Eminent domain wonks, rejoice: you now have something to discuss. And Sixth Street may finally be rid of hanging sofas.
As real estate aficionados may know, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency has for years been trying to get its hands on the Hugo Hotel, a large, empty but somewhat-artsy former tenement building at Sixth and Howard Streets, whose owners have for decades poo-poo’d every potential buyer who ventured their way.
The owners — the Patel family of Hillsborough, CA, who somehow managed to form an Oregon-based corporation that, legally, owns the property — had turned down offers of $4.6 million from a private owner in 2005 and an offer of $3.25 million from Redevelopment in 2007. With every offer spurned, and nobody getting younger, Redevelopment finally filed an eminent domain lawsuit in order to demolish the Hugo and build affordable housing.
Earlier today, the jury approved sided with Redevelopment and awarded the Patels $4.6 million for the property, matching their pre-recession asking price.
Calls made late Thursday to attorneys representing both sides were not immediately returned.
SF Appeal reached officials at the Redevelopment Agency on Thursday afternoon, but we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get someone on the record.
As usual, we’ll post back when we hear more, but in the meantime, Ken Cleaveland at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA, also known as “the boogeyman” to progressives), breathed a sigh of relief.
“Finally,” he said. “No responsible property owner is going to let their building become a blight on the neighborhood, and — I’m sorry to say it — that’s exactly what [the Hugo] was. That building was allowed to deteriorate, and that’s quite unfortunate. It’s a site that begs to be revitalized, made useful and contribute to the neighborhood — and none of that was happening.”
Though it could be argued that the Patels were not necessarily motivated sellers: the tax assessment on the property is based on the price of the last sale, which was in the 1960s. So with a $7,000 tax bill, the owners could afford to wait, and with height restrictions preventing them from tearing it down and building a 30-story skyscraper, it appears they were happy to bide their time.
No word on whether or not the owners will appeal, or, if they’ve finally agreed to say goodbye to the grand old Hugo, when Redevelopment’s construction will begin.
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