As we first reported yesterday, San Francisco’s City Attorney is investigating an illegal short-term rental scheme in which 23 apartments in the first two phases of Trinity Place, including 16 units under permanent rent control in the 1188 Mission Street building, were all rented to the same person who appears to have been unlawfully renting the units on a nightly basis, operating as the ‘SOMA Suites Hotel.’

For those who have been wondering, here’s the complete list of the 23 apartments in question, all of which were concurrently rented to Catherine Zhang:

1188 Mission Street #1307
1188 Mission Street #1312
1188 Mission Street #1315
1188 Mission Street #1317
1188 Mission Street #1406
1188 Mission Street #1519
1188 Mission Street #1614
1188 Mission Street #1710
1188 Mission Street #1904
1188 Mission Street #1906
1188 Mission Street #2104
1188 Mission Street #2108
1188 Mission Street #2114
1188 Mission Street #2304
1188 Mission Street #2310
1188 Mission Street #2315
1190 Mission Street #2010
1190 Mission Street #2014
1190 Mission Street #2106
1190 Mission Street #2112
1190 Mission Street #2214
1190 Mission Street #2218
1190 Mission Street #2222

From the City Attorney in a letter to Trinity Place developer, Angelo Sangiacomo, mailed Wednesday:

“In sum, it appears that you directly or through your agents may have leased at least 16 units that were required to be rent controlled Replacement Units, and at least seven other residential units, to the same person operating a short-term rental service. You are doubtless aware that tourist accommodations are not among the benefits that the Development Agreement, which allowed you to proceed with the Trinity Plaza Development Project, sought to confer upon the public. In the midst of San Francisco’s current housing crisis, the potential loss of rent controlled and residential units through unilateral action presents very serious issues for the City.”

The City Attorney is requesting all contracts, leases and other information detailing the financial relationships between Sangiacomo’s business interests and Ms. Zhang/LUMI Worldwide, along with a written explanation of what has transpired and a commitment to immediately remedy any wrongdoing.

12 thoughts on “The Trinity Place Twenty-Three”
  1. I wonder if Sangiacomo may be made personally liable. Although I am sure it is some “rogue” leasing agent that will be pinned to take the grunt of the blame, but that can only go so far. You don’t accidentally lease out 23 units under rent control to the same person.

    1. Is there anything in the rent control ordinance that prohibits renting multiple units to a single individual? If not, then it would seem that the only recourse for the city would be if he knew this was to be used for short term rentals and in some way was involved in this violation.

      1. A tenant who rents 23 separate units, none of which are occupied by that tenant, is likely not subject to rent control. It’s a commercial tenancy and not consistent with the aim of the development deal which was to preserve the existing affordable housing that was demolished on that site.

    1. You have to look at this in context. Trinity received permission to demolish existing rent controlled housing on the condition that they would maintain a certain number of units in the new buildings as though they were subject to the SF rent control ordinance (which they technically aren’t because built post-1979). Renting 16 units to one person, for any purpose, is not consistent with the promises they made and will have implications for future development deals. Fool me once…

      Look at the Parkmerced deal, tenant advocates warned that the developer wouldn’t hold their promise and build new housing Per the development agreement, and much like the ParkMerced deal, Trinity agreed to replace a certain # of demolished rent controlled units

      1. Trinity agreed to build 3xx RC units only because they got extra # of units for the site beyond what was zoned => those RC units they abolished. While creating those extra RC units, they only agreed to house about 200 of those remaining tenants with the low, low rent (but getting about 150 extra units above zoning that they could then rent at market (albeit, limited by RC)).

        Credit Chris Daly with a “win” for blowing the zoning envelope. Credit A Sangiancomo with a win at negotiating.

  2. Appears to be some pretty squishy language from the city attorney here…”appears”, “may have”, “potential loss”, “serious issues”.

    Let the lawsuits begin. In the meantime 23 units are now in limbo and not available to anyone looking for housing. Good way to fix a housing crises…way to go there SF!

  3. I looked at the video — the units don’t look that exciting to be a substitute hotel room. More importantly, they don’t look like they make great apartments either, rent control or otherwise.

    Fighting to pay rent control rents for this place is something I would not do.

    What are the damages prayed for in the complaint again?

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