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A Huge (Potential) Development For The Mid-Market/SoMa 'Hood

Hearst's Chronicle Building (Image Source: sfgate.com)

“The Hearst Corp. is quietly seeking a developer for 3.9 acres of prime property in the fast-changing Mid-Market neighborhood, 20 separate parcels that include the current home of Hearst's San Francisco Chronicle at Fifth and Mission streets.”

“Hearst owns most of the land from Mission Street south to Howard Street between Fifth Street and Mary alley. In addition to the Chronicle's current headquarters, the portfolio covers five parcels along Fifth Street, including 110 Fifth St., the former San Francisco Examiner building that is connected to 901 Mission St. by a bridge over Minna alley.

The Hearst holdings also take in properties along the 900 block of both Mission and Howard streets, as well as a dozen small lots along Minna and Natoma alleys. There are a number of surface parking lots, as well as at least one historic building, a brick former label printer at 447-449 Minna."

Hearst puts S.F. Properties, including Chronicle HQ, on block [Business Times]
Hearst to consider offers for Chronicle building, other S.F. sites [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:27 AM | Comments (9)

The Landmarked Nightingale House (201 Buchanan) Hits The Market

The Nightingale House: 201 Buchanan

It is thought that the Nightingale House at 201 Buchanan (corner of Waller) was built for a former president of the California Pioneers (John Nightingale) in 1882. It is known that it is now San Francisco Landmark Number 47; that it is protected by a preservation easement; and that it was recently home to San Francisco Arts Commissioner and local artist Jo Hanson.

Hanson came to prominence early in the 1970's, soon after she moved into a deteriorated but stately Victorian on Buchanan Street. Once she had resuscitated the house into a landmark, she tackled its windy litter-strewn sidewalk. Her personal act of sweeping one sidewalk grew into a celebrated public art practice and citywide anti-litter campaign. Her compiled volumes of urban detritus are recognized as an artistic political tour de force that raised community awareness as it chronicled rapidly changing demographics.

And while we haven’t been inside - and the “fixer” designation and lack of interior pictures leads us to believe that it might be in need of some good old fashioned TLC - we’re sure a reader or two has (and might be willing to wax poetic on its potential).

∙ Listing: 201 Buchanan (4/3) - $1,895,000 [MLS]
San Francisco Landmark 47: Nightingale House [noehill.com]
San Francisco Architectural Heritage: Preserved [sfheritage.org]
Women Environmental Artists Directory: Jo Hanson in memoriam [weadartists.org]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:56 AM | Comments (18)

JustQuotes: Pick Your U.S. New Homes Sales Headline And Spin

U.S. New-Home Sales Rose in September After Revisions [Bloomberg]
“Sales of new U.S. homes unexpectedly rose in September after figures for previous months were revised down, maintaining concern the housing slump will restrain economic growth. Purchases increased 4.8 percent to an annual rate of 770,000 that matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. August purchases were revised down to an 11-year low of 735,000, the Commerce Department said today in Washington.”

New home sales hammered again [CNN]
“The pace of new home sales was weaker than expected in September, although it was a slight pick-up from an even weaker revised figure for the previous month, according to a government report. The pace of new home sales came in at an annual pace of 770,000 in the month, up from the revised 735,000 rate in August. Economists surveyed by Briefing.com had forecast sales would slow to a pace of 775,000 in the month.

But the report showed more weakness than the narrow miss of the forecast would indicate. Both the pace in July and the pace in August were revised lower. The previous reading of a 835,000 sales pace in July was cut to 798,000, while the original August reading to 795,000 was cut 8 percent to an 11-year low."

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Comments (18)

October 24, 2007

A Quick Reminder: Tonight’s (10/24) Gathering Of Plugged-In People

Cocktails start flowing at 6:00 and the panel discussion at 6:30. If you’re on the list, we’ll see you then. If not, perhaps we’ll see you at the next event (stay tuned). And if you’re on the list but have had a change of plans, please let us know (email rsvp@socketsite.com) as we have a long list of people waiting in the wings for any last minute cancellations.

The Scoop On Wednesday’s (10/24) Gathering For Plugged-In People [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:19 PM

300 Sea Cliff: $3,900,000 Reduction (After An $8,000,000 Renovation)

300 Sea Cliff (Image Source: 300seacliff.com)

57 months (no not days) after first hitting the market for $23,500,000, and nine months after undergoing an $8,000,000 renovation (and subsequently raising its asking price by $2,400,000), the list price on the Captain's House (300 Sea Cliff) has been reduced by $3,900,000 and it’s now listed for $22,000,000. And yes, we liked the brick better as well.

∙ Listing: 300 Sea Cliff Avenue (5/5.5) - $22,000,000 [Sotheby's] [MLS]
Top Five San Francisco Trophy Homes [SocketSite]
The $8,000,000 Man Renovation [SocketSite]
Another Chance At (For?) The Captain's House (300 Sea Cliff Ave) [SocketSite]
Checking In On 300 Sea Cliff Ave [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:24 AM | Comments (27)

U.S. Existing Home Sales Fall 8% (And Yes, It Might Matters To You)

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes fell 8% in September (19% year-over-year) and the median price paid fell 4.2% compared to September 2006. And while some might point to a national slump as a macro trend that’s irrelevant to us in the micro San Francisco (no slight intended), any drag on the macro economy (think a potential slowdown in consumer spending) will most definitely have an impact on the Bay Area.

Stricter lending standards and higher borrowing costs are making it more difficult to qualify for loans, causing an increase in the number of unsold properties and pulling prices down. Some economists say falling home values, by making owners feel less wealthy, may reduce consumer spending.
"The credit freeze in August definitely impacted sales in September," said Lawrence Yun, a senior economist at the [National Association of Realtors]. The negative influence was greater on jumbo loans, or loans larger than $417,000, affecting high- priced areas such as California, Yun said.

The good news? Another rate cut by the Fed is looking even more likely (think mortgage rates). The bad news? Another rate cut by the Fed is looking even more likely (think our weakening dollar).

And while some might take solace in Goldman Sachs’ chief U.S. economist’s quote that “[e]xisting home sales are still not particularly low by historic standards,” don’t forget the punch line: “Housing still has a lot of weakness ahead of it.”

U.S. Existing Home Sales Fall More Than Forecast [Bloomberg]
Dollar Falls Against Yen on Home Sales Decline, Merrill Loss [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:17 AM | Comments (84)

One Of Four Little Donald MacDonald Urban Townhouses On Hermann

398 Hermann: Exterior

398 Hermann is one of four little (800 square feet each) urban townhouses designed by architect Donald MacDonald in 1983 with two full bedrooms (and one bath) down, and a single great room (combined living/dining/kitchen) up.

398 Hermann: Upstairs

It offers a one car parking pad (downside: it’s uncovered; upside: it doesn’t eat into the living space like at 390 Hermann). And it’s cater-corner to Duboce Park (which we happen to think is a good thing).

398 Hermann: Aerial

We’ll note that 396 Hermann (the yellow one) sold for $749,000 in March, while 390 Hermann (the brown one) was last on the market for $699,000 in September (and sold for $650,000). And no, we haven't had any experience with Liebherr refrigerators. Readers?

∙ Listing: 398 Hermann (2/1) - $699,000 [MLS]
Donald MacDonald Architects [donaldmacdonaldarchitects.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:50 AM | Comments (24)

JustQuotes: Will The Effects Ripple, Or Will They Be “Contained?”

“Pointing to a map of ACORN's research showing the hardest hit areas in San Francisco - Ocean View, Bayview, Visitacion Valley, Excelsior - Quezada said she believed lenders and mortgage brokers targeted the area's most vulnerable borrowers.”

4,800 subprime Bay Area loans at risk of foreclosure by 2008 [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:45 AM | Comments (10)

October 23, 2007

San Francisco’s Chelsea Park Condominiums Coming Soon

Chelsea Park San Francisco: Site Map

As Curbed notes, the 39 condos of Chelsea Park (which claim a “charming English sensibility with today’s most contemporary building practices” and the obligatory “green features throughout”) should soon hit the market in December at 19th and Oakwood (a block from Dolores Park). From the Chelsea Park website:

Nestled in one of San Francisco’s most desirable and warmest neighborhoods, the dream homes of Chelsea Park provide the ultimate San Francisco living experience. Reminiscent of an English Mews style development with a nod to John Nash’s Regency Terrace Architecture, Chelsea Park delivers it all, including beautifully landscaped gardens; designed for privacy while still able to create an intimate feeling of community within this unique setting.

Floor plans, site drawings (for both the development and gardens), and a basic overview are all available online. And yes, we’ll drop our London Girl a line.

UPDATE: Expect the sales office to open in early December with overall pricing ranging from around $650,000 (for a phase II one bedroom) to $1,250,000 (for one of the larger townhomes). And if everything goes as planned, expect closings and move-ins for phase I (along Oakwood) starting at the end of December and for Phase II (along 19th Street) starting in mid-February.

Chelsea Park San Francisco [chelseaparksf.com]
Longer Lines For 18th St. Foodies? Chelsea Park Move-In Pending [Curbed]
London Calling: A San Francisco To London Neighborhood Comparison [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:35 PM | Comments (15)

One Rincon Hill: An Official Update And A Few Confirmed Facts

One Rincon Hill: Tower One on 10/21/07

The groundbreaking for One Rincon Hill tower two is officially scheduled (and has now been publicly announced) for late January 2008. And sales of the 319 condos in tower two will likely commence around May/June.

With regard to tower one (which is sporting its new water tower and partial crown above), a couple of high floor units have in fact returned to the market including #5902 (perhaps the one to which a plugged-in reader alluded) and #5503 which will more or less offer the panoramic view of San Francisco and beyond below (asking $2,650,000):

One Rincon Hill: View north from the 55th Floor

And yes, as we reported in August, the first wave of closings and move-ins for tower one (floors 8-27) are expected to commence in January (or possibly early February), with floors 28-60 and the townhomes following later in the year (likely around August/September).

Oh, and those 30-year Rincon Hill bonds? We’ve been told they’re actually being offered by the developers of Rincon Towers (and not One Rincon Hill).

One Rincon Hill: Now Accepting Online Registrations For Tower Two [SocketSite]
One Rincon Hill: An Unofficial Update On The Timing Of The Two Towers [SocketSite]
Rincon Towers: From Apartments, To Condos, To Apartments [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:22 AM | Comments (38)

JustQuotes: The Eminent Goldman Sachs Sees An Imminent Decline

"Californian homes are overvalued by as much as 40 percent and stricter lending standards will probably contribute to "material" price declines, according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.

Prices in the state "have proven surprisingly resilient, given the severe curtailment of credit availability and rising unemployment," the analysts said in a note to investors. "However, we believe that a downturn is imminent.''

California Homes Are Overvalued by as Much as 40%, Goldman Says [Bloomberg]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:33 AM | Comments (45)

October 22, 2007

50 Spots Have Been Added To This Wednesday’s (10/24) Gathering

Negotiations for a larger cocktail budget were a success (okay, so we really didn’t have to twist anybody’s arm) and we’ve opened up another 50 spots for this Wednesday’s (10/24) gathering and discussion. And once again, don’t fret if you can’t make it on Wednesday or aren’t interested in the topic, our next gathering is already in the works.

UPDATE: The 150 spots have been filled (and the registration is now closed).

The Scoop On Wednesday’s (10/24) Gathering For Plugged-In People [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:40 AM

Which Of The Seven Words Will Be Harder To Reconcile?

120 Cross

Five words that don’t belong together in the same sentence: “luxury home” and “beautiful pergo floors” (and yes, Pergo does have its time and place). And two words it’s tough enough to see alone: “short sale” (last changed hands in 2005 for $900,000).

∙ Listing: 120 Cross Street (5/3) - $800,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:39 AM | Comments (14)

JustQuotes: Delving Into The Drivers Of Demand (Part I)

“Many analysts have fingered easy lending as a contributor to the housing boom, but the Atlanta Fed paper may be the first to quantify its effect in a rigorous way. Using math-heavy econometric analysis, the authors conclude that the availability of new kinds of mortgages, mainly ones with low down payments, accounted for 56% to 70% of the decade-long increase in the U.S. homeownership rate, while demographic changes accounted for only 16% to 31% of the effect.” (A Troubled 'Ownership Society')

Posted by socketadmin at 10:36 AM | Comments (26)

A Rear That’s Actually As Fine As The Front (4924 17th Street)

4924 17th Street: Master Bedroom

We’re not sold on the glowing powder room counter, but once again we do find ourselves quite smitten with all those big doors, at least one big view out the back, and a master bedroom (above) that we might never want to leave. Oh, and a rear exterior (below) that’s actually as fine as the front.

492 17th Street: Rear Exterior

∙ Listing: 4924 17th Street (3/3.5) - $3,600,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:10 AM | Comments (23)

JustQuotes: An East Bay Owner “Trades Up” And Becomes A Renter

“Scorching or icy, booming or busting, there's nothing like California's housing market for animated conversations - and, it turned out for us, unconventional decisions.” (Want a life of leisure? Be a renter)

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 AM | Comments (0)

You Might Want To Check The Disclosures For Any Mention Of A Portal

204 Therese: 'Office Nook'

Okay, to be fair the photo caption in the listing does read “[s]torage or bonus nook on lower level.” But then again, it’s also referenced and staged as an “office nook.” And as a plugged-in tipster known as “yorkie” writes: “I don't know if it's simply a combination of bad composition, wide angle lens and a door that goes up to the ceiling, but holy crap. Looks like something out of "Being John Malkovich."

Or as Craig Schwartz might say, "there's a tiny door in my office...."

Listing: 204 Theresa (2/1) - $619,000 [204theresa.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:00 AM | Comments (7)

October 19, 2007

One Rincon Hill: Now Accepting Online Registrations For Tower Two

One Rincon Hill: Tower Two Registration

One Rincon Hill is now accepting online registrations for tower two which will likely form the basis for their reservation priority list come the release of tower two inventory. So if you're interested, sign up. And yes, we'll publish an update on the status of both towers early next week.

One Rincon Hill: Registration [onerinconhill.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:48 PM | Comments (70)

The Scoop On Wednesday’s (10/24) Gathering For Plugged-In People

As promised, we’re hosting another gathering for plugged-in people next Wednesday (10/24). The topic of the evening: SoMa’s emerging midtown/mid-market neighborhood.

We’ll be moderating a panel discussion and Q&A (which will include Sarah Karlinsky of SPUR and Chip Conley of Joie de Vivre amongst others); SomaGrand will be providing the venue (as well as the cocktails and snacks); and you’re invited (to get the inside scoop on the neighborhood and network with other plugged-in people).

The gathering will be held from 6:00-7:30pm at the SomaGrand Sales and Marketing center in San Francisco (1085 Mission Street at Seventh Street). Attendance will be limited to the first 100 150 people to sign up: http://socketsite.wikispaces.com/Midtown102407. And no, this isn't going to be a sales pitch.

We’ll see you on the 24th. And as always, thank you for plugging in.

UDPATE: Yes, the 100 spots have been filled but we’re negotiating for a bigger cocktail budget and will add some more spots (exact number TBD) first thing Monday (10/24) morning. And if you can’t make it on Wednesday or aren’t interested in the topic? Fret not, our next gathering is already in the works.

UPDATE (10/22): As of 6:30 AM another 50 spots have been added.

Got Plans For Next Wednesday (10/22) Evening? Cancel Them Now. [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:43 PM | Comments (21)

RandomRumors: The Other Half Of Sunset's Idea House Coming Soon?

Listing photo for 1303 Alabama (half of the 'Idea House')

According to a non-exclusive tipster (apparently monogamy isn't everyone’s cup of tea), rumor has it that:

"...the larger portion of [the Sunset Idea House] will not finish for 2 more months (final sign off from bldg. dept) but will go on the market any day now for $4mil and that the owner will never get to live in it...The tour will still happen in late November and possession of the house by the new buyer can not happen until 12 weeks after the Sunset first open date."

And yes, at this point it's unconfirmed (see UPDATE below).

UPDATE: Not only is this rumor unconfirmed, but it looks as though it has actually been busted by a plugged-in reader: "This information is completely inaccurate. Sunset tours scheduled to start shortly. house is not on the market and owner will occupy. Your tipster, as usual, is off the mark." And yes, we should have known better.

Editor's Note: Confirmed or not, props to the listing agent for 1303 Alabama for his caption to the listing photo we poached above: "2 unit project...one for sale (1st 2 floors facing)...car in mint condition but not included...."

Sunset’s 2007 San Francisco Idea House: A Few Facts [SocketSite]
The SocketSite Scoop: Half Of The Sunset Idea House Hits The Market [SocketSite]
Sunset’s 2007 San Francisco Idea House: 3027 25th Street [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Comments (4)

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