San Francisco: “Will Dufty Protect North Beach Seniors from Eviction?” by Paul Hogarth, BeyondChron, February 25, 2010
David Chiu’s legislation on garage additions in North Beach was supposed to pass the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. But because Bevan Dufty had concerns, the item was continued for two weeks. The ordinance would curb the wave of Ellis Act evictions that have devastated North Beach and Chinatown seniors, but the Castro Supervisor worries it could stop garage builders who are not evicting people. He asked Chiu to meet with John Pollard, who owns the SF Garage Company – among other opponents. But beyond running a business that builds garages, Pollard is a landlord who owns a 3-unit rental property on Union Street – and is trying to empty the building. Directly on point with the legislation, he got a permit to convert the basement into a garage – which currently houses a Chinese family, who was unaware that a permit had even been filed. There is no record at the Rent Board of an Ellis eviction on the property, because the tenants are being offered money to leave. In other words, without Chiu’s ordinance this eviction would have completely slipped under the radar. Given that Mayor Newsom has vetoed most tenant protections, Dufty’s vote could prove decisive when it comes back to the Board in two weeks.
San Francisco: “TICs have lost that loving feeling,” by Anne Marie Hibble, On the Block, SF Gate, February 25, 2010
Tenancies in common, AKA TICs, were once billed as panacea for the sickness that is SF real estate prices. First of all, properties of this classification have traditionally been less expensive than non TIC options. And because the buyers would pool resources, their collective buying power rose: banks that approved TIC loans, for instance, would take the highest credit rating from all the buyers in the deal, as well as the highest income. This most qualified person or group would then sort of “represent” the whole group, though others in the group might not enjoy the same great credit or income, thus making a larger purchase a possibility when before, it wouldn’t have been.
California: “Backlash Hits Calpers Property Deals,” by Craig Karmin, The Wall Street Journal, February 24, 2010
Calpers took a hit last year when its investment in Manhattan’s Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town apartment complex collapsed. But Stuyvesant Town wasn’t the huge pension fund’s only foray into real-estate investments that involved ousting low-rent tenants.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System has partnered with firms that have bought and converted rent-regulated buildings in East Palo Alto, Calif., and in other New York City neighborhoods, including Harlem and Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Some deals have led to losses; at least one has paid off. But whatever the investment result, the conversion of low-rent properties to market-rent apartments—and ejection of some tenants in the process—is raising concerns within and beyond Calpers about its role in these deals.
New York: “Hedge Fund Moves on Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village,” by Charles V. Bagli, the New York Times, February 24, 2010
The move is expected to complicate the already byzantine political and financial situation surrounding the largest apartment complexes in Manhattan, and to send tremors though 25,000 tenants worried about the future.
Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were bought by a partnership of Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty in 2006 for a record $5.4 billion. But the owners defaulted on their $3 billion mortgage in January and have since agreed to turn the properties, long an affordable oasis for working- and middle-class tenants, over to lenders.
Nation: “Mortgage crisis brings creeping decay to middle-class apartment buildings from Calif to NY,” by Samantha Gross, AP, Los angeles Times, February 21, 2010
Upstairs, her longtime neighbor, 70-year-old Gearaldine Davis, peers skeptically out at her balcony, hesitant to step onto the cracked concrete. The last time the city inspector came by, he told her he was afraid to walk out there.
This Bronx apartment building, where city housing violations have increased from 82 to nearly 600 in 16 months, is among thousands of rental properties from Los Angeles to Harlem showing a creeping decay as housing values collapse and funds for repairs dry up.
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