January 11, 2012
From A $7 Million View Home To A $4 Million View?
Purchased for $7,000,000 in 2004, the 4,836 square foot home at 333 Belvedere Avenue across the bridge in Belvedere returned to the market in early 2009 listed for $12,900,000. The property had been been refinanced in 2008 with a first mortgage for $4,650,000 and a second for $2,100,000 to which a third for $1,725,000 was added in July 2009.
Reduced to $9,950,000 in December 2009, to $8,950,000 in 2010, and then withdrawn from the market five months ago last asking $7,500,000, the one-time Blanding Estate Carriage House which was "beautifully transformed into one of Belvedere's most prominent view-oriented residences" (according to its Sotheby's listing) sold on the courthouse steps for $4,175,000 last week. But wait, there’s more.
While we can't currently confirm, and perhaps a bit of bravado is in play, if a plugged-in reader's source is correct, the multi-million dollar property "was bought by a neighbor with the intent of demolishing it to clear the view."
First Published: January 11, 2012 7:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
I guess tearing down over there isn't as complicated as it is here. Crazy display of wealth.
Posted by: eddy at January 11, 2012 9:18 AM
Every time I hear about something in Belvedere (which isn't often) I think of the Looney Tunes with the old plantation owner and the bulldog named Belvedere. "Belvedeah! Come heah boy!" I imagine that's how everyone talks in Belvedere.
Posted by: James at January 11, 2012 9:28 AM
I don't understand who would gain by tearing it down. The house to the right has an unobstructed view of the City. Unless they also want an unobstructed view to the North, why do it? The houses across the street are high enough up to look over it. (Check out Google street view.)
Posted by: jlasf at January 11, 2012 9:29 AM
If true, the tear-down idea is an absolutely fabulous display of wealth and waste. Its simply awesome!
Just imagine what it would be like to be able to do something like that... buy a house for north of 4 mil and then just bulldoze it.
That's how the .1% roll.
Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at January 11, 2012 9:35 AM
If the neighbor is adjacent, then they also get a bigger yard for that extra cash.
Posted by: kg at January 11, 2012 9:39 AM
The new owner might build a new non-view obstructing home on this parcel, secure a view easement, and resell the parcel. So it might not be as enormous of a waste.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at January 11, 2012 9:58 AM
John Cleese did something a bit similar in Montecito around 10 years ago. His neighbor's beachfront property was for sale, and he didn't want any big parties. He purchased the property and cherry-picked the buyer.
In can understand why you would do that.
1 - The house to be torn down is a massive cube. The buyer's existing house has a ton of outdoors space. You lose a bit of privacy with this neighbor who doesn't have the same issues because he's higher. Removing the house will make your place even more enjoyable.
2 - Say you want your privacy and you keep this big house empty. You have to maintain it, protect it. A one time expense will take care of that.
3 - In that section of Belvedere, you end up with the most desirable property. You get out of bed to your balcony and there's no one to check out what underwear you have on you.
This is the 0.01% kicking the 0.1% out of the neighborhood.
Posted by: lol at January 11, 2012 9:59 AM
Money can't buy good taste, but apparently it can improve your lot size and view.
"That's how the .1% roll."
Benjamin Franklin once said "A Fool and his money are soon parted"... They were lucky to have gotten together in the first place, too...
I don't think that any view is worth $4 million dollars.
The land acquisition mitigates that, taking a $7 million dollar estate, adding $4M, and having it approach a $15M waterfront on the lagoon.
Granted its staggering to think of $4 Million as monopoly money.
Posted by: BillyBalls at January 11, 2012 10:00 AM
Here is the listing and related pics:
Posted by: eddy at January 11, 2012 10:12 AM
This is not so crazy. The house is dumpy and has only eight foot ceilings in most rooms. Simply holding an empty lot in Belvedere is a likely a good investment.
Posted by: inmycountry at January 11, 2012 10:32 AM
pfft. if you have 10MM laying around like that and you plan to be in your house for the next 10-40 years it could be an "appreciating expense."
Posted by: EH at January 11, 2012 10:36 AM
Go Detroit on the property! Tear it Down! Tear it Down! Lesss density, more green space, I love it!
Posted by: kathleen at January 11, 2012 10:48 AM
In Belvedere we renovate the old fashioned way: we buuuuuhrrn it.
Posted by: Delancey at January 11, 2012 12:01 PM
A fun twist would be to send the California Coastal Commission to impose strict guidelines on what "natural landscaping" should be on this lot.
Posted by: lol at January 11, 2012 1:22 PM
CCC has no jurisdiction in the Bay. You probably meant BCDC. However, from the looks of the aerial, the lot is probably outside the BCDC 100-foot shoreline band.
Posted by: mike at January 11, 2012 1:32 PM
All interesting, but what about the drop from 7mm to 4.175mm. Ouch-- am I missing something here?
Posted by: ? at January 11, 2012 8:08 PM
This goes to show you how long it can take for a bad economy to ripple through to the upper layers.
The couple who owned this property owned several resorts/spas and at least one hotel. The economy turned down and all of the companies filed for bankruptcy and the employees filed complaints because they were not paid, which usually indicates there is no money at all. That was in 2009. They are just now being foreclosed.
In many ways, the real estate downturn is just getting started. Should be an interesting year.
Posted by: tipster at January 11, 2012 10:19 PM
Four doors down from there, u can see there's another empty HUGE lot, full of grey rocks and lava etc Looks like it was in the middle of being dismantled and then they just stopped. Its been like that for a while. Anyone know whats going on with that one?
Posted by: mac at January 12, 2012 7:15 AM
That parcel is actually 3 or 4 lots. Back in the 1970's a wealthy Iranian aquired those lots and began constructing the lava rock garden. It made news back then and most Belvedere residents were up in arms about it as it didn't fit in with the wooded character of the island.
The lots are currently for sale.
Posted by: inmycountry at January 12, 2012 9:31 AM
Thanks IMC. I sat on the lava rocks a few weeks ago and admired the view.
Well if those 4 lots are going for around the same as the foreclosed house here, then this seems like an all around bad investment..
Posted by: mac at January 12, 2012 9:08 PM
This is why inequality sucks. We'll probably see the same in San Francisco, too-- apartments emptied out to suit someone's lifestyle, because the place is more valuable as a second party pad than as housing for a family. Excellent transit and local shops that depend on residents? Who cares-- people who shop locally don't have the money to live there.
Posted by: Alai at January 15, 2012 4:18 AM
@Alai: What's the problem exactly? You would like to live on Belevedere island on a mere $250,000/year salary -- too bad! We all would, but you've been outbid by people with real money. Move to a condo in Pacific Heights where you belong.
Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at January 16, 2012 9:17 AM