Ever a fan of gentrification and feel-good stories about the drug-addicted homeless, Chuck Nevius files a column today about a former "hellhole" at 850 Geary that was recently bought by a new owner and judiciously emptied of many of its tenants. Not that we're suggesting that this building, and the few tenants who stuck it out, aren't better off for the renovation and the evictions, but once again Nevius has taken a microcosm and implied that these are best practices for fixing the entire neighborhood.
Nevius doesn't go so far as to say so, explicitly, but the column makes clear that he's a supporter of this method of building makeover: First, you buy a building on the cheap after a slumlord caves to pressure from the city; you pay off whichever bad tenants you want to get rid of in order to avoid tricky evictions; you gut and bug-bomb as much of the building as you can; and you re-lease the majority of it at market rate, with studios starting at $1,800. In fact, he's most appalled that the whole process took five years.
Chuck gets one tenant who was able to remain, Evangelina Avenetti, on the record as saying that new landlord Craig Lipton's upgrades have been "nothing short of miraculous," and certainly given that her rent probably isn't going up, he's been a godsend. She says that the former "Heroin Hotel" where she would frequently find people sleeping in the hallways is now much changed. The renovations are almost complete and expected to be done by May, if you know anyone who needs a place.