December 16, 2011

Penthouse Atop San Francisco St. Regis Sells For A Record $28 Million

188 Minna Penthouse Sunset View

As we first reported earlier this week, the bank-owned penthouse atop the San Francisco St. Regis was in contract having been listed for $35 million, down from $70 million in 2008.

According to our sources, the sale of the penthouse atop 188 Minna has just closed escrow with a recorded contract price of $28 million, nearly double the previous record for a condo in San Francisco set by the penthouse atop the Royal Towers with an unreported but rumored sale price of $15 million a decade ago.

As plugged-in people know, it was real estate developer Victor MacFarlane who deeded the penthouse atop the St. Regis back to the bank earlier this year having purchased the space as three unfinished units for roughly $30 million in 2005 and having invested 5 years of time and money combining the units to construct and finish the 17,000 square foot penthouse with 2,900 square feet of outdoor terrace space.

As always, don’t forget those invitations to the housewarming and thanks for plugging in.

UPDATE: A plugged-in reader with photoshop skills submits, "So, how good do you have to be to find something like THIS under your tree?"

188 Minna Penthouse Under Tree (www.SocketSite.com)

Full Disclosure: The co-listing agent for the penthouse atop the San Francisco St. Regis advertises on SocketSite but couldn't comment on the sale.

Buyer Emerges For The Most Expensive Bank-Owned Condo In The US [SocketSite]
$70M St. Regis Penthouse Goes Back To The Bank And Drops To $35M [SocketSite]
St. Regis Penthouse Asking $70M: Is San Francisco All Growns Up? [SocketSite]

First Published: December 16, 2011 10:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Hmmm....kinda fun seeing a greedy 1%er get spanked by the market.

Posted by: 47yo hipster at December 16, 2011 10:37 AM

Why do you say "greedy?"

Posted by: Alpha at December 16, 2011 10:51 AM

the next question is: who?

Posted by: curmudgeon at December 16, 2011 11:19 AM

thanks SS for the coverage on this one...man, the outdoor spaces are crazy...easily 28x better than my friend's measly $1m condo!..lol...

Posted by: DanRH at December 16, 2011 11:19 AM

It will be a very long time until we see one like this again. The unit is grand and amazing, but three smaller units would also be grand and amazing. For people who have not seen this PH inside, it's very difficult to fully sense the scale of the place. It's over the top in so many ways. There are so many rooms, that I think the seller was simply inventing uses for rectangular spaces. A boardroom? Really???

Oh well, I hope the new owners enjoy living there...it will be interesting to see how their experience compares to buying an amazing place in Pac Hts.

Congrats to buyer and agents...

Posted by: Joshua at December 16, 2011 11:33 AM

Here's a bold prediction, but one I will own up to if it's proven wrong: whoever bought it will try to sell it again in the next few years - for more than they paid - and fail.

Also, Joshua, I doubt it will ever be lived in full-time, so their experience will actually be identical to buying an amazing place in Pac Heights: in each case they will have overspent on a trophy property in SF that sits empty 99% of the time. But again, that's just my guess. Maybe somebody raises their kids here...

Posted by: Legacy Dude at December 16, 2011 11:41 AM

I'd love to see a detailed financial post portem on who lost what here.

30 million for an unfinished shell? That was some powerful hopium they were smoking in 05!

Posted by: El Bombero at December 16, 2011 12:03 PM

^ and some could argue the place remains unfinished!!!

Probably needs $2-$3MM to make it work right.

p.s. (ZH vocabulary here?!?)

Posted by: Joshua at December 16, 2011 12:08 PM

I'm suprised this went that "low". Drops in @ #3 behind 2840 and 2950 Broadway for sale price. Having been in all three; Joshua - I'll tell you those two need at least 2/3 million worth of upgrades just to make them livable. Even with a closet bigger than my house - the penthouse has the "homiest" feel of any highrise unit I've ever been in.

[Editor’s Note: The Confidential Sale Price For 2840 Broadway On Billionaire’s Row and 2950 Broadway Sells For $29,500,000 (And No, That's Not A Typo).]

Posted by: DZinerSF at December 16, 2011 1:14 PM

Why isn't Victor MacFarlane in jail?
Burned through a billion dollars of Calpers capital in upside down real estate deals, all the while scrapping off tremendous fees for himself. It's amazing he's back developing properties again and banks will actually loan him money - INSANE!

Posted by: observer at December 16, 2011 1:46 PM

>>>Why isn't Victor MacFarlane in jail?

Because the 1% live by different rules than the rest of the population.

You can substitute MacFarlane's name with Wall Street, Bank CEO's, and etc.

Posted by: Jackson at December 16, 2011 2:05 PM

>>>Why isn't Victor MacFarlane in jail?

Duh, he's a job creator.

"Victor MacFarlane to bet $1 billion on Washington"

http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/morning_call/2011/11/victor-macfarlane-to-bet-1-billion-on.html

Posted by: Joshua at December 16, 2011 2:12 PM

On the MacFarlane thread... I have noticed that there is still NO activity on the site on Market next the the Gay and Lesbian Center that he acquired.

As someone with a CalPers pension, I'm not a big fan of his by any means. At least he didn't get to keep this place. And I have to be equally angry at the folks managing Calpers who bought into his "advice" hook line and sinker.

[Editor's Note: 1844 Market Street: Let’s Get Ready To Rumble Build!]

Posted by: curmudgeon at December 16, 2011 2:18 PM

The selling agent on this is not listed on the MLS so must have been a buyer/seller dual agency deal. Nice commission probably at 4% which equals $1,120,000. Ho Ho Ho and a Merry Xmas to all. It is my Xmas wish that the agents do something really nice for a foodbank or other needy program.

I also saw that the monthy fees are over $13,000 a month ......yikes ! and the 6 car parking is not deeded but $275 per month for each. This buyer is roll'in in the dough !

And to all a good night..............

Posted by: radar at December 16, 2011 2:59 PM

That was a great surrender by Mcfarlane. I am sure BofA was promised a lot of that 1 billion in Washington as well as all the other projects he has in the Bay Area.

Posted by: jimmythekid at December 16, 2011 3:11 PM

this place is amazing, and it'd be awesome to be invited to a party, although I'll never get an invite.

I sure hope someone lives here more than part time... hopefully not another American Airlines purchase :)

anyway, this property truly was unique. the $70M original ask was never even remotely believable, and $28M is astonishing in and of itself.

Posted by: ex SF-er at December 16, 2011 3:30 PM

Yup, ole vic screwed the pooch royally on this one. Almost as good as that other RE mogul in NYC, who paid big bucks for a condo across the street from the GM bldg., so he can look at his trophy property every night. The GM bldg got sold in a distress sale. It's been a bad few years for RE moguls. Glad I've been humble :)

Posted by: 47yo hipster at December 16, 2011 5:30 PM

Great price for such an over the top space! Who cares who it is? More power to them!

Posted by: Mole Man at December 16, 2011 8:03 PM

So the investor loses $16M on the carry and the work. I'll bet there are entire towns in the US whose residents didn't earn that much in the same period. Just the property tax was over a million and a half.

He thought big, though. Swung for the fences. Gotta love that.

Posted by: tipster at December 16, 2011 9:19 PM

@radar, actually the MLS notes that the buyer's agent is someone who is not a member of the San Francisco Association of Realtors. Since all three listing agents are members, this apparently is not a double ended deal. Even so, the reported commission to the buyer's side was 2.25%. Assuming it's the same for the listing side (not necessarily a safe assumption) it still means each of the three listing agents average over $200,000 minus their split with their broker and any costs. Or to put it another way, each of those agents will average on this one sale more than three times the commission an average agent will make for the entire year.

Posted by: jw2200 at December 16, 2011 11:34 PM

Jackson wrote:

>Why isn't Victor MacFarlane in jail?

The same reason that John Corizine and others with "friends in high places" are not in jail...

Then radar wrote:

> I also saw that the monthy fees
> are over $13,000 a month ......yikes !
> and the 6 car parking is not deeded
> but $275 per month for each.

At $13,000/mo HOA + $1,650/month parking that is $175,800 a year. You would have to be in the top 5% just to pay the HOA and parking at this place and you would need to be in the top 1% to pay the HOA, parking and tax bill...

Posted by: FormerAptBroker at December 17, 2011 12:51 PM

FormerAptBroker,

If your comment about Jon Corzine and his "friends in high places" somehow suggests only Democrats will receive special dispensation from me you are greatly mistaken.

Keep your narrow blinders on and drinking that tea-bag Kool-Aid.

Posted by: Jackson at December 17, 2011 7:07 PM

Jackson:

> FormerAptBroker, If your comment about
> Jon Corzine and his "friends in high places"
> somehow suggests only Democrats will receive
> special dispensation from me you are greatly
> mistaken. Keep your narrow blinders on and
> drinking that tea-bag Kool-Aid.

If you think that I am a tea party republican you have not read many of my posts... Anyone that gives a ton of money to republicans OR democrats will get "special dispensation"...

Sorry if by mentioning Corzine I made it sound like I was democrat bashing, I just could't think of a republican who stole even close to a billion dollars recently that will probably gat away with it...

P.S. I know someone that went to (Gunn) High School with Corzine's daughter in law who said that the way he divorced his wife of 30+ years is sure to get him in the slimeball divorce hall of fame with Newt Gingrich and Mark Sanford...

Posted by: FormerAptBroker at December 17, 2011 7:48 PM

FormerAptBroker,

We definitely think alike, as crooks come in all stripes.

All the Best of the Holiday Season to you

and everyone on Socketsite!

Posted by: Jackson at December 17, 2011 8:45 PM

This sale is nothing. Look at this small home in the Excelsior that just sold for a bit under $38 million!

http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/838-Avalon-Ave-94112/home/1423293

In all seriousness (not really), I'm looking forward to the uptick in condo average selling prices next month caused by this single sale and the touting on RE boards of this evidence of a strong market (must be Zynga!). I wonder if they will mention this quite nice place that closed on the same day down almost 30% in 4 1/2 years:

http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/310-Townsend-St-94107/unit-411/home/17305524

Posted by: A.T. at December 19, 2011 7:59 AM

This place is awesome..

Posted by: Mike L at December 21, 2011 2:15 PM

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