Developments in Development: Exclusion

Map via the Urban Displacement Project at UC Berkeley

Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.

I’m sure you’ll be shocked — shocked! — to learn that gentrification in the Mission is (still) at an advanced stage.

That’s the ultra-watered-down takeaway from the updated maps from the UC Berkeley Urban Displacement Project, which used 2015 data to study displacement. The center published maps in 2015 using 2013 data detailing the level of gentrification of various neighborhoods in the region. At the time, the Mission was already considered to be at an advanced gentrification level. That holds true still.

Perhaps more unsettling is that what the researchers call “exclusion” is actually more prevalent than gentrification in the Bay Area. That means that rents are so high in an area that low-income people actually can’t move in at all. Like in Noe Valley, for example. Worse, now even regions not generally considered to be gentrifying, like Pittsburg and Antioch, are showing signs of their own displacement pressures.

For those who say that the answer is to build more housing: SocketSite reports there are on the order of 7,000 units under construction around the city that should be move-in ready sometime within the next two years. That represents not much movement in either direction in the housing pipeline overall, but I say 7K is nothing to sneeze at!

Unless you want to compare it to the square footage of office space being built. One estimate by investor and housing writer Kim-Mai Cutler has that adding up to 30,000 workers’ worth of space  for 2017-2018 — in which case 7,000 units start to look a little less rosy.

Another writer, the Chronicle’s design critic John King, raised another interesting point recently about new construction: New buildings seem to be having a tough time filling those ground-floor commercial spaces. Could it have something to do with the rents being charged for commercial spaces at the moment? Say it ain’t so.

On a different track, SocketSite analyzed how much gas a particular station on Divisadero and Oak pumps, in light of plans to raze it and turn it into housing. Next question: How many cars do all the Mission auto repair shops slated to be turned into housing serve in a given month, and has it risen or fallen? Suggestions for where to start on that one are welcome.

Enough big-picture math. A few updates from this neck of the woods:

Backyard beer drinkers, good news: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem has gotten approval for its backyard patio. What? Haven’t they had that for ages? Yes, indeed, but people remember the timeline of things differently. The bar owners note that there’s been a patio back there for more than 20 years. Nearby residents say its use has gotten much heavier, and perhaps only dates back three years or so at this level.

So a neighbor filed a complaint, and the Planning Department found that the patio is unpermitted. Was — that is — until a recent hearing, when Commissioners approved the proposal and ordered the bar owner to develop and implement a formal, professional sound-mitigation plan (conferring with frustrated neighbors) and then come back a year after its implementation to see how things went.

It seems the city’s collective real-estate media can’t quite decide what to do with reports that the Armory may be changing hands. We’ve seen several stories about this, and checked with both the current owner and the purported seller repeatedly. The Business Times, which broke it, stuck with their story, and Curbed has it on background that SoHo House has shown interest. But both owner and rumored buyer deny it firmly and repeatedly.

But who cares about massive blocks of porn-related ex-military real estate when you can take a leak inside a Painted Ladies replica? I hope they bring that shit (har har, literally!) to 16th and Mission, because I am very excited to pop a squat in a fancy house. One could also make some unkind comparisons to what this action suggests doing — dumping on SF in general, as it were — but I think it’s cute.

Much cuter than the new designs that recently cleared a hurdle to replace the existing JC Decaux toilets that adorn parts of town including 16th and Mission. Hooray, more cement and steel blocks — just what we need. Because everyone wants to go to prison to poop.

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2 Comments

  1. Scott Feeney

    Good roundup! This ties into two core issues of mine as a YIMBY: we need housing to keep up with new jobs, and exclusionary neighborhoods like Glen Park and Noe Valley need to start allowing dense, mixed-income and affordable housing so it’s not just in the Mission that these projects are getting proposed.

    On the imbalance between new housing and new jobs, I wrote an op-ed about the need to change the Central SoMa Plan, which would bring 45,000+ new jobs to SoMa while only allowing for 7500 new homes. The city must include adequate housing in the plan from the start because otherwise that leaves another 30,000 workers new to SF unaccommodated, and many will end up pushing someone out in the Mission. Planning’s response is “look at all the housing we’re building outside of Central SoMa,” but as you point out it isn’t nearly enough. https://www.thebaycitybeacon.com/politics/op-ed-the-central-soma-plan-will-worsen-displacement-crisis/article_60c16a3a-8dfe-11e7-b167-5bc05a6d448c.html

  2. Robert Tillman

    There are an estimated 7.6 billion people on the planet, and growing. There exists lots of land for them all, but very few places as desirable to live as the San Francisco Bay Area. It is one of a very few world class locations, and it will only get more expensive over time. Gentrification is supply and demand at work. People and money will flow where they will. We can resist it. We can buffer its effects. We can, to a certain extent, protect with policy and law people already here. But ultimately, we cannot stop it. If you support unlimited immigration. If you oppose building walls. Then, you support gentrification. That is a very hard and very unpleasant fact. I wish it were different, but reality is what it is, not what we wish.

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