February 21, 2007
170 Off Third (170 King/177 Townsend): Sales And Design Center
The building has come a long way since we first photographed it a year ago, and so has the website which now offers a complete set of floor plans, virtual tour, and art film (“Art is an integral part of the overall design”). A couple of common amenities that caught our eye: “two-story club room with a private theater,” “manicured, art-filled courtyard featuring a spa and full-sized lap pool,” and “climate-controlled wine storage.”
As you’re sure to ask, it’s one parking space per condo (plus three dedicated Flex Car spaces for the building), they’re targeting late spring (2007) for closings and occupancy, and prices seem to be running in the mid-$800s per square foot.
And as always, any “plugged in” readers care to fill in the gaps?
∙ Heritage On Fillmore And 170 Off Third: BMR Updates [SocketSite]
∙ QuickLinks: New Condos On The Market (Or In The Works) [SocketSite]
First Published: February 21, 2007 12:10 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
There's something to love in the fact that Happy Donuts is highlighted as neighborhood "point of interest" in the map on the website. (And yes, so is Whole Foods!).
I'm an old curmudgeon, but I do remember when Happy Donuts was a stop in after an all nighter at Club Universe, RIP. How the neighborhood has changed...
Posted by: curmudgeon at February 21, 2007 10:10 AM
I actually like the unique design at this building....not incredible, but nice, which is a welcome change from the square boxes of other new buildings in the neighborhood. I wish the other developers would take notes.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 21, 2007 10:48 AM
that art is WILD! can't wait to see it up on the wall.
Posted by: girl on the edge at February 21, 2007 10:50 AM
I really like the whole "art" angle. A lot more appealing than a lame "luxury" tag.
I remember reading on an agent's site that 25 units were already reserved. Wonder if that included those 24 BMR units...
Posted by: ArtLover at February 21, 2007 11:30 AM
This place looks perfectly bland. The virtual tour reminds me of a hospital/retirement home. And why do they keep building outdoor pools in SF? How many days of the year can you use an outdoor pool?
Posted by: etslee at February 21, 2007 1:30 PM
Though I 100% agree with etslee on the pool issue, I think that block of King/Townsend has a unique character and the scale of the buildings is actually good. Contrast the scale with the gargantuan Beacon/260King development which has the same construction my grandmother's nursing home has. At least 170 and its neighbors use the brick facade (paying homage to the warehouses in the 'hood) with a modern update that works.
Also love the idea of a car share pod available BUT also getting to have a parking space if you actually have a car you don't want to part with.
A big concern for this area continues to be ballpark traffic. Aside from horrible street traffic, the pedestrian traffic will make it impossible to get in and out of the garage with the car. Though public transport is great in the area (trying to head off those who will question the need for a car...) but the reality is I can't bring my 60 inch LCD TV home on Muni, Caltrain or BART. Nor can I hike in the mountains of Santa Cruz without some way to get there.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 21, 2007 1:53 PM
it is the art that makes it special and unique look at the art show and you will see it is exciting and very cool.
Posted by: girl on the edge at February 21, 2007 1:59 PM
The BMR's are gone..
[Editor’s Note: More like "Jack be plugged in." As we published last November: “For 170 Off Third, the BMR application deadline for their 24 affordable homes is January 5th, 2007 with the lottery (“to be monitored by the Mayor's Office of Housing and a third-party auditing firm”) being held on January 9th.”]
Posted by: Jack Be Nimble at February 21, 2007 2:00 PM
Regarding the pool, I live in a building with a heated outdoor pool and use it several times a week all year long. Of course I am doing laps rather than sunbathing. I think it is a great amenity to have.
Anyway, I much prefer the look of this building over the row of new construction on nearby Berry street.
Posted by: A at February 21, 2007 2:41 PM
I live just down the street from this building, and can assure everyone that the weather is nice enough in this part of town to swim and lay out in sun.
In fact I spent my day off on Monday dozing in the sun at the pool and it's FEBRUARY!
Posted by: Jordan at February 21, 2007 2:55 PM
I wish San Francisco could decide what it wants to be. Does it want SOMA and Mission Bay to be San Diego north with look alike press-on brick buildings with large palm trees and swimming pools? I would rather have reduced HOA fees, and PARKING and wonder what is with all of the swimming pools in a city that has a rather cool foggy climate.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 21, 2007 4:03 PM
RE: Outdoor swimming pools.
Despite Mark Twain's famous quote about San Francisco's weather (which he never said), SF is not THAT cold! I mean, for 90% of the year, the weather ranges from 50-80 degrees. I guess for some of you, the idea of taking a dip in 55 degree weather is unthinkable. For the rest of us, it's not a big deal. I surf at Ocean Beach; I'm a native son and that's what we do.
On the look of the building, I think it's pretty cool. The "art" angle is different and I think it's appropriate for this part of town. It's an entirely new neighborhood in the making and will have a very different vibe from the rest of the City. I think it's interesting that people constantly feel the need to compare/contrast South of Market to the Marina or Pacific Heights or the Inner Sunset. Those are all great neighborhoods; we've all taken strolls, shopped, and got drunk in them. South of Market is a different animal, and I don't think it has any desire to become those other neighborhoods. Of course, one day, hopefully, some of the qualities that make those areas great (pedestrian traffic, cafes, restaurants, etc) will find thier way to South of Market, but I think we all acknowledge that it will take some time, and hey, we can wait. But that doesn't mean that South of Market should look, feel, or pretend to be like other neighborhoods in the City. And because it doesn't have the same vibe as the rest of the City doesn't mean that it's taking on the vibe of San Diego or Irvine. Have you ever been in those towns? They're God-awful, and even with all of the problems of the South of Market area, it will never be so.cal.
That being said, I hate, HATE, the emergence of palm trees in San Francisco.
Posted by: 49Giants at February 21, 2007 5:02 PM
In the event that any of the investors of this project read this blog...
...and given that any of the investors in this project are actually interested in selling any of these, I would suggest that you staff the "sales" office with folks that know how to do more than to point prospective buyers to a website.
I visited their "sales" office on Sunday, found it extremely hard to find someone that would help me get closer to buying one of these.
It was pathetic.
Posted by: Prospective Buyer at February 21, 2007 5:10 PM
The emergence of the Palm trees was the beginning of the end as far as I'm concerned. With all of the amazing native plants and trees available in Northern California, we have to get trees from Palm Desert!? (which we did for Market Street)
It is unusual that pools should be a required feature in new developements here when they are not in Southern California. Although I am no fan of Orange County, there are some beach lofts there done by San Francisco architects that would look better in SOMA than they do on the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. Go figure?
Posted by: Morgan at February 21, 2007 5:13 PM
Palms! Why do people hate them so... The palm trees on Dolores have been there for a very long time, so they are nothing new to SF. The idea was extended to upper Market Street, and in my opinion gave a graceful boulevard feel to what was an overly wide street with not particularly distinguished architecture. After the median and palms were installed (early 90's?), the balance of the Castro district shifted from Castro to Market.
It's too cool here to want shade on most days of the year, and many classic street trees don't do well in our climate anyway (look at those poor bedraggled Sycamores on Market). So I say...the more palms the merrier.
It doesn't mean you have to like southern California....
Posted by: curmudgeon at February 21, 2007 5:26 PM
I agree with Anon at 4:37 about the fascade. I work nearby and watched this building get built, and I just have issues with fake bricks. It's basically 1-inch faux-brick wallpaper. Just not my style, and the neighborhood has another 10 years before its livable. I lived down there for a near, and after living in the marina I'll never go back, no neighborhood feel at all. The clubs are fun though.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 21, 2007 5:44 PM
Fake Bricks should be outlawed as far as I am concerned but at least they did not feel they had to give this building a "name". I like the art idea as it is an interesting attempt to make this project seem a little more unique than others in the immediate area. Mr. Curmudgeon is right about the palms in the Castro, but , do we have to have palm trees almost everywhere lately? I think the trees in the Claremont and Rockridge areas of Berkeley/Oakland are more fitting for our landscape and climate than desert palms.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 21, 2007 5:57 PM
Why do people in SF hate Southern California so much? It's not reciprocated.
I understand some measure of LA-bashing, but the sense of superiority up here is staggering. I lived in LA. I didn't particularly like it. But there are MANY things that LA has over SF:
- Media of all types (newspaper, television, radio)
- Arts (LACMA, Getty, etc.)
- Symphony (sorry, MTT, Esa's got you beat)
- Architecture (not even close)
That last point is inarguable despite LA's general ugliness. SF has very few notable non-Victorian, Edwardian, or Beaux Arts buildings. It's tragic, myopic and regressive. Our "progressive" culture ensures that we stagnate and stew in our own boring-ass smugness.
By the way, equating San Diego and Irvine is like equating San Francisco and San Jose. San Diego has its own culture and vibe. Irvine is a soulless cement dump.
Last point: for all of the SOMA bashers, I moved to SOMA two years ago from the northern districts of SF, where I lived for more than 10 years. I get 100 more days of sun and warmth a year than I did in Pac Heights/the Marina. Good thing USC sweatshirts are so warm for those who love the Grove so much.
Posted by: amused at February 21, 2007 6:01 PM
Re: swimming pools--
I've been totally comfortable swimming in an outdoor pool in Aspen during a blizzard.
For swimming laps outdoors, San Francisco weather is perfect.
Posted by: Dan at February 21, 2007 6:04 PM
Why do San Franciscans hate so.cal and la in particular? Well, the answer is a complex mixture involving San Francisco's insecurity, San Francisco's "little man" complex, that we're both in the same state, the historic rivalry between the Giants and the dodgers which was imported from New York, and the fact that San Francisco is an obviously superior city =).
Regarding la's architecture, I agree that, as whole, the la metro area has interesting architecture. However, I do not think la is more interesting than SF in that field. The reason why I say this is because la's architecture, although interesting, is so haphazard and often does not work within the context of the city and neighborhood. Sure, some buildings look cool, but when they're next door to a strip mall, it doesn't work. Virtually every street in la looks like El Camino Real: broad, set back, and lined with parking lots. And in that setting, the interesting buildings don't stand out; I think it adds to the chaotic look of la. Those buildings are few and far in between, and all too often, the ugliness of la overwhelms whatever beauty you might be able to find in that city. One exception I can think of is Venice, but even there, I think that town can look sort of kitschy.
This is part of the reason why I'm not as frustrated with SF's conservative approach to design as so many others are. When I look at the iconic beauty of the Transamerica Building, it's strange for me to think that the previous generation of San Franciscans were so appalled by it. But I have the benefit of hindsight; I didn't yet exist when SF was fighting those battles. But even with hindsight, or because of it, I think we got lucky with that one. Innovative design can go wrong, and when it does, it's really, really wrong. I don't know if people would consider a donut-shaped building to be innovative, but if such a building were ever built in SF and went on to become a beloved addition to our fair city, I wouldn't fault the San Franciscans who fought it. What might work in Shanghai or Europe or la might not work here.
Now I'm not pushing for more Victorians, Edwardians, cornices, or bay windows. And I'm not saying we should stifle innovative design. I guess what I'm saying is that Mother Nature has blessed us with an unmatched natural setting and has also corrected some of our past sins (opening the Embarcadero and Octavia) and so I think it's natural that we proceed in a deliberate way. Does that mean we're doomed to have Mission Bay? No. I think Mission Bay is what it is because it wasn't deliberate enough, although I'll try to reserve judgment for now.
So long as they stop planting palm trees, of course.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 21, 2007 8:13 PM
I actually saw a couple of units, and for the prime location that the building is in, I expected much more. The rooms are very small and the finishes are cheap. Overall...I was disappointed with what I saw.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 21, 2007 9:00 PM
Having just walked past the sales center I was struck by how the model of the kitchen (seen from the window) seemed very "short." Granted, I'm 6'4", but both the microwave and fridge appeared to be at a height that would hit me at shoulder height or lower at best. Everything in the model seemed out of scale (smaller/shorter) than the average height for a condo, regardless of price. It felt very weird. Would this be price related? My condo's scale feels fine to me, even at my height, and I've seen lots of condos in the area at all prices before I purchased and nothing I saw seemed out of scale like I just saw at this location...
Posted by: can't think of cool name at February 21, 2007 10:40 PM
SF hates LA because after the 1906 quake SF was no longer the financial capital of the west. It all moved to LA. It's like your little sister taking off with your boyfriend. Hard to forgive, even after all these years. It becomes a habit.
Posted by: Salarywoman at February 22, 2007 12:32 AM
Has anyone been to sales office to find out how many units in this building has been "reserved"? When I called the sales office on the phone they told me 40%, and that was only a couple of days after they started taking reservations. Of course, I would think that the 40% included the BMR units also.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 22, 2007 8:41 AM
I love L.A. for not having fear to build things unique, imaginative and fun, and I admire their strong tradition of modernism (Neutra, Schindler, etc) I hated L.A. because of "press-on" faux brick buildings, along with faux Spanish castles, plastic pagodas , etc. Who knew that someday a city with a rich architectural tradition like San Francisco would adopt the Southern California/ Hollywood technique of making buildings appear real when they are not. I do like the art angle on this building, but I thought the units were rather ordinary and would never be able to live with FAUX BRICKS. I am still waiting for the SOMA project that gives something other than what I have seen in Irvine. The entire Mission Bay- SOMA newly built landscape is so far completely ordinary. Not one project is unique, award winning, or imaginative. A world class city deserves better with the last buildable land still available.
Posted by: Morgan at February 22, 2007 8:46 AM
"Has anyone been to sales office to find out how many units in this building has been "reserved"? When I called the sales office on the phone they told me 40%, and that was only a couple of days after they started taking reservations."
They are most likely including all 24 BMR units in the numerator AND only including the number of units that have been “released” so far in the denominator. It’s a standard marketing tactic for new developments/agents.
Posted by: Anonymous at February 22, 2007 2:40 PM
a few quick comments:
1. I toured the building last week & thought it is exactly what the neighborhood needs: the art (which is truely unique & exciting) and the interiors add much needed character to S. Beach
2. I would definately spend an afternoon or two by the pool & chillout before/after heading across the street to a Giants game. The sun actually shines in South Beach
3. I think the 'fake brick' is required by the redevlopment agency for all bldgs around PacBell
Posted by: Sandman at February 23, 2007 12:21 PM
I went a presentation offered by the sales office to our company's new homes group. This is what they told us and what my impression is (don't hold me to any of this-- we all know how stories can change):
You need to be pre-approved with Triton Funding before you can write a contract.
Getting up inside the building to preview units is tough right now. You have to schedule a hard hat tour two weeks out. That being said, the building is more finished out than I thought. I'm going through tomorrow, but one of my associates said there is carpet in the common areas and kitchen cabinets are in.
There are restrictions on resale to keep investors from buying. You can't flip until one year has passed. This isn't unusual. Developments on Berry have had the same rule.
I think the CC&Rs also restrict leasing-- my scribbled notes indicate that no more than 20% of the building may be leased at one time. I'm not sure how they are going to police this.
I think 30+ units are reserved now.
I agree that the sales staff is overwhelmed. It helps to establish rapport with one of the sales people there and offer an indication that you are a dead serious buyer. They hope to be more 'ready' by mid-March.
I have clients who were seriously considering the remaining units at the Beacon (which is offering some heavy discounts on what's left). They are leaning towards 170 Off Third because of the gas stoves and better price psf and the lower fees.
Posted by: Cece Blase at February 24, 2007 11:33 AM
This is a decent building, but the sales staff are rather difficult. I think considering the flux of supply that is coming on to the market, they are being extremely arrogant! The head of the sales office [Removed by Editor] is an extremely cocky and rude person. Their attitude was this is how it is and there was no flexibility or even veil of wanting to discuss the terms or anything. I understand that new construction probably has the upper hand on buyers, but considering a buyer's ability to go to 6-7 other new developments, they need to be better sales people and work to make this a pleasant buying experiencing.
Posted by: 170Buyer at March 2, 2007 10:32 AM
huh, that's funny. A client of mine just bought a unit last week. We both had a good experience. weird. I also did a few deals at 200 Brannan - i think this is the same sales team. Curious to know what others think...
Posted by: Marco Esquandoles at March 6, 2007 11:41 AM
I hear that 50% of the units are in contract. Can anyone verify this?
Posted by: CuriousBuyer at March 6, 2007 3:10 PM
I am wondering whether any people get any discount or incentive from the developer?
Most of the nice units (upper floor) are gone (reserved or in contract) when I visited last week. Only a few left that I am interested in, ideally, I would prefer a higher floor, too, but all of them are gone (with a lower price tag since reserved in earlier period).
I am asked for free upgrade, such as washer and dryer or hard wood floor, but nothing, since per the sales person, its units are going fast.......
I guess it is true that units are "selling", because of the lower price and higher floor, but what about the remaining?
I am wondering the status of this week? Any insight?
Posted by: minime at March 7, 2007 1:56 PM
I am purchasing a home at 170 King. My experience with the sales staff, especially the sales manager has been excellent. They have been friendly, helpful, and professional. For the location, amenities, and artistic details associated with this project I think that this is a good buy. The views are nice from different sides of the building (city views, ballpark landmark, or resort like courtyard). Even some lower floor units have some ballpark views which are fabulous. There are not many places where you can look outside your livingroom window and see the ballpark landmark. I am also excited about the attention to detail by artists (glass art, metal art, stone sculpture) which gives it more character than other buildings.
Posted by: Happy Buyer at March 9, 2007 11:08 AM
Don’t know if it’s right (from sfnewsletter) but some pricing:
• Studios-$415,000-$499,000, 450-510 square feet
• Junior 1br- $440,000-$535,000, 440-485 square feet
• 1 bedroom- $535,000-$715,000, 530-745 square feet
• 1+ bedroom- $595,000-$775,000, 750-855 square feet
• 2 bedroom- $715,000-$895,000, 900-1020 square feet
• 2+ bedroom- $785,000-$905,000, 960-1100 square feet
Posted by: Anonymous at March 9, 2007 11:26 AM
"Happy Buyer" - congratulations! Where else were you looking and how does 170 compare? Any idea on the typical buyer demos to date?
Posted by: Interested at March 9, 2007 11:55 AM
"Interested"- thanks for the congrats!We are very excited to have purchased a new home with a great view. If you find the view you like and it meets your other criteria- buy it! We lost out on another home in the city due to multiple bids (it was an older unit in a different area)and we were happy to get this place with the view we wanted without multiple offers. So to answer your question as to other locations we were looking at? Any place within a 20 minute walk from downtown financial district. Southbeach, Northbeach, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, etc... (old and new developments)We've been looking for a while and this place just clicked for us- the aesthetic, art details, location, etc. It has a lot of unique features. As for the typical buyer demographics? not sure...ask the sales people. We just know we liked it. Good luck with your search... When you visit 170 off third- I would suggest seeing a few of the models from different sides of the building... If view is a priority for you as it was for us, now is the time to buy to have first choice of your view (ballpark, city, courtyard).
Posted by: Happy Buyer at March 17, 2007 12:33 PM
love love this building. after looking for the last four months, we couldn't find anything that beat its value, quality finishes, and location. the website says it all, but with its prime location too, it is everything we want in a home.
we are in the process of doing our due diligence and heard from a little birdie that the developer is going to offer mortgage credits soon.... stay tuned!
Posted by: First time for us at August 1, 2007 10:10 PM