Getting a building constructed along San Francisco’s waterfront just got a lot harder. Proposition B, the measure to limit heights along the waterfront by mandating voter approval of every project that exceeds current limits, passed with 59 percent of the vote. The Building Trades, affordable housing advocates and supporters of the planning process decried the measure as an example of ballot box planning that reduces complex land use issues to simplistic election slogans. Limiting heights and density will mean less construction jobs and less housing.
The fourth annual nationwide Women Building California and the Nation Conference, held in Sacramento from April 25 to 27, attracted a record number of women from around the country this year – up 40 percent over last year with 870 attendees. The event, hosted by the State Building and Construction Trades Council, included workshops, speakers and networking opportunities for women in the building trades. Speakers included Rita Magner, a member of SMART Local 104 and President of Tradeswomen, Inc.; State Senator Holly Mitchell; and Kristi Tuemmler, Operating Engineers Local 3. “It’s a very lonely job for women who want to do this work, so having this conference, it shows them that they’re not alone,” said conference coordinator Debra Chaplan.
An affordable housing project built by good-paying union labor is coming to fruition in San Francisco. Representatives from Ullico, the only labor-owned insurance and investment company in the U.S., recently visited the 1400 Mission project. The new 15-story below-market-rate residential project is being built with union labor under terms of a loan provided by Ullico, the Union Labor Life Insurance Company. The company announced last November that it would provide a $46 million loan to finance the project as part of its J for Jobs program.
The nonprofit education and research organization Urban Land Institute hosted a forum in April titled “Development, Voter Elections, and the Future of the San Francisco Waterfront.” At the center of the discussion was Prop. B – the ballot measure that would mandate that any increases to height limits along the waterfront would be put to a citywide vote.
Demolition of the apartment building in Mission Bay just south of AT&T Park was being completed as Organized Labor went to press, with still no word of when the structure would be re-built or what caused the fire that destroyed the building on March 11. A five-alarm fire raged for several hours and stopped construction of the project which was almost 80 percent complete and set to open in August.
Swinerton Builders has begun work at 399 Fremont. The project includes a 42-story, 440-foot tower with 447 “ultra-luxury” rental apartments averaging 800 square feet each and an eight-story podium with 251 parking stalls. The two structures will total approximately 600,000 square feet. In 2006, the project was approved for 452 dwelling units.
A lawsuit challenging the Waterfront Height Limit ballot measure was denied by the San Francisco Superior Court on March 18. The measure will appear on the June 3 ballot as Proposition B and, if passed, would impose tighter restrictions on waterfront development by requiring voter approval for projects that exceed existing height limits.
A lawsuit challenging the ballot measure that would impose tighter restrictions on waterfront development by requiring voter approval for projects that exceed existing height limits was filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Feb. 14.
Demolition work on the old Cathedral Hill Hotel on Van Ness Avenue at Geary is “on schedule and running smoothly,” California Pacific Medical Center spokesman Dean Fryer told Organized Labor. The general contractor for the all-union project is HerreroBOLDT, with subcontractor Ferma doing the demolition work.