July 29, 2009
Sunnyside (Thumbs) Up Or Down?
Well, we weren’t exactly but now we will be: "While we're on the subject of relatively affordable San Francisco, how do people feel about Sunnyside?" (District 4-S)
∙ San Francisco Real Estate Districts: Maps And Neighborhoods [SocketSite]
First Published: July 29, 2009 8:45 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
I think sunnyside was originally a real estate developers term. Foggyside would have been more realistic. IMHO it's a poor man's Bernal (or Glen Park), and doesn't have nearly the charm of either. The biggest problem for me is lack of any coherent retail strip or village. But it is relatively affordable.
Posted by: curmudgeon at July 28, 2009 4:29 PM
Sunnyside is fairly non descript but safe overall. The housing stock is not too bad but with no specific character either. From a weather perspective it's very foggy and if you live within a 4 or 5 block radius of city college don't expect street parking on certain days of the week. As someone mentioned there really is no retail hub unless you live on the GP border. Closer to Ingleside there are some shops along Ocean Ave too. Depending on what part of Sunnyside you're talking about, you will have relatively close access to either Glen Park or Balboa Park BART stations. There is also a really big MUNI Depot across from BP station which is not very attractive and can be a major impediment when trying to get onto the 280.
Posted by: Willow at July 28, 2009 5:33 PM
So I live in Sunnyside, it is relatively affordable comapred to stuff around the hill. If you live closer to Bosworth in Glen Park you can walk down and get a meal or cup of coffee. Sunnyside can be closer to Glen Park than some parts of Chenery. I will agree that it is foggier than many places and windy at times. The nice thing is that as long as you are away from SFCC you will have better street parking than Noe and certainly Bernal.
We bought here for BART and freeway access and have loved it. The houses around us are not victorian and many have inlaws as it was built by the blue [collar] group. It is a place that has an enjoyable neighborhood feel.
Posted by: sunnysider at July 28, 2009 6:03 PM
Parents bought a place in sunnyside and I grew up in the area in the 90s. The weather was always foggy. We lived on monterey blvd. It was convenient for freeway, bart, and muni. Street parking was pretty terrible. There's really nothing to do in the area. A safeway and quik-e mart up the street. A crappy liquor store across the street. Bad chinese places and a terribad pizza place near the safeway. I remember my mom jokingly saying that they must be selling drugs or something out of the pizza place because the food was horrible and there were never any customers in there yet they never go out of business. I think the pizza place is still there today.
Posted by: bornnraised at July 29, 2009 9:19 AM
We are renting in Sunnyside right now (we will be returning to Glen Park soon)- and it's not a neighborhood that I love. We are at the top of a hill. There are amazing views when the fog lifts but it's viciously windy. It will be socked in with cold, wet fog and less than a mile away in Glen Park, it's sunny and warm. The newly remodeled Sunnyside park is awesome - my kids love it. The freeway access is fantastic (better than Glen Park IMHO since you don't need to deal with the village streets). The commercial area leaves a lot to be desired. The walk from Glen Park BART to our place is not long enough to be exercise and just long enough to be annoying. If I were buying here, I would try to get a little closer to the BART because that's a main form of transport for us. But I had to commute via car, it wouldn't matter. Overall, it's not a bad neighborhood and I can see its potential...
Posted by: nowonderitcostssomuchhere at July 29, 2009 9:25 AM
My husband and I have lived in Sunnyside since 2003 and have slowly fixed up what was an ugly, but sturdy old house. Sunnyside is a solidly blue collar neighborhood that we share with some of the most lovely people I have ever met. We know nearly every single person on my block and many on the surrounding blocks and we all socialize regularly as neighbors, whether it be Christmas gatherings, 4th of July, neighborhood garage sales or just dessert. Everyone looks out for each other here, looks in on your house if you're travelling, feeds your cats, pitches in gladly to repair the broken shared fence without complaint. Sunnyside is wonderfully convenient to downtown via BART and has recently attracted the best sushi restaurant in the City IMO - K's Kitchen. There's also a new nail spa on the same block. With the approved redevelopment of the Kragen into new housing, I see good things for the surrounds on Ocean - just a two block walk from Sunnyside. I think this is an up and coming neighborhood. If you are looking for glamour, go elsewhere. If you want a sense of community and an affordable place to live - welcome to our hood!
Posted by: Lurker at July 29, 2009 10:02 AM
I used to live there and am not a big fan. I lived up Mt Davidson a bit (maybe not quite Sunnyside) so on nice days there was a view, but I couldn't walk to anything and 90% of the days were fogged in and windy. It wasn't like living in SF at all, aside from the density, since I had to drive to get anywhere. I guess it could be okay for a family. That Safeway is tiny and there aren't many other places to get food.
Posted by: Michael at July 29, 2009 10:22 AM
You are the the fourth person who has mentioned how good the sushi place is. I'm going to have to try that one.
Posted by: anonn at July 29, 2009 10:40 AM
I bicycle through Sunnyside a lot on the weekend and I think it is a nice enough neighborhood, mostly echoing other's comments. Some parts are more run-down than others, notably Detroit St near Flood Ave. The nicest parts seem to be near City College and near Glen Park. Joost is particularly nice.
But it all seems pretty safe and quiet and foggy to me.
Have you perhaps considered Mission Terrace as well? I think it has more charm, with a better commercial strip and is near Balboa Park BART station and the J-Church. Tom Radulovich has big plans for fixing up the Balboa Park BART station. It also has Balboa Park, with a community pool. It probably has a bit more crime than Sunnyside, at least on the Excelsior facing side, but the side facing Sunnyside seems pretty cool. I don't know what it would be like to live near Balboa High.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at July 29, 2009 11:04 AM
Sunnyside in SF is not that great an area with a lot of fog and crappy homes, but Sunnyside on the West Shore of Tahoe is a real nice place with some nice rental homes:
If you are on the West Shore make sure to order the Hula Pie at the Sunnyside restaurant:
Posted by: FormerAptBroker at July 29, 2009 11:11 AM
K's kitchen is pretty good imo, but so was the Thai place it replaced (Siam Dish iirc). If you want better sushi out there (a little further out, though), try Taraval Okazu-ya on Taraval and 26th or 27th. Cheaper, too.
Posted by: LMRiM at July 29, 2009 11:11 AM
"But it all seems pretty safe and quiet and foggy to me."
That sums it up, seems like it to me as well. In San Francisco you either get affordable and safe but dull, foggy and inconvenient, or gritty but livelier, or expensive and charming... there's always a trade off. You certainly don't get cheap-safe-sunny-cute-AND-convenient! (Not anymore, anyway.)
I've been thinking about other foggy and dull areas as well, but Sunnyside is definitely a consideration especially as our eldest is doing some pre-transferring-to-a-good-program coursework at City and possibly two more behind him. (No Ivy legacies in our house, we have to get three through college some other way.) ;-)
As for Sunnyside Tahoe, buying a vacation rental as an investment/future retirement home sounds like either a good thought or a potential headache. Hrm.
Posted by: kthnxybe at July 29, 2009 12:08 PM
It's 4th from the bottom for me, the bottom being Bayview, Vis Valley, and 40+ in the Richmond Avenues, then this place for all the reasons mentioned above.
Posted by: Tracy at July 29, 2009 1:05 PM
Tracy - past 40th in the Richmond is below, say, Oceanview or Ingleside or Outer Mission or Excelsior?
I've been working out at the VA for the past few years and have started to think the far outer Richmond is kind of neat. Stockholm syndrome, perhaps?
Posted by: kthnxybe at July 29, 2009 2:19 PM
Actually, kthnxybe, I kinda like the Sutro Heights neighborhood. Some of the views are pretty nice (on clear days) and you're close to Tommy's, Trad'r Sams, The Tee Off (and the new sushi place next door) and Lincoln Park golf course.
Posted by: Fishchum at July 29, 2009 2:25 PM
kthnxybe, I'm not sure why you'd be looking to buy a 3/2 in the $700k range for a 3-5 year hold (per your post on the other thread). It seems like you'd be significantly better off financially and in a far more desirable location (perhaps even with more square footage) if you just rented for that time period. You'll almost certainly make more money off your down payment investing it elsewhere (even something super low risk, given that "make more money" probably just means "won't lose money"). If you then just take the same monthly payment and apply it to rent, you definitely get a much better place. I'm confused.
Posted by: Shza at July 29, 2009 3:33 PM
when a friend bought (and later sold) a fixer in sunnyside, i thought that she should "Yuppie-up" the neighborhood by calling it "Flood Valley" (Flood being a street running through the center of sunnyside) to increase the property value.
it is foggy, with a little freeway noise, and no commercial center.
anyways, perhaps the realtors could yuppie it up and change the name to "Flood Valley."
p.s. does anyone know what happened to the idiot who jacked up his own home (with car jacks if i remember correctly) to replace his foundation and his home slid onto the neighbors?
Posted by: snider at July 29, 2009 3:35 PM
shza - I'm not actually looking to move in three to five years, I'm looking to stay long term.
What I really meant was that I didn't want to move to the suburbs and it wasn't going to be a feasible idea to do so for the next three to five years anyway, but neither is staying in our current (rent-controlled) small flat in the inner Richmond.
Any place we move would cost at least 1,500-2,000+ more per month than what we have now. So my question really should be is spending ~25K more on rent per year for the next five years a better idea than buying now?
Posted by: kthnxybe at July 29, 2009 4:13 PM
In other words, I don't want to move out of the city in five years, but that would be the earliest I could see myself being tempted by the supposedly better home values of the suburbs.
Posted by: kthnxybe at July 29, 2009 4:21 PM
Yes, I would think you would be significantly better off spending ~25k more on rent per year for the next five years than buying now and spending an additional ~25k or more on monthly payments plus tying ~150k up as a leveraged investment on a likely-declining asset (which will be less nice than what you'd be renting for the same extra monthly payment, even after the tax benefit -- while it lasts).
Posted by: Shza at July 29, 2009 4:49 PM
Another alternative worth considering is Midtown Terrace just below Twin Peaks. Generally better housing stock but a little further away from Transit. (It's probably going to cost 5-10% more than an equivalent Sunnyside home.)
Posted by: Willow at July 29, 2009 5:08 PM
Once you start talking about "SF" neighborhoods that are that far-flung, the aversion to "the burbs" seems less rational. Assuming you work in the FiDi, you'll have an easier commute to work from parts of Rockridge or Claremont than you would from most of Sunnyside or any of Midtown Terrace. Not to mention none of the fog. True that you won't be able to find a 3/2 there for $700k, but if you have small kids (which it sounds like you don't anymore), that's ~$220k/child savings for being able to actually send them to public school for K-6, which you amass in less than half the life of a mortgage -- so you could afford significantly more. The same logic would apply to any of the far-west hoods or any of those "suburban"-looking/feeling neighborhoods out toward SFSU that might as well be part of Daly City.
Posted by: Shza at July 29, 2009 10:22 PM
I don't work in the FiDi, my office is at least a 45 minute bus ride from there and is not near the BART. Personally, I would want to get a job in the east bay if I wanted to live comfortably in the east bay, which is doable in my field, but there's more opportunities here.
And we're sussed public-school wise for high school and don't want to uproot the kids, so that's not under consideration.
Besides, I like it foggy better than I like it hot. ;-) Sure, on a week like this it is pretty dreary, but it's overcast everywhere. Otherwise it's not usually so bad.
So for me, the east bay aversion is stronger than, say, the Daly City aversion. :-)
Posted by: kthnxybe at July 29, 2009 10:47 PM
The Sunnyside/Mirloma Park/Mira-Glen area I've got to say its comming into its own due to the recent 2 years of buyers who couldn't get into Noe, Bernal, Potrero and other hilly more desireable areas. If you are a young parent or recently married individual, this might be a good place to look. The Miraloma Elementary School has been greenifying the building and updating its exterior and has recently installed an outdoor classroom - one of the recent innovations we are proclaiming as genius for teaching outdoors. (didn't they do this decades ago on nice days anyway?)In addition, the demograpic of the Miraloma Cooperative Nursery School (big red house on Forester)has been noted to be changing and moving away from what used to be more ethnic composition. The bars are comming down from windows, a sign of younger less paranoid owners and the colors of the neighborhood are closer to the palatte of Pottery Barn istead of grandmas old Fingerhut catalogue. Although I should qualify this comment by saying our younger more adventurous neighbors should realize no matter what shade you paint your 1945 Farmhouse,(the predominant building style of the area) it'll never be that modern, glass mosiac covered condo you fell in love with but your parents advised you not to buy. The Sunnyside Playground is great and the Sunnyside Conservatory is going to be the gem of Monterey once its complete. (how the hell did they get that palm tree out of there anyway?) I can only assume a proper San Francisco wine and cheese opening is already in the works...The restaurants stink and the only real bar -Friends, looks like a Megans-Law watering hole conspicously situated next to a ballet dance studio and a Karate for Kids joint. The Safeway probably sets the record for the worst produce in SF but the guy who runs the liquor store on Monterey and Edna brews fresh Tully's coffee every morning and has a respectable belgian beer selection. (yeah, whodduthunk right!) Unfortunately no foodie scene here hipsters, but you don't move to the burbs of SF for the bars.
Posted by: miralomawhere? at July 29, 2009 10:52 PM
The empty lot with the house fell down was in the middle of our closing process and we had to sign extra disclosures because the selling agent was worried we would back out due to construction. Two years later and the city fences are stil up and nothing has been done with the property. I can only imagine it will eventually sit on some poor bank's books being totally forgotten.
Looks like the neighbor's house was okay. I don't see anything happening to this any time soon in this market.
http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/birds-eye-view-map/15185871_zpid/#street-view - I believe that it was 149 Mangels
Posted by: sunnysider at July 29, 2009 11:12 PM
Living near Miraloma Elementary has very little to do with whether or not your kids will get to go to Miraloma Elementary. That is not how school assignment works in this city.
Posted by: 1st time buyer at July 30, 2009 10:38 AM
" Unfortunately no foodie scene here hipsters, but you don't move to the burbs of SF for the bars."
Starting to wonder what the point is of living in these crappy SF hoods.
San Mateo has better housing and weather and the living is easy.
What made SF so special and San Mateo so boring when I was a kid are starting to blur to be honest. San Mateo gets more diverse and San Francisco gets more homogeneous
Posted by: zig at July 30, 2009 12:02 PM
"Once you start talking about "SF" neighborhoods that are that far-flung, the aversion to "the burbs" seems less rational. Assuming you work in the FiDi, you'll have an easier commute to work from parts of Rockridge or Claremont than you would from most of Sunnyside or any of Midtown Terrace"
Since when is Oakland a suburd?
Posted by: zig at July 30, 2009 12:04 PM
Since when is Oakland a suburd?
Since 1852, when it was founded as a suburb of SF.
Posted by: anon at July 30, 2009 12:22 PM
I gotta say that in 1852, not many people were moving to Oakland to be close to SF.
Posted by: Koolio at July 30, 2009 2:11 PM
^^^No? Then why were they moving to Oakland? Oakland sprang up precisely because of SF becoming a gold rush boom town. Oakland was a cheaper area with access to farms and land routes to the rest of California. One of the first residents of Oakland was the guy who was then the sheriff of San Francisco.
Posted by: anon at July 30, 2009 2:23 PM
Have you ever noticed the missionary zeal people get in their eyes when they make the break and move to Oakland?
"We have barbecues" they will tell you, looking at each other and nodding solemnly. "We have barbecues... barbecues in the sunshine!"
Posted by: kthnxybe at July 30, 2009 2:59 PM
I've been in Sunnyside for about 10 years. It was what we could afford at the time and eventually got used to how far out of the city core it is. I feel fortunate to have a charming home that was in better shape than anything we looked at in Bernal.
Access to BART, Muni and freeways is appreciated and although the CCSF students are a pain, they leave and it's quiet. The police station is close by and that helps with peace of mind. (I'd pull my hair out trying to park in neighborhoods like the Mission!)
*****Upcoming changes include Balboa Park station/CCSF corridor upgrades and Safeway is going to tear down and rebuild a new store on Monterey.
Posted by: MP at August 3, 2009 8:55 AM
A question for the SS folks: How is the weather in Glen Park like (with regards to fog, wind)? I am talking specifically in the Glen Park village area (streets like Chenery etc. close to the BART station), but insights into microclimates in the area would be much appreciated. We discovered the area for pretty much the first time yesterday and loved the village feel, but do not want too windy/foggy an area.
Many thanks in advance!!!
Posted by: Considering Glen Park at August 24, 2009 8:17 PM
Yes typically those areas are a somewhat foggy. There are no big hills to break up the fog. The fog sort of pushes along the south face of Mt. Davidson and Monterey boulevard. Once you get down into the village, however, it isn't particularly windy. The village is sort of tucked down and part of it is very much a canyon. The other side of the hill, the side facing north, Fairmount Heights is generally a lot sunnier.
Posted by: anonn at August 25, 2009 9:44 AM