San Francisco, corner of First and Mission
J.K. Dineen at the San Francisco Business Times has the scoop on a proposed “1,200-foot tower at First and Mission streets, part of a quartet of astoundingly ambitious buildings being designed by superstar architect Renzo Piano.

The proposed building, which would dwarf any existing buildings on the West Coast, would be part of a 2.9 million-square-foot development that would include 600 condominiums, 470 hotel rooms, and more than 520,000 square feet of office space, according to an application filed Dec. 21 with the city.
The 1,200-foot proposed skyscraper, which would be the third tallest building in the United States, would lag only Chicago’s Sears Tower, which is 1,450 feet, and New York’s Empire State Building at 1,250 feet. San Francisco’s tallest current building is the Transamerica Pyramid, which is 853 feet tall.

For additional perspective, that’s about twice the height of either the Millennium Tower or One Rincon Hill (and 200 feet taller than the proposed Transbay Terminal skyscraper).
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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by InfinityBuyer

    That would be an awesome addition to our skyline.
    From the point the application is filed on Dec. 21st with the City, how long usually before construction starts?

  2. Posted by Invented

    I love it already. Unconditionally. We’re (finally) growing up?

  3. Posted by Anonymous

    Just curious. Why is everyone so “high” on skyscrapers? Is this because San Franciscan’s feel it would help make the city part of the “big league” of world cities? With such an incredible setting with low rolling hills and an amazing bay, with so many huge towers going up we are now changing the landscape itself. I would prefer to see more medium rise density out in places like along Geary Avenue going towards the Pacific as was talked about before on this site. I also think people who move here sometimes overlook the texture and beauty of what is already here. The urban density of San Francisco is much more like a European city than Chicago. Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, etc. are more what people come from around the world to experience in San Francisco. I think buildings like 2200 Steiner are brilliant for they are tall and slim without completely overtaking the neighborhood. Just my two cents.

  4. Posted by Pro-growth

    I disagree with the last poster’s comments that additional skyscrapers would disturb the texture and beauty of San Francisco. There will always be parts of the city where one can go to see the natural slope of the landscape (the poster even mentioned Russian Hill and Pac Heights as prime examples).
    However, think of this as not only improving on San Francisco’s already world-class skyline, but also helping to slow the urban sprawl that is plaguing the greater bay area. Rather than a massive 2,000 residential unit development in Tracy or a sprawling office park in Pleasanton, these are all concentrated in our great city and will add an additional awesome neighborhood. I for one am very much looking forward to this occuring.

  5. Posted by Anonymous

    Anything that Renzo Piano does is absolutely gorgeous. Thumbs up over here.

  6. Posted by zzzzzz

    Completely agree about Renzo Piano. Check out the web site showing the progress on his new Academy of Sciences:
    http://www.calacademy.org/newacademy/
    I also agree that some very tall, slender high-rise are just what the doctor ordered for the SF skyline. The existing height limits have produced a skyline of dull, bulky, mediocre high rise that are crying out for some variety. Think of the skyline seen looking north from Potrero Hill, and you get the picture. I can only hope this proposal comes to fruition, and that the architecture is of the highest quality.

  7. Posted by tipster

    Another reason this project is a real plus for the city is it gives residents a real choice. If you want the preeminent building in SF with what are bound to be spectacular views, you buy here. Top notch views near the water in a decent location: Infinity. Best location: Millennium. Low,low price in the boondocks: One Rincon.
    One can certainly see why One Rincon was in such a hurry to get those units sold as quickly as possible before these other, more recent and much more desirable projects made it out of the gate. It seems like every week there is a better project going up with hundreds and hundreds of units. That will expand the choices dramatically, and that’s a real plus for people who have not yet purchased.
    I think the best is yet to come!

  8. Posted by S

    I think this is terrific. And the poster before was right about it slowing sprawl. We have already invested billions of dollars in transit in San Francisco, why not get the most out of it? Tracy has no infrastructure.
    And this is also great for the environment, for these people can take the subway, walk to work and will go to restaurants, theatre, galleries and more. The more development for the City, the more sales tax and property taxes it receives. BIG thumbs up!

  9. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    How times have changed! Anyone living here in the 80′s will remember the pitched battles over high-rise development and the “Manhattanization” of San Francisco. Now, you barely hear a whimper of protest. Bottom line: SF isn’t Carmel or Sausilito, it’s a *city*, and this what cities do.

  10. Posted by Anonymous

    The sprawl followed the jobs, and the jobs are not in “the city”. Pleasonton, San Jose, the Peninsula are now where the jobs are. These trophy towers are not helpful in solving the real issues of San Francisco. Luxury High Rises do not provide housing for the kind of people who actually work in the city, they are additional homes for people to collect. The reason for all of the outcry in the 80′s is San Francisco back then did not think it was Carmel, but instead “Paris on the Pacific”. It wanted to be urban in a very subtle and sophisticated way. The poor and working people will continue to sprawl to Tracy and I predict this will be another tower where many of the windows will be dark at night.

  11. Posted by Pro-growth

    Well, obviously the windows will be dark at night, as this is an office building.
    Sure, these towers are attracting the high-end for both businesses and residential customers, but keep in mind that this adds additional supply into a very tight market. I know that there is excess capacity in the office market right now, but think long term everyone. While not solving every problem in the book, they do ease the overall supply issue, while beautifying another corner of our beloved city.

  12. Posted by S

    Actually job growth in San Francisco is expected to be on par with San Jose, as evidenced by the sub-10% vacancy rates and new spec office buildings under construction.
    As for the residential units, the more the supply, the more the prices drop. One can argue that one of the reasons prices are so high to begin with is an extreme limit on construction over the past 4 decades. When supply finally exceeds demand, prices become more affordable.

  13. Posted by Anonymous

    I think this developer is bluffing with this proposal and is assuming the city will scale it back to buildings more in scale with the skyline they have already created (for better or worse). There is no proposal anywhere in the world this large since Rockefeller Center. “Two 1,200 foot high towers, two 900 foot high towers, and one 600 foot high tower”. This proposal is a major change to the city and would become a landmark.

  14. Posted by PlanningFriend

    A friend of mine works in the planning department and he told me they were practically drooling over these plans. Insane property tax base and absolutely NO infrastructure improvements needed. All of it right near transit and these buildings will absolutely flood the city with housing, allowing middle incomers an opportunity to come back in, not here, but in other areas that demand is sucked from by these projects.
    The way he was talking about it, these projects can’t go up fast enough for the city.

  15. Posted by Anonymous

    What about the earthquake resistance of these tall structures?

  16. Posted by SF Living

    “Another reason this project is a real plus for the city is it gives residents a real choice. If you want the preeminent building in SF with what are bound to be spectacular views, you buy here. Top notch views near the water in a decent location: Infinity. Best location: Millennium. Low,low price in the boondocks: One Rincon.”
    This 6:24 PM post is very funny regarding 1Rincon, but true! 1Rincon was smart to sell before everyone else. Developer will make tons of money. Unfortunately, the terrible location will be it’s ultimate downfall with all the new buildings going up in downtown.
    Preeminent buildings in SF?? Definitely, the Renzo Piano development, Millenium and Infinity!

  17. Posted by Anonymous

    “This 6:24 PM post is very funny regarding 1Rincon, but true! 1Rincon was smart to sell before everyone else. Developer will make tons of money. Unfortunately, the terrible location will be it’s ultimate downfall with all the new buildings going up in downtown.”
    I was wondering when someone would take the opportunity to put nice big juicy bait fish on the hook and throw it overboard. Problem is, this one was a little too obvious and petty. I expect more from you SF Living.

  18. Posted by SF Living

    Heh Heh, this is fun. I love Socketsite!
    But back to the subject. The nw corner of Mission and First doesn’t seem to have enough space for two 1,200 foot towers, two 900 foot towers, and a 600 foot tower. I think they mentioned 2 acres total? I sure hope the building are as slim as they say it’ll be cuz I can’t imagine all those buildings on one corner.
    But knowing Piano, it’ll still look spectacular!

  19. Posted by Anon

    I can’t wait to see renderings of the proposed project. It seems that SF is finally becoming a destination for world-class architects. Perhaps we’re finally shaking off the provincial attitude discussed in previous blogs.
    Now if someone could just get rid of that clapboard monstrosity on the sw corner of Mission and First ;-)

  20. Posted by Anonymous

    The comments about the impending doom for purchasers of One Rincon really applies to any building. One Rincon was supposed to be the tallest building west of the Mississippi, and now, it’s just going to be seen as this oddball building off to one side of SF waay out of the way and next to a freeway onramp, and not even in the same league as the real tall buildings in SF.
    The lesson to be learned about any new building, this one that is the subject of this thread included, is not to get too carried away by the hype that you lose sight of reality.
    Go to any other town and look at the ghetto buildings next to the freeway and ask if you’d really want to live in one and why this one should be different. Go to any downtown, and look at any building far, far away from the core and ask yourself if that would be a wise decision to purchase there. Look at buildings that are in relatively desolated areas of any city and ask yourself whether anyone would really buy there. Then realize that a building that has *all* of those qualities, even one with a nice view, is most likely hype, and try not to get swept away by it. Doing so is going to cost yourself a fortune.
    This building also will have its share of problems, if it’s like the others. Just be careful that you don’t get caught up in the frenzy, try to make rational decisions, and I’m sure you’ll do well if you make the right ones. With what soon will be thousands of units flooding the market, you’ll have plenty of choices.

  21. Posted by Frederick

    And it’s not done yet!!
    There is still more to come. You will be living in a different city. A much more dramatic city!!
    Quit knocking the past, not only Victorian, Edwardian, modern and everything in between.
    You are lucky to live in one of the Worlds great cities, that has a powerful future, not only economically, but architecturally, socially and entrepurnaily.
    The best is yet to come!!!
    Frederick

  22. Posted by doomed

    Well said Anonymous!
    In real estate, it’s not the hype that makes a good investment. It’s not the marketing. Nor is it the shiniest or tallest building, or the one with the fancy showroom or glizty presale parties. None of that makes real estate a sure bet investment.
    It’s all about the LOCATION folks. And SF Living made an interesting point that the developer of OneRincon did a steller job of selling and marketing that development in such a poor and crummy location.
    Looking at Onerincon now vs the developments with the superior locations, products, and superstar architects makes me wonder if it’ll fall to the wayside much like the pitch black Watermark has…

  23. Posted by Anonymous

    I don’t think the first annon’s comments should be taken as anti modern or anti growth. There are no drawings yet that we have seen of this project and it is very suprising that everyone is so quick to jump on the bandwagon of the latest tower to rise. Is SF Gate not aware of the Calatrava designed tower about to start going up in Chicago that will be the world’s tallest residential tower and about the same height as the Sears Tower though the antenna cap will make it seem much taller? Even in a city as pro growth as Chicago there was much debate and discussion over whether the location and tower would “fit in” the skyline (Which it does since it is near the center). If we start cheerleading any new tower and tearing down all of those nasty old Victorians that all the tourists come to see, we may be leaving our grandchildren a bunch of Fox Plaza buildings built on top of, and taking their name from the old charming buildings that used to sit on their site they now squat on.
    You have to accept the city you are in and work with the urban context you are given. San Francisco is not L.A. or Chicago and I don’t think it should try to be. I hope the new towers are beautiful and I think the location is brilliant for the city but as for this helping housing and being good for the enviroment. I disagree. There are so many areas of the city that need in-fill housing on a smaller scale and this would help to preserve what made S.F. different from L.A. and that is that we have a collection of amazing and diverse neighborhoods of medium density where you can walk to everything, and still get sunshine, fresh air, and a beautiful enviroment where the historic past is still present as well as the future.

  24. Posted by Tipster

    Fall by the wayside? No, not at all. It just means One Rincon will probably fall into the 600-700 psf price range that other buildings in odd neighborhoods have, while the 1000 psf price point, if it is still maintainable in this market, shifts to the upper floors of the more desirable buildings downtown.
    There will ALWAYS be demand for well priced buildings, even ones in poor locations. One Rincon will NEVER fall by the wayside if it is priced appropriately.
    The only problem with one Rincon is that it will be difficult to rent in that location with high HOA fees and a difficult parking situation. Tenants will also find the downtown buildings like the one the subject of this thread to be much more desirable, and the odd buildings in difficult locations will have to be priced aggressively as rentals. With premium prices paid and high HOA fees paid to make up for the lack of parking, that will make it difficult to rent 1Rincon for anywhere near the costs, driving more and more people to sell, further depressing prices.
    These downtown buildings, with their many thousands of units, will become the places people want to rent. But as noted, if people get caught up in the hype as to these buildings, foolish decisions could be made here too.
    As for the comments about Victorians, none have been demolished for these projects. Only ugly buildings. So these places are dramatically adding to the character of the city and will be welcomed with open arms by the planning department and the residents.

  25. Posted by alleysandavenues

    The San Francisco Business Times had it on its web site a few minutes before the Chronicle had it on sfgate.

  26. Posted by Michael

    From the Chronicle:
    “Piano has likened the design approach to bamboo shoots rising from the ground, with different pieces stopping at different heights. The two tallest would be on First Street — rising 1,200 feet on either side of the Jessie Street alleyway.
    The height would be accented even more by the narrow dimensions of each tower. On the top 300 feet of the tallest towers, the floors would measure just 8,000 square feet — less than half the size of the upper floors one block away at Fremont Center. That 600-foot-high office tower is currently the tallest high-rise south of Market Street.”

  27. Posted by Anonymous

    I don’t think that One Rincon is in as bad of a location as everyone states. Yes, if you don’t like being by the bridge, don’t live there. However, its not like it will be in the middle of nowhere for long. The plans are to build 10-12 similar residential high-rises in the Rincon Hill area over the next 5 years. Folsom Street will be turned into another Chestnut Street, narrowing the street and having tons of shops and restaurants and the sailors union building will turn into a community center. Can you argue that the Transbay Terminal area will eventually be more impressive? Yes, of course. Will Rincon Hill continue to be an urban wasteland…I wouldn’t bet on it.

  28. Posted by Joe

    I think the people eager to complain about 1 rincon’s placement are failing to take into account that there will be three 40+ story highrises within one block. The additional three buildings: 341 fremont, 45 lansing, and 375 fremont will go a long way towards mitigating the “out in the boonies” feel that 1 rincon has.
    Also, the street treatments that are planned for the area will also help a lot.
    It’s heartening to see so many positive responses to the news of this proposal. Could SF be less small town than I had previously thought?
    And for the poster who mentioned Paris – They just approved some supertalls for La Defense.

  29. Posted by Mike

    Folsom Street will be turned into another Chestnut Street, narrowing the street and having tons of shops and restaurants and the sailors union building will turn into a community center.
    That’s probably stretching things (alot). I believe Folsom will be narrowed from around First street to the water, but it’ll NEVER be like Chestnut with “tons of shops.” And I’ll bet the shops that will be there will be real neighborhood anchors like Starbucks and Subway franchises.

  30. Posted by InfinityBuyer

    There’s a good bet Folsom St will eventually look similiar to King in Mission Bay. Ok and convenient for the local residents, but no where near Chestnut, Union, upper Fillmore etc….

  31. Posted by John

    Regarding Rincon’s location, yes there will be half a dozen or so new buildings going up in that area, especially on Fremont St. But given that all these buildings will be a block closer to downtown and closer to Folsom St, and not hugging the freeway, they will become more desirable in for owners and renters than 1Rincon which, as someone said earlier, the “oddball building near the freeway onramp”…
    Also, I believe the Folsom corridor will be developed only up to Fremont St, or at most First St, so the shops and restaurants may never reach up to First and Harrison.

  32. Posted by Anon

    So let me get this straight. Either there will be 10-12 new buildings competing for buyers in the same area, or if those plans get shelved, as I suspect they will, with all the activity happening around the more desirable downtown locations, one rincon will be an island by itself. Either way, I wouldn’t be betting on property values rising at one rincon any time soon.
    I understand that a push is now underway to narrow Mission Street from second to the water, instead of Fulsom. Because of projects like the topic fo this thread, it has been determined that Mission street will have the density to support shops sooner, and better, than Fulsom. Fulsom would then be turned into a two way street to allow it to become a major artery like Geary to offload the increased freeway traffic in a more efficient way, routing it in and out of Embarcadero. The narrow street of shops would then be supported by office workers during the middle of the day, and these more desirable Mission street project owners at night, rather than the daytime ghost town that a narrowed Folsom would become.
    Stay tuned. I think these Mission Street projects are changing everything.

  33. Posted by Damion

    I’m trying to figure out how Mission and First is such a more desirable location than Harrison and First or Folsom and First. They’re three blocks away!!
    Also, may I point out thatat Millennium and Transbay, you’ll have to be very very high up to get the kind of view you’d want. As at The St. Regis, Infinity and 333 Bush, there are several highrises very close by, so that even when you’re on the 40th floor, you could still be facing another building right across the street and have a terrible view. At all of these buildings, there are a lot of units that have lousy views, and those with great views are very expensive. One Rincon is the exception — you don’t have to go very high up for a nice view.

  34. Posted by einstein

    The article mentioned this would be the 3rd tallest building. Does anyone know if there are other proposed buildings of this height elsewhere on the west coast?
    Also, why does everyone take such oppurtunity to bash one rincon. This is an excellent location only a few minutes extra walk to all of downtown. Its positioned such that the majority of the views will remain relatively unobstucted for years to come and will be (subjectively) much better than most of the inner projects — except of course for the top floors, especially of this new proposed project, which I can only imagine how fantastic the views will be from the top – could it be to high? Also – being next to the onramp makes driving east, west and south very easy and the downside (freeway noise, exhaust etc) only affects a small number of the units immediately adjacent to the freeway.
    All this being said, I cant wait to see the 360 degree view from above the city at a central point which this project will offer.

  35. Posted by Anonymous

    Sorry einstein, but views aren’t everything. And no, the location is not excellent. Sure, 1Rincon will have some of the nicest views around, but step outside your building and you’re still next to a major freeway onramp with no stores or amenities for blocks around.
    No way to spin it, the new developments closer to downtown will be more desirable and have a negative impact on 1Rincon…

  36. Posted by einstein

    Actually, views are very important to many of the luxury buyers who will be buying these units – but my point is why are you bashing Rincon on this thread – go post your comments on the other thread where they belong

  37. Posted by Michael

    Stores and amenities will follow (not lead) the residents in any of these new neighborhoods.
    But that raises an interesting question, if these buildings (including Infinity and One Rincon) follow in the footsteps of the Watermark or the St. Regis (talk about a lack of lights on in the evenings) and become primarily pied-a-terres for the wealthy (rather than a community of primary residences) will they ever generate the critical mass of residents necessary to spawn and support a new neighborhood?

  38. Posted by CameronRex

    I can’t be the only one who enjoys true city views? By this I mean views of other buildings. I like the feeling of being surrounded by the city…the lights especially. I certainly understand those that want/prefer a vast view of the bay and bridges but for me, I want to be able to see buildings, not look down on them. They provide texture. I was jumped on by an Anonymous poster yesterday for a slightly negative comment about 1 Rincon. On the flip side though, I honestly do not think 1 Rincon will remain isolated, if anyone considers it to be so, for long. All those residents are sure to attracts businesses and cafes; not to mention that the entire Rincon Hill neighborhood is being transformed.
    Oh, one last point. I think other posters have made good points regarding what makes a sought after building. However, I think the building management is very key. If 1 Rincon is run with the same efficiency and pizazz that its sales and marketing showed then it will still be a prized building.

  39. Posted by SF Living

    einstein, if all the 1Rincon critics left this post, it’ll be pretty empty! :-)
    I think most are not really bashing 1Rincon, but just stating that these new developments give buyers a lot more choices and these choices could (and seem like it will) be more desirable than 1Rincon given it’s better location…

  40. Posted by SeeHsee

    Nearly this same discussion is happening on the thread about Millennium Tower. My question: If the Metropolitan, BridgeView, Avalon Towers, and BayCrest (which is decades old) didn’t bring the neighborhood and community to the area, why would One Rincon? (Will it be the “luxury buyers”?) I think the difficulty is that, as long as these developments are inhabited by car-dependent residents who use the garage entrance more than the front door, this area will never attract retail, restaurants and other services. But, until they do exist, residents will have no choice but to drive elsewhere for those things. It’s almost self-fulfilling. (BTW: I like a view with texture, too.)

  41. Posted by InfinityBuyer

    Responding to Michael’s comment, the neighborhood around Infinity is already bustling with people from the Gap building, Hills Plaza, the nearby restaurants, stores, etc…
    Also, there’s the new Rincon park under construction a block away at the Embarcadero. That park will hold 2 large brand new restaurants overlooking the bay and bridge. All this a block or less from Infinity. So while the 1Rincon area may lack the residents, workers, and pedestrians, Infinity already has it and will have more once Rincon Park is completed. The best is really yet to come…

  42. Posted by SeeHsee

    Having spent a lot of time at the Hills Plaza condos, I can tell you that the bustle exists only during weekday work hours. The problem (which hopefully will change) is that there aren’t any markets, restaurants or cafes aimed at area residents. So, if you’re in the area over the weekend, picking up any grocery-type item or grabbing something quick to eat, it means a long haul on foot/muni or a car trip. But one thing this area has that is priceless and definitely worth any location downside is access to the embarcadero. It’s wonderful having waterfront and park so close, along with the Ferry building.

  43. Posted by San Andreas

    Knock, Knock, remember me? Me and my buddy Hayward across the bay are watching all this with great interest. If the engineers do their job and meet the building code requirements, and I’m sure they will on such a high profile project, then when we pop all you folks don’t have to worry about concrete chuncks dropping all around. However, there is a damn good chance the building will not be able to be re-occupied without a major fix, or maybe not at all. Then SF will need to knock it down, all 1200 feet of it, should be interesting.

  44. Posted by InfinityBuyer

    They will put a grocery store downstairs at Infinity as well as a cafe, a restaurant, and some small shops. So there’s plenty of amenities for the residents and workers in that area. Don’t forget there’s already Palomino, Gorden Biersh, Chaya, and other cafes and stores nearby.
    And I agree with SeeHsee, Infinity’s prime location next to the Embarcadero, the new park, and the bay is priceless…

  45. Posted by Anonymous

    were any highrises collapsed or demolished as a result of ’89 EQ? i dont think so. it is true however that the structural provisions of the building code are designed to save occupants inside the building only (to provide enough fire and structural resistance for evacuation), and not necessarily preserve the structure. but i guess that’s what the $800/mth HOA earthquake insurance is for.

  46. Posted by Delancey Resident

    The various One Rincon bashers seem to have a bit of myopia when it comes to that part of Soma south of the bay bridge. There’s a non-trivial neighborhood market at Brannan & Embarcadero. The Delancey St Restaurant is across the street from that. The Crossroads Cafe is at the end of Delancey, as is a cluster of restaurants. The South Beach Cafe is half a block farther. All this is two blocks from the 1 Rincon tower (Beale connects under the bridge). If you’re willing to go a third block away, you have the 2nd st restaurants, pubs, and wine store.
    I don’t plan on living at 1 Rincon, but bashers, get a grip. I enjoy good snark more than the next guy, but snark only works when grounded in reality.

  47. Posted by Anonymous

    The $800/mth HOA does NOT include earthquake insurance. In fact, neither One Rincon nor The-Infinity carry earthquake insurance. And the ’89 quake was a moderate size quake 60 miles South of the city. But hey, for $1,400 per sqft the show better be good up on the 30th floor.

  48. Posted by John

    Delancey Resident, the S Beach area does have a lot of restaurants and a market, but looking at the map, 1Rincon looks 3-4 blocks away and down the hill. I would imagine most folks will choose to drive to S Beach. It’s too bad First St or Fremont St doesn’t cross over to S Beach. Looking down to the Embacadero, the restaurants and cafes at Hills Plaza looks like 5 blocks away and again, down the hill. I’m not bashing here, just stating what I see on the map….

  49. Posted by San Andreas

    ….”were any highrises collapsed or demolished as a result of ’89 EQ? i dont think so”……………..
    Well, back in ’89 I slipped some in the Santa Cruz Mountains, about 60 miles from SF. A moderately large magnitude 6.9 with strong ground shaking lasted about 15 seconds. The max ground acceleration recorded was .64g near the epicenter, it was much less in SF. (Damn, there was a quake just then.) Anyway, my point is that it is highly likely SF will experience a M7.0 or greater EQ either on the San Andreas or Hayward during the life of these high rises. The technology being used to build them will not prevent damage and is largely untested, so the real damage is but an engineered guess at this point. SF is not Chicago nor NYC, we are a highly seismic zone and careful consideration must be given when building such a tall residential building here. A developer that builds a condo building then heads out of town holding a bag of coin does not have much insentive to increase seismic performance, that is unless the folks lining up to buy the condos decide seismic performance is an “amenity”. So, maybe buyers should ask some tough questions. And, I did not say “collapse”, I’m pretty confident in SF’s mandated pier review process for bldgs over 240ft, so I believe the code intent of life safety is being met. I just wonder aloud if that is enough, especially when I imagine the need to demolish a 60story+ condo building that is leaning over by 10 feet. Who pays for that?

  50. Posted by Delancey St Resident

    John,
    I suggest you walk the ground before describing a 40 foot elevation change as a “hill”. This isn’t Iowa–we have real hills here, in other parts of the city. As for your insistence that Brannan or 2nd st is too far, I can only suggest you try hoofing it. To me the shopping convenience threshold is 7 minutes or less–both Embaracero & Brannan and 2nd& Bryant are accessible to 1st & harrison in that time. I know, because I walk to work north of Market every weekday.
    I will agree that the 2nd st walk under the bridge is less than pleasant…One Rincon would be wise to lean on the city to get a real sidewalk installed.

  51. Posted by Dan

    John King thinks the towers should be shorter:
    http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/12/23/TOWERS.TMP
    Don’t know whether I agree with him on this.
    Looking forward to seeing the sketches, with the terra cotta tiles.

  52. Posted by John

    Delancey St Resident,
    It states here in a SF Gate article that 1Rincon is atop 100Ft elevation of Rincon Hill, not 40Ft.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/06/14/BAGBEJDLGJ1.DTL
    And I live in Mission Bay and work in the financial district so I DO hoof that area often and know how long it takes to walk around.
    While some folks may enjoy walking up and down a 100ft hill to a market or cafe, I noticed that if it’s not within a block or two, or if the walk isn’t pleasant, people will drive.
    And yes, the walk to S Beach via Beale or 2nd street (to mission bay) is NOT pleasant, and at night can be scary for some…

  53. Posted by Anonymous

    “I was jumped on by an Anonymous poster yesterday for a slightly negative comment about 1 Rincon. On the flip side though, I honestly do not think 1 Rincon will remain isolated, if anyone considers it to be so, for long. All those residents are sure to attracts businesses and cafes; not to mention that the entire Rincon Hill neighborhood is being transformed.
    Oh, one last point. I think other posters have made good points regarding what makes a sought after building. However, I think the building management is very key. If 1 Rincon is run with the same efficiency and pizazz that its sales and marketing showed then it will still be a prized building.”
    Finally. A refreshingly honest comment with some actual insight and thought. Nice to see, Cam.

  54. Posted by Morgan

    Why are there so many twin towers projects either under construction or proposed including this one? And why is it so wrong to want to express concern when a developer is proposing a project so high and huge in scale that it will completely alter the urban landscape? I would rather see one large tower than two. Santiago Calatrava’s new tower for Chicago is worthy of the impact it will make on that city’s skyline and those units are selling for around 700 a sq. ft.
    http://www.arcspace.com/architects/calatrava/fordham/fordham.html
    I am holding judgement until the plans are finally available and I am astonished that anyone thinks that all of these new towers are going to create a “neighborhood”.

  55. Posted by anonandon

    “On the flip side though, I honestly do not think 1 Rincon will remain isolated, if anyone considers it to be so, for long. All those residents are sure to attracts businesses and cafes”
    All what residents? The ones who live in the east bay all week and hop in to SF for one night on the weekend? As a small business owner, I would *never* locate out there. That’s a killer location: a business killer, that is. Buy in that location and you are going to be on your own for coffee. Don’t expect me to locate there for the next twenty years.
    But the more desirable location near the first and mission projects are outstanding for a business owner like myself. I can sell to the residents at night, but make most of my money from the office workers who are already there during the day. I can hardly wait to get into first and mission. One rincon: best of luck.

  56. Posted by Anonymous

    “On the flip side though, I honestly do not think 1 Rincon will remain isolated, if anyone considers it to be so, for long. All those residents are sure to attracts businesses and cafes”
    This theory just doesn’t hold water. What happen when the Met was completed and those hundreds of residents moved in? NOTHING. I don’t think there’s a single business that moved in to support those residents (or maybe there’s one, but I don’t know about it).
    And what about Bridgeview, Avalon, and BayCrest? Those have been there for years and years and nothing happen to the neighborhood.
    Unfortunately I don’t see how another development would make much of a difference…

  57. Posted by Anonymous

    “This theory just doesn’t hold water. What happen when the Met was completed and those hundreds of residents moved in? NOTHING. I don’t think there’s a single business that moved in to support those residents (or maybe there’s one, but I don’t know about it). And what about Bridgeview, Avalon, and BayCrest? Those have been there for years and years and nothing happen to the neighborhood.
    Unfortunately I don’t see how another development would make much of a difference…”
    This premise doesn’t “hold water.” What people are talking about is the future aggregate residential population that will be created in the area once all of the planned projects are completed. The projects cited above, by themselves, did not create enough residential population density in the area to justify a large amount of retailers to move in. However, once the area is developed, the residential population density will more than justify the existence of retailers in the area. Any as for the comment that the only people living in these projects are out-of-towners doesn’t hold water either. There will most definitely be a sufficient amount of permanent residents and part-time residents around at all times to justify having retailers in the immediate area.

  58. Posted by John

    “However, once the area is developed, the residential population density will more than justify the existence of retailers in the area. Any as for the comment that the only people living in these projects are out-of-towners doesn’t hold water either. There will most definitely be a sufficient amount of permanent residents and part-time residents around at all times to justify having retailers in the immediate area.”
    We could look at the Watermark and the Met as good examples of new buildings that are at most 40-50% occuppied at any given time (even less for Watermark). I don’t see how 1Rincon will be any different? As for all the other proposed towers in the area, it’ll be interesting to see if they even happen due to the increased competition, softening market, costs, etc…
    And as these new downtown developments gain momentum, any prospective buyer looking to buy in SF will see the immediate benefit of buying at the Mission St developments or Infinity as those neighborhoods are mostly developed with a healthy amount of businesses. Buying in Rincon Hill is (at this point at least), a risky investment due to the total lack of amenities…

  59. Posted by Anonymous

    “And as these new downtown developments gain momentum, any prospective buyer looking to buy in SF will see the immediate benefit of buying at the Mission St developments or Infinity as those neighborhoods are mostly developed with a healthy amount of businesses. Buying in Rincon Hill is (at this point at least), a risky investment due to the total lack of amenities…”
    There is little to no difference in risk among these developments. They will all either be successful or not. The area occupied by all of the existing projects, the projects in progress and the future projects is too small for this not to be the case. I would argue that anyone who pays more than 900/sqft for any one of the projects in the Rincon Hill/Transbay area has put themselves at risk. I paid $842/sqft for my condo so I’m not really too worried. If I make $1000-1100 when I finally sell in 5-7 years, that’ll be just fine with me.

  60. Posted by tipster

    “I would argue that anyone who pays more than 900/sqft for any one of the projects in the Rincon Hill/Transbay area has put themselves at risk. I paid $842/sqft for my condo so I’m not really too worried. If I make $1000-1100 when I finally sell in 5-7 years, that’ll be just fine with me.”
    Haha, that’s a good one: the Rincon Hill/Transbay Area? Those are two separate areas. That’d be like someone buying a condo in Milpitas, and saying they thought that it was a good investment because anyone in the Milpitas/San Francisco areas shouldn’t pay more than 800 psf and they only paid 500psf, so they’ll do great.
    Rincon Hill is in the sticks. You should have gotten a much bigger discount than you did. And it will *always* be near the freeway. In 5-7 years, all these other projects in the more desirable downtown will be up and running and there you’ll be: WAY off to the side. You’ll have to take their castoffs, and you’ll only get them by pricing aggressively.
    You should note that south beach was started in the late 80s. It took until 2004 before they even got so much as a supermarket. Sell in 5-7 years? That area will look like it does today, with one extra medium sized building near the freeway.

  61. Posted by tipster

    “I would argue that anyone who pays more than 900/sqft for any one of the projects in the Rincon Hill/Transbay area has put themselves at risk. I paid $842/sqft for my condo so I’m not really too worried. If I make $1000-1100 when I finally sell in 5-7 years, that’ll be just fine with me.”
    Haha, that’s a good one: the Rincon Hill/Transbay Area? Those are two separate areas. That’d be like someone buying a condo in Milpitas, and saying they thought that it was a good investment because anyone in the Milpitas/San Francisco areas shouldn’t pay more than 800 psf and they only paid 500psf, so they’ll do great.
    Rincon Hill is in the sticks. You should have gotten a much bigger discount than you did. And it will *always* be near the freeway. In 5-7 years, all these other projects in the more desirable downtown will be up and running and there you’ll be: WAY off to the side. You’ll have to take their castoffs, and you’ll only get them by pricing aggressively.
    You should note that south beach was started in the late 80s. It took until 2004 before they even got so much as a supermarket. Sell in 5-7 years? That area will look like it does today, with one extra medium sized building near the freeway.
    The amount of property taxes and HOA fees you’ll pay in the 5-7 years you hold it (unlike most of your neighbors, who will bail at the end of year 2) make that seem like a very expensive profit for living in the sticks for 5-7 years, if the area EVER gets built out before you finally have enough and leave. These more desirable Mission Street projects give you amenities from day one.

  62. Posted by Anonymous

    Tipster, you’re a hoot. Here’s hoping that you keep up the hysterics into 2007. Happy Holidays.

  63. Posted by Anonymous

    Three blocks, tipster, not thirty miles.

  64. Posted by Anonymous

    Anon at 3:03. Tipster knows exactly what he/she is doing. Why are you taking the bait? It’s laughable and I applaud him/her for keeping me entertained. And best of all, it’s free.

  65. Posted by Anonymous

    “Rincon Hill is in the sticks….And it will *always* be near the freeway.”
    It’s interesting. I never specified which condo project that I invested in, yet the all-knowing tipster just assumed that it was 1Rincon. In point of fact, it was NOT (and I won’t say which one it was).
    Looks like my little experiment to draw out tipster as nothing more than a blow-hard agitator worked like a charm. Thanks, for helping me out there, buddy.

  66. Posted by Anonymous

    What’s the secret anon? Please let us know where you paid $842/sqft? There’s only so many developments in the Rincon/Transbay area.

  67. Posted by John

    “There is little to no difference in risk among these developments. They will all either be successful or not. The area occupied by all of the existing projects, the projects in progress and the future projects is too small for this not to be the case. I would argue that anyone who pays more than 900/sqft for any one of the projects in the Rincon Hill/Transbay area has put themselves at risk. I paid $842/sqft for my condo so I’m not really too worried. If I make $1000-1100 when I finally sell in 5-7 years, that’ll be just fine with me.”
    First of all then you said, “There is little to no difference in risk among these developments. They will all either be successful or not”
    That is not a true statement. Are you saying buildings like The Brannan vs The Beacon vs Watermark all have the same degree of success?? That’s simply not a wise way to view real estate. There so much involve like location, amenities, quality, HOA, etc…
    To think 1Rincon, Millenium, Infinity, the Piano towers, etc. will all perform the same is a dangerous way to approach a million dollar investment.
    And whether you bought at 1Rincon or not, don’t think you’re safe at $842/sqft. If it IS the freeway onramp building, then I would say good luck!

  68. Posted by Dude

    “It’s interesting. I never specified which condo project that I invested in, yet the all-knowing tipster just assumed that it was 1Rincon. In point of fact, it was NOT (and I won’t say which one it was).
    Looks like my little experiment to draw out tipster as nothing more than a blow-hard agitator worked like a charm. Thanks, for helping me out there, buddy.”
    Dude, you responded to a post by changing the subject of that post without telling anyone, he assumed what all of us assumed, that you were talking about the subject of his post, and that somehow proves some sort of bad intent? Dude, that doesn’t even make sense! Save the “Blow Hard Agitator” label for someone who isn’t backing up his reasoning.
    Go stand on the freeway side of the Transbay terminal and look up first street to Rincon Hill. I think you’ll see his point: from Rincon Hill, it isn’t going to be a pleasant walk to shopping, the Moma, Yerba Buena, *several* movie theaters, etc., while it *is* an easy walk at Mission Street. The buyers choosing between Rincon Hill and the Mission Street condos certainly will realize this. If they don’t, I’m sure the sales staffs at those Mission Street condos will help them.

  69. Posted by Anonymous

    “Save the “Blow Hard Agitator” label for someone who isn’t backing up his reasoning.”
    Apparently Dude is wholly unaware of the definition of the word “reason.”
    Also, I just figured out that “tipster” is likely about 3 or 4 different people on this blog, which allows him or her (although, I’m 99.99% sure that it’s some frustrated lonely guy) to carry an entire conversion on this blog……..with HIMSELF.

  70. Posted by John

    “Also, I just figured out that “tipster” is likely about 3 or 4 different people on this blog”
    I seriously doubt it. If you think about it, critics of 1Rincon are just that, critics. They probably find it entertaining, or just want to state their opinion(s). But they don’t have an emotional or financial tie, they’re just having fun :-)
    1Rincon buyers on the other hand have both a strong emotional as well as financial connection to the project.
    I could imagine if I went into contract to purchase a 1 million dollar condo and find multiple critics knocking my million dollar investment I would be highly emotional. It’s human nature, a natural defensive reaction, nothing to be ashamed of.
    And it seems more likely that 1Rincon buyers or fans could be the same person using Anon over and over again instead of a real name or alias. Emotions can make people do silly things…

  71. Posted by John

    And before “Anon” accuses me of being “tipster” or “dude” or whoever else, I’m certainly not. I’m John. And yes I’m not a fan of any housing hugging a major freeway or freeway onramp. Just doesn’t make sense…
    Oh and before I forget, it’s Christmas!! Happy Holidays everyone and be safe!! :-D

  72. Posted by Dan

    Actually, I’m beginning to think that all of the posts for and against 1Rincon *and* Infinity are by the same person.
    Sybil? Are you there?
    Merry Christmas to all, and to alts!

  73. Posted by CameronRex

    Happy Holidays to all SocketSiters.
    Remember that as long as YOU like and are excited about where you choose to live it is all that matters!
    Best wishes for the New Year and I look forward to more fiesty discussions.

  74. Posted by Anonymous

    “I paid $842/sqft for my condo so I’m not really too worried. If I make $1000-1100 when I finally sell in 5-7 years, that’ll be just fine with me”
    Let’s see: 5-7 years at 4% annual inflation turns out to be 20% – 28%. Plus the 6% broker fee when you sell: 26% – 34%. Looks like a great investment indeed.
    But wait: you’ll probably be buying with 20% or less down. Which means you’ll be paying 6.5% on a 30 year fixed mortgage on say a Million $ loan which – after tax – would be about $45K per year in interest only. In 5 – 7 years that’s about $225K – $315K in interest only.
    Seems like a great investment to me! Guys, keep the party going! Meanwhile I’ll be renting at 50% your interest payment and if I decide to move out because there are still no coffee shops around Rincon Hill, I give 30 days notice…….

  75. Posted by Anonymous

    I heard the 2 day old coffee is pretty good at the gas station across the street!

  76. Posted by Frederick

    Dear Miss Anonymous,
    “I paid $842/sqft for my condo so I’m not really too worried. If I make $1000-1100 when I finally sell in 5-7 years, that’ll be just fine with me
    Let’s see: 5-7 years at 4% annual inflation turns out to be 20% – 28%.”
    I just participated in a sale of a similar property to the Rincon Hill, Transbay Terminal area. This property is located 3 blocks from the Ferry Building. When the owner purchased this 3 bedroom, 3 bath condo, with city skyline views in October, 1996 they paid $762,000 (1,854 sq ft/$411 per ft).
    They paid 20% down payment and got a loan of $609K at 7% interest with mortgage payments of $4,056 (principal & interest). Their monthly property taxes were $710. and HOA fees $535 per month, after tax the next cost was $3,552 close to the monthly cost to rent. The owner has felt the monthly ownership costs, after the tax benefits, were very similar to renting
    Over the 10 years, since they purchased the condo, the taxes went up slightly and the HOA fees increased $200 per month.
    The owner just sold their condo and is moving to Napa. The selling price was $1,795,000, with 2 offers (Dec, 2006). The owner’s net proceeds from the title company was a check for their original down payment of $152K plus $911,338 in capital gain. The gain was $91,113, every year for 10 years or 60% return annually on their down payment.
    This is before taxes, oh I think the first $500K is tax free, leaving $411K to pay taxes on, (approx $100K) so after taxes they net $811,000.
    This is a 53% cash on cash return, after taxes, on their initial down payment every year for 10 years.
    When the owners purchased their home in 1996, there was no Ferry Building, as we know it today, the Embarcadero Freeway had been down for 5 years and the new Ball Park was a dream. It was an evolving neighborhood.
    There were no plans to build a new neighborhood, with 30, 40, 50 & 60 story residential buildings (which now are approved and under construction in the Transbay terminal area). Netscape had been a public company for 1 year.
    Only Jim Clark or Larry Ellison would have been brash enough to suggest that San Francisco would be considering developing and building 600, 900, 1,000 and 1,200 ft towers in 1996.
    So, if you do not think the World is Flat, look around.
    Santa Claus and his sleigh have arrived in San Francisco. Optimism abounds!! The best is yet to come!!
    Oh that little condo is at Golden Gateway Commons, Broadway and Davis Streets.
    Frederick

  77. Posted by Tipster

    Golden Gateway Commons is literally right next to the Embarcadero Center, an easy walk to jobs and restaurants galore. Nowhere near the distant Rincon Hill Area.
    That just proves our point: to make money in real estate, it’s location, location, location, and fortunate timing doesn’t hurt. That wasn’t some desolate area that they *hoped* would infill, it was right next to the downtown. And 1996 was the end of a very long slump, giving them very good timing. And how do you know when the timing is good? Its when places cost about the same to buy as rent, not twice that.
    This is the problem that I am having. I saw unprofitable companies put a “.com” after their name, claim some new paradigm had arrived and that the old rules of profitability no longer applied, and took a lot of suckers for a ride. These people bought risky companies, and rather than being compensated for that risk, they actually paid a premium to get the shares.
    Now I see developers taking vacant lots in bad locations that *no one wanted* for years because they were right next to freeways or highways (not just the freeway offramp building, note all the lots, vacant since at least the 80s on Van Ness and Lombard that are now sprouting condos), putting up buildings, calling them “luxury condominiums” in spite of lack of parking, added noise, pollution, etc, and worse: bad locations, and with a LOT of hype added into the mix, people are *rushing* to buy them, and then sit here on this web site, endlessly patting themselves on the back, in spite of preposterous locations and the fact that they have paid premium prices for what can only be described as ridiculous, risky locations. The only thing the offramp building had going for it was the fact that there really wasn’t much else available. Same with the 101 buildings in the Marina.
    But now there will be. Lots and lots of them, in good locations right downtown. Everything’s there today. That takes away the incentive to buy in a bad location unless the price is significantly discounted.
    No one is stating that money hasn’t been made in real estate, but your story proves our points: it’s location, location, location; and fortunate timing doesn’t hurt. Buying into a building on a freeway offramp in an area in which nothing exists, and it’s difficult to walk to anything that does, when you have to call down and wait ten minutes to get a car? That’s not crazy, but only if you can get it at a very favorable price.
    But paying a premium for it merely because the developer slapped “.com”, I mean “luxury” on it, that’s nuts.
    Your story has done nothing but proven that you buy in a good location, when the cost of owning is about the cost of renting, and you’ll do well. The freeway offramp building violates everything your clients did to make money.
    Oh, and by the way, Lower pacific heights is three blocks from pacific heights. If you are three blocks out of Pac Heights into LPH, no way is anyone going to be confused, though realtors frequently try. Rincon Hill is not the transbay area, no matter how hard any realtor tries to make it out to be. The thrust of the development in SF seems to have shifted to the transbay area. Will it be that much longer before rincon hill infills? Probably.

  78. Posted by tipster

    OK, I’m an idiot.
    I just figured out that the “buyers” put down only 3% on the freeway offramp building, and can walk away from that 3% and owe nothing. So *of course* they are coming here to talk it up in the hopes that the property price goes up. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    If prices go up by more than 5% (the cost of selling it) by they time they are obligated, they take it, hope things don’t go down before they can flip it two years later. If not, they walk away and lose what is really a small amount of money.
    So, in spite of the fact that the transbay projects make it more likely that they will, in fact, walk away from their deposits, the risk they were taking was mitigated by the fact that they had a while to see how things would play out before they had anything more than 3% at risk.
    That was probably a fair trade. I think they are now going to lose that bet almost certainly, but it was probably fair when they signed up. The developer may be the one that is screwed.
    If I’m not an idiot (i.e. I have this transaction figured out incorrectly), I’m sure you’ll let me know.

  79. Posted by Frederick

    Talk about location. In the 1960′s, any location near or next to the freeway connections from the Bay Bridge to Broadway was not “The Location”. But, the Redevelopment Agency, took control of the area from Market Street to Broaday & the Embarcadero to Battery. The result was the Embarcadero Center, the Alcoa Building, the Golden Gateway Center and the Golden Gateway Commons.
    Golden Gateway Commons begtan it’s life in 1980 surrounded by a double deck freeway in a “bad area”. For 11 years the freeway was a major liability. Then it came down.
    The Bay Bridge is not coming down, but the neighborhood is going to change!!!
    Now, even though the Embarcadero is a major city through fare and leads to Rincon Hill & the Bay Bridge, it has been changed to a most popular boulevard, with the popular Herb Caen walkway, palm trees and an historic transit system. Not to mention the revitalization of the Ferry Building and recently Piers 1 1/2, 3 & 5 and in the future Pier 15-17 as the new Exploratium and Piers 27-31 as with 200,000 to 500,000 sq ft (does marine use count) of recreation and office space.
    Most of the comments on this site fail to recognize that the Redevelopment Agency has control of the changes that are to be made in the Transbay area and the Planning Department as to the future of Rincon Hill. Their meetings are public and encourage your participation. Don’t be afraid to voice your concerns as to the future needs of your/our neighborhoods.
    Even though future homeowners may not reside in their new homes yet, they are stake holders in their future neighborhood and should participate in the planning of the future of Rincon Hill and the Transbay area.
    The new residential and office buildings under construction will a major property tax base for the city and will have thousands of voters. There is a powerful group of future property owners/residents that can participate in the planning of their new neighborhood now.
    The axiom of location is in the mind of the beholder. Right now, there are 100′s of very serious developers investing Billions in the future of this area. They know what locaiton is!!
    Frederick

  80. Posted by Anonymous

    I have learned so much from many of the posters on this thread.
    1) I should only rent, never buy becuase its cheaper
    2) Values will never go up
    3) Neighborhoods will never change
    4) 3-4 blocks from Market and I am living in the sticks
    5) We all put 5% down and have huge mortgages
    What a joke!
    What a JOKE!

  81. Posted by Anonymous

    Just curious. One poster mentioned that the HOA fees in these towers does not cover earthquake insurance.
    I have always lived in Cali and no HOA has ever included earthquake insurance. It is too expensive in Cali. I would bet most people do not have it whether they live in a fancy high rise, house, etc. Does anybody here have earthquake insurance?
    Also, taller modern buildings usually fair better than shorter ones in large earthquakes. Not to mention that many of the high rises near Rincon Hill are built on bedrock not the quick sand that most of SF is built on. 90% of the land in SF will experience liquifaction during a large earthquake which amplifies the shaking. You can look this up on the USGS website.

  82. Posted by John

    “The Bay Bridge is not coming down, but the neighborhood is going to change!!!”
    I applaud your optimism Frederick. It’s refreshing to have such a positive attitude.
    Unfortunately, I think most folks in the thread are simply saying that when you have developments in established locations in downtown San Francisco with established businesses, restaurants, shops, cafes, cleaners, etc already in place, they will be much more desireable than say a development located next to a major freeway and one of it’s main onramps with absolutely no amenities to support the residences.
    Ask any savvy home buyer or investor where they would rather buy for almost the same price. A building located far away from any amenities hugging a busy, loud, polluted freeway and it’s main onramp. Or a building located in an established location with shops and restaurants galor just outside the building.
    Of course the buyer would choose the better location first. It’s a no brainer.
    I don’t doubt the area surrounding 1Rincon will attract businesses at some point, but that’s the million dollar question. When? 3 years? 5 years? 7 years? Look at the Met. It didn’t change a thing on that block.
    I think the risk is just too big to take…

  83. Posted by Anonymous

    “They paid 20% down payment and got a loan of $609K at 7% interest with mortgage payments of $4,056 (principal & interest). Their monthly property taxes were $710. and HOA fees $535 per month, after tax the next cost was $3,552 close to the monthly cost to rent. The owner has felt the monthly ownership costs, after the tax benefits, were very similar to renting
    Over the 10 years, since they purchased the condo, the taxes went up slightly and the HOA fees increased $200 per month.
    The owner just sold their condo and is moving to Napa. The selling price was $1,795,000, with 2 offers (Dec, 2006). The owner’s net proceeds from the title company was a check for their original down payment of $152K plus $911,338 in capital gain. The gain was $91,113, every year for 10 years or 60% return annually on their down payment.”
    You must be a real estate broker to believe in the fairy tale that real estate price appreciation in the next 10 years will equal those of the last 10 years. Good luck to you!

  84. Posted by Frederick

    “You must be a real estate broker to believe in the fairy tale that real estate price appreciation in the next 10 years will equal those of the last 10 years. Good luck to you!
    Posted by: Anonymous at December 26, 2006 7:20 AM”
    Dear Anonymous,
    I have been acting as a principal in owning real estate for over 40 years.
    The story of past appreciation at Golden Gateway Commons over the last 10 years is an average.
    I have so many friends that have owned real estate everywhere in the Bay Area, London, Hong Kong, throughout Asia, India and even SOMA, that have done very well. Some have enjoyed annual appreciation of over 50%, every year for the past 14 years.
    The issue with real estate as an investment is two fold.
    1. The leverage used to control real estate and the tax benefits during ownership and at the time of sale are so advantageous that the commodity “Real Estate” is an attractive investment.
    2. They keep making more people. Most of them like to live in a house or apartment. Most of them gain wealth over their lives and like to improve their living standards.
    Now, which markets will achieve 5%, 10% or even 100% annual appreciation or even fall over a decade or longer is a better question.
    San Francisco enjoys an increase in demand from a variety of sources. Even though the population as changed very little, 6% since 1927, the wealth of its citizens has changed dramatically. This wealth has come in many forms and it keeps re-inventing itself.
    You can quantify all of the decades since the end of World War II and you will find different business reasons for change in the wealth of residents in the Bay Area.
    Real estate is just a mirror of that wealth. It’s just wood, plaster, cement, steel, etc. It just a building, it does not know it’s value.
    It’s the people that want to live here or in any home in the world, that put a value on real estate.
    So for real estate to stop appreciating the supply side of the equation has to provide more housing than the demand side demands.
    How do you quantify the demand side?
    That is a question I invite you and other posters to answer.
    Frederick
    [Editor’s Note: Great question with regard to “demand,” but we’re going to request that you hold it for a day or two until we can dedicate an entire post to the topic.]

  85. Posted by Anonymous

    Emeryville might be a good example for all these disbelievers that think the the Rincon Hill area will never change.
    10 years ago, Emeryville was a wasteland bordered by west Oakland, the 580, 880, and 80, and divided by train tracks. Not to mention the high level of ground pollution and toxic waste.
    Most of the waste has been cleaned up but the freeways and train tracks still exist. And so does west Oakland.
    Take a look an Emeryville now.
    There really is not much land in the bay area to allow for sprawl and the demand is high. I highly doubt the Rincon area will stay the same forever. The is very little land left to develop in SF and the demand is very high.

  86. Posted by John

    See my post – December 26, 2006 12:38 AM
    “I don’t doubt the area surrounding 1Rincon will attract businesses at some point, but that’s the million dollar question. When? 3 years? 5 years? 7 years? Look at the Met. It didn’t change a thing on that block.
    I think the risk is just too big to take…”
    By the time they do start developing the place (a time which no one seems to be able to answer), folks may have already given up on Rincon Hill and buy at the Transbay developments or Millenium or Infinity or the Piano towers.
    Again the million dollar question is WHEN, and are buyers willing to wait for that to happen, or just buy at a better location…

  87. Posted by Can't think of cool name

    Frederick, wouldn’t you say that all the new inventory coming on line over the next few years in Rincon, Trans Bay, SOMA, South Beach, Mission Bay would at least keep prices flat? Are you saying that there are that many people (and more) to fill up all that inventory in the next few years and keep prices escalating?
    Maybe I missed somthing in your last posting. I will admit I got a nice head cold at the 9er game on Sunday and the medication only allows me to use the Internet, not heavy machinery…

  88. Posted by SF Living

    From Anon at 1:20 PM and 1:28 PM, why the anger?
    And it’s already been leaked that the Millenium Tower will start in the $900s/sqft for the middle levels. So similiar to 1Rincon pricing.

  89. Posted by Dude

    First off, Dude at December 24, 2006 9:06 PM was not me, somebody stole my posting name.
    For the person citing the 60% appreciation example, it’s all timing. If you’re really been investing in property for 40 years, then you know how cyclical the market is and how crucial timing can be. You can’t lose money on real estate, provided you can hold it long enough and can live with the cash flow pattern.
    But how many people who bought in the last 2 years are prepared to hold their property for 5 years? How much did they put down? Can they rent the property out and generate a positive cash flow? Are they building equity by paying down principal every month?
    Or did they blindly assume “real estate never goes down” and leveraged themselves to the gills out of pure greed?
    2007 will be a great year for real estate in this country.

  90. Posted by Anonymous

    I bought a loft in Emeryville in 1999 when nothing was there. Things started to get better right away. It did not happen all at once but gradually. To think people will give up on Rincon hill is a ridiculous concept. It is right next to the bridge but the location of Rincon Hill is still prime.
    Also, any amenity that benefits the Infinity, Millenium, etc. will benefit the buildings on Rincon Hill. They are only a few blocks away. I think that is walkable.
    “Again the million dollar question is WHEN, and are buyers willing to wait for that to happen, or just buy at a better location…”
    I guess the buyers are willing to wait since most of the units have been sold.

  91. Posted by Anonymous

    “But how many people who bought in the last 2 years are prepared to hold their property for 5 years? How much did they put down? Can they rent the property out and generate a positive cash flow? Are they building equity by paying down principal every month?”
    I put roughly 50% down and plan on living in the area for at least 5 years. My inrterest rate is below 6%. I am not worried.

  92. Posted by Anonymous

    “Frederick, wouldn’t you say that all the new inventory coming on line over the next few years in Rincon, Trans Bay, SOMA, South Beach, Mission Bay would at least keep prices flat? Are you saying that there are that many people (and more) to fill up all that inventory in the next few years and keep prices escalating?”
    There are plenty of people with plenty of money from all around the world who want to have a place in SF. It is similar to Hong Kong, Paris, New York, etc. Luxury highrises are usually the the desired type. It is its own market.

  93. Posted by Dude

    “I put roughly 50% down and plan on living in the area for at least 5 years. My interest rate is below 6%. I am not worried.”
    That’s very commendable and the wisest way to purchase – but you may be in the minority, at least according to the mortgage statistics.

  94. Posted by Anonymous

    People talk as if the Rincon Hill, Transbay, SOMA areas are hundreds of miles away from each other. Has anybody ever looked at a map? They are probably all within a 1 mile radius. They will all benefit each other.

  95. Posted by John

    “”Again the million dollar question is WHEN, and are buyers willing to wait for that to happen, or just buy at a better location…”
    “I guess the buyers are willing to wait since most of the units have been sold.””
    Well, we’ll see when it’s time to close escrow in early 08. Before then, Millenium will be already selling (or sold out) and some of the other proposed buildings in Transbay and downtown should have their sales office open. It’ll be interesting to see how many buyers at OneRincon walk away from their 3% deposit and buy closer to downtown and a more established location…
    Regarding the walkability of OneRincon, it’s easy to walk down that hill to the Embaradero and downtown, but I would hate to walk the 3-4 blocks back up regularly, especially at night…
    To make living at OneRincon convenient, shops, restaurants, and cafes will have to open up on the same block or within a 1-2 block radius of the onramp. That’s a risky bet that it’ll will happen…

  96. Posted by Mike

    Well, we’ll see when it’s time to close escrow in early 08. Before then, Millenium will be already selling (or sold out) and some of the other proposed buildings in Transbay and downtown should have their sales office open. It’ll be interesting to see how many buyers at OneRincon walk away
    I think that’s exactly right. The presales thing is kind of new in SF. It’s well established in places like Vancouver, and I think it’s helped fueled a very speculative market up there. I believe a number of people at 1 Rincon (and perhaps the Infinity) essentially just bought an option to buy a property, they may just walk away from it if the price declines by more than their deposit.
    I think the Millenium could very well be a better building than 1 Rincon, but again, the location (to me) is sub optimal. If the transbay terminal is ever rebuilt, that area will be fantastic. If not, well, who knows.

  97. Posted by CameronRex

    I keep reading references/inferences that a high number of those with reservations in 1 Rincon or Infinity will walk away from their deposits. Since I’m guessing this amounts to a minimum of 20,000+ for most buyers I’m very curious how many people will really do that? Did all the buyers that reserved units at 1 Rincon and Infinity NOT know about Millenium? Its been planned for almost 2 years. Did they really believe that their buildings were going to be the only game in town in 2008 or beyond? I doubt it. Most buyers chose their building because they like it for whatever reason.
    New buildings coming on-line in the future may very well effect prices that can be set for resales. The reverse could also true. Buyers often choose to buy existing housing stock because new is more expensive. And we can ‘guess’ what prices the new stock will be set at in 2008 or beyond but at this point it is only a guess. Given the proposed timelines, it is very possible that the streets around 1 Rincon will be teaming with new businesses by the time Transbay is complete.
    Its going to be an interesting few years for for SF.

  98. Posted by Anonymous

    “Well, we’ll see when it’s time to close escrow in early 08. Before then, Millenium will be already selling (or sold out) and some of the other proposed buildings in Transbay and downtown should have their sales office open. It’ll be interesting to see how many buyers at OneRincon walk away from their 3% deposit and buy closer to downtown and a more established location…”
    John, this just does not make sense. Are you saying that you think people will walk away from a 20-50K deposit at 1Rincon after waiting 2 years for it to be completed only to reserve a unit in the Millenium and then wait another two year for the Millenium to be finished?
    Hey, maybe they will then walk away from their reservations at the Millenium and reserve another unit in an even nicer building that is another two years from completion.
    100k down the drain and 6 years later they may finally settle on a place to live. That is too funny.

  99. Posted by Anonymous

    “Regarding the walkability of OneRincon, it’s easy to walk down that hill to the Embaradero and downtown, but I would hate to walk the 3-4 blocks back up regularly, especially at night…”
    To set the record straight, I am not only talking about 1Rincon. There will be a number of buildings on Rincon Hill. As for walking 3-4 blocks up a hill, are you familiar with the geography of SF? It is not flat. Whether you live at the top of a hill or at the bottom, if you ever leave your house on foot you will be walking up a hill. Rincon hill is probably one of the shortest hills in SF as well. Think about walking to your house on Russian Hill from the Marina.

  100. Posted by Delancey St Resident

    John, thou doth protest overmuch. The One Rincon wearying hill’s height is a small fraction of those at such highly undesirable locations as Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, the Filbert Steps (no driving there!), etc. Thousands of people walk 2nd St from Market to Caltrain every day.
    There’s tons of bars and restaurants within 3 blocks, and it’ll only get better. There’s a Tullys and sbux within 1.5 blocks. Why do you exaggerate so?

  101. Posted by Davo

    San Francisco is already a vertical city. The hills next to the financial district and elsewhere in the city already give a sense of altitude when ever one looks down the neighborhood below. Promoting a more vertical city will only bring out more of San Francisco’s panoramic view. Slender high rises along SoMA would give the city more diversity. However, the most important concern is that these high rises are able to withstand a 8.0 + earthquake. Also, I really like the Bank of the West sky balcony and would like to see more sky gardens on top of the new high rises.

  102. Posted by John

    “John, this just does not make sense. Are you saying that you think people will walk away from a 20-50K deposit at 1Rincon after waiting 2 years for it to be completed only to reserve a unit in the Millenium and then wait another two year for the Millenium to be finished?”
    If I understand right, 1Rincon will be complete in early to mid 08. Millenium will be complete in late 08. I don’t think the number of buyers actually cancelling at 1Rincon to buy at Millenium will be much. But it certainly gives any potential buyer many more options. And most will consider First and Mission a better, more established location than 1Rincon. I don’t think many people will dispute that…

  103. Posted by Salarywoman

    To make real money in real estate you have to take neighborhood risk. If you don’t want to take neighborhood risk you shouldn’t even be contemplating South Beach or SOMA. You should be in Pacific Heights or Nob, Russian or Telegraph Hill.
    To argue that One Rincon is in a different neighborhood from the Infinity is bizarre. The Infinity may just possibly have a slightly better location, being closer to the Embarcadero, but both projects are in the same neighborhood. And their reputations are linked, not independent. If One Rincon is not successful it will drag down the Infinity, and vice verse. So those Infinity fans who bash One Rincon and those One Rincon fans that bash Infinity are actually acting counter to their own interests. Too bad they are too short sighted to see it.

  104. Posted by Anonymous

    Actually I don’t see much mention of the Infinity anymore, especially the bashing part.
    Someone mention Infinity is located a block from the beautiful waterfront, the new park and many restaurants. There’s also 2 large bayfront restaurants under construction a block from the Infinity. Definitely it’s location is better.

  105. Posted by Anonymous

    I think people will actually be able to move into the lower floors of 1 Rincon in late 2007. They will allow people to move in before the building is complete.
    “To make real money in real estate you have to take neighborhood risk. If you don’t want to take neighborhood risk you shouldn’t even be contemplating South Beach or SOMA. You should be in Pacific Heights or Nob, Russian or Telegraph Hill.
    To argue that One Rincon is in a different neighborhood from the Infinity is bizarre.”
    This statement is right on although I am not sure it is the infinity and rincon buyers bashing each other here. People seemingly like to bash Rincon Hill in general.

  106. Posted by John

    “There’s tons of bars and restaurants within 3 blocks, and it’ll only get better. There’s a Tullys and sbux within 1.5 blocks. Why do you exaggerate so?”
    Ok I may be exaggerating sometimes. But there’s no Tullys or Sbux within 1.5 blocks from 1Rincon. Tullys and Sbux is 2-3 blocks away (down pass Essex to 2nd, then across to Folsom.) There’s another Sbux in Hills Plaza at the Embacadero, but that’s 4-5 blocks away. Not terribly far, but still not a very pleasant walk given the lack of shops and stores in the area. If the neighborhood was nicer, cleaner with less traffic then the walk would be fine…
    By the way, maybe I’m missing something here so please tell me – What restaurants or stores/shops are within a block or 2 from 1Rincon? I live at Mission Bay and know the area well, but maybe I’m missing something so please inform me…

  107. Posted by Anonymous

    John, living in Mission Bay, I would think you would be more optimistic about the ability of a neighborhood to change. Mission Bay used to be a wasteland. It is now a great place to live. Rincon Hill is closer to downtown, embarcadero, shopping, etc., so I would think the land is even more desirable. It just needs time.

  108. Posted by Delancey St Resident

    Restaurants within 2 blocks of 511 Harrison (sales office for One Rincon):
    Maya, Fly Trap, Mehfil, Mint Cafe.
    Coffee:
    Tullys (2nd st between Harrison and Folson)
    Sbux (2nd and Folsom)
    Should you be willing to dodder to a 3rd block for your repast it brings in 2nd St south of Bryant, the Embarcadero, end of Delancey/Townsend St, and places along Mission and Howard.

  109. Posted by Delancey St Resident

    …the new park and many restaurants. There’s also 2 large bayfront restaurants under construction a block from the Infinity.
    Er, what new park? If you mean the park between Embarcadero and the bay, it’s been there a while. The only thing new about it is that a good chunk of it has been carved off for the two restaurants you speak of, which have destroyed contiguous views along that part of the waterfront.
    Context: I regularly walk along the Embarcadero–before this restaurant went up you could look from 500 feet south of the Bay Bridge and see the Ferry building. No more. The view the other direction doesn’t work either–the restaurant under construction pinches off the connection under the bridge. The restaurant(s) also separate the road and buildings on the land side from the water view. Just an ugly example of city government gone awry. I’m rather curious who in office signed off on this transaction.

  110. Posted by John

    I’ve only lived in Mission Bay after the neighborhood changed. The X-factor with Mission Bay is AT&T Park. If it wasn’t for that stadium, I’m not sure if Mission Bay is what it is today. And yes, the transformation at Mission Bay makes it a very convenient location to live with the Safeway, Amicis, Borders, banks, Caltrain, Muni, etc. It’s not Union or Chestnut St, but it’s a convenient neighborhood for it’s residents…
    Rincon Hill has the residential developments Bridgeview, Baycrest, Avalon Towers, The Met, Lansing, etc… Thousands and thousands of residents and for some reason the businesses never followed. I always wondered why? Seems no one has a concrete answer so that is the reason for my pessimism for 1Rincon. What’s different about this building that will transform the whole neighborhood? No other previous development started any transformation of Rincon Hill before?
    I thought The Met would start some rebirth, but 2+ years later, absolutely nothing’s changed…
    And yes I see there’s a bunch of restaurants between Folsom and Hawthorne. 2+ blocks away so not bad, walkable, but still not a pleasant walk with all the traffic headed toward the 2 onramps and the Fremont street overpass at Essex st. I think to give Rincon Hill a real neighborhood feel First st needs to change as well as Harrison from 2nd street down to Main or Spear.
    And finally, if we could find someway to divert some of the loud god awful traffic!

  111. Posted by Anonymous

    There is a new park planned for the lot directly east of One Rincon. It would be at the south east corner of Fremont and Harrison. The lot is currently owned by Caltrans and extends under the bridge. You also might be able to walk through the park to gain access to the south side.

  112. Posted by Anonymous

    Here’s the link about the new Rincon Park and restaurants I think anon is talking about. It’ll block some views, but I’m excited about these new businesses. It’ll brings jobs to the neighborhood and revenue to the city…
    http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2006/09/04/story2.html

  113. Posted by Anonymous

    Anonymous of 11:55PM, take a good look at this image from your story, because that view no longer exists.
    photo
    Are you really suggesting selling off the waterfront for the sake of waiter and cook jobs? Then by all means, let us convert the rest of it to retail.

  114. Posted by Anonymous

    These restaurants sound nice. Perhaps it is a long walk but I am sure they will have valet parking. Can’t get more convenient than that. From the valet at One Rincon to the valet at the steak house to get my Kobe steak!

  115. Posted by Anonymous

    Sure the view from that particular location will be gone but you could just walk a couple hundred feet to the other side and you will have it again.
    The property is also owned by a private company. It was only a matter of time until it was developed. Parks are not that profitable.

  116. Posted by SF Living

    http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2006/09/04/story2.html
    The photos show up for me. Maybe your internet connection is slow or down.
    I think the restaurants will be good for SF. It’s on privately owned land so the city didn’t sell it. And what’s wrong with jobs as waiters and chefs and bartenders? They’re good hard working jobs to me. And it’ll be great for the Infinity and Hills Plaza residents!

  117. Posted by curmudgeon

    SF Living…that land is public land which is leased to the restaurant developers. From the Redevelopment Agency website:
    “The 2-acre waterfront park, located on the Embarcadero between Howard and Harrison Streets, is on land leased from the Port of San Francisco and was developed by Gap Inc. in conjunction with the construction of its headquarters office building. The south end of the site will accommodate a restaurant to be built under the auspices of the Port of San Francisco.”

  118. Posted by Mike

    What’s the big deal about having a couple of restaurants on the water? Jeez, there’s nothing really there now. I mean, it’s nice to walk down the Embarcadero, but it could use a few cafes, eating places, etc. I guess it’s another example of a typical provincial SF attitude.

  119. Posted by Dude

    Off topic, but the story behind that land was flogged by the SF Examiner a while back. Gap was considering moving it’s HQ to a cheaper location, likely out of state (akin to many other stories we’ve all read about people and businesses fleeing California due to the cost of living and doing business).
    Aside from whatever tax breaks the city and state government threw at them, they also gave them the right to develop that waterfront parcel of land. Gap’s CEO is a huge art fan with a big collection, and decided to commission one of his favorite artists to do that bow & arrow statue, called Cupid’s Span. So for those who walk/drive by that thing and cringe, blame Gap.

  120. Posted by curmudgeon

    Dude…the “right” to develop the waterfront? Gap was REQUIRED to develop the waterfront park, at a cost of millions, and is making nothing off of the restaurants. (The restaurant sites were only developed as “pads” in the first phase of park construction, and then a lease between the port and the restauranteur was developed).
    Yes, Gap donated Cupids Bow, which a lot of people like. I think it’s a witty play on “I left my heart in San Francisco”…and the strings of the bow mimic the suspension bridge just over head. Anyway..I like it.
    Yes, I’m sure that Gap got a write down on the land in the first place. But we got a good (not great) Richard Stern building for the Gap HQ, and a fully developed park. Not a bad deal.
    Oh, and by the way…the city’s record on constructing parks on-time and on-budget is pretty miserable. The new park on Folsom between 6th and 7th has literally been in the works for at least 15 years. But I digress….

  121. Posted by Anonymous

    “These restaurants sound nice. Perhaps it is a long walk but I am sure they will have valet parking. Can’t get more convenient than that. From the valet at One Rincon to the valet at the steak house to get my Kobe steak!” – December 27, 2006 12:12 AM
    Heh heh, a 10 wait for your car at 1Rincon, a one minute drive down the hill. Another 10 minute wait for your car at the restaurant, a 2 minute drive back up the hill. Is it me, or is this another testament to the unwalkable location of 1Rincon?

  122. Posted by SeeHsee

    “Is it me, or is this another testament to the unwalkable location of 1Rincon?”
    Frankly, a lot of SOMA/SoBe is relatively unwalkable. As a former Yerba Buena Lofts resident and Media-Gulch area worker, I learned that SOMA blocks and North of Market blocks are two entirely different animals. Blocks in SOMA and SoBe are long, bleak, gray, and boring (or vacant!)–NOT pedestrian-friendly. 1Rincon will only make sense for those who drive as a first option. As for the restaurants and other services in the area…sure, if you want to invest the time and money in a full-service restaurant every night, this may be your neighborhood. But, try to run out for a burrito, slice of pizza to grab a sandwich during non-work week hours. Your choices, if any, are limited. Anyone planning to live in one of the new SOMA/SoBe developments who’s expecting vibrant city life outside their front door will be sorely disappointed. Just look at the poor folks in the Beacon and surrounding Mission Bay are who can look forward to Quizno’s, Amici’s or the deli at Safeway for quick neighborhood fare. And as many others have commented, if thousands of residents in the Beacon, Metropolitan, Baycrest, Brannan, Bridgeview, Portside and other developments haven’t made a real neighborhood out of these areas, why would two or three more highrises make a dramatic difference?

  123. Posted by tipster

    “John, this just does not make sense. Are you saying that you think people will walk away from a 20-50K deposit at 1Rincon after waiting 2 years for it to be completed only to reserve a unit in the Millenium and then wait another two year for the Millenium to be finished?”
    They will if they instantly lose their deposit and more if they purchase because (a) demand has moved to the transbay area from Rincon Hill and (b) they won’t be able to rent their place out for anywhere near what they paid for it.
    In the dot com boom, the companies would sell only a fraction of the shares of their companies at the IPO, creating an illusion of scarcity and driving the price up. That is exactly what One Rincon has done: they “sell” the properties for a 3% deposit, which a lot of people will do on the gamble that if prices rise, they can sell at a profit and if prices fall, their losses are capped at 3%.
    If sale prices in the Transbay buildings are running anywhere near the psf prices at one Rincon, I think most of the “buyers” will just walk away rather than take an even larger loss by buying. And they don’t care about waiting: most probably didn’t intend to live there anyway: it was just a financial ploy.

  124. Posted by Anonymous

    Interesting comments SeeHee. They sure did load up on the chains around the ball park. The borders is sorta cool, but the rest is less than ideal. The walking option is just different in SOMA, you can not just go grab a bite around the corner very easily. Your point about block sizes and feel are important. I live in Russian hill and if something is more than 4-6 blocks I am not all to excited about walking (and those are much shorter blocks with varied scenery). But I can easily hop on bus on Union down to cow hollow or north beach. Cabs are everywhere if I want to go to tendernob or warfield. I do use my car quite a bit (have parking in building) but the experience in SOMA/Rincon hill will be much different.
    In the end, it is just a different city living experience. Kinda a mix between urban and suburban. For some people this is very attractive. But will not replace the experience of living in the older neighborhoods (NB, TelHill, Marina, Russian Hill, Noe, Castro, Mission, Glen Park, inner sunset, inner richmond. So many cool areas.) Infill development does make such good sense for these areas as well. In some cases, more sense than trying to build new neighborhoods. ANyway, will be interesting to watch it play out over the next few/many years.

  125. Posted by Anonymous

    As soon as Millenium opens up for sale early next year and some other Transbay/Downtown developments opens up it’s sales office in 07/08, the value at 1Rincon will decline.
    2 things to consider when buying real estate – location and uniqueness. 1Rincon has neither. Location is terrible, we all know that.
    1Rincon ‘was’ unique 7-8 months ago when they were the only “gleaming new highrise tower” around and there wasn’t an Infinity, or Millenium, or Piano Tower, or Transbay towers, or Fremont towers, etc… Now it’s probably viewed, as someone said, “the oddball building next to the freeway onramp and bridge”
    The was a great financial and marketing scheme for the 1Rincon developer to get this out early. Unfortunately, it’s the buyers that may lose out at the end…

  126. Posted by Anonymous

    “The was a great financial and marketing scheme for the 1Rincon developer to get this out early. Unfortunately, it’s the buyers that may lose out at the end…”
    Maybe, but I am not so sure. It will become clearer in the next 12 months what the market and areas are doing. Buyers walking from their 3% deposits is not that hard to imagine. As has been said before not that much money when compared to the alternitive if the sh_t hits the fan on the 1rincon values…
    If 1rincon is truely first class and well run, I think the values will hold relative to the other projects. But who knows what the SF RE market will do over the next 12-24 months.

  127. Posted by SeeHsee

    Anonymous at 3:55 PM,
    I foresee a horrible fate for you–pelted to death with 1Rincon logo umbrellas gripped tightly in hands of those lucky deposit-holders, drunk on 1Rincon signature cocktails from the latest party at the sales office.

  128. Posted by Anonymous

    haha SeeHsee…Just chat board talk for a slow week.
    I am on 1Rincon’s side as I am an SF property owner. I want the market to keep on keeping on. But my point is who knows what the market is going to do. But it is a pretty cool opportunity to be able to buy into a iconic building at 3% down and wait 2 years to see where we after building is done. It seems to me the developers have a lot of the risk as well. If prices go up they can not renegotiate the purchase prices with the 3% depositers. And I think by the time the buyers have to sign loan docs and pay balance of down payments they will know what they are buying. We could be up 15% in value and the investors/buyers are brilliant. Or the building is as advertised and an awesome place to live, close to their downtown/east bay/SSF/silicon valley jobs and they are not concerned about trying to live on their RE profits. For many buyers, this building and location could be great.
    But if the market is down 10% and they know they could buy a comparable unit for the lower price, then they can walk and save the 7% difference. Try to get into contract on SFR on Potrero hill with a 3% hard deposit and tell the seller you want a 720 day escrow to see how the neighborhood develops and where the SF RE market is in 2 years…Does not exist.

  129. Posted by SeeHsee

    Anonymous at 4:58,
    I hear you and, to a degree, it’s all in good fun. I’m in the sixth property I’ve owned in SF, and I’ve been through all types of purchases, including pre-construction. What I’ve seen in recent weeks on this site is discussion around the real gains in real estate coming from longer-term investment and, especially in today’s market, sticking with a property for 5-7 years…not speculation. My own experiences, which have been a mix of good and not-so-good purchases, have taught me the value of buying into established areas with proven track records. In the end, the 1Rincon buyers may be deliriously happy. But for now, their investment is in a slick marketing campaign and the promise of a better location (which doesn’t look too hopeful). You’re right; only time will tell. (I’m not too worried about the developers!)

  130. Posted by John

    The writing’s on the wall. The 1Rincon marketing team should win some award for the slickest marketing campaign of the year!
    “My own experiences, which have been a mix of good and not-so-good purchases, have taught me the value of buying into established areas with proven track records.”
    Well said….

  131. Posted by CameronRex

    After reading Anonymous at 4:58 I just thought of something. If the prices at 1 Rincon do decrease and a bunch of current ‘depositors’ walk what will be left is a 1st class building that is a little more affordable for some hopefuls within the SF market. Could be a win-win!
    The more I think about it the more I think the next few years are going to be interesting just to see what happens.

  132. Posted by Anonymous

    This is the most bizarre topic. The entire transbay, embarcadero, rincon hill area are within less than a mile radius. I highly doubt that the property values at any of these places will be drastically different.
    The bitterness towards One Rincon goes so far beyond comprehension, reason and logic.

  133. Posted by Anonymous

    Tipster and John, why would you put so much effort into bashing something when you have no stake?
    You guys are like stock message board bashers except you’re not short on the stock.

  134. Posted by SeeHsee

    To the last two “Anonymous” posters:
    With regard to property values in the Soma/SoBe area, remember that all neighborhoods in tiny San Francisco are very close to each other, yet values can shift in just a few blocks. The experience of living nearer the waterfront (Hills Plaza, Brannan) is quite different than living adjacent to a bridge on-ramp or freeway (BridgeView, Metropolitan).
    Regarding the 1Rincon bashing….(and speaking only for myself), the competitive discussion about the new developments has been somewhat exasperating at times. First, it is based completely on conjecture–about how the developments themselves will turn out, neighborhood potential, and what the market might be like when they are completed and can be occupied. At this point, one can only guess. Second, the baseless arrogance that sometimes surrounds highly-marketed new developments can be difficult to witness. I remember the mad dash to secure units at the Metropolitan. Do you think those owners are feeling so smug now? “New” is fleeting, and “unique” can really only be applied to properities that have locations or other qualities there is no possibility of reproducing.
    I’m a huge fan of development in Soma/Sobe and am eager to see the new high-rises go up. But, I believe that investing in them now has a lot of risk associated with it (which might just pay off). But at present, to say one development is better than the other, or that any of them will beat out values on existing developments is pure speculation.

  135. Posted by Anonymous

    SeeHee, my point exactly. It is pure speculation, and at this point we have nothing more than our opinions. Posts like yours spark good conversation and the sharing of opinions.
    The fact that some people here just bash and act as if they are prophets is just tiring and often ruins the quality of this blog. Whenever Rincon Hill comes up, people can’t wait to jump on One Rincon as if it is the only development in the area (there ARE three or four other buildings being built that are literally across the street).
    Also, a friend of mine bought at the Met when it opened and his unit has almost doubled. I am not sure that I understand why you ask if the buyers at the Met are so smug now, they seem to have made a good investment. He is taking another chance and he unlocked some equity and bought an another unit at One Rincon.
    I do understand that SF is compact and property values can shift within small areas but last time I checked, places at Hill Plaza are not really that much more per square foot than the Met. The Brannan is a bit more expensive but its a very high class established development that often commands higher prices than most of the buildings in the surrounding areas.

  136. Posted by Anonymous

    “I thought you might have been. Wasn’t sure though because you never know with some of the characters that prowl on this site. I guess you’re technically correct when you say that the some of the South Beach/SOMA high-rises (in particular, 1Rincon Hill) are built near the freeway, although for some reason I don’t equate being built near the west span of the bay bridge, which is 3 blocks from downtown, as being “near the freeway” as opposed to for instance, Arterra or other developments that are literally built next to a freeway, particularly when you are talking about a skyscraper. I really think it’s more of SF residents being newbies to this whole highrise living thing. There are so many beautiful condo projects built near major thoroughfares/bridges/etc. in NYC and those residents seems to like them just fine.
    Once SF has become used to this new type of living, it won’t seem like that big of a deal.”
    I grabbed this post from another topic but thought it would fit nicely here too.

  137. Posted by SeeHsee

    San Franciscans are not “newbies” when it comes to high-rise living. There are 20+ floor high-rises in many parts of the city, especially Nob Hill and a couple of notable examples on Russian Hill. My impression is that the newer developments and Soma/SoBe in general tend to attract first-time buyers.

  138. Posted by Anonymous

    I would have to disagree. The percentage of people living in highrises in SF is very small. There really are not that many 20+ highrises compared to the population of the city. If we’re talking about 30+, 40+, 50+, they are pretty much non existant. I am not saying the buildings on Nob and Russian Hill are’nt nice, but they are short, old and do not have the same amenities. There really is no comparison to the size and type of buildings going in now.
    I would agree that many of the people buying in SOMA may be first time buyers but I highly doubt it is first time buyers plunking down 700k-1MM for a 1 bedroom in the new highrises especially when they have to wait years to move in. I would think it is people with money who are buying second homes, rich out of towners, etc.
    There was one post about the cars parked in the Watermark garage. Mercedes SLR, Ferraris, Porches, etc. Does not sound like first time home buyers to me.

  139. Posted by SeeHsee

    “I am not saying the buildings on Nob and Russian Hill are’nt nice, but they are short, old and do not have the same amenities. There really is no comparison to the size and type of buildings going in now.”
    This comment hits the nail squarely on the head about discussion of the new developments in SOMA/SoBe and existing properties in established neighborhoods. Simply put, it is a fixation on newness (which is fleeting) and marketing glitz (such as amenities or finishes/upgrades) over understanding the value of an iconic location, homeowners association with a documented track-record, and that “distinction” in a home can’t be ordered from a design center.
    (It might even be the case that a 10th floor unit on Nob or Russian Hill would put you closer to the sky than a 40th floor unit in a new SOMA highrise!)

  140. Posted by Anonymous

    SeeHee, it comes down to individual taste. Frankly, I don’t think it is just some fixation on newness which you keep saying is fleeting, its the fact some people would rather live in a newly constructed building. To ME, they look nicer, there is less maintainence, and they are seismically safer. They are also close to the Financial district where I happen to work and I like the views they have to offer.
    Also, why are amenities and new finishes, new appliances, etc. just marketing glitz? I will be using them afterall and I value these things as an integral part of the property. If I moved into one of the older buildings I would still have to visit some “design center” because I don’t want to deal with old toilets, old appliances, old cabinets, etc.
    To say people don’t understand the value of an iconic location, old architecture, established area and building is a stretch. Its not that people don’t understand this, they just have different tastes.
    As an example, I took a risk by moving into a new development in Emeryville in 1999. Now I am able to put 50% down on a new unit in the city. Is it riskier than Russian or Nob Hill, of course, but I would rather move into a developing area. Higher risk can equal a bigger loss but it also can equal a larger reward.
    Different strokes for different folks.

  141. Posted by Tom

    Sorry, Anonymous, the Summit on Russian hill is over 30 stories by all accounts (and saying this is not an attack on 1 Rincon!). SeeHsee, good point, I would bet that the George Schultz penthouse suite at the Summit (what is that, 31st floor lowest level?) is closer to the sky than any of the new developments top floors, but even if not, it certainly is in more choice neighborhood. And the prices do reflect that — lack of newness, amenities, etc, do not seem to be a big factor. New buildings will always feature the latest in amenities and time will either mark them as dated or still valuable, but location is paramount.

  142. Posted by SeeHsee

    Anonymous at 1:43,
    All good points, and I agree. It’s a matter of taste, what one wants to deal with, such as remodeling versus choosing finishes for new construction. No single property has everything, and if the advantages of new construction are on your wish-list, then SOMA and SoBe have the most to offer. And, I completely understand that choosing an older property often means dealing with the time, cost, and inconvenience of updating. (I’m dealing with it now!)
    Before the new Mission Tower posting appeared, I felt discussion about the new SOMA towers was shallow. It was all “mine will be taller…mine will be better located…mine offers nicer finishes.” However, now that it appears an even taller and well located tower is on the horizon, I feel discussions have delved a bit deeper and become more realistic…and interesting to read!

  143. Posted by Anonymous

    This topic seems to have been censored by Socketsite but I am glad. The quality of the posts when it comes to Rincon Hill is often poor and ruins the ability to have intelligent discussions.
    [Editor’s Note:All we ask is that you keep your comments on-topic; resist the temptation to flame, troll, and spam; and avoid personal attacks (opinions are fair game). In a nutshell, add value.” And we prefer to look at it as keeping order...]

  144. Posted by Tom

    Alrighty, on topic and to the point, my favorite living architect is Renzo Piano. Check out his website ( http://www.rpbw.com) and the one thing I think everyone will see is that he is not some one-style fits all master architect (hello Frank Gehry! So long Atlantic Yards… I hope to never see that mess built!). In my view his best work is entirely contextual, for example the museum in Basel, and I fervently hope that no matter what the final built height of the towers, that this is true of the Transbay project. SF has so many missed opportunity buildings where good ideas or intentions failed to result in great buildings. I’m optimistic based upon the Academy of Sciences building in GG park Piano did, reserving final judgment once it is complete, but which looks superb.

  145. Posted by One Rincon Hill 'er

    I am from the SF suburbs and have placed a deposit on 1 Rincon Hill in July. I am kind of dismay to see all these bashings on the building. I do not understand why there are people who hate 1 Rincon Hill with such a passion. As for me, I have done a lot of thinking before I signed the contract. Yes, the building is a couple of blocks from the “ideal” location, but I prefer it to be out of way of the heavy foot traffic. I don’t want to find myself in the middle of a busy street once I got off the elevator. As a matter of fact, I withdrawn my $5,000 deposite from The Infinities after I found that they are going to narrow the road and widen the side walk for side-walk cafes and what-nots.
    As for the bridge ramp, the building has its own beautiful private drive way that separates the traffic from going to the building and the Bay Bridge. I do not see any problem there.
    Since I am from the suburbs, every place less than a mile away is within walking distance. I am prepared to walk a couple of blocks (with ease) if I want to go to the shops near The Infinity.
    I don’t know if I will get used to the valet parking or not, but since it is covered in the HOA, I might as well enjoy it. Just as long I can drive my car any time I want to, who cares if some one else is parking it for me.
    Further more, the unit I put down a deposit on in The Inifinity cost the same as the one in 1 Rincon Hill, but in The Infinity I only get a low level facing another building, whereas in 1 Rincon Hill I got the mid-high level with drop dead view.
    As for the investment, I don’t kown if I can be ahead or not. But with the escalation of building material cost, I would say that any thing less than $1000/sq ft is reasonable for any high rise. If the bottom dropped out in two years, then I still can walk away without risking a huge sum.
    I believe that I share the views of most people who put down a deposit on the One Rincon Hill.

  146. Posted by Anonymous

    I don’t see all these post as “bashers”. Instead it’s SF folks, real estate investors, home buyers, etc simply stating their opinion. Seems 70-80% of them are negative on the 1Rincon development, for various reasons.
    Maybe it’s just me, but when so many people are saying it’s not a good investment, then maybe they’re on to something. Certainly, some of their points are quite valid…
    It’s certainly not where I want to invest a million dollars unless the positive aspects greatly outweighs the negative and that’s certainly not the case with 1Rincon…

  147. Posted by Anonymous

    One Rincon Hill ‘er…thanks for the good info. I too put a deposit on One Rincon. I like the building, the floor plans and the views better. I also like the common space better.
    Don’t worry about the other posts/bashers on this board. They at best represent a very insignificant portion of the market.
    There are thousands of units going in, a lot of them have been sold. There are only 147 posts here and I bet most of them were made by the same people.
    Socketsite is interesting and entertaining but to make any prediction of the market by the posts here would be stupid.

  148. Posted by Anonymous

    “I don’t see all these post as “bashers”. Instead it’s SF folks, real estate investors, home buyers, etc simply stating their opinion. Seems 70-80% of them are negative on the 1Rincon development, for various reasons.
    Maybe it’s just me, but when so many people are saying it’s not a good investment, then maybe they’re on to something. Certainly, some of their points are quite valid…”
    To base your investment decision on what you see on this board would be a dumb idea.
    Yeah maybe 70%-80% of Socketsite users don’t like one Rincon for whatever reason but you have to remember this is the percentage of posts on Socketsite.
    There are 147 posts here. 75% would be 110 people. A number of the posts–I bet a majority–are made by the same people making that number even less. That is a very small fraction of the market. We also have no idea of the demographic of the Socketsite posters. I highly doubt that people taking the time here to bash One Rincon have the money to spend on these development. Most people earning enough money to buy in one of these development don’t waste their time bashing on blogs.
    It is also strange that people with no stake waste so much time.
    Of course there are exceptions. I did buy at One Rincon but I am young and am always on my computer. To me it is entertaining. Almost every other buyer/investor I know does not even know Socketsite exists.
    There is no significant data to be had from the posts on Socketsite.
    [Editor’s Note: Let’s not confuse the number of “users” with those who leave comments (last month SocketSite recorded almost 200,000 unique visits). Our reader base actually tends to skew more towards active buyers/sellers than those simply looking for “entertainment.” And in terms of the “significance” of any particular data point (or points), we encourage all readers to use their own judgment, complete their own analyses, and draw their own conclusions. Regardless, thanks for “plugging in.”]

  149. Posted by SF Investor

    I personally agree with Anonymous at January 1, 2007 8:55 AM.
    A lot of the points people post in this blog are pretty valid points. Even though this site can be for entertainment, seems a lot of people here know what they’re talking about and I find it very informative.
    I’ve invested in SF and the Bay Area for over 25 years and I always put location at the absolute top of my list when choosing my properties. Given the choices out there with all these new highrises proposals, I’d say OneRincon’s location is the worse. Will it be a good investment? Much to early to say, but seems there’s too many negatives at this point to put down a 30k+ deposit.

  150. Posted by Anonymous

    There may be a few people who know what they are talking about but I’m not so sure the location of One Rincon will have much of an effect on its value. There are already a number of other buildings on the south side of Harrison (Bridgeview, etc.) and the blocks of Main, Spear and Beale that are right next to the 80 and their values do not differ much from the surrounding areas. Not to mention the Watermark. This is fact and is not arguable. Run the comps and see for yourself.

  151. Posted by Dan

    “Seems 70-80% of them are negative on the 1Rincon development, for various reasons. Maybe it’s just me, but when so many people are saying it’s not a good investment, then maybe they’re on to something.”
    It’s hard to know how many people on here really dislike 1Rincon. With anonymous postings, it’s not clear to me how many different people are posting against 1Rincon.
    I’m not planning to buy downtown, and I don’t really care whether 1Rincon increases or decreases in value. I can see some validity to the 1Rincon critiques, but at the same time, those who are posting that 1Rincon will be hell on earth, and miles from civilization, are really over-the-top in their 1Rincon-hatin’. Most likely, the experience of living there will be more similar than different compared to the Millenium and the Infinity.

  152. Posted by Anonymous

    I think those that say the area won’t become a neighborhood simply with more developments are very short sighted. I think the key to the area to have a more neighborhoodly feel is to establish the critical mass.
    For example, look at the popular restaurant Tres Agaves. It has only been around for a year or so but is a very popular joint in the area. As more developments occur, more similar places to this will pop up, and I’m not referring to Walgreens and Quiznos. Another example are the restaurants currently being built on the Embarcadero between Folsom and Harrison. These should help to liven up the neighborhood as well.
    Although this area doesn’t have the huge strip of restaurants that you may find on Chestnut or Union, I really like it because it has such a variety of choices within walking distance. This will only improve as the Rincon Hill and Transbay Terminal areas develop that critical mass. So, no, it is not in the middle of nowhere.

  153. Posted by realist

    re the hirise / skyline discussion (not one rincon) –
    Dont be so sure about your view re the naive “suburban” reaction to 1200 towers. these building will have very little to do with the lives of most “urban ” San Franciscans. The condos are likely to cost $2000 per s.f. to buy (they will cost 1200 to 1400 psf to produce) and given the likely unit sizes over 2000 s.f. per unit they will sell at the $5 MIL price range. super high end market. so, to planners so excited about all this — who benefits from that, precisely?
    moreover, these projects will cost over $1 BIL to finance. can this amt of finance be put together for one project in san francisco??
    this is being driven by a high-rise fantasy….and why does this height make a better skyline? why is this a priority for san francisco? if great architecture is the goal, it can be accomplished at more rational heights?
    this structure will cast shadows over union square and many other open spaces accessible to people who will NOT live in the towers.
    also, the 400 foot new rincon towers were analyzed structurally by city officials/dbi for 4 years, before new systems approved. does anyone know about the structural, or fire, or exiting , or life safety issues raise by 1000 foot towers?
    has anyone even thought about that yet? anyone care?
    people have been so completely intimidated by this “vision” that responsible questioning not taking place yet.
    wait.
    oh…almost forgot …. what if the new terminal never gets built? it is probably not financeable. do the super towers go ahead and we have a transit-less village? any guaranty this wont happen? anyone even thought abt that?

  154. Posted by vinod

    One Rincon and other pre-sale projects are simply a cheap option. People will put 3% down in the expectation of a rising mkt and being in the money. The minute a few people feel price softness, they will drop it.
    a 2 yr option for $50M to buy a condo for $1MIL, you think is market at $1.2MIL sells all day long.
    during 2007 the “market” for that $1MIL unit could drop to $950M, maybe less, its very soft, becuase there no real market for 400 ft tower condos in sf as of yet.
    one rincon is porbably more vulnerable than most becuase of its location – so maybe they lose 35% of reservations.
    they still have over a year to make back the sales so doesnt really matter…..but….the real issue is they are probaly trying very, very hard to finance phase 2, because if they loose pre-sales that will stop cold.
    which will push them to oversupply mkt-maybe heading into hsng recession.

  155. Posted by Dan

    “this structure will cast shadows over union square and many other open spaces”
    I don’t think so– Union Square is several blocks from 1st and Mission. Also, the towers will be very slim, so any shadows they do cast will be narrow.

  156. Posted by joe planner

    if i remember right, when the 560 mission street office tower was at planning commission in late 1990s, they had to reduce height or somehow change the design , to avoid union square shodows. that building is only 500 feet height, approx.
    so, on that issue realist is probably right – it will come out in the environmental study. planners in the dept and builders have to know this issue is coming up.

  157. Posted by morgan

    Thank you to poster REALIST for comments regarding this project which I for one hope and doubt will ever get off the ground. The phallic tower mania is not going to solve any of the many many problems the city has. This line of thinking is the same as hoping that a new stadium will cure urban ills such as homelessness, poverty and crime. Real solutions for real people who work and live in cities requires compex thinking and designs that would include and become a part of the existing urban fabric and neighborhoods. San Franciscans need to get out more and visit places such as Vancouver and Chicago to see that towers alone do not help to transform a city. (Chicago found that rebuilding neighborhoods, transit, retail and the promotion of infill housing was the key.)

  158. Posted by Anonymous

    You’re right, towers alone do not help transform a city. However, as you said, they do provide needed funding, along with a critical mass, to support public works projects, along with bringing in shops, restaurants, etc. into a neighborhood. In addition, they provide additional tax revenue to help out a lot of the city problems (as you mentioned, homelessness is a key one). As you mentioned Vancouver, the towers alone did not improve those neighborhoods, but they did provide the needed catalyst.

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