March 2, 2011

A Restored 250 Santa Paula Avenue Comes Up Short

250 Santa Paula Avenue

From the listing for 250 Santa Paula Avenue:

This work of art was originally designed by Angus McSweeney, a prominent San Francisco architect who is credited with the design of several residential high-rises in Russian Hill, Nob Hill, and Pacific Heights; as well as his collaboration with several other accomplished architects on the building of St. Mary's Cathedral on Gough. McSweeney and his bride Beryl moved into the home after it was built in 1925.
Wilke Colter, a San Francisco attorney and his family, purchased 250 Santa Paula from McSweeney, and then eventually left it vacant for 25 years. Now it has been lovingly restored into an engineering masterpiece and an inviting and luxurious home.

Asking $2,995,000 in 2008 and relisted at the same price a few times since, the St. Francis Wood home is now back on the market as a "short sale" listed for $2,399,000.

UPDATE: A tip of the hat to a plugged-in reader who saw it coming back in 2009.

And to clarify, the home sold for $910,000 in 2003 following its 25 year vacancy and prior to its big renovation ($815,000 in permitted work alone).

In 2005 a $2,000,000 loan was taken out on the property while two months ago another loan for $2,183,044 was recorded which we’re assuming was used to pay off the 2005 note (which was in default). If not, someone has some splainin' to do.

∙ Listing: 250 Santa Paula Avenue (5/6) - $2,399,000 [] [MLS]

First Published: March 2, 2011 12:00 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

left it vacant for 25 years?
what a waste.

what a bizarre website.
maybe it's just my computer... but when I click on the lower pictures a totally different picture gets blown up.
For instance, click on a bedroom pic, and a big picture of the kitchen pops up.
click on the facade pic, and a big pic of the roof tile pops up.


the house itself seems nice, in a faux sort of way. but probably nothing wrong with faux when it's so obviously faux.

Posted by: ex SF-er at March 2, 2011 12:15 PM

Remember, you heard it here first. The summary:
NOTS April 22, 2010
Federal Tax Lien (owner) June 10, 2010
Cancelled NOD July 29, 2010
HOA assessment Dec 2, 2010 (that is always a bad sign)
NOD Dec 28, 2010
There is also a recent court judgment against the owners for $90k and another by CitiBank that is pending for a smaller amount ($20k+). It's not looking good.

Posted by: EBGuy at March 2, 2011 12:26 PM

Hey, shouldn't Sutro Tower be looming in the background ? :-)

I'm not understanding what happened here. Was there an intermediate sale after the 25 year vacancy ? The tax history implies that there was a recent market rate sale.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 2, 2011 12:36 PM

it appears the owners substantially uglified what was no doubt once a classic home, prior to defaulting. Very unfortunate all around.

Posted by: sunnyvalesteve at March 2, 2011 12:42 PM

UPDATE To clarify, the home sold for $910,000 in 2003 following its 25 year vacancy and prior to its big renovation ($815,000 in permitted work alone).

In 2005 a $2,000,000 loan was taken out on the property while two months ago another loan for $2,183,044 was recorded which we're assuming was used to pay off the 2005 note (which was in default). If not, someone has some splainin' to do.

Posted by: SocketSite at March 2, 2011 12:53 PM

How is it that 2.3 is a short sale on a recent 2.183 loan?

Posted by: tipster at March 2, 2011 1:07 PM

^gotta include realtor fees, etc.^

Posted by: jose at March 2, 2011 1:46 PM

How on earth did they get a loan? I assume they got an appraisal and got a loan for 70% of the appraisal. Two months later they are selling for less than 75% of the appraisal?

I think someone has some 'splanin to do anyway!

Posted by: tipster at March 2, 2011 1:52 PM

Maybe tipster's MERS comment from the other thread is more appropriate here because maybe the mortgage got re-recorded for foreclosure purposes. When was the recording of the $2,183,044 mortgage? I haven't looked at the records, but that could be the $2M loan + fees, etc.

It seems quite strange that these guys would be able to get a refi when they're already in trouble, have been in and out of default, and when the property is already encumbered with other liens. It could still be a "short sale" even though the loan amount is lower than the sale price because of the Citi judgment, the tax lien, the HOA, and the other judgment.

Posted by: sfrenegade at March 2, 2011 2:30 PM

At the risk of getting ripped for going off-topic - just completely struck by how those huge stuffed urns work in the photo - completely complement the property in every way.
The bears vs. bulls bit gets tiring at times but the exposure to the exemplary design work done by others keeps me coming back to Socketsite.

Posted by: GoodBuyBadTimes at March 2, 2011 5:58 PM

Okay so what a financial mess. Something is wrong. On many levels. Even at this price I see it sitting for a while. A terrible lot to begin with, and whomever designed this (almost) million dollar remodel should be shot. It's horrible. Bad taste all around. Like others have said, I am sure at one time it was an amazing home. Now it's just a hot mess.

Posted by: Ryan at March 2, 2011 8:17 PM

So.....can someone out there explain to me why this is such a mess? I'm not an interior designer or an architect, so I'd love to hear some of these criticisms explained. To me, the place looks "jumbled" and even "chaotic" - it looks like someone couldn't decide on a tone or a style and mixed a lot of them up in this remodel.

I'd love to hear a critique from someone who can better illustrate why this remodel doesn't work.

Posted by: Fishchum at March 3, 2011 8:01 AM

I really don't see the interior as being all that bad. However, the lot sucks and St. Francis Woods' Summers are like a foggy Siberia.

Posted by: Mark F. at March 3, 2011 8:31 PM

I hate those fireplaces. The are so home depot.

Posted by: SFBuyer at March 4, 2011 8:46 AM

I live just down the block and SFW is not siberia alas.

It was a tough lot to work with and they did a decent job making it function as best they could. one can make a decent argument that it is a difficult solution to a tough problem -- tour the house and you will understand. the view is great.

$550/ft² is not a bad starting point, but it is a tough layout.

Posted by: Geo at March 4, 2011 8:58 AM

Posted by: tipster at March 4, 2011 9:29 AM

Probably tough to sell a home in SFW with no yard

not really, a lot of the homes there have the illusion of a real yard; most are maximizing ft² on the lot, hindered by the terrain and scoping the views

Posted by: Geo at March 4, 2011 10:12 AM

Dropping like flies in D4; this one is contingent too..

Posted by: Geo at March 25, 2011 3:36 PM

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