July 24, 2012
Designs For The $8 Million "Teardown" On Billionaires Row
It was back in 2009 that we first told you the tale of eight twentysomethings moving to an $8 million rental up on San Francisco’s Billionaires Row. As we wrote about 2712 Broadway which traded for $7,800,000 that April then landed on Craigslist asking $14,000 a month:
Purchased by a trio of investors who have either built or re-built a fair number of high-end spec homes in San Francisco, the rental route is intended as a "short-term" strategy to help with cash flow as permits and plans to redo the home are negotiated and secured.
The list price for the rental was reduced and then reduced a little bit more.
Last listed on Craigslist for $10,000, it rented for $9,250 after a bit of negotiation to a group of eight twentysomething friends who are now in the process of moving on up to Billionaires Row. But not to worry, two are a couple so everyone will effectively have their own room.
The renters are busy ripping up carpet, stripping old wallpaper, painting, and refinishing a few of the hardwood floors on their own dime. But they’ll be living on Upper Broadway for at least 15 months. And with an average rent of $1,150 each, they’re not overly concerned.
Their only real problem, how to secure enough furniture to fill all the rooms. And their landlord's only real edict, don’t piss off the neighbors (see sentence about permits).
Having filed an application to demolish the existing 7,000 square foot house over a year ago, this week San Francisco's Planning Commission is set to rule on the objections to the proposed 9,810 square foot replacement property filed by the neighbors to either side.
The neighbors' objections include the house's roofline ("the proposed curved roof…is not compatible with the neighborhood character") and its massing (basically, it's too large).
Also of concern, the new house's height "at approximately 38 feet...is inconsistent with the intent of the 30-foot height limit" (as are the neighbors' houses) and the impact "on the historical value" of the neighbor's house to the west at 2714 Broadway (which "was not found to be an historic resource, either individually or as part of a district").
The Planning Department recommends the Commission approve the design as proposed. As always, we'll keep you posted and plugged-in.
∙ Party Of
Five Eight Move To San Francisco’s Billionaires Row [SocketSite]
∙ Discretionary Review Request and Analysis: 2712 Broadway [sfplanning.org]
First Published: July 24, 2012 4:00 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
I want to like it, but I just cannot. It looks regurgitated. But if you want bad, take a look at the bunker across the street.
Posted by: Marten at June 1, 2006 6:15 PM
so the planning department voted, and the outcome was to recommend the commission vote in favor? is that how it works?
Posted by: lolcat_94123 at July 24, 2012 4:04 PM
2710 is a gorgeous house -- this proposal would make that part of the block look pretty ridiculous.
Posted by: Joshua at July 24, 2012 4:05 PM
Was there a staff report or what?
I hope the people proposing this get smacked down for proposing this design in this part of this neighborhood. But I wouldn't bet on it at all, I expect the owners to win.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at July 24, 2012 4:13 PM
Rising to the same height as your neighbor. Outrageous!!!!!
Mind you, I prefer the old house, but I don't own the property...
Posted by: BobN at July 24, 2012 4:26 PM
I like it. Will the exterior be concrete or simple stucco?
About neighbors complaining about "too high/too large" it's a clear case of "I got mine, you won't get yours". Their houses currently dwarf the existing structure!
Posted by: lol at July 24, 2012 4:26 PM
I think this deserves a referendum on the November ballot.
Posted by: sf at July 24, 2012 4:32 PM
Who is the architect?
Posted by: WalnutSquare at July 24, 2012 4:34 PM
Posted by: Denis at July 24, 2012 4:35 PM
I like it too. I don't mind a bit of variety on a streetscape. The overall gestalt of the street (big, wealth-oozing, single-family homes) remains the same. Looks like "stone" for the facade, which might look classier than concrete and stucco.
Posted by: jenofla at July 24, 2012 4:45 PM
It's a Taylor Lombardo Architects design and the façade would be finished primarily in stone with steel, wood and cement accents.
Posted by: SocketSite at July 24, 2012 4:59 PM
lolcat: two of the neighbors filed for a discretionary review of the project when the owner filed for a building permit.
As I understand the process, the residential design team then reviews it, and applies the appropriate criteria under the existing codes and/or rules, and then makes a recommendation that the commission take some action (or not) to address the original complainant's concerns.
In this case, the staff is recommending that the commission avoid taking DR and approve the project as proposed. From the full analysis document, mongy 'graph (page 4):
The DR requests were reviewed by the RDT. The RDT did not find the Requestors’ concerns to present extraordinary or exceptional circumstances with regard to the project. In general, the neighborhood character is a varied architectural mix of large, single-family residences constructed with quality materials. The overall massing, detailing, architectural expression, window fenestration and quality materials of the project are consistent with the neighborhood character.
• The overall architectural expression of the project is in keeping with the mixed character of the neighborhood, particularly the subject blockface.
• The proposed three-story massing is compatible with the three-story massing of other residences on the blockface.
RECOMMENDATION: Do not take DR and approve the project as proposed.
Emphasis from the original.
What can one say? Rich people aren't happy with just a perfectly good home, in order to really show off, they have to tear down an existing mansion and build another one in it's place in a radically different style that says "neener, neener" to their neighbors. Conspicuous consumption in real estate.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at July 24, 2012 5:04 PM
The existing house looks remarkably like the off campus housing I lived in while at the University of Oregon.
But the rent in the '70's would have been more like $500 - for the entire house.
Posted by: redseca2 at July 24, 2012 5:37 PM
Yup. Plus it's likely it will be an nth home which will not be lived in for years.
At least this place was purchased by investors who cared about cash flow, which means it was actually lived in. And by 10 people. That was a pretty good use of the space if you look at it from a housing prospective.
So many of these mansions are occupied only by maids and gardeners 95% or the time.
Posted by: lol at July 24, 2012 5:51 PM
I thought post post modern quonset hut roof played out in 2004.
Posted by: GetOffTheIvy at July 24, 2012 5:51 PM
Almost 10,000 square feet. I predict $24M in June of 2014. :)
Posted by: eddy at July 24, 2012 6:05 PM
I think it's a nice design, and also smart of the owners to rent it out as they navigate the approval process. Even if it is left vacant part of the time, the new owners will be paying taxes on the current market value to support city services and developers are increasing the supply of housing here. I hope they make a bundle.
Posted by: Robert at July 24, 2012 6:23 PM
I have to say that this proposed structure with that odd curved roofline absolutely does not fit into the block and properties surrounding it....not to mention loosing square footage. You can still build a contemporary home while blending into the neighborhood.
This is butt ugly......... IMHO
Posted by: radar at July 24, 2012 6:36 PM
It doesn't seem that inconsistent with the new house on the north east corner of Broadway and Divis. Light-colored stone-clad and modern design. (Don't know the exact address.)
Posted by: jlasf at July 24, 2012 6:44 PM
The very fact that we are even having a discussion about this is revolting. This is someones plan, as long as it doesn't significantly interfere with the neighbors, let em build it. Only in the nanny state of SF can discussion rise to this level. I suppose you all will start saying next that this guy "didn't build" his business or where ever he got his money, it is non of our business !!! Build it !!!!! Keep your trifle class war fare issues off this forum, if you don't have the money to do it yourself, go earn it.
Posted by: TomKat at July 24, 2012 6:44 PM
By the way, if I recall correctly, the Robert AM Stern house to the East, did an illegal demo so many years ago to get their house built, but never mind small details like that, pull up the ladder, I've got mine, lets leave the rest of you in the water to float around for the sharks.....it is attitudes like this and the subjective mindset that others think they actually should have a say in what your house looks like from the outside, is disgusting beyond belief. The hypocrisy is off the charts in this town. Bet the owner to the East never had to do a historical review, nah, they just hired a bull dozer and built it, the rules be damned.
Posted by: tomKat at July 24, 2012 6:55 PM
@tomkat: I think you're confused. No class warfare here... Several people battling it out regarding their properties on "billionaire's row"
Posted by: R at July 24, 2012 7:39 PM
It's within the Planning Code and design guidelines.
It's an interesting design that does not attempt to mimic or pretend to be "like the other houses" nor does it have to "blend in".
Everybody relax. Let the rich owners build it. They have that right. If you get rich you can do the same thing with your property.
Move on. Enjoy your own life.
Posted by: futurist at July 24, 2012 8:04 PM
This is great! Asymmetrical designs and curves are so much more interesting than the ugly square box next door. If it gets built it will be a real improvement for a somewhat boring (and oversized) neighborhood.
Posted by: Big V at July 24, 2012 8:38 PM
It might be better if this design was interesting in any way, shape or form. Ellison's house, and 2690 Broadway manage "modern" within the context of the neighborhood. This proposal is simply butt ugly. A "modern" buyer won't pay top dollar for this bland structure...if you're going to go, then go big. The Quonset hut doesn't work...back to the drawing board.
Posted by: Joshua at July 24, 2012 9:31 PM
I want to like it, but I just cannot. It looks regurgitated. But if you want bad, take a look at the bunker across the street.
Posted by: Marten at July 24, 2012 10:25 PM
I just think the design is hysterical... It totally looks like a Quanset hut for a Persian heiress. If this weren't being designed for resale, I'd say have at it... Good taste be damned. But it's a developer's project and, as such, I think it's tacky. A clean, classic modern project would be a great replacement, but this design is just laughable and will look dated pretty quickly (if it doesn't look dated already).
Posted by: Denis at July 24, 2012 11:18 PM
This house would look great away from other houses, but its got such a strong roofline, it 'talks' to the neighboring houses and in this case its talking like a crazy person having a conversation with strangers. Its seems deranged.
Planning does have guidelines about respecting the streetscape, roof slopes, etc... so the neighbors might be able to use that in their case against the developer.
Posted by: around1905 at July 25, 2012 7:27 AM
The rendering have a much more muted design than the sketch plans. The roof line is much more sloped on the sketch and the dormer is much larger as well. The neighbors here got suckered because the owner tricked them into improving the plan for demolishing the home before ever showing them this architectural plan for a new home. Now those approvals for demolition are being used against them and it seems this radical design isn't going over all that well. For me, I subscribe to the philosophy that you should be able to build pretty much whatever you want and although this house is definitely more modern, and less in line with other homes on the street, it's not so far out that someone shouldn't be able to build it. Protein I were a neighbor, and wanted to object, the objection I would raise more than anything would be the potential issues with such a sloped roof and the runoff from rain is going to be almost entirely concentrated on the eastern side of the home and that's not an insignificant amount of water to be shedding to one side of the home in a heavy rainstorm.
Given that the planning department has already indicated that they should be approved based on their initial recommendation I would be extremely surprised to see this not fly through as I can't recall planning ever going against the recommendation in recent history. Good luck to all!
PS: My last comment on the other thread was actually specifically pointed at this exact issue where I said that I would not have approved the demolition plan without having seen the final design of the home. So, it just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished.
Posted by: Eddy at July 25, 2012 8:38 AM
@tomkat: I think you're confused. No class warfare here...
Unless he's referring to the 0.01% vs. the 0.001%. I doubt there are many 99%ers among the neighbors.
Posted by: BobN at July 25, 2012 8:57 AM
Don't the graphic artists who produce architectural renderings have access to a library of tiny people pictures to jazz up the art? They should insert pictures of PFC Gomer Pyle and Sergeant Vince Carter standing on the sidewalk as a cultural reference. Wearing their dress blues of course, fatigues are for the golf course.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at July 25, 2012 9:31 AM
I'd offer to change the design if the neighbors on either side and the three across the street each ponied up $1.6M, because then, woo hoo, I would have gotten the property for free!
The design evokes those cheap lofts out by the 280 freeway just north of 101. But whatevs, let em build it. They could put a giant outhouse on that site and someone would buy it for the view.
I'm hoping there is a pool in the front yard of the neighbor's house on the right. That roof would be an awesome slide for the teenagers when the neighbors were away.
Posted by: tipster at July 25, 2012 10:13 AM
The very fact that we are even having a discussion about this is revolting. This is someones plan, as long as it doesn't significantly interfere with the neighbors, let em build it. Only in the nanny state of SF…[rant elided]…Keep your trifle class war fare issues off this forum, if you don't have the money to do it yourself, go earn it.I would only say that the false consciousness on display in some of these comment threads "this forum" would be revolting, if it weren't so damn amusing.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at July 25, 2012 10:55 AM
In a way a number of these comments reflect just how NOT open-minded San Franciscans really are:
+makes that part of the block look ridiculous.
+smack down those who proposed this design.
+does not fit in to the block.
+the Quonset hut doesn't work.
+design is hysterical.
+good taste be damned. ( I love this one)
+it seems deranged. (love this one too)
So just how really open-minded and open to "diversity" are we in this fair city?
Seems like not very much.
Posted by: futurist at July 25, 2012 11:00 AM
"So just how really open-minded and open to "diversity" are we in this fair city?"
Just speaking for myself, I'm very open to constructing wilder and more ridiculous buildings. It adds spice to the streetscape.
I'm also concerned when older crazy style buildings are torn down. How many examples of the Googie style remain in the city?
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at July 25, 2012 11:07 AM
Well, I wouldn't use the words wilder and ridiculous to imply diversity in architecture.
This new building is neither. It's just modern.
When did we ever have any googie style architecture here at all? Seems like that's more related to LA and the San Fernando valley.
Posted by: futurist at July 25, 2012 11:13 AM
There are two dormers, not just one. The larger one is set back from the smaller front one.
As to the rain water comment from the sloped roof, I'm assuming and pretty confident there will be either a built-in gutter or attached gutter to the bottom of the curved roof.
Code requires roof rain water to be diverted to gutters and downspouts into the storm system.
Posted by: futurist at July 25, 2012 11:15 AM
There are remnants of Googie in the form of 1960s era strip mall and motel signage. I'll bet that some of those signs sat in front of googie style buildings that were reskinned to
make it blander refresh the building and bring it up to date. And then there's In-N-Out Burger with its neo-googie design.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at July 25, 2012 11:22 AM
So this would be the "Nike House?"
Posted by: Bobo at July 25, 2012 11:22 AM
@ mod: Seriously? Strip mall and motel signage? In Sf? Where?
And the In-N-Out signs which are all new, are not even part of this discussion, imo.
That's quite a stretch.
Posted by: futurist at July 25, 2012 12:03 PM
Absolutely. It's their property and their money...they should be permitted to build whatever they like. New is always better. Neighbors and architectural context be damned!
Posted by: Sausalito_Res at July 25, 2012 12:07 PM
I think the house is ugly.U-G-L-Y.
BUT, I also think that you should be able to build what you want with your own property, as long as it is safe and within planning/city codes. So glad that isn't my neighbor. It looks like some of the crazy large houses on tiny lots that you see in Manhattan Beach. Yuck.
Posted by: nancydrew at July 25, 2012 12:09 PM
Wow... until now, 2404 Broadway had the distinction of being the most heinous contemporary facade on on these blocks, but this one blows that hubris-laden testimony to horrific taste out of the water! Ah well, if you are going to blow, why not do so on an epic level? Trying to develop properties that your target market will actually find appealing is far too easy... the path less taken for more audacious!
Bookmark this page kids, the saga of this debacle will provide decades of chuckles...
Posted by: Educated Guesser at July 25, 2012 3:35 PM
It reminds me of a suburban Barnes & Noble.
Posted by: anon at July 25, 2012 3:42 PM
Is this the thread where we're making fun of middle easterners? Hopefully I'm not too late.
Posted by: EH at July 25, 2012 3:48 PM
NO, actually this is the thread where all the armchair "architects" and house designers crawl out of the woodwork and make a small attempt at design criticism.
And the other group who are absolutely terrified of anything that doesn't blend in or fit in with the neighborhood.
Posted by: futurist at July 25, 2012 6:23 PM
Of course it doesn't matter what we "armchair architects" think; only what the ultimate buyer for this project thinks... but there is good design and very poor design of all styles and vintages... and you don't read these sorts of responses to many contemporary architectural statements, so this one is clearly special... but from a developers standpoint, to think that prospective buyers will be completely free of these responses is to retain a degree of detachment from reality which could be an advantage... or quite another thing altogether...
Posted by: Educated Guesser at July 25, 2012 10:27 PM
So just how really open-minded and open to "diversity" are we in this fair city?
Doesn't real diversity means accepting the existence of things you think are ugly, too. It doesn't mean you have to like everything.
Posted by: BobN at July 26, 2012 8:02 AM
bit chin design!! love it, man ... good for you whoever owns the thing..when something gets criticized this much you know you are doing something creative ... have at w/your nose to grindstone and kick some butt
Posted by: johnny at July 26, 2012 8:46 AM
As always, time and market forces will reveal the wisdom or folly of this approach and design... valid contemporary designs stand the test of time while those lacking that authority are fairly quickly swept away... people like to get caught up in loving or hating design, but good design is really less subjective than many think... in this case good design functions as a signifier of social prominence, and of course that means having a reasonable degree of conformity in a social and neighborhood context... to make such an inappropriately brash design statement, even if you personally love it, is probably not the highest level of design and functionality here... but as always tune in in a few years... time is the only architectural review board that matters...
Posted by: Educated Guesser at July 27, 2012 4:02 PM
I love a good modern design, but that thing is hideous. It looks like a disney designed apartment complex from the 90s. I HOPE that the roof line has some environmental purpose because otherwise it just looks tacky.
Posted by: cccc at July 31, 2012 11:48 AM
this 'design' aint much different than Larry's down the road ... gotta love it ... owner here should ignore the haters and know it alls ... it will "stand the test of time" ... hilarious
Posted by: johnny at July 31, 2012 11:59 AM
Anyone know what the outcome of the meeting was on this home? It looks like its still on the Agenda for an 8/2 meeting; but it was also on the 7/26 agenda?
Posted by: eddy at August 1, 2012 1:00 PM
Luckily for Julia Morgan, Bernard Maybeck, Willis Polk and the other great bay area architects that they didn't have to contend with the dumbing down architectural process we call community input. Their buildings which we love today and which contribute to a rich design history would not exist had they been subjected to the same mean spirited petty demagoguery on display here. I'm not a great fan of the design with its curve du jour, but it has much to merit its approval. I would have designed something else, but wasn't asked. Throughout my career I've designed many buildings that both stand as representations of the own time and place in history and yet make graceful nods to their neighbors. The owners of Victorians probably complained about the Edwardians going up around them, who in turn complained about the Arts and Crafts who in turn complained about the Modernists, and on and on. Caving in to armchair critics who couldn't design their way out of a paper bag only results in banality.
Posted by: Philip Rossetti at August 4, 2012 10:54 AM
@Philip, I appreciate your points but there are clearly examples where keeping current architecture in place and in harmony with a neighborhood make sense. I suppose you think it was a great idea to tear down large tracts of Victorians and Edwardians in favor of low income housing? Or take a look at this link:
I'm sure whatever was there before had more character than those shoddy structures.
So, sure, your points are valid. But what's with the attitude. Folks on those blocks paid a lot of money for those homes and they, to the same extent as anyone else on any other block, have the right to follow the rules and laws that SF has put in place to preserve the character of the city. Even though it is sometimes abused.
No one thinks the process is perfect, and the owner of this home is certainly not surprised by these objections, but more often than not the city makes decent decisions and they appear to making the right one in this case (i.e., recommend the planning department approve).
Posted by: eddy at August 4, 2012 4:27 PM
I tend to like more and more mid-century, even some of the boxiest structures like the one you linked to. I think the way it looks today is not the way it was intended to. It now shows a cheapo beige paint job that reflects an owner looking for "efficiency".
Some boxy mid-century can be quite nice, with the right finishes and color swatches.
A very diverse stretch of boxy houses can be found on Anza Vista.
5 identical houses built at the same time that each turned out very different 1/2 century later.
Posted by: lol at August 4, 2012 6:03 PM
Gotta love this one.
"What really sets it apart is the Billionaire’s Row address. The tenants asked that their exact address and rent not be revealed, so as not to upset the landlord
Posted by: eddy at September 10, 2012 2:28 PM