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Fiona Kelliher

Real estate reporter, San Francisco Business Times

Location icon United States

I write about money and institutions with a sociologist's eye. As a real estate reporter for the San Francisco Business Times, I cover the Bay Area's crushing housing crisis from the perspective of families, cities and developers alike, while regularly breaking news about commercial office leases and transactions.

In 2018, I wrote about a mother-daughter duo running a crime ring out of a beloved Detroit bar for the Detroit Free Press. I tracked property records to tell the story of one black homeowner fighting redevelopment where her community once thrived. And I earned a California Journalism Award for my reporting on what it means to "middle class" in the wealthy city of Palo Alto.

Stanford Class of 2018. Recipient of the Dornbusch Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Sociology Majors. I once bought advance tickets to a mac and cheese festival.

Selected clips below.


Highlighted work, 2018-2019

Detroit Free Press
GM workers say they had 'no warning' of closure

CLOSE As word spread Monday that General Motors is closing three assembly plants, including Detroit-Hamtramck, its roughly 1,500 workers were at home on Thanksgiving break - watching the news roll in like everybody else. "You tell the world before you tell us," said line worker Dnitra Landon, pulled over in her 2017 Buick Encore before she clocked into the Hamtramck plant Tuesday morning.

Detroit Free Press
The Detroit Yacht Club is trying to shed its stuffy image

Walking into the men's locker room of the Detroit Yacht Club in 2014 for the first time, Colin Knapp's friend pointed to the forest-green benches that spanned the length of the room. "Just imagine the butts that have sat on those benches," he said. It's impossible to count every derriere.

San Francisco Business Times
600 California St. deal could be start of WeWork's buying binge

WeWork is in talks to buy a downtown San Francisco office building where it leases space, a move that could be the first of many acquisitions as the company looks to control its real estate portfolio from the inside out.

Bail Reform Bill Considered By California Legislature

NOTE TO EDITORS: This story is a special project being published by Bay City News for use by subscribers. The Appropriations Committee of the California Legislature is currently reviewing a bail reform proposal, Senate Bill 10. The deadline to pass the bill out of committee is Aug. 17.

Detroit Free Press

Detroit Free Press
Parents: Funeral home put baby's remains in Tupperware-like container

CLOSE The Detroit parents of a stillborn child are suing Ascension St. John, accusing the hospital of losing the child's remains, which were ultimately found in a Tupperware-like container that was being used as a paperweight in the Cantrell Funeral Home.

Detroit Free Press
Funeral home with fetuses in ceiling left trail of legal tangles

Before investigators discovered the remains of 11 fetuses in a defunct Detroit funeral home, several legal problems had already emerged with the business. Cantrell Funeral Home has been at the center of controversies ranging from "deplorable" operating conditions to failing to bury a woman after a service at the cemetery and misappropriating money from estates.

Detroit Free Press
Fetuses' ages could be factor in charges against Cantrell Funeral Home

Charges in the case of 11 mummified fetuses found in the ceiling of the defunct Cantrell Funeral Home in Detroit likely will come down to their gestational age - a fact that determines what paper trail, if any, exists for investigators to sniff out.

Detroit Free Press
1 in 5 workers in Wayne Co. are in this pay bracket - and it's a worry

Claybon Guinn joined hundreds of other fast food workers earlier this month as they protested in front of a McDonald's in Midtown Detroit demanding raises to $15 an hour. Like the others, Guinn, 49, of Detroit's east side earns poverty-level wages - $11 an hour at a carryout pizza outlet.

Detroit Free Press
Scientology headquarters in Detroit opens in secretive ceremony

Hundreds of Scientologists from across the country flowed into downtown Detroit on Sunday morning to celebrate the new church in a freshly-renovated, eight-floor building at the corner of Griswold and West Jefferson. Although famous member Tom Cruise didn't seem to appear in the crowd, some attendees hailed from as far as New Jersey and Georgia, clad in suits, leather jackets and scarfs to fight off the October cold.

Detroit Free Press
Police arrest Rashida Tlaib and Abdul El-Sayed at union rally

CLOSE Two Democratic politicians were among those arrested on Tuesday morning at a "Fight for $15" protest for higher wages and union rights on Woodward Avenue. Workers from local McDonald's franchises, the airport and hospitals joined the lawmakers for a march down Woodward Avenue then gathered outside the McDonald's on Woodward not far from Wayne State University.

Detroit Free Press
Michigan man's meteorite worth $100,000 was used as doorstop for years

A meteorite worth about $100,000 has been used as a doorstop at a Grand Rapids farm for years. Geology Professor Mona Sirbescu of Central Michigan University first identified the 22.5-pound chunk of iron as more than just a doorstop when the owner asked her to look at it earlier this year.

San Francisco Business Times

San Francisco Business Times
S.F. sues developer for defaulted loan

The City of San Francisco is suing a developer who failed to repay a $5.5 million loan given to help build a now vacant site at the corner of Fillmore and Eddy. Envisioned as a hub for jazz, food and foot traffic when it opened in 2007, the 240,000-square-foot Fillmore Heritage Center has since become an abandoned structure.

San Francisco Business Times
Asana in talks to lease huge SoMa site

Project management software maker Asana is in talks to lease a huge SoMa site under redevelopment, potentially nabbing all 270,000 square feet of the 633 Folsom St. site.

Palo Alto Weekly

Stanford Daily

Stanford Daily
BLACKstage revives conversations about race in theater community

BLACKstage president Samantha Williams '17 remembers being told in her sophomore year that "putting a body of color onstage is inherently a political act." She fought her director on the point then, but over time she has come to believe that artists of color have to make their own spaces for activism.

Stanford Daily
The privilege to fail

A bird guided between pipes with a few snappy turns of the wrist. Virtual assistants hired on-demand. A photo that vanishes in moments, adorned with finger drawings and new effects. An "invention platform" where people vote on their favorite newfangled ideas. A delivery system for doughnuts, coffee, sushi.

Stanford Daily
Stanford student sues Trump over travel ban

Several Bay Area students, including Stanford's Hadil Mansoor Al-Mowafak '20 from Yemen, have filed a lawsuit through the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that declares Trump's recent executive order banning immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries unconstitutional. The lawsuit, titled Al-Mowafak v.

Stanford Daily
Union worries Stanford's Redwood City expansion may not include its workers

As construction for Stanford's satellite campus in Redwood City officially broke ground several weeks ago, leaders of SEIU Local 2007, the union that represents over 1,200 workers at Stanford and Santa Clara University, expressed concerns that its members may not be hired to work at the satellite campus.

Stanford Daily
Union seeks Habla expansion, questions University commitment

For Angel Parra, an irrigation grounds worker who has been at Stanford for 15 years, getting an English as a Second Language (ESL) education has been tough. Because he lives 80 miles away from campus, he leaves his house in San Joaquin Valley at 3:15 a.m. and returns around 5 p.m.

Other fun things

West Magazine
The Bird Girl of Jasper Ridge - West Magazine

At the edge of Searsville Dam, Sophie Christel gasped. "Oh my god, that's a flock of crossbills," she said. She clenched her binoculars intently, as though steering an aircraft, and crooked her head to look at something in the trees. "Mike. Holy crap. Holy crap."

San Francisco Magazine
A New SFMOMA Exhibition Shows Magritte at His Most Bizarrely Cheerful

Everyone's favorite bowler-hatted, apple-headed, not-pipe-painting surrealist is coming to town-though even devoted fans might do a double take when they see some of these pieces. René Magritte: The Fifth Season, opening at SFMOMA this month, comprises 75 works, mostly from the second half of the artist's career.

The Stanford Daily
On this day in Stanford history...

The feature "On This Day in Stanford History" details unusual or humorous events that occurred on the same date or week in past years from the Daily archives. According to the Stanford Daily archives, on May 23 in... 1910: The Women's Christian Temperance Union of Palo Alto awarded student D.H.

Picked up in...

How Is Middle Class Defined in Palo Alto?

"That's fascinating to me," Kelliher says. "One sociologist puts it as a moral stigma around wealth. And I think that really does hold true here. I will say, though, I think the key caveat of a lot of these elements that we're parsing out is that the cost of living really is astronomical, too.

La Información
Así es la 'clase media' de Silicon Valley: son ricos pero no llegan a fin de mes

"No me convertí en ingeniero de software para tratar de llegar a fin de mes", reconocía hace un año un empleado de Twitter a The Guardian. Con 40 años y un salario base de 160.000 dólares el anónimo residente de Silicon Valley aseguraba que con esos ingresos es casi imposible criar una familia en la zona.

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