March 30, 2007
We Simply Can't Resist Heated European Towels Racks
We haven’t been inside (and ceiling height might be an issue on the upper floor), but we do like what we see (especially the built-ins, skylights, and kitchen). It reads like a comprehensive renovation, and seriously, we can't resist “heated European towels racks.”
∙ Listing: 303 Montcalm (3/2.5) - $1,079,000 [Barbagelata]
The SocketSite Scoop On “Solaria” (166 Yerba Buena Ave)
According to a “plugged-in” tipster, a number of San Francisco’s power agents pased on this listing for a “French Chateau inspired" home that’s nearing completion in the self-proclaimed "Yerba Buena Heights" (otherwise know as the edge of St. Francis Wood).
The home is centered around its solarium, a stunning, flexible space capped by a 26 foot-high glass skylight that fill the home with natural light. An order flows from here to the outer rooms, creating areas for children and adults to entertain, work, play, and rest. The palladium-style gallery arcade separates spaces for socializing; the dining and living rooms occupy the home's front, and the library and theater are set to the rear. For privacy, the four second-level bedrooms follow a traditional corner plan, each en suite.
And while “Solaria's” 2,500 square foot six (plus) car garage was rendered complete with a Range Rover, Two Mercedes, a Ferrari, a Lamborghini, and a $1.5M Bugatti Veyron (what can we say, we know our cars), the property’s website is quick to note: “As a home, Solaria is a symbol of success, not extravagance.”
Think Of It As Only $29,000 For The House
And at the other end of the spectrum, we have 1951 Oakdale. It’s a single family residence in Silver Terrace/Bayview that’s listed at $379,000 and described as a “Real Fixer.” For perspective, the vacant lot next door is listed for $350,000.
∙ Listing: 1951 Oakdale Avenue (1/1) - $379,000 [MLS]
∙ The SocketSite Scoop On “Solaria” (166 Yerba Buena Ave) [SocketSite]
Another Way To “Plug In” (And Never Be Off Topic Again)
We still haven’t worked out all the kinks, and we aren’t “officially” launching until Monday, but we wanted our readers to be the first to know: www.forums.socketsite.com
March 29, 2007
A Building, Coffee and Movement That We Love In Hayes Valley
The New York Times provides a peek inside, and some back ground on, Loring Sagan’s office (Sagan Piechota Architecture and Build Inc.), loft (for those late nights), and coffee bar (Blue Bottle Coffee) in Hayes Valley.
When Loring Sagan bought a decrepit building on Linden Street here in 2002, the surrounding area in the Hayes Valley neighborhood was desolate. But having inherited an affinity for social activism from his mother...he set out to do his part to improve the situation.
Indeed, Mr. Sagan and Mr. Winslow [a local architect] have serious ambitions for their part of town. In 2006 the two were awarded a challenge grant of $100,000 by the City of San Francisco for a master plan to make Linden Street more friendly to pedestrians. (The amount will be matched by contributions from Mr. Sagan and his businesses.) Another project under way is Parcel P, a 250-unit affordable-housing development that will begin construction a few blocks away next spring...
As a reader notes: “I always liked the building and wondered who lived there.” Us too, only we love the building (especially those bifold doors).
Reader’s Questions: How To Structure/Negotiate A Discount
A “plugged-in” reader butters us up (“I've gone from clueless to rather informed in a brief period of time thanks in big part to Socketsite”) and then hits us with a question:
I recently bought at one of the new developments and was able to negotiate $X (lets say $10,000) amount towards upgrades; so I will buy the condo for the sale price but get $10,000 towards upgrades. I plan on purchasing about $20k in upgrades.
Would I have been smarter to offer $10k above asking and then ask for $20k in upgrades? The cost to me would be the same, but when I go to sell, my purchase price will be higher and more accurately reflect the additions at the time of purchasing. I always hear realtors saying what the place sold for X number of years ago and came up with this idea from that.
We have our answer, but we’re going to open it up for discussion amongst the readers first. And while we were unable to get our reader to identify the development or the exact amount of the discount (“[I] did so with the personal promise to the sales agent that I would keep it confidential”), he was willing to admit that “it is one of the new high rises.” Yes, high rises.
On (And Perhaps Straight Out Of) Moscow
The listing describes it as “Must See!” A reader writes that it left her “speechless.” And we…well, we’re just going with “original condition!”
∙ Listing: 708 Moscow (4/4) - $999,000 [MLS]
March 28, 2007
More Apples In Hayes Valley (525 Gough)
In July 2005, 525 Gough #105 sold for $881,000. Early last month, the Hayes Valley condo was listed for $929,000. And yesterday, it was reduced to $899,000. In related activity, 525 Gough #405 appears to have fallen out of contract and is now back on the market.
Is it something about the "05" units? The building? The block? The neighborhood?
SocketSite Reader’s Report: Living In North Mission Bay (For Real)
Last October we solicited feedback from “past, current, or prospective inhabitants" of the ClockTower Lofts in order to “shed some light on the development in general, and the impact of the Bay Bridge [traffic] in specific.” We limited comments to those with first-hand knowledge rather than simply conjecture, and we compiled some great responses (and neighborhood insight).
I lived on King St for almost 2 years before I had to move due to work. I lived in the Avalon Phase 1 tower (pretty high up) and then in the midrise in Avalon Phase 2, and both the times I was facing King Street and the Caltrain depot. The points I want to make:
1) It's fun living in the area as you can commute using Caltrain or Muni/Bart to most of the places in Bay Area (East/Valley).
2) It’s very convenient to catch a cab anytime of the day.
3) There's always a police car right in front of the caltrain depot.
4) Safeway is very conveniently located.
5) Noise from the street or trains was never a problem (in the high rise or in the midrise where I was on the 4th floor and close to the street).
6) Ball games (including the phase when Barry Bonds was close to breaking the record) were "NEVER HELL". You would only hit some delays driving into the city via 280 (traffic flow was usually well managed).
7) Lastly, I used to park in Lot A of the ball park (had a 24X7 permit) and never had my car broken into.
I think it is comparatively safe as compared to lot of other neighborhoods in the city and I was seriously considering buying a condo in the area (and still might). I think it's very easy to hit all the hotspots in the city from this neighborhood either by Muni (Bus & Transit) or cab. Overall I would say it’s a nice neighborhood and I see it only improving from here on.
And now we'll welcome comments from, or directed to, other readers who actually live (or have lived) in North Mission Bay. Care to share your experiences and perspective?
JustQuotes: Is Higher Actually Smarter In San Francisco?
"There's no question that home prices and test scores are linked," said Linda Strean, managing editor at greatschools.net in San Francisco, a nonprofit that provides information on schools nationwide. "Anyone who is buying a home had better be clear what the school district's attendance policies are before they make a decision based on test scores."
∙ New Meaning To API Scores [SFGate]
March 27, 2007
Weekend Incentives (And A New Release) At The Potrero
Rumor has it that The Potrero will be offering condo buyers a free GE Profile refrigerator and Washer/Dryer this weekend (3/31 - 4/1) in conjunction with a "special release" of new units. Some unofficial pricing from a “plugged in” tipster:
∙ The Potrero #278 (1/1) 700 sqft - $545,880
∙ The Potrero #360 (1/1) 661 sqft - $545,880
∙ The Potrero #375 (1/1) 661 sqft - $620,880
∙ The Potrero #485 (1+/1) 825 sqft - $684,880
∙ The Potrero #470 (2/2) 929 sqft - $699,880
∙ The Potrero #468 (2/2) 1037 sqft - $769,880
∙ The Potrero #470 (2/2) 929 sqft - $715,880
∙ The Potrero #566 (2/2) 932 sqft - $795,880
We thought you’d want the scoop (and perhaps some free appliances). And as always, don’t forget our invitations to the housewarming.
UPDATE: And it was bound to raise the question…if I’ve already placed a deposit, can I get the appliances too?
∙ The Potrero (451 Kansas): Model Homes Open This Weekend [SocketSite]
∙ The Potrero (451 Kansas): Sales Center Now Open [SocktSite]
∙ The Potrero (451 Kansas): From The Low $400,000s [SocketSite]
Trinity Plaza One Big Step Closer To Reality (And Condos?)
The fate of Trinity Plaza now rests in the hands of the full Board of Supervisors as the proposal for 1,900 new housing units unanimously passed yesterday’s Land Use Committee meeting after four years of political wrangling.
After Supervisor Chris Daly announced that the developer (Angelo Sangiacamo) has agreed to some last-minute amendments, the committee gave the project the green light. Supervisor Jake McGoldrick decided not to press with his additional amendments, allowing the project to finally go to a full Board meeting on April 10th.
The terms of the approved proposal calls for 1,900 units of which 360 will be deed restricted rent-controlled (and offered to the current Trinity Plaza residents) and an additional 231 will be designated below market rate (BMR).
At the same time, a condo map will be approved for the project (“after the developer pointed out the 40% increase in construction costs”) but will not extend to the 360 rent-controlled units.
∙ (More) Political Wrangling Over The Development Of Trinity Plaza [SocketSite]
∙ Trinity Plaza – FINALLY! – Gets Out of Land Use Committee [BeyondChron]
∙ JustQuotes: Trinity Plaza - One Meeting, Two Takes, One Truth [SocketSite]
January S&P/Case-Shiller Index Down For San Francisco MSA
According to the January 2007 S&P/Case-Shiller index (pdf), single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA dropped a nominal 0.17% from December '06 to January '07 but slipped 1.4% year-over-year. For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), year-over-year price growth is down 0.7% (a thirteen year low).
As previously noted: The S&P/Case-Shiller index only tracks single-family homes (not condominiums which represent half the transactions in San Francisco), is imperfect in factoring out changes in property values due to improvements versus actual market appreciation (although they try their best), and includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda in the “San Francisco” index (i.e., the greater MSA).
JustQuotes: The Redevelopment Of Hunters/Candlestick Point
“The plan [for Hunters/Candlestick Point] includes at least 8,500 housing units, 2 million square feet of office space, an 8,000- to 12,000-seat arena and 700,000 square feet for retail and entertainment uses, including a large grocery store near Highway 101 at Candlestick and a smaller one at Hunters Point.” (S.F.’s Grand Plan For 49ers)
∙ S.F.’s Grand Plan For 49ers [SFGate]
March 26, 2007
The $1,500,000 Half Bath On Marina Boulevard
In the early 1990’s 611 Marina Boulevard and 755 Marina Boulevard each sold for $1,250,000 (1991 and 1992 respectively). And in 1999 both properties changed hands again with 611 fetching $1,620,000 and 755 fetching slightly less ($1,580,000).
Today, both properties are once again on the market. This time, however, expectations appear to have diverged. The list price for 611 Marina Boulevard: $3,995,000. The list price for 755 Marina Boulevard: $5,597,000.
One Rincon Hill’s Townhome Collection “Officially” Released
According to a press release, the "14 luxury townhomes" at One Rincon Hill were “officially released" for sale this past Friday. The 14 townhomes range in size from 900 to 2,350 square feet, are "priced from $1.2 million to $1.8 million," and will offer full access to the One Rincon Hill amenities (think pool, gym, barbeque area, etc.).
And perhaps we’re reading into it (quite literally), but we can't help but recall the following sentence from One Rincon Hill’s Fall 2006 newsletter six months ago: “There are still more than 30 one-, two- and three bedrooms with great views available…as well as 13 luxury townhomes along Harrison Street, starting at $1.4 million...” Townhome #304 (a two-bedroom, two-bath plus den) is currently asking $1,200,000.
∙ One Rincon Hill’s Fall Newsletter And Update [SocketSite]
Take Two For A Few Of The Condos At 767 Bryant
Last August we had a chance to walk through the apartments turned condos at 767 Bryant. Our seven month old summary:
…while we found the sales team to be quite friendly, the soundproofing from street noise to be surprisingly good, and a number of the units to be quite spacious (and bright), we’re struggling to rationalize the “value” of these condos.
Irrespective of the location, the quality of the finishes in the units we toured are not competitive with other million dollar (plus) condos on the market. The bathrooms are a far cry from “luxury,” the kitchens didn't strike us as being particularly “chic,” and in the tri-level units, the scale of the lower levels seemed off.
For the most part these units are large and functional. But at these price points, we’re wondering if buyers won’t demand more.
Well, after being withdrawn from the market at least four units have now returned sporting new appliances, incentives, and lower prices (reduced up to 7%). Oh, and a “MOTIVATED SELLER!” (but no word on the bathrooms).
∙ Inside 767 Bryant [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 767 Bryant #206 (2/3) - $889,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 767 Bryant #207 (2/3) - $889,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 767 Bryant #405 (1/2) - $629,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 767 Bryant #406 (1/2) - $629,000 [MLS]
The Atherton House (1990 California)
With a colorful history that’s second only to its colorful interior, another San Francisco Registered Landmark (1990 California) is on the market. Currently carved up into 12 units, the Victorian mansion was built for Mrs. Doming de Goni Atherton in 1881/1882 and ranks among the first Queen Anne residences in San Francisco (architect unknown). It’s definitely worth a peek (and a read).
March 23, 2007
Crescent Heights: 10th And Market Recap, Rendering, And Details
One reader wonders about the demolition and development at the corner of 10th and Market, a few other readers nail the answer, and now SFcondo.org shares some renderings of the Heller Manus designed Crescent Heights development.
In summary, the development will consist of "four buildings and four retail spaces. The largest will be 35 stories on the market street side and the other three will be 9, 18, and 19 stories." In total, "approximately 719 dwelling units, approximately 19,000 square feet of commercial space, and a garage with up to 668 parking spaces. The...north tower will be 35 stories and approximately 352 feet high, and the...south tower will be 19 stories and approximately 220 feet high.”
And according to J.K. Dineen, “The project will be more affordable than the Metropolitan, the Rincon Hill development Crescent Heights built three years ago. [Crescent Heights Vice President] Della Salla said he hoped the project would appeal to workers from the nearby City Hall and federal building, as well as current Hayes Valley renters across Market Street. Many of the units will be in the $500,000 to $600,000 range and some under $400,000.”
JustQuotes: The Donald Speaks (Will You Listen?)
"Donald Trump almost lost his shirt 15 years ago when the North American real estate bubble burst. The 2007 version of that disaster will be much more benign, the real estate magnate predicts, although there is softness in some urban markets, such as Toronto and San Francisco."
∙ Trump touts soft markets in cities like Toronto [globeandmail.com]