188 Minna Penthouse Bath
Purchased for roughly $30,000,000 as a raw shell in 2005 by local real estate developer Victor MacFarlane, listed for $70,000,000 in 2008, and last asking $49,000,000 having finished an uberexpensive five year renovation, the 20,000 square foot penthouse atop San Francisco’s St. Regis at 188 Minna has been deeded back to Bank of America in lieu of foreclosure and is returning to the market priced at $35,000,000.
As a prescient plugged-in reader wrote in 2009: “I wonder if this place will win the prize for, “Most expensive foreclosure in the city.” That would be a bingo!
Full Disclosure: The co-listing agent for the penthouse atop the San Francisco St. Regis advertises on SocketSite but provided no compensation for this post.
St. Regis Penthouse Asking $70M: Is San Francisco All Growns Up? [SocketSite]
First Peek Inside The Finished St. Regis Penthouse Atop 188 Minna [SocketSite]
Going Up: St. Regis Penthouse Construction Nearly Complete [SocketSite]
Inside The St. Regis Penthouse: The Rendering Scoop And Details [SocketSite]
St. Regis Penthouse Now $21,000,000 Off (And No, That’s Not A Typo) [SocketSite]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by marco

    Ridiculous! Who was behind this project?

  2. Posted by 4oceans

    It’ll sell for about $6.5. Really not worth any more than that, even in a strong market. SF is littered with overpriced condos.

  3. Posted by diemos

    My guess is that this will eventually sell for $20M.
    It is after all a trophy property.

  4. Posted by eddy

    Well, technically it’s not a foreclosure from the description above. But on what was this Victor guy smoking?
    Some of the comments from the older threads were pretty funny. Supposedly this will be a slam dunk at $35M.
    When’s the open house?

  5. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I haven’t looked into it at all, but I assume that Mr. MacFarlane did something slick like form a single-purpose LLC just for this project so he didn’t have to assume any personal liability for this when it ultimately went belly-up. I can’t believe he just walked away and stuck taxpayers with a ≥$30M loss but perhaps I’m just naive.
    The underwriter at Bank of America that approved the loan should be tarred and feathered and paraded through downtown on a tumbril.

  6. Posted by Average Joe

    “tumbril” ? I like that; fun word. Had to Google it, and now will definitely add it to my lexicon.

  7. Posted by Mole Man

    Here we go with the taxpayers thing again. Banks are going to be slogging along for a long time after this because they have to swallow the debts. Taxpayers don’t have anywhere near enough money for this. The total losses for this correction are around six or eight trillion total. It is a frustrating mess that damages the economy as a whole, but lying about how much the government might be able to pay doesn’t help.

  8. Posted by eddy

    Doesn’t officially back on the market generally mean that it’s on the MLS? It’s still listed on Gregg Lynn’s website. Can we see the private video walk through?

  9. Posted by eddy

    Here is the forbes video that I’ve not seen before:
    http://video.forbes.com/fvn/business/san-francisco-penthouse-palace

  10. Posted by ex SF-er

    only people who smoked crack thought this place was every anywhere near $75M.
    I remember in the old threads when people compared this (positively and negatively) to Candy Spelling’s overpriced monstrosity down in LA. last I checked, that place finally sold for half of original asking.
    Thanks for video Eddy! My favorite is the end when they say “3 out of 5 qualified buyers looking at our condo are from Asia. Asians are fond of San Francisco”.
    Probably true… but not $49,000,000 true.
    all that said: the place appears luxurious and it is stunningly beautiful although not all to my taste.

  11. Posted by DB73

    If you want to talk about what taxpayers lost, this is nothing. Look at the real estate investment that CalPERS made in Landsource through an entity co-managed by MacFarlane Partners….
    http://www.pionline.com/article/20091023/DAILYREG/910239983

  12. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Mole Man, your third sentence directly refutes the second one.
    Banks don’t have near enough capital or equity to swallow the aggregate losses created by making loans like this one over the last decade. In case you hadn’t been keeping up on the news over the last few years, that’s why TARP was forced down the throats of the citizens of this country; only taxpayers have anywhere near enough money for this, with help from The Fed, of course. Banks in general, and Bank of America in particular, aren’t going to “swallow” a damn thing.

  13. Posted by sfrenegade

    “I haven’t looked into it at all, but I assume that Mr. MacFarlane did something slick like form a single-purpose LLC just for this project so he didn’t have to assume any personal liability for this when it ultimately went belly-up.”
    BofA would have been stupid not to get a personal guaranty in that case.
    So is this place missing copper pipe? :p

  14. Posted by sfrenegade

    For the record, MacFarlane Penthouse LLC apparently paid $22,768,500 in October 2005. Biggest deadbeat ever, this guy?

  15. Posted by EBGuy

    Look at the real estate investment that CalPERS made in Landsource through an entity co-managed by MacFarlane Partners…
    Here’s some of the fallout from that deal. IT IS ADJUDGED THAT PLAINTIFF WRI CP INVESTMENTS III, LLC RECOVER FROM DEFENDANT MACFARLANE HOUSING LLC $24,016,604.00

  16. Posted by EBGuy

    And here’s how there doing on the floors below. Unit 23F (1526 sq.ft.) was purchased in 2007 for $2,250,000 in Aug. 2007 according to PS. Total financing came to $1.8 million. A NOD was filed on May 3, 2011. The property is currently listed as short sale for $1.94 million.

  17. Posted by snider

    Schadenfreude (i/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/; German pronunciation: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏdə]) is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.[1] This German word is used as a loanword in English and some other languages, and has been calqued in Danish and Norwegian as skadefryd and Swedish as skadeglädje.[citation needed]

  18. Posted by bossmillion

    tumbril
    —n. 1. a farm cart for carrying dung, esp one that tilts backwards to deposit its load.

  19. Posted by sfrenegade

    “Schadenfreude (i/ˈʃɑːdənfrɔɪdə/; German pronunciation: [ˈʃaːdənˌfʁɔʏdə]) is pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.”
    Yes, I agree with this sentiment. Victor MacFarlane most likely feels schadenfreude at the American taxpayers’ picking up the tab on this.

  20. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I remember in the old threads when people compared this (positively and negatively) to Candy Spelling’s overpriced monstrosity down in LA. last I checked, that place finally sold for half of original asking.

    I believe the comparison was that, since this place was the most expensive condo on the S.F. market at the time, the commenter was comparing it to the most expensive condo purchase on record in California.
    That condo was the top two floors of a Century City residential tower that Candy Spelling moved into after she moved out of her mansion in the Holmby Hills ‘hood and put it on the market. The condo she purchased, unfinished like this one, was for a record $47 million, or $2,848 per ft.², so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to conclude that the penthouse atop The St. Regis wasn’t going to sell for $70 million, $60 million or even $50 million (the Spelling condo was smaller at just 16,500 ft.²)

  21. Posted by bgelldawg

    It’s the top floor and still has a partially blocked view. Yuck.

  22. Posted by Charlie Mintz

    Greetings. I’m a reporter for KALW looking into this as a potential story. Anyone want to get in touch with me and drop some knowledge? Background or for attribution. camintz@stanford.edu.

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