Sunday, November 25, 2012

NYC and SF Governments at Work

 NyPo reports:
They could be prime Chelsea apartments — and they’re going to waste. 
A cluster of four city-owned Seventh Avenue properties that should be renting for millions...sits nearly empty, boarded up and falling apart.
The city has had more than three decades to fix up, raze or sell the five-story brick buildings on the southeast corner of 22nd Street but has left the 12 spacious residential units and three ground-floor storefronts to rot.
“This intersection is the black hole of Chelsea,” fumed Pamela Wolff of the Chelsea West 200 Block Association. “It’s just criminal that this condition could go on for decades, worsening every day.”
Wolff and other neighborhood advocates want the buildings knocked down to make room for a high-rise with affordable units.
One-bedroom apartments near the derelict corner go for $3,000 to $4,000 a month, and one-bedroom condos can top $1 million. 
Currently, only a bodega and two families remain in the plywood-covered eyesores. The holdout renters, in 201 and 205 Seventh Ave., pay only hundreds in monthly rent through an affordable-housing program.
They’re waiting for the city to deliver on its promises to do gut renovations, especially at bricked-over 203 and 207 Seventh Ave.
“This could be a beautiful building in Chelsea, and [the city has] been putting us on hold for years,” said longtime resident Israel Rodriguez, 54, who lives at 201 Seventh Ave. with his wife and son. “This is long overdue.”
Rodriguez’s family and other tenants rallied to save their homes after the city seized the buildings through tax foreclosure in 1976. 
Shortly after, they entered the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s Tenant Interim Lease Program — which allows residents to manage and eventually buy their buildings following major rehabilitations.
But the Seventh Avenue structures remained under city ownership, even decades later.
Instead, the city removed tenants one by one after 203 and 207 Seventh Ave. were “deemed hazardous due to poor structural integrity,” said an HPD spokeswoman.
She said the city plans to renovate all four buildings and is looking for qualified sponsors for the project. But there’s still no schedule to begin any rehabilitation.
It's a damn example of  government cesspool caused distortions, surrounded by private sector efficiencies. The Tenderloin district of San Francisco is much worse. The land is multi-million dollar land that private operators would build up aggressively, if it wasn't for the People's Republic of San Francisco rulers, who refuse to allow development of the district. So this exists instead:


  1. if the rethuglicans stopped their war on infastructure and stopping obstructing progress and investing in america again these buildings would have been fixed.

  2. Robert,

    I understand your frustration, but, having lived in San Francisco for most of my life and having watched the "urban renewal" go on for most of that span of time, I know that once those properties are torn down and rebuilt, the people whom lived there will never be allowed back - essentially, kicked off the land by wealthier people, armed with nasty, amoral lawyers.

    Although many of the properties are decrepit they are also part of a legacy of building, and rebuilding, that dates back to the 1906 earthquake ... which we, the citizens of San Francisco, venerate.

    Instead of talking about urban renewal, we should be talking about urban maintenance. Most of these properties look like sh*t because the people who cared about the properties have died and the properties have been sold to real estate management companies that only want to tear them down, and are refusing to maintain them - slumlords, in other words.

    Many of us have predecessors and ancestors whom helped build those buildings - my grandfather, for instance, was a carpenter, and used to roam, and hunt, on horseback or on foot, along the ridge, by San Andreas Lake, where, now, runs Interstate 280.

    Consider, for instance, the notorious Hotel Utah (, which is best known as a dive bar, these days, but which resides in the ground floor of the Hotel Utah, which has surely hosted hundreds or thousands of people, in its day. Note, in particular, the delicately carved woodwork of the doorways, and the ancient wood of the bar, itself.

    Or San Wo's, the oldest Chinese restaurant in San Francisco, ten feet wide and three stories tall ... where my father and grandfather dined when they were my age or younger - recently closed, despite its million-dollar post-earthquake retrofit, because, supposedly, the Health Department suddenly decided that the kitchen, open to customers entering the building, was not sanitary.

    (Google 'San Wo Edsel Ford' for amusing anecdotes about the world's rudest waiter.)

    No - there is only one reason these places are under threat - and it is because spreadsheet-enabled assh*les have calculated how much money they,and their greedy, sprawling, internationally-vested commercial real estate management and construction firms can make, by filling the hundreds of feet of empty space, above the current buildings, with windowless apartments - replacing the sunny streets, with cold, dark, cement canyons.

    This greed has made San Francisco unlivable for families. Because of a huge, mobile population of students, drawn to the dozens or hundreds of excellent colleges in the Bay Area, rooms are priced at a minimum of $1K/month, by greedy property management firms - a family with two children, and an inlaw, needing a space with three bedrooms, will pay in excess of $3K/month, easily.

    I, myself, was forced to move 200+ miles out of San Francisco, to raise my family - and I am a UNIX systems and networks administrator, with ~30 years of solid industrial strength experience. I spend much of my time working in the Bay Area ... but I did not inherit property, I cannot afford to buy property, and I cannot afford to live there.

    When I am working, I sleep in my van - and shower at the public swimming pool.

    I know that I am not alone.

    I hope this helps to give you some additional perspective on events in San Francisco, at least.

    I would expect a similar financial motive can be ferreted out, with a little effort, for properties in Manhattan, as well. Probably, someone in the city government is trying to force the buildings to be torn down, so that the land can be sold, at auction.

  3. Bob, I'm deeply hurt that you would show my hotel in the last photo! :-)