The Academy of Art University is one of San Francisco’s largest property owners and landlords. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

SF reaches $60M settlement with Academy of Art University

San Francisco has reached a record-breaking $60 million settlement with the Academy of Art University, one of The City’s largest property owners and landlords, which was accused of flouting building and planning code laws for years.

The terms for the proposed settlement between the City Attorney’s Office and university include $20 million paid in penalties and for a project to help low-income tenants at risk for evictions — the largest monetary award for The City in a code enforcement case.

SEE RELATED: SF leaders paint Academy of Art as ‘land-use scofflaw’ in new lawsuit

Also included in the deal are for the university to provide at least 160 units of affordable housing that’s worth another $40 million, which city officials said is an unprecedented amount for a code enforcement case in San Francisco. The first half of the units of affordable housing must be ready for occupancy within 18 months, according to the deal.

The proposed settlement would bring the university and its various companies that own property throughout The City into compliance with land-use laws as well as secure new affordable housing and other benefits for San Francisco, according to the City Attorney’s Office, and comes after a lawsuit filed May 6 claimed the university was operating only a handful of its some 40 buildings legally.

In fact, City Attorney Dennis Herrera called the univeristy an “egregious land-use scofflaw” when he announced the lawsuit last summer.

On Monday, when announcing the settlement, Herrera said the deal would ensure the university helps ease the housing crisis it purportedly helped exacerbate by taking so many homes off the market. City officials said the university acquired residential and commercial properties that were converted to student dorms and facilities, depriving The City of hundreds of much-needed homes.

“Our focus here was not just to have Academy of Art University follow the law, it was also to have this company provide tangible benefits to everyday San Franciscans to help address its role in exacerbating our housing crisis,” Herrera said said in a statement Monday. “This deal would do that.”

The agreement also includes continued court oversight of the university.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART study: Ending paper tickets would ‘disproportionately’ impact low-income riders, people of color

When BART eventually eliminates its magnetic-stripe paper tickets from use, it will… Continue reading

Police efforts to stem 49ers revelry in Mission District spark backlash

SFPD preparing for potential bonfires, vandalism on Super Bowl Sunday

First transitional housing project for homeless transgender residents opens in Chinatown

Project gives gender non-conforming a safe, supportive space to rebuild their lives

SF e-scooters burst into flames in Golden Gate Park, ex-contractor reveals

Photographs obtained Wednesday by the San Francisco Examiner show the charred remains of at least two Skip e-scooters

SF politico who authored vape ban takes money from JUUL lobbyist, returns it after media call

Supervisor Shamann Walton made national news after he proverbially smoked e-cigarette company… Continue reading

Most Read