Rooftop Pool Preview at 1875 Mission

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The gold address numbers have risen over at 1875 Mission, a former storage space that’s been transformed into 39 “L.A. chic” luxury condos. The building is situated on the same block as the Armory, between 14th and 15th Streets. [Read more...]

Hard Hat Tour: Amero in Cow Hollow

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I went on a hard hat tour of the new Amero condo building at 1501 Filbert between Van Ness and Franklin last week. Featuring 27 two- and three-bedroom units, Amero also includes one parking space per unit. (Many other properties only provide one space for every two units.) There are four penthouses, as well.

Units range from just over 1,000 square feet to 2500 square feet. Finishes will feature natural stone countertops, walls and flooring; carpeting in bedrooms; European grey oak/wide plank flooring. The kitchen will be fully stocked with Italian cabinetry, Bertazzoni ranges and Thermador refrigerators, along with polished quartz countertops. [Read more...]

Inside Hayes Valley’s 8 Octavia

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I previewed 8 Octavia, the new 47-unit condo development designed by iconic architect Stanley Saitowitz that sits at the corner of Octavia Boulevard and Market Street.

The distinctive feature of the property is the green-colored “curtain” that’s actually a louver system. Owners can press a button in their condo and open or close the louvers, so cancel those plans for window treatments. (No word yet on how expensive the louver system will be over time when it comes to maintaining and repairing it.) Saitowitz calls 8 Octavia a “breathable building,” and I’m sure the louvers are the reason for that. [Read more...]

1645 Pacific: Old World Design with a Modern Touch

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The brand new, 39-unit condo project at 1645 Pacific is officially one of my favorite new developments on the market. I toured the building this week and was impressed with developer Grosvenor America’s and Richard Beard and BAR Architect’s efforts to construct a building inspired by the old world design that’s pervasive among many homes in Pacific Heights, Russian and Nob Hills.

The nice thing about the building is that it doesn’t look like it was transplanted from SoMa, and fits in with the neighborhood’s character. From the sculptures that adorn the facade, to wrought-iron balcony rails and pre-war design elements, 1645 Pacific looks as if there was some real thought put into the overall design. The lobby has high ceilings and grand chandeliers, and all floors are serviced by an elevator. There will also be a concierge/doorman, secured bike storage, a car-sharing service and common rooftop terrace with sweeping views. [Read more...]

Bernal Renovations, South Beach Condos Getting Ready to Sell

The latest Zephyr Market Tracker is showing property prices up around 8% across the board over the past six months. (In most neighborhoods, though, the increase from 2013 to 2014 is much higher.)

We also take a look at Lumina, the upcoming 655-unit condo development at 201 Folsom that’s best known as phase 2 of the Infinity. Plus, a close-up on Bernal Heights and some cool renovations happening there. And let’s not forget the annual Decorator Showcase that will be held in a 9,000-square foot mansion on Jackson Street.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

Onyx in Potrero Knows Its Target Buyers

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I guess it was only a matter of time before someone decided to build a condo development with the look and feel of an Apple store. Sharing its name with an OS X utility app and saturated in white, Onyx in Potrero Hill certainly knows its buyer demographic.

I visited Onyx this week on my broker tour, and I do like the finishes and the location within the neighborhood. Onyx will ultimately house 41 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos across three stories and two buildings. (The second building will rise at the corner of 17th and Carolina, and will be completed in Fall 2015.) The two-story lobby has white porcelain flooring and “signature, ONYX stone.” You may stop momentarily to look for the Genius Bar, but the best bet is to either head up the stairs or take the elevator to the second floor to check out the available units. [Read more...]

Pricey Prospects for New Condos in SF Pipeline

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It’s been quite a year for developers of new construction condos and houses in San Francisco. After an economic downturn during which very few new projects were built in the city, construction lurched ahead again—particularly along the Market Street corridor, in Hayes Valley, the Mission and many other popular neighborhoods.

And oh, what a reception these new developments received! Projects such as 300 Ivy in Hayes Valley and ICON in the Castro sold out in record time, and at record prices. Buyers seemed very willing to pay a premium of $1,000-$1200/sq foot for new and shiny, particularly in transit- and retail-friendly communities. And 3500 19th Street at Valencia took advantage of the tech-buying boom and Mission mania by largely selling out all of its 17 condos with sales prices in the $1.3M-$2.3M range. [Read more...]

5 Things To Know About Negotiating New Development Contracts

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San Francisco is experiencing a construction boom these days, with new developments going up in neighborhoods on a rolling basis—with many more to follow in the next five years.

There are two ways to handle contract negotiations if you’ve decided to buy a newly built—or not-quite-finished—condo. You can go directly to the sales office, or work with a local Realtor. Some buyers feel that they can handle things on their own, while others appreciate the guidance of a seasoned professional who’s negotiated contracts on other developments in the past.

Regardless of how you approach your purchase, here are five things to know before you sit down with the sales office to negotiate your contract:
1. We’re in a seller’s market, and developers are not discounting their list prices. Most developments are selling out quickly, and at prices that the developer wants. There will likely be another buyer breathing down your neck as soon as you decide which unit you’d like to buy. Of course, you may be able to negotiate a lower price on a less desirable unit that ends up sitting on the market longer.

2. Most of the contingencies are passive. The San Francisco Realtor Association (SFAR) purchase agreement allows for contingency timeframes that require the buyer to remove the contingency on a certain date. That’s usually not the case for the new-construction condo contracts. If the sales office doesn’t hear from you by the time the particular contingency deadline arrives, the escrow marches on and you technically do not have that contingency to fall back on anymore. I provide an escrow timetable to all my clients so everyone is aware of all deadlines, and no one risks losing a deposit.

3. Make sure the parking details in the paperwork match up with what you see in the garage. Will you own your parking space, or is it leased or assigned? Does your space show up on the condo map? Is there a separate HOA just for parking?

4. You should have a final walkthrough prior to closing. The SFAR contract provides for a walkthrough on the property within five days of closing. You’re able to ensure that what you’re buying is in acceptable condition. New home contracts sometimes omit that walkthrough, which can be particularly problematic if you’ve been promised that certain items will be installed by close of escrow. It’s a good idea to insist on a walkthrough.

5. You may be able to negotiate concessions. If the price is firm, has the developer been throwing in any appliances or upgrades? Typical concessions are refrigerators or upgrades on finishes if a unit hasn’t yet been completed. If you’ve decided to work directly with the sales office, they will not usually be forthcoming about concessions because they’re representing the seller and are trying to get him or her the best deal possible. On the other hand, a well-connected Realtor (like me) can confer with colleagues who have sold units in the building to see what you may be able to request and likely achieve.

Sales offices always require that your agent register with you upon your first visit to the building. So if you would prefer the benefit of working with a Realtor and want to see condos in a particular building, make sure to schedule a time to go to the office together.

There are probably another 20 items I could add to the list above, and I’d be happy to provide my guidance if you’re interested in one of the many new developments that are selling now or will be releasing units soon. Give me a shout at 415.823.4656 or ebermingham@zephyrsf.com if you’d like to talk.

Marlow 70% Sold Out, Sight Unseen


One of the fastest-selling condo developments has been the 98-unit Marlow at 1788 Clay in Nob Hill, which kicked off sales in the Spring . The building is 70% sold out, according to the sales office, and buyers continue to make purchasing decisions without actually seeing the condos in person. Instead, they’re referencing floor plans and the model in the sales office.

Marlow is one of the rare new developments in the north end of town, so that makes it a popular choice among buyers who are looking for an easy commute downtown or to the North Bay, as well as to 101 via Van Ness. The building is also situated in the heart of the Polk retail corridor, which makes things extremely convenient for residents who want to be able to walk to shops, restaurants and cafes.

So it’s not surprising that buyers are committing to purchases without physically seeing units first. The best condos sell quickly; in this case, higher floors facing north, south & east have been popular.

Interior framing is complete up to the seventh floor, and window installation is almost complete on all floors. Progress is also being made on the courtyard, interior painting, and elevator system.

Nine 1BR condos remain, ranging in price from $725,000-$837,000, and 11 2BRs are available, from $984,000-$1,510,000. In general, you’re looking at just over $1,000/sq foot for the 1BRs, and between $1100-$1200/sq foot for the 2BRs. Parking is included in these prices, though you can knock $40,000 off the price if you don’t want the space.

Give me a shout if you’re interested in exploring your options at Marlow. I’d be happy to negotiate the best deal possible for you.

Linea Releases Pricing, Spotlight on Noe Valley

One of the hottest new condo developments is Linea, a 115-unit property at Market and Buchanan. The building is situated on the cusp of Mission Dolores, Hayes Valley, the Castro and Duboce Triangle. In the latest MarketTracker, we survey pricing on all the various units (hint: we’re talking $1,000+/sq ft).

We also focus on Noe Valley and the variety of housing available there, and give you a snapshot of some cool events and activities coming up this summer in San Francisco.

And this is probably not news, but sales prices are up over the past six months from 10-19%, depending on property type. Check out the details and recent sales, too!

It’s all here in this edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker.

Suburbia Sets Foot in SF, Dogs Rule & Prices are Up

Developers have broken ground on Summit 800, a 182-unit development on Brotherhood Way near Lake Merced in San Francisco. The 7.7-acre parcel will have a mix of attached and detached homes, some with yards and a decidedly suburban feel.

Where does San Francisco rank in the United States for the top dog cities? And how much have home prices in the city increased in the past six months? It’s all here in the latest Zephyr MarketTracker!

Hayes Valley’s 8 Octavia Breaks Ground


Construction kicked off this week on the 47-unit condo development 8 Octavia, situated at Market and Octavia in Hayes Valley. The Stanley Saitowitz/Natoma Architects-designed project will sit where the Central Freeway once ran, and the site has been vacant since that roadway was torn down in 2002.

Octavia Boulevard was thoughtfully reworked in 2005 to create a more pedestrian-friendly stretch, and having a new residential development will give the area a boost where it’s needed. 8 Octavia will sit in the midst of a very busy intersection that includes motorists heading to the 101 on ramp from Octavia, as well as the usual Market Street traffic and Muni flow.

But DM Development and DDG, the forces behind 8 Octavia, are working to build a sleek, smartly designed building on a pie-shaped slice of land. The goal, according to Saitowitz, is to present the project as a modern-day interpretation of the Victorian-era homes that pervade Hayes Valley. He says that the exterior will feature a fluid, changing facade, units with flexible space and lightwells that will be like urban versions of the traditional yard.

Floor plans include junior one bedrooms and one-, two, and three bedrooms. There will also be three 3BR penthouses and one 2BR townhome. Among the available floor plans at 8 Octavia is a “pod” concept, designed to maximize living space by containing the kitchen, bath and washer/dryer within a single efficient module. The “flex space” floor plan offers a living space that can be portioned into multiple rooms by sliding movable wall panels.

Innovative features at 8 Octavia include keyless entry into the building and individual homes via smartphones. The building also features user-controlled window louvers to modulate solar heat and privacy. Residences include efficient lighting and appliances alongside finishes that include wood flooring, European cabinetry and floor-to-ceiling windows.

There will reportedly be approximately 24 parking spaces for the residences, and 26 bike stalls. Two ground-floor retail spaces will be included.

For buyers looking for a central location near the Castro, downtown, Duboce Triangle, Civic Center and the mid-Market district, 8 Octavia is an excellent option. I’m thinking the design may trump other more cookie-cutter condo developments which are on the way.

200 Dolores Approaches Spring Launch


A much anticipated condo development on the Mission Dolores/Duboce Triangle/Castro borders is 200 Dolores, which has been in the works for some time.

200 Dolores offers 13 elegantly appointed condos. Three of the units are located within the historic Victorian home that’s been moved and renovated, and the other ten units were constructed on the adjoining parcel and surround a central courtyard. Features include gas fireplaces, built-in television cabinets, recessed lighting, radiant heat floors, Ann Sacks tiling throughout and Wolf/Sub-Zero/Bosch appliances. There is an elevator in the building, as well as garage parking for all units.

Here’s a breakdown of the units, as per listing agent Anne Herrera at Sotheby’s International Realty:

One 1BR/1BA, approximately 680 square feet

Two 2BR/2BA, approximately 1015 and 1180 square feet (lower and middle units in the Victorian)

Nine 2BR/2.5BA, approximately 1095-1540 square feet, some with private roof decks.

One 3BR/3.5BAs approximately 2000 square feet (upper unit in the Victorian).

The project is expected to be complete at the end of May, with tours kicking off after the units are complete and showing at their best. Pricing will be approximately $1000 per square foot, subject to a final discussion with the developer as the units get closer to market.

I am a huge fan of this development and location. Of all the projects being constructed in San Francisco, I believe 200 Dolores will have the most “neighborhood” feel, given that it’s off Market Street and will provide a more peaceful environment than projects located at busy Market Street intersections. It’s also one block from the new Whole Foods that will be in the 2001 Market rental building (currently under construction), as well as Safeway. You can walk to the 16th & Mission BART station from here, as well as catch the Muni rail or bus lines along Market.

Give me a shout if these units are in your price range and you’d like to initiate a loan preapproval so you’re in position to make a purchase. At the risk of sounding like a used car salesperson, these condos will most likely sell out very quickly, so the more prepared you are, the more likely you’ll be able to beat out the competition.

Nob Hill’s Marlow Launches Condo Pre-Sales

I visited the sales office for Marlow, the 98-unit condo development currently under construction at the corner of Van Ness and Clay in Nob Hill. The building will be move-in ready in early 2014, but the sales office has started selling units and already has ten units under contract.

Marlow is a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, as well as three-bedroom townhomes across eight stories. Floor plans include either units with or without dens, which is the main distinction.

Finishes include white quartz countertops, natural walnut cabinets, porcelain backsplashes and tiling, and stained maple floors. (Refrigerators, microwaves, and washer/dryers are not offered in the purchase prices.) The kitchen counter features a media station for charging your electronic devices:

Bathrooms have equally nice finishes:

Amenities include independent parking for each unit, bike storage (but no additional storage), three carshare spaces, air conditioning (in San Francisco, no less), and half of the homes have some sort of balcony for outdoor space. Windows are “double-, triple- and quadruple-paneled,” as per the sales office. And the common area is “Marlow Park,” which is an open space on the ground level that will feature a bocce court, grill, and firepit. There’s no roof deck.

Pricing is at a premium, ranging from $922-$1200/square foot. Units being offered now range in square footage from 671-1267 square feet, with the least expensive condo being a 746-sq foot 1BR + den on the second floor listed at $689,900, and the most expensive being a 1231-sq foot unit on the fifth floor listed for $1,232,900. Monthly HOA dues are $540-$667.

Buyers who want first pick of the available units will have to be content making their decisions based on floor plans and depicted views and other details via the sales office’s touch screen display. Those ten buyers already in contract are betting that Marlow’s condos will be worth current prices when the building is finally ready for occupancy in early 2014.

I like Marlow’s design and amenities, and believe that the units facing north, east and south will be the best ones. West-facing units that front Van Ness are the ones with the quadruple-paned windows, no doubt, and will require buyers who are less sensitive to noise—or ones who’d be happy running air conditioning and keeping the windows closed. The location is extremely central to the Polk Street corridor’s shops and restaurants, and is in walking distance of the Financial District. Given the limited new development opportunities in the well-established neighborhoods of Russian/Nob Hills, Marlow offers a good opportunity for buyers looking for shiny, new finishes in a convenient location.

If you’re interested in independent representation at Marlow, please contact me and I will schedule a visit to the sales office for us. The sale process in new construction is unique, and I can use my experience in this area to help you make the right decisions, as well as navigate all the ins and outs of the process.

Update: ICON’s Floor Plans, VIP Loan Preapproval

One of the more anticipated Market Street condo developments at 2299 Market, ICON, is now welcoming loan preapprovals for its units. Though the sales office is not yet open and the project is still under construction, you can complete a preapproval with the development’s in-house lender. This will certainly launch you to the top of the VIP list when it comes to purchasing one of the 18 one- and two-bedroom condos that will be available.

And while we’re at it, here’s a look at a few newly released floor plans, courtesy of the development’s marketing team of Suzanne Gregg and Jason Gorski at Paragon Real Estate. I’m liking the separation between the bedrooms in the two-bedroom plans:

If you’re interested in getting in before the masses, please contact me and I can help you navigate the preapproval process via the ICON in-house lender. Please note that I am not part of the ICON sales team, but can work with you in the event you’d like independent representation.