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July 31, 2008

It’s Not San Francisco (But It Is A Diller Scofidio + Renfro Design)

Boston Institute of Contemporary Art (Image Source: dillerscofidio.com)

While Mark Dziewulski might have been the only one to submit a design, three other firms remain on the short-list for San Francisco’s Museum of Performance & Design. And as such, over the next week or so we’ll at least take a look a snippet of the other three’s work. First up, Diller Scofidio & Renfro and the new Boston Institute of Contemporary Art:

The building design negotiates between two competing objectives: to perform as a dynamic civic building filled with public and social activities, and as a controlled, contemplative atmosphere for individuals interacting with contemporary art. The "public" building is built from the ground up; the "intimate" building, from the sky down.

Boston Institute of Contemporary Art (Image Source: dillerscofidio.com)

The Boston Harborwalk borders the north and west edges of the ICA site. This surface is metaphorically extended into the new building as a pliable wrapper that defines the building’s major public spaces. It folds up from the walkway into a "grandstand" facing the water, it continues through the skin of the building to form a stage, then turns up to form the theater seating, then seamlessly envelopes the theater space, ultimately, slipping out through the skin to produce the ceiling of the exterior public "room." Above the wrapper sits the "gallery box": a large exhibition space on one level that dramatically cantilevers over the Harborwalk toward the water.

Engaging the water in a harbor town? Imagine that (especially with respect to another site).

Boston Institute of Contemporary Art [Diller Scofidio & Renfro]
Museum of Performance & Design: Familiarity With The Corner/Design [SocketSite]
San Francisco’s Seawall Lot 337 Design Proposals: In Summary [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:30 PM | Comments (12)

Three Things That Caught Our Attention About 741 Natoma Number 3

741 Natoma

It’s the top floor (which was the first thing to catch our attention).

741 Natoma #3: Loft

We have reason to believe there’s a closet behind that door (which was the second).

741 Natoma: Roof Deck

And we couldn’t resist the funky little roof deck (which was the third). Okay, and we rather liked the wooden floors as well.

UPDATE: Another thing that should have caught our attention but we missed:

[Y]ou, of all blogs should have caught the fact that this unit was withdrawn from the market in June when it was actively listed for $635K and sat there for 71 days and was originally $669K!

Agreed, it happens, and luckily our readers are plugged-in and on the ball.

∙ Listing: 741 Natoma #3 (1/1.5) - $599,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:15 PM | Comments (16)

Have We Had Our "Cathartic Event" Or Are We Simply Late Bloomers?

The relatively good news for California:

Across the state, sales rose for three consecutive months starting in April after 30 straight months of declines, the California Association of Realtors said. About 40 percent of those transactions were foreclosure sales, DataQuick Information Systems reported. "California is having a wrenching decline in wealth, but this is a cathartic event that will lay the foundation for a recovery," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in an interview. "This signals the beginning of the end.''

The not so great news:

Almost $1.3 trillion of homeowner equity was lost in California since home prices peaked in December 2005, Zandi said. Discounts of as much as 50 percent will extend into 2010, helping clear a glut of foreclosures and leading to a more balanced housing market, said Ryan Ratcliff, an economist at the Anderson Forecast at the University of California in Los Angeles, and Christopher Thornberg, principal of Beacon Economics LLC in Los Angeles.

And the question: considering sales volume in San Francisco has actually declined over the past two months, and the number of foreclosures within the city remains rather nominal (but is growing), have we had our "cathartic event" or are we going to be late bloomers?

California's Discount Foreclosure Sales Point to Housing Bottom [Bloomberg]
San Francisco Recorded Sales Activity In June: Down 9.8% YOY [SocketSite]
One Antithetical Quote To The “Foreclosures Aren’t Comps” Argument [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 PM | Comments (14)

Millennium (301 Mission) Hits The MLS And City Residences Are "Cool"

301 Mission #502: Floor Plan

While it’s a plugged-in tipster that notes four units at Millennium (301 Mission) have hit the MLS with prices ranging from $1,445,000 ($1,160/sqft) to $5,090,000 ($1,805/sqft), the word on the street is that sales activity has recently been "heating up."

Also noted, construction inside the midrise City Residences is coming along nicely and the units (think #502) are pretty damn "cool" (albeit not cheap).

As always, details (as in the hard numbers) when we have them.

∙ Listing: 301 Mission Street #502 (1/2) - $2,225,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 301 Mission Street #25J (2/2) - $1,445,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 301 Mission Street #47B (2/2.5) - $2,623,500 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 301 Mission Street #55C (2/3.5) - $5,090,000 [MLS]
Millennium Tower San Francisco (301 Mission): Sales Update/Facts [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Comments (56)

The View From The First Listed Resale At Soma Grand (1160 Mission)

1160 Mission #1206: View

As far as we know it’s the first listed resale at Soma Grand (1160 Mission). And while we don’t know the original acquisition price for 1160 Mission Street #1206, we do know that its list price ($1,088,000) is $12,000 less than what the sales office is currently asking for 1160 Mission Street #1006 two floors below ($1,100,000).

1160 Mission: 06 Floor Plan

Of course it's entirely possible that the sellers of #1206 acquired the unit early on at a "friends and family" discount. And if so, perhaps they're no longer (the former at least).

∙ Listing: 1160 Mission Street #1006 (2/2) - $1,100,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 1160 Mission Street #1206 (2/2) - $1,088,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Comments (8)

Is The Wind Of Change Blowing Through San Francisco?


The number of San Francisco based wind-energy companies (four) currently outnumbers the residential turbine installations (three), but the wind of change appears to be blowing.

Earlier this month, Newsom eliminated one of The City’s biggest barriers to residential wind energy by sending out directives asking planning and building-inspection departments to “expedite permitting and minimize costs” needed to install residential, commercial and municipal wind turbines in The City.
Prospective wind harvesters have been hamstrung by the lack of a standard turbine-permit application process, said San Francisco builder Robin Wilson [think Sunset Idea House], a task force member who last year founded Whirligig Inc., which sells and installs turbines.
Until now, San Francisco has been able to take only small steps on the path to wind power, those paved by city supervisors who have supported individual wind projects in their districts. Supervisor Tom Ammiano, a task-force member, tweaked height rules to help Todd Pelman, founder of the San Francisco start-up Blue Green Pacific, install a turbine on his Bernal Heights home. Board colleague Bevan Dufty also helped secure a permit for a residential turbine on a home in the Castro.
In addition to encouraging wind-power technology for residents and businesses, Newsom also ordered city departments to incorporate wind turbines into city facilities “whenever and wherever possible” in his July 17 directives.

Our apologies to Prime Minister Macmillan for the headline.

The magic of wind power [Examiner]
The SocketSite Scoop: Half Of The Sunset Idea House Hits The Market [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Comments (23)

July 30, 2008

A Less Than Smooth Closing Of Their Own: Financial Title Shuts Down

Financial Title: 'Smooth Closings' Irony

According to a plugged-in tipster, Financial Title received a cease and desist order courtesy of the Insurance Commissioner a few hours ago. And while escrows were to be transferred to other title companies for closing, apparently some files have been confiscated which is making it difficult for some parties (like our tipster's client) to locate their funds.

UPDATE: Following in the footsteps of sister company Alliance Title, Financial Title which was the largest real-estate title agent in Silicon Valley and has four offices in San Francisco has officially closed its doors.

Sources who have spoken to Financial Title employees said the title company began closing its doors in Santa Clara County Tuesday night. Those sources said all employees have lost their jobs, and Financial's underwriter, First American Title Co., has been collecting open escrow files at the closed offices.

No update on the Insurance Commissioner angle, the "confiscation" (versus collecting) of files, or the irony of misplaced escrowed funds. Tipsters?

Tag Line Irony From Alliance Title: “Closing The California Dream” [SocketSite]
Financial Title company shuts down [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 11:56 AM | Comments (22)

Quick Tease: No Museum Of Performance & Design For Mr. Dziewulski?

From a plugged-in reader with regard to the Mark Dziewulski design for a new Museum of Performance & Design in San Francisco: “It won't be built. Diller Scofidio & Renfro won the competition.”

UPDATE: Stop the presses rumor mill! According to a conversation with D. Donald Spradlin, Director of External Affairs for the Museum of Performance & Design, four firms remain on the short-list (down from the 17 that responded), the subcommittee responsible for recommending one of the four to the Museum Board has yet to make its pitch, and the Board’s final vote won’t occur until September 11th. Also noted, an option for the site has been secured and the target opening date is 2012.

Our apologies for any confusion and our thanks to the good natured Mr. Spradlin ("...it’s great to see the museum generating so much interest!"). Of course that's not to say Diller Scofidio & Renfro won't be the eventual winner, but they aren't yet. Now back to the site and Mark Dziewulski design...

Museum of Performance & Design: Familiarity With The Corner/Design [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM

Bank Owned In Miraloma Park And Asking Under Four Hundred A Foot

456 Los Palmos Drive

We don’t know what the previous buyer had paid, or perhaps how much cash they had withdrawn, but we do know the bank appears to have bought this Miraloma Park home back for $656,000 four months ago. It’s now on the market for just - as in roughly five cents - under four hundred a square foot ($799,900).

∙ Listing: 456 Los Palmos Drive (4/2.5) - $799,900 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:55 AM | Comments (18)

No Longer Just A Bill Sitting On Capitol Hill: Foreclosure Prevention Act

The House passed the bill last week, the Senate in a special session last weekend, and this morning President Bush signed the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 into law.

As we pointed out last week, while the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 temporarily raised the conforming loan limit in San Francisco (and other high-cost areas) to $729,750, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008 establishes a new maximum of $625,500 (effective January 1, 2009).

A decent summary of "what the new housing law means for you" from Holden Lewis.

Bush Signs Measure for Homeowners, Fannie, Freddie [Bloomberg]
Will San Francisco Suffer From Premature Loan Limit Reduction? No. [SocketSite]
If Lowering Rates Isn’t Working, Perhaps Increasing Limits Will [SocketSite]
What the new housing law means for you [bankrate.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:00 AM | Comments (22)

Museum of Performance & Design: Familiarity With The Corner/Design

680/690 Folsom

If the corner of Third and Folsom sounds familiar, it should (and plugged-in people know it's changing). And if the proposed Mark Dziewulski design for a new Museum of Performance & Design on that corner looks familiar, it should.

San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design: Mark Dziewulski Design

Of course that's assuming you’re familiar with Mark Dziewulski Architect's proposal for the Triangle Performing Arts Center in Sacramento.

Triangle Performing Arts Center, Sacramento: Mark Dziewulski Design

UPDATE: And perhaps the most prescient comment from a plethora of plugged-in readers, "It won't be built. Diller Scofidio & Renfro won the competition [for the new San Francisco Museum of Performance & Design]."

UPDATE: Or not. According to our conversation with D. Donald Spradlin, Director of External Affairs for the Museum of Performance & Design, four firms remain on the short-list (down from the 17 that responded), the subcommittee responsible for recommending one of the four to the Museum Board has yet to make its pitch, and the Board’s final vote won’t occur until September 11th. Also noted, an option for the site has been secured and the target opening date is 2012.

Our apologies for any confusion and our thanks to the good natured Mr. Spradlin ("...it’s great to see the museum generating so much interest!"). Of course that's not to say Diller Scofidio & Renfro won't be the eventual winner, but they aren't yet.

Wet Weekend Special (And Scoop): The Designs For 680/690 Folsom [SocketSite]
Rendering Reveal: SF's New Museum of Performance & Design [Curbed]
Mark Dziewulski Architect: Triangle Performing Arts Center, Sacramento [dzarchitect.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:00 AM | Comments (46)

Another Mid-Century Modern Casualty: A Shift In Tastes Or Appetites?

2209 9th Avenue: Living

While the list price on the Henry Hill designed mid-century modern home at 2245 9th Avenue was reduced $100,000 last week, the listing for the Henry Hill designed mid-century modern home at 2209 9th Avenue has simply been withdrawn from the market.

Shifting buyer tastes or appetites?

Mid-Century Modern That’s Been Remodeled: 2209 9th Avenue [SocketSite]
Think Of The Decorating Damage You Could Do At DWR With 100 Grand [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 AM | Comments (6)

July 29, 2008

The 690 Stanyan Project Recap: Today And Tomorrow As Proposed

690 Stanyan Project: Perspective On The Site (www.SocketSite.com)

690 Stanyan Project: Rendering

Of course plugged-in people have known about The 690 Stanyan Project and its proposed 62 residential units and Whole Foods Market for at least five months, but the battle over its development appears to be picking up steam.

Our past overview, the project website, and the entire Environmental Impact Report (think floor plans, a plethora of fun facts, and more).

The 690 Stanyan Project: Overview And EIR Hearing Tomorrow (2/28) [SocketSite]
Old and new clash over supermarket in Haight [SFGate]
690 Stanyan: Environmental Impact Report (pdf) [SFGov]
The 690 Stanyan Project [690stanyan.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 PM | Comments (44)

When Life Gives Us Apples, We Make Apple Pie: 88 Hoff Street #206

While purchased two years ago for $637,500, it’s a plugged-in reader that notes 88 Hoff Street #206 in the Mission closed escrow earlier this month with a reported contract price of $580,000. That represents average annual depreciation of 4.8% over the past two years.

And while we never explicitly featured the listing, it was at the center of an interesting discussion and expectations debate.

What Happens When Expectations Don’t Match The Market? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Comments (29)

May S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA Declines (But Rate Slows)

S&P/Case-Shiller Index Change: May 2008 (www.SocketSite.com)

According to the May 2008 S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index (pdf), single-family home prices in the San Francisco MSA fell 1.2% from April ’08 to May ’08 (the slowest rate of decline in eight months) and are down 22.9% year-over-year (a record low).

For the broader 10-City composite (CSXR), year-over-year price growth is down 16.9% (having fallen 1.0% from April).

For the month of May, markets that experienced large gains in the recent real estate boom continue to be the biggest decliners. Miami and Las Vegas were the worst performers returning -3.6% and -2.9%, respectively. On a brighter note, Charlotte and Dallas have recorded three consecutive months of positive returns. These two markets are also showing the smallest annual declines, with Charlotte down 0.2% and Dallas down 3.1% versus May of 2007. From a longer-term perspective, since January 2000, the best performing markets are Washington, Los Angeles, New York and Miami.

Both prices and the rate of decline continued to fall across the lower two price tiers for the San Francisco MSA while the upper tier recorded a slight month-over-month gain for the first time in nine months.

S&P/Case-Shiller Index San Francisco Price Tiers: May 2008 (www.SocketSite.com)

The bottom third (under $461,780 at the time of acquisition) fell 3.6% from April to May (down 38.8% YOY); the middle third fell 0.6% from April to May (down 26.1% YOY); and the top third (over $716,171 at the time of acquisition) rose 0.9% from April to May (down 8.7% YOY).

And according to the Index, home values for the bottom third of the market in the San Francisco MSA have returned to August 2002 levels, the middle third to January 2004 levels, and the top third continues to hold at March 2005 levels.

The standard SocketSite S&P/Case-Shiller footnote: The HPI only tracks single-family homes (not condominiums which represent half the transactions in San Francisco), is imperfect in factoring out changes in property values due to improvements versus actual market appreciation (although they try their best), and includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda in the "San Francisco" index (i.e., the greater MSA).

Record Low Annual Declines Recorded in May 2008 [S&P]
April S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA Declines Across All Tiers [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Comments (199)

No, We’re Not On Vacation (Although If This Keeps Up…)

A server meltdown has been hindering our ability to publish (especially graphics and tips) since early yesterday morning. All should be resolved relatively shortly. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and understanding. And as always, thank you for plugging in.

Posted by socketadmin at 6:00 AM

July 28, 2008

Goodbye Placeholder, Hello Floor Plans For Cubix YB (766 Harrison)

Cubix Typical Floor Plan (Image Source: cubixsf.com)

Goodbye placeholder, hello floor plans (and a few photos) for Cubix YB (766 Harrison).

Cubix Yerba Buena: Floor Plans [cubixsf.com]
766 Harrison: Condos Indeed And A Brand New Brand (“Cubix YB”) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:45 AM | Comments (170)

JustQuotes: Industry Layoffs – Low In Numbers, High In Significance

“From mixed-use developers like A.F. Evans to home-builders like Lennar to investment management firms like MacFarlane Partners, real estate firms active in the Bay Area have been cutting middle and upper management this year. It's not a lot of jobs -- the three companies together laid off less than 50 employees -- but for lean-and-mean developers and real estate services firms, it's significant. And in addition to scattered layoffs, companies like Cushman & Wakefield have implemented hiring freezes.”

Dramatic hiring plunge a sign of industry's woes [Business Times]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:40 AM | Comments (17)

Crescent Heights (1401 Market): No Condos For You! Apartments.

Crescent Heights (1401 Market) Rendering (Image Source: hellermanus.com)

We know we let you know what it was supposed to look like. And we know we let you know when the site was being cleared. But based on a reader’s recent query, we have a feeling we never let you know that the 700+ unit Crescent Heights at 10th and Market is now going to be apartments rather than condos.

Design by Heller-Manus. Construction should commence this fall. And yes, our Complete Inventory Index (Cii) has been updated (and our Q3 report is on the way).

Crescent Heights: 10th And Market Recap, Rendering, And Details [SocketSite]
Argenta Rises While Buildings For Crescent Heights Are Razed [SocketSite]
SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii): Q1 2008 (San Francisco) [SocketSite]
Heller-Manus Project: 10th & Market [hellermanus.com]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:35 AM | Comments (26)

Solaria Sells For About As Much As The Rendered Bugatti In Its Garage

Sixteen months ago we introduced you to “Solaria” (asking $10,700,000 at the time), three months later we shared the scoop (developer ran out of money and notices of default were filed), and yesterday a plugged in tipster dropped us a line:

[166 Buena Vista] caught my eye in today's Chronicle sold list: $1,980,000 on 7/1/08….Would love to know the inside scoop on this one.

As would we. We’re assuming some additional assumed debt besides the reported sale price, but who knows. No really, who knows?

And two bits of irony related to the now defunct marketing site for the property: 1. the reported sale price is well below the combined value of the six cars that were rendered in its garage (and only slightly more than the Bugatti alone), and 2. the “Solaria is a symbol of success” copy.

The SocketSite Scoop On “Solaria” (166 Yerba Buena Ave) [SocketSite]
The Scoop On 168 Yerba Buena Avenue (And St. Francis Court) [SocketSite]
It’s Not Always Fun And Games At The Top (166-68 Yerba Buena) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Comments (7)


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