1001 California Street

One of two multi-level condos which replaced the perennially plagued restaurant space at the base of the iconic Beaux-Arts Building at 1001 California Street, the building from which Vincent Friia once ruled over real estate in San Francisco, the 3,680-square-foot “Townhouse No.1” was purchased as new for $4,335,000 in April of 2015.

The four-bedroom unit, which doesn’t require an elevator ride to reach, is outfitted with a great room overlooking Nob Hill, a requisite “chef’s kitchen” and designer finishes throughout (along with direct access to the garage and additional storage).

And having returned to the market priced at $5.8 million in May of 2018, relisted for $5.288 million in February of last year, reduced to $4.995 million in October of 2019, further reduced to $4.695 million in January of this year, and then reduced to $4.445 million this past May, the list price for 1001 California Street #TH1 is now down to $3.995 million, a sale at which would be consider to be “at asking” according to all industry stats and aggregate reports.

If you think you know the market for high-end units and/or Nob Hill, now’s the time to tell.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Cal Culver

    As a kid back in the 60s, I’d stand back and gaze at the beauty of the building and dream that someday, I’d live there. Gracious yet opulent. Never worked out but still appreciate the beauty and magnificence when I pass by.

  2. Posted by sfwatcher

    HOA Fees $5,753

    • Posted by SocketSite

      The now 14-unit building has a 24 hour doorman and outside management which are covered by the HOA fees.

      • Posted by TBK

        Maybe so, but it’s like having a second mortgage payment every month.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          But without having to employ a doorman and building manager or otherwise fund ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

          • Posted by TBK

            For $80k / mth? That’s quite the doorman salary and serious ongoing maintenance.

          • Posted by SocketSite

            Actually, it’s not. Particularly if one understands that 24 hour coverage requires multiple FTEs and the HOA dues are funding a reserve (as well as daily operations). Regardless, the HOA dues are priced into the cost of the unit, as they were in 2015.

          • Posted by John L

            It’s a lot because the costs of the doorman and management are shared between only 14 units. Most of the nearby buildings with 24-hour door service tend to be a larger.

          • Posted by Notcom

            I’m thinking/hoping the “doorman” – shouldn’t we be using “doorperson” or does a grand old building like this mandate using similarly dated language ? – is a rather minor part of it: even at 3.5 FTE – which would seem to correspond to three 8-hr shifts in a 24 hr day, shouldn’t the cost be less than , say, $300K ?? If it’s more than that, then I think : “yeah! a lot of us are in the wrong profession.” (or maybe they could get by with 16 hr service.)

          • Posted by John L.

            Except the $5,753 per month doesn’t only cover the door person. There are utilities, maintenance staff, management overhead/ fees, and capital reserves. Upkeep on a grand old building like this is not cheap. There are only 14 units in the building, so those costs won’t be spread as widely as they would be in a larger building.

  3. Posted by ST

    I always wonder what would happen in a big earthquake for these older buildings?

    • Posted by Notcom

      It’s not a mystery, there was a big earthquake in 1906 and there were (already) any number of buildings like this (steel frame, masonry shell). They did pretty well…and practically all of them are still around today.

    • Posted by parklife

      As Notcom noted, this building would probably be okay. Steel frame, built on rock. Now, there are quite a few concrete high rise buildings in the City that were built pre-Northridge earthquake Code changes that may not fare as well.

  4. Posted by Amanda Reckonwith

    Great location indeed, but really no views. And you are in The Fishbowl location, so to speak, with all kinds of tourists and passersby gawking into your windows. Back in the 70’s, a friend’s relative used to occupy an entire floor. She threw great parties that always started at Alexis (the then hip restaurant on the ground floor) and ended in her unit. We played until the wee hours of the morning!

  5. Posted by SF John

    Every time I walk by this (beautiful) building I think of how great it would be for both the building and the neighborhood to have a restaurant on the ground floor.

    It sounds like they did have a restaurant ? How did they manage to NOT be successful with that ?

    • Posted by Notcom

      According to ‘Playboy’ (via SF Gate), it featured “slave girl(s) clad harem style” who served drinks (after which) “ladies who always say ‘no’ say ‘maybe'”

      Translation: methinks it fell victim to changes sensibilities…and perhaps the fact that it’s easy to get an outright “yes” in many places.

  6. Posted by JRSF

    No way could I live right there and hear that cable droning in the street. The WA street one used to rattle outside my first apartment here 22 years ago. The charm wore off in about 3 days. I love still living in the city, but I could never live on a cable street again.

    • Posted by Notcom

      Double-paned windows can probably do a lot to muffle the noise. And tho of course I’ve no idea of your current situation, I’m guessing the “you” of 22 years ago was spending ‘somewhat’ less on that apartment than the buyer here will be.

      • Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

        Would the historical preservation groups allow you to put different glass in these? I lived in a unremarkable/meritless 1911 building and seemingly every old lady in the whole zip code had an opinion on, and an opportunity to remark upon, what I could and could not do with my street-facing windows.

        • Posted by Notcom

          I don’t believe the building is landmarked (usage of the term notwithstanding) so any complaints would act toward bemusement only: serve a mean pot of tea and have cat toys available if she brings hers on the visit, and I think you’ll do fine.

          But back to your question: objections to replacing windows usually center on general non-conformance – e.g. replacing wood-framed windows with narrow-framed aluminum ones, or fake mullions on multipaned glass) The windows here don’t seem like either of those would be an issue as I’m sure they would have to be bespoke and the add’l cost of doing it properly isn’t much…only a few thousand (per window) I’m guessing 🙂

  7. Posted by Cave Dweller

    Gilded Cage for a Gilded Age

  8. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Another set of photos with overdone HDR window views. The first photo n the middle set is fine because it portrays a long view towards the Transamerica tower. But those in the last set with close views of adjacent buildings is too smothering.

  9. Posted by Ben Dover

    Well, it could be worse. There is yet another unit, remodeled from the old restaurant, and attached to this and it goes below. Ready for next to no views, and down, down, down into the bowels of the building? It can be yours for only $14K/month! But hey: you do get your own street entrance, so you don’t have to share the interior elevator.

    [Editor’s Note: See: A Contemporary Home Within An Iconic Beaux-Arts Building (as linked above).]

  10. Posted by Richard

    The building has quite a pedigree. The Hearsts camped there during their daughter’s kidnapping. The fact the building has endured so long speaks well for its future. This building will survive another complete life “cycle”.

    • Posted by Notcom

      I think it was after she was ….well, no longer considered kidnapped. I have very vivid memories of a line up of cabs for the press that stretched far into the Hillsborough sunset, while she was still a hostage. Or considered as such

  11. Posted by Phil McCracken

    Hi Richard: The Hearsts may have had an apartment here, but they dealt with Patty’s whole kidnapping episode from their home in Hillsborough, on West Santa Inez Ave. I know because I lived right across the street from them.

    The Hearsts sold that home to Alex Mehran, CEO of the Sunset Development Corp, who was married to Lucinda Watson, grandaughter of the founder of IBM.

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