San Francisco's fastest-growing neighbourhood didn't even exist two years ago. Now it's filled with gleaming glass towers, and the average rent is almost $5,000 per month.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThe East Cut is actually a combination of existing San Francisco neighbourhoods, and now it’s booming.
  • San Francisco’sEast Cut is the fastest-growing neighbourhood in one of the fastest-growing cities in America– and it didn’t even exist until two years ago.
  • This part of town houses some of San Francisco’s most high-profile characters – Salesforce,Google,Facebook, and the like call this neighbourhood home – and luxury high-rises are popping up to accommodate the thousands moving into the area.
  • So to distinguish this area from the rest of the city, a neighbourhood association pooled a reported $US70,000 in taxes from local property owners and rebranded the area as the “East Cut.”
  • But some residents have had a hard time adopting the area’s new moniker, and the neighbourhood is not without its problems.
  • There are traffic congestion, no schools, and a lack of affordability as developers have capitalised on the area, churning out high-rise after high-rise of luxury, multi-million-dollar condos.
  • Take a look around the East Cut, with its glitzy, glass high-rises and big tech offices.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.


It’s no question that San Francisco is a quickly-evolving city. The area’s neighbourhoods, both old and new, are constantly transforming as the region’s tech market continues to boom.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: SF Curbed


But one neighbourhood on the eastern side of the city is in its infancy — it didn’t even exist until two years ago — and it’s growing at lightning speed.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThe East Cut is pictured from The Avery luxury apartment high-rise.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle


In recent years, luxury high-rises and big tech offices have ushered thousands of people into parts of Rincon Hill, South Beach, and SoMa (South of Market), just south of the Financial District.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider and CBS SF BayArea


To distinguish this booming area from the smorgasbord of San Francisco’s other 89 residential locales, a local neighbourhood association rebranded it as the “East Cut” neighbourhood in 2017.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


The group, called the East Cut Community Benefit District (CBD,) pooled a reported $US70,000 from taxes on the neighbourhood’s property owners for the rebranding.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Now the East Cut is the hottest, fastest-growing neighbourhood in San Francisco.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: 7X7


It’s on the smaller size — it only consists of 20 blocks.

Open Street Map/Business Insider

But this is a part of town housing some of the city’s — and the country’s — largest tech companies, including Salesforce, Google, and Facebook.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

The city’s $US2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Centre also runs along one edge of the neighbourhood. The transit hub was designed to be a central nexus for local transportation.

Katie Canales/Business Insider


Read more:
Bus service through San Francisco’s $US2.2 billion transit centre has finally resumed after a cracked beam halted service for the better part of a year – take a look around


San Francisco is notorious for its stringent zoning restrictions, but the “East Cut” falls into District 6, a district that has seen 60% of the city’s housing development in the last decade.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle


So a slew of new, shiny, glitzy glass skyscrapers housing pricey luxury condos has been permitted to shoot up in recent years, turning the neighbourhood into a hot destination for the city’s wealthy.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

There are the multi-million-dollar residences at 181 Fremont, along with its five-bedroom $US42 million penthouse.

Katie Canales/Business Insider


Read more:
Inside the multi-million-dollar condos of San Francisco’s newly-opened $US850 million residential tower – the first one just sold for $US15 million


And the newly-opened Avery high-rise also offers multi-million-dollar condos, including a $US16 million penthouse and a top-floor $US41 million unit.

Katie Canales/Business Insider


Read more:
Take a look inside a glittering, $US16 million penthouse in the hottest new San Francisco neighbourhood that Facebook, Google, and Salesforce call home


The towering high-rises are a trademark of this part of town. So are the posters hanging on every block in the East Cut proudly displaying the ‘hood’s new moniker.

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Many San Franciscans who have been accustomed to calling the area Rincon Hill, South Beach, or SoMa have had a hard time adopting or even recognising the name “East Cut.”

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company and San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Chronicle


“That name is baloney,” Valen West, the owner of the historic century-old Fly Trap restaurant that sits right outside the East Cut, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “This is really SoMa.”

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle


And resident Gloria Li told Fast Company that the East Cut sounds like the name of the Meatpacking District in New York. “It has this weird industrial feel to it,” she said.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company


But these new, brightly-coloured posters brandishing the neighbourhood’s sexy new name abound in the area. Some read “Gold Rushers Settled Here,” which is true actually.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: The East Cut


Before 1869, San Francisco folks made wealthy by the Gold Rush turned Rincon Hill into one of the city’s most elite neighbourhoods, perching their mansions upon and around the hilltop.

Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty ImagesElegant Victorian houses on Rincon Hill have a view of San Francisco and the San Francisco Bay in 1850.

Source: The East Cut


But in 1869, the city decided to more easily transport goods from loading docks located in what is now South Beach to downtown by carving out Rincon Hill along Second Street, which forms the eastern edge of what is now the East Cut neighbourhood.

Smith Collection/Gado/Getty ImagesSecond Street in 1900.

Source: The East Cut


It’s this cut down Second Street that the neighbourhood was named after.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderLunch-goers walk along Second Street.

After the 1869 cut, the wealthy packed up and set off for other A-list neighbourhoods like Russian and Nob Hills, leaving Rincon Hill to wither.

Source: The East Cut


Throw in the damage from the 1906 earthquake, and the area didn’t have much going for it except for industrial buildings and warehouses.

George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty ImagesRubble from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake is seen in Rincon Hill.

Source: The East Cut and Fast Company


But eventually, the long-neglected neighbourhood caught the eye of city planners in the late 1980s as a shining prospect for development.

Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty ImagesA view of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1955.

Source: The East Cut


And now after a few decades, the area has blossomed into the bustling tech-centric East Cut neighbourhood we know today — and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Signs of construction are as ubiquitous as the glossy high-rises that the East Cut neighbourhood is known for.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

One of the more recently-built projects is Park Tower, a 43-story office building at 250 Howard leased in its entirety by Facebook. The social media juggernaut is also the sole commercial tenant of the 181 Fremont mixed-use tower.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: SF Curbed and Business Insider


Though you’ll find some buildings reminiscent of the area’s industrial past, like a red brick building that used to house the Marine Electric Company.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

It’s now a trendy, upscale restaurant, with the next door 181 Fremont high-rise towering over it.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

And plenty of other projects look to be in progress with a simple jaunt through the neighbourhood.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

The neighbourhood is known for being relatively quiet outside of work hours, but you’ll be met with hordes of tech workers if you step inside the 20-block ‘hood around lunchtime.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

There’s a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from fast-casual to high-dollar, easily-accessible for employees on the hunt for a bite to eat.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Once Facebook’s Park Tower opens, hundreds more will likely add to the lunchtime swarm.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThe ground floor of Facebook’s Park Tower.

As much of a five-star neighbourhood as the East Cut is touted as, it’s not without its problems.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

For one, traffic throughout the area can be a headache — just like it can be throughout the rest of the city — but it’s especially nightmarish at rush hour. The Bay Bridge’s off-ramps spit cars out right into the heart of the East Cut.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

The four-lane roads are wide to accommodate the freeway exit — they weren’t designed to cater to people living there. So navigating the intersections as a pedestrian can be daunting and less than efficient.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company


Another issue is the neighbourhood’s lack of affordability. The East Cut neighbourhood was ranked among the 10 most expensive zip codes for renters in the US, according to a 2018 Rent Cafe report.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Rent Cafe


Most of the new housing complexes that have been built are luxury units, even though some units in each development project are classified as affordable.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThe Avery project includes a number of affordable housing units.

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle


So the majority of residents moving into the East Cut are those that can afford multi-million-dollar condos or the average monthly rent of $US4,666.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThe Mira luxury high-rise is slated to open later this year.

Source: Rent Cafe


Retail spaces have responded in kind to the area’s wealthy residents. The only grocery store in the neighbourhood is Woodlands Market, an upscale, pricey spot that opened in 2017.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: The San Francisco Chronicle


You also won’t find a school in the East Cut, which could lead to residents packing up and leaving for more family-friendly locales.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company


Something else that you won’t see much of is the city’s homeless population. Thanks to the neighbourhood’s medley of luxury apartment buildings, there’s high-end security monitoring the areas around the entrances to these high-rises.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company


Growth in and around the neighbourhood, as scores of new construction projects have broken ground, has also contributed to homeless people clearing the area.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company


And members of the East Cut CBD also help patrol the streets. The East Cut website states that the organisation has addressed 3,702 calls for homeless welfare checks and outreach assistance over the course of the first half of 2019.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: The East Cut


But a 2018 study from UC Berkeley shows how California CBDs (there are 16 in San Francisco) actually amplify anti-homeless rhetoric by supporting policies that “exclude or drive out homeless people” with taxpayer money, Fast Company reports.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company, Berkeley Law


Other duties performed by East Cut CBD members include responding to reports from residents of overflowing trash bins or graffiti marks. According to the organisation’s website, members have removed 134,250 pounds of garbage from the neighbourhood’s public spaces in the first half of 2019.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: East Cut


“I’m so glad that if I see an overflowing trash can, I can report it and it’s topped off and cleaned up within an hour,” East Cut resident Katy Liddell told Fast Company.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company


But as Fast Company reports, East Cut residents have the luxury of services provided by the East Cut CBD, on top of what the city of San Francisco provides, because they can afford to live in the area.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderThe East Cut with the Bay Bridge in the background is seen from The Avery.

Source: Fast Company


So that means the East Cut neighbourhood ecosystem — with its luxury towers and wealthy residents, premium neighbourhood service organisation, and throngs of high-earning techies — is indicative of why the city of San Francisco is more broadly experiencing a crushing wealth divide.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Source: Fast Company

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