Frank Norris Place (81 Frank Norris)
What most people already know about Frank Norris Place (81 Frank Norris): it’s a new development of 32 one bedroom “luxury condos” on Polk; it’s been selling for about six months; and it was originally designated “City Living For City People 55 and Over” (i.e., at least one occupant per unit had to be 55+).
What plugged-in people know: it’s roughly 50% “sold”; prices have been reduced by as much as $50,000 (11%) since their initial “pre-release pricing”; the website is advertising 2 years of paid HOA dues (which range from $330 to $430 per month); and perhaps most interestingly, we’ve been told that the building’s CC&R’s are in the process of being amended to allow residents under 55 to occupy up to 20% of the development.
And while we don’t have an answer as to how that amendment was even possible (as far as we know the developer was able to double the density of the development based on the original age restrictions), we do know that it might make it worth taking another look if you liked the design, location, and pricing of the condos (but simply weren’t old enough to occupy at the time).
Current pricing on sixteen of the units (only eight of which are official inventory on the MLS):


∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #301 (1/1) – $399,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #302 (1/1) – $399,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #303 (1/1) – $479,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #305 (1/1) – $459,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #401 (1/1) – $449,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #405 (1/1) – $539,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #501 (1/1) – $459,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #503 (1/1) – $529,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #505 (1/1) – $549,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #506 (1/1) – $469,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #601 (1/1) – $479,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #603 (1/1) – $539,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #605 (1/1) – $559,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #703 (1/1) – $559,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #705 (1/1) – $579,000
∙ 81 Frank Norris Street #706 (1/1) – $499,000
A couple of other notes: parking spaces are unbundled from the list prices and four remain available at $50,000 per space; and while the age restrictions apply to residency, they don’t apply to holding title (i.e., anybody can buy). And our pick of the (remaining) litter? Number 705.
Frank Norris Place (81 Frank Norris Street) [franknorrisplace.com]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by james

    the brannan was originally almost all retirees when it first started selling back in 2000. just by market demographic and appeal. it has slowly changed to include folks under 55 as it’s rolled over, no pun intended. if you like that location, take a look and presume the same thing will happen over time. just accept it will be very quiet for some time.

  2. Posted by zig

    other than the density bonuses these projects are usually exempt from parking requirements too
    There is another 5 unit building on 24th street going through something similar on a smaller scale. They built with no parking and now claim that they can’t find any seniors to fill the units.

  3. Posted by Don

    I toured the units looking for my mother. The place has great design and location, but if my memory is correct, deeded parking spaces are an extra $40,000 to $50,000.
    [Editor’s Note: That would be $50,000 (see “other notes” above).]

  4. Posted by Amen Corner

    So why are over 55′s allowed to live in higher densities?

  5. Posted by condoshopper

    “So why are over 55′s allowed to live in higher densities?”
    pretty sure the true answer to that is purely political. tho one might argue they require less space (less active), or just an incentive to encourage more housing for elderly who might be forced to leave the city due to housing costs. but probably boiled down to politics.

  6. Posted by David

    I found the comment about the building on 24th St. interesting. It helps confirm a belief I’ve held for some time.
    Our city planners want to limit and in many cases eliminate parking in new developments, their goal being a transit-oriented city in which people don’t have cars. But how many people are out there who can spend half a million dollars or more for a home, yet don’t want the mobility of a car? I’m all for transit – I use it whenever possible – but I couldn’t live my life without a car, and I suspect that’s true of most folks who can afford these new properties.
    Undoubtedly there are people who can get by without a car, and car-sharing services will meet the needs of some people. But I have a difficult time imagining that there are thousands of buyers out there longing to own new and expensive properties yet aren’t going to have at least one car. And I can envision that a lot of these parkingless projects may sit on the market, unsold, as a result — if they are built.

  7. Posted by wayne

    Don…did you find your mother?
    [Editor’s Note: ba-dum-bump.]

  8. Posted by kevin

    Ah, Wayne… so funny.

  9. Posted by kaya

    I had the same thought as Wayne first reading Don’s comment. Before that I was fixated on the marketing possibilities if they changed the name of the street to Chuck Norris…but that was before I got to the 55 and over part. They’re a picky crowd.

  10. Posted by ex SF-er

    I love old people, but not sure I’d want to live in a residence with 80% seniors.
    1. seniors tend to really get into HOA enforcement. (lots of free time)
    2. seniors can be very sensitive to sounds
    I lived briefly in a complex once that was primarily seniors… and never again. If my TV was on one decible above whisper level I would get complaints galore (yes, grandma had great hearing… or a really powerful hearing aid). I also got complaints for almost everything I did. (like friends being too loud in the hallway). Obviously, part of the problem was poor sound insulation of the condo… but still…
    That said, the place was a ghost town, so the pool was always open…

  11. Posted by anono

    Regarding the 24th street property (3953 24th)- which has an interesting history- it was built with no parking due to the noe valley nimbys. Original proposal called for a modern building with 1 offstreet space for each unit. What was built? Victorian facade with no parking. Classic.
    Oh, and the units could only be sold to people 60 and older WHO WERE PROHIBITED FROM EVEN OWNING A CAR!!! I love it. How does noe pull this stuff off? Now all of the units are empty, surprise surprise. The developer’s petition to amend the conditional use permit was denied- but that is a story for another post entirely.
    Does 81 Norris need city approval for the change? It sounds like not if they can just amend the CCRs.

  12. Posted by Lori

    I also lived in a place that was probably 80% seniors, and it was fabulous. (Sold it because I got hitched and the place was too small for 2 adults with tons of crap.)
    It was a concrete building from the early 60s and you couldn’t hear a thing. Yes, a small majority of the seniors were hard core with the HOA enforcement, but I have never felt so safe and “looked after” as I did when I was living there. For god’s sake, people brought me food when I was home recovering from a broken ankle. It was great.

  13. Posted by curmudgeon

    (sorry to hijack post) That Noe Valley building…I’ve been wondering about it. Good idea gone astray to me.
    The site is in the middle of the Noe Valley commercial strip, on 24th between Noe and Sanchez. Urbanistically, there should not have been a curb cut there…it should be all retail frontage. That’s a no-brainer to me. And I don’t think it’s possible to access the property from the rear. So unlike some of you i don’t object at all to the no parking issue.
    But to reserve it for seniors, and probiting you from owning a car….well that’s just stupid. Slices and dices the potential market. Ideally, the building would have been rental…filling it would have been much easier. But even for sale housing with no restrictions would have found buyers….after all houses sell without parking all the time.
    Social engineering can certainly be taken to unfortunate extremes.

  14. Posted by David

    I have a hard time understanding how it can even be legal to prohibit selling to anyone owning a car. Owning a car is legal. What if someone wants to buy a car after purchasing a unit in the building? Can they somehow be forced to sell?
    I think I’ll add a deed restriction to my property, barring any future sale to anyone that owns anything covered in naugahyde.
    And while I agree that curb cuts on major commercial streets are undesirable, I continue to wonder how many people want to invest their life savings and most of their earnings for the next 30 years on the premise that they will not ever want or need a car. I question the existence of such a market of prices of $500K and up.

  15. Posted by anono

    ^ I don’t think there is a market, that’s why the units on 24th street are empty.

  16. Posted by bgelldawg

    If they are marketing to seniors, they might want to increase the size of the typeface on their website. The map showing off the neighborhood (a gourmet cheese shop only 8 blocks away!) has print smaller than a phone book.
    If seniors bought this place relying on living in a senior community and the developer is now allowing people of any age to live there, they are giving the seniors a “get out of your contract free” card and/or opening themselves up to a lawsuit.

  17. Posted by curmudgeon

    Re: not allowing you to own a car: I doubt that it is possible too. There has been talk of disallowing people from certain addresses from ever getting a residential parking sticker. I’m assuming that that may be the device used on the Noe Valley site. That would still allow you to own a car, obviously, but you’d have to find a place to garage it, which is always feasible at a price.

  18. Posted by urbaninsf

    I am a single, 57-year old, self-supporting female who just purchased one of the units in the Frank Norris complex. I elected NOT to purchase a garage space simply because I have always found it more convenient to use public transportation or walk to work, shop, dine, run errands and engage in everything I love about The City. I hardly ever use my car which currently sits idle, month after month. When I move into Frank Norris, I intend to sell my car and use the cash to decorate my new digs. No more car insurance, no more oil changes for me.

  19. Posted by kathleen

    The 24th Street property is too small.

  20. Posted by john

    Very interesting. I’m over 55, own two cars(family and muscle car), and a home(since 1981) in San Francisco. My wife and I are seriously thinking of getting out of our paid off home and buying something without the maintenance. We can transfer our Prop#13 tax rate to a new city residence as long as it’s price is equal or below what our present house is worth. Frank Norris place fits the bill, with money left over. In my opinion, there will be a lot more offers like this in the near(next two year) future as the overbuilt areas of the city start looking for people with cash and credit to buy these properties. So, it’s prudent to wait.

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