Seeing as San Francisco’s housing and cost-of-living issues are getting a lot of press attention these days (New York Times: “Backlash by the Bay: Tech Riches Alter a City”), here are a few recent bulletins from the front:
Venn on Market, a 113-unit apartment building at Market and Octavia, which won’t be completed until January, is more than half leased and some tenants already have moved in, according to Spencer Moore, a spokesman for the developer, San Francisco’s MacFarlane Partners.
Rents range from $3,075 for a one-bedroom – up from $2,900, the figure published earlier this month – to $5,000 for the three-bedroom units. Only one of the three-bedroom units remains. “Demand has gone up,” Moore said.
Not surprising given Venn’s location, at the intersection of trendy Hayes Valley and the north end of the Mission. Nearby, on the south side of Market Street, sit the headquarters of Twitter and Square.
Cash in hand: Farther south in the Mission, a 17-unit “balanced blend of urban living and comfortable luxury” at 3500 19th St. (at Valencia) is reportedly 60 percent sold, little more than a month after going on the market.
Condo prices there are listed between $1.6 million and $2.3 million. Calls and e-mail to the developer, Vanguard Properties, were not returned on Monday. One of Vanguard’s agents told the San Francisco Business Times last month that the buyers are “new money, old money, techies, finance. It’s people with money – everybody so far is paying cash.”
Chic retreat: With Valencia Street, the focus of much angst, filling up, more attention is focusing on Mission Street itself.
The 202-unit Varas, a “chic retreat located in one of San Francisco’s most desirable neighborhoods” – at Mission and 15th streets – opened in July, with 40 percent of it preleased. Now it’s 85 percent full, said a spokeswoman for Behringer Harvard, a Dallas real estate investment trust that bought the property from the original developer, San Francisco’s Avant Housing.
Last we checked, rents for the one- to three-bedroom apartments were similar to Venn on Market, ranging from about $2,500 to $7,000 a month. Vara also has 40 below-market rental apartments, ranging from $939 a month for a studio to $1,309 for a three-bedroom.
Cool and transformational: A perhaps more significant game-changer is under construction farther down Mission Street, where the Giant Value store once stood between 21st and 22nd streets.
In its place: a $70 million, eight-story, 114-unit development of market-rate condos. Next door, the historic, long-shuttered New Mission Theater is being replaced by the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, complete with five screens and digital projection, plus dinner, drinks and live events. As part of the development deal with San Francisco’s Oyster Development, 14 below-market-rate units are to be built elsewhere in the Mission.
It’s a project of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema of Austin, Texas, which specializes in first-run independent, alternative, classic and foreign films, called by Wired magazine “the coolest theater in the world.”
There are more plans for that strip of Mission Street, once called the Mission Miracle Mile. “What’s going on is transformational,” said Philip Lesser, executive director of the Mission’s Business Improvement District.
On the other hand: The San Francisco International Arts Festival is ready to roll out its latest initiative, “I.D. for the New Majority,” a television series designed to “focus on the ramifications of the shifting demographics of the United States electorate.”
First up, a pilot program mixing interviews with local residents, politicians and officials with artistic performances by SFIAF contributors illustrating “a community response to the current housing crisis facing the San Francisco Bay Area focusing on the situation in the Mission District.”
More information and an edited preview of the broadcast is at www.sfiaf.org.
Andrew S. Ross is a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @andrewsross