Fight brews over hotel and housing project near Moscone Center

In San Francisco’s SoMa, an argument over city transparency could threaten to derail a key hotel and housing project. 

Across the street from the Moscone Center, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency wants to turn a 732-spot garage on public land into a lucrative development. The idea is to help lure more conventions to the expanded Moscone Center, which just underwent a $550 million renovation, and build urgently needed affordable home.

But SFMTA has made a series of missteps that reveal a lack of transparency in how cities may handle public land, say community advocates, including keeping the development proposals private, not holding public meetings, and delaying the selection process. Those criticisms boiled over at a recent SFMTA board meeting and have worked their way up to the district supervisor’s ears.

The SFMTA is “trying to hold its cards closer to the chest, but that may end up making problems for them moving forward,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney, who represents the surrounding constituents. Haney is meeting with community members tonight about the process.

 

Read more at San Francisco Business Times

 

Exclusive: Developer proposes 25-story hotel in Transbay

A San Diego-based hospitality company wants to build an unusual 25-story hotel in San Francisco’s Transbay District.

J Street Hospitality submitted a preliminary proposal for a 185-room hotel at 36 Tehama St., a skinny parcel of land near Howard and First Streets. Because the site is so small — just 4,000 square feet, according to the San Francisco Planning Department — the potential hotel would rise to 25 stories tall, designed with no guest rooms on the first four floors.

Transbay Terminal and the bustling nearby office towers were the biggest draws to the site, said Jeff Schwartz, executive vice president at J Street. Plus, Tehama is a quieter alley than other surrounding streets.

“Just the amount of business and activity that’s going on, within not even half a square mile, is remarkable,” Schwartz said.

The vacant lot is sandwiched between coding bootcamp Galvanize on one side and a parking garage on the other. The project would require a change of use from parking to hotel, and would be topped off with a rooftop bar.

Read more at San Francisco Business Times

 

Developers claim co-living suites earn more per square foot than regular apartment rentals

Co-living developers in New York and Washington, D.C. report strong demand from renters.

Hundreds of co-living suites are renting quickly at ALTA LIC, a new high-rise apartment building in Long Island City, Queens.

“We are now about four months ahead of our expected pace,” says Christopher Bledsoe, co-founder and CEO of Ollie, the company managing the ALTA’s co-living apartments.

Companies like Ollie are proving that there is plenty of renter demand for co-living arrangements. The co-living spaces at ALTA are now earning more dollars per sq. ft. than the new conventional apartments in the same building. Other operators of co-living properties also report strong results at their projects.

“We can only speak to performance of our OSLO properties… and they have been exceptional,” says Martin Ditto, CEO of Ditto, a company that operates three fully-occupied co-living properties in the Washington, D.C. metro area, and is now planning to open a fourth.

Strong rents prove demand for co-living

“Co-living” is a living arrangement in which the residents share some aspects of their living spaces with each other. It’s not as radical as it sounds—for Ollie and Ditto’s OLSO brand, co-living typically takes the form of multi-bedroom apartments shared by roommates. For years, the student housing industry has also been building suites that students share as roommates.

“Our product type is a natural evolution of the student housing model,” says Ollie’s Bledsoe.

ALTA LIC opened in May 2018 with 466 apartments. Of those, Ollie is operating 169 as furnished co-living suites with a total of 422 bedrooms. According to Bledsoe, it’s the largest purpose-built co-living property in the United States.

After less than a year in operation, 73 percent of these units are occupied, with renters paying from $1,260 to about $2,200 per month for a bedroom. The higher priced units may be larger, have better view, private entrances off the hallway or their own, un-shared bathrooms.

The cost of a bedroom also includes wireless Internet service and weekly housekeeping services, including bed linen, towels and toilet paper, along with shampoo and hand soap from Malin & Goetz. “It is the convenience of hotel living,” says Bledsoe.

The units are sized for efficiency and come furnished with custom furniture designed by Ollie to make the best use of small spaces. “For us a 535-square-foot studio is a two-bedroom micro-suit… a 750-square-foot one or two-bedroom is a three-bedroom suite,” says Bledsoe.

These co-living suites earn an average of 44 percent more income in rent per sq. ft. than the more conventional 297 luxury apartments at the 43-story tower, according to Bledsoe. The net operating income from these units is also 30 percent higher per sq. ft., even with the extra cost of co-living amenities like the housekeeping service.

 

Read more at National Real Estate Investor

Stanford Shopping Center wants to tear down a Macy’s store to make room for luxury retailers

The Macy’s Men’s store at Stanford Shopping Center could soon be replaced by retail heavyweights.

Simon Malls, the mall’s operator, proposed tearing down and replacing the 94,337-square-foot building with a Restoration Hardware and a Bashford luxury retailer, the Palo Alto Daily Post reports.

The men’s department store would be then merged into the shopping center’s main Macy’s store, Simon Malls Spokeswoman Solana Tanabe told the post.

A three-story, 43,581-square-foot Restoration Hardware store would reportedly take over the direct location, with a one-story 28,000-square-foot The Wilkes Bashford shop built on the nearby parking lot between Sand Hill Road and Pistache Place. Simon Malls is also looking to construct two 3,506-square-foot buildings as part of the plans.

Simon Property Group bought the mall from Stanford University back in 2003 for $333 million, though it still leases the land from the university. The surrounding region —  which includes Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside and Atherton — is prime for luxury stores, with Stanford’s median home value estimate is just of $3 million, according to Zillow.

Restoration Hardware reportedly will be designing its building to include a rooftop restaurant and garden, as well as second-floor terraces. Simon Malls also has an alcohol permit in the works.

 

Read more at San Francisco Business Times

 

San Francisco readies for convention boom as $500 million Moscone Center expansion opens

Nearly two years after it closed for a $550 million renovation, San Francisco’s larger Moscone Center reemerges on Jan. 4, aiming to take the city’s convention business into a new era.

Expanded by 350,000 square feet, Moscone’s north and south wings are now fully connected, creating up to 500,000 square feet of flexible and contiguous convention space and allowing San Francisco to host simultaneous conventions.

For the city’s hospitality industry, which bore the brunt of Moscone’s closure, its return has been a long time coming.

Hotel room bookings, which fell by more than half a million while Moscone was closed, are now set to rebound to an all-time high in 2019. Restaurants and other businesses that feed off the convention trade are eager to eat their fill again. Moscone is expected to attract 175,000 net new visitors annually who will spend a projected $180 million a year and, for the city, generate an additional $20 million in hotel tax.

 

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

 

A sample of SF waterfront redevelopment concepts

The Port of San Francisco’s “request for interest” for 14 waterfront structures within the Embarcadero Historic District is an outgrowth of a larger effort to update the port’s Waterfront Land Use Plan.

That effort began in 2015 and should move to environmental studies next year. The goal for the requests is to try and begin making plans to revive specific piers, so work could begin soon after an update is approved.

Respondents include restaurateurs seeking space, cultural entrepreneurs, and developers or design firms eager to take part in future projects. The full set of 52 responses can be found at www.sfport.com, but here are six examples that show the range of ideas.

 

Read more on the San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

There’s a new plan to stop Millennium Tower sinking — and settle lawsuits

All sides in the Millennium Tower debacle appear to be nearing an agreement on a $100 million-plus fix to stop the 58-story high-rise from sinking further — but at least part of the building’s tilt will probably remain.

“We’re very encouraged by the recent progress that has been made,” said P.J. Johnston, spokesman for Millennium Partners, the luxury condominium’s developer. “We look forward to working with the homeowners and the city to get this all completed as soon as possible.”

Doug Elmets, spokesman for the homeowners association, cautioned that nothing has been submitted to the city yet for review, but that residents are “encouraged by the ongoing progress.”

The latest plan calls for drilling piles into bedrock from the sidewalk on the building’s southwest corner. The proposal would be less extensive and intrusive than the plan floated in April, which called for drilling as many as 300 micro-piles to bedrock through the building’s concrete foundation.

The idea was to stabilize one side of the 58-story structure, then let the other side continue to sink until the building straightened itself. That plan, however, probably would have cost upward of $350 million — as much as it cost to build the tower in the first place.

The new plan by Ronald Hamburger, the structural engineer for the developer, is expected to be considerably less expensive and faster, and without as significant a disruption to the residents.

“Hopefully, it will take out some of the tilt and stop the building from moving entirely,” said one source familiar with the plan, but who wasn’t authorized to speak for the record.

The tower has sunk 18 inches and tilted 14 inches to the west since it opened in April 2009.

The building sits on a 10-foot-thick mat foundation, held in place by 950 reinforced concrete piles sunk 60 to 90 feet deep into clay and mud. They do not, however, reach bedrock.

The repair job is expected to take several months to complete. The timeline for getting started, however, will probably hinge on how fast the parties can get approval of an environmental impact report and the necessary building permits.

Read more on The San Francisco Chronicle

New SF hotels, WeWork-backed waterfront school among ideas for historic piers

Developer Simon Snellgrove has an idea: A new 65-room boutique hotel just south of the Ferry Building.

The problem: Hotels are illegal on Port of San Francisco land unless voters authorize them.

Snellgrove’s concept is one of 52 responses received by the port to revitalize 13 historic waterfront piers that dot the city’s scenic Embarcadero.

For the past three years, the port has sought public uses to bring new life for the piers, some of which were built over a century ago. The projects have big financial hurdles, requiring millions of dollars in renovations to withstand future earthquakes and sea level rise. But previous projects like the renovated Ferry Building and AT&T Park are a testament to the public’s love — and the lucrative business — of waterfront development.

The port received a diverse mix of ideas, including basketball and tennis courts, art galleries, an Italian Innovation Hub, and an International House of Prayer of Children. Boston Properties, the city’s biggest office owner and majority owner of Salesforce Tower, said it was open to operating nonprofit, maker and research space.

 

 

Read more on SFGate

 

 

 

 

NAI Northern California Represents $11.4M Sale of Eureka Safeway

Eureka, Calif – NAI Northern California, the Bay Area presence for NAI Global, the largest commercial real estate brokerage network in the world, is proud to announce the $11.4 million sale of the Eureka Safeway grocery store.

Executive Vice President Doug Sharpe represented the buyer who purchased the property for less than the asking price.

“Opportunities such as these come infrequently: great location, great building, great team. This asset fit perfectly with the unique circumstances presented by the buyer,” said Sharpe of NAI Northern California.

The acquisition of the 49,145 SF Safeway offers the buyer a rare retail opportunity in Eureka as the only national grocery store in town, making it the go-to market. Situated at the northeast corner Harris Street and Harrison Ave., nearly 60,000 drivers pass the store daily.

Because of Sharpe’s professional commitment to relationship building, he was able to bring the buyer and the seller together to reach a mutually beneficial deal. Speaking about the way this deal came together, Sharpe quoted Zig Ziglar, the well-known motivational speaker, teacher and trainer, “‘If people like you, they’ll listen to you; but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.’”

The Safeway terms include a brand new 20-year absolute NNN lease with fixed rent increases, providing the buyer with an excellent long-term investment that hedges against future market inflation with no landlord responsibilities.

 

About NAI Northern California

NAI Northern California is a full-service commercial real estate firm serving the Northern California Bay Area. Our team delivers technology-enabled commercial real estate services that create value for our clients, industry, and communities.

NAI Northern California is a partner of NAI Global, the largest commercial real estate brokerage network with more than 400 offices worldwide and over 7,000 professionals completing in excess of $20 billion in commercial real estate transactions globally.

To learn more, visit nainorcal.com.

How will S.F.’s tallest buildings fare in the next big earthquake? Report expresses concerns

San Francisco’s tall buildings may be at risk of damage during the next big earthquake, a study released by research nonprofit Applied Technology Council (ATC) last week warns.

The 36-page report outlines vulnerability concerns over outdated building standards and provides a strategy for proactive safety checks.

The study’s release comes just days after cracks were found in two steel beams of San Francisco’s newly minted $2.2 billion Transbay Transit Center, and as Millennium Tower next door continues to sink and tilt. Last year, the late Mayor Ed Lee commissioned the report, which was prepared by a group of engineers.

The report probed the city’s 156 tallest buildings — either constructed or permitted for construction — that are at least 240 feet high, primarily located in San Francisco’s Financial District. About 60 percent of these buildings house business and office space, while the rest are zoned residential.

 

Read more on San Francisco Business Times