This weekend Airbnb held its first-ever conference for hosts in San Francisco. Inside, executives restated the company's goal to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Outside, local cops allegedly shoved housing activists who were protesting Airbnb's role in the eviction crisis, confining demonstrators into a "free speech" pen.
Single-room-occupancy hotels are some of the last scraps of low-income housing left in San Francisco. But for the city's high-tech strata, they're just another piece of property to flip for profit. And one tech-centric housing company stands accused of using unlawful evictions to turn a SoMa SRO into a gaudy co-op for dozens of tech workers.
Jack Halprin may be the head of Google's armada of eDiscovery lawyers, but he's becoming an serial evictor back in San Francisco. After purchasing a seven-unit building in the Mission District in 2012, he quickly began illegally evicting his tenants. But now four of his tenants are suing him for violating a litany of laws, and Halprin is trying to elude the lawsuit.
The building at the corner of 23rd and Bryant in San Francisco is proving to be poison for tech companies. Its landlord originally displaced an arts collective to turn the space into startup offices. Bloodhound was was initially lured into the high-rent building, but was bled dry within fifteen months. Soldsie similarly fell for its charms, and now their future looks doomed.
Bloodhound had everything going for it. TechCrunch once hailed the tradeshow app as "genius" and Peter Thiel led a $3 million investment round in the "blowing up" company. So when a landlord drove out a popular arts collective from its home in the heart of the San Francisco's Mission District, Bloodhound was quick to sign as the new tenant. Fifteen months later, the company is out on the street and being sued for unpaid rent.