501 Beale #4C: Living
From a plugged-in reader:

I just noticed that unit 4C at the Watermark is now being listed on craigslist for rent @ $4300 a month. It’s still on the market for $1,032,000.

We’ll add purchased on 12/22/06 for $939,000 (which wouldn’t reflect any incentives), monthly HOAs of $780, and on the market for 116 days (having started at $1,080,000).
And we’ll ask: what would (or will) you do?
∙ Listing: 501 Beale Street #4C (2/2) – $1,032,000 [MLS]
$4300 / 2br – Elegant corner condo in the Watermark [Craigslist]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Rex

    Bad building, horrible outlook. Depressing! Wait till they take their option and build the two buildings on both sides and talk about views…

  2. Posted by phatty

    I love this building (at to Rex’s point, the 1 lot next door has a 6 floor height restriction I believe…).
    I’ve been to this unit a couple of times. The patio isn’t very useable because of the bridge noise, and both times I went it was very windy, which leads me to believe it’s on a wind corridor. The unit 2 floors up (6D – same layout) is priced similarly to this one, but has a nice view of the bridge (this one has no view). I’d take it any day over this unit – but I believe both are a bit overpriced. I dunno about $4300 for rent either…
    Also, I can see these units from my place, and this one appears to be lived in currently (and I’m guessing by the owner due to the cleanliness of the open houses). I’ve yet to see a light on in 6D.

  3. Posted by John

    $4300 rent? Is it really worth that much?

  4. Posted by anon

    No offense Rex, it is one of the 3 best buildings in South Beach (other 2 are The Brannan and 88 King) and prices have always reflected such since it was built (look at 20d which recently sold for $1425 a foot).
    BTW, not sure if you have been to many Planning Dept and/or Port of SF meetings, but that Lot (Seawall Lot 330) won’t be developed for many years. Also the uses are highly restricted (condos prohibited, and the land is leased by the developer for 75 years, at which point it returns to the Port). Building costs being what they are, it looks extremely unlikely that tall buildings would be built on 330 as no developer would spend the money to excavate for a midrise apartment building that would have to be given to the Port when the lease expires.
    back on topic, that unit is not my favorite. I think it is worth more to be on a higher floor.

  5. Posted by another anon

    No offense Rex, it is one of the 3 best buildings in South Beach (other 2 are The Brannan and 88 King) and prices have always reflected such since it was built (look at 20d which recently sold for $1425 a foot).
    Haha! You’re comparing 88 King (which was built as rentals, and it shows) to the Brannan?!
    I don’t know who you’re talking to, but the Watermark is NOT a very popular building. There are ALWAYS a number of units for sale there, and besides its isolation and general ugliness, it’s overpriced and has too few units to support all those amenities (think HIGH HOA fees).

  6. Posted by phatty

    another anon @4:06, I beg to differ. I believe the # of units for sale at the Watermark is very average; especially given that it’s two years old, and typically the 2 year mark is the avg holding period for new condo purchasers. You want to see a high # of units for sale, go look at the Palms or the Beacon.
    88 King is one of the few Soma building I haven’t been to yet, so I can’t comment. But 200 Brannan is definitely in my list of top favorites, as well as the Watermark. So I’d say anon @ 3:56 might know a thing or two.

  7. Posted by Michael E

    We saw this unit as well when we were looking over the summer. I have to say I liked it. The views are pretty nice even though you see downtown under the bridge. The noise is there but it’s above you so not so bad. I think the patio is great even with the wind. Overall, I think the building is pretty nice with intelligent choices in the finishes. The two things that I don’t like about the building are its high HOAs (even though the pool and gym are nice with the Bay views) and the lack of anything right out your door. I think in the current market the price will have to come down some more.

  8. Posted by observer

    In South Beach the trio of 219,229,239 Brannan otherwise known as the The Brannan are really the top of the heap. Next 88 King and 200 Brannan are potentially a tie depending on your style, 200 Brannan is newer with an industrial chic (lots of concrete), 88 King has more facilities than almost all the buildlings (all the basics plus pool, conference room etc) but has a more traditional San Francisco chic. Then there is the Watermark, which gets critized by almost everybody for its sober exterior.
    I appreciate there are more buildings in the neighbor but this is my top 3/4 rundown.
    Anon @3.56 has it about right.

  9. Posted by spencer

    i would rent. it is much less per month cost without the capital up front.

  10. Posted by j

    I agree with Phatty. 200 Brannan and Watermark comes close to The Brannan in South Beach.
    Don’t have much to say about 88 King. Not even close to The Brannan!
    Has anyone been inside The Watermark? It’s not that bad. The outside is hideous but the inside units, views, lobby and common areas are quite nice. I do agree with the high HOA, but if you are renting, who cares!
    The location is magnificent and if they never build the empty lots next to it, the views are yours to keep!
    I bet in 5 years, people who bought in Mission Bay, SOMA, Dog Patch today will regret passing up on South Beach while they are still waiting for their “up and coming” neighborhood to develop. South Beach is almost there and still getting better.

  11. Posted by lies...damn lies...statistics

    I agree with j that South Beach will probably be a nicer place to live (in terms of restaurants, shopping, and other neighborhood amenities) than the Dog Patch and Mission Bay. After that, we don’t agree so much…
    I really don’t like the Watermark. I walked into the unit that recently sold at $1,400/sf and couldn’t wait to walk right back out. Low ceilings, small rooms, a deck you would never want to use…a little box in the sky. The view of the bay bridge was nice, but that was the only redeeming feature. And the competition at ORH and Infinity is stout…and there’s a ton of it! (not that I like those buildings either. The amenities are much better, though). But it’s all personal taste, right?
    The question was, what would you do? If you like the building, you rent. If you find ANYTHING you like in SF, try to rent! I think it’s pretty clear that we shouldn’t be buying much of anything right now, there just isn’t any upside and there is a crazy amount of downside. At these prices, the risk of “throwing away” money on renting is nothing compared to what could be lost by purchasing.
    I’ve watched the argument unfold on this site for the better part of a year and I have to say…it’s over for the foreseeable future! It doesn’t cost you enough to stay on the sidelines and wait to see what happens to even come close to justifying buying a home right now. I can usually make a case for both sides, but not this time. Keep your assets liquid! Just my two cents.

  12. Posted by no hotels

    These buildings (Infinity, ORH, Beacon, 88 King) are all so sterile and bland. Like hotels with no imagination. Watermark and Brannan are a little better. The most unique buildings I’ve seen are still the Mint Lofts. Right next to restaurants, bars, shops and Union Square. Yea South Beach is nice but such a “safe” choice. Homeless people? Yea gimme some of those and the fresh stench of urine! Toughens you up! Besides it seems they’ve already started diggin up Stevenson alley shuffling out the homeless folk… to South Beach…

  13. Posted by Rex

    Tier 1: Brannan, Infinity, Millenium
    Tier 2: Rincon, Watermark, 200 Brannan
    Tier 3: Beacon, Metropolitan, 88 King

  14. Posted by Observer

    Nice point …I forgot there was a question – “lies…damn lies…statistics at October 14, 2008 5:37 PM”
    If I was interested in living in the Watermark and I wanted to try before buying then renting is the way to go… less cash per month and all that.
    But there’s not a big gap if you think there is some upside, I guess that is the question?
    For me I’m not sure there is much upside left at the Watermark.

  15. Posted by coffeegrind

    The real question is: what is the owner going to do? Unless the owner put in a substantial down payment, $4,300 is not going to cover the monthly ownership costs. Putting the mortgage(s) aside, you’re looking at approximately $1,700/mo just in HOA and property taxes. Also, unless the owner is a “real estate professional” he or she will not be able deduct the losses on the rental from regular income.
    From a rental perspective, I think this is well within market guidelines for a unit of this size and geography.

  16. Posted by deshard

    I agree w/ coffeegrind. It’s competitively priced for the rental market @ $4300. Go on craigslist and look at what $4000 gets you around town. This is unit, in the Marina or PacHeights would rent for a minimum of $5000, probably more.

  17. Posted by Anon

    Lol… You can’t even come close to putting the Millenium and the Brannan on the same level.

  18. Posted by ex SF-er

    it’s probably just me, but I HATE it when half the pictures are of things around the building, and not of the building itself.
    Yes, I get it, it’s near Boulevard and the Stadium. Do I need a picture of that?
    why not give more vantage points to the condo itself?
    the unit itself is cute enough I guess. But that $780/mo HOA would get old really quick.

  19. Posted by Willow

    Let me first preface my statement by saying that I have never lived at The Brannan but I do have a friend who owns a 2BD there and have visited several times. Anyway, I’ve always felt that these set of building were way overrated. Infinity for me is easily a class above but I do realize that on the open market the Brannan does have a significant amount of cache. I’d be interested to see what the Sky Box Realty people think. ORH and The Met for me are generally lacking because of poor location. I’d say the WaterMark is somewhere in between. For me if you’re living in a high rise condo, (where in most cases you have to settle for a smaller space), and do not have a view, then the next thing other than location, I would want is to be part of a building that has a very strong reputation.

  20. Posted by PDT

    My girlfriend lived at Bridgeview – she sold, her brother lives on a higher floor. Though not a tier 1 building, his unit is very nice, remodeled and has great view. Even though Beale is open to traffic again, it seems not very busy and the post office helps cut that down and keep the views intact. Fairly low HOA, decent per sq.ft price, not a bad deal.

  21. Posted by International Real Estate Pundit

    “The Brannan” remains the single, top tier property in San Francisco. The Millenium beats The Brannan in terms of service, but that is expected because the Millenium is really a hotel/condo. With that said, The Brannan was designed by an internationally renowned designer – the same one who deisgner The Mercer Hotel in Manhattan. One walk through the common areas of the Millenium and you might think you are in a nice hotel in a second-rate city. The exterior of The Infinity looks like the Metreon, with that same “fake metal” panel work – not at all high end.
    (1) Limestone = lots of land = HUGE outdoor resort pool = luxury = The Brannan.
    (2) Cool glass = basic but well-built interiors = hotel service = The Millenium.
    (3) The Infinity = the Metreon
    All others are third tier.

  22. Posted by Chris.

    @no hotels
    “Besides it seems they’ve already started diggin up Stevenson alley shuffling out the homeless folk… to South Beach…”
    I thought the influx was because baseball season had ended… Definately a noticeable increase in the last week or so.

  23. Posted by ester

    A friend rents in Metropolitan, on 2nd floor facing 1st street.
    3 yrs ago for $2900

  24. Posted by Traveler

    4C History:
    $4300/month rent 10/12/2008 craigslist.org
    $1,032,000 asking 08/23/2008 rapmls.com
    $1,075,000 asking 07/31/2008 rapmls.com
    $1,080,000 asking 06/20/2008 rapmls.com

  25. Posted by Observer

    Quick update from South Beach, The Brannan just lost it’s Tier 1 status because someone actually stole the ‘N’ off the building name… making ‘The Branna’ the newest Tier 2 building in South Beach!
    Sorry couldn’t resist, back to the thread…

  26. Posted by phatty

    I guess putting this place up for rent sparked a lot of interest in purchasing it, because now they’ve raised the price back up to 1,080,000.

  27. Posted by SocketSite

    We don’t know if they managed to rent it, but the listing for 501 Beale Street #4C has been withdrawn.

  28. Posted by Traveler

    It would appear that they weren’t able to rent it, since a new Craigslist posting indicates that the rental price has been reduced to $4100/month.
    Updated history:
    $4100/month rent 10/29/2008 craigslist.org
    $1,080,000 asking 10/17/2008 rapmls.com
    $4300/month rent 10/12/2008 craigslist.org
    $1,032,000 asking 08/23/2008 rapmls.com
    $1,075,000 asking 07/31/2008 rapmls.com
    $1,080,000 asking 06/20/2008 rapmls.com
    $ 939,000 sold 12/22/2006 cyberhomes.com

  29. Posted by anon renter

    anyone paying asking rents on craigslist or thinking that craigs is an accurate reflection of what people actually pay is crazy.
    discount all craigs asking rents by 10-20%.

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