June 24, 2011

Two Years Later And The Bank Gets Its Mansion Back

2799 Pacific (Image Source: noehill.com)

As we wrote about the mansion at the corner of Pacific and Divisadero back in June 2009:

Commissioned by Dr. C. N. Ellinwood in 1893, 2799 Pacific was designed by Eugene Freeman and its 28 rooms, 14 fireplaces and glass domed center hallway were finished in 1894. And the Ellinwood residence is San Francisco Landmark #207.
As a number of plugged-in people noted last month, 2799 Pacific fell into foreclosure and had a date with the courthouse steps earlier this month. And as a couple of other plugged-in people piece together, with a mortgage balance due of $11,363,000 and an unmet minimum bid of $10,000,000, the landmark 2799 Pacific was taken back by the bank.

As a plugged-in reader adds today (emphasis ours):

I work for the law firm that just completed the lockout on this property.

So in addition to the deed, it's two years later and Chevy Chase bank finally has the keys.

A Landmark District Seven Mansion Foreclosure (2799 Pacific) [SocketSite]
San Francisco Landmark 207: Ellinwood Residence (2799 Pacific) [noehill.com]

First Published: June 24, 2011 1:15 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Interesting. This is one of my favorite homes in all of PH.

Posted by: eddy at June 24, 2011 12:36 PM

Two years later they complete the lockout? Apparently, someone forgot to stamp "Rush" on this one.

Posted by: tipster at June 24, 2011 12:38 PM

The people who bought the semi-detached house in the 3300 block of Jackson could have had this. No comparison. The neighbors are of the same caliber.
It is really a magnificent house, almost a Victorian palace, and some lucky people will now end up with it at a good price.

Posted by: conifer at June 24, 2011 2:08 PM

I'd predict a $4M+ loss on this place, but obviously the bank isn't in any hurry to list it, much less resell, if they took two years to do the lockout. My fuzzy recollection is that banks have to recognize the loss upon foreclosure, so there's no economic incentive to hold this place off the market in the false, empty hope that "the market" will "turn around" in the interim, correct?

Maybe there's something about it being a San Francisco Landmark that'll let The City get it faster via eminent domain or something if the bank just sits on it in denial and lets the building deteriorate. That'd be a shame for a place as nice as this.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at June 24, 2011 3:43 PM

Maybe I'm wrong but I don't understand how this house is worth anything beneath $12M.

Posted by: eddy at June 24, 2011 3:48 PM

How sad! What a gem, I think that is everyone's favorite home in Pacific Heights!

Posted by: David at June 24, 2011 7:46 PM

hell yeah, let the city Kelo it and turn it into a homeless shelter!

Posted by: EH at June 24, 2011 8:52 PM

Can someone explain to me how the duplex under discussion earlier this week is worth $9 million and this didn't sell for $10?

What am I missing here. I think I agree with all the people who said someone really overpaid for the duplex at $9 million. I also seems to me that the buyer's agent on that Jackson street transaction has some explaining to do. I can't imagine there was a bidding war at that price and they had to outbid someone.

Anyone know the inside story?

Posted by: sf agent at June 24, 2011 10:22 PM

>Can someone explain to me how the duplex under discussion earlier this week is worth $9 million and this didn't sell for $10?

The set of folks who can pay $10M for a home is small. The set who can (and are willing to) walk to the courthouse steps with $10M cash is significantly smaller.

Posted by: steve at June 25, 2011 9:53 AM

My read is that you needed to pay at least $10M AND pay off the $11M note.... That makes $21M.

Posted by: Nuck at June 25, 2011 12:01 PM

@Nuck - that makes a lot more sense if the expectation was $21 million. However, I don't see this being a $21 million house -- nice as it is, it is still on a busy corner and doesn't have the Gold Coast views. So, it won't sell for $21 anytime soon.

Anyone else know if this is correct? Would it have taken $21 million to buy this? Please explain if anyone knows.

Thanks in advance.

Posted by: sf agent at June 25, 2011 8:00 PM

EH wrote:

hell yeah, let the city Kelo it and turn it into a homeless shelter!

In my earlier comment, I was thinking that the property could be turned over to a n organization such as San Francisco Architectural Heritage, the charity which takes care of the Haas-Lilienthal House.

Nuck wrote:

My read is that you needed to pay at least $10M AND pay off the $11M note…That makes $21M.

Please post what makes you read it that way—my take is that the note was $11M, but the bank was willing to take the minimum bid of $10M just to get the nonperforming loan off of their balance sheet. They didn't get the $10M minimum bid, because as steve says above, the set of people who are able and willing to bring a set of cashiers checks ≥$10M+ to the courthouse steps for an uncertain auction is a significantly smaller (sub)set of people who can pay $10M for a home. The folks that constitute the former (i.e., "the market") didn't think this place was worth $10,000,000 and that's the way it goes.

That said, I have to agree with sf agent that there's no way in hell, if I had this kind of money, that I'd buy that glorified townhome on Jackson for $9.25M.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at June 25, 2011 8:28 PM

sf agent, are you really an SF agent? Doesn't look like it from your words.

Posted by: doubt it at June 25, 2011 9:46 PM

This made Matier and Ross' column today in The Chronicle (scroll down to the tail end if you don't care about the upcoming Mayor's race):

…no fewer than eight San Francisco sheriff's deputies descended on a $14 million historic mansion to carry out an eviction of its owners, Peter and Polly St. Geme.
The couple had spent a small fortune in recent years to restore the 118-year-old Victorian at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Divisadero Street – which features nine bedrooms, eight baths and 14 fireplaces.
…Peter St. Geme, a onetime Stanford football player who made a fortune as a tech investor, apparently saw his finances tank with the economy. Two years ago, the bank foreclosed on the mansion, and last-ditch negotiations by the couple to hang on to the property didn't work out.

So much for the assertion, often made on these comment threads by local real estate agents, that people buying multimillion dollar properties in S.F. pay all cash, don't need financing and only take out mortgages to obtain the tax deduction.

Sometimes the wealthy can be just as overleveraged as and make just as poor personal financial decisions as members of the proletariat.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at June 26, 2011 8:22 AM

o much for the assertion, often made on these comment threads by local real estate agents, that people buying multimillion dollar properties in S.F. pay all cash, don't need financing and only take out mortgages to obtain the tax deduction.

Brahma, sometimes people pay all cash, and sometimes they don't. This is one case. What is it with people on here needing to be so broad and definitive constantly?

Posted by: [anon.ed] at June 26, 2011 1:38 PM

@ doubt it. Why? I just asked some questions. You're not obligated to answer them -- I was just curious about some things that didn't seem to add up and I thought a SS reader might be able to give some insight and perspective. There seem to be some regular contributors to SS who know that neighborhood, and specific properties, very well (and better than I do).


Posted by: sf agent at June 26, 2011 2:30 PM

How sad for these deadbeats to get thrown out of their 8-figure house like so many people in the inland East Bay. You'd think only professional athletes and Hollywood starlets would be so incompetent with their money.

Posted by: sfrenegade at June 27, 2011 11:20 AM

I loved this house even before they buried the garage and extended a flat yard over it. I've always wondered, though, about the cheap, bamboo window coverings.

Posted by: BobN at June 27, 2011 3:24 PM

Mrs. Lathrop Ellinwood (whose husband had the house built) was my maternal great-grandmother's sister; their son Lathrop Ellinwood, Jr. my maternal grandmother's first cousin, and his daughter Anne Ellinwood my first cousin twice removed. She spent 20 years and $1MM restoring the mansion and had always hoped it could be taken over by a foundation such as San Francisco Architectural Heritage, but was turned down for lack of a significant endowment to maintain the property. Several of those of us who were related to Anne were fortunate enough to be given an extensive tour of the house, and to be able to photograph throughout the house on a visit there about 10 years ago. Anne died in 2011.

Posted by: Ms. Shon B. Miller at May 9, 2012 6:30 PM

I Googled Peter St Geme to try to get back in touch with him after years out of the country and happened upon this.

This thread is disgusting and each of the posters should be ashamed. The St Geme family has young children and is a fine and generous family in the community. It is shameful their - or anyone's - poor fortunes are mocked and celebrated like this. Disgraceful. You people should be ashamed.

Posted by: Harper at December 8, 2012 6:58 AM

Somebody called Peter St. Geme a deadbeat for being evicted from his foreclosed home 2 YEARS LATER and they should be ashamed? Peter St. Geme should be ashamed for losing so much of other peoples' money.

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at December 8, 2012 10:41 AM

I do not know St Geme, but in general Harper has a point. There are a lot of self-righteous posters on this list who have no empathy for other people who suffer setbacks. Losing a house like this must be a sad moment for anyone.

Posted by: conifer at December 9, 2012 5:10 PM

Let us all weep for the rich. They have so much more to lose than we do.

Posted by: diemos at December 10, 2012 10:38 AM

You stay classy San Francisco.

Posted by: Harper at December 11, 2012 5:32 AM

The St Geme family invested much more into the property than just the purchase price. See http://www.melaniehaiken.com/pdfs/corp-home-reshapinghistory.pdf for pics and what else they had done to this historic SF/Stanford property. I don't blame them for fighting this all the way. The bank will have much more to offer now compared to when they sold it to Pete and Polly. They could walk away with $18-$20 million in a good market.

[Editor’s Note: The bank sold it for $11,500,000 last year.]

Posted by: mikemather at June 7, 2013 9:02 AM

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