Dropping Knowledge: San Francisco Property Pie Chart

I know you’re all like me, you drive around town looking at all the wonderful, insanely expensive property we have here in San Francisco. I know you wish you knew how many of the properties you see were single family homes, how many are condominiums, how many are big ol’ properties of which you’d love to be the landlord (or maybe you already are). My company came up with this nice little pie chart for all y’all. Enjoy:


San Francisco Pocket Listings, Not On MLS Opportunities, And Buyers Looking!

I’ve been resisting the urge to continually share the opportunities popping up in San Francisco on my new venture, PocketListings.net, but I can’t hold back. Here is a summary of what is going on “behind the scenes” in San Francisco real estate that we’re gradually bringing to center stage.

-Thirty-three hundred square feet in Pacific Heights for $2,875,000:

-A “creative buyer looking for development opportunities…flexible on property type and price.

-Three bedroom Potrero Hill Condominium For Sale, but not on MLS.

-Telegraph Hill Buyer looking to be on the East Slope, and desiring views. Price up to $2,000,000.

-One bedroom condo in Dolores Heights, very much for sale, but also “not on MLS”.

-Should you find yourself itching to move to Marin, here is a nice 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with 4 Car Parking, also “not on MLS”.

-If you want to get way the hell out of dodge, perhaps this Daytona Beach, Florida “family compound” is for you.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. The moral to the story is that what you see on MLS is not close to the entire picture, AND PocketListings.net is pioneering a platform to give the buyer a voice. We plan on completing the real estate circle, if you will. Think of the countless properties that could be marketed before MLS, thousands that get withdrawn or expired from MLS, bank foreclosure inventory, and so much more. If you’re an agent, I’d encourage you to use it, and if you’re a principal, I’d encourage you to browse it, then tell your agent to join!


Inner-Sunset Sprouting Condos

Inner-Sunset, home to much good food, a few good bars, a few bad bars, the prohibitively expensive Andronico’s, and UCSF, will soon be home to new condos. On my block alone (9th Ave., past Moraga St.) there are two sites going up or planned to go up. One is adjacent to my deck, where I once saw the Bay, and now see the back of someone’s bedroom to be. I have no idea if this very tall building will be apartments for rent or condos for sale, but it will have several units, a garage, and a penthouse. On the other side of the street, where a long defunt Moraga Market has been little more than place to try out graffiti tags and dump unwanted sofas, construction is also in the works. The lot has sold, a hearing has taken place. All that’s left is to break ground.

Finally, quite done are the condos on 7th Ave., near Irving St. The photo above is from before the facades were placed. Now they are gorgeous Art Deco looking things with burnished copper and huge windows. The agent, Gary Small of Zephyr, tells me that the units are luxury one and two bedroom condos with underground parking, and that the two free-standing cottages that stood in a lot behind the building that sits on the street have been revamped. Some lucky millionare can thus own a little house all his or her own!

It’s the most action the Inner-Sunset has seen since a bunch of drunks from the Mucky Duck tried to scale a MUNI train. Sadly for we middle income buyers, the luxury condo lable means these new homes, exciting though they are, will not be ours.

Oh well. Drinking at the Mucky Duck is always an alternative.

PHOTO: Socketsite

Lembi’s List: The 51 Properties They’ve Given Back

We’ve had a fair bit of interest for the exact list of 51 properties Lembis have “deeded” back to the bank (deeds in lieu of foreclosure), so we did a little digging and are pleased to say we found it. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below, or better yet, drop us a line (thefrontsteps@gmail.com). We’ll help where we can.

1. 1890 Clay 
  2. 1008 Larkin/982 Post
  3. 500 Hyde
  4. 500 Leavenworth St.
  5. 512 Van Ness 
  6. 750 O’Farrell
  7. 734 Bush Street
  8. 2001 Pierce
  9. 1735 Van Ness
  10. 510 26th Avenue
  11. 600 Stanyan
  12. 2265 Larkin
  13. 1082 Post St.
  14. 2100 Post
  15. 3299 Washington
  16. 1750 Franklin
  17. 2345 Larkin
  18. 2845 Pierce
  19. 1330 Mason
  20. 1300 Grant
  21. 825 Post
  22. Ben Franklin Hotel
  23. 642 Jones 
  24. 4130-4140 Cesar Chavez
  25. 837 Geary
  26. 3649 Market
  27. 808 Leavenworth
  28. 2400 Van Ness
  29. 1440 Washington
  30. 765 Sutter
  31. 72 Gough
  32. 625 Taylor 
  33. 300 Hyde
  34. 830 Sutter
  35. 655 Hyde
  36. 525 Hyde
  37. 1067 Washington
  38. 3015 Van Ness
  39. 1449 Washington
  40. 1616 Golden Gate
  41. 3755 Filmore
  42. 3124 Octavia
  43. 1837 Oak St.
  44. 1267 Filbert
  45. 943 Jackson
  46. 328 Hyde
  47. 60 Dearborn 
  48. 215 Guerrero
  49. 3947 18th Street
  50. 24 Belcher
  51. 1945 Hyde

-Lembi’s New Year’s Resolution: Give Back [theFrontSteps]

Reader Report: Big Time Landlords Smoking a Lot of Crack in 2006

We love to get tips and comments from all y’all, so keep sending them either to thefrontsteps@gmail.com or use the contact form This from “44yo hipster”:

Apparently some big time landlords were smoking a lot of crack in 2006. Apparently these NY landlords didn’t get the memo that rent control is real, and unfortunately, one cannot just wish it away. I wonder if the Lembi’s were also this dumb, given their buying binge of apartment buildings in San Francisco? Peace out.

-Fear of Defaults After a Flurry of Apartment House Sales [New York Times]

-Lembi Juggernaut Selling Units? [theFrontSteps]

today on theFrontSteps.org

Coming Soon (1460-68 Broadway @ Polk)

From this:

To this:

These TIC units at 1460-68 Broadway are expected to hit the market this weekend. We’re still waiting to hear back from the developer on pricing and details. For now, imagine how much better your food will taste cooked in the new kitchen as opposed to the old.

Or how much better a shower would be in this bathroom

as opposed to this one

Check back for further details like size, pricing, and more photos.


More photos

Floorplan 1

Floorplan 2

Floorplan 3

Prices range from $869K to $969K.

All units are two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, with 1 parking space in

the garage at the ground floor of the building.

Top floor units have private roof decks. Ground floor units have

private, fenced in yards.

There is also a common area roofdeck for everyone, and a common area

yard for everyone.

Finishes include Carrera marble, Halila limestone, Interceramic Glass

Tiles, Hansgrohe Axor fixtures, Philippe Starck soaking tub in the

master bath, natural hardwood floors, custom window coverings, gas

fireplaces, 3 units with Caesarstone counter, 3 units with granite, some

units with natural cherry cabinets, some units with ebony walnut

cabinets, professional-grade Viking Appliances, KWC kitchen faucets,

washer/dryer hookups in each unit.

What more could you need?

It’s a pocket listing kind of post

If you, or anyone you know, are interested in any of the following, please contact us:

-Lake Street SFR 6 bed, 3.5 Bath, 2 car parking $2.6M

-Russian Hill Condo on Polk St. 2 bed, 1 bath, no parking $995k

-South Beach Condo (88 King), 3 bed, 2.5 bath, pano view, 1 car parking, $2M

-200 Townsend, 1 bed, 1 bath loft, $685k

-6 units in Haight Ashbury, 5 vacant, needs work, price around $2M

-Noe Valley Victorian SFR, 3b/2ba, garage, yard, $1.4M

-Great Highway SFR on 3000 sqft lot.

-9 Units in theatre district on Sutter, price around $3M, all tenant occupied.

No, Greg, these are not all in my pocket, but I am glad to see you (comment from time to time.)

165 new units coming soon to One Hawthorne (645 Howard)

From sfnewsletter.

Jackson Pacific Ventures has secured financing for One Hawthorne, a 24-story, 165-unit luxury condominium project located at 645 Howard (think Thirsty Bear, W Hotel, MOMA, Yerba Buena, that area), and ground breaking is expected for this month.


[image source: Jackson Pacific Ventures]

Project completion is expected for spring 2010, and will include 165 luxury one-, two- and three-bedroom homes and penthouses in a variety of sizes (550-2200 square feet), as well as 124 below-grade parking spaces and 3,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail on the corner. Sales are anticipated to begin in early/mid 2009, and pricing is expected to start in the $500,000s.

For more details please contact us.

-sfnewsletter [website]

Lembi selling 17 buildings, investors still looking long term

Not too long ago, a reader asked us, what’s up with the Lembis? If you had seen our response, you’d pretty much know that our “source” nailed it. For those that aren’t familiar with the Lembis and the impact they had/have on our multi-unit residential market, we invite you to read the article below. In a nutshell, the “Lembis have invested more than $1 billion in apartment buildings since 2005 and own 7,500 units across the city,” and this little sale is sending quite a shock to the multi-unit market.

For our purposes, we’re going to point out a few quotes from the article that would often get over-looked by our bubble blogging brethren.

David Gruber, who owns 14 apartment buildings and is active in the landlord community, said he doesn’t expect any of the Lembi buildings to sell at current prices.

“They might have to adjust to a different type of market, but in the long term the message is still very bullish: low vacancies, healthy job growth, and rent increases,” he said. “People who buy in San Francisco are not buying for cash flow — they are buying for long-term appreciation.”

“A building I bought in 1979 for $1 million is now appraised at $14 million; a building I bought in 1982 for $1.6 million is worth $16 million,” [David Raynal COO of CitiApartments] said.

Talk all you want about year over year, month to month, but don’t forget the bigger picture. San Francisco is a solid long term investment.

-Lembis end apartment buying spree [San Francisco Business Times]

Ask Us: “Massive construction at 766 Harrison”

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

I work on Harrison between 3rd and 4th. For the past year+, there’s been massive construction at 766 Harrison. What’s the building going to be? And will it have an affect on the homeless/mentally ill/substance abusers who camp outside of the substance abuse/mental clinic next door?


As you can see, the brokers have this very nice property information page for you that tells us, “Construction is currently underway of 98 stylish studio units which will be available in June 2008.”

Here is another more detailed pdf regarding the retail and office space.


And as far as what they plan on doing with the building beyond what you’re reading on marketing materials, their “goal is to bring in a food related cafe service to the property in an effort to provide a pleasant atmosphere in which both tenants and neighbors may have a place to gather.” There are also a few small office spaces available for lease, and the studios being built above are all going to be rentals .

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us again.

-766 Harrison [The Baumeister Collective Properties]

-Retail Space pdf [Ritchie Commercial]

[Image sources: TBCP website and Ritchie Commercial pdf]

Chelsea Park coming, this time with pricing

As we reported not too long ago, Chelsea Park, a new development located in Mission Dolores at 3620 19th Street and 29 Oakwood is coming soon…as in this weekend. We’re happy to tell you, we have a tiny bit more information for you.


[Bloomsbury floor plan pictured. Image courtesy of chelseaparksf.com]

Of the 39 units coming to market, they’re only releasing 7 this weekend, all of which we’re told are in the Bloomsbury building located on Oakwood Street. The units are priced from $729,000 for a large one bedroom, up to $1,269,000 for a large 3 bedroom. (We’re confirming that there is a 3br in the Bloomsbury, as it is not listed on their floor plan on their website.) A “nice sized” 2 bedroom starts at $899,000.

Beyond that, 5 of the total 39 units will be offered at BMR.

Ask Us: “Lembi juggernaut” selling units?

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

There must be many of you brokers out there who are familiar with the Lembi juggernaut. Well, word is that they are adjusting to a changing financing landscape and even, gasp! selling some units. Maybe that will allow some of us little guys to get a shot at buying some of the multi-unit buildings around town? Any thoughts?

Well, Paco, whatever word on the street you are hearing must have some truth to it, as we’re hearing the same thing. We are not reporters, don’t pretend to be, and frankly don’t feel like “glamming” this post up, so we’ll give some bullets:

    * Trophy Properties has currently listed multiple properties

    for sale.  As a result of a slipping market the buildings are arguably

    priced above current market values.

    * With shifting values and adjustable loans there are rumors that

    the company is having trouble keeping up.

    * Most of Trophy’s purchases in recent memory were done with short

    term, highly leveraged adjustable loans, which are believed to be


    * Trophy has purchased approx. 85% of the buildings, with 10 or more

    units, in the last two years.  This aggressive buying has “frustrated” a

    lot of SF investors. Many competing Buyers are licking their

    chops waiting for more properties to come back to the market. However,

    because of high prices, most of the properties are not

    attracting serious investors.

    * This uncertainty is creating a “standoff” in the 10+ unit market,

    as Sellers are waiting to see how listed properties sell before listing

    their own, and investors are not moving on recently “listed” properties

    because they are so expensive.

    * Many local Agents are all wondering, “how will the market react to

    disparity between Sellers and Buyers.”

    That from a highly connected source in the multi-unit world.

      1 (One) South Park: a Walkthrough and Sales Update

      We recently had the pleasure of checking out 1 (One) South Park with some clients, and are sad to say the pickins are slim (for us anyway).

      If you don’t know what One South Park is, fear not, we’ve gotcha covered. One South Park is a new warehouse conversion with 35 new homes, including 9 penthouses. They have one, two, and three bedroom homes, 14 of which have private outdoor terraces (the south facing ones will get the heat and light, the north facing get the views.) Square footage per unit varies, so we’re not quoting any. The owner has retained arguably one of the best penthouses with a huge wrap-around deck, which should come as no surprise.

      Pricing, you can assume is around $900-$1000/ square foot, and sales Continue reading

      Glassing Off: Downtown and a Bottle of Windex

      Following on the heels of our latest post on Millennium Tower, today’s Chronicle/SF Gate provides the latest on all the glass going up on many of the other buildings we’ve featured. Have a look at this audio slideshow by John King of the SF Chronicle.

      san francisco chronicle

      And of course, feel free to share your thoughts.

      -One Rincon Hill Posts [theFrontSteps]

      -The Infinity Posts [theFrontSteps]

      -Millennium Tower Posts [theFrontSteps]

      -audio slideshow [SF Gate]

      -Newest Towers Will Give SF Skyline a Touch of Glass [SF Chronicle/John King]

      6 units in Alamo Square: an update

      Not too long ago we reported on some properties that were near and dear to our wallets, literally. True to our word, we report the good, the bad and the ugly.

      So we again, bring a sad story on what can happen in this market.


      The property is 869-879 Grove, a 6-unit building in the Alamo Square district, and the story (shortened) is as follows:

      Actually, we’ll make it really short. Hit the market 9/6/07 for $1,695,000, had tons of activity, some very serious buyers circling, but none that wanted to take on the daunting task of the tenant issues associated with this building in order to be able to maximize the use of the property. So… it is still available, and on the Fast Track to Staledom. For the savvy buyer that would like to owner occupy this building, you might like to take a look. For the developer looking to evict and flip, maybe not.

      -What Happened? Redfin got it. [theFrontSteps]

      -Nothing Special, Just $421,000 over asking, that’s all (1809 Diamond) [theFrontSteps]

      -Reasons for my Absence, Market Activity on Three Levels [theFrontSteps]

      “A Trip Down Lake Street”

      There have been a lot of Google searches and even more emails coming to us wondering if we can “point [you] in the direction of the ‘Walk Down Lake Street’” from sfnewsletter that many of you saw mentioned in this article on SFGate. Those that have already read it already know that we added a few comments that didn’t make the cut.

      So if you missed the walk, here it is. In its entirety: [Follow the break] Continue reading

      The reasons for my absence: Market Activity on three levels

      I know, I know. I’ve been MIA, but there is a reason. A good one. Or two. Actually three. You see, when I get caught up in this blog, reading comments, and reporting on what I see “virtually” I almost get the sense the market has cooled. It has cooled, but not nearly to the extent reported by every other media outlet out there. When I go out into the “field” with buyers and sellers, it is an entirely different picture.

      My first example:


      420 Lake, a six unit building asking $1,950,000, in the Lake District. Priced a bit too high for my client who is looking to vacate the building, completely remodel, and sell as TICs, this property had a showing schedule, an offer date (gasp!) and is now in contract. How it pans out, we can only wait and see, but that should be a good indication of something.

      My second example:


      869-879 Grove, another 6 unit building asking $1,695,000 in Alamo Square. Just hit the market, first Broker Tour was yesterday, and is rumored to be receiving an offer today.

      My third Example:


      2185 Bush #311, my own listing, a two bed condo in Lower Pacific Heights. Received an offer after only 18 days on the market, with many, many buyers circling. We’re still negotiating the final details, so hopefully I don’t jinx it, but the buyers are there, as is the activity, the loan approvals, and interest.

      [Update: Literally two minutes after this went live, we are ratified in contract...with contingencies.]