Vol. 1 No. 3

October 1, 1996

New City Renaissance Edited by Ed Campaņa


Transbay, Mission Bay, Pacific Bell Park and Other Visions of the Community!


Preamble . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Herb Caen Promenade 1

Mission Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Transbay 20/20 2

Pacific Bell Park 3

Yerba Buena Gardens 3

The Gap Headquarters Office Building 3

Rincon Point- South Beach 3

Market Trends and Activities 4



This edition of What's Shakin' will focus on the past, present but mostly future plans for this community. Yerba Buena Gardens was decades in the making and it's not finished yet. Transbay 20/20 has reached a point of being presented to the City Departments but it may be twenty years to its completion. I believe that residents of this community should be aware of what is shaping their neighborhood so that they can be a proactive part of its development.

One of the reasons I enjoy selling real estate in this area is because it is one of the most dynamic markets in the City. It is my belief that property owners should have an overall view of this dynamic in the community. Not just how your home value compares with someone else's but what the movers and shakers have in mind for your place of business, residence and recreation. I hope you find this news letter informative or at least a reminder of what you already know.

The next addition will focus on all the Sales for 1996 in this area. You will find that prices have stabilized and are moving upward. 1997 should be a brisk year in the real estate market in both the new and resale market.

Herb Caen Promenade!

Who da thunk that a Texan could name a San Francisco Street after a guy from Chico or Sacramento. What Majesty!

Mr. Caen isn't the first out of towner or journalist to have a SOMA venue named after him. Samuel Brannan came to Yerba Buena around 1846 and started a newspaper called The California Star. Edward Gilbert came on the scene in about 1847 and was the editor of the Alta California. He was killed in a duel at the age of thirty over an editorial he wrote!

My personal favorite is Lapu Lapu, a Filipino leader who killed Magellan when he landed in the Philippines in 1521. The name of the street was changed from O'Doul (Yankee Pitcher) Lane. If you have never visited Lapu Lapu, it is behind Museum Parc. What a City! (Info courtesy of CHS) Sorry to have digressed from the point but I hoped you enjoyed the trivia.

The Embarcadero Plaza has moved one step closer to a reality with the Mayor's recent tentative support for the $35,000,000 plan. The area under consideration is that area now occupied by parked cars and a weekend farmers market in front of the Ferry Building. The plan calls for two three-lane roadways separated by the plaza with two towers each bisecting the North and South wings of the Ferry Building. The Towers will have steps at their base for sitting. The site is seen as a place for public events, not unlike the Herb Caen Day Event. The most innovative facet of the plaza will be the 15 feet wide stripes of alternating grey and black granite covering the surface of the plaza. The concept is scheduled to go before the full Board of Supervisors on October 28.

Mission Bay

What started as a 313-acre transformation project, pitched as a 'City within the City' with it's own firehouse and police station, has finally come to earth. The Mayor had made campaign promises about getting the Mission Bay concept closer to reality but according to a Chronicle article of March 25, 1996, Mission Bay was still iffy. That a difference six months makes! In recent articles in both our local papers, Mayor Brown, Rudy Nothenberg and Nelson Rising, Catellus President and a huge supporting cast have come up with a 'doable' Mission Bay Plan. Pre-election Mayor Brown said he would provide the 'political will' to move the project forward. You have to like this guy (a little). The plan will take a decade to unfold completely. If all goes will, the first phase will be in place by the year 2000. Three bodies must give their imprimatur to the plan before its implementation becomes a reality: The Planning Commission, the Redevelopment Commission and the Board of Supervisors.

The plan as proposed will encompass'65 acres bounded by Sixth Street, Third Street, Townsend Street, and the China Basin Channel. The China Basin Building will be excluded and the recreational vehicle lot will be closed.' (SF Examiner, Rachael Gordon, 10-1-96) Six months ago the plan was revived with 2,200 residential units, while the current plan is aiming at up to 3,000 residential units. The $500,000,000 project will also involve open space, theater, sports bars and other retail space aimed at the Ball Park crowd.

The original plan had Catellus providing police and fire stations and up-front funds for toxic clean-up. Current plans do not include these conditions. Most recently the Mayor has been trying to seduce UCSF into putting their 120,000 square foot research laboratory on the southern boarder of the site. The hope is that UCSF will commit to building their second campus at this location as well. Aren't politics grand?

Transbay 20/20

As I wrote in the last newsletter, a project is brewing in the South of Market. The label attached to the Redevelopment Agency's planning process is Transbay 20/20. There were and still are a number of players involved in the process, many of whom are your neighbors but most of whom have vested business interests in the development of the area.

Transbay 20/20 is a dream, a vision, a concept in Urban Planning. The concept considers all area micro interests and attempts to absorb most of what is currently working and progressing, into a synergistic whole. Wow does that sound like I've been attending too many of these Community meetings? Well maybe I have but I do place much value in planning. Whether it's your life, your job or your community, if you plan to achieve your goals, a plan is required.

The process for the development and movement of this vision toward reality has been given the title of Transbay 20/20. However, the name, like the elements of this concept are not etched in stone. What would you call this area? As a part of the conceptual plan, subareas within the larger district have been identified as Signature Sites: South Park, Fremont Square, Natoma Green, Rincon Hill, Essex Green. These sites will be the focal points for different activities which will be discussed in the latter part of this article.

The overall concept of land use addresses six elements of this new community: Mixed Use, Downtown Office and Retail, Entertainment, Education/ Cultural, Open Space, and Transportation. The one over riding intent of the plan, after listening to several presentations, is to create a community where the environment is conducive to living, working, playing and shopping. This would eliminate the current situation of empty streets after 5:00 P.M. and bring a new vitality to the neighborhood.

'The concept called 'mixed use' is both the cornerstone of the Transbay 20/20 Plan and the threshold for finding a new way to make cities.' (Concept Plan-Transbay 20/20) The Mixed Use Projects are best exemplified in Hills Plaza. Included in this broad stoke definition are live-work spaces, residential complexes of varying sizes and commercial and residential projects. The projected formula for this type of project is 3,700 to 5,400 residential units and one to 2.8 million square feet of commercial space.

The commercial buildings, primarily located between Market and Howard Streets, will conceptually consist of 2-5 million square feet of office space, 40,000 to 80,000 square feet of street level retail space and 100,000 square feet of community retail space. This is basically an expansion of the financial district into the South of Market with a focus to community oriented retail space.

The entertainment component includes galleries, clubs and restaurants on in fill sites (120,000 square feet) and a hotel on one of several possible sites (300 rooms). The educational and cultural centers, including but not limited to, classrooms, libraries, museums, and student housing, will be located in and around Fremont Square (in the vicinity of old Transbay terminal). An estimated 800,000 square feet will be allocated to education/ cultural projects. Now this is exciting! There will be a network of open space running throughout the entire community. The Natoma Green at the midpoint between Second and First Street, Fremont Square located at the site of the current Transbay Terminal, Folsom Boulevard widened to accommodate pedestrian traffic, Essex Green between Tehama and Clementina, and bans of open space stripes connecting all of the main areas. The concept of Folsom Boulevard as a main thoroughfare to the Bay with expanded sidewalks on the North side of the street to accommodate sidewalk cafes and greenery, will make this a very special place.

The plan suggests that Second and Folsom Streets be the main traffic arteries of the district. They will provide access to the Bay Bridge, the Waterfront and the proposed Ball Park. The plan is a 21-page document with color, graphics and elaboration of the basic ideas that I have presented here. The Transbay 20/20-Concept Plan is, in my opinion, an excellent vision for an Urban Community. If you would like to follow-up or get involved, please phone the Redevelopment Agency at 749-2444 or the Planning Department at 558-6393.

Pacific Bell Park

Although the team itself is going through some changes, the baseball stadium seems to be moving along on schedule. Many of the plans and dreams of the South of Market major investors are riding on the completion of this ball park. Almost any of the plans that are currently being reviewed or considered, make mention of the proposed stadium.

Yerba Buena Gardens

It looks like Yerba Buena Gardens will be completed in this millennium. Anita Hill, executive director of the Yerba Buena Alliance, wrote a great article for the Museum Parc News. The article is summarized here. The Children's Center, which is now under construction on the West end of the Moscone Center, should be completed by May 1998. The project will include the following items: bowling, ice skating, children's child care, interactive play ground and the Old Playland Carousel.

On the corner of Third and Harrison the Yerba Buena Commons are under construction. Moving up third to Howard, bids are currently being considered for the development of a Hotel, affordable residential units (80 units), retail and an Afro-American Museum while preserving the historic Williams Building.

According the Redevelopment agency a Supermarket and housing development is planed at the location of Fourth and Harrison. Where have I heard that before?! The long promised Sony IMAX should begin construction before the end of the year with scheduled completion in 18-20 months. And finally the lots across the street from Restaurant LuLu have been purchased with the intent to develop 100 high end lofts on the site.

The Gap Headquarters Office Building

On January 10, 1995, Gap and the Redevelopment Agency entered into an agreement to assemble an approximately 90,000 square foot site at the northwest corner of Steuart and Folsom Streets. The gap has proposed to build a 450,000 to 550,000 square foot office building. If all goes according to plan, the Agency will convey title of the land to the Gap in mid 1997 and construction should begin a year from that time.

Rincon Point- South Beach

This is the Redevelopment label for the 115-acre non contiguous area located along the northeast waterfront. I thought that the proposed developments might be of interest to property owners. There are eight remaining sites which when developed will provide an additional 900 housing units and 450,000 to 600,000 square feet of commercial development.

Oriental Warehouse - 422 units- 66 lofts in the landmark warehouse (currently on the market) and 356 units still to be scheduled.

301 Bryant Street -28 Lofts and 8,000 square feet of commercial space-currently under construction.

Cape Horn Warehouse at Federal and First -16 lofts scheduled for 1997 completion.

One Embarcadero South -233 rental housing units and 7,000 square feet of neighborhood serving commercial space. Construction scheduled to begin in March of 1997.

The Gap Headquarters - see above.

330 residential units remain to be secured by development agreements.

Rincon Park Site - proposed 2 acre waterfront park to be developed in conjunction with Gap site development.

Market Trends and Activity

This year has been a very exciting year. The demand for housing has not let up even though the stock market continues to climb. The rental market, as you might have noticed, has gone through the roof. In the past six months the rise in rents has increased as much as 30%. You do not live in a rent controlled building. You can raise your rents as much as you want. This fact coupled with the great demand for housing, has made this area a lucrative rental area. Ergo, you should see some rental projects being built in the neighborhood in the very near future. Studios are $1,000, one bedrooms are $1,400 two bedrooms are $1,900 and most average sized lofts are well above $2,400 a month. The stability and slight rise in the sales price of most properties in the area are directly related to this phenomenon.

There have been a significant number of new loft projects opening up in the whole of the South of Market and none of them are on the market for more than ninety days. The resale market is even worse. You cannot find any resales! The inventory has been moving very rapidly as the interest in buying in the area increases, and the rents get out of control. During the first open house of the Oriental Warehouse they had more than 1,000 people through the project. All the units have reservation with a line of people waiting for phase two and three!

So if you are having any thoughts of selling, now is the time to get the best value out of your home, while the demand out stripes the supply. Give me a call for an interview (415) 441-0656 Ext 266.

Whether you decide to sell or not, don't make the decision without being informed. I consider it my job and a commitment to the residents of the area to at least provide you with enough information to ensure that you make an informed decision. I am the only broker that addresses the property in the area as a whole and therefore capture the interest of the broadest range of buyers.


I have been a Broker in the San Francisco Real Estate Market for the past 10 years. For seven of those past 10 years I have been a Top Producer, including the last four years. On average I close between 25 and 30 transactions a year. Eighty Percent of my business by volume takes place in the SOMA, while 20% is devoted to other areas of the City in Commercial and residential transactions.

I focus my promotion efforts and resources on the New City Renaissance. The return has been beneficial to me and to you. The marketing/promotion program generates: interest in general community, buyers for real estate in the area and hopefully a positive image for living in the area. I expect to maintain this focus for the duration of my career in real estate. In return I expect my success to grow with the area.

To that end, I look to your utilizing my expertise in this market and to your accessing my promotional efforts as an asset in your buying or selling real estate. I am offering a significant bonus for any referrals which result in my closing escrow. Ask about it the next time we speak.

Fax: (415) 771-3847

E-Mail: Ed@SomaPro.Com