February 25, 2011
Saitwowitz’s Yerba Buena Lofts (855 Folsom) Showcase Unit Returns
One of twenty-one terrace units at the 200-unit Saitowitz designed Yerba Buena Lofts, one of fifteen with two full baths, 855 Folsom #539 was purchased new for $690,000 in 2002.
Customized with dual 18 foot motorized shades (including blackout), a Norbert Wangen designed Boffi K2 kitchen island (sans the mini-appliances), and sliding glass walls on either side of the lower bedroom, the 1,396 square foot unit with 500 square foot terrace is back on the market and listed for $995,000.
If you’re familiar with The Phaidon Atlas, this is the unit showcased for the development. And as a financial aside, word has it an adjacent unit was just leased for $4,200 a month.
Full Disclosure: The seller of 855 Folsom #539 advertises on SocketSite and provided a tour of the property and background information at our request, but no compensation, for this post.
First Published: February 25, 2011 10:45 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
These terrace units are the only ones I would consider in this place. But I'd still have to walk through that lobby and those hallways, which would be depressing.
Posted by: curmudgeon at February 25, 2011 10:43 AM
You can live in a place like this for free - just commit a violent felony and get caught.
Posted by: mwsf at February 25, 2011 11:15 AM
Finally you post a property that is attainable! I remember taking a tour of the building when it was first offered by the original sales agent. This fifth floor terrace floor plan was the one to sell out the fastest. The furniture is attractive. Anyone know who staged this?
Posted by: Andy at February 25, 2011 11:17 AM
Agreed, the hallways are grim. When I first got out of the elevator to visit a friend I thought I had accidentally been taken to the parking level.
Posted by: James at February 25, 2011 11:43 AM
Was photo #14 on the MLS listing touched up? I go by this building all the time, and I don't recall it being this blue. The exterior has always come off as gray and depressing to me.
Posted by: Fishchum at February 25, 2011 11:46 AM
The Chronicle's critic, John King can't say anything but good things about Saitowitz nowadays, but here's what he wrote about Yerba Buena Lofts seven years ago:
It is huge and abstract, a grid of cubes 16 feet wide and 17 feet tall; every wall is concrete, every other surface is glass except for balcony railings of industrial-grade steel…You could also compare it to piston rods frozen in motion or a stack of enormous gray packing crates that glow at night.
The one thing for sure is that the complex is memorable — like it or not, and many people don't. A co-worker went so far as to say, after rearing back like a startled pony on his way to the ballpark, that it was the worst thing he had seen since the Jack Tar Hotel — a now-obliterated eyesore of modernism on Van Ness that in the 1960s was the butt of jokes to all good San Franciscans.
Until a few months ago I hadn't made up my mind about the lofts. I could respect the architecture, even admire the austere purity of the concept, but the reality seemed too rigid and stark.
I don't have any training in architectural history, but, as I've said before on this site, it seems to me that Saitowitz is trying to bring brutalism back any way that he can. Yerba Buena Lofts seems to be the most obvious supporting attempt, in the body of his work that I've seen in The City at least. I don't know why he's so enamored of it, but he should really consider bidding on the design of future state mental institutions, he'd be a great fit for that.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 25, 2011 1:17 PM
Saitowitz' 1234 Howard is the antithesis of brutalism. Perhaps you just mean "concrete"?
Posted by: amused at February 25, 2011 1:58 PM
amused, point taken; you're right about that project, i'd forgotten about it. There are a couple of other ones where he's used that "light colored cubes" design language too, like the 2100 Mission proposal. He's clearly not doing only neobrutalist new work.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 25, 2011 3:06 PM