Academy Of Art University Reaches $60 Million Settlement For Violation Of Building LawsBy Emily Marks
The San Francisco City has reached a $60 million settlement with the Academy of Art University. This is because the institution was accused of violating building and planning code laws for several years.
The San Francisco Examiner reported that the terms for the settlement will include a project to help low-income tenants who are at risk for evictions. This is on top of the $20 million paid in penalties, which has been deemed as the largest monetary award for the City in this type of code enforcement case.
The deal will also require the university to provide a minimum of 160 units of affordable housing, which is worth $40 million. Moreover, the first half of the units must be available within 18 months.
City officials believe that this is amount is unparalleled for a code enforcement case in San Francisco. The settlement is expected to bring the institution, as well as its companies that own property throughout the city, to comply with land-use laws and secure affordable housing and other benefits for San Francisco.
The Academy of Art University's deal with the city comes after a lawsuit which had been filed on May 6. It was claimed that the school was operating only a fraction of its 40 buildings legally.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera previously described the institution as an "egregious land-use scofflaw." Herrera believes that the deal would help the housing crisis, which was worsened by the school in the first place.
"This was a case where the academy, a privately held for-profit company, amassed a real estate empire while thumbing its nose for a decade at the planning and building department code requirements," Herrera said in a statement, via KTVU. "These are requirements that every San Francisco property owner must follow."
It was noted that the university failed to comply with permit, entitlement or authorization requirements. This, in turn, had a negative impact on the city's housing crisis since it removed hundreds of affordable units in the city.