Author: veritasinv

Veritas Donates Mosaic Bench to Rejuvenate Tenderloin Park

You don’t have to be in second grade to enjoy a San Francisco park.

That’s the message 150 laughing and scampering kids had March 2 for Mayor London Breed and other dignitaries who, having graduated from swings and slides, still enjoy a good urban play haven like the Turk-Hyde Mini Park, which reopened after an 11-month, $1.7 million makeover.

Veritas founder Yat-Pang Au talks with Mark Gayapa, who grew up in the Tenderloin and lives in a Veritas-owned building, and his daughter, Aquamarie, at the mosaic tile bench.

Renovations feature new playground equipment, landscaping, tables and a bold mosaic bench created by noted Berkeley artist Wilma Wyss and commissioned by Veritas Investments. The bench highlights native pollinators, butterflies and the plants that support them.

Mark Gayapa, who grew up in the Tenderloin and lives in a Veritas-owned apartment, brought his young daughter, Aquamarie, to the opening. “I’m proud of this,” said the father of two. “We need more parks to keep kids out of trouble.”

Andy S. a fifth-grader at Tenderloin Community School, eyed the bench swings. “I really like them. You can play on them with your friends,’’ he said, bouncing near the slide.

As a siren blared, Breed welcomed the grown-ups to the urban oasis in the warm late-winter breeze. “The kids need a safe and clean place to play,” Breed said amid the giddy shouting students. “Look how happy they are!”

Mosaic artist Wilma Wyss works on the installation of the Turk-Hyde Mini Park bench.

The mosaic bench is part of Veritas’ mission to improve San Francisco neighborhoods for both residents and native species. “This mosaic bench and natural habitat complements the 11-story monarch butterfly mural three blocks up at 455 Hyde,” Jeff Jerden of Veritas said. “We are thrilled to have been part of this wonderful addition to the neighborhood.”

Using 100 different colors of high-quality tiles, Wyss spent two months creating the mural at her Berkeley studio. “I researched local butterflies and plants,” she said. “I tried to render the butterflies accurately so they could be identified; the plants are a bit more abstract.”

Wyss and her crew then moved the mural’s 35 pieces to the park, assembling and grouting the sections.

“I love working with environment themes as well as the education aspects. I’m thrilled to have it in a park used by kids,” said Wyss, noting that she will have additional mosaic art debut this spring at nearby Sergeant John Macaulay Park.

The engaging bench and the eye-catching mural are some of the steps Veritas is taking to encourage the expansion of living space for endangered pollinating insects. Efforts include influencing the city to change planting plans at both parks to be 100 percent pollinator friendly and redoing the rear garden at 455 Hyde – home of the national migrating mural.

Bee Safe: Veritas Helps Relocate Wildlife Humanely, Sometimes with ‘Sam Spade’ Assistance

It’s a jungle out there – or at least a crowded urban forest.

Animals, birds, insects and marine life of all kinds share San Francisco with its nearly 900,000 human residents. Sightings abound of coyotes, foxes and deer – even a mountain lion at Glen Canyon Park in 2017, which was relocated to the Santa Cruz Mountains. However, most would-be co-inhabitants are garden variety critters such as raccoons, possums and bees.

A raccoon hangs out on Taylor Street.

Just like any other property owner, Veritas is by no means immune to these wild housemates, but what stands out is how our team looks for solutions that are humane to wildlife guests while we accommodate our human residents.

“We’re committed to safe and environmentally friendly methods that ensure the safety of both our residents and the creatures,” said Veritas’ Jeff Jerden. “Some people are terrified to see wildlife close to home, but it can be an interesting, exciting diversion from everyday life too.”

In some ways, wildlife relocation is just as complicated as a resident’s apartment move.

Here are two examples of Mother Nature’s friends who needed some helping hands, and the outside experts that are sometimes required.

When a resident of 1340 Taylor Street heard noises behind a wall, he called resident manager Patric Dunbar, who phoned a pest control service, thinking it was a small problem. “Oh, no, you have something big,” the pest control tech told him.

It turns out that a pregnant raccoon had built a nest inside the Nob Hill building’s wall.

Trapping and releasing wildlife that moves into a house or structure is not a good option. For starters, it’s largely against state law and is only utilized in extreme situations such as for the mountain lion in 2017 (which was, thankfully, not at a Veritas building!). By regulation, most animals that are trapped must be either euthanized or released in the immediate vicinity. Plus, written permission is required from anyone living within 150 yards of set traps. There’s another reason: Traps can result in orphaned offspring who have to fend for themselves.

So Dunbar called San Francisco Animal Care and Control, which referred him to Wildlife Detectives, a San Rafael company that has specialized in safely and humanely removing animals for 10 years.

“We’re the Sam Spade for wildlife neighbors,” the company’s Maggio Sergio joked, in referencing the classic SF-based detective series from Dashiel Hammett. “We don’t harm animals – we try to solve the problem for the long term.”

The beehive at Scott Street is exposed after the clapboard wall is removed.

That begins with focusing on what the animal wants – food, water and shelter. In the case of 1340 Taylor, the answer was shelter, and the raccoon had used a vent cover to access her newly found nest. The next step, Sergio said, was waiting and watching. As soon as the raccoon kits were old enough to leave the nest, Sergio and her team were ready. They animal-proofed the opening, secured other possible entries and applied a concoction of ammonia and cayenne, a smelly mixture that raccoons and others who walk the Earth find less than appealing.

Maggio assured that the raccoons had plenty of other options in nearby creeks, parks and other native habitat — and no doubt happier by now.

In another example of safe and humane animal relocation, Veritas found thousands of bees who built a hive within a wall shared with dozens of human occupants. Not great room-mates!

Resident Manager Chris Colon heard buzzing and found bees coming in and out of a quarter-sized hole in an exterior wall at 3820 Scott Street. “I spoke to my manager who knew of a local beekeeper in the city,” he said.

A call brought Philip Gerrie of Noe Valley Apiaries to the Marina District building. A veteran beekeeper, Gerrie removed the wall’s clapboard to expose the hive. “Then I remove the combs and place them on trays,” he said. After that, he broke out his ‘Bee Vac’, a device he made 10 years ago. After collecting the bees, he transferred them to a bee box at his property.

“We saved these wonderful honey-producing creatures who are becoming more endangered,” Colon said.

Cover photo courtesy of Boba Jaglicic

Classic Parisian Patisserie Maison Danel Opens in Veritas’ 1030 Polk

Nothing quite says Paris like an elegantly sleek patisserie and salon de thé. Now, that magic is coming to San Francisco.

Inspired by the great eateries in the City of Light and other European culinary centers, Maison Danel opens Feb. 18 in Veritas’ beautifully restored 1030 Polk St. building.

David and Danel de Betelu, who have operated Baker Street Bistro since 2009, are eager to debut their vision for a quintessential European tea salon. “It’s an experience we don’t have here in San Francisco,’’ David de Betelu said.

In addition to classic pastries and tea, Maison Danel will offer breakfast, lunch, tea service and weekend brunch.

The married duo is also proud to be part of the rejuvenation of the area near Post Street, noting they looked all over the city before deciding on the spot. He noted that Maison Danel will be far more neighborhood friendly than the businesses previously in the space, including a smoke shop.

The building is also part of owner Veritas Investments’ commitment to placing locally-oriented businesses in commercial locations.

“We’re delighted to have this slice of Paris available for San Francisco,” said Justine Shoemaker of Veritas. “Maison Danel will quickly become part of the Bay Area’s local culinary heritage.”

The couple emphasized that the salon is their bébé, with no investors or ties to chains. “I cashed in my 401k,” David de Betelu laughed. “There’s no tech money here!”

At 3,000 square feet, Maison Danel is divided into three areas, with pastry display cases at the front, flanked by the tea salon dining area to the right and the kitchen to the left. Visitors will feel like they’ve stepped into a shop in the Palais-Royal as they take in the decor, replete with an elegant chandelier and Maison Danel’s name and intertwined double-D crest inlaid in the tile floor.

Parisian chef Adrien Chabot, who recently moved to the Bay Area, leads the kitchen.

As befitting its Parisian lineage, the shop will sell pastries in brightly colored boxes from the long marble counter, allowing customers to take home gifts after enjoying a meal or bite in the salon while visually feasting on the display.

Of course, vibrant macarons will highlight the menu, along with croissant, tart meringue, choux a la creme and other patisserie staples. Patrons can sip specially branded locally roasted coffee as well.

The new café will also bring along some Baker Street Bistro favorites, including brioche french toast, duck confit and steak frites. Tea service will feature classic towers with finger sandwiches, petit fours and mignardises.

Another notable, authentic offering: Champagne. Along with coffee and tea, the drinks menu will include true French bubbly including champagne floats, plus a selection of wines and other libations.

The couple’s story began in 2008 when David, a marketing specialist in Minneapolis, was on a business trip to New York and met Danel, a classically trained French chef from Biarritz. Love for each other and food ensued, and the pair decided to settle in San Francisco.

“You have one life to live,” David de Belelu reflected. “You should enjoy it with good food. We want to share that vision with San Francisco.”

Maison Danel is open from 7am to 7pm Tuesday through Sunday. More info at

Veritas Holiday Toy Drive and Festive Spirit for the Season

Santa greets visitors and residents at 2677 Larkin Street.

Veritas staff and residents know how to spread cheer for one and all, giving back and sharing the spirit of the season. They’re not bad with holiday decor, either.

One of the largest residential rental companies in San Francisco, Veritas helps set the mood with its annual toy drive, and this year its employees and residents donated over 600 new toys for children. Toys were collected at Veritas’ annual holiday celebration before Santa’s helpers delivered the bountiful collection to the San Francisco Fire Department for its annual drive.

“We’re amazed at everyone’s generosity, which seems bigger and better every year,” said Mike McCamish, Veritas’s Director of Property Management.

Donating gifts is only one facet of how Veritas ushers in the holidays, as Resident Managers play a key role in decorating buildings, setting up holiday events and handling special requests such as deliveries, mail-collection and just keeping an attentive eye out while residents are away.

Wanda Brown is perhaps the dean of holiday decorations. She’s brought the spirit of the season to 2128 Van Ness Avenue for more than 20 years, long before Veritas owned the Edwardian building.

“The residents really love this,” she said. “In fact, previous residents come back at Christmas just to enjoy it again. Little children in our neighborhood come by to see the decorations, and I hand out candy canes.”

One of Brown’s touches is the placement of the previous owner’s antique toys. “He loved them, and would help me decorate,” she beamed.

Stockings, figurines and a Nativity scene line the hallway at 2128 Van Ness Avenue.

The building also participated in collecting gifts for the Firefighter’s campaign. “I’m pleased to say that our toy drive was very successful,” she said.

Another Veritas holiday landmark is 2677 Larkin Street, where Rick Nelson has brought festive holiday pizzazz for four years.

“Sometimes I think I do it more for me than the residents,” joked the eighth-generation Californian. Nelson said many of the ornaments were his late mother’s, and some were donated by residents.

“I’m so thankful for Veritas, and I love this building,” he said. “It’s my home, and I want it to look good, for everyone.”