Results for “berkeleyside” 4 found
1. The cotton tote crisis (NYT).
3. A growing heap of evidence that natural infection is more protective (not recommending it, to be clear!).
5. “Tetlock and the Taliban,” on the nature of expertise, excellent Richard Hanania piece.
6. The new NIMBY: Judge freezes Berkeley’s enrollment growth until further study is done.
7. Nirvana is being sued by that baby in the pool. (OH: “So the baby chasing a dollar was literal!”)
A four-story building built in four days with apartments that include closets, a kitchenette, a sofa that converts to a queen-size bed, and a flat-screen TV? We are used to seeing that kind of thing in China but this development was in, of all places, Berkeley.
Berkeleyside: This new 22-unit project from local developer Patrick Kennedy (Panoramic Interests) is the first in the nation to be constructed of prefabricated all-steel modular units made in China. Each module, which looks a little like sleekly designed shipping containers with picture windows on one end, is stacked on another like giant Legos.
Cost savings on the housing itself were significant but local assembly was still expensive. Organized labor isn’t very happy:
Organized labor also dislikes that these MicroPADs are manufactured abroad.
“We’d rather they be constructed here instead of China so they don’t undercut wages and conditions,” said Michael Theriault, secretary-treasurer of the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, in 2016 to the San Francisco Chronicle. “And we want them built under local building code and inspected by local inspectors.”
Cost savings won’t be passed on to consumers if the quantity of housing supplied isn’t increased so this isn’t a solution to high-prices in quantity-constrained cities. Nevertheless, construction costs rather than land supply are an important constraint elsewhere in the country. Moreover, it’s good to see experiments in improving construction productivity, one of our most important but productivity lagging sectors.
It’s interesting how similar land policy is around the world. In the United States today, we don’t have collapsing buildings like they do in Mumbai (see video above) but the fanatical fear of density and the slow approval process are the same. Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, for example, says a bill that would allow higher density construction near transit hubs and bus lines is “a declaration of war against our neighborhoods.” And a new report finds that in San Francisco:
…in 2000, it cost approximately $265,000 per unit to
build a 100-unit affordable housing building for families in the city, accounting for inflation. In
2016, a similar sized family building cost closer to $425,000 per unit, not taking into account
other development costs (such as fees or the costs of capital) or changes in land values over this
Did you get that? Inflation adjusted construction costs have increased in San Francisco over the last 16 years by 60% not including changes in land values.
Interviews and focus groups identified four local drivers of
rising construction costs: city permitting processes, design and building code requirements,
workforce regulations and ordinances, procurement (small and local business) requirements,
and environmental regulations.
… the most significant and pointless factor driving up construction costs was the length of time it takes
for a project to get through the city permitting and development processes.
Emotions are running high in the Northbrae area of Berkeley, and the friendly spirit of the neighborhood is at stake, according to a number of small merchants who are afraid they will not survive in the wake of what is being perceived as aggressive marketing strategies at Monterey Market.
Several small businesses say the owners of Monterey Market have begun to deliberately stock items that they specialize in — including certain cheeses, wine and flowers — and they are selling them at predatory prices, which threatens the local merchants’ livelihoods.
A group of Northbrae neighbors has distributed a hand-out in support of the small local merchants in which it criticizes Monterey’s approach. ”We are making a moral and ethical appeal,” said Tom Meyer, speaking for the group. Signatories on the hand-out include Monterey Fish, Gioa Pizzeria, Hopkins Launderette, and Storey Framing. (See the hand-out here.)
…Meyer said that recently the group had been approached by a representative of Monterey Market to set up a meeting. “That discussion will determine where we go from here,” he said.
Asked what he expected from the Market, Meyer said: “They should talk to their fellow merchants about how they could all flourish.”
The story — if that’s what it is and I believe it is — is here. The caption on the photo reads: “Shirley Ng, owner of Country Cheese Coffee Market, says Monterey Market is under-cutting her prices.”