September 23, 2010

Will The Presidio Belles Toll For Thee?

Belles Townhomes

In conjunction with Forest City’s Presidio Landmark redevelopment, the seven three-bedroom, three-bath, and three-story new construction Belles Townhomes are about to hit the rental market.

Belles Kitchen

Specific rents have yet to be revealed, but "local executive Alexa Arena said they will be comparable to what you might pay in Nob Hill or Russian Hill for a three-bedroom home with private decks, views, and parking."

Each unit is connected to a solar panel array to reduce electric bills and its carbon footprint that will cut home energy greenhouse gas impacts by 36 percent. In addition, the Belles homes are equipped with a “energy saving dashboard” that keeps track of electricity, water, and gas usage in real time over the internet or on a LCD screen.

A representative floor plan and a few more interior shots are available online.

UPDATE: In response to a plugged-in reader's inquiry, the leasing office is targeting $7,500 to $9,000 per month for the townhomes.

UPDATE (9/24): The Green Grand Opening Event this Saturday is for the re-opening of the Presidio's Public Health Service District in general, the Belles Townhomes won't yet be open to the general public and likely won't be for another few weeks.

Presidio Landmark Building 1801 Recovering Nicely From Wingectomy [SocketSite]
The Presidio Landmark: The Belles Townhomes []
Forest City's Belles of the Presidio [San Francisco Business Times]

First Published: September 23, 2010 4:15 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Except, you know, that area is nothing like Nob or Russian Hill and is very close to a noisy highway.

Posted by: kthnxybe at September 23, 2010 4:56 PM

According to the inquiry e-mail I sent to the leasing office, here's the price breakdowns:
Junior One Bedroom - $2,125-$2,500 (400-600 sq/ft)
One Bedroom - $2,875-$4,550 (600-1100 sq/ft)
Two Bedroom - $4,325-$5,850 (1000-1500 sq/ft)
3 Bdrm Townhome ~ $7,500-$9,000 range

Is it just me or are these prices CRAZY HIGH?

Green Grand Opening Event this Saturday September 25th from 11AM – 4PM

Posted by: Quietsnow at September 23, 2010 5:06 PM

wow talk about green, they surely are trying to charge some

Posted by: mikey woodz at September 23, 2010 5:11 PM

Wow, the folks are just out of touch. Looking through Craigslist plenty of homes in that area going for less.

Add to that the tough commute and this is just not a good deal at all.

Posted by: Bgrin at September 23, 2010 5:15 PM

I just plugged in min: 7500 max: 9000, 3BR, keyword: deck in craigslist. For those prices you can certainly get a lot more house than that, with better views and a more convenient neighborhood.

Didn't someone say Forest City's strategy was to price high at first, get all the early adopters, and then drop down later to seem like a good deal?

Posted by: kthnxybe at September 23, 2010 5:43 PM

Don Fisher should have just rented out a slew of these over-priced travesties and filled them with his fab modern art collection.

Just sayin'.

That way, I would have actually gone there.

Posted by: stucco-sux at September 23, 2010 7:44 PM

That whole area is haunted. Last I heard only 8 units were rented in the Landmark, even more spooky.

Posted by: haunted at September 23, 2010 9:52 PM

They'll be rented within a week, probably less.

Posted by: dogboy at September 23, 2010 9:54 PM

Has all the other overpriced stuff in the Presidio been rented? One of the recent posts was about Wright Loop, but a quick search shows that there are other posts on SS about other rentals there that were high priced.

Posted by: sfrenegade at September 23, 2010 10:56 PM

On the other hand, how many places will let you say to the kids, "Go out and play in the 1,000 acre backyard."

Posted by: jlasf at September 24, 2010 10:15 AM

UPDATE: The Green Grand Opening Event this Saturday is for the re-opening of the Presidio's Public Health Service District in general, the Belles Townhomes won't yet be open to the general public and likely won't be for another few weeks.

Posted by: SocketSite at September 24, 2010 10:16 AM

The Wright Loop place isn't handled by Forest City. Forest City only handles the apartments in old hospital and the Bells townhouses.

Posted by: Shandie at September 24, 2010 11:03 AM

Rumors for y'all to contemplate:

Wright Loop rented for $17,000
Wyman Avenue homes have 3 rented at about $5,000
Landmark has two apartments rented

Whatever Landmark is doing, they clearly aren't doing anything to help. They've been on the market longer than Wyman and have rented less from what I have heard through the grapevine.

I suppose if Landmark doesn't perform, Forest City could receive the boot and The Presidio Trust can handle the leasing themselves.

Posted by: herethere at September 24, 2010 12:27 PM

I looked at the apartments, but there some enormous dirt piles very close to the property with heavy equipment and trucks. I don't see how residents could open their windows...unless you don't mind everything you own being covered in dirt.

Posted by: chomes at September 24, 2010 12:37 PM

I like the placement of the wine cooler.

Posted by: BobN at September 24, 2010 1:04 PM

Having just wrapped up an extensive apartment search in SF I can add a couple of things: this will be a tough sell at those prices.

I limited my search to Russian Hill, Pac Hts, Marina, and Cow Hollow. While these units are new and look well-appointed, they are not large, have no neighborhood within easy walking distance, the weather is not great, have no have covered parking, no outdoor space, are in an (obviously) large building which to me was less desirable, don't accept pets, don't have views, and also aren't in a neighborhood worth bragging about.

Add to that, the months I waited to hear back form the leasing agents, schedule a tour, get pricing and I ended up not seeing the point.

Posted by: happy renter elsewhere at September 24, 2010 1:24 PM

how was the availability and pricing for the neighborhoods that you looked at?

Posted by: anonee at September 24, 2010 1:30 PM

aren't in a neighborhood worth bragging about

Well, it's the Presidio after all. Living inside the park is very desirable. You've got the greatest backyard in town.

I wish them all the best. We will all benefit from a preserved and sustainable Presidio.

Posted by: lol at September 24, 2010 1:33 PM

OK, yes the Presidio is incredible, but we made walking distance to a theater, a few restaurants, a few shops, some services and greater convenience to work more of a priority than proximity to nature. Hopefully we'll still appreciate that decision in a few months.

Posted by: happy renter at September 24, 2010 1:41 PM

Re: Floor Plans

How did they do the fourth floor roof decks without a second means of egress? Code allows a third floor within an indvidual unit to have up to 500 sq. ft. with only one exit, but not a fourth floor.

noearch ? ?

Posted by: inmycountry at September 24, 2010 2:58 PM

that's old code not new code. One flight of stairs is good now.

Posted by: sparky-b at September 24, 2010 3:01 PM

Thank You, Sparky-b

Posted by: inmycountry at September 24, 2010 3:11 PM


Can you clarify? I'm working on a 3 unit condo-complex that the city is making us do an enclosed 2nd means of egress on the 3rd floor. I don't mind the egress except that they want it enclosed, so the back porch stairs or a fire escape do not count. It's ending up killing the project. Am I just talking to the wrong person at planning?

Posted by: Ryan at September 24, 2010 3:44 PM

Ryan, Are your primary egress stairs enclosed in a shaft? If not, that may be the problem. See Item 12 (also Item 6 for what inmycountry was referring to):

Posted by: EBGuy at September 24, 2010 4:22 PM

EBGuy, first off...great link,

However, it's not clear if "no 500 square foot limit to floor area above the second level" refers to one floor or multiple floors above the second floor.

Posted by: inmycountry at September 24, 2010 5:39 PM

It's multiple, but there are lots of things to consider. Townhouses like these in the Presidio are not the same as a 4 story 3-unit building.

Also, the Presidio doesn't use the California Building Code, for what it's worth.

Posted by: sparky-b at September 24, 2010 5:42 PM

One more thing,

Is it possible that, as this project is on U.S. Government property, that it is not subject to the California Building Code?

Posted by: inmycountry at September 24, 2010 5:45 PM


Three unit at 3 story will need to have 2 egress. R-3 occupancy can be 4 story, 2 unit and have one exit. R-2 can be 2 story and still have 1 exit, but not 3 story.

Posted by: sparky-b at September 24, 2010 5:53 PM

The pricing is insane. For the rent they're targeting, you could have an SFR on Infantry Terrace that is literally twice as good in every way, including being freshly rehabbed and absolutely gorgeous inside (see name link).

The Presidio Trust is very good at dropping rents quickly to clear inventory. They are a fantastic landlord. Forest City seems to be a less desirable partner, judging from their pricing practices.

Posted by: Scooter at September 24, 2010 10:01 PM

The Presidio Trust dropped their prices on the Wyman units by $200 across the board for the duplexes. The SFRs are also in the $7500 to $9300 range. Let's think about this one:

$7500 for 2000 sq ft is $3.75 per sq ft
$9300 for 3300 sq ft is $2.81 per sq ft

Landmark wants $7500 to $9000 for 1700 sq ft for $4.41 and $5.29 per sq ft.

No comment, just facts.

Posted by: keke at September 25, 2010 2:42 PM


Posted by: Ryan at September 29, 2010 12:30 PM

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