The Oak, located at 1554 Market Street, is getting a second chance at life thanks to investor Steven Hong. The condo complex had been sitting empty for three years, haunted by legal troubles and a corruption scandal involving its owner, Chinese firm Z&L Properties, and founder Zhang Li, per SFist.
The corruption scandal, which saw Li arrested in connection with bribing a former city official, left The Oak in disarray. Despite initial promises of being "Now Selling," the condos remained vacant, attracting squatters and graffiti. Hong, through his company Oak SF LLC, seized an opportunity by acquiring the $80 million construction loan tied to the property. This strategic move puts him in a position to transform the condos into rental units.
Hong, optimistic about San Francisco's housing market and its long-term growth, cited factors like technology and AI job growth. While this change of plans may disappoint those who won below-market-rate condos, like San Francisco Opera singer Chester Pidduck, the shift from lifeless condos to active rental units signals progress for the community, according to SF Chronicle.
The Planning Department, frustrated by the previous developer's failure to realize occupancy, is hopeful for the transformation. Dan Sider, chief of staff of the department, expressed eagerness for the change, stated via SFist, "It’s been incredibly frustrating to have more than 100 homes ready for occupancy but which don’t have human beings in them on account of the fact that the ownership couldn’t get their act together."