Anyone with a passing familiarity of San Francisco knows it’s one of the priciest markets in the country. The tech boom following the Great Recession, paired with a limited housing market, created an imbalance that’s only getting worse. One of the hallmarks of San Francisco is the tangle of red tape and restrictive zoning laws and political hurdles in place to preserve local character. But it’s fair to say this has come at the expense of locals themselves, who are increasingly being priced out. As the struggle between building and maintaining continues, there is change afoot in these seven San Francisco neighborhoods.
Curbed San Francisco assembled the short list, and we stand in agreement. These seven neighborhoods, though diverse in multiple ways, all share one thing in common – plans to add new housing units and steadfast obstacles trying to prevent that very growth.
- Treasure Island – The man-made island isn’t particularly populated, with a 2014 profile from the San Francisco Planning Department counting a little over 3,000 residents and 630 households. Now, construction is underway as developers anticipate the influx of some 24,000 residents and 8,000 new homes.
- Hunters Point – A vision to turn the former military base into 12,000 new homes has been on planning books since 1997. Now, with the city facing a true housing crisis, construction is finally underway. And that’s in spite of pushback from area non-profit groups regarding local decontamination issues.
- Mission Bay – Blame this one on the Warriors. The newly completed Chase Center and a proposed, neighboring 11-acre destination space are bound to change the face of the neighborhood, along with millions of square feet of approved office, commercial, and residential space.
- India Basin – Plans for 1,575 residential units plus commercial space, public open space, and 1,800 parking spaces are meeting stiff opposition from neighborhood and environmental groups alike.
- Chinatown – Iconic much? There may be no neighborhood in the city that’s so thoroughly preserved both its population and its local flavor. Despite its decades of resistance to change, the neighborhood is currently embroiled in its own development struggles. They’re relatively minimal in comparison, but the new-versus-old push-pull here more than anywhere will show us what money can really buy.
- Outer Sunset – Plans for growth, buoyed by the YIMBY movement, include significant upzoning changes and a 100-unit teacher housing complex. Central
- SoMa – After multiple rezonings, affordable housing mandates, height increases and other sweeping changes made over the past eight years, the Board of Supervisors approved plans for more than 8,000 housing units and 32,000 jobs in the in-between space that is Central SoMa.
Between nonprofit and neighborhood groups, individual lawsuits, and the city itself, no development is particularly safe – even the ones already breaking ground. Still, it’s a sign of some progress. As for the impact on real estate? We’re watching and waiting like everyone else, but we do have the advantage of experience. With very few exceptions, in most cases it’s a story of if you build it, they will fill it.
If you’re considering buying or selling in San Francisco, let’s talk.