Paperwork snafu delays big condo project

Whoops, no new condos yet

The developers of the 8 Washington project, who have already spent a sizable sum of money on legal, lobbying and prep work, have run into another setback: The March 8 hearing on the project’s shadow impacts has been postponed because of a missing public notice.

The hearing notice and the agenda for the joint meeting of the Planning Commission and the Recreation and Parks Commission wasn’t posted on the Rec-Park website, as required by state law, Linda Avery, the Planning Commission secretary, told us.

The joint meeting was set to consider the impact of shadows the project would cast on nearby Sue Bierman Park and to consider allowing increased shading. That approval is necessary before the project can move forward.

The problems with the public notice were brought to light by Zane Gresham, a lawyer with Morrison and Foerster who often represents developers. In a March 5 letter (PDF) to the two commission presidents, Gresham pointed out that the hearing notice describes the lot on Washington Street, where the project will be constructed, but never mentions the location of the park that will be shadowed.

“The notice misleads the public as to what lots would be affected by the proposed action and fails to disclose to the public the subject of the action to be considered,” the letter stated. “Because the instant hearing notice does not meet minimum legal standards, we respectfully request that no action be taken.”

Avery said that letter sparked a review of the entire notice, and city staffers discovered that it wasn’t properly posted. It also apparently fails to describe fully the action that the two commissions would take: they would to amend the acceptable shadow levels for the park, and then vote to apply those amendments to the 8 Washington development. Only the first type of action is mentioned in the paperwork.

It’s not clear who made the mistakes with the notices -- but for a project of this magnitude, critics say it’s remarkable that the city and the developers can’t get the little details of posting a notice correct. “This is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight,” former supervisor Aaron Peskin told me.

The other mystery: Who hired Gresham to review the notice? His letter makes no mention of any specific client, and none of the leading public foes of 8 Washington have retained him. He hadn’t returned my calls and emails by press time.

AH, BUT HERE'S THE UPDATE: Chuck Finnie, who works for the lobbying firm BMWL, just called to tell me that Gresham represents Equity Office Properties, which runs the Ferry Building. EOP, a major national real-estate development firm, is unhappy because the 8 Washington project will wipe out a parking lot used by patrons of the Ferry Building's businesses. "When EOP took on the job of restoring that building, part of the deal was that parking would be available," Finnie said. "The Port is ignoring that responsibility."

Gee, this condo enclave gets more and more unpopular by the day.


It's his reason for being.

Why is anyone even listening to him any more?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

LOL. The Ferry Building slows down the process because it wants to protect a surface parking lot for patrons who drive their cars downtown, to a business located a few feet from a Muni/Bart terminal.

And Tim loves it. Ah, how wonderful.

You can't spell PROGRESSIVE without HYPOCRITE.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

This paper loves to push all of progressive napoleons pet projects for the 1% THD. If the telegraph hill dwellers don't like it, you can bet this paper will follow up with editorial after editorial.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

Is the entire hearing cancelled, or just the parts that were to be held jointly with Rec and Park? This is unclear. See the full hearing agenda at

Posted by anonymous on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

The Guardian has jumped the shark. Tim Redmond is a conservative dumb dumb. It's 2012 folks, I love that you post the listings for shows at the Fillmore and the GAMH but the continual lameness of your editorials makes me want to vomit.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

>"Tim Redmond is a conservative dumb dumb"?

Hey! Tim is NOT conservative.

Posted by Steroidal Progressive on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

how so? he rallies against is anything new. he might as well live in newport beach.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

What a dumb @ss. At least get a the correct rendering. This is of not even the right design as proposed.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

telegraph hill is rich and boring

Posted by Guest on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 11:07 pm

I really enjoy reading 8 Washington propaganda...the ferry building is about as close as one can get toapple pie and good government. Lets hear from developer why rose pak, Marsha smollens, willie brown and pj Johnston are more important to San Francisco then the farmers market...

Posted by Guest Public Trust on Mar. 07, 2012 @ 11:22 pm

due to improper permits for the on-site woodchippers needed to dispose of any homeless that stray into the area.

Posted by Pat Monk's prostate on Mar. 08, 2012 @ 10:08 am

Coming to you from the great beyond. While I was actually excised and incinerated a number of years ago my spirit fights on.
A reminder to all 'men of a certain age'; annual check-ups are not an option, they are a requirement. Once a year, pucker up, bend over, breathe deep and take it like a man.
Thank you for caring.
In loco prostate.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 08, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

You're all right, Pat Monk. As you've been de-glanded, I'll retire the name.

Posted by Pat Monk's prostate on Mar. 09, 2012 @ 10:41 am


So now, finally
After all of this
And all of that
All things considered
I'd rather have a beer
If that's OK with you.
Just when you think
I'm getting the hang of this 'n that
I'm getting some of that wisdom
We yip and yap about
It's an amazing vehicle
This body we cruise around in
But it does have one glitch
Built in obsolescence.
All seems to mesh and move
Taking for granted we carry on
Falter, stumble, recover and
keep stumbling onward.
Still fleet of foot though
heavier soon of step
yet lighter we try to tread.
Maybe ...
if I'd better tended garden
Not plucked all it's fruit.
Dug in more compost
Spread less shit
Pesky little prostate
Seeded with weeds
But then what
Then where was my life
Where were all my loves
Who pruned and groomed me
For my now truly beloved.
So, now it's come to this
Finally time for slash
and burn and faith.
If it's all right with you
Could I have that beer now.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 09, 2012 @ 11:10 am's nice to be remembered. I posted a little something I wrote a couple of days after my initial diagnosis. I'm now 4 years out, still going strong, raising hell, kicking shit and taking names.
I hope that you, and all men, will take heed. Three of my dear friends all got Prostate Ca diagnoses around the same time as I. Two are dead and the other now has Cancer in both hips. While medical evidence shows that most men, if they live long enough, are likely to develop it, Prostate Ca can be one of the most 'treatable', but you have to pay attention, take responsibility, dump the macho bullshit and periodically 'bend over, take a deep breath, and take it like a man'. If the thought of having someone sticking their finger up your ass grosses you out, then find a cute young doctor with skinny fingers and fantasize; though I suspect many of my compadres might relish at least weekly, instead of annual, anal invasions.

Posted by Patrick Monk RN on Mar. 09, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

Mr. Redmond and the SF Bay Guardian are now on the same team with Equity Office Partners (EOP) and Boston Properties (BP) as well as Friends of Golden Gateway (FOGG) and Telegraph Hill Dwellers (THD) in opposing the 8 Washington project. They all support preservation of the existing surface parking lot on public waterfront land. Why and who are they?

EOP "owns and operates a national portfolio of premier office buildings in major metropolitan markets across the country. The company is owned by an affiliate of The Blackstone Group." (website!!)

Boston Properties, which owns the Embarcadero Center, "is a self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust [and] one of the largest owners, managers, and developers of first-class office properties in the United States." (website!!)

FOGG and THD, backed by EOP's and BP's deep pockets, have hired Chuck Finnie, Vice President at BMWL, one of the Bay Area's top lobbyists. This team also hired land use consultant Brad Paul, land use attorney Sue Hestor and Asian Neighborhood Design to design their "alternative proposal."

This whole fight is over Sea Wall Lot 351, public land owned by the SF Port and likely one of the most valuable pieces of land in the City. These good folks want the 8 Washington mixed-use development project stopped and demand that the existing use be preserved. In effect, they're asking that the City of SF donate the land. They have never offered to pay the City a nickel for any alternative use. How is this NOT a give-away of City public land?

Gee, what are their interests in this?

EOP is fighting to save the parking lot on SWL351, a business that nets them $600,000 annually.

BP opposes the project because it threatens the views from some of its Class A offices in the adjacent Embarcadero Center Four. Mr. Redmond, do you know the firms that work in that building?

FOGG and THD oppose the project because they will not tolerate ANY change to the adjacent private swimming and tennis club. Mr. Redmond, have you SEEN this place? It ain't a public park!

Absolutely best of all? Mr. Redmond and the SFBG oppose the 8 Washington project because it "helps the one percent." You CANNOT make this stuff up!!

But the 8 Washington project just helps zillionaires, right? Not exactly. Think of it as 140 units of housing for the well-to-do in a VERY well-to-do neighborhood. Much of the opposition comes from the wealthy residents of the adjacent Gateway Commons, where condos currently list at about $2.5 million apiece. The opposition to 8 Washington is overwhelmingly white, older and upper middle-class (or better). Determining whom the "one percent" is sure gets confusing!

But doesn't the City of SF get anything out of the project? You bet it does!

The benefits to San Francisco include:

$14 million in initial revenue, including $9 million for affordable housing
$1 million in annual tax revenue to the City
$83 million in revenue to the Port of San Francisco
$30 million in infrastructure funds to the Port of San Francisco
30,000 square feet of new public open space, including a children's playground
New pedestrian access to the waterfront from Jackson and Pacific Streets
A new aquatics and recreational center
New ground floor restaurants and retail on property that's now an eyesore.

Mr. Redmond, shouldn't you do a little homework before before you jump into bed with a bunch of prosperous NIMBYs? Especially given that your narrative is about the "one percent". Is the SFBG really engaged in preserving a surface parking lot to help these folks?

Who really benefits if the 8 Washington project is stopped? The opponents have never offered a plausible argument why this would be a good outcome for the whole City, as opposed to the privileged few.

Mr. Redmond, can you?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 08, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

he was too busy jumping on stereotypes, over-generalisations and misidientity politics,

Posted by Guest on Mar. 08, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

Probably one of the best written pieces I have ever seen on this site and quite telling that it was not authored by anyone on the SFBG payroll.

Why does the SFBG so readily take up the cause of the THD? This what I would really love to know.

Posted by Vibral on Mar. 08, 2012 @ 5:43 pm are wasting your time trying to get Tim to look at the facts. He is blinded by his obsessive, fanatical hatred of wealthy people. He'll gladly side with THD if it means keeping more wealthy people from living in SF.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 09, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

Love how the reason to oppose this project from the SF Examiner is that "it doesn't represent the housing needs of the lower and middle class" ... hello the developer is building 33 units to be given away for "affordable housing" offsite.

How do lower or middle income people deserve to get housing on Embarcadero for basically nothing or is this something that everyone should get for almost free.

Why is the height an issue when you have much taller residential buildings all around the proposed project?

How much are these 33 units for FREE going to add to the cost of the people who would actually be buying these units. Maybe $150,000 added cost each to every unit that these people will then have to finance and pay off themselves to give someone else a free housing unit. Sounds like a great idea.

And why are progressives fighting something that will result in millions of dollars of new revenue every year that they can spend on homeless or other services that do nothing to benefit anyone who actually pays property taxes or other taxes in this city.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 09, 2012 @ 9:20 am

I love reading pj Johnston posts...

Posted by Guest Public Trust on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 12:04 am

I love reading pj Johnston posts...

Posted by Guest Public Trust on Mar. 11, 2012 @ 12:04 am