Supes approve sale of properties to fund new city building

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved the sale of city-owned properties at 30 Van Ness Ave. and on Mission Street in a deal intended to help finance the construction of a new city office building.

The board voted 9-2 to approve the sale of the properties for a total of $122 million, with Board President London Breed and Supervisor Ahsha Safai opposed.

The city-owned building at 30 Van Ness Ave., a five-story structure currently occupied by city departments including public works, public health, the Department of Emergency Management and Recreation and Park, sold for $70 million to developer Lend Lease.

The developer, which plans to build housing on the site, has committed to providing 25 percent affordable housing, with 15 percent for low-income residents and an additional 10 percent for higher income residents.

A city staff report indicates the building needs up to $60 million in capital repairs and improvements if it is not sold.

The buildings at 1660 and 1680 Mission St. were bought by SF Prosperity 2, LLC for a combined $52 million.

The City plans to lease back space in all three buildings until it completes work on its own planned office building at 1500 Mission St., currently the site of a Goodwill store, to house city departments. That project is set to go before the Planning Commission on Thursday and is tentatively slated for completion by 2019.

Today’s vote was the second time the proposed sale of 30 Van Ness Ave. has come before the board in recent years.

In December 2015 the board voted down a sale of the property for $80 million over concerns The City was not getting a good deal. While the current deal includes less money up front, the increased affordable housing commitment increases its value to The City, Supervisor Jane Kim said:

“We knew that the city could do better on our affordable housing commitment on land that we owned and set an example for the private market while balancing our need for revenue for our much needed new office building.”

Despite the changes, the deal ran into opposition today from Safai, who questioned whether The City had fully explored other ways of financing the deal or gotten the most affordable housing possible out of the deal.

Safai’s concerns were backed by Breed, who said there were too many “unanswered questions” given the uncertainty around The City’s budget in the coming years. However, a motion by Safai to continue the vote on the sale was defeated.