November 2, 2012

Family And Contractor Friendly In Noe Valley The Castro

257 Collingwood

The 2,900 square foot house at 257 Collingwood was purchased for $1,650,000 in 2007. Four months ago, plans to remodel, raise the house, expand to 4,100 square feet and add a missing garage were approved with an estimated project cost of $660,000.

In the words and opinion of a tipster:

It’s a great big, gracious house, really beautiful place. But it’s awkward for the market [in its current state and] a 5BR family friendly house in the Castro, if that even matters anymore (in the old days I always used to find these kind of houses labeled "Noe Valley" in the newspaper ads, just to lure in the right demographic).

Also noted by our tipster, the owner is actually a contractor who is now selling the place as-is and asking $2,170,000. And yes, despite 32 listing photos, there isn’t a single picture of the current kitchen (see paragraph above with respect to the plans to remodel).

∙ Listing: 257 Collingwood (5/3) 2,931 sqft - $2,170,000 []

First Published: November 2, 2012 9:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

This description sounds like nothing was done to the place from it's purchase, but if the marketing website is right, it appears some work was done.

'The current owner has painstakingly restored the façade which now features bold trim, intricately detailed beams, and impressive porch columns which is capped by a decorative railing and balusters.'

Posted by: DanRH at November 2, 2012 9:46 AM

Some substantial work has been done on the house, notably restoring the facade and updating some of the bathrooms, as well as interior trim and paint. For the purposes of the sale they've also decorated a "bonus" room in the basement, although it's not completely done. But the big expensive work of adding space, creating a new kitchen, and adding parking wait for the next owner.

Great place.

Posted by: curmudgeon at November 2, 2012 10:03 AM

Great to know the neighborhood will be losing more street parking once the garage gets built. Only in a transit-first city like SF.

Now back to the house...sometimes it makes more sense to leave the kitchen as is and let the buyer run wild with it after the purchase. If they can fork over $2m+ what's another 300k.

Posted by: Mark at November 2, 2012 10:50 AM

So, does "restoring the facade" mean anything more than paint?

Posted by: EH at November 2, 2012 12:03 PM

no photos of the kitchen because it is currently mostly non-functional. half of it (ie, sink) exists in a small closet.

this is a place you would buy and promptly remodel.

Posted by: wyatt at November 2, 2012 12:42 PM

EH: restoring the facade means removing a thick layer of stucco and either restoring or replacing the details. See streetview:

Posted by: curmudgeon at November 2, 2012 2:32 PM

Wow... cool idea to raise house to build a garage but would likely cost every bit of that 660k and perhaps more. Anyone know of other places in City where this has been done, who did it, how much and end results? What an ambitious project. Can't see paying 2m for the house, and another 1m+ for kitchen, garage etc......

Posted by: 4oceans at November 2, 2012 3:14 PM


By installing a garage at least one to two cars will no longer be using on-street parking.

What does your comment, "only in a transit-first city like SF" have to do with anything other than to disparage those with automobiles?

Posted by: Jackson at November 2, 2012 3:56 PM

Beautiful little house. And honestly I'd rather put in a kitchen that I liked rather than paying a premium for someone else's taste.

Posted by: wc1 at November 2, 2012 4:34 PM

He shouldn't have taken his hit earlier, like a lot of others who paid to much in 2007. Obviously the numbers don't add up? 1.5 million remodel.

Posted by: Bereal at November 2, 2012 4:46 PM your parking comment (and I hope this thread isn't hijacked by parking..) all depends on how many cars are parked off street...a curb cut will probably take two street slots out (it's perpendicular parking on this block), so at best it's probably a wash if the garage can park two cars. Mark is completely justified in his comment, particularly since it will replace two spots available to anyone with two spots available to only the owner. It's simple math.

But the $3 million house (after renovation) would require it. Tragedy of the commons in San Francisco. I, for one, would love to see a ban on new curb cuts. Then the expectation wouldn't be built into the price of houses. But that's another conversation.

Posted by: curmudgeon at November 2, 2012 5:01 PM

Regarding new curb cuts, I have a proposal: as an alternative to installing garages, allow people to pay the city an amount maybe 2/3 the cost of a garage addition to paint the curb outside their houses red.

- Since the red-painted area would be the same red-painted area if a curb cut was installed, no more public parking is lost than if a curb cut is installed.

- A nicer street front is maintained, historic buildings are preserved, so the neighborhood and the city benefits.

- The owners avoid the hassle and expense of construction, while getting the reserved parking they want, and at a lower cost, so they benefit.

- The city gets some significant new revenue. If you hate that idea, designate it for local streetscape improvements or something.

The way I see it, the only losers in this situation are the construction companies. In the absence of a more radical reform of street usage, it seems like a workable plan.

Posted by: Alai at November 2, 2012 5:27 PM

Yeah, good luck getting people to respect the "big" red zone in a residential area. As it is, it's nearly impossible to get people to respect the red zones around curb cut outs.

And since you'll come home on a fairly regular basis to someone parked in "your" spot, what are you going to do? Wait for parking enforcement to come and ticket, then tow the offending vehicle? Yeah, I can think of about a million things I'd rather do with my time pretty much every single night of the week.

Posted by: Brian at November 3, 2012 1:31 AM

^What do you do when someone parks in front of your curb cut?

I dunno, seems like parking enforcement is one area where the city does a pretty dang good job. I've had more tickets than I can count from staying two hours and five minutes in a two hour zone.

Posted by: anon at November 3, 2012 10:09 AM

" I, for one, would love to see a ban on new curb cuts."
So you would prefer a planning regime that places more restrictions on the right of an owner to improve their property? For what, to improve your chances of parking in their neighborhood? Just a bit selfish?
Also would point out that some of these improvements do better than netting out on parking provided, because if the house is far enough from the street there may be room to park a vehicle in front of the garage as well.

Posted by: GoodBuyBadTimes at November 3, 2012 6:57 PM, not selfish. First, an owner doesn't have a god-given right to do anything with their property, that's why we have zoning. I'm just positing that one way to diminish the selfish transformation of a community good (street parking) to a private good (garage parking) is to ban curb cuts and incursions over a public right of way (the sidewalk). It also meets other public goods by allowing for landscaping rather than garage doors along the public right of way.

They rarely net out on provided parking, but in cases where they do I'm open to argument. :-)

But, unfortunately, I'm not planning czar for the city, and the curb cuts continue....

Posted by: curmudgeon at November 4, 2012 1:46 PM

I saw this place today during an open house. A beautiful home. The kitchen is fine. Not what you would expect for this price, but it would certainly work until renovated or indefinitely if it isn't a priority.

The back yard is much larger (deeper) than many homes of this type and in this neighborhood. And it feels private - you don't have that sense that all the neighbors are looking into your yard.

There is bamboo in the back yard. I couldn't tell if it was secure.

Posted by: bgelldawg at November 4, 2012 8:44 PM

No way does it cost $660k to raise a house and put a garage underneath it. I would guess about 1/3 of that cost, though this one might be a bit more due to the slope.

Anyone who actually does this for a living willing to chime in? Sparky maybe?

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 5, 2012 9:25 AM

Adding a garage wouldn't cost $600k but adding/expanding/remodeling could.

$100k garage
$300k expansion
$100k kitchen
$100k remodel

Posted by: CH at November 5, 2012 9:52 AM

Don't forget, this isn't the standard dig out a space for the garage, but rather is raise the building (not a lot, but some) and put the garage in. And yes, the total plan package has a rear extension, new kitchen, new baths, rooms down....the whole nine yards. Sounds like more than 660K to me, but I'm not in the biz.

Posted by: curmudgeon at November 5, 2012 10:08 AM

I agree with CH for the most part, maybe a bit more for excavation and shoring. But CH left $60K to play with on the $660 estimate so put some of it there.

Posted by: sparky*b at November 5, 2012 10:08 AM

Lift up the whole house and you may find that a lot of plaster comes down so this could turn into a gut job.

Posted by: Around1905 at November 5, 2012 4:14 PM

I'm not really sure that "raising the house" is even a consideration here. One can develop the lower part of the property for garage space without raising the house.

Besides, raising a house has strong implications for the houses that actually are zero lot line; meaning the lifting could cause damage to the adjacent house. To get a garage space in, you can simple create a fairly steep driveway leading to the new parking. Planning does allow this with requirements.

Posted by: futurist at November 5, 2012 4:49 PM

I'd check that the sewer line at the street is lower than a dug-out garage before jumping at that. Otherwise your basement could wind up like lower manhattan when the next big storm rolls through and the power for the sump goes out...

Posted by: Around1905 at November 5, 2012 5:14 PM

Futurist, my understanding is that in this case raising the house is indeed necessary. You can see from the pic that it is pretty tight vertically under the front window, and there isn't a lot of sidewalk space to fit in the driveway down.

Posted by: curmudgeon at November 5, 2012 5:20 PM

A few points of clarification regarding previous posts:

1) Yes, it is absolutely necessary to lift the house in order to create a garage. The proposed lift is for 4-feet. The plans also include bumping out the roof line to expand the attic. Lifting a house is commonly done, and it can be done without damage to the adjacent structures.

2) The $660K figure was provided by the owner, who is a remodeling contractor. It includes major renovations in addition to the garage. It doesn't make sense to do the garage without the other alterations, as the garage would have to include a new foundation, exterior stair structures etc. It also doesn't make market-sense to do that much work without doing the full boat.

3) Of course, the lower-level rooms will be below the level of the sewer lateral. A sewage ejection pump and a backwater valve will take care of that.

4) A curb-cut/driveway application has recently been filed, despite the fact that the house is now for sale, and the current owner/seller has no intention of installing the garage.

Posted by: DarkBrew at November 17, 2012 10:44 AM

No longer shows up on redfin. Taken off the market without a sale?

Posted by: curmudgeon at December 3, 2012 9:55 AM

After 38 days on the market, the listing for 257 Collingwood was withdrawn from the MLS without a reported sale.

Posted by: SocketSite at December 3, 2012 10:16 AM

Withdrawn from the MLS in December, the listing for 257 Collingwood returned to the MLS in contract two weeks ago and closed escrow today with a reported contract price of $2,180,500.

Posted by: SocketSite at April 3, 2013 2:35 PM

The much discussed house raising/garage project is now underway. With the market as crazy as it is now, the $2.2 million for this place before renovation is beginning to look like a good deal. Will be interesting to see if it flips when construction is complete.

Posted by: curmudgeon at August 11, 2013 1:03 PM

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