45 Lansing: Site (www.SocketSite.com)

Plugged-in people knew Turnberry was quietly shopping their 45 Lansing lot. Now J.K. Dineen reports that they have stopped shopping, have asked for a refund, and are headed home:

Rincon Hill developer Turnberry Associates has cancelled its a 40-story deluxe condo tower at 45 Lansing St., and asked the city to refund an $8.4 million affordable housing fee it paid when the building permit application was filed in 2007.

In a letter dated May 4, land use attorney Andrew Junious said the building permit for the 227-unit tower “will be withdrawn immediately by the project sponsor.”

The cancellation is a significant blow to the future of highrise development in Rincon Hill and other downtown neighborhoods. Turnberry bought the property in September, 2006, near the height of the market, paying $30 million, or $130,000 per buildable unit.

According to Assistant Planning Director Larry Badiner, Turnberry is entitled to a refund of the fee which “went to the Mayor’s Office On Housing for the purpose of funding affordable housing projects.”

And as we wrote last month:

The implications: likely no new building at 45 Lansing for 5-10 years, and extremely low odds that once developed it will be the uberluxury product Turnberry (and neighbors) had envisioned.

UPDATE (5/8): An update with regard to the refund from J.K. Dineen:

Douglas Shoemaker, director of the Mayor’s Office On Housing, confirmed that the city would refund the $8.4 million fee.

“It’s a substantial loss for the city, but we don’t spend in lieu fees until a project begins constriction, so we have the money available,” said Shoemaker.

And once again, it’s not the fee (or “Daly”) that killed this project but rather a substantially weaker market than when the $240 million development was first proposed.

73 thoughts on “Turnberry Stops Shopping, Takes Its <strike>Bags</strike> Wallet And Heads Home”
  1. “Rincon Hill developer Turnberry Associates has cancelled its a 40-story deluxe condo tower at 45 Lansing St.,”
    The list of towers that are now dead or “delayed” would be getting quite long at this point. I am still not convinced in Transbay Tower as well.

  2. …And Newsom handed the $8.4 mill to the homeless, so that’s evaporated along with the condo market.

  3. Was $30M paid solely for the real estate? For that tiny swatch of land in the middle of a freeway off-ramp? Ugh. Which bank is going to eat it on this one?

  4. to all you bears: someone will buy that lot and eventually develop it into a nice TALL residential tower. the market will come back.

  5. This is a shame, as the Turnberry was a much-needed addition to that area, IMO. More residents = faster neighborhood development. I guess ORH and the Met will stand alone up there for a few more years. But obviously not surprising.
    “….asked the city to refund an $8.4 million affordable housing fee….”
    BWAHAHAHAHA!! Yeah, let us know how that goes. As gh points out, those funds probably went to money heaven a long time ago, like so much bubble equity. Might as well try and squeeze $8.4 million of blood out of the dehydrated remains of what was once a turnip. Job security for the lawyers, I guess.

  6. Turnberry cancelled? Wow, this has taken me by complete surprise… What’s next, they’ll cancel the Californian? Nah, that’ll never happen – the east side of Rincon Hill is immune.

  7. @Anon. I measured the lot on Google Earth. It’s about 14,250 sq ft, so it was valued at either $2700 psf (if price was $30m + $8.4m) or $2100 psf (if price was $30m including $30m).
    Gives you some idea of land costs in SF! Of course, over 25% of our land is devoted to roads and parking because we act like it’s worth $0 psf. Interestingly, this implies that if we eliminated the rent-free land subsidy for roads, drivers entering the downtown area would have to pay $2 billion/year just to break even on covering the land costs. Works out to something like $15/vehicle at current traffic levels and probably closer to $30/vehicle at the traffic levels that might result after you charged the market price.
    Needless to say, we have hugely overbuilt road capacity – we only appear “short” on capacity now because we give it away for free (funny how that happens in a market when you have a scarce good and you charge a price of zero!). A market-based solution would naturally reallocate land from roads to residential/commercial property, reduce traffic, and increase public transport, biking, and walking.

  8. What do you mean “our” Robin Hood? Don’t you live in a condo on Cathedral Hill? How about giving up your pad for a homeless person if you are so passionate.

  9. …And so, rincon hill starts its descent back to a low income hood. Ah, the circle of life…

  10. anonm, seems like you spent a bit of time coming up with you hypothesis, but how do you propose that supplies, groceries and all other general deliveries come into and get distributed throughout SF without roads?

  11. Jesus Christ, I really can’t wait till Daly gets out of office so that every thread on SOMA development doesn’t get sidetracked by irrelevant “I hate Daly” comments. See the editors note above, jeesh. And for the record, I’m no Daly fan.

  12. But…only blocks away the transbay developments are going full speed ahead with visible progress every day, exactly according to schedule.
    Rincon Hill will ultimately benefit greatly from transbay. Those Rincon parcels will surely be developed…I’m guessing 5-10 years from now.

  13. I was hoping it would get built, Rincon Hill does need the 2nd tower of ORH and 45 Lansing to get over that retail “tipping point.”
    I always kind of wondered if Turnberry’s style (Vegas, Miami) was well suited for SF.

  14. A market-based solution would naturally reallocate land from roads to residential/commercial property, reduce traffic, and increase public transport, biking, and walking.

    Well gee, we could tax people(via parking garages) to drive downtown and thereby “encourage” them to bike, walk or take public transport. As a matter of fact, Newsom already proposed this. His idea is dumb. Your idea is incomprehensible.

  15. @viewlover The only “hypothesis” embedded there is that markets are an efficient way of determining the allocation of goods. I don’t understand your question about supplies and groceries. They’d get there the same way they do now. There is no proposal to get rid of roads – just to allocate them efficiently as opposed to inefficiently. Your question is like asking how anyone will ever buy a house now that we have gotten rid of zero downpayment, negative amortization, no doc loans.
    @dogboy Yes, market-based solutions usually seem incomprehensible when you’re used to getting something “for free” (of course, it’s not really free, because we all pay in the form of higher housing costs, lower tax revenues, etc.). Again, the idea of getting rid of zero downpayment, negative amortization, no doc loans is no doubt incomprehensible to those that are currently benefiting from them.

  16. Yep, saw Oz Erickson last night at the Friends of City Planning event and asked when 333 Harrison will start building, and he said they’re waiting on stimulus funds (as SF Biz Times reported). Also saw my friend Chris Zupsik who is proposing a development at 430 Main … am looking forward to that land being developed too. That will help with Rincon Hill infrastructure … but until the the shovels are in the dirt, the money isn’t really in the bank.

  17. Good one anonm. I would like market based solution too. How about no taxes and just usage fees. If you are going to
    Pay for everything, why do u need to pay tax.

  18. @anonm Okay, so you’re a Libertarian.(The disarray of the GOP is helping it grow these days.)
    I’m sorry, I didn’t say “seems” incomprehensible. As for “market-based” solutions being the cat’s pajamas, well, that’s just too extreme for me.
    Anyway, what the h3ll are you talking about? Privatizing roads, parks, schools etc? What else? The fire department, sure. The police? The army?

  19. “The police?” Look no further than Oakland. The city has hired armed private security. They have figured they can hire four security officers for the price of one police officer. I am just passing the information, not endorsing one way or another.

  20. so are we talking traffic control here? and how does that relate to the piece of land that was purchased for $30 million? It sits next to a freeway??? You are using esoteric terms way too loosely. Is it economics or finance? Hmm, Ecofinamics maybe.

  21. @Sfwatcher Yes, that is exactly what I propose. Perhaps the best part about the govt charging market fees for publicly owned goods rather than giving them away for free is that we could then cut sales and property taxes down to close to zero. Would we really want the Feds to give away timber and oil that lies on Federal land for free, or do we want them to charge market prices and recoup value for the taxpayer?
    Anyway, getting back on topic, I doubt that SOMA will ever reach its true potential without a serious reconfiguration of land-use policies in that area. Even if you plant more trees and continue to redevelop the area (replace light industrial with residential/retail/commercial), the fact of the matter is that the streets are too wide, the blocks are too long, and the traffic moves too fast (on the one-way streets). Just the very simple act of crossing the street is extraordinarily difficult on many streets, particularly if you are mid block! Does anyone think that Noe Valley would be viewed as a desirable neighborhood if the streets were as wide and fast as SOMA’s?
    The fact of the matter is that the neighborhood is built for funneling cars through it rather than built for being a desirable place that people would want to live. This is a huge, huge waste of resources given its location – it really should be “prime” real estate given its proximity to downtown. That and the Tenderloin are the two biggest wastes of resources in SF County. But I think there’s an upper limit to how desirable SOMA can get in its current configuration. Those of you who have been to downtown St Louis will know what I’m talking about. Parts of downtown St Louis have actually been redeveloped pretty nicely, but the unbelievable share of land that is devoted to streets and parking lots makes it impossible to see it ever turning into a truly desirable urban neighborhood. I suspect SOMA shares the same fate in its current configuration…and I doubt that configuration will fundamentally change in the next 50 years. There’s just too much inertia.

  22. The language of the article that struck me most (also excerpted by the editor):
    “Assistant Planning Director Larry Badiner said Turnberry is entitled to the $8.4 million refund. Turnberry paid the fee under the city’s inclusionary housing code that requires developers to either include below market rate units as part of the project or pay a in lieu of fee equivalent to 17 percent of the market rate. “If they are not proceeding with the project the city needs to return their money,” said Badiner.”
    Did this Badiner guy just graduate from college? First job? You don’t allow yourself to be quoted saying something like this. There’s no way that that money is getting refunded. The Camorra doesn’t give you back your protection money. I’m predicting that he’s going to get some bureacratic demerits in his file at work.
    (LOL, I just checked. It IS his first job. But he’s been doing it for 27 years!! And he still doesn’t understand “omerta”. http://www.planning.org/thenewplanner/2009/win/jobtips.htm)

  23. part of the taxes collected from gasoline and registrations help fund the state roads, federal funds help out on the interstates. Federal excise tax on tires for example. While not perfect, there is already a market based system in place that taxes the direct end user, the rest comes from the indirect end users, those that don’t drive but still benefit from the transportation system aka car haters.

  24. One reason why Soma is suffering right now is because when people close their eyes and picture San Francisco, or any great city for that matter, images of theaters, shopping districts, great restaurants, museums, and historic architecture.
    Those things don’t exist in Soma. Soma might as well be San Diego. Nothing wrong with San Diego. But it just means that Soma prices are adjusting properly.
    On another note, I hope that this $8mil liability for the city puts further strain on the budget, and increases the chances that TIC-Condo Conversion bypass happens out of sheer financial necessity.
    Hey, a kid can dream, right?

  25. part of the taxes collected from gasoline and registrations help fund the state roads, federal funds help out on the interstates. Federal excise tax on tires for example. While not perfect, there is already a market based system in place that taxes the direct end user
    Not even close.

  26. Use taxes might pay for 40% of total road costs in the US, maybe (construction, maintenance, etc). And please, to suggest that those who do not own cars are somehow being subsidized by car owners is absurd to the point of laughability. Even the most pro-autos above all else economist would not say something that absurd.

  27. It takes a lot of work to turn the subject of a major cancellation of a SOMA tower into ANOTHER car hater rant, but someone tried again. Personal transporation vehicles have been riding down Market and Rincon Hill streets since the mid 1800’s when the big problem was horse droppings and deaths to pedestrians from streetcars and trolleys. This being San Francisco, we want to go back even further in time in our rush to remove comercial business activity and replace it with our Monte Carlo hillside atmostphere of quiet streets of affluent homeowners. I am not ready to retire to an Italian hillside village, and have no problems with the noise and activity associated with living in a major urban city.
    SOMA should not EVER be only a quiet residential neighborhood, for it was developed over time to accomodate businesses and commercial activity. NOW, some want it to be almost completely residential and car free, but where will the jobs be? For those that wish Rincon Hill was peaceful and green, try the Marina or parts of Cow Hollow, which were residential neighborhoods from their creation out of dairy farms or earthquake debris.
    Instead of SOMA becoming San Diego north, I would have rather seen it develope like the more gritty parts of Manhattan that are now so desirable such as the Meat Packing District or SOHO. Combinations of lofts, shops and restaurants, commerical light industry and offices, as well as some towers would have been a much more interesting neighborhood than a bunch of “luxury” high rises.

  28. Noncarhater thank you, could not agree more EXCEPT the high rise quote… we need it all. SOMA is just another extension of what San Francisco offers. One of the best things about the city is that you can go neighborhood to neighborhood and feel like you are in a different city, and in some areas by block.

  29. ^^Actually, there is still a surprising amount of light industry in Manhattan, including furniture and clothing mfr. (Meatpacking District was what I think they should have used as an example instead of SOHO) The same is true of the loft districts of downtown Los Angeles , Portland, and Chicago where you have a whole diversity of activities in dynamic neighborhoods. Not everyone wants a neighborhood to look like a bunch of 80’s office tower condo projects.

  30. anon2, Are you saying that light industrial doesn’t still exist in SOMA? Rincon Hill is one very small part of SOMA that is mostly former freeway land and now parking lots. The rest of SOMA is just as you mention the places in LA, Chicago, and Portland are. In fact, much MORE industrial than some of those other examples (too much in some cases).

  31. “Perhaps the best part about the govt charging market fees for publicly owned goods rather than giving them away for free” – anoonm
    Great, we have a bunch of carbon tax lovers around here. Maybe we’ll get cap-n-trade going at least.

  32. The prob with SOMA isn’t lack of light industrial, it’s the one way streets with five lanes of 50 mph+ traffic (or completely stopped at rush hour) plus two parking lanes, with nine foot wide sidewalks. Not a pleasant area to be in, regardless of use. The loft districts in other places don’t have such wide streets.

  33. Remove traffic lanes and convert one-way streets to two-way? SOMA streets will become a gigantic parking lot. Not going to be a great quality of life with thousands of exhaust-producing but non-moving vehicles next to peoples’ homes.

  34. “… theaters, shopping districts, great restaurants, museums, and historic architecture. Those things don’t exist in Soma.”
    In SOMA: Movie theaters (Westfield, Metreon). Yerba Buena Center for the Art’s live theater. A few other small live theaters. Shopping: Westfield; Union Square and Ferry building nearby, other shopping scattered around SOMA. Restaurants: Many, many restaurants at all levels–including RN74, Coco 500, Bacar, Boulevard, etc, etc. Museums: SF MOMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ galleries, Contemporary Jewish Museum.

  35. I don’t get the “wide streets” problem. What is it about the wideness that is so disturbing to people? I kind of understand the “fast traffic” problem, but even then I’m not sure why that makes it any harder to cross the street.
    I live near 3rd and Bryant, so I’m right in the middle of this…

  36. In response, I just do not see why some new SOMA residents only talk about getting rid of traffic and planting trees and more parks. I thought this was a city. Trees, solitude, not a car in sight, there are plenty of places left in America where you can enjoy rural life, why try to fight the fact San Francisco is a city?

  37. San Francisco talks the talk about wanting to save the environment, but do we have the gumption to walk the walk? I understand people want to have their cake “save the environment!” and eat it too “no Manhattanization of San Francisco!” but at some point, paralysis gives way to real impacts on the City overall.
    Rincon Hill, because some cracker head politician was able to pay off the State politicians in the late 1860s to allow him to do the “2nd Street Cut” and eliminate 100 feet or so of Rincon Hill so that horses and carts could more easily and quickly move goods from South Beach up to Market Street, always seems to get treated like the second class citizen. The 1906 fire and 1939 Bay Bridge with trains further killed off “residential use” of the area. A bright light until recently has been the Sailors Union of the Pacific that used to be, I’m told, THE place for folks to come dance on the weekends and to see some fabulous concerts up until recent years (lack of handicap access doesn’t help these days).
    The 1989 earthquake was the “Reboot” needed for the RIncon Hill neighborhood, and the area is perfect for high-density residential development that can provide the biggest bang for the City’s housing needs. However, I don’t know that high-rise residential buildings are feasible with all of the cost constraints (I’m looking at you, SOMA Stabilization Fund that only applies to 14 blocks in the Rincon Hill Plan Area) our City puts in the way of such development – is it even possible to make a buck on middle income targeted housing in Rincon Hill with all of the fees and affordable housing subsidies the City expects?
    I’d welcome the economic diversity … God knows it pains me to have to leave my neighborhood, save Perry’s, Hi-Dive, or Red’s Java House (lunch only), in order to get an affordable lunch or dinner on the weekends … regular folks can’t afford the restaurants on Steuart Street and the new Michael Mina place at Millennium. Thankfully, the Transbay Redevelopment Area residential developments must contain at least 34% BMR on site – translating to rentals, more or less – as a requirement of getting the land from the State. As far as I know, Block 11a and Block 8 are still moving along (one RFP finished and one RFP still in process with 3 bidders).
    San Francisco needs to decide …. do we care about the environment more than we care about keeping buildings below 4 stories in height? Can’t have it both ways.

  38. I think long, uninterrupted blocks built for trains to park at the Transbay Terminal when trains came across the Bay Bridge, are a big problem for pedestrians and bicyclists who have to be very careful about the excessively fast cars (given the long uninterrupted blocks, you have a chance to get up to 40 or so MPH). On top of the speeders and just plain jerk drivers who only care about getting to the Bay Bridge making things unsafe for pedestrians, most of the buildings in the area were built when graffitti, vandalism were more likely … so we have blocks of walls instead of retail spaces. “Folsom Boulevard” will help … as will, supposedly, the townhomes requirements on Spear, Main, Beale and encouraged nearby.
    There need to be some streetscape improvements, including traffic calming .. but no one is saying ban cars entireley (though I am a big fan of Sunday Streets … and wish it happened every Sunday morning along The Embarcadero). I do say get rid of the parking lots .. what a horrible use of land right beside the waterfront, downtown jobs, and the transit hub of the Bay Area. The bigger change will come with Prospect opening on the ground floor of Infinity and hopefully more neighborhood serving stores opening up on Folsom as Folsom becomes Folsom Boulevard, a two-way street with shops that serves as the spine of the new Rincon Hill neighborhood.

  39. anonm,
    Have you seen the plans for a Folsom boulevard? While there’s nothing to be done about the block size, making more streets two-way helps a lot. Also, many of the double turn lanes (with their accompanying “pedestrian crossing prohibited”) have been eliminated.
    Slowly, things are changing. Once the injunction against bike lanes is lifted, the streets may become saner as well.
    Have you ever actually been to SOMA? All those things you describe are there. No museums? Theatres? Restaurants? *boggle*
    It’s a big, gritty, urban neighborhood. No, it’s not the traditional view people have of San Francisco, but who cares?
    Did I just feed a troll? :^)

  40. The roads exists and they help provide services to everyone, they are part of the infrastructure that is the arteries of our cities and distribution. So even if you don’t drive on them, don’t fool yourself that you don’t reep the benefits of them being there. You don’t have to hike to the Central Valley for your produce. If you may some day need an ambulance to save your life, the ambulance will probably use a road.
    I suppose we can have another beurocratic department to maximize efficiency of road resource allocation, surely it would be just as efficient as our planning department. I doubt anyone of the theoritical policy thinkers on this site has taken into account the cost of creating the logistic programs, data wharehouse necessary to run the analytics, constant monitoring and interpretation of the data and the staffing involved. And the end result would probably be a very small increment in “efficiency” compared to the cost. Efficiencies gained through greater inefficiencies…the San Francisco way.
    And anonm, you can continue to marginalize my comments, but I see that just as a defensive mechanism from someone way over their heads in some textbook or useless college class. Good luck on your graduation, someday.

  41. @anon Would you cross Harrison St. midblock as casually as you might cross a street in, say, Duboce Triangle or Noe Valley? I sure wouldn’t. And walking to the nearest intersection to cross in SOMA literally involves walking 2 or 3 times further than walking to the nearest intersection in Duboce or Noe because the block size is so big.
    @amused Wasn’t aware of the Folsom plans. Perhaps there’s a little hope for the neighborhood after all.
    @viewlover Of course people use the services. That’s true of almost anything that is produced. But that in itself is not a compelling reason to massively subsidize one form of land use over another. I use banking services. Does that mean I’m obligated to support all the bank bailouts? The ambulance you refer to might be produced by GM. Does that mean I’m obligated to support any GM bailout? Come on.

  42. The Folsom plan is one of the reasons Blu and Infinity are so appealing at this point. It’s just a matter of getting a price buyers won’t lose sleep over.
    I don’t disagree with your last post in principle, no one wants to subsidize, but I also believe that this is private property and not really public land, therefore not subject to any more efficiency requirements for the common good. I also missed what party you are referring to that is actually doing the subsidization at this point, who is the loser? It seems like the only loser right now is Turnberry, they paid $30 million for a piece of land and forked up 8 million for the right to buy it.
    Back to efficiencies, this City has not even figured out how to avoid paying the head nurse close to $300K, mostly in overtime, along with many other employees. So I don’t have any confidence that they can deliver efficiencies in anything. I still remember the American Apparel fiasco. There is one area that the use of “land” could have had a more efficient outcome than it has.
    I pay alot in property taxes and it just irks me to no end to hear more talk about giving our esteemed City crackpots any more power. Not trying to be a jerk, just sensitive about more power to the “people”.

  43. An update with regard to the refund from J.K. Dineen:

    Douglas Shoemaker, director of the Mayor’s Office On Housing, confirmed that the city would refund the $8.4 million fee.

    “It’s a substantial loss for the city, but we don’t spend in lieu fees until a project begins constriction, so we have the money available,” said Shoemaker.

    And once again, it’s not the fee (or “Daly”) that killed this project but rather a substantially weaker market than when the $240 million development was first proposed.

  44. I have to say that I’m shocked that they are saying they’ll return the money. (Good thing I didn’t bet NVJ or I’d be out a burrito.) LOL, SF can’t even get its shakedown racket down right 😉

  45. ^^^Maybe because it wasn’t a shakedown? The city and people that depend on the city just wanted their cut of the free money pie 😉 You tell every individual to exploit every hole and dismiss what is “right” or “wrong” – why should groups of people (city governments, etc) be any different? Why hold them to a different standard? If looting of the system is encouraged, it should be encouraged for EVERYONE.
    In regards to the other conversation going on – whether or not you believe SOMA should be residential or should have more narrow roads, a couple things are clear – saying that SOMA does not have light industrial, isn’t a functioning industrial area, doesn’t have restaurants, doesn’t have museums, etc are all categorically false. What SOMA doesn’t have that old warehouse districts in NYC, Chicago, and Portland (among other places) is narrow roads – plain and simple. The area will NEVER be pleasant to live in like those other areas – not because people don’t like living near industrial areas, but because it’s not incredibly pleasant to live on/near traffic sewers.
    The “damage” to SOMA is not from past/current industrial use – it’s from the plans in the 50’s that determined that SOMA was a “throwaway” neighborhood used primarily to shuttle cars in and out of the city (via the Bay Bridge, 101 south, and 280 south). Nothing more.

  46. Goobermint doesn’t need any encouragement from the likes of me, anon, to loot and plunder. Remember, the one thing you omit from your analysis is that government retains sole power of legal coercion through its monopoly control of the police, justice and taxing functions. They’ll steal it for themselves regardless of whether citizens encourage them or not, but in a place like San Francisco where there are many for whom the role of supplicant comes naturally, the mandarin class is particularly privileged to have so many ideological apologists for their depredations 😉
    Now, I’m off to read “People” and marvel at the stylishness of Michelle O’s $540 sneakers!

  47. Everyone has the same ability to elect leaders (local, state, national) and collect signatures to place ballot propositions (local and state) on the ballot, LMRiM. The people = the government.

  48. Remember, the one thing you omit from your analysis is that government retains sole power of legal coercion through its monopoly control of the police, justice and taxing functions.
    Yes! We should introduce competition into the police, legal, and taxation functions! It makes perfect sense. Privatize!

  49. The people = the government.
    Funny, on another thread just the other day, someone was telling me that he didn’t vote for these crazy bailouts, increased FHA limits, etc. (I agree with that poster – government is now a force unto itself and the sheeple are simply herded into voting for subtle variations of the same thing.)
    Anyway, though, I feel myself becoming almost a democrat these days 🙂 There was a lot of worry a little while back regarding school funding up in Tiburon, and we’re involved with the local school district and I found myself advocating a parcel tax. I’m not going to pay it, so why not? Rents are not controlled up here in the SFR market – they are always at market. As a really funny economist (I think Thomas Sowell, but I’m sure others have said it as well) quipped, a candidate that promises to “rob Peter to pay Paul sounds pretty good… to Paul”, lol.
    @sfmike – I definitely don’t want to privatize things like police, justice, defense and a few other areas of legitimate roles for government. I’m willing to trade some measure of efficiency for impartiality and the inherent risks of things like vigilantism and private armies, for instance. I was just pointing out that just as there is really no choice in accepting some measure of looting by the government, there is coordinately no need to encourage it. It’s understood that it is going to happen. Given that understanding, however, let’s just try to limit government’s role to that which only government should be performing, not to any role that Paul wants it to undertake 😉

  50. @viewlover Maybe we’re talking about different things. I’m talking about public roads. Surely you don’t think that those are privately owned and operated right now?
    The subsidy right now is a land subsidy rather than a direct financial subsidy. But it’s no different than a direct financial subsidy – the direct losers are taxpayers (who must pay higher taxes because the land generates no revenue), homebuyers and renters (who pay higher real estate prices/rents because land is removed from the market), and business owners (who pay higher rent, again for the same reason). It’s no different than the implicit subsidy that goes to BMR housing (e.g., if you construct a new building, X units must be reserved for BMR housing). Many people don’t view that as a “subsidy” because it doesn’t come out of the general fund – instead it’s paid by homebuyers (who cross-subsidize the BMR housing in their purchase price) and taxpayers (who cross-subsidize the low tax assessments of the BMR units).
    There would be no need for any additional bureaucracy or anything like that. The system would go something like this. DPT would pay the general fund a set rate per year based on (total acres of road)*(value per acre)*(cap rate – e.g., 6% or whatever). Value per acre would be determined by real estate prices. They’d just be paying to occupy scarce land just as every homeowner and business owner in the city does – no special preference for a public agency.
    Then DPT would have to balance its budget. On the revenue side, it would do that through registration fees for vehicles in SF and, if it ever came to pass, congestion pricing. On the cost side, it could do that by reallocating street space for other uses (public or private), which would reduce its payments to the general fund. If lots of people want to drive, then revenue will be higher, and you’ll have more land devoted to roads. If not, then revenue will be lower, and you’ll have less land devoted to roads. Simple market pricing.
    The general fund would take in extra revenue from DPT – any sensible bargain would use that revenue to substantially cut sales and property taxes.
    But it’s all, as they say, academic. Nothing like this will come to pass (with the possible exception of congestion pricing)…too many people are wedded to the high-subsidy status quo.

  51. LMRiM – of course that person didn’t vote for the bailouts, etc. We don’t have a direct democracy – this ain’t Switzerland. Doesn’t change the fact that the people = the government. You don’t like the bailouts, vote the people out. Just like the market fixes things with time, representative democracy fixes things with time. Bad policies cause changes in representation.

  52. the owner already pays taxes on the land on top of the purchase price. I can’t get over how there seems to be a mentality that every piece of property in the city belongs to the community. it is apparent that small interests groups dictate what businesses can enter into the boarded storefronts, usurping any owners rights at all levels, yet they themselves contribute nothing. that is the core difference between us.

  53. viewlover and anonm – you two are arguing about two completely different things. You both are countering the others arguments with something unrelated to what the other said.

  54. Just like the market fixes things with time, representative democracy fixes things with time.
    Well, I don’t disagree (although this becomes exponentially more difficult when more than 50% are net “takers” from the goobermint welfare programs and we still ostensibly maintain the pretense of 1 person/1 vote).
    Just think of my exhortations to take advantage of any legal* provisions available to be gamed to your own advantage as “helping” the democracy to fix itself. After all, the “people” voted for these provisions in some sense I guess, so they must have intended them.
    * I don’t advocate breaking the law or committing fraud (as legally defined). I just don’t believe that we are under any obligation to graft some complex personal moral system (which no one can agree on anyway it seems in modern America) onto the blackletter requirements and provisions of th system that has been set up. No need to introduce more rules than the ones that are there.

  55. GOOD! May more of the greedy, unimaginative condo tower builders pack up and leave!! Those hideous glass towers are ruining what is unique and special about San Francisco. Do you think that folks come here from all over the world to experience Huston?? No! It’s the views, the smaller scale, the downtown parks, the beauty of well-designed older buildings, the historic neighborhoods that provide the ambiance and draw them to our City. Shame on Supervisor Chris Daly for pushing through the height variance with the Planning Department that allowed the Infinity Tower, that hideous glass erection that partially obstructs the view of the Bay Bridge from many locations throughout the City! Most importantly, those towers do not provide housing for average income folks, the majority of residents in San Francisco. The condo tower builders have no other investment in our City other than making a ton of money! May they lose their shirts.

  56. @viewlover Anon is completely correct. I’m really not sure what you’re talking about now, but it definitely has nothing to do with the issues that I am discussing. We may or may not have differences in opinion, but the only clear difference between us right now is that we are talking about totally different issues. I propose we (and everyone else on this forum) go enjoy the weekend.

  57. This is probably the first time on Socketsite that Chris Daly has been criticized for not being enough of a Socialist.

  58. Most importantly, those towers do not provide housing for average income folks, the majority of residents in San Francisco. The condo tower builders have no other investment in our City other than making a ton of money! May they lose their shirts.
    If they lose their shirts, it means someone will have bought the place much cheaper. And in return this person might offer it as a rental but will not have the humongous costs of the original buyers and therefore will have less pressure to ask an arm and a leg.
    An issue left is the high HOAs. If these towers become much cheaper to buy, I’ll bet the new buyers will fight hard for lower HOAs as many will have rental in mind when buying. High HOAs and rental do not get together well. Your tenant might be happy as a clam with his valet parking and swimming pool, but as a landlord, you’re not going to recoup all of these expenses.

  59. I hope the buyers on Rincon Island …sorry Rincon tower brought food and water. I have heard that they have pretty much cut themselves off from the rest of SoMa by acting like elitist. Just deserts for a bunch of morons that rushed in to drink the koolaid thinking that they would be able to flip the units on to the next fools. Enjoy the fumes and tire dust boys and girls.
    Let see how much clout you can muster at city hall when this city is broke and can’t afford your personal traffic control officer at your driveway at rush hour.
    And by the way how about picking up after your dogs.

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