November 17, 2010
Sure, SoMa Condos Have Taken A Hit, But This Is Nob Hill
We doubt it will sell at asking, but if it does it might as well be a plugged-in person who picks it up. Purchased for $698,000 in June 2007, taken back by the bank "mid-remodel" last month, and now listed for $389,900, 1177 California #512 is a 1,056 square foot Gramercy Towers one-bedroom atop Nob Hill.
Keep in mind the 411 square foot Gramercy Towers studio #203 is currently in contract as a "short sale" having most recently been listed for "$299,000" and purchased for $362,000 in January 2008.
First Published: November 17, 2010 1:30 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Well those MLS pictures sure are helpful.
Posted by: EH at November 17, 2010 2:17 PM
Are these coops or condos, there isn't some 50% or 75% downpayment clause in the coop, right? The HOAs are prob high, but you could prob spread that out in the larger unit. The larger unit seems too cheap. Something's up. The HOAs alone could not drive that price by itself.
Posted by: suspicious at November 17, 2010 2:40 PM
HOA dues on a 1-BR are $1,042/month? That's steep.
Posted by: dontdueit at November 17, 2010 2:44 PM
Man, if I were the listing agent and got the bank to agree to this price, I'd just take some really crappy photos at night to keep people away and then get one of my friends to buy the place, flip it, and split the profits with him.
Of course, then I'd be a very dishonest realtor.
I'd flip it to a medical marijuana grower, since the HOA includes all utilities. That coupled with a pool, insurance and a 24/7 doorman makes the HOA quite reasonable for 1000+ square footage.
Posted by: tipster at November 17, 2010 2:49 PM
Gorgeous! They just don't make corners like that for regular folks.
Posted by: BobN at November 17, 2010 3:23 PM
"Well those MLS pictures sure are helpful."
Yes, I particularly like the ones of the kitchen. Oh wait, there are no pictures of the kitchen.
LOL, Tipster chimes in with his realtor conspiracy theory of the day... Awesome, they get more and more unhinged every week.
Posted by: R at November 17, 2010 3:45 PM
Suspicious, the coop I live in didn't require a 50% down payment. I assume the terms of each coop building is different. Anyway, this deal seems to good to be true, regardless of the HOAs.
Posted by: PPC at November 17, 2010 4:12 PM
Bad spelling - add a "o" on the to. I must have been in shock on the price and, no, I'm not the realtor.
Posted by: PPC at November 17, 2010 4:51 PM
The co-ops I've seen in SF generally require 20-25% down. And board approval. The issue here is whether or not anyone can get a mortgage since this unit would probably not be considered "livable" without a kitchen.
Posted by: Lori at November 17, 2010 5:39 PM
not to mention this is a relatively ghetto building compared to others in the area
Posted by: j at November 17, 2010 10:08 PM
I agree with Lori.
the price likely reflects the fact that it needs an immediate kitchen/bath remodel.
given all of that and its high HOA it still seems like a good price.
if I were the listing agent and got the bank to agree to this price
there is the rub. the bank may not agree to this price.
Posted by: ex SF-er at November 18, 2010 4:15 AM
Basically, the bank is going to be nervous that it isn't an arm's length transaction AND your lender will probably want 40% or more down because it needs work...
Posted by: J at November 18, 2010 8:17 AM
Gramercy Towers is a condominium building not
a cooperative apartment house.
1177 California Street was orginally constructed to be hotel, so most of the units are relatively small.
The HOA dues are high because it is a doorman building. You are paying for human beings, they require salaries, healthcare and pensions.
That is expensive.
Doorman buldings are very nice, but you pay for the nice.
Posted by: kathleen at November 18, 2010 9:40 AM
many soma buildings have doormen but the HOA's are not 1000+ for a 1-bed or even a 2-bed (not that i think $600-$700 is cheap), so there must be other factors other than the doorman.
Posted by: condoshopper at November 18, 2010 9:47 AM
the agent remarks say it must be a cash buyer - presumably because most lenders won't lend without kitchens and baths. It also says you need Board approval for any remodeling. Some of these buildings are nightmares to get anything done - you need to wait for a Board meeting before they'll even discuss it. Then they might request info you hadn't prepped and then you're waiting for another meeting. So you might wait a few months before getting Board approval.
I also don't think Banks have the savvy to purposely under price. So the $389k price is probably something they will accept.
I'm not a fan of this building. It feels like an old age home to me
Posted by: hangemhi at November 18, 2010 10:08 AM
"It feels like an old age home to me"
That's basically what most co-op-type places are these days.
Posted by: sfrenegade at November 18, 2010 10:14 AM
Not a great building, old and tired. The hoa board is full of retired attorneys, any improvements take forever and go way over budget, remember the fitness/pool renovations several years ago.
Famous ex-residents include Yoko Ono and (not kidding) Osama Bin Laden, apparently he studied for a while at Berkeley.
Posted by: HappyexRealtor at November 18, 2010 11:21 AM
^ Haha, Osama Bin Laden?!?!?!?
Posted by: anon at November 18, 2010 12:32 PM
"Famous ex-residents include Yoko Ono and (not kidding) Osama Bin Laden, apparently he studied for a while at Berkeley."
I'm calling shenanigans on Osama Bin Laden having studied at Berkeley, although it's entirely possible you could find someone who regularly appears on FoxNews to say that. It is entirely possible that a member of the Bin Laden family may have gone to Berkeley, but it's a decent size family and they have lots of money.
The closest thing I could find is that the Saudi Binladin Group may have owned a 6-story building at 19 Berkeley Street in London.
Posted by: sfrenegade at November 18, 2010 1:08 PM
Proof of Mr Bin's residence at Gramercy...(sorry about long weird url) I wonder how he dealt with pain in the *ss hoa.
Posted by: HappyexRealtor at November 18, 2010 5:28 PM
Cool, it'll be a great PR for the building/unit. "Osama bin Laden lived here!".
Posted by: Fish at November 18, 2010 5:57 PM
Bin Laden studied at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, not Berkeley:
I would love to know that book's source for saying Osama Bin Laden lived at Gramercy Towers. If this is really true, did he bring his wife and kid?
Posted by: sfrenegade at November 18, 2010 6:48 PM
$1,000 for a copy of OBL's lease or student ID.
Posted by: anon at November 18, 2010 9:25 PM
And cue the ranting by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage on their respective radio shows, railing against the "radical leftists in Berkeley" educating future world terrorists in 4, 3, 2, 1…
sfrenegade, I'm sure Fox will have the author of that book on the air soon enough and we'll find out if he was just repeating unsubstantiated rumors.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at November 18, 2010 10:03 PM
I looked at #203 in this building back in March of this year; it is a standard large hotel room, big windows, excellent maintenance of the public space, and comes with a parking space. All these plus all utilities make the HOA within reason ($702 monthly for studio # 203). Compared with Opera Plaza for example, where dues are close to $500 a month for a small unit, and parking leases are $200 - this is a reasonable HOA.
But there is one other factor: sufficient reserves, and those of Gramercy Towers were much better than others I had looked in the disclosure packages. 1001 Pine, for example, had/has lower dues and a parking space, but no 24 hour doorman (just staff M-F 8-5) and far less adequate reserves. 1177 California was built in the early 1970s and needs reserves to cover problems of aging structures; 1001 Pine is 10 years older, and definitely needs reserves, which it does not currently have - big HOA increases are needed there to put the building on a sound footing (in my judgment).
Both of these buildings are full of seniors (the seller of #203 in Gramercy Towers was much younger it seems), and the boards can be slow to act, but being a senior myself looking for a pied-a-terre, either place seemed potentially OK, but even though each came with a parking space, I would also want good public transportation, and as a contributor noted that the cable car on California can be tiresome to use as regular public transportation ... and Pine Street at this location is a noisy one way raceway from the Financial District, and no buses ...
So I decided against going for #203, and at that time the short sale asking price was $335k, but I was not prepared to go above $300k (and that is ultimately apparently what it sold for). No, we have not yet hit bottom in this present real estate market!
Posted by: londoner1936 at November 23, 2010 10:22 PM
512 is in escrow with an all-cash offer.
Posted by: Buy High Sell Low at November 30, 2010 8:46 AM
The short sale list price for 1177 California #203 has just been reduced to $283,662. Once again, the 411 square foot Gramercy Towers studio atop Nob Hill was purchased for $362,000 in January 2008.
Posted by: SocketSite at April 12, 2011 12:31 PM
#512 sold in December for $408K, almost 20 grand above asking. That's down about 42% from its $698K sale in 2007 even before considering inflation.
Posted by: sfrenegade at April 12, 2011 12:37 PM
As for former resident owner of this building, can confirm:
1. Condo, not co-op
2. Was indeed originally developed as a hotel
3. HOA fees are not unusually high given the building's strong financials, services, staff, maintenance, and good condition of major systems
4. Location and style of building has tended to attract "pied-a-terre" and high-profile residents.
5. Configuration of residences places together unusual mix of compact studios and mammoth units.
6. I found the building to be tightly managed but didn't perceive the board as slow-acting.
Posted by: SeeHSee at April 14, 2011 8:41 AM
Unit 203 sold for @265K 8/5/2011
Posted by: 203CA at August 5, 2011 10:58 PM