April 27, 2012

Inside The Rather Spectacular Spanish Colonial Home At 740 Church

740 Church Street

Constructed in 1936, the rather spectacular Spanish Colonial home at 740 Church Street began a meticulous two-year renovation and remodeling in 2003, finished with Venetian-plastered walls, hand crafted doors, and hand-hewn wood beamed ceilings.

740 Church Street Bedroom

740 Church Street Living

Prominently positioned overlooking Dolores Park, there’s a sun soaked rear courtyard and an adjacent 2,501 square foot vacant lot on Cumberland that’s included in the sale.

740 Church Street Courtyard

And yes, we said spectacular.

∙ Listing: 740 Church Street (6/6.5) - $5,250,000 [nealwardproperties.com]

First Published: April 27, 2012 1:30 PM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Was wondering when this would come on the market, and at what price. It's absolutely beautiful, and a labor of love for the late previous owner.

Wish I could afford it!

Posted by: curmudgeon at April 27, 2012 1:43 PM

Fantastic!

Posted by: MarinaBoy at April 27, 2012 2:00 PM

Price seems like a stretch but that's an incredible property and love the location.

Posted by: Michael at April 27, 2012 2:47 PM

Wow, wish I hadn't just closed on another house. Would have loved to land here and be done. It's lovely.

Posted by: MrsLotus at April 27, 2012 2:49 PM

Over Priced

Posted by: Mike L at April 27, 2012 2:59 PM

maybe overpriced but it's going to go for a very pretty penny. Remember it has a vacant lot next door. What's that worth on its own in that location? a mill?

I believe the previous owner had plans to put in a pool there but never got around to it.

Posted by: curmudgeon at April 27, 2012 3:01 PM

yeah, I have all kinds of plans that I have never gotten around to.

For this price, I would want a place where I don't hear the J Church metal on metal screech by my home and where I don't have an apartment building looking down on my courtyard (see first photograph).

The website is very difficult to read.

The finishes and woodwork are spectacular. I would love to see before photos. But for this price, you have much better options.

Posted by: aroundthehouse at April 27, 2012 3:08 PM

So basically, you don't want to live in a city? Marin county is calling(along with its dull culture)

Posted by: sf at April 27, 2012 3:23 PM

The house is perfection. Been in it for a benefit a few years back.

So weird seeing people question the price... it's a one of a kind 5000 sq ft house done to pretty much the highest level, overlooking the City, with a fully vacant lot next to it included.

I don't know... just feel like this fully makes sense. We see countless Pac Hts/Presidio Hts standard homes on here go for around this price. I think if you have the money, but what to be somewhere that isn't a snooze, this is it.

Posted by: Longtime Lurker at April 27, 2012 3:26 PM

Well, anyone has options north of 3 mil. There have been several 3 mil + sales for properties in Dolores Heights environs without an adjacent vacant lot. I don't think any have the cachet of this place (and some...like 41 Ford Street are distinctly inferior). Firehouse on 22nd was 4 mil, and again I think this place is distinctly better than that. So I would not be surprised to see this set a Dolores Heights record.

J Church, Dolores Park, adjacency to Mission hipness...I think all of that makes the property unique (and what makes people like Dolores Heights). It's the kinda place where you can be the 1%, but not hermetically sealed away with your brethren. Any gay or hipster tech zillionaires will love this place.

It's been mentioned many times before, but I don't think that Pac Heights is even on the radar screen for someone who is in the market for this.

Posted by: curmudgeon at April 27, 2012 3:27 PM

Have always admired the house from the outside: the quality, the detailing, the landscaping, the site. The interior is just as spectacular.

I think it's under-priced for location, views, orientation toward the sun, quality, size, amenities...and the vacant lot. The lot alone is probably close to $1m.

Posted by: futurist at April 27, 2012 3:27 PM

It's kind of like food...when you go to a fancy restaurant and the prices are 10x what you get vs your neighborhood favorite, and you wonder, is this food 10x better? No..it might be 2x better, but not 10x better. But it just will cost you that much more to get that little bit better. A place like this, with the right location, right views, right sun, right finishes...it's up to some zillionaire to decide whether s/he's willing to pay a premium that's exponential rather than arithmetic for a rare combination of the right elements.

Posted by: jenofla at April 27, 2012 3:40 PM

You guys are out of your mind if you think this doesn't sell quickly.

Whoever was in charge of this place was meticulous. Look at the art above the living room fireplace. Someone measured the angle of the fireplace and then had the frame cut to the exact complimentary angle to make sure it hung straight up and down.

Posted by: tipster at April 27, 2012 3:48 PM

Since it came up, you don't have an apartment building looking into your courtyard. You have a lot - *your* lot. Kind of the point.. See "Additional Lot" photos.

Posted by: Phillip at April 27, 2012 3:48 PM

If you have the money, and want to enjoy all the great qualities of this part of town, it's hard to think of a single other property even close to this combination of quality/size/taste/etc.

Posted by: Joshua at April 27, 2012 4:07 PM

I question whether the lot is really worth $1M.

The lot sits where the backyard would be on any other home. Sell the lot and you have a 6/6.5 with no backyard. I think that diminishes the value of this place by about as much as the lot is worth. The lot itself is not very deep. Doesn't seem like it would support much of a home.

I think the lot isn't really worth very much at all.

Posted by: tipster at April 27, 2012 4:09 PM

Tipster, that's not true. There is a sizeable backyard (it's mostly paved as a courtyard..that's where the water feature is). The lot is beyond that. Currently it's totally fenced off from the property.

As a developable site, it should be worth quite a lot (I don't know how much..not my biz) because it would have a view over this property towards downtown.

Posted by: curmudgeon at April 27, 2012 4:27 PM

Odd that they manipulated the "Not a Through Street" sign to just have a blank yellow sign in front of the house. I guess its better than shopping it out all together.

Posted by: eddy at April 27, 2012 4:28 PM

Yes, they're definitely trying to hide something, those damned realtors! (Or maybe the text has faded over time?)

Posted by: mike at April 27, 2012 4:37 PM

The lot has great potential, in the hands of a very sensitive architect. It's large enough to support a SFD, with views toward downtown; and it could be designed to minimize impact on the larger house for sale.

The existing house has a large south yard, mostly an enclosed terrace but very private and sunny; great for parties.

I'll stick with my ballpark of "about" $1m for the lot; figure $1.5m for construction, about $150k for fees/permits/soft costs.

Posted by: futurist at April 27, 2012 4:40 PM

Just looked at Google street view. The sign reads "DEAD END" rather then "NOT A THROUGH STREET". Can't blame them for not wanting that to show up on the photo.

Posted by: mike at April 27, 2012 4:43 PM

Been living on this block of Cumberland for over 22 years. Needless to say, a beautiful, beautiful home. The owner was meticulous. I wish the new ones the very best. In regards to the sign, it was totally faded up until they did restenceling a few months back, so the photo could have been from a few months back.

Posted by: Neighbor at April 27, 2012 5:13 PM

Freakin' awesome place and location. Best in the city IMO. Charlotte might like to live in Pac Heights but Samantha, Miranda and Carrie (or their gay counterparts) would all be perfectly happy here.

Posted by: stanford at April 27, 2012 5:16 PM

tipster is right about the attached lot, it looks pretty small if you review the lot lines in google maps. It's hard to value a lot, but at the size of that one it's hard to imagine it would sell for more than $600,000.

Posted by: lyqwyd at April 27, 2012 5:24 PM

will be interesting to see the final price in relation to 111 Liberty...both great. think this one wins out

Posted by: carter at April 27, 2012 5:25 PM

Never underestimate the price of real estate and/or lot values in Dolores Heights/Noe Valley.

So anywhere from $600k to $1m. who knows,really?

But I'll bet it's worth at the high end.

Posted by: futurist at April 27, 2012 5:43 PM

I was at the home recently for a party, and for all of you saying it's not worth the price, I'm sure NONE of you have had the privilege of being entertained in it. The home is wonderful and the owner who restored it took the utmost attention to detail in doing so. The property is fantastic, and truly amazing. Originally the owner was going to put a pool in the back when he acquired the vacant lot behind the courtyard. I'm jealous of whomever snatches this place up!

Posted by: RJ at April 27, 2012 6:31 PM

I was lucky to have known the owner of the home. He was a very loving and generous man and a great host. He was meticulous in the restoration of the home. He loved this home and took such pride in its outcome. No expense was spared. Everything in the home is of the highest quality with many items being fabricated in or imported from Morroco. The home has a lovely flow. It's grand without being showy. I wish I had the funds to purchase it. I wish the new owners all the best.

Posted by: JG at April 27, 2012 6:59 PM

This is a great looking home, does anyone know who designed and built it back in the 1930's?

I'm a big fan of the many amazing Mediterranean style homes built in the Bay Area in the 1920s and 1930's, but I have not been able to find much information about the designers and builders on line.

Does anyone know of any sites that have information on Bay Area Mediterranean homes?

Posted by: FormerAptBroker at April 28, 2012 10:17 AM

According to the property website, the extra lot is 2501 square feet, which is a good size. In that location, with a downtown view, that lot seems pretty valuable if it went on the market. But someone who could afford this house could afford to keep the lot.

Posted by: Dan at April 28, 2012 11:23 AM

I think the lot is a perfect place for a hobby vineyard -- Reisling would do nicely in the location.

My guess is that this goes quickly. $5 MM is well within the reach of many of the techies and there just aren't very many places this spectacular in this very good location.

Posted by: NoeNeighbor at April 28, 2012 1:22 PM

According to City records, 740 Church St is a lot of 6355 sq ft with a dwelling of 5089 sq ft and a land value assessment of $1,348,373 and a building assessment of $930,375. Of course, assessed value is a fraction of market value. The property was last sold in 4/2003 for $1,835,000 (having been listed closer to $1m if I recall). 222 Cumberland (aka the vacant lot) has an assessed land value of $1,281,555, having last sold in 4/2008.

in 2/2001 there was an application for a variance to split the existing existing 6335 sq ft 740 Church St. lot into two lots. Disapproved. In 10/2001 there was a proposal for a lot split "that would reduce the rear yard for the existing house below Planning Code requirements, with an easement to be recorded against the new lot to maintain the required rear yard for the existing lot." Approved.(Don't plan on building a house on that "vacant lot". I haven't read the easement but it appears it is now required back yard for 740 Church). In 2/2002 there was an approved 2-lot subdivision of 740 Church. Then in 3/2003 there was an application for a variance to reconstruct an existing noncomplying deck in the required rear yard. Approved. In 9/208 there was an application for a variance to construct a pool and loggia on the 222 Cumberland vacant lot. Approved.

In terms of building permits:
10/88 $27,000 new kitchen (prior remodel)
2/02 $75,000 guest bedroom, upstairs office (prior remodel)
5/03 $80,000 steel frame, bathroom, anchoring
7/04 $25,000 windows and doors
10/03 $10,000 roofing
10/03 $15,000 foundation
9/04 $90,000 replace wood deck with conc and steel
3/04 $40,000 remodel ground floor; add 2 br and 2 bath; reconfigure stairs
4/04 $4,000 partial demo conc wall in front
7/04 $180,000 increase value of work on prior
permit
3/05 $1,000,000 erect 3 story single family dwelling on 222 Cumberland. Permit cancelled 2/2010
9/2008 $500,0000 swimming pool and patio loggia with wetbar, privacy wall along Cumberland, etc.

Just a dumb addition of the low assessed values and the stated permit values and you're over $4m. Agree, this will go quickly.

Posted by: Jim at April 28, 2012 4:36 PM

Gorgeous, but don't think they will get asking for this.

Posted by: Mark F. at April 30, 2012 11:41 AM

"Just a dumb addition of the low assessed values and the stated permit values"

Is that how we're assessing value. Someone pulls a permit for two, alternative builds (the pool OR the 2nd house but not both), doesn't build either and they get a bump in value for both of them? Really?

Posted by: tipster at April 30, 2012 12:56 PM

Love the realtor shilling, but don't think this place really needs it. Looks pretty amazing.

Posted by: lolcat_94123 at April 30, 2012 1:04 PM

I didn't notice any realtor shilling. Most commenters (like me) seem to know the property or the previous owner or both.

Posted by: curmudgeon at April 30, 2012 1:59 PM

Tipster - Don't include either the pool or the 2nd house - it still comes in over $4m.

Posted by: Jim at April 30, 2012 4:03 PM

$1,348,373 and $930,375 (assessed values) are about 2.275M

Eliminating the permitted work done before the sale, which would be included in the sale price, and the stuff not done:

$80,000
$25,000
$10,000
$15,000
$90,000
$40,000
$4,000
180,000

I get $444K from the above. Add that to 2.275.

Total still well under $3Mil.

How you get $4Mil is beyond me.

Posted by: tipster at April 30, 2012 4:42 PM

add in 222 Cumberland lot appraised value of $1.282.

Posted by: jim at April 30, 2012 5:43 PM

Beautiful home. The home has been tastefully remodeled with great attention to detail. I would not be surprised if it goes way over the asking price.

Posted by: will at May 1, 2012 1:19 PM

will - Meet stanford, neighbor, RJ, and JG. You'll have fun shillin out and anticipating how you're going to divide up the higher proceeds from the price you're trying to inflate. Oh wait, you're the same person? Well it is easier to divide by one then.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 1, 2012 1:53 PM

^^^Because all SF buyers consult socketsite before submitting an offer?

Posted by: mike at May 1, 2012 3:02 PM

mike - no. But I do think that a potential buyer of a large asset might be inclined to type "740 Church" into a search engine and read a few of the unique links. Give it a try.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 1, 2012 3:55 PM

And if a prospective buyer did find this site.. they see positive comments and then what? They add another million bucks on their offer?

Posted by: R at May 1, 2012 4:15 PM

Just saw the home on tour.

Wow. It's as good as advertised. I feel like in our business "unique" is often a euphemism for "weird", but this is one case where the home is unique in all the right ways.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say it's well priced. I guess we'll see.

Posted by: Noe-Broker at May 1, 2012 4:24 PM

"Milkshake of Despair" has negative comments based on nothing... again! Shocked.

By all accounts the place is pretty impressive. I didn't see it yet though - and neither have you. So I know this may sound weird to you in your world of crankypants negativity, but maybe it's just a nice property and people are "Gasp!" saying so. That can happen, you know?

Posted by: Agent415 at May 1, 2012 4:32 PM

Agent415 - Where did I mention anything at all negative about this property? All I did was call out the shills.

--------------

R - I'm not sure whether or not the shill comments will affect offers. But I do think that the shill(s) think(s) so.

------------------

You'd have to be pretty naive to think that there aren't shills prowling the internet. You can tell the difference between genuine praise and shill comments. They "smell" different.

Shills should wise up because their efforts smell of insincerity and desperation and could backfire.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 1, 2012 5:23 PM

Redfin reports that a very modest place around the corner from this one, 3928 20th street, just went into contract for $1.4m, or $550k over the asking price of $849k, or about $1000 psf.
Truly, people love this mini-hood.

Posted by: sanfrantim at May 3, 2012 5:28 PM

And, before I get accused of schillin'- i'm not. I lived for 10 years in the apartment building shown "looming" over this Spanish colonial. Unfortunately, the neighbors never invited me over. :( But, to those who expressed concern about the colonial's privacy, I can attest that one cannot peer down into the lot; the balconies all face north and south.

I really have to agree with those who think that, despite the shockingly high sticker price, this will go at, or over, asking.

Posted by: sanfrantim at May 3, 2012 5:37 PM

I suppose the quick close on the 3928 20th street property -- 6 days -- indicates it was all-cash.

Posted by: sanfrantim at May 3, 2012 5:47 PM

I looked at 3928 20th and it was obviously underpriced. But I would have guessed at a selling price of 1.2M-ish. Between Fountain St and this one, the market is feeling awfully bubbly. It's not good news for me and I hope it will settle down this fall.

The house featured on this post is lovely and I wish I could afford it. Oh well, I have my health :)

Posted by: RenterAgain at May 3, 2012 6:33 PM

Either underpricing is becoming the new "in" strategy or there are a lot of over asking sales closing these days.

Posted by: eddy at May 3, 2012 8:35 PM

RenterAgain...I'm in the same boat. And those two specific sales (20th Street and Fountain Street)are very troubling. The idea that a fixer is worth that much just makes no sense to me, and I hope that they are weird outliers but only time will tell.

And it does seem like underpricing is again a strategy. I guess it is the natural response to too many people chasing too few listings. Underpricing gets folks riled up and pulling out their checkbooks.

(I don't think the Cumberland property is underpriced..we'll see!)

Posted by: curmudgeon at May 4, 2012 9:36 AM

I would have loved to look at more pictures of this beautiful home, but the website's UI sucked so bad that I gave up.

The designers of these real estate web sites with their excessive use of Flash, horrific interfaces, auto-play music, etc. should all be sentenced to life imprisonment in a small cell covered with screens that permanently flash the worst of 1997 era blink tag web pages.

Posted by: Kurt Brown at May 6, 2012 1:06 PM

in contract.

Posted by: sparky-b at May 8, 2012 8:42 AM

doesnt sf real estate law say you have to disclose if someone dies in a house?

[Editor's Note: It does and the death was disclosed.]

Posted by: mrman at July 24, 2012 2:53 PM

The sale of 740 Church Street and its adjacent vacant lot closed escrow today with a repoted contract price of $5,250,000.

Posted by: SocketSite at August 3, 2012 12:35 PM

Selling at asking and no crazy bidding war. Must be a sign of weakness ;)

Posted by: lol at August 3, 2012 12:47 PM

lol indeed. Looks well priced. It's a neighborhood record for an SFR isn't it? (I'm not including the Church).

Posted by: curmudgeon at August 3, 2012 2:00 PM

Keep in mind there's a vacant lot in the purchase. It means you can build a second house then have the luxury of picking your future neighbor!

Posted by: lol at August 3, 2012 2:09 PM

Good point, lol. Valuing the lot at $1 mill (which seemed to be about consensus here), this was still the SECOND most expensive SFR in the neighborhood, according to what I see on redfin. And, strangely to me, this is cheap compared to 111 Liberty which sold for 4.75. To each his own, of course, but I think the buyer on Cumberland got a much better deal.

Posted by: curmudgeon at August 3, 2012 2:15 PM

Not overpriced. It sold for asking. Perfectly priced by definition.

Posted by: Local at August 6, 2012 2:53 PM

Someone overpaid. Sucker born every minute.

Posted by: NoeLocal at August 7, 2012 3:37 PM

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