How Pacific Heights got a 40-foot height limit

One of the flyers distributed during the fight for a 40-foot height limit.

By SUSAN SWARD

On a Friday in April of 1972, Charlotte Maeck got a purple postcard in the mail at her Pacific Heights residence that she initially thought was a hosiery advertisement from the I. Magnin department store.

On closer look, she saw it was a city announcement of a hearing the following Tuesday on a proposal to rezone the areas between Van Ness to Steiner and Union to Washington to permit structures of up to 160 feet — or 16 stories. Before then, height limits of 65 feet and 105 feet existed in various parts of Pacific Heights.

Maeck, who was busy raising her four children with her husband, orthopaedic surgeon Benjamin Maeck, in their home on Pacific Avenue, knew nothing about planning codes and had never been involved in the brawling political fights over development in San Francisco.

She came from Staten Island, where her grandfather founded a marine hardware company. “We were concerned about neighborhoods, and families watched what went on,’’ Maeck recalls. But “I knew nothing about zoning.”

That was about to change.

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Condos under $1 million increasingly rare

Rare: A unit at 3330 Clay Street is currently on the market for $629,000.

REAL ESTATE | PATRICK BARBER

Continuously tight supplies and robust buyer demand have pushed up real estate prices in San Francisco’s most desirable neighborhoods over the past few years, making properties that sell for less than $1 million an endangered species.

Between mid-February and mid-March, 19 condominiums changed hands in Lower Pacific Heights, Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow and Presidio Heights. More than half sold for more than the original price and only two sold for less than $1 million. Compare that with the same period last year, when six of the 22 condominiums — 27 percent — sold for less than $1 million.

Patrick Barber is president of Pacific Union.

Historic Roos House finds its new family

Inside the Roos House, designed by revered Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck.

REAL ESTATE | PATRICK BARBER

In the dwindling days of December, an historic Presidio Heights Tudor sold for the first time — ever — making it the biggest single-family home sale of 2017 in San Francisco.

The home at 3500 Jackson Street, known as the Roos House, sold for $11 million, down from its original asking price of $16 million. Designed by acclaimed Bay Area architect Bernard Maybeck, who also designed the Palace of Fine Arts and many other important buildings, the seven-bedroom home offers more than 10,000 square feet of living space. In addition to spectacular views of the bay, it features a stunning great room with 20-foot ceilings and is situated on a coveted corner location just one block from the Presidio. Since its construction in 1909, the home had been passed down through family members, making this its first-ever sale.

The Roos House at 3500 Jackson Street in San Francisco.

At $1,067 per square foot, the home represents an excellent deal for its location, but it took more than five months to find a buyer. One reason, in addition to its eight-digit asking price, is because it is on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning there are restrictions on the renovations the new owners are permitted to make. The unnamed buyers, said listing agent Nina Hatvany, “are a family who will treasure it as it has been treasured by the Rooses.”

Patrick Barber is president of Pacific Union.

City tight-lipped on Yoshi’s

The Fillmore Heritage Center's public spaces are empty, and no change is in sight.

The Fillmore Heritage Center’s public spaces are empty, and no change is in sight.

IN THE two-and-a-half years since Yoshi’s walked away from the jazz club and restaurant it created in the much-heralded Fillmore Heritage Center, city leaders have met and talked extensively about what should take its place.

Now they have punted.

On November 3, City Hall abruptly announced that none of the five proposals that had been submitted by potential buyers of the complex would be accepted.

“Ultimately, the proposals presented to the review panel and the city didn’t realize the cultural and economic potential of the Fillmore Heritage Center and its significance to the community to allow the process to continue,” said Joaquín Torres, the point person in the mayor’s office for the project, in an email.

So, for now, nothing will be done.

Neither Torres nor anyone else in City Hall involved in the project would discuss publicly the shortcomings of the five proposals or what might be done differently during a second round. Torres repeatedly refused to be interviewed on the record, finally issuing a brief noncommittal statement that said: “The city is currently reviewing its options to produce a beneficial and impactful opportunity for the lower Fillmore neighborhood.”

The decision to start all over again came only days after the restaurant 1300 on Fillmore — the last business operating in the complex — announced that it too would close, at least for now.

St. Dominic’s plans 5 new buildings

Viewed from Pine and Steiner Streets, the plan calls for new church facilities over a parking garage.

The proposed view from Pine and Steiner Streets, with new buildings over a parking garage.

LEADERS OF St. Dominic’s Church are embarking on an ambitious building program that would demolish the 1929 school building on Pine Street and add five new buildings atop a 130-car parking garage.

Three of the new buildings would house church administrative offices, a pre-school and a much larger parish hall. They would be built on an above-ground podium over a one-level, mostly underground garage.

The church building, built in 1928, would not be altered beyond completion of an ongoing $20 million restoration project.

“It’s the parish hall that’s driving this whole thing,” said parishioner-developer Bill Campbell, who presented the plans to three dozen neighbors at an April 5 hearing. “This is the most active parish in San Francisco. And there’s a great need for pre-schools.”

The first phase of the “pastoral center and residential project” is expected to cost $10 million and take 18 months.

The church has begun an environmental impact report for a second phase — “We don’t know when or how,” Campbell said — which would build about 120 residential rental units in two buildings on the corner of Pine and Pierce, with two levels of parking underneath.

The rentals will generate revenue to support the church, said Campbell.

“We appreciate that you spent 30 minutes talking about how wonderful this will be for the parish,” one local resident told Campbell. “But it will be a catastrophe for the neighborhood.”

Architectural renderings from Field Paoli

Architectural renderings from Field Paoli, courtesy of SocketSite

Full House, fuller street

Fans of the Full House TV show flock to 1709 Broderick Street.

A new sign greets fans of the Full House television show flocking to 1709 Broderick Street.

FOR YEARS, residents of the 1700 block of Broderick Street, between Bush and Pine, have struggled with an overabundance of love from fans of the beloved ’80s sit-com Full House, supposedly set at 1709 Broderick.

When a sequel, Fuller House, was launched last year, the opening credits still showed the Italianate Victorian at 1709, and the daily confluence of fans intensified.

Now neighbors are bracing themselves for what comes next after learning the house has been sold, for $4 million, to Jeff Franklin, the creator and producer of Full House and Fuller House.

“The house came on the market and really, I just thought, I have to buy this house,” Franklin told the Hollywood Reporter. “It’s great to have the house in our Full House family and be able to preserve it for the fans.”

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Luxury condos boost late summer sales

VIDEO: Grand opening of The Pacific condos at 2121 Webster on September 15.

REAL ESTATE | PATRICK BARBER

The period before Labor Day is typically a slow time for real estate. But this year was a lot busier, thanks to new condominium buildings that have been opening across San Francisco’s northern neighborhoods.

There were 32 condominium sales in Cow Hollow, Lower Pacific Heights, Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights between mid-August and mid-September — almost three times as many as the same period last year.

Three more units recently sold at the LuXe, a seven-story, 34-unit building at 1650 Broadway between Van Ness and Franklin. Two nearly 1,500-square-foot, three-bedroom condos in the building sold on the last day of August, one for $2.1 million and the other for $2.5 million. Also that day, a three-bedroom penthouse in the building fetched $5.1 million.

The Pacific, another new building located just steps from the heart of upper Fillmore at 2121 Webster Street, saw two big ticket sales recently, with two three-bedroom units selling for $6.2 million and $9 million. One of the penthouses in The Pacific has also closed, with a selling price of $11.5 million.

EARLIER: For buyers with cash, condos promise cachet

A great view is always in demand

The hillside home at 2755 Fillmore sold again in July.

The hillside home at 2755 Fillmore sold again, this time for $13.25 million.

REAL ESTATE | PATRICK BARBER

While the highest end of the housing market has been slowing in San Francisco over the past few months, buyers will still pay big prices for properties in prime condition in locations that also offer top-shelf views.

Such was the case with 2755 Fillmore Street, which sold for its asking price of $13.25 million in late July. Many industry insiders were surprised at the high price, given that the home traded less than three years ago for around $10 million. To put the most recent sale in perspective, it netted nearly $2,600 per square foot — a big number even in Pacific Heights, where single-family homes sold for an average of about $1,700 per square foot during the last year.

The four-bedroom, 5,142-square-foot home, extensively renovated in 2013, has a contemporary design and showed well during open houses. But perhaps its biggest selling point is its view of the bay, Alcatraz Island, the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate Bridge. Even in a market gradually normalizing after a frenetic few years, a sale like this demonstrates that the luxury segment remains resilient.

Patrick Barber is president of Pacific Union.

A stylish office close to home

Partners Steve Mohebi, Yves Behar and Amir Mortazavi in their new space.

Partners Steve Mohebi, Yves Behar and Amir Mortazavi in their new space at 2193 Fillmore.

A NEW SHARED “forward-thinking workspace” with refined aesthetics and upscale amenities is in the works in a long-vacant upstairs space at Fillmore and Sacramento.

Expected to open in September, Canopy will offer shared tables, a personal desk or a private office in an airy space with communal areas and conference rooms for a price: $650 to $4,000 per month.

The concept of “workspaces located in the heart of where people live” is the brainchild of industrial designer Yves Behar, developer Amir Mortazavi and investor Steve Mohebi, all of whom live nearby.

“Canopy was born from a desire to have a place near our homes where we could work and be inspired,” said Behar. “Our goal is to bring great people together in a mature work environment that stimulates great ideas that design can amplify.”

Canopy will offer shared tables, a personal desk or a private office (above).

Canopy will offer shared tables, personal desks and private offices (above).

Many of Behar’s own designs will be featured, including his modern office furniture for Herman Miller, his Juicero Press juicer and Sodastream sparkling water. Jane on Fillmore will do the catering, and there will be Sight Glass coffee and Pique tea.

While Fillmore is the first Canopy location, the founders hope to expand the concept to other locations throughout the country and eventually around the world.

“Pacific Heights — and specifically Fillmore Street — was the perfect place to prototype the Canopy concept,” Behar told Forbes, “because the demand just wasn’t being met.”

Mortazavi pointed to the many desirable aspects of living in Pacific Heights and to Fillmore’s restaurants and boutiques.

“We never really need to leave the neighborhood, except to work,” he said. “Canopy fulfills the missing piece of having a perfect living situation.”

Canopy’s workspace will feature furnishings designed by Yves Behar and others.

Canopy’s shared workspace will feature furnishings designed by Yves Behar and others.

‘Petit Trianon’ sells for a petite price

The 14-bedroom chateau at 3800 Washington Street sold in a foreclosure sale.

The 14-bedroom chateau replica at 3800 Washington Street sold in a foreclosure sale.

REAL ESTATE | PATRICK BARBER

The recent sale of the mansion known as the Petit Trianon in Presidio Heights highlights the importance of realistic pricing and proper maintenance, while another sale just a block away underscores that today’s high-end San Francisco homebuyers gravitate toward modern architecture.

In mid-July, the 14-bedroom, 20,000-square-foot French chateau replica at 3800 Washington Street sold for $15,750,000 in a foreclosure sale — 12 percent less than the listing price. It took 442 days to find a buyer. Designated as a national historic landmark, the home sits on three lots totaling almost 29,000 square feet in one of San Francisco’s most desirable neighborhoods.

However, the grand home had not been staged to showcase its livability, its exterior and grounds were in disrepair, a squatter had taken over the guest house and skateboarders made the marble steps their personal park — all of which substantially reduced the home’s curb appeal. Additionally, the property had been overpriced in multiple sale attempts over the past few years. Despite the long marketing time, arranging tours proved difficult. And at least one offer higher than the final sale price was not accepted.

The contemporary home at 101 Maple proved to be more desirable.

The contemporary home at 101 Maple proved to be more desirable.

Compare that sale with neighboring 101 Maple Street, which fetched just under $10 million at the end of June. That five-bedroom home sits on a single lot about one-tenth of the size of its neighbor and sold in a relatively speedy 54 days. The Maple Street property resonated with home shoppers due to its sleek, contemporary design and open floor plan, which are favored by many of today’s younger San Francisco homebuyers.

Patrick Barber is president of Pacific Union.