The Times aptly describes the labyrinth builders need to traverse to start new constructions in San Francisco:
This new wave is also opportunistic. But in a much hotter real estate market with lower start-up costs, it’s driven as well by a taste for “authenticity,” “character” and other buzzwords today’s tech firms love. At the same time, constructing anything new here is a major headache. The city is crippled by an obstructionist set of city planning rules — the consequence of local activism and a Talmudic bureaucracy. Legislation from the mid-’80s caps the total amount of new office space that can be built here. All this contributes to why adaptive reuse has taken hold.
Adaptive reuse refers to renovating old buildings. All of this makes living in San Francisco extremely expensive.