915 Minna Street Site

Approved for development last month and positioned for a quick start, Equity Community Builders’ Western SoMa parcel and plans for a four-story development, with 46 residential units over parking for 21 cars, to rise on the parking lot at 915 Minna Street are now on the market rather than preparing to break ground.

The development site stretches from Minna to (944) Natoma. And as approved, the 46 units would average 540 square feet apiece, designed to target “the key area demographic: Millennial tech workers,” according to the offering memorandum which is now making the rounds.

915 Minna Rendering

On a related note, the period within which the City’s approval for the project could have been appealed expired two days ago.

37 thoughts on “Developer Looking to Cash Out Rather Than Build in Western SoMa”
  1. This is the latest in a string of these entitled projects being put on the market by the developer. I assume it no longer pencils out for the developer? Based on revised projections?

  2. the entire western SOMA plan should be upzoned to 15 floors. this building is a waste of space

    1. Amen. 8-10 fl on the traffic corridors (every street but alleys); keep alley network low rise. SOMA is an acronym, not a neighborhood.

    2. How would you accommodate 15 floor structures along the length of soma alleys? I mean, honestly, are you serious?

      1. They’re not serious, but only continue to inflame the conversation with “ever higher, ever denser”.

        1. no, i am quite serious. Western SOMA is walking distance to downtown and FIDI core, and is <1 mile to the freeway. it has zero character now, and is a perfect place for a rebuilding a mid-rise neighborhood. 15 floors is not a tower.

          1. Have you seen the alleys? I mean how, physically, can they accommodate 15 floor structures on both sides of the alley the entire length??

        1. do you honestly think 4 floors in the middle of the urban core is reasonable. For the outer areas of SF like Noe, Sunset, Richmond , yes, but not here in the most urban of the urban core

          1. I do agree. I went to the ball game tonight and was looking around, it’s pretty amazing how low these waterfront buildings are compared to other cities.

          2. Noe is more autre than outer. Using the ‘distance from city hall measure’, Noe and the Inner Richmond are closer to SF City Hall than the Empire State Building is to NYC City Hall. And Rockefeller Center is about the same distance as 19th Ave at either Judah or Geary.

            For the true ‘build it taller’ skyscraperati, all of SF is in play. And even for the reasonable middleheightists with their timid ‘think of the alleyways’ caution, outer NYC, aka The Bronx, is twice the density of SF. As is Brooklyn.

            915 Minna is not “the middle of the urban core”. It is where I park for free when I visit the fine establishments of the nearby section of Mission St. We have our suburban freedoms. What we don’t have is a subway grid to support a high-density city. We don’t even have a vague vision-plan, or a funding source, or the votes to get either.

            I guess after we do and after we build the BART to the sea line under Geary and Sloat, then we can move all the SROs to the Great Highway, all of which as close to SF City Hall as the many projects of East Harlem are to NYC City Hall. Or perhaps to South San Francisco, which is about as ‘outer’ as Polo Grounds Towers. Afterall, “it’s pretty amazing how low these waterfront buildings are compared to other cities.” .

            All the ‘not tall enough’ big thinkers just aren’t thinking big enough. Or deep enough, as in subways.

  3. Noticing these more and more. But then again, there are plenty of people who sell properties solely after the entitlements are done.

  4. I’ve talked to developers about this. Many of them are simply tired of the fight, can take 5, 10, sometimes 20 years to get to the point where you can break ground. They want to get out and not fight anymore.

  5. Without a price context, this doesn’t tell us very much.

    Every developer of every speculative project would rationally sell pre-construction if profits could be accelerated.

    Are they puking it at a low price? Running it up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes?

    It doesn’t take much to get a real estate agent to scurry around and put together a listing deck.

  6. Developers and business owners are forward looking when it comes to their investments. The ever increasing amount of government regulations, NIMBYism, social engineering, death by a thousand cuts type taxes, increasing crime and lower quality of life, and increasing wages ALL point to one direction: out. Now isn’t the time to invest here. Even when recession comes and real estate prices go down, those same government policies in play will affect growth and return.

    1. You have a good point in general. But wasn’t this particular project past all of that. With the EIR exemption and being past the point of appeals?

    2. But almost all those factors you point out are *what* contribute to ever increasing SF property values! Yes we’re probs at/close to a top for this cycle, but if one finds a deal with value added, it can still be a wise investment. Get whatever you can in SF and hang on to it. The nutty gov regs, nimbyism, social engineering and crazy cost to build will all be positive attributes towards future appreciation. Rock on!

    1. Interesting article. In a related note – how long before Microsoft begins transferring LinkedIn work groups (jobs) out of the SV and SF. Or cut back those jobs.

        1. If the Linked in acquisition goes through it will be far larger than anything MSFT has done before, let alone in the bay area.

          I don’t think that any of their previous top five acquisitions were in the bay area. And two of those five resulted in near total write downs (Nokia and aQuantive).

          There’s keeping a small development team happy where they are and then there’s the near 10k headcount of Linked in.

          1. Yes. Over time I’d think there will be a temptation to move some of that head count to a less expensive area in which to do business. BTW, Washington state has no income tax.

            As to teams being happy where they are – that is a factor. But the NW is a very attractive area for millennials too. I’d guess more than a few Bay Area LinkedIn workers see this as an opportunity to eventually transfer out of the Bay Area.

          2. There is a contingent of people who want to move to Vancouver, WA which has no state income tax, and is close enough to the Oregon border where there is no sales tax. I’ve visited the town decades ago and it didn’t strike me as being spectacular, but homes were very inexpensive.

          3. Vancouver is not great, but its just across the Columbia river from Portland which is a beautiful city. A lot of people who retire to the Portland area choose the Washington state side as there is no income tax and the cost of living is less in Portland. Some areas just outside Vancouver near the Salmon river (but still in Washington) are quite beautiful.

            Housing is more expensive in the Seattle/Redmond area than Portland/Vancouver but still a lot less than here in the Bay Area. Being able to purchase a home is one reason I’m guessing more than a few LinkedIn workers are contemplating the possibilities this acquisition may open up for them.

          4. Re: moving away from Silicon Valley for lower cost of living, better commute, more house, work-life balance, etc., I imagine it’s both a badge and a bragging right when you can “make it” in the big city? While this view may be mis-guided or shallow, I think there is significantly more cache (for career and mating) when you tell strangers outside of Tech/Finance that you live and work in SF/NYC.

          5. At some point though, post mating, people switch from ‘faking it’ to ‘making it’ and the cachet fades and reality sets in.

          6. Exactly. My buddy was turning 30 an living with two room mates. Living as he did in college as he could not afford otherwise. And he was a high-paid techy but did not have near enough cash to purchase his own place.

            Like you say, at some point many/most turn away from faking it to making it – at least trying to make it.

          7. I dunno, I think most LinkedIn emps prefer staying here rather than settling for Seattle. (Hey that rhymes.) yea a few that can’t cut it here will want to cut bait with the wifey for more affordable grounds, but most prefer to make it in the premier Bay Area. Let’s face it, Seattle is pretty second rate compared to ess eff. Yeah been there several times. Pretty white, kinda two dimensional, crappy weather. Sure, better than fly over states, but meh compared to here. It’s all relative, but when you can make it in the best area, why fake it?

          8. I think you’ve got it backwards. Once you’ve been annexed into the Microsoft empire, Redmond is your Rome. And it’s not the slackers who will set their sights on Rome. And especially given that LNKD is losing $1.30/share it would be corporate political suicide for LNKD management to send their worst and dullest up to Redmond.

          9. Agree with anon. If nothing else I’d expect force reductions at LinkedIn and consolidation of their pricey SF location into space freed up in the South Bay if there are force reductions there. The whole Howard Street building was ill-conceived but done so at a time when tech was booming and money was being thrown around as if there were no tomorrow.

            In the long-term, I will be surprised if LinkedIn does not migrate slowly to the NW.

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