June 2, 2011

Ellison Report Kicked To The Curb

2840 Broadway Aerial

We took some offline heat from various readers for not jumping on a report by Curbed that Larry Ellison was buying 2840 Broadway (center above) for $40,000,000, a report that was republished on Yahoo! and picked up by others without apparently being fact checked.

So why didn’t we run with it? Quite simply, we couldn’t confirm the story which contradicted our earlier report that Malin and Max would soon be bringing the property to market.

From Ellison today:

"All of the newspaper stories reporting that I am buying the house next-door to my San Francisco home [Editor’s Note: to the right of 2840 Broadway above] for $40 million are untrue," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. "No one has ever offered to sell me the house next-door for $40 million or any other price. If someone does offer to sell me the house next-door for $40 million or an amount anywhere near $40 million I will not buy it."

That's not to say Ellison won't be the eventual buyer, but it is to say that he's not in contract for $40 million as misreported.

Another Big Billionaire's Row Home Coming Soon: 2840 Broadway [SocketSite]

First Published: June 2, 2011 1:30 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Good for you Mr. Editor - for not being suckered.

That's why we come to your site.

Posted by: bobo at June 2, 2011 1:54 PM

IMO seems like Curbed actually took a left turn a while back. They decided to be less straightforward, and to inject a whole lot more snark. I guess they also decided to be more tabloid around that time too.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at June 2, 2011 2:00 PM

How Curbed thinks they can just post up a Ellison's statement and pretend like their source is not the one being totally and utterly trashed is beyond my comprehension. Not to kick them when they are down but seriously, man up and get the facts straight. That said, LRs people certainly know how to play the media (e.g,. WSJ) so Curbed isn't really a match.

Posted by: eddy at June 2, 2011 2:21 PM

So the original post came from curbed and was picked up as "news" by Yahoo? Yikes.. major fail. I still think Larry's statement is worded strangely, overemphasizing the 40 mil aspect... Anyway, it's too bad. I'm sure Malin could've used her 2 million fee for that exhausting week's work.

Anyway, I STILL think Malin will sell this before Sept, but more along the lines of 18-25 million.

Posted by: Denis at June 2, 2011 3:12 PM

With the exception of 2701 Broadway, every one of the Gold Coast listings requires at least $4M in work and 2 years of time (give or take - depedning on the house). Add this listing to that group.

The family selling this house doesn't need to liquidate anytime soon, and is very aware of asking prices, owner valuations on the street. Not sure what Denis is going for here, but I can tell you first hand - they're not selling this home for $20M ina rush job.

Posted by: Agent415 at June 2, 2011 3:45 PM

"I still think Larry's statement is worded strangely"

I'd say craftily.

Posted by: BobN at June 2, 2011 4:02 PM

Folks, LE or anyone else isn't going to buy this house unless it is at a reasonably fair price. Even then remember that he primarily lives on the Peninsula. Didn't that original story raise any eyebrows as to the price with SS readers? The man may be wealthy, but he didn't get that way by being foolish with money. I doubt he is in the market for an expensive fixer-upper.

Even the ultra wealthy think twice before writing a check for $40 million and add to that all the expenses that go with it - and you're looking at $50 million plus ongoing upkeep, property tax, etc etc etc. I don't care who you are, $50 million for an extra pied-a-terre is steep.

Unless someone we don't know about has just been waiting to be there, I predict it will be listed the conventional way, and sold at about $24 Million within the next 6 -9 months.

Posted by: reguru at June 2, 2011 4:08 PM

the fact that he mentions the price so many times in such a short statement makes me believe he is actually interested in the property and is sending malin a public message that he basically expects to pay way less for the property

Posted by: skirby015 at June 2, 2011 5:14 PM

25 million is more than fair for this place... A high-end buyer will use a high-end contractor. Renovating this fixer (because that's what it is) will START at 10 million. The only recent sale of note was 2799 Broadway for 29 million in 08 - and that was new construction. Another home sold, I think, mid-construction for 12ish. Otherwise, a half-dozen homes have been sitting on the market on these three blocks, some for YEARS. 2701, 2901, 2845, 2808, 2950... and at least one other home is technically available. Time hasn't helped any of them find a buyer. Lower prices will. Even rich people don't want to pay the city 500k a year in property taxes...

Posted by: Denis at June 2, 2011 6:31 PM

Nice work, socketsite.

I also want to dispel pointless speculation that I might be the buyer at $40 million.

Posted by: Debtpocalypse at June 2, 2011 9:03 PM

From Bottom Line, Andrew S. Ross's column earlier today:

Giddings wouldn't speculate on the price Rosekrans' house might fetch, though $40 million was "not outrageous."
"With its true architectural significance and historical value" — the Willis Polk mansion was built in 1927 — "I'm sure it will attract a lot of people, like the Tiffany diamond."

Oh yeah. I'm sure that the listing agent is going to suggest that some figure is outrageous when her commission rides on it. Of course $40M isn't "outrageous". Neither is $50M for that matter. Perhaps The Sperlings need yet another mansion to let sit idle and empty.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at June 2, 2011 11:20 PM

" Renovating this fixer (because that's what it is) "

Always someone on this site will label things a "fixer" or insist on renovations that many other people would not find necessary. Have you ever been in Dodie's house? She was happy as it was, and most of her immediate neighbors, and friends, and others in the area, would find it acceptable as is.

What Ellison would do is another matter. As one can see exhibited next door, he has a different taste.

Posted by: conifer at June 3, 2011 1:27 AM

It's starting to feel more and more that curbed was a pawn for this one and was fed solid mis-information. Only a few possible sources who would stand to gain from such information leak. Sorta like the bebo house leak.

Posted by: Eddy at June 3, 2011 7:20 AM

Posted by: Ari at June 3, 2011 10:32 AM

Why is it a "fixer upper"?

Posted by: BobN at June 3, 2011 10:49 AM

As for my fixer comment... High end buyers almost never buy a dated home (think 20s wiring, plumbing, asbestos from the 50s, moldy basements, etc) without performing a massive upgrade. Please name a major sale (say 8 million and up) over the past few years where the buyers purchased an older home and just moved into it as is... If I can think of one, I'll get back to you. Meanwhile, most of the most expensive sales over the past 5 years or so have either been totally renovated, or are remodeled into oblivion shortly after selling.

I never got to go into Dodie's home, but I've heard mixed reviews...

Posted by: Denis at June 3, 2011 11:18 AM

In other words the concept of a "fixer" is subjective and the bar lowers as the price rises. From what Denis describes it sounds as if above a certain price point, everything is a fixer except maybe new construction.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at June 3, 2011 11:24 AM

Oh, it's totally subjective... Most people would probably say a "fixer" is a property that's about to fall in. At this end of the market, a fixer is a home probably built in the 20s that still has all the original systems (electrical, heating, plumbing), lath and plaster walls, minimal (if any) insulation, etc... Or, it could be a Pac Heights home remodeled in the 80s, which looks, well, 80s - all track lighting and mirrors. That said, all of these grand mansions have basements from hell which do require some work.. My guess is 2840 probably has a couple of floors of labyrinthine hallways and rooms that no one has entered in decades and that are practically unusable. Finally, Dodie added a some bizarre features which probably won't appeal to a lot of buyers - mainly, it has the Temple of Doom right in the middle of it.

Anyway, no one at this end just moves into a home without adding personal touches. Yes, you COULD live in it as is, but it's probably not going to happen.

Posted by: Denis at June 3, 2011 12:31 PM

Yeah, that explanation sounds right. My personal idea of a fixer is a home that needs repairs to prevent it from further degrading: needing a new roof or perhaps the ground drainage needs to be corrected to prevent moisture intrusion. Your explanation of the high-end sense of a fixer is what I'd call a "cosmetic fixer". The building might be sound but it is tired and dated so the new buyer will want to freshen it up.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at June 3, 2011 1:05 PM

Everyone is going to fix up their house, even new ones, in the sense of cosmetic and decoration.

It may be true that people who spend $8m or more will gut the house, but the total number of those is tiny, surely less than five percent, probably less than one percent of the houses in PacHts. Even among the neighbors on Broadway, and nearby blocks in all directions, how many have been bought for $8m?

Even if they were all on the market, how many are big enough to justify $8 m? I would guess that the average big, boxy house in Pac Hts is only about 5000 to 6000 sq ft.

So the question is whether non-nouveau-billionaires, non-flippers, are going to completely renovate an otherwise liveable real SF house, priced say $3m to $5m. I think it depends on their background and their taste, and most of them do not do it and do not want to.


Posted by: conifer at June 3, 2011 1:38 PM

Conifer...

crazy wrong, *again*. Plenty of renovation goes on in the $3-$5M range in Pac Heights. Take a short stroll around the area sometime.

You don't know or understand this segment of the market. As evidenced when you made fun of 135 Locust having an offer date, only to have it get something like 6 offers and go $400K+ over asking.

Posted by: Agent415 at June 3, 2011 2:52 PM

Plenty goes on and plenty does not.
I have lived here for over 35 years and I know our neighbors.
You are gratuitously insulting, not a good trait for someone who is "agent415." Sometimes this list is like a talk show.

Posted by: conifer at June 3, 2011 6:29 PM

@confier

I lived on Broadway for a number of years. As an example, on the flat block of Broadway, one house after another was renovated between 2004 and 2010. The work ranged from remodeling on about 5-6 houses, to the full rebuilding of 2404 Broadway for over $20 million (yes, this is an outlier). I don't know the cost of the remodeling jobs, but given the length of time each one was under construction, and the observed scope of the work, it was easily $1 million at each of these places, and clearly more at a couple of them. If I remember right these properties were changing hands for about $6 million in 2005 and 2006, and one of the view properties sold for about $9 million in 2009.

And, conifer, this is just on ONE block. My observation in the neighborhood is that virtually every house that changes hands gets remodeled. In fact, I'm having a hard time thinking of one that didn't get a pretty extensive makeover, although I'm sure they are out there.

Posted by: reguru at June 3, 2011 7:41 PM

What is the Temple of Doom in the middle of the house?

Posted by: Snark17 at June 3, 2011 11:25 PM

"High end buyers almost never buy a dated home (think 20s wiring, plumbing, asbestos from the 50s, moldy basements, etc) without performing a massive upgrade. Please name a major sale (say 8 million and up) over the past few years where the buyers purchased an older home and just moved into it as is... If I can think of one, I'll get back to you. "

--> 2820 Pacific Ave

Posted by: Joshua at June 4, 2011 10:39 AM

^? Huh? 2820 Pacific? That was completely remodeled...
http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/2820-Pacific-Ave-94115/home/952012

As for the Temple of Doom... This is Dodie's atrium.. http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Vxb_2xS01fU/TeWAH6lS-fI/AAAAAAAAD_4/vqk3cY-BRKE/s1600/0909-CM-DODI-01.jpg

Love it or hate it...

Posted by: Denis at June 4, 2011 11:46 AM

Denis, check the permits. After the most recent sale of 2820 Pacific, they fixed water damage, but it certainly was NOT "completely remodeled".

Posted by: Joshua at June 4, 2011 11:55 AM

I think the point Denis is making is that 2820 Pacific was already basically remodeled before the purchase. And the new owners there probably spent a fortune painting the exterior and they also did a lot more than fix the water damage to the interior of that home. As a side note, there is some serious project work going on 45 Raycliff. Anyone have any info there?

Posted by: eddy at June 4, 2011 12:57 PM

Perhaps that was Denis' point...however, anyone who saw inside 2820 Pacific knows that it was "decorated" to a very specific taste (and I use the word taste generously). Point is that not every single buyer sees the need to gut job a house.

Another example was 30 Presidio Terrace.

Posted by: Joshua at June 4, 2011 2:54 PM

Thanks... Have to say I'm loving the Temple of Doom.

Posted by: Snark17 at June 4, 2011 4:25 PM

The "Temple of Doom" is a replica of the Plaza de la Infanta in Zaragoza:
http://www.zaragoza.es/cont/paginas/turismo/img/sep2010/que_visitar/sitios_interes/goya/mini_patioInfanta.jpg

Posted by: Dan at June 4, 2011 4:48 PM

The Patio de la Infanta, that is.

Posted by: Dan at June 4, 2011 4:59 PM

Thanks... it's excellent. RIP Dodie.

Posted by: Snark17 at June 4, 2011 10:39 PM

Um, Ellison is buying the house. Curb has it right.

Posted by: J. L. at June 7, 2011 6:38 AM

NOW look who got their facts wrong. The neighbors in the Ellison dispute just denied the Socksite report:
http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2011/06/07/just_in_birds_gotta_sing_trees_gonna_grow_denials_gotta_fly.php

Before we too got far along in our day, we wanted to make sure that a rumor planted on a local real estate site didn't go any further- the terms of settlement between Larry Ellison and his downhill neighbors remain confidential. According to the neighbor's spokesperson Sam Singer:

The story on Socketsite is wholly false and incorrect, according to a conversation I just had with the family. Socketsite’s “plugged in” source must be plugged into a bottle of Johnnie Walker. The alleged source clearly has no actual knowledge of the settlement or its details.

[Editor's Note: The denial was actually published here first: Plugged-In To A Bottle Of Johnnie Walker? But it's good to see they're plugged-in. Stay tuned as we resolve the conflicting reports.]

Posted by: C. W. at June 7, 2011 8:52 AM

I wish I could afford a spokesperson.

Posted by: steve at June 7, 2011 9:00 AM

re: Ellison

well you done yourself in real good Socketsite.

The superior real estate blog with high journalistic integrity.

Or another rag, just like Curbed.

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

[Editor's Note: Yes, confirming the terms of a confidential agreement can be difficult, but we wouldn’t call this one quite yet.]

Posted by: sf at June 7, 2011 9:49 AM

Why pull the original story and its 24+ comments versus just updating it with the denial.

[Editor’s Note: One way or another we’ll run an update to the denial placeholder we first published and others picked up, but until we can resolve conflicting reports we’re not going to continue to run a piece that has the potential to be "wholly false."]

Posted by: eddy at June 7, 2011 10:17 AM

The mud that was thrown at "Curbed" was petty.
Not only from the editor here, but from comments at the top of this thread.

If you take a look at the story at Curbed, you don't see that sort of snide comments from the editor or people that comment.

I still galnce at socketsite (obviuosly), but it's refreshing to read curbed without the negative bias here and the petty fighting.

just my two cents.

[Editor’s Note: Yes, we called out Curbed on their report, just as we’re willing to do to ourselves. If you consider that throwing mud, so be it.]

Posted by: Allison at June 7, 2011 10:31 AM

A denial like that deserved its own separate entry, I think. Otherwise the retraction is diluted by the compromised info and loses its impact.

I find all of this a bit annoying. It appears as if some are using SS and sf.curbed as a means of negotiation.

Posted by: lol at June 7, 2011 10:35 AM

@ Allison, do you disagree that Curbed used to be a lot more flat and newsy with its language a year or so ago? At some stage along the way they got a new editor and they started injecting a lot more snark. I don't think that's really all that debatable.

Posted by: [anon.ed] at June 7, 2011 10:38 AM

"If you take a look at the story at Curbed, you don't see that sort of snide comments from the editor or people that comment.

I still galnce at socketsite (obviuosly), but it's refreshing to read curbed without the negative bias here and the petty fighting."

Are you joking, Allison? Curbed did get more snarky at some point. In addition, some idiot comes here every time Curbed and SocketSite happen to publish something about the same house and says that SocketSite copied Curbed. I don't really see that the other way. And last I checked Curbed, there was plenty of snark and in-fighting among the commenters themselves -- are you suggest that has changed?

The reality is that there are only so many housing porn houses to go around, and sometimes one of the sites (either site!) has been prepping a post well before it's released -- there's a trade-off between getting scooped and having better information sometimes. It happens.

Posted by: sfrenegade at June 7, 2011 11:17 AM

hi anon.ed
"@ Allison, do you disagree that Curbed used to be a lot more flat and newsy with its language a year or so ago? At some stage along the way they got a new editor and they started injecting a lot more snark. I don't think that's really all that debatable"

I actually just found Curbed.
I moved to SF two years ago when I purchased a home here. I've watched SF real estate from afar for about 4 years and really have only read socket site for about a year now. Curbed I found through the story they placed on the Ellison fiasco; ultimatley from another news feed just days ago.

So, long story short... I can't comment on past editors.

[Editor’s Note: For context, the first comment from "Allison" on SocketSite six months ago, albeit under a different name (one of five names that "Allison" has employed over the past month alone): "I rarely come to suck-it-site anymore..." If nothing else, we’ll commend the consistency.]

Posted by: allison at June 7, 2011 11:18 AM

So Allison (aka, Mark and who knows who else...), please stop your "obviuos" shilling and bashing. Maybe your friends over @ curbed will get around to explaining their situation. At least SS acknowledged and owned the potential error rather than gloss over it.

FWIW, I actually suspect that both tips are / were probably accurate.

I also happen to enjoy a neat scotch every on occasion but if I'm going to drink a blend it will most certainly be the Johnny Walker Blue. I wouldn't mind plugging into that! Cheers.

Posted by: eddy at June 7, 2011 1:14 PM

Who cares!

Posted by: Paul Hwang at June 7, 2011 2:34 PM

Posted by: SocketSite at September 2, 2011 5:42 PM

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