Treasure Island rent prices may increase

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerTreasure Island rent increases since 2003 have lagged those elsewhere in the Bay Area. See more information below article.

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerTreasure Island rent increases since 2003 have lagged those elsewhere in the Bay Area. See more information below article.

Renting on Treasure Island could soon cost hundreds of dollars more a month under a proposal for future tenants of the community that is seen as an affordable alternative to San Francisco.

With rents steadily rising around the man-made island, the government agency overseeing Treasure Island and its private developer partner are considering an across-the-board increase of $245, according to a March 13 report on the rental market.

The increases would apply only to new tenants in any of the 600 units managed by the John Stewart Co.

San Francisco rents have increased “at more than four times the rates as rents on Treasure Island” during the past 10 years, said the report, prepared by the San Francisco-based Concord Group, a real estate advisory firm. Even with the hikes, “Treasure Island will remain an important value and price alternative to much higher-priced apartment stock across San Francisco for its resident households.”

The case for the rent hikes comes as San Francisco’s local economy is turning around with a flourishing technology industry and declining unemployment rates.

The report said San Francisco has experienced a “rapid rental escalation over the past two years,” with rents up by more than 25 percent across the board. The recommended Treasure Island increase would “more accurately reflect the current rental market.”

Mirian Saez, director of island operations for the Treasure Island Development Authority, said a decision on the exact rent hike will ultimately be made by her organization’s board of directors in the coming months.

“We understand that our position in the market is one of affordability,” she said. “We are not rushing to any conclusions.”

Authority documents show that the organization receives 95 percent of net revenue from its agreement with the John Stewart Co., which has resulted in $75 million since 1999. The money helps pay for operating expenses such as personnel, utilities and security.

According to the report, housing units range in size from about 900 to 1,400 square feet at monthly rents between roughly $1,800 and roughly $2,600.

Ted Gullickson, a longtime San Francisco tenant advocate, cautioned that a government agency should not see housing as an opportunity to maximize profits as a private landlord would. While the agency has operating expenses, Gullickson said, “They also have the obligation of helping San Franciscans deal with the housing crisis.”

The City has plans to redevelop the entire island with new housing. That project’s timeline would keep the existing two- to four-bedroom rental units in place for at least a decade.

The formal Naval base is home to about 2,000 residents. Of 862 commuters, 523, or 61 percent, work in neighborhoods in San Francisco, the report said.

Treasure Island rent increases since 2003 have lagged those elsewhere in the Bay Area.

    Price increase    Percent increase    Percent per year
San Francisco    $786    53    4.8
Alameda    $292    25    2.5
Treasure Island Villages    $194    10    2.3

Source: The Concord Group

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