June 26, 2012

A (Four) Million Dollar View And Yard

333 Belvedere Avenue Aerial

As we first reported six months ago:

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Reduced to $9,950,000 in December 2009, to $8,950,000 in 2010, and then withdrawn from the market five months ago last asking $7,500,000, the one-time Blanding Estate Carriage House which was "beautifully transformed into one of Belvedere's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."

The demolition of 333 Belvedere Avenue is underway with the four million dollar view and new yard coming along nicely. Don't doubt the sources of those who are plugged-in.

From A $7 Million View Home To A $4 Million View? [SocketSite]

First Published: June 26, 2012 8:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Well many economists have always advocated bulldozing foreclosed homes as a way to reduce the excess supply but who would have guessed in the bay area it would start at the $4 million price point.

Posted by: Rillion at June 26, 2012 8:40 AM

The Real Bay Area is Special!

Posted by: Jane at June 26, 2012 9:49 AM

I thought the city was not allowing reduction of housing units.

Posted by: Marten at June 26, 2012 10:54 AM

I grew-up in that house but our family sold it many years ago. Since then, it has had several owners, most of not-very-long duration and (I believe) more than one absentee owner. A lot of money has been spent on the place to make it increasingly grand, although not really to current tastes.

Based on the types of homes built in Belvedere in recent years, demolition was probably the correct thing to do.

The story about the neighbor buying it to provide a garden and a view buffer is true as described in this recent story in the Marin IJ.

http://www.marinij.com/marinnews/ci_20920769/belvedere-couple-pays-4-2-million-yard-and

Ironically, when my family lived there, we also owned the neighboring property (shown to the right in your aerial photo). It was a vacant lot then and my parents kept *it* as a buffer. I believe both properties sold for about $115K or $120K in 1963.

When my parents sold the property in the late 70s, the purchaser of our house refused to buy the vacant lot which was being offered at a very attractive price as an inducement to buy the house. So my parents sold it to a spec builder who immediately built a large house almost abutting. That spec house was torn down in recent years to make way for the palace that sits there now.

Supposedly, the current owner of the adjacent property paid over $19 million for that house (plus $4.2 million for this property). His offer to purchase our old house was contingent on the previous owner obtaining a demolition permit from the City. I have heard that this is not their primary residence.

It was one of the oldest homes on the island. I recall a section of foundation with the date written in it about 1912. It was indeed the carriage home on the Blanding Estate; they owned much or all of Belvedere Island in those days. The editor of this site has written about another property that was part of the Blanding Estate:

http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2011/01/belvederes_organ_house_hits_craigslist_asking_12450_a_m.html

Posted by: NoNamePlease at June 26, 2012 10:58 AM

I assume the buyer is the grey-roofed manse to the right. If so, that house is oriented in the direction of the ex-house. Tearing it down will really improve their view. From Google Earth shots, it appears that the grey house doesn't have an outdoor pool or the land for one. Now, they will have plenty of space. (Perhaps, they also play tennis.) And it will also be one of the largest lots on tightly-packed Belvedere.

Aside from Outer Broadway, I can't think of anywhere that people would be willing to pay $25M+ for a house. This is a house that could be sold - with a profit. If you are one of the 1%, there is a certain logic to the deal.

Posted by: jlasf at June 26, 2012 11:05 AM

@jlasf:

The buyer is the "grey-roofed manse". However, the "meat" of the view from that place is not in the direction of the torn-down property. It is east and southeast towards the GGB and San Francisco. Tearing-down this house will provide a view of Mount Tamalpais and will give them some additional breathing room as their palace was built cheek-by-jowl with my old house.

For the record, I'm not aware of too many homes in Belvedere that have sold for anywhere near $19 million. Tom Perkins' old home, located directly uphill from this place and having a similar view, has been written about on this blog:

http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2007/04/go_big_and_go_home_in_belvedere.html

Listed at $20.5 million in 2007. Don't know what it sold for. Maybe $20 million is the "new normal" in Belvedere, but that remains to be proven.

Also, homes on Outer Broadway have one thing that few mansions in Belvedere have. It's called classic architecture (Tom Perkins' old place also has that).

When I grew-up there, it was a town with homes that were much smaller than the lots that they sat on. When I drive down Belvedere Avenue these days (increasingly infrequently), there is very little that I recognize from 35 years ago.

Posted by: NoNamePlease at June 26, 2012 11:21 AM

@NoNamePlease:

Thanks for the great background on your old home. But, as they says, "You can't go home again." There are now at least 4 homes listed for over $20M on Belvedere. 1 Cliff Road is $22.5M. 101 Belvedere is $22M. 255 Golden Gate is $20M. And "Villa Belvedere" the 2012 Marin Decorator Showhouse, is listed for $40M.

Perhaps $20M is the "new abnormal."

Posted by: jlasf at June 26, 2012 6:54 PM

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