Category Archives: Mansions

Northstar Ski Resort, Lake Tahoe Courting the High End Market in a Ski in/Ski out Paradise

Being a real estate writer has depressingly few perks. I don’t get free tickets to concerts or desert on the house at Michael Mina. The product I write about, you see, can’t really fit in a gift bag. Mostly, I get accused of being a Realtor (I’m not) or of being “in bed” with the NAR (which again, I’m not. That sounds exhausting, by the way.)

But two weeks ago this perk-less-ness changed. Together with several other writers from across the country, I was flown to Tahoe for an all-expenses-paid tour of/experience with Northstar’s new Home Run. Aptly named, the development is a system of homes built mid-mountain, far above the (pleasurable, but at times, overly popular) melee of the Village. No waiting in line for the lift, folks. The ski run awaits just a few steps from your back deck. Wake up, ski out. Sweet!

Still, sometimes when I see construction in the middle of a forest, no matter how spectacular that construction, I feel uncomfortable. You know this feeling?  Human guilt? But at least here, as with all Mountain Residences projects, East West developers aim for LEED certification for each home- and we were introduced to many trees (including my favorite, old “Grandpa”)  and rock formations that had to be protected, built around rather than pulled from the earth.

Construction with a conscience means I was better able to relax, take in my surroundings, which that day were sparkly- a cold blue sky setting the freshly falling snow ablaze, everything studded with tiny diamonds on fire. Between each of the Home Run residences lie trails, tunnels, and bridges- everything inter-connected.  It’s very exclusive-village-in-the-Alps:  charming architecture, soaring vistas, the hush of a thick blanket of snow.

Our group toured one model home, mostly complete, which you see pictured here. The view alone made me want to hide in the (huge! Sexy!) bathroom until everyone left so I could stay forever. So what if the water wasn’t hooked up yet? I had miles of it, frozen and pristine, for my private use right outside.

But we had plenty to look forward to, including a meal at the Ritz Carlton which also rests mid-mountain. Over course after course of carefully paired wine and cuisine (developed under San Francisco’s own, chef Traci Des Jardins), we learned that two of the custom home lots have already been purchased, one by a young “Silicon Valley tech” family (for some reason, I thought Zynga. Unconfirmed). We also learned what Northstar is doing to change its more “vintage” easy-going (read “affordable to the middle-class”) ski area image. Purchased by Vail (of Vail, Colorado), Northstar is in full luxury market upgrade mode, adding high –end shops, linking new developments with exclusive rights to the Ritz and Schaffer’s Camp, and planning to cut ski runs on Sawtooth Mountain whose verticality will do away, finally, with the “Flat Star” label.  Meanwhile, the wine and food kept coming. I was drunk on luxury.

The almost surreal opulence of it all was capped off by the gondola ride back down to the Village at Northstar, a full moon casting blue light over the snowy expanse.

Back home now, I offer you this story, and the skinny on Home Run, because if I had the money, I would buy in immediately. I can see Christmas up there with my parents and maybe the kids I’ll have one day. I can see a week there, just me and my man, in our hot tub sunk deep in the snow. I see summers on my bike, hiking with my dog, and many, many gondola rides to the Ritz.  And remember, I am just a real estate writer and teacher: not only can I actually not afford to buy one, I receive nothing if anyone else can and does, even if that person does so because s/he saw my story. And yes, East West wined and dined the writers. But that was two weeks ago. The wine’s worn off. The food’s digested. I can hardly be asked to give it back should I chose not to write about Mountain Residences.  But why would I choose that, when I can’t stop thinking about how cool they are?

3-4 bedroom, 1,900-3,200 square-foot, Home Run townhomes are priced from $1.6-$2.3 million. East West Partners anticipates Home Run move-ins to begin spring 2012, so that means right now. If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for your own private ski-in/ski out chalet just a short drive from the Bay Area, you should grab Alex, grab your skis, and head to Northstar.

Say hi to Grandpa as you ski by.

[Guest Post By Anna Marie Hibble...THANKS ANNA!]

Zynga Co-Founder Mark Pincus Sells Presidio Heights Pad For $8,200,000

[Editor's note: I just realized I misspoke. The home is not in Pacific Heights, it is in Presidio Heights. Locals will know the difference, visitors might claim six of one half dozen of another. Regardless, the mistake has been acknowledged and changed.]

In other news to take us to the weekend, Mark Pincus, co-founder of Zynga, has sold his home at 3855 Washington. It just closed escrow for a mere $8,200,000 (originally asking $8,900,000).

Real estate haters will be quick to point out it spent a “long” time on the market (126 days), and was sold under asking, but I’d like to remind people that might be getting a little bit jaded…we’re talking eight million two hundred thousand dollars here folks! You think they’re trading that kind of property in Kansas!

Happy Aloha Friday. Enjoy the weekend. I’m out…and playing “Words With Friends”.

p.s. The buyer of this home, just like 2701 Broadway, came from a Zephyr Real Estate agent. Just sayin’….

2701 Broadway, On San Francisco’s Billionaire Row, Finds Its Billionaire Buyer

It’s big news for the Billionaires on Broadway. We have it on good intel that 2701 Broadway, a little house on the hill just down the street from the likes of the Gettys, Trainas, and Ellisons of the world (and let’s not forget a Monster of Rock), has found a buyer ponying up an undisclosed amount of cash (originally asking $32,000,000 then reduced to $28,500,000 and no longer listed on MLS) for this one of a kind, meticulously remodeled home, last sold in 1998 for $5,500,000.

Break out the bubbly, and call it all cash (pocket change really), some new billionaires are moving to Broadway’s Billionaire Row.











To the gentleman that said to me when visiting this home at 3577 Pacific (before it came on the market) “Zephyr Real Estate doesn’t have clients for this…” You’re right, Zephyr has clients for this instead. Congratulations to Anna and Dennis of Zephyr Real Estate for bringing the buyer to 2701 Broadway.

Just need that invitation to the housewarming party, and we’ll bring the Cazadores for fresh lime margaritas on the deck overlooking San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the beautiful Bay!

-2701 Broadway, 7 bed, 7 bath, 16,400 sqft, asking $28,500,000 [MLS]
-Kirk Hammett Finds Buyer For His Pacific Heights Monster Den [theFrontSteps]

Wanderlust: Villa De Montaña In St. Helena. It’s Only $16,950,000

I mentioned this one a bit ago, and you can’t deny it “sounds” wonderful. But we never had a look inside the home, let alone inside the gates. That is until now.

Have a look at Villa De Montaña in St. Helena an let your imagination soar!

Currently not marketed on MLS, this home is on 20+ acres and surrounded by 1,000 acres of the Mayacama Mountains. Asking $16,950,000, it is a 32 room estate with 2 master suites, 4 guest suites, 3 offices, 10 bathrooms, a state-of-the-art gourmet kitchen, breakfast room, sun room, wine cellar, exercise studio, library, and the list goes on and on.

Although not decorated to my standards, the home is quite lovely indeed, especially this killer patio…

I’d love to come visit you on occasion and (insert British accent here) sip a lovely glass of Napa Valley wine on your lovely estate, and marvel at the exquisitely manicured grounds, enjoy delicious meals from your private chef, and form extraordinary friendships with your undoubtedly, absolutely delightful friends. Cheers…

For more details, visit Villa De Montaña, St. Helena, $16,950,000 on PocketListings.net.

-More Wanderlust [theFrontSteps]

Multi Millions On A Monday

Now that we got the Guns N’ Roses out of the way and coursing through the veins, let’s start this Monday with a few multi-million dollar listings here in this fabulous city of San Francisco.
Kicking things off with 2500 Broadway on the corner of Steiner asking a meager $9,500,000.

The description is full of keywords and qualifiers…”2500 Broadway is a home of elegance, grandeur and history located in Pacific Heights on a premier corner lot at Broadway and Pierce. 2500 Broadway dominates this location not only in terms of its size and architecture but also its prominent placement on the hill. Commissioned in 1894 by a prominent lawyer and San Francisco Mayoral candidate this Free Classic” Victorian style home is impressive in scale, luxurious in structure and refined in finish. One of the most wonderful features of the home is the extensive use of oak, walnut and mahogany hardwoods. A full-relief box-work design oak entry hall, mahogany wainscoting in the sitting room and a grand staircase rich with detail are stunning and irreplaceable.”

It is truly a beautiful property and the keywords are justified, but what I know you all really want to know is…it sold in 1994 for $2,800,000. Yep, it’s true.

Moving on down the roads a bit toward the city center, we stumble across this little home recently listed on MLS at 2020 Jackson asking $20,000,000.

“The distinguished & historical Hellman Mansion is located in a prominent Pac Hts location, nr Lafayette Park. The Classical Revival estate, designed circa 1902 by Julius Krafft, was thoughtfully restored maintaining the architect’s original masterpiece, a harmonious blend of grand design, elegant appointments, modern comfort and impeccable renovation. On four impressive levels, accessible by elevator, this 8BR/7+BA home is a rare jewel. Magnificently proportioned living & dining rooms, grand terraces, sumptuous master suite wing, double winding stair, 7 frplcs, au pair suite, main and catering kitchens, media room, family room, family dining, wine cellar, salon and library. Solar. Stunning north & east bay views w/Alcatraz, Angel Is & Marin.”

That’s a lot of 20′s no matter how you slice it, but I gotta wonder if their vision is 20/20 on this one. Last sold 2004 for $15,000,000, it will be interesting to see if this magnificent slice of prime San Francisco real estate on Jackson will see one million Jacksons or one million Hamiltons alongside another million Lincolns.

Speaking of price reductions and a lesson in (price) history…remember 2845 Broadway?

“A legend in the making…a Gold Coast Masterpiece. Clad in French limestone an exquisite Neoclassical style villa with stunning Golden Gate and Bay views, garden and a guest house with 19th Century Italian tile roof comprise this unique compound spanning two lots from Broadway to Pacific. One of the world’s finest residential addresses. Currently under construction, this property presents a unique opportunity to complete an architectural masterpiece in one of the City’s most prestigious locations.”

(Previously) under construction indeed, and originally listed on the MLS in March of 2006 for $65,000,000, we see that history is telling us there really isn’t any property in San Francisco selling for that kind of cash. A+ location or not, we’re talking an unfinished multi-million dollar mansion…and you don’t even get a pool! Maybe a MASSIVE diving board on the patio could afford several mile high flips into the bay. Just wear a helmet.

Finally, moving ever so much closer to downtown, we come to 2323 Hyde on the corner of Hyde and Lombard right at the crest…you know where all the tourists stand in the street, take photos, play Frogger, hop on and off the cable car, and generally get in the way? Yeah, it’s right there.

“This beautiful home was commissioned by Fanny Osborn-Stevenson, the widow of author Robert Louis Stevenson. It is a Willis Polk design and it was built in 1900. It has been meticulously renovated. Complete with mature Landscaped Garden, Roof Terrace & Patio. 4 Car Parking and Elevator to all floors. A true San Francisco Masterpiece.”

Look beyond the (fill in the blank) interior decorations and focus on the property. It’s a beauty in a great location, and it’s also been recently reduced in price from $15,000,000 to a much more reasonable and potentially bidding war price of $14,900,000. Hurry! It’s only been on the market 345 days!

Happy multi million dollar and Metal Monday! I wonder if Axl would want one of these…

-2500 Broadway [MLS]
-2020 Jackson [MLS]
-2845 Broadway [MLS]
-2323 Hyde [MLS]
-Multi-Million Dollar Properties Of Note
-St. Regis Penthouse Was $70,000,000 Now $35,000,000 [theFrontSteps]

From $2,500,000 To $10,000,000 In Presidio Heights At 3362 Jackson (No Joke)

Purchased for $2,500,000 in August of 2009, 3362 Jackson came back on the market April Fool’s Day 2011, and it is no joke. Currently six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and roughly 5800 square feet of luxury, if you think this was a “quick flip”, think again.

Separate yourself for a moment from the marketing and spin to get this thing sold, watch the video, and contact me to get a look inside.

It is after all, “State of the Sexy!”

-3362 Jackson [MLS]

2010 Decorator Showcase Will Be A 1929 Georgian Revival Mansion

From our reader:

The 1929 Georgian Revival mansion @ 3450 Washington is apparently set to be the site of the 2010 Designer Showcase.

Posthumously attributed to Architect Willis Polk (1867-1924) the 8,000+ sq.ft. Presidio Heights home was purchased by Peter Sperling in 2001 for a purported $18 million (story and other high end real estate gossip here), and has been on and off the market ever since.
Still listed on the Joel Goodrich Coldwell Banker website “price upon request”.

So let’s see, not on MLS, but still “available”? Sounds like something for PocketListings.net. Thanks for the tip and thanks for reading!

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Finds Buyer For His Pacific Heights Monster Den

After what must seem like an eternity (we lost track of the days on market), we’re told the metal lair on top of Pacific Heights at 2505 Divisadero (originally asking $12,500,000 now just $8,995,000…it is on top of Pacific Heights and does include a sound studio and party room built for, and occupied by, Metallica for chrissakes!) has found a buyer.

Hammet

Was “The Black Album” conceived in this room…their worst album if you ask us, and all down hill from there. Give us “Master of Puppets” again!

hammetsound1

“Is that…Is that James? Is that James in the mixing room?”-Bonus points if you know which PUNK band has that quote. And no, it does not refer to James Hetfield (of Metallica).

hammetstudio1
Picture “Garage Days” and picture the parties…Metallica did party didn’t they? ;-)

hammettparty1

Who is the lucky buyer catapulting themselves into the home of one of the largest rock bands ever? Enquiring minds want to know….

If you want to see the party room pre staging and fancy photos, this is what we snapped back in 2007 upon first taking a look at the property.

Congrats to all involved in this one, especially Kirk Hammett.

[Update: We asked our source about the price and got this (no surprise) reply: "It's a "confidential" sale... although we all know who sold it [Nina Hatvany], just no one is saying who bought. Word on the street is that Ronnie Garfield rep’d the buyer, but I don’t know for sure.”]

-2505 Divasadero [Property Website and Details]
-Fly On the Wall, 2505 Divisadero hits the market [sfn BLOG]

Another Reason to Love Living Here: The Heights

Seacliff in San Francisco

Fridays are for less serious real estate topic-age, so here is a meaningless poll and a tribute to another characteristic that makes SF unique.

Riding my bike through the Presidio last Saturday, I decided to cruise Presidio Heights. And oh my, the elevation-  in status, I mean. It’s dizzying. The homes are palatial, complete with giant grand pianos, harps, chandeliers,  all of which one can glimpse through elaborate stained glass windows. This got me wondering: why did I pick “teacher” as a career path?

But I digress. From a real estate standpoint, which Heights are really the highest (as in, highest class)? Where would you most desire to spend your halcyon days?

For my money, the top four are Presidio Heights, Pacific Heights, Telegraph Hill, and Sea Cliff.

No offense to any other Heights or Hills. Let’s be honest: SF is chock full of breath taking views from almost every corner (and I’d be thrilled to own a house in any of them), but if we include proximity to open space (like the Presidio or the ocean), the size of the homes and their lots, yards (front, back, side) and those cool carriage houses in back that are bigger than most people’s primary residences, then really, these four take the cake.

But I’m a sucker for parks and beaches, and if I have to pick from there, it’s sand and surf forever. My vote then is Sea Cliff.

Here are four ridiculously lush listings, one in each of my hypothetical contender’s neighborhoods. Study them, perhaps shedding a tear for your own career choice. From your own city explorer insight, which height is really the tops? Are certain areas more steady as investments? Are these places really worth all this dough? And are there really still enough buyers for places like this? After all, the four below are just four of myriad listings on the MLS for well over 3 million dollars, when the the San Francisco Census put the median income in our fair city at less than $70k.

2901 Broadway (Pacific Heights) (7 Bedroom mansion for $45 million.)

37 Presidio Ave (Presidio Heights)  (7 Bedroom single family for or $5, 395,000)

632 El Camino Del Mar (Sea Cliff) (5 Bedroom single family for $9,000,000)

 1454 Kearny St. (Telegraph Hill) (3 Bedroom single family for $3,500,000)

 

Sea Cliff shot via Panoramio

Update: Pool Party On Broadway! Marco….Polo….Fish Outta Water! (And Now On The Market)

[Update: Our original tip ran in May of this year, and now as "Curbed SF" reports, it's on the market (in MLS)...with photos.]

From a connected reader:

Designed in 1922 by Frederick Meyer (think Bill Graham Auditorium) [2950 Broadway] is a serious presence on outer Broadway’s Gold Coast and I think the only one with a pool.

2950broadwaypool1

2950broadway1

…and not yet on MLS, but we’d be glad to get you in early. ;-)

broadway2950_01

Asking $39,500,000.00.

Lifeguard not on duty, and Toyotas parked out front not included.

-2950 Broadway [website]