Stump the Stammtisch: UMB (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings) take two

The same reader kindly asks again:

Thanks for posting my question and the answers regarding unreinforced masonry buildings.

It is much appreciated, but I am still looking for the answer to my second question: How can I find out how a building fared in the 1989 earthquake, including but not limited to whether it was tagged by the city?

Since several people asked why I wanted to know, my reason for asking is that I would like to buy a condo at The Lambourne, 725 Pine Street in Nob Hill. It’s a small old hotel that Joie de Vivre owned for years and recently converted into condos. The price is attractive, but the selling agent, Vanguard, is downright hostile. They won’t release a disclosure package until you are in contract to buy a unit (I have never heard of such a thing), and then you only have five days to review and approve of the disclosures. It makes me wonder what they are hiding and the first thing that comes to mind, given the age of the building, is structural issues.

When I asked if it was URM, the Vanguard rep said, “I don’t know.” Then he said, “If it was, the city wouldn’t let us sell the units.” Not exactly a definitive answer. I would think if you were selling condos you would know some basic facts about the building, such as the condidtion of the foundation. A reinforced foundation, or one that had passed an engineer’s inspection, could be a major selling point.

Are there records available regarding 1989 earthquake damage?

I just don’t feel like I can trust the sellers to give me accurate information. Given their attitude, I wouldn’t even consider buying in this building, but there is little if anything else in this price range on the market ($350 K).

Thanks again for your help.

Our pleasure, but I’ll go ahead and make it clear it was the readers that helped you out. And for that, we thank them.

3 thoughts on “Stump the Stammtisch: UMB (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings) take two

  1. I rechecked. The above site does give permits back to (at least) ’88 on one specific address. (and I know there is one record not showing from ’80 – so the cutoff date is somehwhere in the 80s, BEFORE the earthquake)

    still, I dont believe there was nothing done on your building in 20years. nothing at all????

    is this because of the previous zoning of the building? dont know. But you are SO RIGHT to investigate the question.

    sorry, dont have any additional bookmark to share.

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