September 28, 2007

The SocketSite Scoop: Half Of The Sunset Idea House Hits The Market

A plugged-in tipster forwards an email exchange between two incredulous San Francisco real estate watchers. The basic gist:

A: Half of that “freaky-eco project” on Alabama and 25th just hit the market. Open this weekend. For free!
M: $900/sqft for a TIC in this part of the Mission? And after selling tickets to see it this past Sunday? That’s so wrong.
A: No, that’s some funny sh&*! [And destined for SocketSite]

That’s right, 1303 Alabama (half of Sunset’s 2007 San Francisco Idea House) will be open this Sunday (9/30). No ticket (or donation) necessary. Although tips (email tips@socketsite.com) are always appreciated.

And no, we can't imagine Sunset is all too pleased.

∙ Listing: 1303 Alabama (2/2.5) -$1,089,000 (TIC) [MLS]
Sunset’s 2007 San Francisco Idea House: 3027 25th Street [SocketSite]
Lotus House Rising (And A Plug For SF’s Build It Green Home Tour) [SocketSite]
An Early Peek Inside “La Casa Verde” (a.k.a. The Future Idea House) [SocketSite]

First Published: September 28, 2007 3:12 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

this was our (admittedly) irreverent exchange

A:
wanna hear some funny shit? no, not 306 mullen, but that freaky-eco project on alabama and 25st. be the first to see it this sunday 1-4 (and guess what, u don't have to pay $25 to be on some pretentious architect tour!)

fyi- it's north of $900 sq ft, for a tic in the mish!! woohoo!!

M:
$900 per sq. ft? thats fucking funny, really funny.

It was wrong of these people to sell tickets then put it on the market. I saw dozens of scared shitless visitors on Sunday filing through the place with nametags "Hi-- Rob me"

A:
i agree, a tic > $900 per sq ft. in the mish is funny; makes that silly lorax bldg on 22/valencia seem reasonable! i wonder how much dough they made from that architect-bend-over-take-it-[Removed by Editor]-tour. actually, having a free open house 1 week later is hilarious as well. funny shit!

M:
1 million for a TIC of 1200 sq ft.in the hood? This I MUST see.

Posted by: AMinSF at September 28, 2007 9:30 AM

Unfortunately, the disappointment of touring the Sunset House leads to this post. The project is as if five different architects worked on separate sections of the house to incorporate as many donated products as possible. Being green shouldn't mean being ugly.

Posted by: developer at September 28, 2007 9:49 AM

Good things - like a free tour - come to those who wait!

Seems very strange that it's being sold before Sunset puts it on tour. Will the buyer will have to open it up to tours or wait to take occupancy?

Posted by: Michael at September 28, 2007 1:13 PM

I'm not sure what makes this building LEED certified? Aside from the wind mill that failed to get a legal permit and its hot water solar panels that heat the water consuming "endless pool", there is nothing efficient or conservation minded about the oversized main unit, the one million dollar plus unit for sale actually acts as a noise buffer at the building permiter for the main unit. This building, which put the previous fully functional Victorian in landfill, is all about using green to validate excess. And it ought to get its spin straight, like itsmisleading promotional materials, on the web site, saying the plants are natives. Bamboo is native all right, to China!!!!

Posted by: Michael Olexo at September 28, 2007 2:28 PM

It appears Sunset Magazine and the developers may have parted ways:
http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2007/09/28/2007_sunset_idea_house_update_who_broke_up_with_whom.php

Posted by: craig waugh at September 29, 2007 11:24 AM

Your all fucking idiots who haven't a clue what you are talking about. Last weekend the entire building was on tour along with six other green houses in the city. The $20 ticket got you into all the houses and the proceeds went to a non-profit organization called Build it Green who teaches and promotes green building. This weekends open house lets you only into the small unit. Last weekend anyone with $20 was allowed in. This weekend you need a million dollars to be allowed in so all you lazy whiney people who have nothing better to do than write about things you dont have a clue about should stay in your one room rented apartment and continue to cry and insult people who actually get other and work so they can afford to spend millions of dollars on their homes. Too bad you will never be one of them.

Posted by: mind your own business at September 29, 2007 1:31 PM

And another thing. There was never a victorian on the lot. There was a crappy old decaying building that had an exterior temporary face lift about ten years ago to make it not look like the rotten piece of shit that it was. And every piece of salvagable lumber that was removed from the building went back into framing the building. Also, the owner has been working with Sunset Scavager to recycle everything that goes in the dumpster as a result of the construction. To date, the project has the highest percentage of recyled construction debris than any other project in the city.

Also, there was only one terrible architect on the project and he was fired a while ago. There was not five. That's just fuckin bullshit.

And don't talk about the houses "green features" as if you know. You obviously have no idea what is in the house.

And the wind turbine is permitted. leagally. look it up.

I have lived in the Mission for 35 years and have known all the people that have lived in the building in the past. The place was a disaster. Also, i have worked on that house on and off for the past six months and happen to know non of you have a clue what you are talking about.

Posted by: mind your own business at September 29, 2007 3:23 PM

Mind your own business sounds suspicously like the owner of the project. Why so touchy? Blogs are for public opinions, not bullies hiding behind email.

Posted by: Amused at September 29, 2007 3:32 PM

No, I am not the owner but wish I was. I doubt the owner would ever waste her time talking with idiots like you. She is much too busy building multi million dollar homes. You know, the ones you like to complain about because you cant have one.

I am a neighbor and I have done some work on the house. I can't afford one either but I certainly would not talk shit for no reason about someone who could.

And people here are not posting their "opinions" they are making incorrect statements as if they were true. It's an insult to the many workers (including me) who have worked hard and done our best on the house.

Posted by: mind your own business at September 29, 2007 5:19 PM

OK guys, cool it. I saw this house as part of the Green Homes tour and from here it looks to be in trouble. Now I know that it is unfair to criticize an unfinished project, but this has the aura of fiasco hovering over it. If the stars align (big if) you can do quality cutting edge - with an unlimited budget and schedule, with friends in the building and planning departments, and with a team that has done it succesfully many times before - but sadly those benefits do not appear to be in play here. In the main unit there are just too many distress signals: incomplete zero-tolerance components that don't yet meet, and probably won't ever, and damage to installed custom custom items that will require major headaches to replace. It just feels like everything is 90% finished and nothing is 100%, and for bad reason.

I found the penthouse floor with roof deck/garden quite wonderful, the bedroom floor puzzling and labyrinthine, and the garden level a bit claustrophobic. The wind turbine is a lot of fun and I hope it is allowed to remain.

I wish the owner/developer well, but I think she has bitten off more than she can chew. There were plenty other examples on the tour of successful green, but they were also less ambitious and less hurried. One day someone will successfully pull off a project like this, but this does not look to be it.

Posted by: Ian at September 30, 2007 7:06 AM

1303 alabama is SO TOTALLY AWESOME, man...please, bend-me-over and sign me up to pay > $1 mil!

if these fools think they will get anywhere near $1mil, they are smoking some seriously good crack. i saw it (for free) sunday, and what a POS. it's insulting bringing to market, and with such fanfare, an incomplete piece of shit like that. the layout was laughable; the rooms downstairs reminded me of a below grade illegal inlaw unit; the sliding wood doors were purely stupid; and my personal favorite- there is a floor level window in the master bath that actually opens up- literally right on to the busy sidewalk outside! you can shower or take your shit and say high to people walking on the sidewalk, literally less than 2 feet away. lovely!

and to all these people 'in the know,' who worked on the property, guess what? we don't give a shit! the whole project was presented in an asinine, arrogant, and questionable manner. consequently the disorganization surrounding this project and hodgepodge construction is self evident and pathetic.

that's why i originally posted the whole affair as some "funny shit."

A

Posted by: A at October 1, 2007 10:21 PM

"Mind your own business" seems to have a lot of opinion for just a "neighbor who worked on it". We know you're the owner and you are just pissed off because you started this project under questionable ethics and process , without any regard for anyone and it looks like you'll finish it (if you ever do) under the same.

Your legal "wind turbine" is partially legal....you do have a permit, true. However, you never did what was legally required....notifying the neighbors and doing another 311. WE all understand that your influence or payoffs at the building department allowed you to put it up without all of that, but I bet another builder or homeowner would not have had the same fortune. You just snuck it in after the 311 so that you had less people questioning it. And your "gas station" in the garage....done the same way.

Your greed, ignorance and lack of respect will get you exactly what you deserve....less money than what you put into it and "stucco" on your face. Maybe the few people who do like it will call you to work on their houses and maybe not...track records speak for themselves and most people don't have money to burn. Finishing 3 months behind, way over budget and without a great end result speaks louder than your bullying words.

Oh and the best part, you have to "insure quality of work" by law for 10 years. You might want to hire one good all around carpenter to just maintain that project alone!

Posted by: amused2 at October 2, 2007 8:29 AM

Want to know whats really funny that i know the owner and mind your own business isn't the owner just give the house a chance and wait till its done all great projects look bad during the building phase and when their done look great

Posted by: John at October 8, 2007 8:53 PM

Amused2 unless you show some credentials to back up the claims you are making just stop making them

Posted by: John at October 8, 2007 8:56 PM

John,

Are you threatening me?

This is a blog where facts, opinions, etc. are expressed....if you don't like it, don't come here.

If you want to know where I got my facts, i contacted the planning department who told me that the developer should have done another 311 but that an EXCEPTION was made by the head of the department with no notes as to why...he said he couldn't explain it and only the head of the dept. could.

Call the planning department and you will see that normally, for the vast majority of us, a new 311 is required. However, this developer somehow was able to get around that.

Those are the questionable ethics/process i am referring to.

Posted by: amused2 at October 9, 2007 9:23 AM

i had absolutely no interest in seeing this house until reading this passionate thread. thank you editor for leaving all the postings in tact. it sounds like the owner is in trouble on the finance side, obviously.

Posted by: james at October 9, 2007 10:35 AM

It was supposed to be August, then it was delayed due to funding and schedule and now, according to Sunset Magazine, it will open in November.

http://www.sunset.com/sunset/marketplace/article/0,20633,1574303~844996,00.html

Posted by: Lisa at October 10, 2007 2:34 PM

That is one clumsy act of design.
If I were the architect,
I'd leave town before I'm found out.

PS,
could it be any more awkward,
and purely ugly ?

Posted by: Stephen Bryant Shelley at October 13, 2007 4:49 PM

I think that "mind your own etc."
is subtly ironic ?

or,

am I way off base to think that anyone could take the current "green building" phenomenom as anything but drivel ?

Posted by: Stephen Bryant Shelley at October 13, 2007 5:00 PM

PS,

"amused2"
You are on the money !
Keep calling it as it is !
Stephen

Posted by: Stephen Bryant Shelley at October 13, 2007 5:09 PM

i guess my comment would be my worn out phrase..."the only green building is the one that doesn't get built". technological changes will not save us(thought they could help). the hard part is cultural and personal. what are the chances the human race can collectively agree to leave the oil in the ground(not much?). if it all comes up, we are toast...at least the "we" we would recognize. it doesn't matter so much how efficient your car is, it's more important how much gas you run through it. the cave men were green and probably will be again.

Posted by: dov at October 16, 2007 1:12 PM

Amused...funny you should make all those acusations when most of your building is illegal. I noticed city building and planning are all over you. Guess you reap what you sew.

Posted by: TJW at October 20, 2007 5:00 PM

What's with all the talk about the developer running out of money? Anyone know that for a fact? Apears to many people working on the building daily at all hours. Money doesn't seem to be an issue there. Most of the time when the developer runs out of money a project stops. Certainly not the case here. I walk by everyday.

Posted by: Interesed in your source of information at October 20, 2007 10:17 PM

Amused2,

Please let us know who at the Planning Department told you that a 311 was required for the wind mill. It would be informative for us all to understand exaclty where we can find that code.

And please inform us who the "vast majority" is that went through a 311 for their wind mills.

I suppose you are talking about the thousands of other permitted wind mills in San Francisco. Or maybe you are just talking out of your ass again.

Posted by: Stephen at October 23, 2007 6:51 PM

Call the planning desk yourself and ask if one would have to go through the 311 process to have a 52' windmill in their yard. He (the plan checker working the desk at the time that I called- I didn't ask his name) told me that normally one would but that an exception (and there were no notes to as why) was made in this case.

So, call for yourself and then report back what you were told.

Posted by: Amused2 at October 25, 2007 2:13 PM

I did call the planning desk and they told me the windmill was fast tracked because the project will be achieving platinum LEED certification and that there is only one other registered residential windmill in San Francisco which also got fast tracked two years ago.

Posted by: John at October 26, 2007 10:11 PM

Amused2-

I call the planning desk and was transfered to many people who didn't have any idea what the process was for permitting a windmill because it has never been done before. So I turned to the Planning Code and found that systems of alternative energy do not need neighborhood approval so the 311 doesn't apply.

It appears that the nameless city planner is as clueless as you.

Posted by: Stephen at October 27, 2007 2:32 AM

Stephen/John,

Gentlemen, thank you both because you do prove a point. Depending on who you speak to or who you know at the building/planning dept. (or possibly, which expediter you use), you receive different answers and different permissions. Look at how your information differs from one another and then from mine.

John states another windmill was fast tracked 2 years ago and Stephen states it was never done before? John states it was fast tracked because of Platinum LEED and John says any system of alt. energy does not need 311 and implies nothing regarding the need for Platinum LEED.

To confuse the issue more, did you use the word wind turbine (a large blade which can sit upon a telephone pole like structure and needs a large foundation)or windmill (a small, almost wind chime like apparatus which needs no foundation)? There are other wind mills (bernal heights) in the city but I don't believe there is another wind turbine.
The key here is that it is the first wind turbine and sits upon a 52' pole....these are normally used for rural areas.

Could this all the reason it is a "provisional permit"? Or, is it provisional because they are waiting to see if this house achieves Platinum Status....just saying so doesn't mean it will. It will be interesting to see those records.

Posted by: Amused2 at October 27, 2007 12:44 PM

Hey all,

go see it for yourselves! Curbed says it is open on Nov. 4th and you can go for free if you volunteer.

http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2007/10/26/curbedwire_case_closed_at_la_casa_verde.php

Posted by: lookin forward 2 it at October 27, 2007 3:10 PM

Amused2 it sounds like you are just trying to find a reason to hate this house. Both our answers were basically the same. what do you have against the house or its tenants?

Posted by: John at October 27, 2007 4:01 PM

All of the "green" or "not green" questions aside, the quality of construction was horrendous. When I toured the building, the floors were not flush with the stairs, exterior joints were lazily finished, and if you opened any of the closets, they were filled with a mess of cables and construction debris (dont believe me, I've got pics). I'm embarrassed for whoever built this place. Design is subject to opinion. "Green-ness" is debatable. The construction on the project however, sucked a big one.

Posted by: whyamigettinginvolved at February 21, 2008 11:40 AM

Why do you call it the "Mish"? I was born in the mission, lived there over 20 years, and never once heard anyone refer to it as the "Mish". It's really a dumb nickname, please don't use it again.

Posted by: yardie at June 10, 2008 8:10 PM

@yardie -- thank you from the bottom of my heart. You can, of course, retaliate by saying "frisco" :)

Posted by: dub dub at June 10, 2008 8:25 PM

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