housing

"San Francisco Politics Is Like a Knife Fight in a Phone Booth" - A Groundbreakers Q&A with Scott Wiener

San Francisco politics is like “a knife fight in a phone booth.” And that's why State Senator Scott Wiener says getting his start in that city has made him sharp enough to handle politics in Sacramento and NIMBYers around the state.

Our "Groundbreakers Q&A" with the buzzed-about State Senator from June 26 is up -- listen in to the conversation about housing, homelessness, education and LGBTQ legislation.

The podcast is currently up on Soundcloud, iTunes, Spotify, Sticher, Google Play and other podcast hubs -- just type "California Groundbreakers" into the search box.

Groundbreakers Q&A with Sacramento's "First Couple" of Real Estate Development

We’re talking with some of Sacramento’s mightiest movers and shakers this year, people who are bringing changes, making waves and putting California’s capital on the map in bold font.

Our first “Groundbreakers Q&A” conversation of 2019 was with two of Sacramento’s most well-known groundbreakers — literally — who are building up new hot spots in the city (and just got married recently). Katherine Bardis and Bay Miry like to go into under-the-radar parts of town and revitalize them (Miry ‘s R Street Corridor and the 700 block of K Street; Bardis’s housing community, the Mill, on Lower Broadway). As Sacramento grows up — and upward — they’re two of the people responsible for what that growth will look like.

Listen to some of this great conversation we held at Ruhstaller in February as Bardis and Miry talk about:
* their favorite buildings in Sac (that are not theirs)
* the significance of specific projects they’ve worked on
* how they see the "Bay Area effect" and the impact of gentrification on Sacramento
* innovative projects elsewhere in the U.S. that they want to bring here

How Will You Be Voting This Year on Housing Issues?

It's obvious that "affordable" and "housing" rarely go together in California. We're known for having some of the highest rental and housing prices in the U.S.

But some Californians are taking action by:
* fighting for more funding for affordable housing construction
* authoring laws that create higher-density housing and forces cities to meet their housing goals
* demanding rent control on apartment buildings, and demanding the repeal of a law that forbids it

And come November 6, you'll be voting on some of their actions, because there's going to be at least one affordable-housing measure on the state ballot, and possibly a rent-control measure on our local one in Sacramento.

 

We found this really good and detailed article on Urbanist LA - "25 Solutions From a Builder's Perspective to Fix the Californian Housing Crisis."  A Los Angeles-based developer who says "enough is enough" suggests things like:

* Allow 100% Residential Development on Commercially-Zoned Properties. "The City of Los Angeles is the only jurisdiction in the state that I know that allows 100 percent residential developments to be placed on most of their commercially zoned lots. This is a big part of the reason they are a major state leader in housing production. Most other jurisdictions ban residential outright and some allow for residential to be placed above the ground level."

* Stop Killing Housing By Delaying Approvals. " Many jurisdictions in California take three, four, or even five years to approve straightforward housing projects as a tactic to frustrate builders into giving up. By delaying projects this long, these jurisdictions are sending a clear message to future builders: “Do not come here”. Message received."

* Create New Zones for Missing Middle Housing. "We need all kinds of housing in the state. There are numerous problems with having half of housing coming from “mega-projects” sized fifty units and over. They are the most expensive housing type to construct and they take longer to construct than smaller projects. This is why most new apartments you see are luxury units . . . We don’t have to go from one-story homes to all seven-story apartment buildings with two levels of underground parking. There is housing called “missing middle”.

* Reform, Don't Repeal The Law That Bans Rent Control. " The Costa-Hawkins Act will never be repealed. The apartment lobby is too strong. If it were to be repealed, new apartment buildings would not be built in California. Multi-family residential development is some of the most expensive construction there is. . . There is room to reform Costa-Hawkins. Maybe rent control doesn’t start for 15, 20 or 25 years. Maybe older single-family homes should be rent controlled. Maybe annual rent increases at first can be more than the rate of inflation, but not unlimited. I would like to see an academic, not an activist, propose some solutions."

The developer calls out the University of California, CalPERS, city and county governments, among others, to help bring change for the better to the homebuilding process in this state.

It's a long read, but a good one -- especially this year when you'll be voting on housing reform.

This article, along with the podcast recording of our March 19 "Policy and a Pint: Affordable Housing on the Voting Ballot," will come in handy.

 

Listen to "The Future of Downtown Sacramento"

John Dangberg, assistant city manager for Sacramento, had this to say about the Golden 1 Center, which opened a little over a year ago: "We've gone from a valuation of $22.5 million to well over $1 billion in value. " And with the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, Punch Bowl Social, TheBank_629J, and a bunch of new eateries on the 700 K block opening up, Dangberg only expects that valuation to rise.

Listen to Dangberg and our other panelists in the podcast recording of our "Future of Downtown Sacramento " discussion at the Crocker Art Museum talk about housing, parking, restoring historic buildings, revitalizing the riverfront, new modes of transportation, bringing in new jobs, and putting more arts and culture into downtown.

We broke the podcast down into specific parts (refer to our "Podcast Timeframe" to go to certain sections), but the whole discussion is a great way to learn more -- and get excited about -- the future of Downtown Sacramento. There's a lot in the works.

Podcast: The Good and The Bad of Gentrification

Sacramento is on Realtor.com's list of the Top 10 U.S. cities that are gentrifying the fastest. And while our median housing price increase in the last 15 years jumped by more than 100 percent, we're apparently only 26.5 percent gentrified. What's going to happen in the next few years?

Listen to the podcast recording of our panel "The Good and The Bad of Gentrification," the third of our four-part discussion series "California's Crazy Housing Market."

Next up: CEQA reform - wonky but relevant to everyone living in California.

A Group Named BARF Is Calling Out "Build, Baby, Build" in the Bay Area

Sonja Trauss is a great example of a California Groundbreaker. As founder of the Bay Area Renters Foundation (fondly known as BARF), she's got a motto of "Build, Baby, Build" in the Bay Area, advocating for any type of housing to be built, as long as it's built tall, high-density -- and soon. A former lawyer who makes BARF her full-time job, she recently hired a lawyer to sue the East Bay city of Lafayette for switching a high-density development to single-family homes instead.

Read this great New York Times profile of Trauss and BARF. And come to the Brickhouse Gallery on Wednesday to meet her -- after her court date in Lafayette, she's taking the Amtrak up here to be on our "Affordable Housing as Oxymoron in California" panel.

Housing Trends for 2017: More Creative Lending, Multiple Offers . . . and Marijuana

Ryan Lundquist, who writes the Sacramento Appraisal Blog, is one of our panelists for Part One of our four-part panel series "California's Crazy Housing Market." He gives great opinions and in-depth analysis of Sacramento real estate and what drives it. His predictions for what will drive the local home rental/buying trends this year include more creative lending, more multiple offers, more newly-licensed agents and home-flipping courses -- and marijuana.

Ask him your questions this Tuesday evening in the Auditorium at CLARA - E. Claire Raley Studios for Performing Arts.