On 8 Washington, it's No, No

|
(56)
Nice gated homes for the very very rich

The November ballot may contain not one but two measures addressing super-luxury condos on the waterfront. And that could pose a serious problem for the developer of the 8 Washington condominium project.

The Board of Supervisors approved that proposed 134-unit complex, which would be the most expensive condos ever built in San Francisco, in June, 2012, but immediately opponents gathered enough signatures to force a vote of the people. The referendum would overturn the increased height limits that developer Simon Snellgrove wants for the site.

That, it turns out, is a popular notion: “If Snellgrove is looking at the same polls we’re looking at, the public is not interested in raising building heights on the waterfront,” Jon Golinger, who is running the referendum campaign, told us.

So Snellgrove is now funding his own initiative -- a ballot measure that would essentially approve the entire project, allowing 136-foot buildings along the Embarcadero and giving the green light to start construction on housing for multimillionaires.

The paperwork for the initiative was set to be filed April 23, allowing Snellgrove’s team to begin collecting signatures. They’ll need more than 9,000 valid ones to make the November ballot -- and that’s not much of a threshold. If the developer funds the signature-gathering effort -- which he’s vowed to do -- he’ll almost certainly get enough people who are fooled by the fancy name of his campaign: “San Franciscans for Parks, Jobs, and Housing.”
That, presumably, suggests that there are San Franciscans who are against Parks, Jobs, and Housing, although we don’t know any of them. We just know people who think this particular project provides housing the city doesn’t need without paying nearly enough for affordable units.

At any rate, the campaign manager for this effort, according to the paperwork filed at the Department of Elections, is Derek Jensen, a 20-something communications consultant who was Treasurer of the Lee for Mayor Campaign. The address for the waterfront initiative is listed as 425 Market St, 16th floor --which, by the way, was the same address used by the Lee Campaign. And since it’s right near our office, we took a stroll over to see what the Snellgrove forces had to say.

Well, it turns out that 425 Market is a secure building, and the 26th floor is the law office of Hanson Bridgette, and you can’t get up there unless your name is already in the computer system, which ours was not. The security guard kindly called up to ask about the 8 Washington initiative, and was told there was nobody who could talk about it today, but to check back later.

The person who answered the phone at Hanson, Bridgette had never heard of Derek Jensen. Transferred to voicemail, we left a message for someone named “Lance.” Perhaps that would be Associate Counsel Arthur “Lance” Alarcon, Jr. He hadn’t called back at press time.

The campaign against 8 Washington, on the other hand, has an office at 15 Columbus. First floor. Walk right in the door. The campaign manager is Jon Golinger, who answers his own phone.

At any rate, we can’t figure out what Snellgrove is up to, since his plan makes zero political sense. The referendum needs a “no” vote to block the project. If voters don’t like increased height limits on the waterfront, they won’t like his initiative, either. And if all that this does is confuse the voters, they’ll tend to vote “no” on both measures. If anything, he’s only hurting himself.

Comments

Unless you want to kiss good-bye to 11 million for affordable housing, we should vote for this project.

Or do you care more about a few rich people than you do that some poor people might actually have a home?

Hypocrite.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:21 am

Muh-myuh love yuh, buh-bye.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 5:03 pm

Eager to sell out for a few pennies supposedly going to affordable housing? There is no need to tank the waterfront. In fact, selling out the building regs (height limit) is a terrible precedent in terms of other regs (affordable housing).

Posted by Guest Jon Webber on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

I think I'd rather have homes for San Franciscans, of all income levels.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:26 pm

Why am I getting paranoid that this all traces back to some VIP room in Macau?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 10:22 pm

Possibly the units in 8 Washington are already pre-sold?

Seems to be the case with 201 Folsom...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/simonmontlake/2013/04/24/building-out-of-chi...

"...Wang has said that 40% of the San Francisco project’s 655 units would be sold to Chinese buyers, with 200 already presold..."

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

The question before the voters is simple. Should we raise height limits along the northern waterfront for the first time in over 40 years, from 80' to 134', to build $3 million to $8+ million condos? YES or NO.

8 Washington's height increase by spot zoning set a very bad precedent. Right now many of the people involved in 8 Washington are part of the team sponsoring 75 Howard (Howard & Embarcadero). They initially wanted to raise height limits there from 200' to 285'. More recently they've asked for 365' using the same arguments they used to rationalize 8 Washington.

If you want more of these projects that provide luxury 2nd homes for very wealthy people who only spend a few weeks a year here VOTE YES. If don't want to see San Francisco's northern waterfront become Miami Beach West VOTE NO.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

The question before the voters is simple. Should we raise height limits along the northern waterfront for the first time in over 40 years, from 80' to 134', to build $3 million to $8+ million condos? YES or NO.

8 Washington's height increase by spot zoning set a very bad precedent. Right now many of the people involved in 8 Washington are part of the team sponsoring 75 Howard (Howard & Embarcadero). They initially wanted to raise height limits there from 200' to 285'. More recently they've asked for 365' using the same arguments they used to rationalize 8 Washington.

If you want more of these projects that provide luxury 2nd homes for very wealthy people who only spend a few weeks a year here VOTE YES. If don't want to see San Francisco's northern waterfront become Miami Beach West VOTE NO.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

The question before voters this Nov. is simple. Should we raise height limits along the northern waterfront for the first time in over 40 years, from 80' to 134', to build $3 million to $8 million condos? YES or NO.

This spot zoning has set a very bad precedent. Some of the people involved in 8 Washington are also sponsoring 75 Howard (Howard & Embarcadero). There they wanted to raise heights there from 200' to 285'. More recently they've asked for 365' using the same arguments they used to rationalize 8 Washington.

If you want more of these projects on the waterfront--2nd homes for very wealthy people who only spend a few weeks a year here--VOTE YES. If don't want to see San Francisco's northern waterfront become Miami Beach West VOTE NO.

Alternative proposals for the 8 Washington site will also provide money for affordable housing (and the new parks) without the height increase.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 12:45 pm

I think that an object lesson should be taught here where the 8 Washington parcels must remain vacant for ten years as a warning to future comers.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 27, 2013 @ 1:10 pm

Loose 11 million in affordable housing? 11 million won't even build a small house in SF. It's a cheap bribe. No to fat cats in their fat buildings blocking the view for all of us.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

11 million will build quite a few units. Remember that the value of a home is about half for the land. Assuming the city already has some land, you can build twice as many units as you'd think.

Average SF home costs 750K but a BMR unit is cheaper. Halve that and call it, say, 400K in construction costs. 400 in 11 million gives you about 25 homes.

Oh, and your view is already blocked by the existing much higher buildings there i.e. the Embarcadero Center and the GoldenGateway apartment building. That ship has left the dock, and you cannot see the Bay from the ground level anywhere around there.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

Oh yes, let's kiss everything good about SF goodbye for some more additional money for the poor and homeless. God knows there just aren't enough dollars that go to that in San Francisco and that surely would solve the problem. Yeah right. Ever heard the phrase "don't throw the baby out with the bathwater"?

Posted by amyjo9 on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 12:17 am

To be fair, Tim is not being hypocritical of inconsistent on that point. He absolutely doesn't want any of the affordable housing money if it means that we will have more rich people living here.

I remember the project before this one, at 555 Washington next to the pyramid. He was also dead set against that one, and it had an affordable housing benefit of $13 million. So that is $24 million for two projects.

Not sure how many affordable units $24 million will buy, or the lost RE revenue from just those two projects, but Tim is obviously fine with having some families live on the street if it that is what it takes to keep rich people out.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

Maybe those families should live where they can afford to live. It's called a smart move. Must we always bow down to the lowest common denominator?

Posted by amyjo9 on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 12:20 am

What do you mean, "housing San Francisco doesn't need?" Have you BEEN to San Francisco? Even if this housing is for the uber rich, increasing the housing stock can't but help with the massive housing shortage in SF. You seem to be spending too much time misunderstanding Jane Jacobs. Try Edward Glaeser. This NIMBY bullshit that shuts down good development in the name of environmentalism or housing equality creates cities like Santa Barbara that are beautiful and charming, if you were only a millionaire and could afford to live there. Rich people are going to find a way to live in a luxury apartment on the waterfront. The question is, is it going to be a luxury apartment complex the builds up, or one that builds out?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

"Even if this housing is for the uber rich, increasing the housing stock can't but help with the massive housing shortage in SF. "

Building these super expensive luxury condos can exacerbate the housing shortage for everyone else but the super rich.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

have one of two effects on the poor. Either:

1) It makes no difference, if it creates no funds for BMR housing, or

2) It creates funds for BMR, in which case it helps (some of the) poor.

Like Tim, you'd rather hurt the poor just so you can get one over on people who are far more successful and important and powerful and wealthy than you will ever be.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

Another thing about 8 Washington is that every billionaire who moves there will be less likely to buy an entire building in the Mission and evict the tenants in order to have a place to slum it a few weekends a year. But we don't care. We hate all rich people.

Posted by Troll on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:26 pm

Billionaires would slum it in the Mission once 8 Washington is not built as much as tract single family homeowners would choose to live in a high rise luxury condo in SF.

The markets are segmented and do not respond as your wild simplistic market theories would have them respond. I always like watching people try to shoehorn reality into their pet theories.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

no millionaires in the Mission that might have bought elsewhere?
prove it
or are you just talking out your ass, again?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

Fuckface, words that have different letters in them mean different things even though they might share a many of the same letters. B is different than M, but when used together, they represent what's between yer years.

Billionaires buying pieds a terre in San Francisco? Show me, fuckface.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

Billionaires buying pieds a terre in The Mission? Show me, fuckface.

Apologies to the sane participants for my typo.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

they might look instead in SOMA or Mission Bay.

And the people they outbid there might look in the Mission.

There is a trickle-out effect as successive waves of frustrated buyers crowd out and outbid people.

So yes, ultimately, it would lead to higher home prices and more displacement in the Mission, if this and other similar projects are rejected.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:29 pm

you mean people with an inflated sense of their own worth? no thanks.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:36 pm

prosperity and make a real difference.

As opposed to, say, someone who spends all day telling other people what they should do and demanding that they are subsidized by others.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

Speculative hucksters, fly by night boosters?

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 5:05 pm

Build businesses, create jobs, spread prosperity, generate taxes, give to charity.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:30 pm

Nope, they further gentrify, further inflate and further displace. The evidence is clear, the market has spoken. Why do you contradict the demonstrated wisdom of the holy market you puny fool.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

wealthy who want to live here then:

1) The trickle out effect of gentrifying the Mission decreases

2) BMR funds create affordable housing

3) The tax base increases improving services.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:31 pm

I don't understand the problem. Why can't the developer just follow the rules and build his condos? Why does he feel empowered to attack height limits? Can he really be that repulsive?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

The wealthy will always find a home they want - if not here, then elsewhere.

But the only way to build affordable housing where land is in short supply is to build UP. The cheapest homes are in highrises.

Impose height limits and you keep nice views for the wealthy but you deny cheaper homes for the poor.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:16 pm

...an open waterfront for everybody.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:02 am
Posted by Guest on May. 02, 2013 @ 10:11 am

Fuck the rich. They have no problem finding housing. Build some apartments for the fucking 'middle class', you know, those of us with jobs and shit.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

kind of place you would like to live in, and so you would like someone else to help pay for it.

Got it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

but I suppose you could pull it off.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 12:15 am
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

I support San Franciscans for foreign money laundering haven.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

In spite of all the over-heated rhetoric, in November the City's voters are faced with a very simple question: Should Sea Wall Lot 351 (which is owned by the people of SF) be preserved as a surface parking lot or should it be put to the proposed uses that deliver 8 Washington's enormous financial and design benefits. The first of these choices benefits a very small part of the City, the second choice benefits the entire City.

We should recall that the 8 Washington project has been approved by EVERY public body it appeared before: Four SF commissions, the Board of Supervisors (twice, by 8-3 votes) and the State Lands Commission.

Mr. Redmond's article seems to imply that Mr. Gollinger and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers are just a poor community group getting by on nickels and dimes. Nonsense! They are being backed by two of the largest commercial real estate firms in the US, Equity Office Partners, who own the Ferry Building and Boston Properties, who own the Embarcadero Center. Their ballot initiative was funded by a couple of plutocrats who live in a rather fancy Golden Gateway Commons condo and who could toss off a six-figure check (Hint: their views would be affected). But we shouldn't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

The opponent's bet is that the voters, not knowing much about the details, will support a simplistic "No wall on the waterfront" slogan. The project sponsors are betting that, if the voters learn a little more about the proposal and how large the financial benefits to the City are, they'll vote to support it.

Interesting question.....

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

Awesome that THD has figured out how to use developer money against other developers. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Posted by marcos on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 5:06 pm
Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

This is public land. The highest and best use is to develop housing for San Franciscans with middle, low, and very low incomes. You know, us. The developer public benefit contribution is so minuscule in relation to the private benefit gained from converting this public asset to private profit, that I am suspicious of what forces would encourage our public bodies to approve the initial efforts. Grassroots leadership created 110 units of affordable senior housing and 49 units of affordable below market housing from the conversion of public land at 55 Laguna. 159 units of housing at that project. By comparison, the soon to be defeated efforts at 8 Washington would only produce about 22 units of affordable housing. Tommi Avicolli Mecca and I led the effort at 55 Laguna that created 159 units. Whose leadership resulted in only 22 proposed units at 8 Washington? Who said this was a good deal? I don't believe the hype. I think it's another Larry Ellison-esque billionaire giveaway. Just Say No.

Posted by Brian Basinger on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 10:11 pm

Why not just admit that you hate the successful, but love losers?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 24, 2013 @ 11:34 pm

The public entitlements and gift of public land mean that the success of this project is predicated upon gifts from the public, there is no "success" here except for bilking elected leaders under threat of using developer resources to crater their political careers.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 6:38 am
Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 7:18 am

this place loses the popular vote.

Then some politician in Sacramento changes some state wide law and the vote is mooted and the place gets built anyways.

I sure hope Tim Redmond blogs here about how utterly fucked it is for the state to pass laws that remove local control and take the vote away from "the people" when "the people" at last vote correctly.

Posted by Matlock on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 12:21 am

federal or state laws do not allow SF to do something he thinks it should be able to do like, say, ban Ellis evictions or introduce stricter gun control or allow gays to marry.

But when he sees something he likes happening in Sacramento, he does a 180 and thinks we won't notice.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 5:11 am

No one who thinks it is bad policy to allow a condo tower 50 feet high than the Embarcadero Freeway wants to keep Seawall Lot 351 a surface parking lot. Advocates of keeping the recreational facility propose using 351 for a hotel, a bicycle emporium, or other projects that maintain the Public Trust. But definitely NOT a parking lot! And don't forget that after spending $47 million of California tearcher's retirement funds, Snellgrove and CALSTRS are using "house money." If the teachers fund doesn't meet their targeted investment returns, we taxpayers have to make up the difference. So why would they give up on this project?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 25, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

The way that I understand the project, there are two towers. Only ONE of the two towers is higher than the current height restrictions. The other one could be built as is. So, getting a variance for 1/2 of the project in exchange for all the project is going to do for the City seems reasonable.

Besides the funds that are contributed for affordable housing the city will gain a lot from 8 Washington including the purchase price of the land from the port, parking revenues, sales tax for the retail components of the project, even use for the pool for underprivileged kids. How is the city benefiting from the existing tennis courts? .Aren't these exclusively for the rich already?

If millionaires want to purchase these condos please let them. They will spend money in SF on other items and that money will trickle down to all of us and benefit us in so many ways.

Let's pick another issue to spend our resources on and count our blessings that SF is attractive enough to attract a project like this one.

Posted by Ever heard of trickle-down economics? on Apr. 26, 2013 @ 7:13 am

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.