September 16, 2009

Care To Get Your Castle On? A Restored Albion Castle Returns

Albion Castle

A few months after Laughing Squid launched their blog from Albion Castle in early 2005 the Hunter’s Point property at 881 Innes Avenue was auctioned off at the Palace Hotel in front of a thousand spectators and sold for $2,090,000 (purchased for $400,000 in 1999).

The mortgage banker buyer had planned to resurrect the Albion Porter & Ale Brewery for which the castle was originally constructed and open a restaurant on-site as well. And while the restaurant and re-brewery plans never materialized, the interior of the San Francisco Historic Landmark was renovated and restored.

Albion Castle Living

Back on the market and asking $2,950,000 which includes water rights to a 10,000 gallon per day underground spring (think late night "pool" parties back in the day).

Albion Castle Caves

∙ Listing: 881 Innes Avenue (4/2) - $2,950,000 [MLS] [Map]
The Albion Castle [Albioncastle.Us]

First Published: September 16, 2009 5:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I would like to live in a castle some day, but not in a warzone!

Posted by: J at September 16, 2009 7:50 AM

i was at that auction. i don't remember it being a thousand people in the room, but i suppose that really doesn't make a difference. the most exciting part was watching the shorts and t-shirt wearing young, tattooed winning bidder get after it.

Posted by: garrett at September 16, 2009 7:58 AM

Might be worth considering if it came with your own personal army and moat.

Posted by: bornnraised at September 16, 2009 8:58 AM

The hood sort of grew up around the "castle" didn´t it? When I look at the original photos of houses, without the mature trees, and then see the same house with nice shade trees around it, it becomes obvious the value of mature shade trees. And, then we have the the type of person who cuts down those same trees.

Posted by: LS at September 16, 2009 9:04 AM

Notice the gang-bangers hanging out on the street! that is a scary neighborhood...

Posted by: Mike at September 16, 2009 9:05 AM

What's up with Google Street View not showing any of the streets immediately south of Innes and east of 3rd Street? Couldn't this be a project for a summer intern?

Posted by: WC at September 16, 2009 9:29 AM parking?

Posted by: EH at September 16, 2009 9:37 AM


The red doored garage on the building to the right is part of this property.

Posted by: sparky-b at September 16, 2009 9:56 AM

"Price/SqFt: 2,054.32"

Man, that's gotta be a record for Hunter's Point

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 16, 2009 10:21 AM

I would think even $400 psf would be a record for Hunter's Point.

This one is a serious head-scratcher. Who in the world is the market for this? It's indisputable that HP is the most violent/least safe part of SF. And someone living in a CASTLE in the middle of it is going to be target #1.

The bluntness of this as a signifier of socioeconomic divide is really pretty hilarious (in a "what kind of tone-deaf idiot would do this" kind of way, not an "isn't it funny how poor some people are" kind of way).

Posted by: Shza at September 16, 2009 10:31 AM

I hope it's not really just 1,436 sq ft

Posted by: J at September 16, 2009 10:32 AM

I love the fact that you get water rights with it, but after the Navy dumped all their crap at Hunter Point, I doubt it would be safe to drink. Beautiful house, though.

Posted by: Drew at September 16, 2009 10:34 AM

That sq.ft. is about what I remember it being.

Posted by: sparky-b at September 16, 2009 10:36 AM

4bd and only 1436 sq ft? On a street with zero charm in the most dangerous neighborhood in SF? For $2.9 million? I do love the history of the place and the underground caverns. The lot seems to be pretty good size -if the house can be expanded that would explain the price somewhat. Still, I can't imagine there are too many people who want to spend almost $3 million to live in a small house in Hunter's Point.

Posted by: Mose at September 16, 2009 10:39 AM

Maybe ACORN can buy it with our tax dollars since it is close to so many housing projects:,_San_Francisco,_California

It looke like prices are going to rocket up out there since it is now a "gang free zone":

Posted by: FormerAptBroker at September 16, 2009 10:43 AM

What sucks is that this guys $2M purchase of a fixer was used as a comp. for the rest of the castles in Hunters Point.

Posted by: sparky-b at September 16, 2009 10:45 AM

I saw this castle on Craigslist in August. I wonder if the buyer will have to evict tenants?

Posted by: MarinaLocal at September 16, 2009 10:52 AM

for the rest of the castles in Hunters Point.

Well played, sparky-b.

Posted by: Shza at September 16, 2009 10:59 AM

So, is it so that this place is backed by a hillside of housing project? Yikes.

Posted by: dissent at September 16, 2009 11:03 AM

The underground space wants to be Blacula's pot farm.

Posted by: redseca2 at September 16, 2009 12:00 PM

If ACORN is worth posting about, then it should also be worth understanding. Their money comes from a range of sources including donations and goes to various attempts at community organizing including voter drives and local group meetings. There is no evidence that ACORN is buying properties anywhere, though they do rent some offices. ACORN never got much leverage in California in large part because other political instruments such as local Brown Act councils were already in place. Doesn't ACORN opposition get enough attention in other channels? If they were big here then maybe, but they are most active in the Midwest and the Other Coast. We should be able to talk about the Bay Area real estate market without ACORN even coming up.

The gang free zone is intended to enable cops to take unusual measures in areas with longstanding gang problems. Like China having most favored nation trading status it doesn't mean what casual and uninvolved observers think it does. Cops can kick your ass and get away with it all over the City. Fajitas anyone? These signs just make that particularly clear in that area.

Posted by: Mole Man at September 16, 2009 2:03 PM

Looks like it has it's own BatCave.

Posted by: comrealest at September 16, 2009 2:20 PM

Wow. Love the old photographs on the Albioncastle website. I would think water rights would be some sort of access easement to the waterfront across the street?
It's stating the obvious that it's a shitty neighborhood. What's more interesting is the history of the place that ties into the history of San Francisco. I would never have expected this property in Hunters Point. Very cool! Unfortunately this will sit for a long time on the market.

Posted by: Saylor at September 16, 2009 2:25 PM

I'd happily buy it for the 1999 price, and divert the spring water to fill the moat that I'd build around the property.

Then I'd use my super-duper engineering skills to build my own drawbridge, saving thousands on construction costs.

Do you need a permit for a drawbridge?

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at September 16, 2009 2:41 PM

I went here several years back for an SF Open Studios event (In October) out at the Shipyards.
Hey this will definitely attract alot of people the day there is the Open Studios at the shipyards. Anyhow, it was a hot day and they were letting people swim in the caves -- they were filled that day. Such cool SF geologic history. There were so many rivers throughout SF that have gone underground. Cool. Would be a cool location for a restaurant/cafe or theater space maybe.

Posted by: Lookielew at September 16, 2009 2:54 PM

perfect purchase for a hp druglord ;-)

Posted by: sarcastic at September 16, 2009 3:52 PM

Posted by: Trip at September 16, 2009 3:58 PM

i cannot imagine anyone who can afford a $3M house would want to live next to projects. Gorgeous house but wrong location. In this market, I say $1M-$1.3M at best. I think the best thing that can happen to this house is turn it into a local community center.

Posted by: jaja at September 16, 2009 11:28 PM

Personally, I can't imagine paying even $10k for something in Hunter's Point. The $3M price is ludicrous but I think even a $1M tag would be crazy. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they couldn't get more than $700k.

Posted by: Shza at September 17, 2009 10:16 AM

There doesn't appear to be a Deed of Trust on the property; good luck to Albion Castle LLC and its investors.

Posted by: EBGuy at September 17, 2009 11:22 AM


What are you implying? Does it just mean there is no loan on the property?

Posted by: J at September 17, 2009 7:32 PM

Yes, no mortgage that I can see. Perhaps the LLC took out some small business loans to fund the enterprise, but my hats off to the investors. True patriots -- taking one for the team.

Posted by: EBGuy at September 18, 2009 10:49 AM

Wow, even more amazing that multiple people/entities thought this was a good idea.

Posted by: Shza at September 18, 2009 12:19 PM

I could see CRUSHPAD as a tenant, perhaps!

Not as a buyer.

Posted by: Cid Young at September 25, 2009 12:21 PM

The owner made millions selling subprime mortgages that cost many people thier homes. They actually funded bad loans to build up thier books so they could sell the company to an investor. They retained 1/3 ownership and were forced to file chapter 7 for 100 million. They shut down operations without paying employees and severence packages. Karma? I hope they take a hit on this one. It would be small in scope to the damage that was done.

Posted by: smokin gun at October 5, 2009 1:09 AM

Posted by: SocketSite at March 4, 2010 2:44 PM

Who in the world will pay that kind of money to live in the worst neighborhood in San Francisco? Middle Point and Harbor Roads. That is gangland central.

Posted by: Tom at March 4, 2010 3:41 PM

hunters point is not the most dangerous neighborhood. where the castle is located nothing happens their its at the bottom of the hill. no gangstas or thugs hang their if you go and see it for yourself you will understand its a beautiful neighborhood

Posted by: patricia gardner at May 31, 2010 3:38 PM

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