September 20, 2012

The Big Plans And Prices For Three Übermodern San Francisco Homes


The smallest of three modern glass, steel and timber "Block 3900" homes that have yet to be built but are being marketed for sale pre-construction, 3927 19th Street has just been listed for $4,995,000 with plans for a 4,019 square foot three-bedroom main residence over a two car garage and a 1,581 square foot two-bedroom "guest house" behind.

Block 3900 Floors

The other two proposed modern homes measure 4,612 square feet for 3929 19th Street and 4,784 square feet for 3931 19th Street (with a 1,650 square foot guest house and a 1,800 square foot guest house respectively behind) as planned:


The middle home rendered above was quietly being marketed for a half-million dollars more than 3927 19th Street in April, a full million more for the largest home at 3931 19th.

Block 3900 Living

Construction is projected to last eighteen (18) months from ground breaking. The "Block 3900" lots with three existing "guest houses" which would be rebuilt:

Block 3900 Lot

Block 3900: Floor Plans []

First Published: September 20, 2012 11:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I assume that 3929's garage is not in fact on level 4 as the floor plan states...

[Editor’s Note: The floor plan for 3929 19th Street shows the garage on level one.]

Posted by: hm at September 20, 2012 12:12 PM

"a 4,019 square foot three-bedroom main residence over a 1,581 square foot two-bedroom detached guest house"

How can one unit be built over another and they remain "detached"?

[Editor’s Note: Poorly worded on our part, that should have read: "with plans for a 4,019 square foot three-bedroom main residence over a two car garage" (with a 1,581 square foot detached two-bedroom "guest house" behind).]

Posted by: BobN at September 20, 2012 12:32 PM

It appears the guest homes are not in the plans. Where will they be located?

Posted by: hm at September 20, 2012 12:41 PM

These three lots have existing single-family homes in the rear of the very steep slope, and these new ones are proposed to be built in the front of the lots.

I can't believe they're marketing interior renderings of a spec house though, that just seems tacky.

Posted by: Jeremy at September 20, 2012 12:48 PM

THIS is what we needed on Alamo Square Park where the pasty, dull 'Gentlemen' are being built. These proposed modern townhomes are evocative of the stepped houses and flats nearby, without being the ersatz frou-frou confections that um, are coming our way. OK, moving on.

Posted by: Invented at September 20, 2012 1:07 PM

And here I was about to type Invented's first sentence, word for word.

Posted by: BobN at September 20, 2012 1:31 PM

This property is on the extremely sloped south side of 19th street between Sanchez and Noe, which is much different geography than the mentioned Alamo Square lots.

Additionally, the price point looks to me about one to two million dollars higher too.

Dolores Heights is much more uber-upscale than the Alamo Square neighborhood, which is just expensive. :)

Even though the "Painted Gentlemen" look a little austere, these proposed buildings would be much out of character for Alamo Square.

Posted by: Jackson at September 20, 2012 2:52 PM

Jeremy - Please explain why the use of interior renderings for marketing a spec house is tacky. Are renderings only appropriately used for custom homes?

Posted by: apropos at September 20, 2012 3:12 PM

Dolores Heights? That's a block and a half/ two from 18th and Castro, the heart of Castro Village.

Posted by: Anon1 at September 20, 2012 3:15 PM

Blank walls and garage doors! This is just another example of a building that cares little about the street it sits on and the neighborhood around it.

This project goes against all the work the planning department is trying to do to improve the look and feel of San Francisco streets that have been plagued with garage door after garage door.

Posted by: Gld at September 20, 2012 3:21 PM

Actually, the garage doors seem appropriately scaled, and are backset so they will be somewhat minimized. The walls are inevitable given the slope of the hill, and the fact that they are apparently preserving an enormous tree (I wonder if it will really survive construction). The buildings are pretty amazing IMHO.

Posted by: curmudgeon at September 20, 2012 3:27 PM

for Anon1,

18th and Castro elevation: 124 feet

3927 19th Street elevation: 229 feet.

That qualifies as "Heights" to me.

Additionally, the difference in neighborhood character is night and day.

No "Naked Guys" walking here. :)

Posted by: Jackson at September 20, 2012 3:28 PM

wow they really planning to keep that tree?

Posted by: blargggh at September 20, 2012 3:45 PM

The renderings are tacky because they show a lot more about the taste of the architect, rather the the space itself. The image is covered in bearskin rugs, 1970's furniture, a hideous painting, and odd light fixtures. It would be far more helpful to show white walls, the interior light court, and the exposed steel. That's what you're buying, not bad interior decorating.

Posted by: Jeremy at September 20, 2012 4:30 PM

I know the listing agent, Frank Nolan at Vanguard. Looks like this thing was designed by Jeff Burris at Studio 12 architecture...ambitious but pretty cool stuff...

Posted by: bijan at September 20, 2012 4:38 PM

wow, i would give my left nut for one of these. alas, my left nut is not worth nearly this much...

Posted by: gcbc at September 20, 2012 5:24 PM

The interior spaces renderings are just a bit of fun. The fact that people are criticizing them is the joke, on them.

Posted by: Anon1 at September 20, 2012 5:32 PM

@GLD: Most of the south side of this street is garage doors and walls at street level and the property is currently behind a retaining wall, plus a number of houses built there in the 90s are configured this way. It's very much in keeping with what's there now and entirely dictated by the steep slope of the hill.

There have been ongoing attempts to develop this site over the past decade and I think most neighbors would prefer nothing there– but if built as designed, these are a good alternative.

Posted by: rocco at September 20, 2012 5:38 PM

Little boxes little boxes little boxes made of ticky tacky...

Posted by: NoeLocal at September 20, 2012 7:03 PM

"Little boxes little boxes little boxes made of ticky tacky..."

No chance. Next.

Posted by: Anon1 at September 20, 2012 7:31 PM

Hey, what's the ultimate height from the street on this proposed project?? - appears a bit higher than the zoned 40 feet, like the rest of the buildings along 19th Street and in the neighborhood (most of which I presume had very steep slopes to deal with at one time as well...)

Posted by: hityho at September 20, 2012 7:43 PM

Looks like the dorms at Cal Poly SLO circa 1982

Posted by: VancouverJones at September 20, 2012 9:59 PM

Dwelltastic! If the developer doesn't sell them all before or during construction, I'll bet that at least one unit'll be used in a post on Unhappy Hipsters.

Don't know why the ss editor put guest house in quotes; presumably someone buying a $4 million+ condo, even with financing, doesn't need the income or headaches from renting out the secondary unit, so it probably really will be used for guests staying over.

Or maybe the new owners will give that space to the nanny as a perk…

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at September 21, 2012 12:10 AM

Uber modern = uber ugly.

Posted by: Oceangoer at September 21, 2012 6:42 AM

these "houses" look well above the 40' height limit that neighborhood is zoned for.. I count 5 stories (50') in the main building, the guest house in back would add another 10-15' feet bringing the total to a potential 60-65' set of buildings. Has anyone seen the building plans, has anyone in the neighborhood been notified of the building permits or been invited to a meeting with the planning commission over these plans?

Posted by: e flat at September 21, 2012 9:41 AM

The houses step back from the street.
The Planning Code sets a 40' height limit for the first ten feet of front yard. On steep uphill lots, the height limit then jumps to 40' over existing grade.
These houses appear to follow that exactly.

Posted by: jjb at September 21, 2012 9:57 AM

and e flat, it would be impossible to permit these homes without informing neighbors and following the notification processes required by law. jjb is correct about code, and you are incorrect in your insinuations of malfeasance.

Posted by: curmudgeon at September 21, 2012 11:36 AM are a little too defensive. I didn't suggest malfeasance. I simply asked a question. Chill.

Posted by: e flat at September 21, 2012 11:56 AM

OK...point taken. But your comment implied something was fishy about this project, and I don't believe there is. Sure, they pushed to the edge of the envelope, but apparently not past it. (I have no connection to project)

Posted by: curmudgeon at September 21, 2012 12:06 PM

Actually, Curmudgeon, e flat just displayed his/her ignorance of how the height limitation on upsloped lots works. His or her asking about who if anyone in the neighborhood has been invited to review the plans, or to meet with the planning commission could be interpreted as casting doubt on their compliance, or need for variance, with zoning, but the question is separate from those issues. E flat, I would think if the developer is looking for a smooth building process, they would have meetings with neighbors, but don't know if that has happened yet.

Posted by: Tom at September 21, 2012 3:56 PM

Tom, the developer and architect did have a meeting where all the neighbors were invited. Admittedly that was a couple of years ago and some of the details have changed (as an example, the original plan had a shared garage with only one entrance), but the basics of what is being proposed is still very much the same. At that time, the majority of the neighborhood was positive on the project although there were some very vocal objectors...

Posted by: LibertyHillDweller at September 22, 2012 7:11 AM

Finally a fill-in project that is forward-thinking and not at all boring and more than half the comments are negative (and seemingly a quarter of them complaining about height). Unbelievable.

The price ask does seem outrageously high for jammed-together buildings like this (though there is certainly Pac Heights precedent) but on their aesthetic merits, I love these.

Posted by: shza at September 24, 2012 9:51 AM

SOLD signs went up on all three lots within the last week or so. Well done to the developer if he got the prices he was asking for!

Posted by: LibertyHillDweller at February 22, 2013 2:05 PM

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