September 14, 2007

21 Buena Vista Returns With A Fifth (And Final?) Reduction

21 Buena Vista: Wine Cellar

Sixteen months ago 21 Buena Vista Avenue was listed for $5,475,000. Fourteen months ago it was $4,950,000. Nine months ago it was $4,495,000. Five months ago it was $4,250,000. And today, it’s $3,900,000. That’s $1,575,000 (or 28.8%) under the original asking price (and yet officially "1 day on the market").

Regardless, we’re still fans (and wouldn't mind spending a weekend in that cellar).

∙ Listing: 21 Buena Vista Avenue (6/6) - $3,900,000 [MLS]
21 Buena Vista Avenue By The Numbers [SocketSite]
A Little Off The Top Of The Witches Hat (21 Buena Vista Ave) [SocketSite]
Reduced Again: Round Two For Two Near The Top [SocketSite]

First Published: September 14, 2007 8:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I've only lived in this city for a few years, so forgive my question- but how is a house this size and seemingly in good repair going for less than 500/ sq.ft.? Is it in a bad neighborhood or something?

Posted by: pica1986 at September 14, 2007 11:49 AM

What's the deal with this place, why isn't it selling? The neighborhood is great in my opinion, I lived right around the block.

Posted by: bird_man at September 14, 2007 12:04 PM

What?

No way!

I went to the open house a while back (was actually nicer than I expected it to be), and I swear that within a week, it looked like someone was living there.

Posted by: TB at September 14, 2007 12:08 PM

I agree this is a big mystery. Of all the eye-popping places this site has featured, this is the one I'd buy if I won the lottery. I love the neighborhood and the place is awesome. I wonder if there is some serious problem somewhere in the picture.

Posted by: Trip at September 14, 2007 12:37 PM

Price per square foot is not the correct barometer for evaluting urban homes.

The bigger the home the less $ per square ft.

Posted by: kathleen at September 14, 2007 12:45 PM

^ Agree to a certain extent but ironic considering the listing agent's own remark: "Grand home at a geat price (less than)$500 per sqft!"

Posted by: Anon2 at September 14, 2007 12:56 PM

Oh c'mon you guys, the problems with this place are many.

First of all, only a 64 foot screen in the home theater? What kind of cheapskate installs such a tiny screen? Must have been installed by a Yale man, because a Harvard man would never use anything less than 100'. I'll bet there are only 6 baths.

And a mere 1700 square feet of gallery space? That would barely fit the Cezannes. I mean honestly, I don't know what some people are thinking!

I do love the round bed in the top of the turret at photo 34 in the MLS listing. He he, makes me think of my honeymoon all over again. Now, if only I could find my wife in 8230 square feet of space...Lovey! Lovey, are you there...

Posted by: Thurston Howell III at September 14, 2007 1:04 PM

Great location, beautiful home, phenomenal views, and a great price. Yet it hasn't sold, to many's dismay. Why? Look at the pictures...it's quite obviously haunted

(cue eerie background music)

Wisecracks aside, this is a great property, but it's kind of a snowflake..a little too unique. Even if you could afford a $4MM home, what does the average SF couple do with 22 rooms? Adopt 10 kids? Turn it into a boutique hotel ala Fawlty Towers? Open a museum? Not sure if it's even possible, but it'd be good to split this thing into separate flats.

Posted by: Dude at September 14, 2007 2:06 PM

It could be a great bed and breakfast, if it were 6 bedrooms in a 4000sqft property.

Posted by: John at September 14, 2007 2:20 PM

Good point, you'd need another 4 million to decorate the place and figure another million to properly fill that wine cellar....

Posted by: bird_man at September 14, 2007 2:22 PM

I'd go with 1 million to decorate and 4 million to fill the wine cellar

Posted by: Pete at September 14, 2007 3:10 PM

Then you should make an offer and make seller include all the wine with the property.

Posted by: John at September 14, 2007 3:21 PM

That's not wine, just the bottles.

My only laugh out loud moment during the open house was when I walked into the wine cellar.

It looked like someone from the high school drama department got to go crazy with the props & dust machine. They even had fake cob webs here & there.

Posted by: TB at September 14, 2007 3:44 PM

I live nearby and have been following this house since the first time they attempted selling it in 2004 (see sfgate story link in my name). I think part of the reason it hasn't sold is location. For one thing, it backs up to a halfway house. Secondly, I just can't see people who can afford $5mil hiking down to Fallettis or running to the corner store like us renters. While it is on the way up to the "heights" of Buena Vista, it's within spitting distance of Haight Street, so that means tourists, taggers, homeless people, the hustlers in the park, etc. I also think it just has a lot of space and rooms to deal with for most people who would tolerate that area. I predicted that either a celebrity or new-money internet person would buy it as a second home. I would think it could sell for the new asking price though.

Posted by: DB at September 14, 2007 5:51 PM

DB is absolutely right about this house’s location. Pushing anything for 5mil in that particular area will be difficult. I think those who have seen it in person would agree that this house is loaded with great details. Each part of the house in itself was very well done. But what made it unappealing for me, and I bet for most people too, was its lack of clarity in style. You have the upstairs very traditionally finished and then downstairs you are surrounded by this dark disco like environment. It still seemed more like a B&B rather than a home that someone would be willing to pay 4/5 mil to live in. The architect may have tried to throw in too much and created a 5 star buffet. But I could see someone with the time and energy easily turning it into a beautiful home.

Posted by: blahhh at September 14, 2007 6:20 PM

It's haunted; like the other guy said.

Posted by: eddy at September 14, 2007 9:50 PM

I love this house. I used to walk by this house and dream about living on Buena Vista Park many years back

The only things I could think of for why people may not like were:
1. location. not the best location. quirky part of town, great views, but as others stated not a lot of chi chi places within walking distance.

2. there is a slight style discrepancy throughout the house... seems easily modified.

3. the amount of stairs. Lots of stairs. old people don't like that. and the style of this house IMO would attract older established buyers more than young hip e-millionaires...

4. initially overpriced? I wonder if it's just sat on the market a bit too long, so now prospective buyers wonder "what's wrong" with it...

so the house is kind of a conundrum to itself... it needs a bohemian hip multmillionaire with strong hips to get them up and down the stairs.

:)

Posted by: ex SF-er at September 15, 2007 6:45 AM

the location stinks.

crackheads and homeless live in the park there. this is the haight where no one in their right mind wants to live

Posted by: jummy at September 15, 2007 9:13 AM

so it's not sterile and gentrified like the marina, and it's not amongst a bunch of other big houses in pacific heights, but this location hardly "stinks". it's simply too much house for the neighborhood.

Posted by: SteveN at September 15, 2007 10:18 PM

it's also not safe

Posted by: jummy at September 16, 2007 11:45 AM

Prior to being renovated, this building was a rooming house. I still cannot fathom how the developer work through their options and decided to make a single family home out of it. Something intended for a mythical family with 10 or so children that could afford 4 or 5 million, yet wanted to live in the Haight. This building would have easily divided into 4 big condos, each of which would have sold for asking the first month it was listed.

Posted by: redseca2 at September 17, 2007 9:41 AM

21 Buena Vista is an amazing property, but it will never sell at this price. The most recent reduction in price is not a "reduction" at all when you take into account the simultaneous increase in jumbo mortgage rates.

Posted by: Jezzie at September 27, 2007 10:14 PM

anybody has the contacts for the designer and architect?

Posted by: helena at September 29, 2007 6:22 PM

I've seen the house and talked to the agent a couple of months ago. Was seriously interested before I actually saw the place The architects and contractors are actually the owners of the house. They wanted to convert it into flats but were denied..that's how they ended up with the monster single family home. I liked a couple of the floors but some of the spaces are just stupid. For example, there is a door leading into the hallway and a door leading into the master bedroom from the master closet. Why put a door leading from a huge walk-in closet into a hallway..that's just stupid. You also get the feeling that there was definitely a boarding house here before..for example, the master closet is about the same size as the master bedroom, which is about the same size as the master bathroom, which is about the same size as the laundry room, etc...there's just no scale. Why not take some walls out and make the master suite larger, instead of having the 7th bedroom. I honestly think the house could just have used fewer larger rooms and it would have worked nicer..but.oh well.

Posted by: citydweller at October 1, 2007 4:57 PM

I feel so sorry for the family that bought this house. It will take them forever to sell it!

Posted by: Smiling Millionaire Renter at January 7, 2008 4:06 PM

The house is in a bit of an odd spot being so close to Haight Street but there are a number of notable neighbors nearby including a former ambassador, Jackie O's nephews and an award-winning actor.

The house has sold though. I've been trying to find out what the final price was. I've seen a new Bentley parked in front of it a few times. The same guys are doing the house at 145 BVE.

Posted by: Henry J. Pettigrew at March 8, 2008 9:25 AM

The house is in a bit of an odd spot being so close to Haight Street but there are a number of notable neighbors nearby including a former ambassador, Jackie O's nephews and an award-winning actor.

The house has sold though. I've been trying to find out what the final price was. I've seen a new Bentley parked in front of it a few times. The same guys are doing the house at 145 BVE.

Posted by: Henry J. Pettigrew at March 8, 2008 9:26 AM

the views are not that great and you only get them from the back. the house faces the park and has most of its southern and western light blocked. plus they overshot on the initial pricing and now i think karma might be catching up to them.

Posted by: paco at March 8, 2008 9:44 AM

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