Amazon reveals top 20 city candidates for its second HQ

Amazon has reviewed the proposals from potential candidate cities for its second North American headquarters location, and it found 20 of those the most promising.

The mayors of these top 20 cities will now fight to the death in a Battle Royale-style island arena… er wait, no actually they’ll just move on the next portion of Amazon’s submission phase, which includes further proposal evaluation and working directly with the candidate cities on getting more info.

Without further ado, here are the cities that made the cut – 20 out of a total of 238 original applicants.

Read more from TechCrunch

Downtown Oakland will get new office tower at historic site

New development suggests the East Bay’s largest city is poised for an influx of companies and other organizations.

In addition to building a new tower, the project will renovate the historic former headquarters for the Key System — a privately owned mass-transit system of rail lines and buses that operated through much of the East Bay from 1903 to 1960, when it was sold to the newly formed AC Transit system.

The new tower and old Key System building will be connected.

“Part of what we want to do is bring this historic treasure back to life,” said Melinda Ellis Evers, a managing principal with San Francisco-based Ellis Partners, a developer that has teamed up with Intercontinental Real Estate in a joint venture to build the tower.

The project will take close to two years to build and should be available for tenants to move in by the end of 2019.

Read more from East Bay Times

As Rents Rise, Advocates in Multiple Markets Push for New Rent Control Laws

In most parts of the U.S., lawmakers are currently not allowed to create new rules to limit by how much landlords can raise rents at their properties.

In November 2018, voting ballots in California might include a question on rent control. Right now, California law restricts the spread of rent regulations on housing built after 1995, in addition to many older properties.

Some housing advocates want to change that. A proposed law that would have allowed more rent regulation died in the state legislature in 2017. Now advocates including the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment and the San Francisco Tenants Union are pressing the same proposal as a ballot initiative.

Read more from National Real Estate Investor

Proposal to Ban Dual Agency Turned Back in California

Legislation Fails to Make it Out of Committee After Getting Thumbs Down by Real Estate Industry Groups.

Legislation introduced in California intended to prohibit CRE brokers from acting in a ‘dual agent’ capacity and represent both sides of the same commercial property transaction was turned back this week. California Assembly Bill 1059 was introduced last year by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego.

However, business and real estate groups opposed the bill as written and language banning dual agency was removed before the bill was even sent to the Assembly Judiciary Committee for debate this week.

Read more from CoStar Group

Presidio Terrace: South Bay couple sues to win back street

Jilted investors trying to crowdfund legal fees

Tina Lam and Michael Cheng, the South Bay couple who bought the privately owned Presidio Terrace street for a mere $90,100 in 2015 and then saw the legal sale overturned by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, are now suing the city in Superior Court to undo that decision.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross report that Lam and Cheng’s attorneys are arguing that the board overstepped its authority. The suit comes as no surprise, since Cheng telegraphed his intentions to sue by taking the unusual step of opening a GoFundMe page to finance the action.

According to Cheng’s “Presidio Terrace defense fund” campaign, he and Lam feel slighted and singled out by San Francisco lawmakers, particularly Supervisor Mark Farrell, whose district includes Presidio Terrace.

Read more from Curbed SF

Why Zillow says San Jose is the nation’s hottest housing market in 2018

Driven by quickly rising home prices and a tech job market that continues to draw more workers, the online real estate database Zillow has projected San Jose to be the nation’s hottest housing market in 2018 with San Francisco fifth in its top 10 list.

California, North Carolina and Texas each have two cities in Zillow’s top 10, which is based on a mix of six variables:

  • Its own home value and rent index forecasts for the year,
  • Income growth estimates,
  • Population growth,
  • Unemployment rates,
  • Job openings per person.
Read more from Silicon Valley Business Journal

Proposed California rent control expansion returns

After nearly a year on the shelf, repeal of 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act to have first public hearing Thursday

In February of 2017, San Francisco Assemblymember David Chiu and two other California lawmakers introduced AB 1506, a bill that would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Act, a California law that stops cities from imposing rent control on new construction.

That was almost the end of the story for AB 1506, as California landlords reacted with such umbrage that the bill’s principal author, Assemblymember Richard Bloom of Santa Monica, put it on hold for a year.

Legislation that isn’t moving forward has a shorter shelf life than farmers market produce most of the time, so it seemed the rent control expansion might die a quiet death on the back burner. But the proposal has, improbably, survived. And it’s slated for its first public hearing in Sacramento on Thursday, January 11.

The bill is the sole agenda item for the Assembly’s Housing and Community Development Committee this week. AB 1506 still has the exact airtight, no-frills wording as when lawmakers first introduced it last year:

“The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act prescribes statewide limits on the application of local rent control with regard to certain properties. This bill would repeal that act.”

Read more from Curbed SF

For renters, the new normal: lower expectations and shrinking apartments

Gabriel Rodarte grew up in San Jose and has worked there for 30 years as a mailman for the U.S. Postal Service.

Making his rounds, he says, “I see it all. I see three families living inside one small apartment, or total strangers who share a room. None of them stay very long; they can’t afford it.”

Neither can Rodarte. He earns nearly $60,000 a year, but his apartments keep getting smaller. Dodging the region’s skyrocketing rents for the last five years, he now rents a room from a friend for $400 a month and feels “trapped. That’s where I’m at — I feel like I’m the working poor. It’s just ridiculous when you can’t afford to live in the place where you grew up.”

A generation of tenants now sees itself as rent-poor, with every last dime doled out for gas, groceries and the landlord. Renters struggle throughout the Bay Area.  In San Jose, the median monthly rent for a two-bedroom apartment is now $2,550, far above the national average of $1,560.  A similar two-bedroom flat can cost even more elsewhere: $3,080 in Walnut Creek and $4,910 in Cupertino, according to a recent report.

As the Bay Area’s economy booms, and as the tech sector continues to expand, this is the new normal for those on the margins: shrinking expectations and shrinking apartments. Nearly 40 percent of working adults in the Bay Area are now “doubled up” with roommates in order to afford rent, according to a study from Zillow.

Read more from East Bay Times

Haight neighbors claim 100 percent affordable housing project at McDonald’s is too tall

The rent is too damn high, and to correct this, every San Franciscan is clamoring for The City to build affordable housing — and a lot of it. But one pocket of our sleepy little town is drumming up opposition to a plan for affordable housing at the site of the McDonald’s restaurant on Stanyan Street.

The problem? It’s too tall, they say.

The Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council — or HANC, as they’re called — penned a public letter in late December laying out its support for the project, in general, but voiced concern that a 65-foot, 7-story-tall development would “substantially change the character of the area,” due to its “height and bulk.”

Read more from the San Francisco Examiner

Google Proposes One Million Square Foot Project in Sunnyvale for 4,500 Employees

The second half of 2017 brought some much-desired attention to San Jose, the self-proclaimed capital of Silicon Valley. It all started when Trammell Crow announced that its Diridon Station project was tied to Google, and the subsequent negotiations the Mountain View tech giant started with San Jose’s elders to expand even further in the city. A slew of activity emerged in the city from hotels to office buildings to apartment complexes trading hands and institutional investors really zeroing in on the opportunity this could bring. The 86-acre, 4 million square foot approval Apple received from the city of San Jose in 2016 was not even mentioned in the news—the excitement seemed to be all about Google.

Yet Google’s ambitions are much broader than just one city. In late December, Google initiated plans with the city of Sunnyvale for a roughly 1.042 million square foot office project on approximately 40.5 acres of land it owns in the Moffett Park district. The ten parcels that Google owns are bounded by Caribbean Drive, Mathilda Avenue, Bordeaux Drive and Borregas Avenue. There are thirteen single story buildings on the property today totaling 801,670 square feet, and they include a combination of warehouse, light manufacturing, R&D and office uses, according to a letter submitted to the city by Google’s Senior Director of Design and Construction, Joe Van Belleghem.

Read more from The Registry