Flooded tenants of SoMa High-Rise say they had hotel rooms revoked, now left to fend for themselves

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SFist has exclusive photos and videos from inside the flooding of the 33 Tehama apartment tower, but more troubling still are emails showing that several tenants’ temporary accommodations have already been cancelled.

On Monday, we reported on the flooding and subsequent evacuation of 33 Tehama, a four-year-old, 35-story, 383-unit building located on Tehama Street between First and Second Streets. Since then, SFist has received a wealth of first-hand photographic and video evidence from residents who witnessed the water carnage allegedly caused by a burst water main somewhere near roof level.

Immediately after the building flooded, the Chronicle reported that property managers had “safe hotel rooms near Union Square” the displaced residents therefore had accommodation and that “their hotel reservations had been extended until Friday”.

But apparently this statement is no longer usable. Many 33 residents of Tehama are now furious because they tell us that their hotel reservations abruptly ended without notice at 11 a.m. Monday morning. KGO confirms that the “hotel front desk staff told them rooms are only paid for until 11:00 a.m. Monday,” and NBC Bay Area’s Sergio Quintana also adds that some displaced tenants “have to move again because rooms had been reserved for a convention”.

The SFist obtained the “bad news” email from the management of 33 Tehama, sent at 9.31pm on Sunday evening – less than 14 hours before the displaced tenants were left without accommodation. “Many of you have been placed in either the Hilton or Union Square or Parc 55 at this point,” the email reads. “Due to pre-booking at these hotels, some residents may need to move tomorrow or in the coming days.”

Screenplay: Expedia

“We are going to have accommodation for people every day. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that it will be in the same place [each day]“said a spokesperson for the building speaking to KPIX

It is true that the The RSA conference is in town right now, and as such, hotel room prices are currently off the charts – possibly at one of their highest rates in three years. Renters say they were offered a $300 per night voucher for a room. But we checked Expedia (best results seen above), and the vast majority of hotel rooms in San Francisco are well over $300 per night this week.

“The day after tomorrow, they won’t even guarantee housing,” Tyler Patterson, a displaced tenant from 33 Tehama, told SFist on Monday afternoon. “Some people have hotels now. Some people have hotels until tomorrow. And some people have hotels until Saturday. I said ‘The day after tomorrow, can you guarantee that I will have accommodation?’ and they said they couldn’t. People were really upset when they weren’t guaranteed housing.

KPIX has some images of this tense exchange, seen above, and spoke to many angry displaced residents. Understand that many of them didn’t even know where they were going to sleep that night and had no place to stay.

“I have nowhere to go after 11 a.m. [a.m.] today,” tenant Stephanie Sun Woo told KGO. “I don’t know where I’m going to work from, I don’t know where I’m going to get my stuff or where I’m going to sleep tonight.”

One might be tempted to say that these are “luxury” or “top-of-the-range” apartments, so these tenants can afford to cope with their displacement. It’s not always the case. In accordance with San Francisco Affordable Housing Laws, a good portion of this building is set aside for below-market housing. Documents of the planning commission 2017 specify that the property has “319 units at market rate and 60 affordable mid-income inclusion units”, so we are talking about 15.8% affordable units. And one of those tenants is said to have cancer.

“She was really concerned about paying for the food,” Patterson told SFist. “I spoke to another mum who is worried about her children and school. She was frustrated that she had to spend so much money on it now. The building offered them bagels.

The apartment complex name “33 Tehama” sounds like any old generic name for an address-based San Francisco apartment building. But its backstory and current history involves some names you might be familiar with.

33 Tehama was originally called 41 Tehama when it got its permits in 2012 and 2013. It was the brainchild of local developer Bob Tandler, best known for his philanthropic efforts. He board seat from the SF General Hospital Foundation, which brings us those beloved Hearts in SF sculptures every year, and he’s also on a ton of other charitable and nonprofit boards. If you are extremely online, you may know her daughter Michelle Tandlerone of Twitter’s most vocal defenders of Chesa Boudin’s recall speech.

Bob Tandler sold the property for an amount of 48.5 million dollars in 2014, according to the SF Business Times. The buyers were property investment firm Hines, which is also developing a large complex in 50 mainwhose size could compete with the Salesforce Tower. Hines, and their partner Invesco, have transformed 41 Tehama into 33 Tehama Complex that we know today.

And a Golden State Warrior lives there! Above, we see Klay Thompson dazzling Warriors replacement Chris Chiozza, who lives there, during the flooding. Chiozza is on a two-way contract, meaning he splits his time between the Warriors and their G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors. He is not sure Warriors playoff rosterbut he is under contract with the Golden State Warriors.

So 41 Tehama is now technically owned by Hines and managed by Willowick Residential, a subsidiary of Hines. Willowick Residential has yet to respond to SFist.

“It’s not a Ma and Pa owner, it’s Hines, a $90 billion company,” Patterson told SFist. “And they don’t take care of us.” (To clarify, Hines has a report “more than $90 billion in investment assets”.)

Patterson also says this isn’t the first time he’s been displaced by flooding at 33 Tehama.

“This is the third major flood that I know of in nine months,” he told SFist. “In August we had minor flooding in our room which turned into major flooding.

Image: Courtesy of 33 Tehama Tenants

“We have been relocated to another unit in the building. The building was telling us, “It’s going to be done tomorrow,” but we didn’t hear anything all day the next day. They stormed into our unit and asked why we were still there, then said [our previous apartment] was done. We went down to our apartment, it was not done. The floors were still torn.

Image: Courtesy of 33 Tehama Tenants

But this particular incident has moved the entire building, many of whom don’t even know where they’ll be sleeping tonight, and have to find out for themselves.

“I don’t know if I’ll have accommodation tomorrow, and $300 won’t be enough,” he says. “We are all in a difficult situation. People are parents, people have disabilities, people have pets. There are so many variables in this community that people demand stable housing and notice to move.

Image: Courtesy of 33 Tehama Tenants

There are probably more dire downsides on the horizon here. The tenants haven’t even started dealing with property damage and tenant insurance claims, so there are probably some nightmares waiting to unfold there. And this looks like one of those high-profile cases where the oversight board is likely to step in and hold some sort of hearing.

But these are issues that will be revealed in the months to come. For now, many tenants of 33 Tehama don’t even know where, or if, they will have a roof over their heads tonight.

Related: The SoMa luxury apartment building was totally flooded on Friday, residents were all moved to hotels [SFist]

Images: Courtesy of 33 Tehama Tenants

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