December 20, 2012
Pincus Plans To Go Underground In Pacific Heights
What do you do when your Pacific Heights house is listed as a historic resource but you really want to expand and remodel? If you’re Mark Pincus, apparently you plan to go underground, quite literally (and perhaps a bit figuratively as well).
Having purchased the seven bedroom Pacific Heights property that’s perched on the south side of the 2800 block of Broadway but with a Pacific Avenue address earlier this year, Pincus has drawn up plans to renovate the property. And according to a plugged-in tipster, the plans "include a significant new multilevel concrete structure below the existing house."
∙ Zynga's Business Is Now Worth Less Than Its Building [SocketSite]
∙ While Zynga Trades Down, Pincus Trades Up [SocketSite]
First Published: December 20, 2012 8:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Sorta makes sense, as the house has all that frontage on Broadway -- and the "grand entrance" is now an alley off Pacific.
But still, I cannot imagine the cost, nor can I imagine the Broadway/Pacific neighbors being excited about a (years?) long excavation project.
He's got enough money in the bank -- makes me wonder why he didn't go for one of the other recently-sold properties in the area.
Posted by: Joshua at December 20, 2012 9:00 AM
Makes perfect sense. I envy what will ultimately become of this property. I sincerely hope they hire an architech who respects the integrity of this wonderful home and its stature.
Between the zynga, facebook and yammer invasion out there; I imagine there is going to be quite a bit of development on those blocks.
Posted by: eddy at December 20, 2012 9:05 AM
Are they gonna build mazes and secret chambers? Traps for grave robbers?
Another modern-day pharaoh is gonna throw his cash at a multi-year project. Then like Sperling next door he'll get bored of the pricey toy and let another pharaoh finish the pyramid.
Posted by: lol at December 20, 2012 9:12 AM
Is he digging a grave for Zynga?
Posted by: sf at December 20, 2012 9:22 AM
...the Russians are coming to SF, along with hand-made golden ceramic tiles and all!!
Posted by: asiagoSF at December 20, 2012 9:33 AM
Clever - An escape hatch once investors catch on to his massive fraud.
Posted by: GOLSF at December 20, 2012 10:59 AM
When and where can we get a PDF of the plans?
Posted by: MarinaBoy at December 20, 2012 11:25 AM
asiagoSF, thanks for posting that link; I knew I read about this phenomenon somewhere and now I remember where. There's a related video on one of the news sites too, where they show what happens before and during one of these multimillion dollar residential "digs". There's contracting firms that do nothing but this kind of thing.
There is no way that the things those Chelsea residents had to put up with are going to happen in Pacific Heights. California law gives neighbors a lot more rights when construction causes property damage next door, and of course the non nouveau riche people in this neighborhood have the money and insurance companies to litigate.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at December 20, 2012 11:29 AM
It would make me sad to have windowless living space underground. But maybe he's moving the function of above-ground storage space like wine storage, garage, etc. underground and going to reclaim the above-ground space for living? Hopefully he's not moving the servants quarters underground. Even sadder would to be surrounded by sad staff.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 20, 2012 12:08 PM
I don't think you can make much "living" space underground as bedrooms require direct egress, but you could certainly put a garage, pool, theater space, etc. down there.
Posted by: lyqwyd at December 20, 2012 12:15 PM
Look at Google street view for 2881 Broadway -- there's almost enough space to build an entirely new house on the open land between the existing structure and Broadway. Any digging can clearly get plenty of egress, sunlight, etc. In fact, I expect, they'd make the main entrance of the house on Broadway itself. B/c of the hill, this is very different than the London examples.
I'm with Brahma though -- I think the neighbors will be quite interested in the massive construction zone/pit about to hit this house, its next door neighbor, and 2901 Broadway.
Posted by: Joshua at December 20, 2012 12:33 PM
that's a funny one...digging a bunker to hide from the znga fall out... lol
wonder where the money comes from to do this construction?? lol
Posted by: johnny at December 20, 2012 12:48 PM
Months later, second-year Deloitte auditors found the expense line "Research facility for Dungeonville Project" curious. That's when the real forensic work began.
Posted by: soccermom at December 20, 2012 1:12 PM
funny...will have to build that bunker fast! lol
Posted by: johnny at December 20, 2012 2:17 PM
Really Milkshake? windowless living space?
Think skylights, sunken light courts, light shafts.
With a very large budget, here being possible, and a very talented architect and engineer, pretty much any solution is possible.
This has great potential; I'd figure $7-10m.
Posted by: futurist at December 20, 2012 2:28 PM
Good luck digging down any depth. I have renovated 4 homes in that area the soil contains areas of rock out cropping. " Yes, lets blast "
Posted by: Ray at December 20, 2012 3:05 PM
I think this could be handled tastefully. The back of the house is a little too flat and has no outdoor space to take advantage of the views. It would be easy enough to excavate and create usable space like Traina did a few doors down. The excavation alone could cost 10 million.. It'll be at least 20 when he's done, not counting the 10 million it could take to furnish the thing. Contractors must be salivating over this and 2901.
Posted by: Denis at December 20, 2012 3:22 PM
Speaking of tasteful, what's the appropriate amount of time between screwing-over your investors and breaking-ground on your Taj Mahal?
Ah, it doesn't matter. In 10 years Mark and Alison will sit on a bunch of boards, and tributes will be thrown at them.
Posted by: Joshua at December 20, 2012 3:54 PM
Clearly the building code in England allows a lot more underground development, and from the looks of things, "direct egress" isn't an issue. From The Guardian U.K., Billionaires' basements: the luxury bunkers making holes in London streets:
Walking around the stuccoed streets of Kensington and Chelsea today, you are in for a surreal sight…Poking up at regular intervals, thrusting outwards from their moulded openings as if performing a salute to passers-by, are lines of angled conveyor belts. Slowly rumbling away, they reach high above the trees, pouring a continuous stream of rubble into the cradles of awaiting skips. You would be forgiven for thinking that the residents of the royal borough have established a kind of coal-mining cottage industry…Emphasis added.
The reason for all this quarrying is not the discovery of a coal-rich seam beneath the Renaissance streets, but the local enthusiasm for subterranean development. Over the past four years, this local authority alone has granted planning applications for more than 800 basement extensions, refused 90, and has a further 20 outstanding. It is the most densely populated borough in the country, with no room to build outwards, and no permission to build upwards — so the only way is down.
—Last week a furore erupted when plans were released for a four-storey basement beneath a 19th-century schoolhouse in Knightsbridge, for Canadian former TV mogul David Graham.
Tripling the size of the property, this gargantuan pleasure cave would house a ballroom and swimming pool, with hot tub, sauna and massage room, as well as 15 bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 20 toilets, plunging deeper into the earth than the height of neighbouring homes.
I guess a lot of newly-minted billionaires think alike. I await Pincus' application's arrival at the planning commission.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at December 21, 2012 1:14 PM
"direct egress" isn't an issue in a tall building. Not quite clear why it's that big a deal if you go underground.
Posted by: BobN at December 21, 2012 2:26 PM