Cathedral Hill Demolition

Remember yesterday when I posted about 300 Ivy? Well, apparently that was about 3 weeks ago! EEEEEK!

Seriously, our apologies – we’ve been a little busy, but we love talking (and writing) about all things San Francisco real estate, so as a big thank you for your patience, here is a quick video I shot of the demolition at the former Cathedral Hill hotel site, soon to be home to a CPMC hospital.

As you can see, they’ve wiped out a good portion of the old building and I expect in the next few weeks they will have the site completely torn down and ready for the hospital construction to begin. Demolition started back in November (see video below) so it seems like it will take them about a total of 5 – 6 months to take down the old Cathedral Hill hotel.

As a point of comparison, here is a video from a few months ago when demolition was just beginning back in November:

On an entirely related note (perhaps?) the construction really seems to be slowing down traffic on Franklin street, particularly during rush hour because of the lost lanes on the right side of the street. When I’ve had to go north/south across the city lately I’ve found Van Ness to move traffic quicker than Franklin.

What are your thoughts on the Cathedral Hill Hotel demolition and CPMC project? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, or feel free to reach out to us on our Facebook Page or tweet Matt on twitter!


300 Ivy – From Rendering to Reality

The 63-ish homes at 300 Ivy sold out incredibly quickly in 2013, and at this point almost all of the homes have sold, and we’ve even had our first resale in the building! With the exception of the commercial space, the building is essentially complete. Below is an artist’s rendering of 300 Ivy:

300 Ivy, as envisioned by a graphic artist

300 Ivy, as envisioned by a graphic artist


Another rendering of 300 Ivy

And below we have a picture that was taken this morning, showing how the building actually appears without the assistance of any graphic designers or CAD renderings.

300 Ivy, as built in Hayes Valley.

What are your thoughts on 300 Ivy? Did the renderings do it justice, or did they get it really, really wrong? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Mission Bay Photo Walk

Recently I had a little time before meeting some clients to look at homes together in Mission Bay.  It was a beautiful, sunny day so I took some time to do a photo walk in the Mission Bay neighborhood. As you can see from the pictures below, the neighborhood continues its rapid transformation from empty railyard to bustling neighborhood.

Click on any image for a larger version or a slideshow interface:

As you can see, Mission Bay is really taking shape. The triangular plot reserved for a hotel remains empty, as does the parking lot where the Mission Rock development will someday be constructed. The third general area that is empty is the commercially zoned space that was abandoned by SalesForce.

With work progressing on the public safety building as well as the new UCSF hospital complex, Mission Bay is fast approaching the “finish line.” Like every neighborhood, Mission Bay will continue to evolve and change, but you can walk the neighborhood now and it feels as though new buildings finally outnumber empty lots.

I hope you enjoy the photos!

2013 New Construction Stats

For those of you that don’t know, in addition to writing about new construction on this blog, I also write about other San Francisco real estate topics on two other blogs – the blog that started it all (for me, at least) is, where I write about general SF real estate topics with an emphasis on single family homes. I also write at, which is focused more on the condo market in District 9.

Parcel P, Aerial View

Construction in Hayes Valley – a small drop in a large bucket

I mention this because at I’ve been taking a look back at 2013 and how single family homes performed. Over at I’ve been taking a look back at – you guessed it – condos in 2013. So, of course, I’d like to share a bunch of statistics with you about 2013 and new construction right here, but…

But I have yet to see a developer of new construction list every one of their homes in the MLS or any other database, so there is no source (other than the tax records, which have a serious lag when it comes to new construction) that provides a definitive rundown of the new construction sub-market. Even when I can get to publicly available data (like the tax records), it only contains the final sales price – not the developer’s asking price, and not any information on credits/concessions or other adjustments that would impact the net sales price.

You can expect to see reports during the coming year that are focused on specific projects – for example, I’ve been working on a sales report for 2299 Market – Icon SF – but the tax data still doesn’t have all of the sales information!

According to Polaris Pacific, in the month of November there were 133 brand new unsold condominiums on the market in San Francisco. This would be after the sell out of homes at The Millennium (early 2013), 300 Ivy (fall 2013), and 2299 Market St. (late summer 2013), which leaves projects with available inventory at the end of November as: LineaMarlowBlanc, 3500 19th St. and 750 2nd St. Five choices, with two of the developments being boutique developments with very few homes remaining to choose from. In other words, not a lot.

Another way to look at it is to compare the total sales of existing condos in 2013 which was 2,948 for the entire year, or 246 condos per month. If you look at it this way:

Total available inventory of new construction condos in the month of November was equal to about 1/2 of the usual monthly resales of condos. Again, not much, as in…. really, not much!

SB 800 – CA Right to Repair Law

SB 800 is a California law also known as the “Right to Repair” law.


What is SB 800?
SB 800 is a California law that addresses new construction defect litigation and establishes warranties on new
construction. In brief, the bill sets standards for new construction, allows builders the right to repair defects as a
means of avoiding litigation, requires buyers to follow maintenance guidelines, and provides builders with certain legal
defenses. The bill requires the builder to provide information to the buyer along with the contract and to let the buyer
know whether or not the builder will be adopting the SB 800 provisions.

What properties are covered by SB 800?
SB 800 is applicable to all newly-constructed residential property intended to be sold as an individual dwelling unit,
where the purchase agreement was signed by the seller on or after January 1, 2003. This includes single family
homes and condominiums. However, it does not apply to condominium conversions.

SB 800 applies not only to the original purchaser, but also to subsequent purchasers. To that end, SB 800 requires
that the builder instruct the original purchaser to give to the subsequent purchaser all the documents that were
provided to the original owner in conjunction with the original sale.

A builder may opt out of the pre-litigation procedures, but this must be stated in the purchase contract. The provisions
of SB 800 relating to the statue of limitations may still apply.

A builder may also provide “an enhanced protection agreement,” which might offer the same or greater protection to a

Who is a builder under SB 800?
The law applies to all builders of new residential properties. “Builder” under SB 800 includes “any entity or individual
including, but not limited to a builder, developer, general contractor, contractor, or original seller, who at the time of
sale, was also in the business of selling residential units to the public.” The law also applies to all “general contractors,
subcontractors, material suppliers, individual product manufacturers, and design professionals” to the extent these
parties caused a violation of the SB 800 standards as a result of a “negligent act or omission or breach of contract.”

What building standards are established by SB 800?
The new law defines construction defects according to standards of how a home and its components should function.
The “functionality standards” fall under seven categories including: water intrusion, structural, soils, fire protection,
plumbing and sewer, and electrical. There is also a “catch-all” category that protects “to the extent a function or
component is not addressed by these standards, it shall be actionable if it causes damage.”

What are the statutes of limitations under the new law?
There are varying statutes of limitations under SB 800.

10 years from close of escrow: Construction defects.

5 years from close of escrow: Paint and stains shall be applied in such a manner so as to not cause deterioration of
the building surfaces for the length of time specified by the paint or stain manufacturers’ representations.

4 years from close of escrow: Plumbing and sewer systems must operate properly and not materially impair the use
of the structure by their inhabitants; electrical systems shall operate properly so as to not materially impair the use of
the structure by its inhabitants (except unreasonable risk of fire is 10 years); exterior pathways, driveways, hardscape,
sidewalls, sidewalks, and patio shall not contain cracks that are excessive or that display significant vertical
displacement; untreated steel fences and adjacent components shall be installed so as to prevent unreasonable

2 years from close of escrow: Untreated wood posts shall not be installed in contact with soil such as to cause
unreasonable decay to the wood based upon the finish grade at the time of construction; landscaping systems shall be
installed so as to survive for at least one year; dryer ducts shall be installed and terminated pursuant to manufacturer
installation requirements.

1 year from close of escrow: Manufactured products, including but not limited to windows, doors, roofs, plumbing
products, and fixtures, fireplaces, electrical fixtures, HVAC units, countertops, cabinets, paint, and appliances shall be
installed so as to not interfere with products’ useful life; noise from attached units in violation of applicable
“interunit noise transmission standards set by government building codes, ordinances or regulation in effect a the time
of original construction”; irrigation and drainage systems must function properly so as to not damage landscaping or
other external improvements; Fit and Finish Warranty covering cabinets, mirrors, flooring, interior and exterior walls,
countertops, paint finishes, and trim.

How can a homeowner bring a claim against a builder?
The law provides a detailed pre-litigation procedure which must be followed before a homeowner can file suit against a
builder for a construction defect. These procedures impact the legal rights of a homeowner.

If the homeowner does not follow the procedure set out in SB 800, then there are limits to the damages homeowner
can recover.
If the builder fails to follow the procedures outlined in SB 800, then a homeowner may file a lawsuit against the builder.

What are the obligations of the homeowner?
The homeowner must mitigate, minimize or prevent damages in a timely manner. This includes notifying the builder of
a problem and allowing the builder “reasonable and timely access for inspection and repairs.”

The homeowner must follow the maintenance obligations provided to them in writing by the builder.

What is the documentation related to SB 800?
The builder must provide buyers at the time of sale:
• Copies of all builder maintenance and preventative maintenance recommendations and specifications;
• Copies of all manufactured products maintenance, preventative maintenance and limited warranty information;
• Builder’s express, limited warranty;
• Copy of the Fit and Finish Warranty;
• Copies of the builder’s limited contractual warranties;
• Name and address of the builder’s agent to receive notices of claims;
• A written copy of the law which must be initialed and acknowledged by the purchaser;
• If the builder has an enhanced protection agreement, the builder must inform the homebuyer prior to the close of escrow that he or she is opting out of the SB 800 and provide a copy of the SB 800 standards;
• A notice signed by the seller and recorded on title regarding the existence of these pre-litigation procedures and a notice that these procedures impact the legal rights of the homeowner; and,
• Written instructions to the homebuyer that all documents provided at the time of sale must be provided to a
subsequent purchaser.

Important Disclaimer: The above is a summary of SB-800, and is not intended to be legal advice but general consumer information. If you have a specific question about SB 800, or are looking for information about how it applies to your particular situation, please consult with a qualified professional and don’t just rely on a blog post you found on the internet.

Cathedral Hill Demolition Video and Photo

It’s been a long time coming, but it looks as though the old Cathedral Hill hotel is finally falling to make way for a new CPMC medical center that is slated to open to patients in 2019.

Demolition was supposed to get underway quite a while ago, but approvals for the project were delayed while CPMC and the city faced off over a variety of issues, including the future of St. Lukes hospital and how much of a contribution CPMC would be making to the city for a variety of transit projects.

Here’s an image, click for full size:

Cathedral Hill Hotel Demolition

Cathedral Hill Hotel Demolition

Below is a video of the site as it currently stands. The video and photo above of the Cathedral Hill hotel demolition were taken along Franklin Street between Geary and Post streets.

Here’s how the Sutter Health CPMC page describe the Geary and Van Ness hospital project:

One pillar of our plan to Rebuild CPMC is to build a new, full-service community hospital at the intersection of Van Ness and Geary.

The new plan calls for a more modest hospital, with 274 – 304 beds. It will be centrally located in the heart of the City, and will house most of CPMC’s tertiary and quaternary services. Along with the planned 120 beds at the new St. Luke’s Campus, and 100 beds at the existing Davies Campus, CPMC’s total bed count for acute care will range from 494 to 524, which is appropriate to meet our patients’ needs in the coming years.

The new Van Ness and Geary hospital will:

  • have all single-patient rooms, to improve privacy and infection control
  • be able to safely remain open and continue providing essential services after a major earthquake or other disaster
  • provide an emergency room centrally located on a major transit route within San Francisco.

Our agreement with the city also includes entitlements for a new medical office building at Van Ness and Geary. In addition, CPMC will contribute $14 million to the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority (SFMTA) to support transit facilities serving this new campus.


Mid-Market Motion

It’s no secret that a lot is happening along Market St. – but even for this bustling area, a lot has been happening in the last week. Residents have begun moving into the rental homes at 38 Dolores above the new Whole Foods at 2001 Market St. that had it’s official grand-opening this past Wednesday, November 6.

Walls of Glass at Linea

Walls of Glass at Linea

The Linea at 8 Buchanan (Pacific Polaris is the listing agent representing the developer) is making great progress on the exterior, with the exterior walls of glass nearing completion. Last I checked they had one two-bedroom home for under $1,000,000, but still lots of great choices for one-bedroom homes or two-bedroom homes with parking for over $1,000,000.

8 Octavia Progress

8 Octavia Progress

8 Octavia continues to grow taller, and has the dubious honor of overlooking the most dangerous intersection in the city of San Francisco, Market and Octavia, where an advocate for safer streets was hit and killed this week.

The Century SF loses the scaffolding and makes its public debut.

The Century SF loses the scaffolding and makes its public debut.

The wraps have come off the scaffolding at 2200 Market St., aka The Century (Jean Paul Samaha and Ed Deleski of Vanguard Real Estate represent the developer). This building occupies what was once a restaurant site home to a variety of restaurants over the years, from Mexican to Thai and pretty much everything in between. The new building will have ground floor retail below the 22 new condo homes.

Just over a year ago, bulldozers were busy bulldozing the restaurant, here’s a pic from the archives that I took on September 27, 2012 of the demolition at the site:

Demolition at 2200 Market St. in September of 2012

Demolition at 2200 Market St. in September of 2012

That’s this week’s mid-market update for you. What projects have caught your eye as you’ve been cruising up and down Market St.? We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

Yes on Prop B and Prop C

We’ve been rather silent about the 8 Washington project. We haven’t written much about it (actually, until now, we haven’t written anything). Here’s the back story: Matt has a relationship with the club, by which I mean I once was a member and still have family members that use the facilities on a regular basis. So it has seemed like a wise topic to avoid, given that some could argue I have a personal interest in things one way or the other.

However, as we get ready to go the polls next Tuesday (here’s a great way to find your San Francisco polling station location), we wanted to share with you what the fine folks at SPUR have written about Prop B and Prop C, both of which deal with the 8 Washington development.

Here’s the SPUR November 2013 Voter Guide that the images below are taken from. For those of you in a hurry, I’ll get right to the point: SPUR recommends voting Yes on Prop B and also voting Yes on Prop C. We concur!

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 8.42.38 AM

Below is a picture of the project in relationship to the existing buildings in the immediate area of 8 Washington. I was recently out on a bay cruise, and wanted to take a look from the water to see how the new building might impact the skyline and if it was indeed a monstrosity out of place.

Below the diagram is a picture I took from the water, and I have to say that the development of the big, bulky buildings from the 1970s/1980s in the area already sets the tone for the neighborhood. The 8 Washington development wouldn’t be unreasonably big, nor would it create any more of a “wall” than has already been created by buildings like One Maritime Plaza and Gateway Vista.

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 8.42.52 AM Below is a view of the neighborhood skyline as it currently exists:2013-10-17_12.58.25Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 8.43.06 AM

So there you have it – we finally speak out about 8 Washington. We’d love to hear your opinion in the comments section, and we hope everyone takes a few moments to vote next Tuesday!

Poverty in San Francisco: 1980 to 2010

I’ve been writing a lot recently about how the forces changing San Francisco are creating a “new” or “next” or “different” San Francisco. I’m a big fan of The Atlantic Cities blog, and a post about data visualization tools created by the Urban Institute inspired me to create the animated gif below that show poverty by ethnicity in San Francisco from 1980 to 2010. You can also view it as a .mp4 (quicktime) movie file if you prefer.

The file is large – 7.2MB, so my apologies in advance for the load time. This is the first animation I’ve attempted, I hope I will get better with it in future version.

Animated GIF of San Francisco Poverty by Ethnicity from 1980 to 2010

Animated GIF of San Francisco Poverty by Ethnicity from 1980 to 2010

In the video, because the areas where poverty is concentrated remain largely unchanged, the shift doesn’t seem as dramatic as when you compare the start and finish data, shown below:

SF Poverty by Ethnicity, 1980

SF Poverty by Ethnicity, 1980

Over 30 years, the ethnic makeup of poverty in San Francisco has seen a substantial decrease in the number of Black poor living in San Francisco, replaced by a substantial increase in the number of Asian/Pacific Islander poor.

The location change is a subtle – but important one – because what I see is an increase in the concentration of the poor. Or, in other words, the wealthy have displaced the poor into smaller and smaller areas over the past 30 years, resulting in neighborhoods of extreme poverty surrounded by those of extreme wealth.

The Black population substantially decreased in neighborhoods that have gentrified over the past 30 years, with NOPA, Hayes Valley, and  Haight-Ashbury being but three examples where the trend is very visibly obvious.

SF Poverty by Ethnicity, 2010

SF Poverty by Ethnicity, 2010

What trends stand out to you in the data? What are your thoughts about the way that San Francisco has changed – for the better, or for the worse – over the past 30 years?

I look forward to reading your comments.