seawall Lots north of the Ferry Building—not just 8 Washington.

The Vision Study also favors bikes over cars, wants better pedestrian flow through to the Embarcadero from Chinatown and other areas, and pro¬jects substantial income for the Port if hotels and moderately-priced housing were built on Seawall Lots north of Broadway.

The Planning Commission has taken the study under advisement. It is the hope of the Coalition that the document is adopted as official City policy. As of December 16, 2011, the Planning Department has still not acted on that plan.

The developers of 8 Washington completed their Draft Environmental Impact Report on the 8 Washington project and public comment on the document was heard at the Planning Commission on July 21, 2011.

Dozens of individuals testified at the hearing, with a large majority questioning the completeness and adequacy of the DEIR. Among the areas that more witnesses felt needed more study were parking impacts, transit use, pedestrian safety, shadowing of parks, view blockage and how the huge proposed garage would toss aside the City’s policy of Transit First. The comment deadline was August 15, 2011.

On December 23, 2011 the DEIR will be available to the community to review the numerous concerns that community has identified in response to the EIR at the San Francisco Planning Department.

On Monday, December 12, 2011, the Board of Supervisor’s Land Use Committee, held a hearing to consider the “Spot Zoning” of the 8 Washington proposal.

Many prominent San Franciscans, including former SF Planning Director Allan Jacobs, former SF Redevelopment Director Ed Helfeld, former City Attorney Louise Renne, former Supervisor Bill Maher (also author of the Prop K shadows ordinance), and Land Use attorney, Sue Hestor gave testimony to the Planning Commission concerning the proposal to change the height of the proposed project.

The present 8 Washington Street proposal (December, 2011) calls for removal of all 9 tennis courts with only 21,000 sq. ft. of outdoor recreational space remaining.

Also it calls for “Spot Zoning” to raise the height of the project from the present zoning of 84 feet to 140 feet.

It’s your waterfront, what do you think?

Frederick

Posted by Guest Frederick on Dec. 17, 2011 @ 6:44 pm

There will always be the "usual suspect" NIMBY'ists who object to every development (Hestor, Welch, blah, blah) but anyone looking at how SOMA has been transformed from a ghetto to a brand new modern city in just a couple of decades can see the value in transformative, landmark state-of-the-art projects like this.

And the revenues that it will accrue will benefit the poor far more than any amount of sanctimonious posturing by "activists" with too much time on their hands.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2011 @ 10:42 am

I really don't know much. I wish I knew more. But if redeveloping SOMA was such a good plan (it sure used to be a lot easier to bike through there and the hundreds of working class families that lived where the Yerba Buena now stand might disagree with your comment) and all this development is so good for BMR housing and the middle class and the poor, then how come it hasn't paid off yet?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 11:24 am

It's brought in billions in investment, jobs, conventions, hotels, tourism, baseball and business startups. It's been one of the most successful urban redevelopments in the nation.

It's also flat, so easy to cycle through.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 11:41 am

Hello Mr./Ms. Guest.

Your comments about the changes to SOMA are correct and the future of that area is only partially complete as the City plans call for.

But not one Park, swimming pool, tennis court nor neighborhood meeting place was removed in the changes to SOMA.

An examination of the present neighborhood that surrounds the Golden Gateway Swim and Tennis Club, with its 9 outdoor tennis courts, 2 outdoor heated swimming pools, landscaped lawns, basketball court, and meeting areas include (1) over 1,200 rental apartments with 2,000 residents, over 200 condominiums with 400 residents, over 5,000 commercial tenants within 3 blocks of the Club.

The Club has over 2,000 members, 700 of which are Tennis members. The members live all over San Francisco and come to the Club from their offices in the Financial District or their homes to enjoy the pleasant weather and excellent facilities.

If a developer was to propose to eliminate any recreational or open space in your neighborhood or any neighborhood in San Francisco, they would meet very stiff opposition. Ask your friends in Noe, the Mission, NOPA or the Richmond, would they welcome removal of the parks are recreation they have used for over a 100 years!! You would be run out of town.

The proposed 8 Washington St condo project could be built in "SOMA", Mission Bay or other neighborhoods planned for future growth and would probably be no opposition.

It just so happens to be removing the only recreation and open space on the North Waterfront that has provided the communities "Church".

Frederick

Posted by Frederick on Dec. 18, 2011 @ 11:38 am

By your own admission, those tennis courts and pools don't serve the local community. You're right - there is no local community. You tell us it's used by office workers (many of whom don't live in SF) or by residents from OTHER parts of the city who have to travel downtown to use it.

So why not travel to GG Park or McLaren Park and use the Courts there? No major high-value world-class city can afford to have 9 tennis courts on prime downtown waterfront real estate because it's economic insanity.

While pools can be incorporated into new development.

Are there 9 tennis courts anywhere in downtown Manhattan, the West End of London, Central Hong Kong etc? No, of course not.

The solution is obvious. Build high-value condo's here and use the fees and taxes to build world-class recreational facilities in a more appropriate location.

This planning stuff really isn't that difficult, you know? Unless you're blinded by ideology and envy.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

I would advocate for preserving recreation uses and just as the Dolphin Club and SE Rowing Club have to offer public access as a day use- same for facilities on this side of the waterfront. We aren't Manhattan, London, HK Central - that is the point- we are little unique San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 18, 2011 @ 7:48 pm

development, or replicated in other locations. People who want to play tennis in open air courts expect to have to travel and don't expect to find that in a high-density, high-rise, downtown business area.

While pools, gyms etc. can be easily duplicated in mixed-use development. And of course there are nearby facilities at the Y, Bay Club etc.

As for "little, unique San Francisco" - give me a break. The Bay Area has 5 million people and downtown SF is it's heartbeat. If we can't compete with NYC, London and HK, what are we even doing here? If you really want small and cute, move to San Luis Obispo.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 5:45 am

The northern waterfront is home to the densest neighborhoods west of the Mississippi. North Beach, Chinatown and this part of downtown is filled with mixed income and mixed age residents who deserve recreational open space. It is our idiocyncratic reality that makes a world class destination. There is plenty of room for the kind of development you advocate south of the Bay Bridge and on Treasure Island.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 4:31 pm

city, within just a few miles and minutes of the downtown business area. Nobody expect to find nine open-air tennis courts in a high-rise neighborhood and, as previously noted, very few people live there anyway.

Your cynical attitude is a delightful throwback to the 1950's and, in my more sentimental moments, I feel some affinity with such naivety. But, when times move on, everyone but NIMBY'ist's should move on too. It's an anachronism, as are those who stand in the way of progress.

This project will maximize the city's revenue and provide a unique residential environment for world-class individuals who would not want to be marooned in the middle of SOMA. Everyone can gain from this venture.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 19, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

In San Francisco light, air, and open recreational space are more precious than gold. I would scale this development down a bit- as you know the mega wealthy are doing fine and the city will realise just as much revenue with fewer units and a greater setback. 88 million dollar apt. just closed in Manhattan.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 11:40 am

While the city has a lot of open recreational space in a variety of parks and squares that are minutes away.

Also, the same revenue isn't available in other locations because they don't have the same value and cachet. People won't pay the same dollar per square foot in other locations.

This development will more than pay for itself.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 20, 2011 @ 5:27 pm