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The 36-page report outlines vulnerability concerns over outdated building standards and provides a strategy for proactive safety checks.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

 

 

2nd crack at SF Transbay Transit Center — to stay closed through next week

San Francisco’s new Transbay Transit Center will remain closed at least through the end of next week, officials said Wednesday, after yet another cracked beam was discovered during an overnight safety inspection.

The $2.2 billion hub for buses and eventually trains, which opened just last month as the flashy centerpiece of city infrastructure, was closed abruptly Tuesday afternoon after a fissure was spotted in a beam that helps hold up the sprawling complex.

The initial tear runs about 2½ feet long and 4 inches deep through the bottom of a 60-foot-long beam that supports both the center’s celebrated rooftop park above and a bus deck below, officials said. The beam is located over Fremont Street, between Mission and Howard streets. The second crack is in a parallel steel beam that also crosses Fremont Street. It was described as slightly smaller.

Representatives of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority, which built and operates the transit center, said Wednesday they didn’t know the causes of the cracks, but they remained concerned about the potential for the beams to fail. Fremont Street, which passes under the center, also is scheduled to stay closed through Oct. 5.

“We will not open the transit center or Fremont Street until we are certain the issue is 100 percent rectified,” said Mark Zabaneh, executive director of the TJPA.

 

Read more on San Francisco Chronicle

 

 

SF considers barring offices from Union Square ground floor

Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s plan would reserve shopping district spaces for retail.

At Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Supervisor Aaron Peskin made a bid to squeeze big-ticket office space out of the Union Square shopping district, introducing new legislation that would reserve ground floor space in Union Square for retail establishments.

“Office space is in high demand and frankly out competes retail and threatens those spaces currently occupied by retailers,” said Peskin, citing the plight not just of shopping hubs around Union Square but also the likes of “tailors, design professionals, and life sciences.”

 

 

Read more on Curbed SF

 

San Francisco landlords warm to the power of pop-ups

As San Francisco rents continue to soar, retailers have become hesitant about committing long-term to brick-and-mortar space. One solution: popping in temporarily.

Landlords once scoffed at the deals shorter than the typical 10-year term. But as tenants become increasingly wary of San Francisco’s rising rents and shifting retail climate, many are realizing the benefits of shorter leases may outweigh the drawbacks.

The Bay Area has been a landing pad for tenants looking to test the market, but hesitant to commit to long-term deals.

Union Square in particular has been home to temporary deals with online luxury consignor the RealReal, the Kylie Jenner cosmetics pop-up and the Museum of Ice Cream, which recently decided to make its temporary installation a permanent San Francisco fixture.

 

 

 

Full article on San Francisco Business Times

 

 

Sinking Millennium Tower’s window cracks, SF seeks answers about safety

The sinking Millennium Tower in San Francisco has another problem.

A cracked window on the 36th floor that’s prompted San Francisco officials to issue a citation requiring building engineers to report on the condition of the glass panel.

The window cracked early Sunday morning.

“At this time, we do not know what caused this fracture, though it appears to be limited to this one specific unit,” Bill Strawn, spokesman for the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, said in a statement.

The 58-story residential tower has sunk more than 17 inches since it opened in 2009.

 

 

Full article on SFGate

 

 

 

 

How Salesforce Transit Center helped transform a blighted neighborhood

At the start of the economic recovery, San Francisco’s Transbay District was speckled with underused parking lots and very few options for housing and offices.

Now, the neighborhood holds the city’s largest office and mixed-use towers, residential high-rises and 100K SF of retail at the $2.4B Salesforce Transit Center that will soon open.

“Salesforce Transit Center has become a reality that generated a building boom in that area,” Transbay Joint Powers Authority Executive Director Mark Zabaneh said. “The minute the developers saw the transit center under construction, they started developing the parcels.”

The Aug. 11 opening of the transit center’s rooftop park, Salesforce Park, marks the end of the center’s initial transformation. The bus terminal will open to full operations on Aug. 12.

“It’s going to be a really significant achievement that surpassed expectations,” Zabaneh said. “The park is a big attraction. There is very limited quality public space and the park provides 5.4 acres of really quality public space.”

He said there has been a lot of enthusiasm for the rooftop park and the most-asked question has been about the park’s opening date.

 

 

Read more on Bisnow SF

 

 

 

 

 

Free time and fun: the new must-haves at apartments

As the luxury multifamily market approaches a peak, apartment owners and managers turning to social amenities to engage residents at their properties.

The new must-have amenity for luxury apartment projects? Time.

During this economic growth cycle apartment developers have engaged in a virtual arms race of amenities. Most were physical goodies they could tout in property tours – features like furnished guest suites for resident’s out-of-town visitors, rooftop pools, and walk-in lobby refrigerators for food deliveries.

Now, say apartment developers and property managers, the trend is towards providing services that save residents time, or experiences that make effective use of it.

Across the country high-end apartments are now offering a host of new services to attract renters: dog-walking, wine tastings, poker nights, errand-runners.

“There’s this feeling that the amenities war has run its course – everyone has the same check list on their website,” said Tom Geyer, vice president of branding at the Bozzuto Group, the Greenbelt, MD.-based developer and apartment manager.

“But I do think the battle of services is a newfound strategy to build value.”

Bozzuto, which owns or manages more than 60,000 units up and down the East Coast, has become a specialist in adding these experience-based and time-saving services, and notes the appeal of service and experience-based amenities goes across all age groups.

For its part, Geyer said Bozzuto doesn’t try to mold their properties to fit a certain age group – for millennials, say.

Rather, the company sees its properties and tenants in terms of “tribes.” Some properties have a preponderance of bike riders, some have dog owners, and others are dominated by retirees looking for urban living experiences.

“Most of our residents are not non-social people,” said Geyer. “Building amenity space is about supporting interaction, looking for a chance meeting of the tribe.”

For example, Geyer said residents aren’t just interested in an onsite gym, they want access to classes.

“Classes are the number one thing, group classes,” he said.

That means not just adding amenities, but re-designing some of the existing amenity spaces. Gyms have to be designed to accommodate the new trends of cross-fit, PX-90 workouts. And equipment has to be placed to accommodate classes.

National Development, a multifamily developer and manager based in Boston, agrees with the new thinking. It hired a full-time marketing and community engagement manager who coordinates events for a dozen National Development properties.

“It’s not an either-or proposition,” said Ted Tye, a managing partner at National Development. “There’s been a real push for physical amenities, and that hasn’t abated. Layered on top of that, as the market gets more competitive, is the social amenity.”

 

 

Read more on CoStar

 

 

 

Cupertino to get serious tonight about new business tax that could generate millions from Apple

Cupertino’s City Council tonight will consider what kind of restructured business tax it might place on November’s ballot for Apple Inc.’s headquarters city.

The move comes as nearby Mountain View looks like it’s headed toward referendum to place a “head tax” on Alphabet’s Google and other large employers in its boundaries. Public polling in Cupertino has indicated heavy support for something similar there. Such a tax would mostly hit Apple, by far Cupertino’s largest employer.

Just a week ago, the City Council in Seattle — headquarters to Amazon.com — repealed a controversial head tax that it had put on the books just a few weeks earlier, after opposition from Amazon and others in the business community.

No such public threats have been made in Mountain View, but the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce posted a no jobs tax message on Twitter on Friday and sent out a press release quoting its president, Andrew Walters, calling for no such measure in November’s election.

The impetus for this budding movement in prosperous, tech-dominated cities is the belief that the traffic congestion and housing shortages in those places is due to tech growth, Cupertino Vice Mayor Rod Sinks recently told the Business Journal.

But although no one from Cupertino’s chamber would comment on the record, the organization’s opposition stems from the fact that the tax revenue the city hopes to gain is not restricted to specific projects that would address transportation issues that the chamber sees as most critical, the Business Journal was told.

Tonight’s meeting will be to decide what kind of tax — head tax (based on the number of a company’s employees), payroll tax or an expansion of Cupertino’s existing square-footage tax — might be proposed.

 

 

Read more on Silicon Valley Business Journal

 

 

Why clothing stores are still opening in San Francisco

A majority of shuttered mall stores over the past few years have been clothing shops, but new Bay Area leases show a sector not in free fall quite yet.

Hip women’s clothier ModCloth, streetwear brand Supreme, athleisure label outdoor Voice and luxury basics purveyor Everlane are among a new class of specialized labels defying recent trends.

Shifting consumer demands, years of oversupply and the rise of ecommerce combined to trigger more than 7,050 tore closings last year, according to Coresight Research. Already, the New York-based retail analyst has tracked nearly 3,900 store closings compared to about 1,800 openings this year.

Yet, while most clothing brands are racing to weed out underperforming stores, others are ramping up.

 

Read more on San Francisco Business Times

 

 

The future of the shopping mall is not about shopping

When Cirque du Soleil announced plans this week for a “family entertainment” concept inside a Toronto mall, it said a lot about the future of shopping centers.

The 24,000 sq.ft. space, called “Creactive”, will be a circus-inspired playground with a range of activities from juggling to high-wire – allowing fans to “peek behind the curtain and imagine themselves stepping into our artists’ shoes”, according to Marie Josée Lamy, producer of Creactive. “Hanging at the mall” will take on an entirely new connotation as shoppers take to the flying trapeze. And that’s the point.

No longer is it good enough for malls to be passive places to buy stuff – they have to be engaging places to do stuff. Otherwise, this particular retail format will be relegated to relic status – “a historical anachronism, a 60-year or so aberration that no longer meets the public’s, the consumer’s or the retailer’s needs”, as developer Rick Caruso mused.

With that point in mind, I draw your attention to Exhibit A: Randall Park Mall in Ohio. When it opened in 1976, Randall Park Mall was briefly the world’s biggest shopping center. It quickly lost relevance however, and by 2000, Randall Park Mall’s vacancy rate was 92%. Fast forward to 2017 when it was revealed that Amazon was constructing a 855,000 shipping center on the same site. Online triumphs over offline, or “software eats retail” as Netscape founder and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen memorably put it. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

 

Read more on Forbes