Which Bay Area neighborhoods are at risk for a major earthquake?

Earthquake map reveals liquefaction risks in Bay Area neighborhoods.

No place in the Bay Area is safe when it comes to the inevitable, devastating earthquakes that loom on the horizon. But some neighborhoods are better situated than others.

Read more on NAI Northern California’s Newsletter

If California pursues a cap on rent increases, how many tenants will it actually help?

What happened to all that talk about rent control?

Less than four months after an initiative to allow cities to expand rent control failed overwhelmingly at the ballot box, and less than four months after then-incoming Gov. Gavin Newsom talked about brokering a compromise between tenant and landlord groups, no new legislation from lawmakers or specific proposals from the Newsom administration have been introduced to cap how much rents can rise.Legislators who have backed rent control expansions in the past say they’re working on proposals to help tenants stay in their homes. Newsom, in his State of the State address earlier this month, called on the Legislature to send him tenant protections he could sign into law, although he didn’t offer any specifics.

“Everything is on the table,” said Assemblyman David Chiu, Democrat from San Francisco, who co-authored a failed rent control bill last year. “From topics like just cause eviction to Costa Hawkins and other protections, everything is being considered.”

One possible compromise: A bill to ban “rent gouging,” similar to one poised to take effect in Oregon.

That measure, expected to be signed by Gov. Kate Brown in the next few weeks, would make Oregon the nation’s first state to enact anti-gouging provisions covering the vast majority of rental properties within its borders. While often characterized as statewide “rent control,” in reality it focuses on the most flagrant rent hikes—typically 10 percent or more.

“It was surprising to see (Oregon) with that type of success. It was heartening,” said Chiu. “As California policymakers we like to think we’re leading, but in this instance, hats off to our Oregon counterparts.”

Chiu stresses that any rent-gouging bill would need to be part of more comprehensive tenant protections, and that other more stringent rent control measures are still a possibility.

A UC Berkeley housing think tank released an anti-gouging proposal last year after consulting with both landlord and tenant groups. A Bay Area regional housing plan popular with state legislators from the area offers a similar solution.

So what exactly would an anti-gouging law in California actually look like? And how many people would it actually help?

No one can say yet.

 

Read more at East Bay Times

 

Silicon Valley has the highest housing costs in the U.S.

Report says both incomes and costs soaring in the state’s tech capitol.

It’s the best of time and the worst of times in Silicon Valley, at least according to Joint Venture Silicon Valley, a regional think-tank that issued its annual Silicon Valley Index last week.

The 2019 index, a “comprehensive report based on indicators that measure the strength of our economy and the health of our community,” describes the Valley as materially successful but fundamentally anxious, as new wealth puts additional stress on those most vulnerable.

The report defines Silicon Valley as a broad region encompassing parts of Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Alameda Counties, ranging from Daly City to Union City to Gilroy to Scotts Valley.

The index includes some data from San Francisco for context but does not include the city as part of its larger regional definition. Most of the data covers 2017, with some references to 2018 as well.

 

Read more at Curbed SF 

 

 

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

Multifamily owners jump in the short-term rental game

When Harold Wu moved from Toronto to Baltimore for a new job, the first thing on his to-do list was to get a place to live.

As he embarked on his apartment search, the T Rowe Price senior vice president of procurement decided to book a hotel in Baltimore for a week in September.

“I looked at the usual suspects: Hilton, Marriott, Brookshire Suites, Residence Inn and so on. Then I stumbled upon WhyHotel on the internet.”

WhyHotel operates temporary hotels within multifamily buildings during a lease-up phase of a new apartment building.

Wu liked the idea of having a place with a full kitchen for the week as a home base. He never thought he’d actually end up living in that very apartment complex.

His weeklong experience at 225 Calvert ended up being the ultimate try-before-you-buy. As he looked around at other apartments — he shopped 36 in total — he found himself appreciating his temporary digs more and more. He liked the amenities, the closet space, the lockers for packages and the security. The ultimate test was of the soundproofing, and it passed.

“I wanted to see if this was a cheap renovation. You don’t hear your neighbor.”

The short-term stay aspect of the property made him nervous at first.

“Frankly, I was concerned that they had a hotel on multiple floors. I didn’t want to have a transient population walking around in my building if I were living there.”

But he has embraced it. He ended up signing a lease for a one-bedroom instead of two — he no longer has to host guests, as he has a hotel directly in his building now.

Other than seeing people with luggage around the elevator banks, Wu said he barely notices his short-term neighbors. Other apartment dwellers haven’t reported the same experiences, citing disturbances and crowded amenity spaces with the temporary guests.

Short-term rentals may not be widely accepted as a viable long-term option for a multifamily owner. Subleasing is generally not accepted, and short-term visitors can be disruptive to residents and create potential liability issues, market experts say.

 

Read more at Bisnow

 

 

In 2069, your food will shop for you

Industry experts place their bets on the supermarket of the future.

The trouble with predictions about the future of food is that they usually wind up being wrong. Where, for instance, is the dog-sized cow engineered to graze in my backyard? Meals today don’t come in pill form, and despite decades of anticipation, insects haven’t replaced farm animals as a meaningful source of protein. You’ll understand why I’ve approached the question of how we’ll shop for food in the year 2069 with some amount of hesitancy.

To find my footing, I called Max Elder at the Institute for the Future, a think tank based in Palo Alto, California. Elder works as a researcher in the Food Futures Lab, which companies and governments hire to do exactly the type of blue-sky thinking that conjures up an idea like that backyard cow—or, in this particular case, blenders and refrigerators that can conspire to manipulate commodity markets. Whether or not these concepts bear out, Elder tells me, he believes that engaging in such speculation is critical to shaping our world. Fail to dream about the future, and you forfeit your role in its creation.

Today, the grocery store is in a period of particularly rapid change, as more and more companies vie for their share of America’s $650 billion food retail sector. Legacy supermarket chains like Kroger and Albertsons are now up against discount rivals like Walmart and Costco, European transplants Aldi and Lidl, plus drugstores, dollar stores, and, of course Amazon, which has been steadily encroaching on food retail since its 2017 acquisition of Whole Foods. All that competition has produced a climate of innovation, as retailers try to best each other on exclusive products and services, value, technology, and convenience. The choices they make matter: Everybody eats, after all, and what we consume is determined to a large extent by what our grocery stores decide to offer.

In forecasting where the industry will go over the next few decades, Elder told me, “The idea is to push people beyond notions of what’s plausible to what’s possible. What are the values implicit in the question? What will the food system look like if we optimize for different values?” He encouraged me to think of it all not so much as predictions but imaginings. So, I decided to suspend disbelief, loosen my grip on reality, and imagine a world where T-bone steaks grow on trees (or at least in bioreactors), snacks are tailored to my microbiome, and my morning coffee arrives by drone. Saddle up, everyone! Don’t forget your decoder rings.

Read more at Medium

 

 

New hotel proposal beefs up Mid-Market’s development pipeline

The new proposal will join a party of other sites looking to take advantage of the area’s powerful corporate presence.

Another hotel team has thrown their hat into Mid-Market’s development ring with a plan to cater to the neighborhood’s rising corporate and extended-stay demand.

San Francisco-based Stanton Architecture has submitted a preliminary project assessment application for a $40 million, 16-story limited-service hotel slated to deliver 162 rooms to the corner of Mission and Ninth Streets. The proposal would include the demolition of two existing buildings: a vacant commercial property at 1310 Mission St. and a mixed residential-tourist hotel at 80 Ninth St.

With Twitter, Uber, Dolby Laboratories, and Square headquarters just a block or two away, principal Michael Stanton said the project’s location and oversized rooms are a perfect fit.

“With several corporations headquartered there, it’s seen as a business hotel in the week and a family and visitor hotel on the weekend,” he said. “It will be a terrific plus for the area.”

 

Read more at San Francisco Business Times