New York’s disease, “high-rent blight” . . .

January 9, 2020 at 11:30 pm (By Amba) (, )

. . . comes to San Francisco, with a tech twist.

The intersection of Church and Market streets is where many San Francisco neighborhoods come together. . . . In the last decade, splashy apartment complexes have shot up all over the area. The neighborhood must have gained hundreds, if not thousands, of new residents. But the businesses in the area have been dying off.

In 2017, about one in every eight storefronts here was empty, and more businesses seem to have vacated since then. . . . Elsewhere, too, long-term leases timed out, rents increased, and the old neighborhood hangouts disappeared. . . .

As a result, a kind of noncommittal capitalism has moved in.

One of the saddest statements in the article:

Meanwhile, most of the residents in the lofty towers above are probably ordering their necessaries from Amazon Prime and their food from the delivery service Caviar. (Or no one is living in the condos at all: a recent report found there are roughly 38,000 empty homes in San Francisco – three to five times the city’s number of homeless people.)

What a paradox: more and more people are moving to cities, even as cities are committing “urban suicide.” Maybe the vitality is centered in ethnic and immigrant neighborhoods that haven’t yet been discovered by the hip and by the realtors who learned from the story of SoHo that hipsters are merely the truffle-sniffing pigs of the next real estate gold rush. Sunset Park appeared to be such a place when I visited it a couple of summers ago, but it’s already in the gunsights, as you’ll see at the link. (Sunset Park has a best-kept secret, the greatest view of Manhattan you will ever see. It’s just a matter of time before “pencil buildings” are offering that view for million$.)

(Someone recently told me that New York’s luxury realtors have overbuilt. Prices are coming down; units once for sale are being rented and incentives, discounts and abatements offered. It’s still far from affordable housing.)

UPDATE: My bro David sends me a piece documenting an “urban exodus” OUT OF New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, and the factors driving it.

Permalink 7 Comments