Mayor: What Affordability Isn't
Talk to any one of your servers pouring your water and they'll tell you what the affordability challenge is in S.F., says Mayor Ed Lee. Affordability isn't just about housing; it's also about strong jobs and education. With 82% of the new office space already pre-leased, for the first time since 1980s we have more demand to build office space than we have available under Prop M guidelines, says Ed. That's making rents go up so far that nonprofits are finding it hard to stay in the city "where they belong," he says. We have even lost office space to conversions, about 1M SF to 3M SF—a realization not many point out. He was speaking at the Hilton for S.F. Biz Times' Structures event.
TMG Partners CEO Michael Covarrubias addressed this week's bombshell about Transbay, saying it's a very complicated issue with several developers and parties unable to find consensus. Finding "one solution to fit all" would be the ideal situation. How it comes out "I cannot tell you," but it's a challenge that needs to get fixed. TMG is doing Transbay Block 9, aka 563 units with Bridge Housing.
Emerald Fund chairman Oz Erickson says he's glad he's not Mike with this week's Transbay news. When city officials proposed the "Twitter Zone," we were at 9.5% unemployment and it was hard to retain tech companies. These politicians actually put together something that really worked (applause ensued). At Market and Octavia the plan is to develop 5,000 units and 8,000 units in Transbay. He's thankful for those area plans, remembering the days when he was dealing with "warfare" with Mike when neighbors opposed housing.
He also recalls when Market Street was a disaster and you took your life in your hands after 10pm. Now look at all these companies there (Zoosk, Yammer)—he doesn't even know what some of them do but does know they have a lot of employees. (As with any job, we bet some of those employees don't know either.) NEMA was "an act of courage" at 10th and Market (above) but it was a fantastic success.