Mission Rock Rendering - Retail

The San Francisco Giants have agreed to increase the share of ‘affordable housing’ to be included within their proposed 28-acre Mission Rock development to an unprecedented 40 percent in exchange for Supervisor Jane Kim withdrawing her proposed ballot measure which would have limited building heights on the waterfront site to 120 feet and required 50 percent of the units to be affordable.

If the project’s proposed 240-foot height limit is approved by voters in November, and then successfully approved by the City, 12 percent of Mission Rock’s 1,500 units of housing would be designated for households earning up to 55 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI); 21 percent for households earning up to 120 percent of the AMI; and 7 percent would be priced to be affordable to households earning up to 150 percent of the AMI.

The current AMI for an individual is $71,350 and $81,500 for a household of two.

In addition to 1,500 units of housing, the Giants’ plans for the redevelopment of AT&T Park’s Parking Lot A and the adjacent Pier 48 include 1.5 million square feet of office, retail and other commercial uses, eight acres of parks, plazas and open space, and a new Anchor Brewery on Pier 48.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by sassyboyfrisco

    Excellent news…goooooooooooooooooo housing!

    • Posted by Stop Driving

      When will there be enough subsidized housing? This garbage is driving working people out of San Francisco since you either have to be poor or a millionaire to afford to buy a studio here.

      • Posted by Dixon Hill

        Hey…poor people work too.

        By the way, it has been pointed-out many times in these comments that developers do not raise their prices due to affordable housing requirements. They are already charging as much as they think buyers will pay.

        This shows that the city can get a lot more from developers just by demanding it in exchange for project approval. Let’s have more of this.

        • Posted by Hunter

          Agreed! ^^

        • Posted by zig

          I wouldn’t be so sure this will always work. This is leased land from the Port

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          And it’s also been pointed out here that “affordable housing” in San Francisco means you “only” make in the upper 5 figures… the “affordable housing” being bandied about in SoMa and elsewhere is by no means Section 8 or SRO housing!

          [Editor’s Note: Earning $81K Qualifies One For Below Market Rate Housing In SF. And in the case of Mission Rock, individuals earning up to $107,000 per year will qualify for a share of the project’s ‘affordable housing.’]

          • Posted by Stop Driving

            Buying a BMR precludes the buyer from ever profiting from the purchase and in reality voids the whole point of buying in San Francisco. If that inventory were market rate, it would lower the cost of housing overall. It’s basic supply & demand. Many buyers don’t want to participate in the BMR scheme and would rather have slightly cheaper market rate housing to purchase and profit from.

          • Posted by Jake

            SF BMR resale rules do not preclude the original buyer from profiting on the resale. That is not how it works. The guidelines for pricing a resale of a BMR in SF are intended to ensure that the resale price is still affordable, but they do not and are not intended to preclude profit. There are more people that want to participate in the BMR program than there are housing units available.

          • Posted by frog

            There will always be a near infinite number of people willing to pay less for something than it’s worth. A waiting list for BMR housing doesn’t really show anything. The BMR program substitutes cash supply and demand for a lottery based supply and demand (basically a bread line.) It’s a lottery in which there is a large step function (you either win the house or you don’t).

            It’s this step function that scares me because it seems like horrible policy to have clear government mandated winners and losers.

          • Posted by Jake

            There isn’t anything like a ‘near infinite number of people’ queuing for the SF BMR program. And buck up and face the reality: government picks winners and losers all the time. Does it in real estate and plenty of other industries and purchases. Some are narrowly targeted, like how Denny Hastert made a nice return after a federal hwy project was done near his land in Illinois. And some are broadly targeted, like mortgage interest deduction and prop 13.

            How many millions has Mitt Romney saved by paying a lower tax rate than most of the people that qualify for the SF BMR program? Probably more than enough to pay for his mansion in so cal.

          • Posted by Stop Driving

            From the City’s BMR website (you’re not going to sell at a market rate and will barely see a profit):

            A BMR unit will be resold at a restricted affordable price to a household that meets the first-time homebuyer and income qualifications for the program and for the particular unit. New BMR units will be repriced according to change in the median income from the time of the current owner’s purchase to the time of sale. Specific repricing methods vary by development per the Planning Approval and applicable Procedures Manual for each unit.

            The price of a BMR unit at resale is not guaranteed to exceed the initial purchase price of the unit. However, most long term BMR owners tend to see some appreciation on their units upon resale. Appreciation gained on a BMR unit upon resale belongs to the BMR owner minus all loans, closing costs, and any shared appreciation due from a City downpayment assistance loan.

        • Posted by Bobby Mucho

          Poor people work, but statistically, very rarely buy homes. And sure, leaning on developers may result in getting more of what we / the city wants, but ultimately, it requires a bit of reciprocation. I think it works when the two parties work together, rather than demand this or that.

        • Posted by sfcommie

          It’s true that the builders will charge what the market will bear. But it is also true that builders won’t build if they aren’t profitable. It may not be obvious in this hot market, but that means they will build less when the market slows down and they have less pricing power. And you know what less housing means for the price.

          • Posted by soccermom

            Unfortunately, some people don’t know what “less housing mean[s] for the price.”

            Ask David Campos.

          • Posted by two beers

            “And you know what less housing means for the price.”

            Do you have any data that show adding market rate housing to a market has lowered the cost of housing in that market?

          • Posted by sfcommie

            BMR is a form of tax, an added cost, to the builders. Less BMR, or more market rate housing, therefore means lower cost. You don’t need data to prove that, do you?

          • Posted by soccermom

            Regarding supply and demand, I would offer the following: Apparently lots of housing is and has been built in Washington DC and rents there are falling. The vacancy and rent rate primary source is apparently RBI.

            Alternatively, see just about any town in the Central Valley (Sacramento etc.) where land does not constrain buildable area, so that as the population grows, housing grows.

            Or Houston?
            Or Detroit? (more houses than people)

      • Posted by Dixon Hill

        Also, affordable housing helps a lot of middle/moderate income folks…as commenters here are frequently complaining about. This is really good news for keeping San Francisco open to people of varying income levels.

  2. Posted by Orland

    This would seem to almost assure voter approval of the need to lift the height applicable restrictions. What is not mentioned is that Agnos is also an active supporter meaning it is unlikely there will be much organized opposition beyond some disgruntled PH’ers. Peskin? Grolinger?

    As far as the housing component, hopefully something similar can be worked out to forestall any building moratorium in the Mission and possibly elsewhere going to ballot.

  3. Posted by Frisco

    Sadly, this still won’t appease the “no wall on the waterfront” protests.

  4. Posted by 4th Gen SFer

    On 48 they’re complaining that “it’s not enough”. Don’t give in developers. Have a take it or leave it attitude.

    • Posted by ElitistPig

      People here come off as so entitled. If you can’t afford to live in San Francisco… don’t live in San Francisco. There are a lot of nice places to live and it isn’t the end of the world if you have to take BART, that’s what it’s there for.

      • Posted by anon

        Exactly – I could not have said it better myself!

        I can’t afford a new Lamborghini at the moment, but I demand an affordable Lamborghini now! Because that’s just what I want. I don’t feel like working harder and getting promoted, I just want things for cheap.

        • Posted by Seriously

          Woooowww… soooo San Francisco is a rich people only zone? No consideration for lifetime residents who work their asses off trying to stay afloat? No room for people who work two jobs trying to support a family? That’s cold man.
          And if you don’t see the difference between a Lamborghini and a roof over your head you’ve got some serious problems. That’s a terrible analogy.

          BUT POOR PEOPLE, AMIRITE? WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE TRYING TO HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE. TO THE SLUMS WITH THEM ALL. Except when we need them to serve us our coffee and clean up our messes. Then they can spend two hours and a lot of their limited means on public transit to come work those minimum wage jobs for us. BUT DON’T YOU DARE PAY THEM A DECENT WAGE.

      • Posted by Orland

        Same tired old saw. You’d think that it would go without asserting after the 2,173rd time.

  5. Posted by don

    It’s not exactly elitist to want to live close to your low-wage job (and there are plenty of them in SF, providing needed services to more highly paid residents and workers) because you can’t afford the cost of transit. The inner East Bay is increasingly unaffordable too (and experiencing its own housing shortage), and a daily BART commute from Pittsburg to SF is in the neighborhood of 250 bucks a month. As a self-described elitist pig, you might say that’s not a frightening chunk out of most budgets, but you’d be wrong.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Of course there’s nothing wrong with people wanting to have a short commute, or to live in and enjoy the inner city. But that doesn’t mean the City has to make it happen, or even that it can happen.

      Do the doormen and baristas of New York who work in the Upper East Side live in the Upper East Side? No. Part of the problem here is that San Francisco is so geographically small – no one in NYC thinks twice about the fact that doormen and baristas live in Queens or Brooklyn (and I don’t mean Williamsburg…), but to travel a similar distance here puts people part-way down the Peninsula, El Cerrito, or San Leandro. Yet somehow here, there’s a significant number of people who think that residential need should be met right here in SoMa or Mission Bay itself. That’s just not realistic.

      • Posted by jlasf

        I was thinking of the NYC situation, too. Do they have subsidized housing in Manhattan?

        How about increasing ferries to Vallejo and have subsidized fares? That’s a whole city that needs more people.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          That’s a very interesting notion – would the same amount of money spent subsidizing high-speed ferries to Vallejo actually result in more people having good housing, than spending the same amount subsidizing “affordable housing” right in S.F. Would love to see that studied… unfortunately with our governmental balkanization in the Bay Area, even if the numbers made sense, it would never be put into practice.

        • Posted by don

          Yes, of course Manhattan has subsidized housing; Google David Adjaye / Sugar Hill for a well-publicized recent example. And please don’t anyone imagine low-wage Manhattan workers living in Queens is equivalent to living in Vallejo or Pittsburg (or further and even less served by transit) and commuting to SF. An unlimited-use 30-day Metrocard costs around a hundred bucks; as I said, Pittsburg to SF is about 2.5 times that for a month, and God help you if you need Muni on top of it.

          And just my opinion, but how sad if SF’s fate is to become the Upper East Side, the most boring and homogenized neighborhood in all of Manhattan.

          • Posted by Orland

            While recently there we took a circumnavigation architectural boat tour of the island. The extent of the amount of public housing was amazing.

            BTW I highly recommend it if there though it was probably more interesting from a geographic standpoint than architecturally.

        • Posted by Orland

          Now you’re for social engineering?

          • Posted by two beers

            Gentrification _is_ social engineering.

          • Posted by Orland

            So is the “ghetto building” being bandied about here.

          • Posted by don

            Me, you mean? “For” social engineering? Not sure what you’re talking about, unless this a nod to the unfortunately common libertarian assertion that social engineering doesn’t exist in a “free market”. Social engineering has existed since the dawn of civilization in all cultures. They might as well be synonymous.

          • Posted by Orland

            No, I was responding to jlasf’s suggestion that we repopulate Vallejo with SF’S low earner workers.

      • Posted by zig

        yes but they have vastly superior public transportation to our system

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          oh, absolutely… was just there this weekend, and it’s amazing how well you can get around, to any point.

          • Posted by Orland

            Funny, I was there several weeks ago for which I downloaded an NYC subway app which I’ve left on my device. Keep getting multiple “poor service” alerts day and night though everything was adequate for our purposes while there.

          • Posted by zig

            I think the door to door commute there is much better. In the Bay area there is first and last mile issues (i.e. driving to BART and then BART not being near the office) for a lot of people

      • Posted by zig

        There is also a mismatch in this area between the needed multi-family dense housing and what is provided which is all SFHs. The result is the outer neighborhoods in SF and the north Peninsula are increasingly full of SFHs full of illegal housing units in garages and people living in dinning rooms.

      • Posted by Orland

        No, certainly “the City doesn’t have to make it happen.”

        But equally certainly you would expect any democratic institution responsive to its electorate’s desires to at least pursue policies to facilitate it. Or, are their votes somehow less worthy to determine such questions than those more “deserving” to live in the City based upon financial ability to afford market prices?

    • Posted by ElitistPig

      So spending $250 a month is unreasonable to pay half (?) the rents of SF? You can’t find a place for $250 less than SF’s rents, which are obscene? Why is everyone entitled to live wherever they want despite the prices? If you feel entitled to a Ferrari, but you can only afford a Honda Civic, do you go to the Ferrari dealership and yell at them until thet sell you a Ferrari for the price of a Civic?

      • Posted by two beers

        Housing is a necessity, and should be a right.

        Last I looked, Ferrari’s weren’t a necessity.

        • Posted by frog

          Housing is necessary. Housing in one of the most expensive places in the country is an extravagance.

          I think many people who comment on here are confused why that’s so hard to grasp. There are thousands of housing units in the bay area cheaper than anything in SF. Just from a social justice point of view, we can build many living units in Hayward for the price of one here, in other words, building in Hayward will help many more people. There’s still a train that goes direct to SF or Berkeley or wherever the jobs are.

          Why do you insist on helping fewer people than we can?

          • Posted by zig

            Actually we really can’t because of restrictive zoning. SF and the sounding areas would still be expensive but there would be way more multi-family housing with less “planning”

      • Posted by don

        If SF’s rents are obscene, what, really, does $250 less than obscene do for you at fifteen an hour?

  6. Posted by soccermom

    It’s probably a more delicate issue for the Giants organization than for real developers. After all, if they charge fair rent for the housing, will there be enough left over in tenants pockets to be extracted at the ticket window to see some overpaid dudes playing sports? Don’t get me wrong, I love the Giants(!), but the challenge with defending their economics is that their economics are pretty indefensible, minus a shallow veneer of city pride.

    The problem is that it starts to set the affordable housing bar unrealistically high for people investing capital who don’t have revenue streams from $10 draft beers to fall back on…

    • Posted by Dixon Hill

      @soccermom–the giants development is not “subsidized” by a their baseball operations. It is it’s own profit center and has to stand on its own. Just like any other developer.

      • Posted by soccermom

        Great info! What’s the ownership structure of the Giants baseball organization vs. the real estate development part? How are they different?

    • Posted by Fishchum

      How exactly are the Giants players overpaid?

      • Posted by Orland

        Must not understand the concept of “supply and demand.”

      • Posted by zig

        Seriously. It does not get much more meritocratic than professional sports. If you are one say the 400th best baseball player on the planet you are going to get paid. And if you are one of the top 20 you are really going to get paid

  7. Posted by BobN

    They’re probably willing to go with any plan to avoid providing sufficient parking for the stadium.

  8. Posted by jamesjr

    Unfortunately, this will be seen as a victory for Kim when it’s just extortion, plain and simple.

    • Posted by Orland

      It’s politics. Give and take. The Giants want the right to develop the Port’s land and make a slew of money in the process. They know the price in exchange worth it to them. The City gets valuable housing. What the hell is wrong with that? Only a chump would worry about “extortion.”

      • Posted by Anon12

        Money is directed towards a few lottery winners instead of into city coffers. I.e. the port could make more money by selling it at market value. Money does not grow on trees

        • Posted by Orland

          There’s certainly more to Life (and a city ) than money.

      • Posted by modernedwardian

        agreed. the giants also want to prohibit others from developing the site and perhaps depreciating their assets. not sure in this case if the money to be made was the only thing in play here.

        my brothers and I (and our spouses) bought the home next my parents so that others couldn’t control the development and disturb them in their late 70’s. a little down, the rent covers costs, and it stays a cottage instead of a McMansion. guess that makes me – at least temporarily – a NIMBY?

    • Posted by sfcommie

      If there were such a thing as a good time to extort, this must be it. Builders are willing make deals because there still are plenty of profits. It could well be the case of the city making hay while the sun is out. The problem is when the market returns to a more normal state. Then this type of “extortion” will discourage builders from building, thereby reducing the housing supply and raise the price.

  9. Posted by Stater of the Obvious

    I read with great interest the story in today’s paper about how, in the wee small hours, behind closed doors, the Giants cut a deal with project opponents to avoid a contentious ballot measure threatening their waterfront housing development plans. When the voters of San Francisco passed Proposition B last year, I bet they thought it would give them some say in how the waterfront would be developed; instead we have 4am deals being cut between developers, former mayors and ballpark union bosses where they all get a little something something.

    So remember voters, the next time you hand over $15 for a beer at a ballgame and ask yourself “why so expensive?”, elections are not always what they seem but they always have consequences.

    • Posted by R

      Do you understand what a representative democracy is?

    • Posted by Orland

      They will have their say at the polls next November. Expect them to overwhelming endorse this “backroom deal” as in the City’s best interests.

  10. Posted by Dave

    This is a potential historic precedent for affordable housing advocates.

    If the Giants can develop a project with 40% set-aside for affordable housing and still make buck then why not other developers?

    • Posted by modernedwardian

      perhaps because other developers will not be building 1500 units at once? or that other developers won’t be bundling 1.5MM feet of commercial space on the water and near the ballpark into their projects? or that other developers won’t be given height variances for their projects?

      I’m all for middle class housing and applaud what appears to be as much of a change in what qualifies as BMR as anything else. I also applaud any effort by the city to actually lower development costs and extract as much as they can from privatizing government owned assets.

      still 88% of these units could still end up in the hands of households making more then the AMI, which will likely raise the AMI, which sounds a lot like what some call gentrification. and aren’t these rentals? built after 1978? so not subject to rent control AND means tested. ironic, no?

    • Posted by Orland

      A good mix for a project of this size and location.

      Different formulae may work for others. At least, it’s open-minded and innovative thinking which is what we need to meet what has become a true civic crisis damaging the City’s fabric on many levels not the least of which is the animosity that has grown up between classes and communities.

  11. Posted by Sam

    40% BMR is too much subsidized housing. The rest of us will bear the burden one way or another. This continues the war on the middle class. Jane Kim has done more harm to SOMA than anyone else. It’s a shame that the Giants gave in to this extortion.

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      We should have a law that BMR should pay the same property tax as market rate housing. Basically, each BMR should have 2 prices. One price is far market price which is used to calculate tax. Another price is a below market price the low income buyer will pay. This way, city gets its fair property tax. The BMR buyer or rent still enjoy the subsidized price.

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      If Jane Kim is not doing what SOMA residents want, why is she re-elected? Do SOMA residents vote at all?

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