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

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.
Planning

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

A sign about proposed development of the bluff at Thornton State Beach in Daly City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Retreat center proposed at popular state beach

Daly City residents oppose construction on ocean bluffs

Rev. Roland Gordon shows “The Great Cloud of Witnesses” collage mural at the Ingleside Presbyterian Church, which he began building in 1980.<ins> (</ins>
Rev. Roland Gordon preaches love in action

Pastor promotes peace, hope through art and prayer

Basketball (Shutterstock)
SI alum Begovich gets his moment, but Stanford falls on Senior Day

MAPLES PAVILION — Generally speaking, Stanford’s home finale on Saturday afternoon, a… Continue reading

U.S. Attorney David Anderson announces federal firearms charges against two men for their roles in a March 2019 shooting outside the Fillmore Heritage Center in a news conference alongside SFPD staff at the Phillip Burton Federal Building on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Departing U.S. attorney predicts corruption probe will continue

David Anderson shook up City Hall as top federal prosecutor

Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, a former school board member, has been asked to help secure an agreement between the school district and teacher’s union. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
 <ins></ins>
Supervisor Walton tapped to mediate teacher contract talks

District and union at odds over hours in-person students should be in the classroom

Most Read