The Amero & Vida SF Begin to Take Shape

The Amero and Vida SF are both doing their best impressions of a Beverly Hills housewife recovering from plastic surgery, with the exterior wraps slowly coming off of both new buildings:

While the two buildings have very little in common other than the fact that they are both being built in 2014 and their scaffolding is coming down, in this blog post we’ve given you a two for one special!

Over in Cow Hollow, The Amero still has scaffolding up on the Filbert side of things but the wraps have come off on the Van Ness side, revealing a rather conservative design ethos that probably won’t win any awards but also is fairly unlikely to raise the hackles of anyone. Although, let’s face it – if you live in San Francisco you seem to have some duty to object to the look of any new building.

While the Amero design aesthetic may be mellow, over in the Inner Mission the design of Vida SF is anything but subtle. The building facade features a multitude of colors and panels of glass that alternate between pivoting towards or away from the building in a vertical design. When it’s time to do the rendering vs. reality on Vida, I’d say the renderings got it pretty darn accurate.

We are not the listing agents for either of these buildings, but we do offer buyers independent representation at new and existing construction across San Francisco. The Amero is listed by the fine team at the Mark Co, while the equally fine team of Polaris Pacific represents the developer of Vida.

What are your thoughts on the look and feel of these two new additions to their respective San Francisco neighborhoods? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, on our facebook page, or on twitter.

New San Francisco Home Sales Update

How is inventory looking at new construction developments across the city? Here’s what we are hearing about San Francisco home sales, let us know what you’re hearing in the comments below, on facebook, or twitter. We’ll start with what was once Hunter’s Point Naval Base (but was many things before that) and is now The Shipyard down in District 10.

The Shipyard hasn’t given out any numbers (to us, at least), on how The Olympia townhomes or Merchant homes are selling. We also haven’t been inundated with requests about independent buyer agency at the building. If you’ve heard of how they are selling, we’d love to know what you know. Feel free to shoot us an email, and we’ll of course keep any information confidential unless mutually agreed otherwise. But if you are interested, they’ve got a new release of homes this week, and prices are still in the $400,000’s. Meanwhile, at Millwheel North…

 

Move-ins are happening at Millwheel North, and the building is 75% sold from what we hear. They were out of one-bedrooms pretty much the day they opened their doors, but they have some two and three bedroom homes remaining, but given how aggressive they’ve been with their pricing, they probably won’t be around for much longer. Up 3rd St. and a little to the west we find Arden by Bosa.

 

Arden by Bosa is the largest of these three projects, but has sold by far the most number of homes. From what we hear, they are out of one bedrooms, and the pickings on the two and three bedroom homes are getting down to the final choices. We’ve been able to offer buyers some opportunities that have arisen when current purchases switch units or don’t complete their initial deposit. So if you’ve got interest in the building, sooner is probably better than later.

Linea: From Rendering to Reality

The major thing that stands out to me in the Linea renderings vs reality comparison is that the as-built Linea has a heavier, darker feel to me. Many of the renderings seemed to suggest a lightness and transparency that I don’t think made it into the final build.

The Linea hasn’t quite sold out – but they are mighty, mighty close. With that in mind, we offer you these comparisons between architectural renderings of the Linea and reality.

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Image courtesy Polaris Pacific

The Linea at 8 Buchanan as envisioned and rendered (above), and as built (below). It’s pretty tough to duplicate the angle of the above rendering because that would require either using a drone right next to the US Mint facility, or being in the US Mint facility. We’ll swing by again and see how the Buchanan side of the building photographs from street level.

 

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Image courtesy Polaris Pacific

Linea as rendered from the Market St. perspective, and as built from a similar perspective.

What are your thoughts on the Linea building? I’d call it an improvement over what was last at the site (gas station), but as with every building in San Francisco, some people tend to love the design and others can’t stand it.

 

400 Grove begins to take shape

400 Grove has been slowly rising across the street (just to the north) of 300 Ivy, at the intersection of Grove and Gough. Quick referesher: 400 Grove will be home to 34 condos (30 market rate, 4 BMR homes) in a five-story mid-rise c-shaped building with a central courtyard.

When complete, the exterior or the building is rather angular, and you can begin to see that in the angled lines of the concrete floors.

The above picture was taken from Gough, looking to the west and south. you can see 300 Ivy in the far left side of the picture.

The Story of Live/Work Lofts (or) Laws Matter

A live/work loft

When explaining why parking isn’t very available in some buildings (300 Ivy, 8 Octavia for example), the city’s transit-first policy inevitably comes up, because that is what limited (and limits as of this writing) the developers ability to construct and ultimately sell parking spaces.

So yes, laws very much matter.

Another example of a San Francisco law and its impact on housing is live/work zoning (not to be confused with conversion lofts, which happen to be a permutation of live/work). It’s a story that’s been told before, but it’s worth telling again in this context.

“The law was set up with good intentions, to allow artists to have a place to live and work, so that they didn’t have to rent a separate studio,” said Paul Lord, a city planner who helped write the ordinance. “But it was very hard to enforce.” – from Chronicle article

Live/work legislation was originally designed to help keep the “creative” in San Francisco, but in the end was used for other purposes. While I’m not sure when the zoning law was passed (anyone? Please leave a comment or get in touch), only 38 live/work lofts were constructed prior to 1993. However, under a pro-growth Mayor Willie Brown and with loosely written legislation, developers applied for and received approval for live/work construction because it gave developer’s some unique benefits:

  • Approval over-rode existing zoning/use allowances
  • Exemption from many city development fees (to the tune of millions in city revenue)
  • Exemption from open-space  requirements
  • Exemption from parking requirements (ironic, right?)
  • Higher density allowances than normal/customary

By the late 1990’s about 3,000 live/work lofts were built in San Francisco. It all came to a halt when a Board of Supervisors with a very different land-use agenda was elected.

So what does this mean for you? Laws matter – our housing stock (or lack of it) came to be because of very specific government decisions. If we don’t like the decisions (and I’m not pro-transit, or anti-transit, I’m just for muni-needs-to-be-on-time-Transit) that are being made, elections really do matter.

A Rooftop Pool in a Sunny Neighborhood

“Let’s go hang out at the roof pool on this sunny day,” isn’t a phrase you hear spoken aloud on a typical San Francisco day. The fine listing team at Vanguard properties has the upcoming listing for M @ 1875 Mission and they’ve been teasing us all with the news that the building will have a rooftop pool.

While out on broker’s tour, we happened upon a photo opportunity in the direction of said building (we also got some fun pictures of the new apartment building across the street, all with kink.com proudly flying its flags in the background). It feels like a very San-Francisco-in-2014 picture.

So while a rooftop or rooftop-ish pool isn’t completely unheard of in San Francisco (The Madrone pool sits on top of the parking garage, The Brannan has a pool on top of something, The Arden pool will be above something…), it is still a pretty rare amenity. And fortunately for all, this one happens to be in a neighborhood where we feel it will be getting a lot of appreciation. And hey, if you happen to work across the street, what better place to keep up with your professional tanning obligations?

Preferred Lenders in New Construction – What you Should Know

New construction developments always have preferred lenders. Why?

In a nutshell, the answer is that new construction developments – whether in San Francisco or Iowa – don’t conform to loan underwriting guidelines for the secondary mortgage market. Because of this, not every lender will lend on the development, or a lender might be willing to lend on the development after a set number of sales have been completed (often 50%, but it varies).

To make sure that they can sell their homes, developers work with several lenders to pre-approve a development. This way, the developer knows that there are lenders that will underwrite mortgages on the new homes from Day 1.

What items make a loan in new construction different from a typical condo or home loan?

In the beginning…

  1. … the homes in the new buildings are empty. Lenders don’t like to lend on empty buildings.
  2. … all of the homes are owned by one entity (the developer). Lenders don’t like it when a large concentration of a building is owned by one entity.
  3. … the HOA is under developer control (see above). Lenders don’t like it when one entity controls the HOA
  4. … the HOA has been in operation for less than a year. Lenders want an HOA to have been around for at least a year.

Just because you have been pre-approved with a preferred lender, you DO NOT have to use that lender to get a mortgage for your new home. You are welcome to use any lender you want, but you will want to make sure that they understand it is new construction and that they won’t have any problems underwriting/approving the loan.

We hope our quick video helps you understand a little more about preferred lenders in new construction. We offer buyers independent representation in new and existing construction across the city – drop us an email or give us a call or learn more if you’d like to find out if working together would be a good fit.

$1,500 a square foot in the Mission

1875 Mission is about to make its debut. Or should I say, its re-debut? (Is that a thing?) Originally built in 1925, it will soon be home to 39 condos ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom homes.

The wrap is off and M @ 1875 Mission will open soon.

More specifically: 10 studios (up to 640 square feet), 13 one-bedroom homes (up to 840 square feet), and 16 two-bedroom homes (also up to 840 square feet).

We can’t wait to see the dog run and the rooftop pool!

There aren’t a ton of amenities, which is probably a good thing in terms of keeping the HOA dues somewhat reasonable. But there’s a pool. Not just a pool — a rooftop pool. How cool is that? Plenty of buildings in SF have pools, but I can’t think of any off the top of my head that are on the roof, unless you count the 50,000-gallon tank on top of the tower at One Rincon that’s meant to minimize the sway of the building in the wind. There’s also a dog run, a rooftop deck, a residents’ lounge, and direct access to Kink.com across the street. I’m just kidding about that last one, although when your aunt and uncle come to visit from the Midwest and ask what that giant brick building is across the street, you can tell them that it’s a BDSM movie studio and see if they know what you’re taking about.

The word on the street is that prices will start at about $630,000 for studios and go up to about $1.3 million for the two-bedroom condos. I must admit when VidaSF came on the market with most units priced north of $1,100 a square foot, a bunch of us at the preview party raised our eyebrows and said, “REALLY?” And now, M@1875 Mission is upping the bar to just over $1,500 a square foot for the primo two-bedroom homes in the building. I haven’t seen this building yet so I can’t comment on the likelihood that these prices are realistic, but I’ll report back once we’ve gotten a look inside.

Attention & Full Disclosure: We are not the listing agents for 1875 Mission St. We provide buyers with independent representation at new and existing construction across the city of San Francisco. The developer of M 1875 is represented by Vanguard Properties – the fine team of Rusty Wadatz, Rita Schmid, and Roxana Melgarejo. If you’d like to work directly with the developer, get in touch with them via the link above. If you’d like independent representation, please let us know you’d like to learn more

Lumina (is) Rising!

The Lumina in South Beach is growing up. We’ve heard rumors of the opening date for the sales office, as well as some interesting other tidbits about the building. We don’t represent the developer of The Lumina (that distinction goes to the fine team at Polaris Pacific) but we do provide buyers with independent representation at new and existing homes across the city of San Francisco.

As you can see from the pictures above, Lumina is indeed becoming a reality. The mid-rise buildings have made a lot of progress, and the towers are going up, up, and up. When the towers are complete, they will be just slightly taller than the existing Infinity towers, and will have 38 and 43 floors, respectively. For reference, the Infinity has 37 and 42 stories in each of the towers.

In addition to the building happening at The Lumina, there is an incredible amount of construction happening within a very short distance of this building site. 45 Lansing is getting taller, 280 Beale is under construction, multiple sites on Fremont are in various stages of excavation and/or construction, and even more is planned.

What are your thoughts about Lumina? We’d love to hear from you – either on our FaceBook page, twitter, or right here on our blog! And remember, if you are curious about the prices of buildings near Lumina, click over to our sister site and download our 2014 Luxury Condo building price guide.