Chronicle building gets tenants

Hard times all around.  The San Francisco Chronicle is leasing out portions of it’s building at 5th and Mission since their needs are shrinking.  There has been a portion rented out for a time to a tech company who is expanding.

From CurbedSF

I had heard that the Chronicle Building was being pursued by developers.  Since the financial market for developers is for the time being mostly dead, I guess that idea had to get taken off the table.

Post from CurbedSF.

Converting Garages into homes

A little ‘garage porn’.  I have to admit, I have fantasies about taking some poor, tired, neglected garage and making into a sexy living space.  There are so many really cool, architecturally interesting buildings that need a little love.  The folks at Curbed National came up with some really great shots.  I particularly like the first one.  Very barn looking, converted into a neat little living space.  I was surprized to read that it is in Oakland, CA.  I expected it to be on the East Coast.  Enjoy.

Oakland, CA Garage from Curbed National

Curbed National-‘garage porn’

Proposed new homes on Alamo Square

Finally, a rendering of the proposed ‘Painted Gentlemen’ that are to be built on Alamo Square, in the next block to the Painted Ladies.

Rendering via Socketsite

The white building to the right is 940 Grove; part of which will be torn down to accommodate the new homes.  It’s the non-historic part, so nothing lost there.

Seems the developer is getting the green light from the Planning Department, now it’s up the San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission.

I’m assuming the rendering shows massing only and does not give an indication of detail giving the homes scale and substance.  The proposed homes should really help clean up that block of Steiner.  Kudos to the developers.

Fairmont condos not likely

Well, it seems that the effort to tear down the ugly 1960’s tower at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill is over, at least for now.  Locals and unions have banded together to stop the project and have worn out the developers who wanted to make it a reality.

Robert Frank Architectural Illustration via CurbedSF

I suppose if I lived over by the Fairmont I’d feel differently.  From my perspective, architecturally, it would have been a lot more interesting and vibrant for the neighborhood to have World-Class housing in that area.  Perhaps someone else will pick up the ball in the future.

Here’s the Curbed post.

25-35 Dolores gets more resistence

The proposed development at 23-35 Dolores has hit some more resistance.   There are the usual neighbor concerns; noise, traffic, height, light and ventilation, wild life, etc…  I’ve been on that end of a proposed development too.  You can’t really stop a project, but you want to make sure it’s sensitive to the neighborhood.  As it stands, the developer wants to demolish the existing early 1900’s buildings previously occupied by S & C Ford.

The San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission feels that the buildings have architectural merit and that the facades should be kept.  The developer wants them drawn, documented and subsequently demolished.  The buildings are architecturally  interesting, but would need to seismically upgraded AND a new building shoved into the envelope and make sense in a different world from when they were built.  Quite a challenge.

25-35 Dolores-Existing (via Socketsite)
25-35 Dolores-Developer Rendering (via Socketsite)








The compromise is to keep the facade and build the new building behind.  It reduces the number of units-making the project financially unfeasible.

25-35 Dolores-Alternative Design (via Socketsite)

Obviously, if it costs more to building the building than the developer can sell the units for, the project won’t get built.  The existing building has no current practical use and will continue to deteriorate.

I have to say, architecturally, I don’t care for either one.  I like the old S & C Building, but we can’t keep everything.  Time to move on.

The proposed design looks like something in Mission Bay.  That’s fine in Mission Bay, but does not fit into the urban fabric of Dolores St.  Time to go back to the drawing board.  Let the developer tear the building down, BUT put in a building thoughtful to the neighborhood. Just my two cents.

Vacant houses in San Francisco

Via SFGate, I was forwarded to an article in the San Francisco Business Times that discussed how San Francisco has the highest number of vacant homes in the Bay Area.  At almost 8.3% vacancy, that seems like a lot-the article suggested one in 12 homes was vacant.  According to the article, California has a vacancy rate of just over 8%.  Surrounding Bay Area Counties range from 4.39-7.2%

Anyone home?

I can think of several reasons.

1. People in metropolitan areas are leaving for the burbs to get into decent schools and out of the nightmare that is the consolidated system.

2. People are leaving for jobs in other areas.

3. Rent control/fear of being a landlord.  I know of many landlords that have long tired of having no control over their buildings-particularly if they get a bad tenant.

4. It’s expensive to live in SF.  At some point, the value of the amenities (Symphony, Restaurants, ‘Walk to coffee’) becomes less important when looking at simplifying your life.

That’s the glass half empty.  Let’s look at the half full version.  Well, I guess that’s really the 91.7% full version.

To read the article and check out the charts From Blanca Torres, San Francisco Business Times

Proposed Pier 36 Renovation

Deteriorated Pier 36 may be getting a new look in the next few years.  I’m a fan of the development along the Embarcadero.  It’s changed so much since the Earthquake in 1989-all for the better.

Pier 36-after

The proposed Brannan Street Wharf at the existing Pier 36 would consist of a lawn, outdoor tables and chairs, a water fountain, drinking fountain, and a small craft float.

Pier 36-before

Here’s the story from Socketsite