The Palms (555 4th Street): Courtyard at Night
It was two months ago that the sales office at the Palms (555 4th Street) was advertising “Only 8 Left!” And while none of those eight condos are currently listed with their sales team, it appears that five others now are:
∙ 555 4th Street #525 (1/1) 693 sqft – $595,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #622 (2/2) 888 sqft – $789,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #711 (1/1) 693 sqft – $699,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #723 (2/2) 990 sqft – $949,000 (1 car parking)
∙ 555 4th Street #920 (1/1) 671 sqft – $631,000 (1 car parking)
And then there’s #401. It’s a 938 square foot two-bedroom two-bath unit with parking that’s listed for $850,000. And as far as we know, it’s one of the first resales at the Palms to hit the market. And while we can’t find any record of its original sales price (tipsters?), we’ll still be watching it closely (and have a feeling that we’re not going to be alone).
UPDATE: A plugged-in reader comes through: “i live at the palms. before we moved there, i tracked the sales from the weekly sfgate real estate sales. according to my notes, #401 was reported there as sold in oct-06 for $779,000.”
∙ Listing: 555 4th Street #401 (2/2) 938 sqft – $850,000 [MLS]
Apparently Only Eight Condos Left At The Palms (555 4th Street) [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anonconfused

    I had no idea the courtyard was so “Miami”. From London Mews yesterday, to South Beach Miami today. Who would want to live in San Francisco when you can pretend to live in another place in one of our new “luxury” condo projects?

  2. Posted by mktwatcher

    The evidence is piling up that there is simply an absence of buyers for many of the condo projects of the last couple of years even as more and more go online. For all who say, San Francisco is different,it seems like the buyers are voting with their disinterest in these developments. Struggling sales at The Hayes, Potrero, etc as well as the lamer infill projects (think Citrino) cannot help but be a drag on the market.

  3. Posted by mktchecker

    $50 condos coming soon! Everyone is leaving the city! No one wants to live here! The market is in ruins!

  4. Posted by Trip

    I think all Mktwatcher is saying is that $1000/SF asking prices for pretty unspectacular condos were unsupported by any economic fundamentals. While would-be flippers, speculators, and a bubble mentality had people offering those prices a year ago, buyers have wised up. Just like Miami, Stockton, and a thousand other places, the laws of supply and demand apply to SF just like everywhere else, and there is a clear softening of demand now. It doesn’t mean $50 condos are coming soon, but it does mean that a year from now one will likely be able to pick up these places for far less than is being asked now.

  5. Posted by phatty

    I hate to be negative – but this building makes me so nauseous. It’s soooo boring and tiny; and to ask 1k a square foot for it perplexes me.
    I mean, seriously here – I’d buy a van, spend several hundred dollars making the interior into a bedroom, and live in it before paying 1/4 that price to live in the Palms. It would almost be the same sq ft for .00001% of the price. And I could drive it to a much better location!

  6. Posted by james

    is it me or do those palm tree planters look like they block the walkways? something tells me they didn’t really plan that too well.

  7. Posted by palms_rez

    i live at the palms. before we moved there, i tracked the sales from the weekly sfgate real estate sales. according to my notes, #401 was reported there as sold in oct-06 for $779,000.

  8. Posted by james

    hey palms_rez, have you met a youngish guy that has a dog and thinks he’s the beez knees for spending more than a million on a place there?
    kind of funny.

  9. Posted by missionbay res

    I’ve always felt these were some of the most overprice condos in the city. The location is not that great, the units are tiny and cheaply built, the long hallways remind me of apartment city, the inner units together comprise the biggest fishbowl in the city, and yet they command $900-1000+/sqft.
    Other comparable developments like Alterra, 235 Berry, Park Terrace, Potrero, Hayes sell from the high $600/sqft. Infinity’s treetops start in the low $700/sqft. All these are in better locations so I can’t imagine who would’ve spent that much to live at Palms…

  10. Posted by diemos

    Hmmm. 779 to 850 is a 9% increase. That should be just enough to cover the realtor’s 6%, closing costs, and the year’s worth of negative amortization. It looks like this fellow is just trying to get out with his skin intact. Good luck with that.
    In the pictures the space is empty so I wonder if it’s ever been lived in?

  11. Posted by Trip

    Sort of on point — DQ released the new Q3 foreclosure data for California.
    http://www.dqnews.com/RRFor1007.shtm/
    Notices of default were up 69% in SF compared to Q3 ’06 — from 149 to 252. The “glass is half full” take would be that this 69% increase is smaller than the total bloodbath being seen in some other counties.
    One interesting trend is noted in the report — those getting into trouble are now far less likely to crawl out of it:
    “Of the homeowners in default, just under half, 45.9 percent, emerge from the foreclosure process by bringing their payments current, refinancing, or selling the home and paying off what they owe. A year ago it was 80.9 percent. The increased portion of homes lost to foreclosure reflects the slow real estate market, as well as the number of homes bought during the height of the market with multiple-loan financing, which makes ‘work-outs’ difficult.”

  12. Posted by stanky

    Looks like they are “throwing” in the parking space which they valued at $50k just this past summer??

  13. Posted by anon

    Wait a minute Trip…is that SF metro or bay area? You know someone is going to ask next. Fluj – you out there?

  14. Posted by palms_rez

    oooh, can you feel the hate? tsk tsk. anyway, just speaking for me (since I live there)…we did not pay anywhere near $1000 psf or even close to $900 and not even $800. we have an outer-facing unit with decent views on the top floor, 1100 sq ft (so not huge but not “tiny” by SF standards, right?). nice unit. we like the finishes a lot. i don’t know how they are cheaper than other new complexes around, if someone could explain exactly what they mean. we couldn’t/wouldn’t face the interior courtyard and i agree, that is a bit fishbowl like. i could be wrong, but i think many of the two-bedrooms (if not all) came with at least one deeded parking spot. some of the smaller units (1br/studios) did not. but maybe that wasn’t always the case.
    it seems to be a common opinion that the location is bad for this building. well, for us it was perfect, right between where we both work and we can both walk to work, plus close to mission bay and grocery stores, etc. and anybody who thinks there is some terrible homeless problem here doesn’t spend that much time around the building. there are a few scattered around but no more than one might see in the castro. i can’t compare it to the marina b/c i never ever go way up there.
    lastly, about our neighbors, i have seen a lot of people walking their dogs, and many of then youngish, and a lot of hot ones, to be honest. they seem nice when they say “hi” but who knows if they are really as arrogant and unlikable as some contend. i don’t see it.

  15. Posted by Trip

    Numbers are for SF county — not the metro area . . .

  16. Posted by Dude

    DQ numbers are by county, so SF is the city itself. San Mateo is ranked separately, as is the east bay.
    And I wasn’t going to be negative about the Palms until the rest of you started in…but missionbay res hit the nail on the head here. I’ve looked at this complex, and in terms of price/value, there are a myriad of better options in the area.

  17. Posted by scurvy

    palms_rez, I’m your neighbor and I don’t even live at the Palms. If your place faces Brannan, open your blinds, then wave! ;)
    Seriously, I’m looking out my office window right now and every condo except one has their blinds down. Even at night very few open them up.
    Also, there are more than 5-6 units unsold. I’ve counted 7 alone that face Brannan.

  18. Posted by Another_Palms_Rez

    Every new building/developement will always have its fans and haters. I have not once seen any new development go unscathed here on Socketsite.
    I also own and live at the Palms. Although there are a few things that really suck (property mgmt and a few stuck up arrogant ‘pretty people’ who feel that CCR rules don’t apply to them), but mostly it’s a great place to live. Close proximity to work, transportation, shopping, etc.
    As for the person in the office on Brannan, can you see me flashing and flipping you the bird right about now? Hahahahaha

  19. Posted by Mole Man

    On the good side they do appear to be native California Palms which isn’t quite as tasteless as some choices that might have been made. To me it comes across as old skool rave stylings. No glow sticks required, but they do make things more fun.

  20. Posted by anony

    “Seriously, I’m looking out my office window right now and every condo except one has their blinds down. Even at night very few open up.”
    I noticed the same thing. On any given weeknight seems 80-90 percent of the units are empty.
    And those weird color lights really makes the building look ridiculous and out of place. Like living in a Xmas tree :-)
    Also, I went there once and those long hallways irritated me to the point I didn’t want to return.

  21. Posted by Another_Palms_Rez

    “I have not once seen any new development go unscathed here on Socketsite.”
    “I have not once seen any new development go unscathed here on Socketsite.”
    “I have not once seen any new development go unscathed here on Socketsite.”
    ****RINSE*** and ***REPEAT***
    “I have not once seen any new development go unscathed here on Socketsite.”
    “I have not once seen any new development go unscathed here on Socketsite.”

  22. Posted by Chet Shablow

    We looked at the Palms.
    It seems it would be like living in a Residence Inn with smaller apts. in a bad neighborhood.

  23. Posted by Palms_Rezzy

    I love living at the Palms. I’m not fan of the interior courtyard; I have an outer facing unit. The neighborhood is great and I can get anywhere in SF or the peninsula in no time. Also, the number of hot new bars and restaurants opening close by is amazing. For example, Elizabeth Falkner (Citizen Cake) is opening a new spot directly across the street. I’m very very excited to see the proposed subway has a stop right in front of my building. I feel safe around my building right now, and at the same time there are not many neighborhoods that are as quickly changing for the better. I have a ten year fixed loan and don’t plan on sellling this place for at least that long. Say what you want about this building but I feel very good about my investment.

  24. Posted by sfguy

    “i live at the palms. before we moved there, i tracked the sales from the weekly sfgate real estate sales. according to my notes, #401 was reported there as sold in oct-06 for $779,000.”
    779k matches what’s on record with the city (https://services.sfgov.org/ptx/intro.asp). You can find out what any paid for thier place.

  25. Posted by Me

    I’m moving here from out of town in a couple of months. Can anyone compare The Palms to 170 Off Third? I called the Sales Office at 170 and they have 2 bedrooms with parking – about the same size for about 100 – 200k less.
    Are fancy cabinets worth that much?
    Also it seems like the location at 170 is a little better.

  26. Posted by missionbayres

    “I’m moving here from out of town in a couple of months. Can anyone compare The Palms to 170 Off Third? I called the Sales Office at 170 and they have 2 bedrooms with parking – about the same size for about 100 – 200k less.
    Are fancy cabinets worth that much?
    Also it seems like the location at 170 is a little better.”
    Nope, fancy cabs and colorful lights are not worth an extra 100-200k. I think Off Third’s pricing is reasonable compared to Palms. I live a block away and the location is much nicer and not as ‘gritty’ as Palms. There’s Borders, Safeway, Muni, banks, and many restaurants/cafes right outside. Off Third has a nice pool and courtyard, Palms a fishbowl.
    I’d make an argument that Palms is the one that should be 100-200k LESS than Off Third. I’m not crazy about Off Third, the units are small and finishes basic, but I would choose it hands down over Palms…

  27. Posted by smarty

    I’ve looked at a lot of developments, and in my opinion the Palm only has one equal – The Beacon. Both are by far the worst buildings in the city and represent all that is wrong and evil with SF. I vote to raze them to the ground immediately.

  28. Posted by foster

    Either that or we can turn Palms into the city’s largest nightclub. Seriously, doesn’t those lights look ridiculous? I’m still looking for the DJ!
    And the Beacon, don’t get me started. Hands down the ugliest monolithical structure in the city! We should ship both of them to Miami!

  29. Posted by um

    I’m on the same boat, I think Palms and Beacon are by far the worst. 170 Off 3rd is right behind, but the location is not as bad as the Palms.
    For a 2 bedroom, I’d consider buying in the treetops at the Infinity or look into 310 Townsend. They might have a 2 bedroom w/ the price lowered.
    I’m not a big fan of any of the units on Berry. Try finding a parking space near any of the units. Plus I heard the creek stinks and its always windy on that block.

  30. Posted by james

    the beacon pool scene on the weekend is supposedly right out of vegas. if you are a single guy, you should seriously consider living there.
    palms rez, you are too funny.

  31. Posted by kriebly

    Is there a reason why a developer would choose to not post a property on MLS? Apparently there is a another unit at The Palms that is identical to #920 that is available. Something about the original buyer’s financing not coming through.
    Also, of all the one-bedrooms, only #711 has deeded parking. All the other 1-bedrooms have leased parking, but you have the option of paying extra to get deeded.

  32. Posted by ExAgent

    ^ to give the illusion of scarcity.

  33. Posted by Michael L.

    Over priced – a tad better then a low rent apartment.

  34. Posted by jsmith

    I have never heard soo many rich people complaining about buying a place for one million dollars. Boooo!!!!!!!

  35. Posted by kriebly

    I beg your pardon sir!!
    Even monied folk must make sacrifices in these troubling times. My Rolex collection does not maintain itself. Having to have a so-called “budget” is utterly gauche, but one must make sacrifices for one’s passions.

  36. Posted by Jeremy

    I rent a condo at the Palms. We moved in a year ago and thought it would be a nice opportunity to live in a building with a lot of amenities we want and to check out the neighborhood without having to buy.
    Well, it was a learning experience. Since I didn’t make the investment in the building I think I can be more objective than some of the owners posting on here. The neighborhood sucks. I’m tired of being accosted by the crack addicts living under the bridge approach. Its to the point where I won’t walk through there at night anymore. Which means now that it gets dark early I won’t be going to Whole Foods without a car. I’m tired of being awakened at 2:00am every morning when people get out of the club across the street and hang out in the parking lot on the Freelon St. side doing drugs and drinking. During baseball season I saw more cock from men urinating in that parking lot than in a years worth of high school locker rooms after gym class. The building management sucks – they have lost many things at the front desk. My friends tell me the hallway looks like an old Holiday Inn. The hall carpets are already filthy. The residents take their dogs right outside the door to relieve themselves so the doorway on the side of the building always smells like a petting zoo.
    On top of all that, since it isn’t under rent control, my landlord, the condo owner, got greedy and raised the rent 10%. That’s what you get for paying on time every month.
    Obviously we are moving. To a completely different neighborhood. And into something built before 1975.

  37. Posted by diemos

    Oh Jeremy, now you know what a mistake you made when you passed up “pride of ownership”. That would have made it an entirely different experience.

  38. Posted by Tiramisu

    I offered 13% less than listing price. The sales agent was not even interested in looking at my offer even though I explained him that I had excellent credit and income and was not using an agent. He said that the buyer will never consider the offer and decided not even to offer it to the builder. He said that maximum 6% below was he can take and that too without an agent. Is this still the norm around in San Francisco? Because 13% below market price for a place on the market for more than 60 days and offering without an agent is IMHO a good price. Any comments are welcome….

  39. Posted by kriebly

    Tiramisu, when (approximately) did you make that offer? Very recently?

  40. Posted by palms_rez

    Maybe this thread has died out, but looks like there is yet another Palms listing that just showed up on Oct 30.
    Unit 735, 1br/1ba, 693 sq feet, leased parking.
    Even though I had a good experience with the sales team myself, I am perplexed by the strange marketing —- constantly dwindling supply, so they claim, then units show up.

  41. Posted by blahhh

    “I offered 13% less than listing price. The sales agent was not even interested in looking at my offer even though I explained him that I had excellent credit and income and was not using an agent. He said that the buyer will never consider the offer and decided not even to offer it to the builder…Any comments are welcome…”
    Did D*******s drop you the following line: “the Developer is/would be COMPLETELY offended by your offer, and 2 other buyers are putting in their offers on the unit”? I would never do business with this sales team, period. You were smart to walk away.

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