Jamie Whitaker scores the link to the design narrative and proposed schematics for Transbay Block 11A at the corner of Folsom and Essex in Rincon Hill.
Transbay Block 11A Site (Image Source:
As proposed, the building would rise 8 stories over 85 feet and include 120 below market rate apartments for the formerly homeless, two market rate retail spaces, a suite for supportive services, and 15 secure spaces for bikes (no parking for cars).

The project would also result in sidewalk improvements including “widening the Essex Street sidewalk to a depth of 18’-0,” providing a row of street trees” and adding a bulb out 78’-0” wide by 17’-0” deep on the corner of Folsom and Essex.

Solar panels will adorn the roof while vines will adorn the first floor of the eastern façade.
Block 11a Supportive Housing Plans for Your Review []
Transbay Block 11A (Folsom @ Essex) Design Overview []
Transbay Block 11A (Folsom @ Essex) Proposed Schematic Design []

101 thoughts on “Transbay Block 11A (Folsom @ Essex) Plans And Proposed Design”
  1. Ouch…120 apartments for the ‘formerly homeless’. That area just got worse…I feel bad for the folks on Guy/Lansing streets.
    [Editor’s Note: We don’t.
    This isn’t a proposed tent city or dumping ground, it’s a brand new building with built-in support services and street level retail where a surface area parking lot currently stands.
    It’s past time to get over the knee-jerk and NIMBY-esque “there goes the neighborhood” reaction, especially in relation to a developing urban neighborhood.]

  2. agreed — i was looking to buy near here. i think i’ll save my 800k for another unit that isn’t next door to a homeless hotel.
    sometimes i just don’t understand this city…

  3. I so disagree with the Editor’s Note.
    Bringing that element to what is and could have been a great area is just short-sighted. It very well could just be me, but what will that development add to the area?? ‘Former homeless’ who found God and turned their life around? Get real, this isn’t Will Smith and “The Pursuit Of Happiness”.
    I think there is a property at 50 Lansing that is asking $775k, along with various units at the Met, where potential buyers would want a safe, walkable, neighborhood, instead they got a little 6th street in their backyard (okay that’s maybe a little dramatic).
    If it were me, I would have put in a nice park.

  4. It seems that those commenting on this story forget that there is an unserved homeless community in that area all ready. It’s not like it’s daisies and ponies in that area now. . .

  5. If we want to address homelessness, we have to have housing for them. Now if only the suburbs could house their homeless rather than sending them to SF…

  6. i’m renting on Guy Street. any idea when this construction is to begin on this monstrosity?
    [Editor’s Note: Fall 2011.]

  7. SS editor is obviously free to express his/her opinion, but the argument is misguided. First of all, SFRE doesn’t even appear to live in the area… one of the prerequisites for a NIMBY argument.
    The battle is clearly between a need for social services and the impact of living next to a “supportive housing” structure, which is basically a euphemism for a dressed up homeless shelter. One point to remember is that the area did have a homeless shelter on Fremont street about 5 years ago, before the shelter was leveled for a now halted condo project.
    That said, no one wants a homeless shelter anywhere close to where they live and NIMBY arguments don’t really hold water when it’s something of this nature. If Folsom street is really supposed to be one of the future scenic boulevards of this great city, then this shelter had better be well-maintained.
    [Editor’s Note: Hence “NIMBY-esque.” The proposed use isn’t as a transient shelter like what was once on Fremont. And we agree that this building and its environs had better be well maintained, something an active community should be able to lead by example and ensure.]

  8. An apartment building for the formerly homeless is not the same thing as a homeless shelter. People who survive wait lists for these affordable units have been connected to social services for some time, while living in SROs, often through programs the Mayor and the Care Not Cash initiative have supported. The new residents have strong incentive to be responsible, as their new housing is light-years better than anything they have experienced in recent memory. As a result, these buildings tend to be far less chaotic than a homeless shelter or an SRO.

  9. whats going to happen to the view from the units on Guy street? They seem to have street views now. Will they be looking into the windows of the formerly homeless?

  10. @Dan
    “They TEND to be less chaotic…” key word is tend.
    “…INCENTIVE to be responsible…” another key word is incentive.
    The truth of the matter is that this will be a building always filled with 120 homeless people (in my mind they are still homeless just that the great taxpayers of SF were kind enough to help them out) who may or may not (likely not) be rehabilitated. Truth is that they likely have a lot of deep issues that are chronic and unresolved. Putting them there with the hope they like the building enough that they don’t cause trouble is just a dream.
    Please tell me two good locations in the city where having this type of rehab facility didn’t affect a neighborhood.
    It is far more risky to have that structure there than let’s say the same structure but market rate or something BMR that is filled with responsible individuals who try on a regular basis.
    PS: Feel free to call me cold (or worse) but the truth is hard to take sometimes.

  11. “Please tell me two good locations in the city where having this type of rehab facility didn’t affect a neighborhood.”
    Apartments for the formerly homeless tend to be in the TL, SOMA, and Western Addition (with a new building heading for Hayes Valley), which are neighborhoods that already have some social issues. I’d love to put this building in Presidio Heights or Seacliff to test your theory, but I don’t think it is going to happen.

  12. @ SFRE: Cold? How about Fascist? The truth is hard to take… The truth being that the poor inspire fear, hatred, and intolerance?
    This whole thread is entertaining. I think NIMBY is perfectly appropriate, even for non-neighborhood dwellers. This town is so small, and the general sentiment seems to be a resistance to this kind of development *anywhere* in town. If not here, where would you suggest? Sixth Street? Eddy and Jones? (I’d imagine if it was proposed there, the same people would be complaining about the negative effects of concentrating poverty… maybe not?)

  13. For most SF homeless affordable housing is the least of their problems, and pales next to the effects of chronic mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, or varying combinations of the above. It is simply delusional to imagine that “giving” affordable housing to the homeless will have any effect on conditions on SF streets.

  14. This is a very specific example from Seattle. The ‘supportive’ part of ‘supportive housing’ is very important for the concept being discussed above to work. I’ve walked by this building in Seattle many times and if I didn’t know what it was used for I would guess it to be one of the many other nice apartments that went up in the area prior to the real estate collapse. Point is, it doesn’t stand out.

  15. The Furman Center summary:
    “Our findings show that the values of properties within 500 feet of supportive housing show steady growth relative to other properties in the neighborhood in the years after supportive housing opens. Properties somewhat further away (between 500 and 1,000 feet) show a decline in value when supportive housing first opens, but prices then increase steadily, perhaps as the market realizes that fears about the supportive housing turned out to be wrong.
    The city, state, and providers of supportive housing must continue to maximize the positive effects of supportive housing and ensure that supportive housing residences remain good neighbors. But the evidence refutes the frequent assertions by opponents of proposed developments that supportive housing has a sustained negative impact on neighboring property values.”
    The people who would benefit most from reading the study (*SFRE*) probably won’t bother.

  16. @Jeff…
    Interesting article, and I am sure that:
    (a) There are articles to the contrary
    (b) That although it may (emphasis on may) have a positive impact of the residents, having the following in the area;
    “Residents may include formerly homeless individuals and families, people with HIV/AIDS or physical disabilities, young people aging out of foster care, ex-offenders, people with mental illness or individuals with a history of substance abuse.” (specifically ex-offenders, mental illness, and history of substance abuse)
    Growing up poor, and having lived in what would be deemed “less than desirable” neighborhoods, I can say that the poor do not inspire “…fear, hatred, and intolerance?”. Ex-criminals, drug users, etc., inspire fear, and if I was to pay nearly 3/4 of a million dollars, it would be near elements that have these types of problems.
    California has THE highest rates of recidivism in the nation, suggesting that over 50% of people (drugs/criminals), end up falling back into that lifestyle. Out of 120 units, if 60 residents fall back into that lifestyle, then that is something to consider.
    Dont be naive. I wish for the best, but I live in the real world, and recognize that utopia is not always around the corner.
    Just out of curiosity, if I was to say that all of the 120 residents were ex-sex offenders would your thoughts be different?

  17. Some grammatical corrections to my post…
    “…having the following in the area, will not be a positive to the residents living in the neighborhood”
    “…it would NOT be near elements that have these types of problems”
    It all comes down to a simple question: If you were spending $750k to buy a condo, would your rather live around the block from these elements, or someplace else? My guess is if SS took a poll, all else being equal, the overwhelming majority would say “someplace else”.
    [and yes I did read the entire article]

  18. More replacing a parking lot in a business district w/dense housing w/o parking. The concept of public transport is excellent; enforcing it by eliminating California’s main mode of mobility is short sighted at best. But the residents will be able to take the new subway to high-paying jobs in Chinatown, w00t!

  19. This is an excellent design. The Editor is so right I wish he’d run for BoS or Mayor. Building up units densely near transit is the best possible option. The comparison to the Memphis section ate tragedy is way, way, way out of line. Many thanks to the person who posted the reference to the Seattle example.

  20. From the Atlantic magazine article referred to above by “redseca2”:

    Physically redistributing the poor was probably necessary; generations of them were floundering in the high-rises. But instead of coaching them and then carefully spreading them out among many more-affluent neighborhoods, most cities gave them vouchers and told them to move in a rush, with no support.

    Granted, “redseca2” notes that the article isn’t completely on point because it was about just poor people and this building is for the formerly homeless, but even taking that into account, the socketsite editor is correct as is Mole Man when he says that the comparison to Memphis is way out of line. This building is going to have built-in support services on site, and therefore you really can’t compare that to the situation described in the Hanna Rosin piece. Doing so is just knee-jerk NIMBYism.

  21. @sfre: Are you f**king serious? So let’s say you bought a nice single family home in Noe Valley. How the hell would you know who lives around you? Would you know that maybe a former addict, or a former homeless person, or a person with hiv/aids might just possibly live next to you?
    What if the person next door to you was gay, or say, African American or Hispanic, or old, or say in a wheelchair? That would obviously bother you, wouldnt it?
    your comments come across as seriously bigoted and narrow minded. I think the best would be for you to move outside of San Francisco. We don’t really need your kind.

  22. @noearch
    Who said anything about someone with hiv/aids, or african american, or hispanic? As bi-racial, I take offense to your assertions that I am bigoted.
    My comments centered solely around the criminal/druggie types.
    Obviously if I bought a nice single family home, I wouldn’t know who lives next door (though you can search for sex offenders). However, knowing that there are 120 former people with “issues” moving in next door would affect my decision to purchase in that area.
    If anyone is bigoted and narrow-minded it is you, for not being able to see the bigger picture, which was the point of my original comments that people would not want to buy property next to a building housed with 120 former degenerates.
    I can’t believe someone would be so closed-minded as to tell someone who shares a different perspective on an issue to “move”, instead of being tolerant of their ideas regardless of how you may feel about them. If someone should “move” it should be you to a place where homogeneity in thought is a virtue as opposed to a diversity in thought.

  23. I’ve been to some of the community meetings regarding this project. From the information provided, the new tenants will barely be able to function on their own. To put faith in SF that the on-site services to be provided (which are voluntary, by the way – it’s not like the new tenants will HAVE to use these services) will make a difference is really asking a lot. The City has demonstrated over and over again it doesn’t have an effective solution to the homeless problem, so why should nearby neighbors believe this project will be any different?
    Is there some shortage of housing for the homeless that I’m unaware of? Or is this San Francisco simply throwing more money at a problem and hoping for a solution? I’m beginning to suspect more and more that a project like this is for politicians like Chris Daly to to announce that they’ve effectively combated the homeless problem – with producing any viable statistics that prove the results, of course.

  24. Get off your high horses SF citizens. You live here, so you pay for this stuff. If you don’t like it leave. If you don’t want to leave, good luck.

  25. As a new resident of SF, I’m curious if other developments like this have been recently built around the city, where they’re located, and what effects they’ve had in those areas.

  26. “the truth of the matter is that this will be a building always filled with 120 homeless people (in my mind they are still homeless just that the great taxpayers of SF were kind enough to help them out) who may or may not (likely not) be rehabilitated. Truth is that they likely have a lot of deep issues that are chronic and unresolved. Putting them there with the hope they like the building enough that they don’t cause trouble is just a dream.”
    I cannot believe that an educated person with any sense of compassion would write this. Absolutely unbelievable. SFRE, i really wish I could put you on ignore as there is no place for fascism or classism in this blog.

  27. @spencer.
    Okay, perhaps I was too dramatic. All I want to say is that putting that facility in that location isn’t a positive for the neighborhood. Whether or not I approached it the wrong way is not the point (though I can see how on this topic people may think I was a d!ck).
    I won’t comment anymore on this particular post.

  28. @noearch
    hahaha, are you joking me? listen, sfre was only commenting on the potential problems that “formerly homeless” will bring into the neighborhood. Your comment is way off base because his comment doesn’t mention anything about race. His comment is directed at the problems formerly homeless persons would bring into the neighborhood. If you want these people as your neighbors, please be my guest and move next to them.
    Also, the fact that you live in Noe Valley necessarily means that you aren’t going to be having a formerly homeless person living right next to you (I am NOT talking about race, purely economics). Therefore, you are not going to have to worry about the potential problems a formerly homeless person would bring to the neighborhood.

  29. i side with SFRE’s sentiments. the evidence is all over the place by just observing sf neighborhoods and bay area cities to see what kind of effect these projects have on an area.

  30. Wow. I guess the only shock is that I’m still surprised to see so much hatred, fear and intolerance from the posters on this site. As a longtime resident in the neighborhood, I can honestly say that I barely noticed when the old CATS shelter was shut down, and that was a full-on homeless shelter, not supportive housing like this. Sorry, but there wasn’t a significant difference in crime or whatever else you think is going to happen with folks in transition.
    Did you notice this is an urban environment? If you really miss Walnut Creek that badly, my understanding is BART still goes out that far.
    And yes, I’m a homeowner, not a renter. Also, while the design isn’t what you’d call inspired, it beats the pants off that parking lot, especially if the greenery comes with it.

  31. Editor, noearch, spencer,
    Just out of curiosity, how would you feel about a homeless shelter (a real one, not this kind) moving in right next door to where you live? Would you welcome it with open arms or would you have reservations that could be considered “NIMBY-esque” (or even “bigoted” or “fascist”)?

  32. Any bets on how long it will take for a recidivist drug user to strip out the copper and other metals from their home & steal the bikes from the handy bike rack to support the habit? Or how long it will take before people are dealing from their unit? Or how long before the units are rented out by the hour for “business purposes”?
    I think one of the best ways to make sure the purpose of this building succeeds, is to impose a curfew and pay a guard to roam the hallways at night to enforce rules and protect tenants. But who would pay for it?

  33. This has been an interesting discussion. I for one am also weary of that need that every single project include subsidized housing. Frankly, I have lived in San Francisco for 15 years and have never ever encountered someone I would consider homeless because of economic circumstances. All I ever see are chronic inebriates, addicts, and borderline predators.
    Someone correctly noted that this isn’t Will Smith in the pursuit of happiness.
    This is the willful decision to support the self-destructive addictions of a population. Not only does this add to the nuisance factor for the rest of us……..but it needlessly hastens their demise.

  34. If you want to see the effect of these sorts of housing developments, try taking a stroll down Mission St. between Division and 7th street any day, in broad daylight.
    What happens is all the “tenants” like to get out on the streets and hang out, get high, drink, fight and panhandle. Its like Mad Max.

  35. @ SFRE,
    You can’t really deflect the term ‘bigoted’ when you’re using blanket generalizations like ‘degenerates’ and ‘that element’.
    … the mentally ill, people with criminal records and substance abuse problems, (and also other chronic illnesses/disabilities, aging out of foster care). Those are the people who need supportive housing. It’s hard to imagine having people living in alleys and under freeway overpasses (as many more than 200 in SOMA currently do) as being preferable to this kind of development.
    My sister has spent almost her entire adult life living in places like this one (she’s schizophrenic). A couple in SF (in the TL), and a couple situated incongruently in affluent neighborhoods in Ventura County. At worst, they’re depressing places (generally speaking, given the chronic underlying causes for people being there, but the quality of the ‘managed’ part varies greatly in the energy of the places). They’re not dens of crime… in part because they are (and must be) selective about occupants. If someone is violent/threatening or still abusing substances, they get the boot… and I’d imagine this place is going to be very discriminating, given that it’s new, and a very expensive project.
    They tend to be insular to their neighborhood. Or as far as I’ve observed. Especially in more affluent areas. There’s this huge, obvious social divide (and self-segregation).
    much better to have places like this scattered throughout town (even, yes, in MY neighborhood) than have them all concentrated into skid row. And better for them to exist than to have the same people living in SROs and on the street.
    I mean, really.

  36. I would absolutely welcome this building into my neighborhood and next to me. We are supposed to be a compassionate, supportive society. Everyone deserves a chance at redemption and a new life.
    I stand by my previous comment. I am intolerant of those who preach “fear” about impending doom if that facility goes into the Rincon neighborhood. That’s the same insane mentality we put up with for 8 years with Bush.
    Calling some of the residents “criminals/druggie” types is crude and insensitive. When they have served their time in prison and gone thru rehab they deserve another chance to begin anew. Will it be perfect, without problems? No.
    But as a society we must work together to accept, and live among all types of humans.
    Architecturally, I think the building is handsome, fresh, modern and appropriate for that location, and look forward to seeing it get built.

  37. If parolees are going to live here, perhaps the city should pay for a parole officer and/or police officers to live in the building. It’s not for everyone, but I’m sure someone would take a free place to live. It seems that one of the best ways to prevent recidivism is to provide a lot of supervision.

  38. Supportive housing sounds great if you go one layer deep. But two layers deep you realize it does nothing to address the homeless issue. It just enables it.
    For supportive housing to work, people must “graduate.” To those who cite examples in NY and elsewhere, I ask you: does anyone ever move out?
    You could build 500,000 units and I guarantee you they would fill up.
    Free housing in SF.

  39. It looks to me like this will leave a small wedge-shaped lot along Essex. Any word on what that is supposed to be? A pocket park perhaps?

  40. @hugh: Thank you for sharing your story. I sympathize with the daily struggle that many people who are truly ill experience. I appreciate your first hand perspective.
    @noearch: How does Bush make it into a post about homelessness? I mean, really. You are all over the place, and you need to grab a decaf and step back for a second. Supposedly you live in Noe valley – the haven for rich white folks (not that there is anything wrong with that); you talk about welcoming diversity, but you live in the LEAST diverse place in the city. You say you would welcome this type of structure, while knowing this would NEVER happen in Noe Valley.
    You mention an interesting moral question – if they served their time in prison and gone thru rehab, shouldn’t they be given a second chance? My response is “yes”, but it has to be well thought out, and in my opinion this isn’t well thought out, but its just an opinion, and there is no need to make personal accusations because of an opinion. Maybe you want to send me to re-education camp, but until that day comes, you are just going to have deal with other people’s opinions, and not get so vicious when their opinion differs.
    By the way, you never answered my question – if you feel people who have ‘served their time and paid their debt to society’ (so to speak) should be given a second chance, would you welcome a building of 120 former pedophiles (or sex offenders in general) next to an elementary school? You won’t answer this question, because the remaining small rational part of your mind would say “No, I wouldn’t”, and would destroy your argument. Calling a group of people the “criminals/druggie” type is definitely raw, but it is also true. Having a large portion of my life around someone who was an alcoholic, I can say, with experience that they are never truly “cured”, its a battle they fight everyday. The recidivism rates speak for themselves (over 50% return to their previous ways within 2-3 years – that is 60 out of the 120 people in the building)…how do you ignore the facts?
    I said I wouldn’t post anymore on this topic, but when I see my name thrown out there, I just felt the need to respond. I do, however, feel somewhat vindicated by the fact that there are many people on this thread who feel this is also a bad idea, and that the prospective residents are not the “Pursuit of Happiness” type.
    So please, talk about the issue and leave the personal accusations out of the discussion.

  41. I just bought in 50 Lansing, thus the namesake. Can anyone tell me if there is anything the neighbourhood can do to stop that development from happening?

  42. I have talked about the issues. read my comments again.
    Bigotry can come in many forms, and is not just limited to racial bias.
    @sfre: thanks for answering your questions for me. others agree with me. Your “fear” question about a potential building housing former pedophiles next to an elementary school is already a moot point. There are laws in place that require those residents to not live within I believe 1000 feet of a school. Do your research and stop spreading fear and ignorance.
    If you don’t like your comments being commented upon here, perhaps you don’t post..just a thought.

  43. Sorry, Noearch, but your claim that you “would absolutely welcome this building into my neighborhood and next to me” rings a little hollow when it hasn’t happened (and most likely never will). It’s too easy to make a claim like that without backing it up.

  44. ah fishchum….you’re kinda digging yourself in a hole and it’s pretty deep.
    If you don’t want to believe what I said, then don’t..that building may or may not ever get built in my neighborhood. none of us can predict the future.
    But, as I said before, if and when it does come to my neighborhood, I would welcome it.

  45. To (hopefully) take this thread in a different direction: Where is Jamie? He probably knows more about what’s going on here than the majority of other posters.
    Also, How much is the budget, and where is the money coming from? Is the cash Daly extorted from ORH the financing source? How about operational and maintenance costs after it’s built?

  46. This is an emotional topic so the volatility is not suprising. That said, I don’t think there’s any room here for name-calling or for personally degrading others. Now that the after-school special part is over…
    It’s easy for people to get on their high horse and say “I would welcome a homeless shelter in my community.” And that’s totally fine to say. But it’s QUITE another thing to say that “YOU should welcome a homeless shelter into your neighborhood.” And frankly, I don’t think anyone who has a large portion of their net worth locked up in their home would realistically welcome a homeless shelter next door. One could potentially argue that homeless shelters do not have a negative effect on property values, but I certainly wouldn’t bet on that. I WOULD, however, bet they certainly do not INCREASE property values.
    But it’s not all about property values. Beyond the economic impact there is a deep, deep emotional impact and this is the root of NIMBY-ism and why NIMBY’s can be so vociferous, and sometimes unfortunately, so strong. You are changing a person’s HOME, messing with their routine, altering the way they live their life.
    So the real question is will this alter their life? Will adding a homeless shelter to the community change things up? I think ANYONE would be hard-pressed to say “no.”
    I’ve also been to various community meetings on this proposed shelter and the officials repeatedly stress the various measures they will employe to maintain safety. The very discussion and deep thinking that has been done on this topic HIGHLIGHTS that this is a real issue. This is not an arguable topic. People are RIGHTLY concerned about potential issues and any dismissal of these concerns is ignorant.
    Will there be more problems here than the status quo of a parking lot? Absolutelty. Will potential homebuyers be dissuaded from buying in the area and thus drag down property values? Probably. Will the city of San Franciso be effective in this solution? Sadly, probably not.
    What it all boils down to is that there is zero upside and a whole lot of downside for residents in this area.

  47. I lived in SF for about ten years, mostly in the Bayview, the least “desirable” sections of the Mission, and the lower Haight back when the old barrack-style projects were still up. I’m on this site because we’re likely to move back to SF, but I currently live in NYC two doors down from an SRO. It’s true that the people who live there don’t “graduate”..but that’s a good thing, because it means they become our neighbors and exchange greetings and small talk (even if we can’t always understand it!). It’s also true that the residents have supportive services available both in their building and also at a nearby community center. It’s also true that these folks have absolutely no negative impact on my perceived safety or the niceties of walking down my street and entering my front door…unlike when I was living at 22nd and Bryant and had to frequently clean urine and feces from my front steps and tell people sitting on my steps not to leave their cigarettes and beer cans behind. The SRO that’s two doors down from me here in NY is about the size of the proposed project being discussed, and with a similar population. Really, it can work without anyone in the neighborhood even noticing and without diminishing property values or quality of life. Of course, NYC is different than SF… but really, it can work. Those of you that live in the neighborhood and are concerned could consider working not to stop the development but instead working to ensure the supportive services and regulations regarding tenant behavior, etc, even the street facing design, are well thought through for the impact on the neighborhood.

  48. @screwed
    When the city spends money on plans, schematics, etc., you can nearly guarantee that it will get built. I guess the only thing that can happen now is the discussion about how many measures they can put in place to mitigate the risk (i.e. more police). However, the city doesn’t have a good track record of doing the best for its paying residents, so the RHNA will have to fight to get something. But only rarely seeing foot police officers in the city, I am not sure what will happen. Either way, being in a building without a door person or walking home late at night would be a concern of mine. But I hope for the best, and that my cynical view of society doesn’t materialize.
    From my understanding this was part of the Transbay Plan, so the concept of putting something into that neighborhood has been known for sometime, though it was never known what exactly would be there. If you just bought your place (I’m assuming 207 if you said you just bought there, which was very nice by the way), then this was known when you bought your place (provided your agent was good, and disclosed this to you).

  49. @stinkydingo: well said; Thank-you.
    The fear mongers continue to spread their word: What will happen, what will bring change can ONLY be bad, negative and bring down my “property values”.. This is really Nimybism at its’ very worst.
    We have to learn to live together in this small city in a way that allows for growth, change and acceptance of all human beings.

  50. My argument has nothing to do with home values. My argument has to do with the fact that this is an issue that the city of San Francisco has failed make any headway with time and time again. Why will this project be any different? Until SF starts implementing policies that have proven results, it’ll continue to throw money at the problem at the behest of the limousine liberals in this town. As long as it doesn’t affect their neighborhood, of course.

  51. Fischum, SF has housed thousands of formerly homeless people in the past few years– that is making headway. There need to be projects like this in every town and suburb in America to solve the homelessness problem– SF can’t do it alone. But SF’s efforts have greatly improved the lives of thousands of people.

  52. My hope is that my neighbors in Rincon Hill will make the folks living here feel welcomed and, with that, hopefully a good portion of the residents of this building will feel an obligation to be good neighbors and to participate in community events like the second Saturday of each month clean up of our (future) dog park at Beale and Bryant, like getting trained up for NERT (Neighborhood Emergency Response Team), and like picking up litter and putting it in the next public trash can (as I and many of my neighbors do now). I don’t expect things to run as smoothly as Mimi’s Delancey Street in South Beach where residents must earn their keep, but I also don’t expect a surge in crime as long as we make an effort to make them feel like they’re a welcome part of the developing community.
    On the building design itself, I am hoping my neighbors can persuade the Redevelopment Agency and the team creating the facility to repurpose 100% of the bottom floor frontage of Folsom Street to retail only because that’s what I expected to see in this design. Within those retail spaces, I would not want to see liquor stores that sell anything smaller than 16oz. bottles of booze, paycheck loan operations, nor other types of businesses that would just spell trouble for any neighborhood.
    With practically zero public green space, few restaurants that I’d consider affordable open on the weekends and later evenings, and dangerous pedestrian conditions, hopefully these additional residents can help push the City to return some of our millions of tax dollars to improve the public amenities in Rincon Hill instead of just mugging us – but that’s an entirely different fight.

  53. Dan is right – more towns need to help their own homeless. Until places like Danville and Palo Alto help out with buildings like this, the homeless will just come to SF because SF gives handouts to anyone and everyone. Another reason to come to SF is the complete lack of accountability; there are no consequences if people don’t even try to improve their lot, they can just “coast” on other people’s (i.e. my) tax dollars indefinitely…

  54. The recidivism rates speak for themselves (over 50% return to their previous ways within 2-3 years – that is 60 out of the 120 people in the building)…how do you ignore the facts?
    A. Not all (or even most) homeless folks in SF have spent time in prison (unless you have data showing otherwise).
    B. Places like this have an application process – at worst they should be able to figure out at least some of the folks that will fall back into their old ways and exclude them from the beginning.
    Your argument is like saying that 75% of high school juniors end up not finishing college, so 75% of Stanford’s class will never finish college.

  55. Well, here are some facts:
    A. This building will house ex-offenders (i.e. ex-criminals)
    B. This building will house ex-abusers (i.e. ex-druggies/alcoholics)
    C. This building will house other transients
    D. 54% of homeless persons in shelters report previous incarceration (and the people in this project will be coming from homeless shelter type places).
    On Average:
    “A national study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2002 revealed that in a three–year window, the recidivism rate for ex–offenders was 67%. Two–thirds of released prisoners are re–arrested and one–half are re–incarcerated within 3 years of release from prison. Over 60% of these offenses were committed with the first year of release.”
    With community based treatment model (i.e. something similar to the proposed project):
    “In a study conducted in 2000, researcher Ali Riker measured the impact that community based treatment models had upon recidivism for transitioning offenders who are homeless. The key finding of Riker’s demonstrates that community based treatment models that serve the homeless reduce recidivism from 71% down to 44%.”
    Again, in my opinion, a best case scenario of 44% is too high (though it is an improvement). I wish for the best, but live in reality. But at least you get rid of surface parking, right?

  56. @sfre:…yea, you are “cold”..well,you said we could call you that.
    you sound like a real estate agent worried about your sales and your commissions dropping in that area.
    I’m sorry you went back on your word not to comment here again..
    As a compassionate person here, like Jamie and others, I too will welcome this handsome, modern, safe, comfortable building to San Francisco, and hope it will give many of these “down and out” people a chance at a better life.

  57. To expound on my last post, if you do the math:
    120 units (assume 1 per unit, but not necessarily the case)
    65 people were previously incarcerated (using 54% rate from study, but could be higher if you refer to the first part of my last post, and many crimes do not result in incarceration)
    29 people will end up in prison (44% best case scenario from study)
    So out of 120 units (assuming only 120 people), 29 of them will commit crimes and end up in prison. Again this is a best case scenario, and (a) does not account for quality of life crimes that do not result in jail time, (b) does not account for drawing in other criminal activities into the area, and (c) does not account for crimes that were committed where the perp was not caught.
    29 people in your neighborhood with a near guarantee they will end up in prison. Not good for any neighborhood. And being that this will building will always be full, you will always have 29 would be criminals leaving behind the folks on Guy/Lansing/Metropolitan

  58. ^You’re still assuming that the folks in this building will be a completely average group of homeless folks, and that there will be no selection criteria, which is COMPLETELY false.
    Imagine this – 120 units.
    500 people apply, which match the criteria that you’re showing (54% previously incarcerated, etc). The best 120 are picked (0% incarcerated previously). Even if only mostly the best are picked, your numbers are going to be WAY off. You can’t use average numbers when SELECTION is part of the process.

  59. Seriously, I have NEVER read a post as cold, calculating and fear based as posted @ 4:42pm..This person has created numbers and statistics, as they say, that WILL result in an increase in crime and lowered quality of life for all those around this facility. They are completely driven to believe that crimes WILL be committed and that a specific number of the residents WILL end up in prison.
    That type of thought process, enveloped in pure conjecture and FEAR of the unknown truly scares me. I had no idea that some people think like that.
    However, I remain confident that this outstanding project will get built and contribute in a positive way to that neighborhood.

  60. @anon: The numbers I used in the example are real numbers. I find it shocking that you believe the SF Government will ensure that the “best 120 are picked”, and that you believe that 0% will have been previously incarcerated. Have you seen the selection criteria? Do you know the selection criteria for other supportive housing projects? Give me a break. The city is doing this because of money – its cheaper to pay for this type of housing, then to have the cops called, or have them in the hospital, etc. The studies I cited were from similar projects, and represented a longitudinal study of the residents in their similar supportive housing situation, and I assume that people also believed that the Government would also hand pick the 120 best, and they could have, but recidivism happens. Short story if you truly believe the politicians, then I have some magic beans to sell you.
    @noearch: My comments were cold, but they are not fear based, they are fact based. I can say with 100% certainly that as I type this message, a crime has been committed somewhere in the city today. I can also say with 100% certainty as I type this message, that a crime will be committed tomorrow. I wish it wasn’t the case, but it is. And I did not create any numbers or statistics, the data are publicly available.
    I ask those on SocketSite (I wish they would have a poll widget) – do you believe that Transbay Block 11A will be good or bad for the residents in the area? I could be in the minority, but I am willing to bet I am in the majority.
    Take a look at this article, everything happens with good intentions, but the reality is often times different:
    PS: I think in the end we will agree to disagree, but either way its not personal

  61. As a compassionate person here, like Jamie and others, I too will welcome this handsome, modern, safe, comfortable building to San Francisco
    I don’t see this project as fundamentally changing the neighborhood, and I would consider myself close to noearch in my beliefs. Still, I live in SOMA and I have to say: it is frustrating to hear people from other areas — including parts of town where construction of this type of facility would never even be proposed — lecture us about responsible urban living. It is disheartening that the only place expected to tolerate people in marginal circumstances is the urban core.

  62. @sfre: yea, we can agree to disagree..but quite frankly, I don’t like anything you have said, and because of that I really don’t like you either.
    You’re in it to stop this project to protect your real estate business and commissions, in the area. That’s what I believe.
    You completely ignored the very thoughtful and humane response that jamie offered up, in fact representing the Rincon Hill neighborhood.
    You’re off base, you’re wrong, and you’re mean spirited.

  63. SFRE – you gave no indication of where your numbers came from, other than vague references (how about a link, or the name of the actual study), so we have no way of knowing whether the buildings in those studies were anything like the building planned here.
    There are many local cases of buildings/projects done quite well when run by independent entities (non or for profit). There is no indication that this one would be any different. I would certainly agree with you if this project were going to be run by the SFHA, for instance, but that’s NOT the case. You’re continually comparing apples to dogs (oranges would be far too close).

  64. @noearch: I definitely agree with what jamie said, if I lived there I would suggest/do the same thing. I am not saying they shouldn’t be included in the neighborhood. I bet that by including them, as jamie suggested, it will help the situation out. And I agree with him that there should not be any liquor stores, paycheck cashing places, etc., in the retail spaces below (a pharmacy would be nice). Although I’m cold in my comments, I am not heartless.
    My point was simply by having that project there, greatly increases the risk of criminal activity in the immediate surrounding areas. Surely you can see that as logical presumption.
    And I feel bad that you would hate someone for having differing opinions. There is too much hate in the world, whether it be a needless war in Afghanistan (I so despise the current HYPE president for not ending that war), and needless threats of war in other parts of the world, that too hate someone because they are different than you or have a different opinion is just sad.

  65. I just heard that a formerly homeless friend has received permanent housing. I’m happy for her!
    Don’t worry, SFRE, she is not an ex-con or addict.

  66. I’m happy to report that there was really only one instance of a neighbor going down the road of “we don’t want this in our neighborhood at all” to a small degree at the Transbay CAC meeting this evening. Other public comments were appropriately focused on the design of the building and uses.
    It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the big issue that Rincon Hill neighbors spoke up about during the meeting was the design using a portion of the bottom floor Folsom Street frontage for non-retail use when the Transbay Redevelopment Area plan calls for contiguous bottom floor retail facing Folsom Street.
    As happens way too often, a City agency decided to compromise on a neighborhood plan without consulting the neighborhood one damn bit … and they should not be surprised at the outcome whatsoever – pissed off neighbors reminding the Redevelopment Agency that the community plan that took years of everybodys’ time and input to create stated the guideline that 100% of the frontage be retail, and this is the first project that will get built under the Transbay Redevelopment Area plan. Breaking the community plan’s guidelines without talking with the community about it and providing a rationale for why the frontage was needed for an alternative use is a recipe for neighborhood dissent every time.
    Although the Redevelopment Agency promised that this would be the only building with an exception on the retail requirement, that promise fell on frustrated ears of folks who give the city millions of dollars in property taxes and in return, the city tells us they cannot fix our sidewalks to make the area more walkable and safe … yet they have money to grind down and repave Harrison Street from The Embarcadero west to 8th Street ??? They say that there’s too many empty retail spaces in the area already. Well, when people don’t feel safe walking around the neighborhood, they get into their cars and go elsewhere to shop/eat/etc.
    It was stated that 20 new businesses have opened up on 6th Street … .for the love of God, if the socioeconomic demographics around 6th Street can support 20 businesses, I’d say today’s Rincon Hill residents could support 2-3 businesses at this site … and looking down the road when about 20,000 folks live east of 2nd Street between Market and Bryant and several million additional square footage of office space are added (not to mention that little Transbay Transit Center project nearby), I’m guessing businesses will be climbing over each others backs to get a retail space in the Rincon Hill neighborhood down the road.
    The takeaway was that there’ll be a community meeting where the rationale for using a portion (1/3rd) of the Folsom Street frontage for counseling/program services will be thoroughly explained to residents and the Transbay CAC will talk about it again next month.
    As an aside, Mike Grisso said that there’s some money from the projects that have gone up in the Transbay Redevelopment Area, and those funds will start to be used to widen the sidewalks along Folsom Street among other infrastructure improvements – yeah!! He also mentioned that there’ll be a job opening for an assistant project manager to help him out with his SoMa redevelopment projects – so if you know of any idealistic planner folks out there, tell him/her to keep an eye on the Redevelopment Agency’s job openings.

  67. Will there be more problems here than the status quo of a parking lot? Absolutelty. Will potential homebuyers be dissuaded from buying in the area and thus drag down property values? Probably. Will the city of San Franciso be effective in this solution? Sadly, probably not.
    What it all boils down to is that there is zero upside and a whole lot of downside for residents in this area.
    Zero upside?
    People and density can certainly create problems, regardless of what type of people they are. But people and density can also create a need for more shops and services, public transportation, open space, etc. So it’s not all bad. In fact, if these benefits outweigh the negatives, property values could actually rise. If that turns out to be the case, this development will be far better than an empty lot.
    If I lived next door, sure, I might be concerned, but I hope I’d have the good sense to view this development positively, like Jamie is doing.

  68. I’m happy to report…
    Jamie: thanks for bringing some original reporting to this discussion. I live not too far from this project, and I’m also bummed to hear about the lack of retail at street level. Please keep up the good work; there aren’t many venues for us to keep up-to-date with these kinds of issues.

  69. @joh: One can put on rose-colored glasses and see upside in anything one wants. But it’s still much more reasonable to expect downside vs. upside.
    @noearch: For your sake, I hope you take a long look at the mirror and recognize your own hypocrisy. You espouse open-mindedness, yet you belittle others and deem those with well-reasoned opinions that don’t happen to agree with yours “bigots.”
    @jamie: I applaud your diligence and your reporting. While not suprrised that the City made key mistakes, it is also not suprising that the retail was pulled given the economy. And while it’s great that 6th Street has so many businesses operating on it, the idea of re-creating anything like 6th Street on Folsom is probably not a picture you want to be creating.

  70. Also, the fact that you live in Noe Valley necessarily means that you aren’t going to be having a formerly homeless person living right next to you
    Are you so sure about that? I slept in my car for a few weeks after I dropped out of college and before my first paycheck at KFC kicked in, doesn’t that make me formerly homeless? The hatred for the poor regularly displayed by some posters on this site is pretty disgusting.

  71. I did a quick lookup of similar projects in the city and here are their locations:
    1. 670 Natoma
    2. 175 6th
    3. 516 O’Farrell
    4. 51 6th
    5. 387 Ellis
    6. 364 Eddy
    7. 125 6th
    8. 705 Natoma
    I would recommend driving by these locations to see a taste of what is coming to Rincon. Or you can go to Google Street view to see what I saw, which was people hanging out on the street, garbage in front of the building, etc. If you think that they will all be responsible neighbors, then you are kidding yourself.
    The Rincon Hill section of the city is one of the more expensive locations, why put people with little/no money in that location?

  72. There is also housing for formerly homeless people in NOPA and Mission Bay, as well as scattered across SOMA, and coming to the middle of Hayes Valley. The TL and 6th St had their problems long before new supportive housing was built there.

  73. Study: “The Impact of Supportive Housing on Neighborhood Crime Rates”
    This was a study done to determine what impact supportive housing would have to a neighborhood:
    Author’s Title: The Impact of Supportive Housing on Neighborhood Crime Rates
    Author(s) Name: George Galster, Kathryn Pettit, Anna Santiago, and Peter Tatian
    Year of Publication: 2002
    “Though often perceived to the contrary, residents of supportive housing facilities often do not commit crimes at a level higher than the population outside of these facilities, but may rather be the victims of crimes or attract criminals to the area, accounting for increases in crime.”
    “Though previous data suggested that the presence of supportive housing facilities serving various types of clients did not significantly alter property values, more recent research indicates that supportive housing facilities may negatively impact property values.”

  74. It seems so crazy that working folks that can’t “afford” SF are bascially told to find someplace cheaper and quit bitchin’ while the homeless and others on forms of public assistance are given financial incentives to stay. Is there even criteria to decide if someone is indigenous SF homeless?

  75. Well, the thing that gets me, is that I bust my asz to afford a place in a nice area, then “poof”, someone who is homeless or on public assistance, gets to move right in next door, without having to put in any effort other than being homeless. I just don’t get it. And the place I bought thinking was safe, is filled up with people who failed in life, and makes me rethink why I moved there in the first place.

  76. ^You can totally get in on the action too. Just spend a couple years living homeless in Golden Gate Park. Dunno about you, but I’ll stick to busting my asz.

  77. “screwed2”, there’s so may things wrong with your comment that I don’t know where to even begin, but the most important mistake you make is in assuming that people who are “homeless or on public assistance” are there because they don’t put in any effort. One reason a large number of people who are marginally homeless can’t get jobs, even in a normal economy, is because they don’t have a fixed address. A facility like the one proposed above co-located with supportive services would address that problem head-on, and allow a lot more people who, y’know, put in effort, to get off of the street.
    I think the conservatives in The City should pool their money and put an initiative on the next ballot that would require the State to kill, process, cook up and serve the homeless as bite-sized meals, Soylent Green style, so that people who “bust their asz” can feel validated in their righteousness.

  78. “It seems so crazy that working folks that can’t “afford” SF are bascially told to find someplace cheaper and quit bitchin’ while the homeless and others on forms of public assistance are given financial incentives to stay.”
    BRAVO FFS! How many times on this site have various people put down others who dare to bring up the high cost of housing and tell them that they should move out of the city. I was told on this site by some that I should move out of the city for complaining about the trash and homeless. Basically if you do not embrace the problems of San Francisco, some think you are not “urban” enough. Go Figure!?

  79. @Brahma: Personal attacks just highlight your ignorance, and we have been through that already on this post.
    As to his point on “failed in life”, I can sort of see where he is coming from, in the sense that they could not even provide the most basic necessities for themselves – food, shelter, clothing, and have needed someone else to do that for them for a very long time.
    There are tribal communities around the world with no education, where people without the resources this country provides have been able to take care of themselves, yet these folks, who live here can’t even do it. In that sense I can see how they failed in life.

  80. SFRE, my previous comment wasn’t a personal attack at all, and your characterization of it as such didn’t address at all the substance of what I wrote in response to “screwed2”, which was, there are indeed portions of “the homeless” who are trying to get off of the street and take care of themselves and they are the ones who can take advantage of a supportive housing facility to get off the street.
    The study you cited but didn’t provide a name for the refereed journal or conference proceeding or even a hyperlink for, looks like it doesn’t address this, just what the impact on property values in the surrounding area might be.

  81. Rumor has it 50 Guy Place sold after 1 set of open houses. Guess not everyone is bothered by this development. Just shows you that propertly priced condos continue to sell.

  82. @rumor: You assumed the buyer knew the details about the development.
    When I went to unit, the seller’s agent had some documents about the fact that there would be a building built behind 50 Guy Place, but only said it was part of the Transbay project.
    I have seen the property at 50 Guy Place and the unit, a lower unit which was nice, would be severely impacted by the development (since the views/privacy would be affected).
    My guess is that it sold out either (a) out of ignorance of the details of the development, or (b) due to the severe lack of 2/2 or 2/2.5 supply in today’s market.

  83. My thought on 50 Guy is that it is a terrific place – big and well layed out. At the right price in the 700s, it was going to sell quick and it did.
    I hope SFRE is not implying that the agent withheld critical info…

  84. I looked at 50 Guy on Mapjack – does anyone know what the story is with the building to the left of 55 Guy (looks like 88 Guy)- are those all rentals or condos?

  85. 52 Guy Place ( is also for sale now. Its like the owners there decided to sell their units one-by-one before the transitional shelter begins construction next Fall.
    You would think that there would be few buyers for a 700K+ condo that will lose its limited view entirely, but I guess that there is always a greater fool who doesn’t do their homework

  86. I was formerly homeless. In 1993 between June and August when I crashed at my sister’s between 2 girlfriends.
    Do I qualify for these?

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