CFAH

A “plugged-in” reader first flatters us (good thinking) and then hits us up for some other readers’ thoughts (even better):

“There’s a unit at The Palms that I’m interested in. It’s a 2 bedroom/2.5 bath/2 car-parking (tandem) 2-level penthouse unit (~1,054 sq ft.) with an outdoor terrace (~150 sq ft.) that’s got a view of the city skyline selling at around $1,000/sq ft. The Infinity, however, has a 2 bedroom/2 bath/1 car-parking unit (~1,100) on the 5th floor (no view, no balcony) that’s also selling at around $1,000/sq ft.

Which of the two units is better investment, 5 to 10 years down the line?”

As it’s Friday we’re tempted to simply quote Devo (“Freedom of choice is what you got, freedom from choice is what you want…”) and direct him to the SocketSite Forums, but instead we’ll open it up to the readers. And yes, flattery will get you everywhere (something about loving the site and forwarding it to all his family and friends).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by SFhighrise

    5-10 years down the line would be sort of a difficult question to answer. I know that they’re planning on turning 4th Street into a walking street with all types of restaurants, boutique stores, bars, etc. Then again, you can say the same thing for Folsom.
    I’d say that either of the two would be a great investment. However, you should go with the place that you actually like better. If it were me, I’d go for the Infinity, despite the fact that it has no view, as I think its a better complex and in a superior location.

  2. Posted by Malcolm Kaufman

    I can’t resist this one; it’s so easy, but I am hesitate to answer the question specifically for fear of antagonizing the other (developer) party. Hint – the $/sq. ft. calculation may be a useful benchmark, but it is misleading and pretty useless when trying to decide between two (or more) developments. If the person posing this question wants to contact me directly, I would be glad to help. – mk

  3. Posted by 94114

    That’s a tough one. The Infinity is probably a better long term investment. The location is 10 times better than the Palms. I personally do not like the neighborhood of the Palms. However, which one are you going to be happier in? The Palms unit sounds really nice. Not everything has to be judged in terms of investment. Do you like the Infinity unit or is it a real compromise?
    If you really want a good investment, stay away from the new construction and buy something in an established neighborhood in a smaller older building. You’ll be paying much lower association fees and your property will appreciate quicker.

  4. Posted by Jamie

    I’m rooting for the Infinity … but I’m quite biased as a Rincon Hill cheerleader. 🙂

  5. Posted by cgy1

    “The location is 10 times better than the Palms. I personally do not like the neighborhood of the Palms.”
    As a resident at the Palms, I’m very happy with its location and neighborhood, considering that it’s still a developing neighborhood. It’s less than 2 blocks from both Safeway and Whole Foods, there’s many restaurants nearby (includig a couple right across Fourth street), close to CalTrain/280 for south bay commuters, a 10-15 minute walk to Union Square and Westfield mall, and a 20-25 minute walk to the financial district (I walk to/from work everyday).

  6. Posted by anonymous

    Just out of curiousity, is the Infinity unit in the tower or in one of the midrises?

  7. Posted by Mike

    As far as the unit goes, the Palms sounds pretty good. However, I really don’t like the area so would go with the Infinity.

  8. Posted by tipster

    No one can answer this question for you.
    And this is the reason: the one that will be the best investment is the one in which you’ll be the happiest.
    If you’re happy there, you’ll be able to ride out any market downturn and sell when the time is right. And you’ll stay longer and avoid, over your lifetime, more of the transaction fees that selling, at least today, requires.
    For example, if you like to cook, being walking distance to two great supermarkets will be a plus. If you like to eat out, being closer to restaurants will be a plus. If you choose the wrong one, you might decide it’s too much of a pain to go the distances to eat, and you’ll end up moving in a few years.
    If the market is down 20% when you decide you can’t take it any more, you’ll lose a lot of money. Or you’ll pay an extra commission and all the other costs associated with selling that you could have avoided. That’s how to turn any investment into a bad one.
    Buy the one that makes you the happiest.

  9. Posted by missionbay res

    This is pretty easy. You always go with location first and Infinity wins hands down. The problem with the Palm’s location is that it’s not really close to anything. Put it a couple blocks closer to either Mission Bay or closer to Yueba Buena and the location would be wonderful. As it stands now, it’s too close to the freeway offramp and overpass. And the area attracts homeless or undesirables at night…
    The view at the Palms faces directly over some ugly rooftops, then over the freeway before you get the skyline view. So it’s really not a great “skyline view”. The view at Infinity is not great, but the complex and location more than makes up for it.

  10. Posted by locatymous

    what’s the old adage, never buy the best/most expensive house on the block? sounds like the palms condo is a perfect example of that, BUT, i’m assuming the infinity’s HOA fees are higher. psf is not the only measure- PITI (include HOA dues, insurance, and property taxes) is better. Plus, what about ‘upgrades’, included appliances. I personally think the Infinity location is an obvious winer, but i would NEVER buy a 5th floor no view condo there for 1000 psf. Tough call – my vote is neither.

  11. Posted by Damion

    Why should an agent be worried about upsetting a developer when giving an opinion about value to a buyer? I don’t understand that.
    In any case, I’d put my bet on the two-level penthouse unit at Palms as a better investment than a 5th floor, basically street-level, non-view unit at The Infinity. In 5 years, there’s going to be plenty of non-view Rincon/SoMa units competing on the market, whereas the two-level Palms unit on the top floor with a nice city view will be a nice, unique option.
    I’m not saying what you should do because it’s ultimately how you feel about living in a property, but investment-wise, that’s my guess. Only a guess though.

  12. Posted by 94114

    Can we see the 2 floorplans and the duke it out?

  13. Posted by anon

    I think I know each of the units you are talking about. I’d go with the Palms. That tandem parking has to be worth an extra 35k or so for the additional car. It’s a nice view too of the city. The neighborhood isn’t that great but it is walking distance to the real Mission Bay area and close enough to the Whole Foods even though you have to walk through that bridge underpass.
    The balcony is also great! It can fit a nice bbq and can get some good air in the main room. The half bath downstairs is also nice and they already have some of the closets customized. That being said, I live by the Infinity now and the area is not much better. It’ll improve for sure bu there is currenlty no grocery store (albeit one is coming once the building is up).
    Also, you’ll have to wait till Feb versus getting that penthouse unit NOW. I guess that can be good or bad. 733 Front is also a nice property that may have a balcony and a view around your same price range.

  14. Posted by not sexy

    We went to the Palms last weekend to see this property for ourselves. This particular unit had cracks in the walls along the entire unit. It is absolutely amazing that they are so snobbly with such a shoddy product. I vote for the infinity for now. Never buy sight unseen.

  15. Posted by Jamie

    Isn’t parking spot at Infinity an extra $75k or something? That’s what I’ve heard (shrug).

  16. Posted by folsom

    I too had the same problem! I was looking at a one bedroom in the SOMA/Rincon/MissionBay/South Beach Area in all the new buildings. I considered The Palms because of the lower rates and the unit I was looking at had partial views but I ended up buying at the Infinity eventhough it had no views, no lower rates and the price was roughly $100k more. A poster above said it correct, BUY WHERE YOU THINK YOU WILL BE HAPPY!
    The Infinity has a better location, pool, huge gym, closer to FD and the embarcadero. Those were my selling points. Plus, when you show your friends the Infinity there’s always a “WOW” factor. I showed them The Palms, and they thought it was “OK”.
    Views are great but I dont think they’ll be so rare that people will pay a premium. One Rincon will all have amazing views, plus the upper Infinity, Watermark, 200 Brannan, 88 King etc have views and I think there will be plenty for people to choose in the future.
    good luck in the search!

  17. Posted by folsom

    Jamie- You can deduct $75k if you do NOT want parking. I think everyone took a space…

  18. Posted by anon

    Jamie:
    The price for one deeded parking spot is included. One can forgo the spot for a $75K reduction which nobody has done as of last month (from what I was told).
    I’ve heard that some people actually asked about buying a second, much “cheaper” unit primarily for a second parking spot- wow!
    I agree with Tipster (1st time) about buying a unit that will make YOU happy. If it’s location you’re seeking, go with infinity. If it’s amenities, go with infinity. If it’s prestige, go with infinity. If it’s purely investment, go with infinity. And, if it’s for a view, then I’d still go with infinity.
    Lastly, if being close to, or on top of a grocery store is important, take a look at the potrero.
    I’m out

  19. Posted by blahhh

    “Isn’t parking spot at Infinity an extra $75k or something? That’s what I’ve heard (shrug).”
    No it isn’t. Parking is included in sales price. You CAN, however, choose to give up your pkg space for $75k.
    Pkg for 1 bd at the Palms is not included. You can pay $55k for a space. If you got a valet space, you are pretty much screwed because although they say it’s “24 hour access”, you can’t get your car out after 10 pm. Ridiculous, eh?

  20. Posted by Paul Hwang

    I think Malcom is right, this is an easy one for me too. Each project has compelling arguments. However, do you want one of the most affordable houses on the best street in town, or do you want the best house on the block of a less desirable one?

  21. Posted by Alan Morcos

    The Infinity wins hands down. I have owned property in SOMA/South Beach since 1992 and have been a realtor down here since 2004. The Infinity is “location,location,location.” Folsom Street will soon become “Folsom Blvd,” a 2 way street from 2nd to the Embarcedero…the “Union Street” of South Beach. You will be walking distance to the Ferry Building/Farmer’s Market, Financial District, and the amenities at The Infinity are far superior. You will be living in a South Beach landmark. I’d love to chat with you if you’d like more detail.

  22. Posted by Jamie

    South Beach?!? Stop stepping on my plans to re-brand the area as Rincon Hill. South Beach stops at Bryant as far as I’m concerned. Rincon Hill (grin) 🙂

  23. Posted by blahhh

    I studied both projects very closely from planning to pricing. The Infinity is a project where the more details you dig out, the more you realize how well planned and designed it was. The Palms, well, to me it is exactly the opposite. I think most comments are right on track. The Infinity is simply a far more superior and sophisticated project, be it the location, design, or even just marketing approach. But in terms of which is better INVESTMENT, there are a few other things that you need to look at.
    A key factor is the differences of the buyer types attracted to the project. I sat at the Palms lobby and their sales office many times for hours and hours just to find out what types of buyers come in. It’s a completely different crowd from the Infinity’s. Too many of them at the Palms are young and hip guys who appear to be first time home buyers. Nothing wrong with that, but when you are choosing which place to invest $1000 sq. ft, it takes 2 seconds to realize that you’ll do much better where you’ll keep finding a more sophisticated and established crowd.
    Another factor that influences the desirability and demand of a project is how much attention and traffic the project generates. Although this probably has less to do with how good the project actually is, people will always be more willing to pay more for the “hotter” or more widely known projects. The Palms tried just about everything to generate such traffic, but you’ll find people don’t even care to talk about it. Do a search here on Socketsite and you’ll see. Again, Infinity is completely different.
    One more thing to point out is that $1000 sq.ft is at the highest price point at the Palms (I have a spreadsheet of all their sold prices from public record, drop your email if you want it), but only at an average at the Infinity. A rule of thumb is you never buy the most expensive thing on the block, not to mention the Palms is surrounded by affordable housing. Go with the unit at the Infinity.

  24. Posted by Damion

    Wouldn’t the cheapest place in the “best” neighborhood (assuming we agree Rincon Hill is the best, for sake of argument) be Baycrest (Hi Jamie!)? A good-sized 2-bedroom with partial bay view just sold today, in under a week, for $740k. Zero prestige, shoddy building condition, but if it’s all about location, it’s the same location as all the expensive new stuff, and was higher up than the 5th floor Infinity unit. With upgrades, it will be a great condo (though like I said, it’s gone), and with the money saved you could invest in other things and enjoy your home as a home rather than worrying about it as an investment. Don’t get me wrong — I love the Infinity — but it’s not the only building in town.

  25. Posted by John

    I am always puzzled by “most affordable houses on the best street in town vs the best house on the block of a less desirable one” comparison.
    The positions of those units in their streets will stay the same over the years. The affordable unit in the best street will still be comparatively affordable in that street many years from now, and the best house on the less desirable street will still be the best house on its street.
    I really don’t see why one is better than the other, unless it is implied the better street would appreciate more in general than the less desireable street. Is that the case?

  26. Posted by Damion

    I agree, John. Plus I’ve gotta say — Folsom isn’t the best street in town. It’s better than 4th, but it’s hardly Green or Broadway. I just don’t think that a 5th floor unit at the Infinity is going to be a spectacular investment. The view will most likely be of an office building. You’re gonna try to sell an office building view in five years when you’ve got Millennium Towers, another Inifnity tower, two towers at One Rincon, The Californian, Metropolitan, Hills Plaza, Watermark, 88 King, Bridgeview, Portside and several others with views just as good or better? Again, I like The Infinity, but the 5th floor? Not so much.

  27. Posted by Postscript

    And by the way, if The Infinity is such a sure thing — why is this 5th floor unit still available?

  28. Posted by Salarywoman

    Hmmmm.
    The location at Infinity is probably better, being close to the Embarcadero and the Finanacial District. Plus the project has more cachet. But the additional amenities at the Palms, the second parking space, the half bath, the terrace and the view are also compelling.
    So you can either succomb to the three L’s of real estate and go with the Infinity, as so many have advised, or you can look at some other things about the two units.
    What is the natural light like in each unit? How will it change throughout the day? Most people feel happier in a place with abundant natural light.
    What do you see when you look out the windows? The Palms unit only has a view from the terrace. Does it disappear behind a wall when you sit down? What do you see when you look out from the other windows? What do you see from the Infinity windows – sitting down? A pleasant outlook can be as nice as a view, and not as tyrannical.
    What is the trip like from your car to the elevator to the unit? Are long, bland corridors involved? How close is the parking to the elevator?
    How well are the units laid out? Is one more efficient than the other, with less hallway and more living space? Are the bedrooms generous or teensy? Does the circulation work well? Will it be easy to lay out furniture in the spaces? Which unit feels more comfortable to be in?
    How much storage is there? Are the bedroom closets adequate? Is there somewhere to put the vacuum cleaner? Is there storage in the garage?
    Are the kitchens laid out efficiently? (Few condo kitchens are.) Do you like the finishes and the appliances? Are the bathrooms generous and well designed? What materials are used? What quality fixtures?
    And, lastly, a super important point, what is the quality of the soundproofing in the unit? This is worth finding out. You probably will not share your neighbors’ taste in either music or TV.

  29. Posted by Damion

    That’s a fabulous analysis, Salarywoman!

  30. Posted by anonymous

    Salarywoman makes some good points but none of those questions about the feel of the unit at the Infinity can be answered until the unit is finished, which will be months from now. It’s a bit of gamble to buy a unit sight unseen (especially at 1000 per square foot). Sure, the Infinity sales office can show you a photo of what the view will look like but you won’t know how the unit feels until you move in.

  31. Posted by Salarywoman

    Of course anonymous at 6:45 is right. But you can look at the floor plans with a critical eye and you can practice laying out furniture using pieces of paper cut to size.
    You can also tell a lot by looking at the space even if it is unfinished. If they won’t give you a hard hat and take you up to the specific unit, there’s probably a reason. Tell them you are not interested.

  32. Posted by ICanHearThat

    The soundproofing issue mentioned by Salarywoman cannot be overstated. I live in a 1,300 square foot two bedroom, a very nice place, and many is the time I’ve sat in bed fantasizing about laying six inches of concrete on the floor, walls, and (somehow) the ceiling. Then I’d put new hardwood over the floor, re-cover the walls with drywall, and enjoy my apartment without hearing my neighbor coughing loudly.
    I rent. If I had paid $850,000 for this place I would be going banannas.

  33. Posted by Jamie

    South Beach? Rincon Hill! 🙂
    Hi Damion! yes, Baycrest is a good deal for location – and you don’t have to rely on a valet to fetch your car from your parking space.

  34. Posted by r00ey

    What an interesting question and what wonderful advice to date!
    The question I would ask is there a necessity to purchase today or is this a question that can wait until the end of summer. Clearly if you have tax considerations or need to move to keep a roof over your head; now is the time to choose and make your purchase.
    Or is the necessity an emotional attachment to these locations/homes? I purchased a loft in 1999 on Third Street. Since this period I have seen our equity double during the dot.com period. Of course what goes up will go down, but any low in the market is never lower than our original investment. This gain in equity has been at a price, almost every weekend I am out cleaning the graffiti and garbage. If you are considering moving to a transitional area you will have to make these efforts also or learn to live with it until the area gentrifies.
    Personally I think the market for condos (and SF Residential Real Estate in general) has and will continue to cool. Someone just forgot to tell these developers or they are not will to publicly acknowledge the current local market and inventory-both existing and in the pipeline product. If they were aware I would think they would do more to off load their current inventory. If I were a developer I would want to be on the sidelines during these blood baths with a drink in one hand and bag of popcorn in the other.
    By the end of summer the climbing inventory and the lack of sales in these new condo developments should reach a point where significant price reductions and concessions are offered. Now is a time to find a Real Estate Agent who truly specializes in this market and establish a long term working relationship.

  35. Posted by jj

    for condos the best/worst scenario doesn’t simply apply to the street, but also to the building. The best unit in a building full of rental units and first time buyers is not going to hold value the way a entry level unit will in a building full of second homes and high end buyers.

  36. Posted by Cece Blase

    I’m another member of the “buy what makes you happy” school. Every buyer I know who follows their heart usually winds up staying in what they buy a good long time and always comes out ahead.
    The Palms location is a wild card– you can see where the neighborhood at the foot of Folsom is going, but it’s harder to visualize at The Palms. I think 10 years down the road it will be a very different neighborhood, and hence possibly offer more upside in the location.
    Other home projects that sold when there was no ‘there’ there were The Clocktower, 355 Bryant and The Oriental Warehouse. I recall that sales at Oriental Warehouse were particularly slow in the early 90s. 5 years later the resale market for the buliding was red-hot.
    199 New Montgomery and 246 Second were also in what were considered odd locations at the time. Now they are very popular buildings because of their proximity to downtown and make excellent rentals because of demand from tenants who want to walk to the Financial District.
    The Lansing is another example of a project that took forever to sell out and is now proving to be popular for resales. I’ve even run into buyers at open houses who tell me The Lansing is the only building where they want to live.(!)
    Don’t discount the view. While there will be more inventory coming on line, only a small percentage will have views. More and more condo buyers are demanding a view of some kind– and it’s always easier to sell a view unit.
    I think The Infinity has a cache similar to what The Brannan had when it was brand new. High demand and the Buyers could see a quality end-product down the line. However, units at The Brannan without a view are a much tougher sell now.
    I guess I’m leaning towards The Palms. Love The Infinity, though.

  37. Posted by John

    jj at 12:02PM,
    What you are talking about is whether the development will be mainly home owners or renters.
    You are saying the better neighborhood will have more owners than renters thus appreciate more?
    Four problem with your assumptions:
    1. How would you prove the correlation between better neighborhood and owner/renter residency? If you go to Redfin and check the community overview section, I really don’t see any relationship between zipcode and ownership. For example, 14% of 94109, 42% of 94122, and 64% of 94116 residents are owners. Does that indicate 94116 is more desirable than 94122, and way better than 94109?
    2. Even if a neighborhood is mainly renters, why would that indicate there is less appreciation?
    3. Have you considered other factors on the rental/owner decisions? There are issues related with high density developments – parking and traffic, for example, which could push the owners to move and rent the unit out. With only one parking and some many residents, I really don’t see how a two-car family can live there, no matter how great the neighborhood is.
    4. Neighborhood evolves. None of us know what Palm or Infinity neighborhood will be like in 10 years.
    Just want to play devil’s advocate on this good unit in bad neighborhood vs bad unit in good neighborhood wisdom.

  38. Posted by Cece Blase

    The renters remark is meant to indicate how the perception of a specific location can change. It is also a consideration if you want to analyze the purchase from an investment perspective. It’s not about the appreciation, but the ease with which you can rent a property is weighed into the decision.
    I think we can safely speculate where the Infinity will be in 10 years. In the late nineties we had lots of buyers going into South Beach before the neighborhood was fully established because they could see what was coming with the advent of the Ball Park. The plans for Folsom Street and general impact of a building as large as the Infinity makes the location a safer bet than The Palms.
    I can’t predict as well where The Palms location is going to go (I’m not as familiar with the plans for 4th Street, however, as I am with Folsom Street). If I HAD to make a bet, I’d say it’s going to get better. The bones are in place- – walking distance to CalTrain, good freeway access and new commercial going in on the ground floor will all help. That dopey lot where the Wells Fargo will also ultimately be developed, somehow, some way– thus improving the overall block.
    I appreciate your ‘devil’s advocacy’ and your gentle phrasing. I don’t often post strong opinions here for fear of getting slammed (although I’d give you an earful if you ever met me :))

  39. Posted by Cece Blase

    Clarification: I don’t mean to imply that rentability is weighed over appreciation. It’s just an added factor into the decision.

  40. Posted by Michael

    A building with a high percentage of renters can impact both the ability to generate income from the unit as well as the ability to eventually sell the unit. A general lack of scarcity and increased competition for tenants can reduce the market rate for rentals in the building and reduce the income the unit produces which can make it less valuable as an investment. Also, if the percentage of non owner occupied units in a building hits around 60% many lenders will either stop lending for purchases in the building or increase their rates – either of which will limit the potential pool of buyers and further reduce the underlying value of the unit as an investment.

  41. Posted by Michael

    That should have read “if the percentage of non owner occupied units in a building hits around 40% – or under 60% owner occupied – then many lenders will either stop lending for purchases in the building or increase their rates…”

  42. Posted by dsp

    It’s a no-brainer. Go with the Infinity over the Palms.

    My wife and I recently bought a no-view unit at the Infinity – our unit is on a low floor and faces Folsom Street. We chose this unit because it was large and had a very reasonable price ($660/sq. ft). Prior to purchasing this unit, we visited a bunch of the nicer condos in the SOMA/South Beach/Mission Bay area (One Rincon Hill, the Brannan, Palms, 170 Off Third, Watermark, the Beacon, etc.)

    Among the other condo complexes, I think that there are some units that can be better than Infinity depending on your needs/desires. For example, units in One Rincon Hill can be a better value than units in Infinity if you’re primarily interested in getting great views.

    But if you compare units at the Infinity to Palms that have similar $/sq. foot, then Infinity wins hands down in my opinion. Below are the reasons that I think the it’d be better to buy in the Infinity vs. the Palms.

    LOCATION
    Currently, Infinity location is much better than the Palms location. The Infinity is only about an eight minute walk away from the Ferry Building. The Infinity is only 1 block away from a lot of good restaurants along the Embarcadero. The Infinity is also only 1 block away from the Muni stop on the Embarcadero. The Palms is in a “developing” area. About the only advantage that the Palms location has now is that it’s closer to the 4th and King train station, which is a plus if you work on the Peninsula.

    In the future, the Infinity location is going to be much better than the Palm location. The city has approved two plans – Transbay Terminal Development Plan and Rincon Hill Development Plan – that are supposed to transform the SOMA/South Beach area. As you can see from this city planning document, Folsom Boulevard will be the heart of the new developed area. They’re making Folsom Street much nicer and renaming it Folsom Boulevard. Once the area gets further developed, Folsom will have tons of higher-end stores and restaurants. This will make the difference between the Infinity location and the Palms location even greater than it is today.

    CONSTRUCTION
    When my wife and I did a tour of the Palms, we were really disappointed in the quality of the construction. As we walked along the common areas, we noticed that there were some cracks in the ceilings and that the various slabs in the ceiling weren’t even flush with each other. While I have no idea if these are significant issues from a structural perspective, it makes me believe that the builder may have used cheaper materials or rushed through construction.

    Of course, we really can’t know how good the construction in the Infinity will be until we move in. But I have faith that the construction will be great because Tishman Speyer, which is the Infinity’s developer, is one of the largest high-end real estate developers in the US. They currently own and manage some of the top marquee properties in NYC such as the Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building. Tishman Speyer has a lot of incentive to ensure that the construction on the Infinity’s first tower is great. They’re currently building the Infinity’s second tower and also plan to build another high rise condo complex across the street from the Infinity. If they do a sub-par job on the Infinity’s first tower, it’s going to be much harder to sell units in their future developments.

    FIT/FINISH
    The Palms fit/finish (appliances, cabinetry, etc.) is average or slightly better than average. The Infinity’s fit/finish is high-end even if you go with the standard options and don’t upgrade. Enough said.

  43. Posted by SF Condo Guy

    I’m glad you’re happy with your purchase, dsp, but you got in at $400 psf less than the person who posed the question!
    In a few years you can sell for the same price they’re buying today — you’ll make money, while this person will have a tougher time.
    Again, 5th floor, no view, high price. To say it’s a “no-brainer” is true only if you have money to burn.

  44. Posted by panos

    As an aside, I was at the infinity today picking upgrades and inquired about the percentage of units reserved. For what it’s worth, they claim 75%. I think that’s a bit steep based on what I’ve read in the past on this website from plugged in readers. Nevertheless, that’s nice to hear, even if these are only reservations.

  45. Posted by dsp

    SF Condo Guy, you’re totally right about my purchase. In fact, I regretted including the $/sq. foot of my unit as soon as I posted the comment because it would become a distraction from the main points of my comment.

    That said, I still think that it’s a no-brainer to choose the Infinity over the Palms if both units are about the same size and have about the same $/sq ft for the reasons outlined in my previous comments. I think that it’ll be easier to sell a unit in the Infinity than the Palms

    In fact, I forgot to add one more factor that favors the Infinity’s location in the future – the new Transbay Terminal itself. Once the development is complete, the new Transbay Terminal is supposed to be the Grand Central of the West Coast with multiple lines all converging there (e.g., Caltrains, a new high-speed rail). Admittedly, it’ll probably take a while (5-10 yrs) for this to happen. But when it does, any advantage that the Palms had from being close to 4th and King will evaporate.

  46. Posted by Tom

    I have to say that the Palms depresses me as a Dormitory with too many doors on the hall, so to speak. Not just with the Infinity towers, but even with the mid-rise, you don’t have dozens of doors on the crawl down the hall to your unit. Sorry to say, but in my experience (with friends in Vancouver and now me in NYC), the preferred properties have the fewest number of units per floor/hall, and the Palms is just too big of a floorplate for that. What this translates to is too many variables with neighbors of unknown behavior, and it is simply arithmetic — the more the more the risk of a bad egg spoiling the floor.
    Tom

  47. Posted by not sexy

    IMHO, this comparison is equivalent to comparing a buick to a BMW. In this anemic real estate climate, both properties will appreciate at the same rate. Buyers of both properties will have a certain degree of buyers remorse.

  48. Posted by Michael

    $1000/sqft for the 5th floor?? Man I’m feeling better and better about my purchase at Infinity. I Reserved a unit last year during the early releases. Got a corner unit with a balcony and bay views above the 25th floor for $1000/sqft. Prices must have really gone up!
    Can’t wait till they finish construction so I can start enjoying my views.
    And I totally agree with dsp. The development of Folsom Blvd and the Transbay will be a boon for the whole neighbohood. And the waterfront location is priceless.
    I don’t think there is ANY PLANS for the area surrounding Palms.
    And it’s true – comparing Palms to Infinity is like comparing a buick to a BMW.
    A better comparison is Palms to SomaGrand. Both are in shady locations and both are selling view units at $1000/sqft or above. I went to SomaGrand a few days ago and they were selling their SE Corner units from $900-$1100/sqft and I feel their location is inferior to Palms (and not even in Infinity’s league).

  49. Posted by Sergio

    without sounding arrogant (which I will anyway)…and having no preference since I actually own a place in both Mission Bay (couple of blocks from Palms) and South Beach (near) Rincon Hill. They are both in good neighborhoods and as far as I am concerned the same the neighborhood. It’s like comparing Union St and Chestnut (hello…its all the same). To say the Palms is in a bad neighborhood is ridiculous…it across from Zuppa, Coco500, Barcar, CitizenCake (new venue…coming soon), the District, Limn and many others. On the other hand Rincon is nice but still a work in progress…1st St is awful, no retail spaces (but 2nd and Spear are great) oh and did I fail to mention its a 5-10 minute walk from the Palms and the rest of South Beach and Mission Bay. I think all of you [Removed by Editor] should think or at the very least pay attention before you speak.
    PS to the original writer—as long as you are prepared to make a long-term investment I would go with the most sq ft in the area regardless which property it is.

  50. Posted by dsp

    Sergio, you do sound arrogant when you call other commenters [Removed by Editor]. More importantly, I think that you just sound ignorant. Here is why I think so.

    “To say the Palms is in a bad neighborhood is ridiculous…it across from Zuppa, Coco500, Barcar, CitizenCake (new venue…coming soon), the District, Limn and many others.”

    Hmm… Being close to some restaurants doesn’t guarantee that a neighborhood isn’t bad. There are some great restaurants in the area that is bordered by Guerrero, Valencia, 16th and 18th – Tartine, Andalu, Luna Park, Bar Tartine, Pauline’s Pizza, etc. But I’m not sure that I’d want to live there, especially since there’s a housing project right on Guerrero and 15th where dudes hang out sipping their 40’s from paper bags in the afternoons. A lot of people who live around there seem to be concerned about the neighborhood since most of the homes in that area have metal bars that protect their windows and doors.

    “They are both in good neighborhoods and as far as I am concerned the same the neighborhood. It’s like comparing Union St and Chestnut (hello…its all the same)…”

    Have you actually walked around the Infinity and the Palms? I’ve walked all over the South Beach/SOMA/Rincon Hill area many times. On all my walks, the environment around 4th and Brannan is completely different from the environment around Spear and Folsom. The fact that you’re saying that the Palms and Infinity neighborhoods are like Union St and Chestnut makes me wonder whether you’ve actually spent any time in this area.

    “oh and did I fail to mention its a 5-10 minute walk from the Palms and the rest of South Beach and Mission Bay.”

    Lol. That’s sort of like saying Union Square and the Tenderloin are the same because it’s just a 5-10 minute walk from Union Square to the Tenderloin. Now, the area around the Palms isn’t as bad as the ‘loin. But even just one block can sometimes mean the difference between good and not-as-good neighborhoods, especially in urban areas.

    PS to the original writer—as long as you are prepared to make a long-term investment I would go with the most sq ft in the area regardless which property it is.

    Have you actually visited the Palms and Infinity? The buildings are completely different in terms of quality/fit/finish/amenities. I agree with not sexy that comparing the Palms to the Infinity is like comparing a Buick to a BMW. To advise someone to make a decision based purely on square footage without thinking about location and quality of building is just plain silly.

  51. Posted by huh

    “PS to the original writer—as long as you are prepared to make a long-term investment I would go with the most sq ft in the area regardless which property it is.”
    Wow, Sergio that’s the most ignorant (and uneducated) statement I’ve heard in a long time. So if you had a choice between a 1500sqft unit at the St. Regis vs a 2500sqft fixer in a dilapidated, crime-ridden complex with price being equal, go with the fixer right??
    Man, I’m glad you’re not my agent 😉
    [Removed by Editor]

  52. Posted by blahhh

    “I’m glad you’re happy with your purchase, dsp, but you got in at $400 psf less than the person who posed the question!”
    I’m pretty sure dsp bought 3B at the Infinity. He got a good deal, but it’s more like $300 sq.ft less than 5A that’s under discussion here. And the reason dsp got his unit at that price is also because this floor plan is HUGE, 1813 sq.ft. A larger plan will always have a lower $/sq.ft figure especially when it’s on the 3rd floor. And this large B plan has a couple of disadvantages, limited lighting, small bedrooms, etc. But it would work out well for people who need the space.
    The A plan you are considering actually gets pretty good downtown view even on the 5th floor. It’s much better than looking out to the roof tops and freeway around the 4th street. The small den space can be easily converted into the kitchen space and then opening up a dining area where the island is located at.
    Frankly I would live in a 1st level 1bd den at the Infinity over anything at the Palms. The day I toured the building, I saw 2 doors with what already looked like 3 day notice taped on them. So I traveled down the ridiculous hallway and left. There are other more serious issues with the Palms which I won’t list because I don’t wanna upset people here who currently own there.
    If you are not happy with either unit, look for something else. But if you already narrowed it down to the two, then definitely go for the 5A at the Infinity.

  53. Posted by anonymous

    blahhh, how can you be so certain which unit the buyer is considering? There are two units on the 5th floor of the treetops with about 1100 square foot. How do you know she’s considering 5A in the tower?
    It’s amazing how clairvoyant people are on this site!

  54. Posted by Morgan

    The hallways at “The Palms” would always be a major problem when you go to try to sell your unit. Why they could not have come up with a better plan so that you do not walk down the endless “Ramada Inn” corridor is beyond me. Plus, I still have issues with San Francisco’s current obsession with palm trees which are not native to this climate, and are a sign of this city still not getting over trying to imitate Los Angeles instead of developing its own regional identity (which it uesd to do). The Palms would be perfect in Santa Monica or Culver City, but I myself would choose the Infinity for location and design.

  55. Posted by anon

    I think the problem the original poster is having is that he actually likes the unit in the Palms better. Having seen the unit myself, I can see why. It just seems to have more in terms of 2 car parking, views of the city which at nightime are pretty stellar, an extra half bath, nice finishings (the penthouse unit has gas, hardwood floors etc.), and a balcony where you can have a nice bbq. Living wise, it’s better. Fact of the matter is that there will be plenty of supply with the second tower of the Infinity and One Rincoln, and the postal office lot slated for development in 2010 – so those current twin peaks views at the Infinity will be looking into another building.
    There is no doubt the Infinity is a nicer building and will be in a superior location in a few years, but take it from somebody who lives right across the Infinity now, the location is not all that currently – no major grocery store near by and only a small one (Gabby Cafe) for basics, limited quick eats establishemnts, etc. I have to drive everywhere. If you just want to enjoy 2 car parking, a cool balcony, city views, and move now, than I’d go with the Palms. If your true time fame is 5-10 years I’d go with the Infinity. I guess my bias is a “not so special” unit in the Infinity location will be a dime a dozen for at least the next 5 years with all of the new construction. The Palms unit has all of the convenient features of a great condo (near Safeway and Whole Foods, large balcony, two door entry into the apartment, two car parking, gas, 2.5 bath) and lower HOAs.

  56. Posted by Mr. Positive

    Go for the Infinity. Better location closer to the Waterfront. More things are going to be built in that location soon, Guaranteed!
    Also, I personally don’t like the Developer for The Palms -> J.C.
    Nor the Sales team for Vanguard. Too ??????!

  57. Posted by TJ

    Agreed with anon – there is NOTHING more enjoyable than 2 car parking. Hooweee!

  58. Posted by blahhh

    “blahhh, how can you be so certain which unit the buyer is considering? There are two units on the 5th floor of the treetops with about 1100 square foot. How do you know she’s considering 5A in the tower?
    It’s amazing how clairvoyant people are on this site!”
    Because the other 2 units in the midrise on the 5th floor are not $1000 sq.ft. Life is good, be amazed about other things.
    “Also, I personally don’t like the Developer for The Palms -> J.C.
    Nor the Sales team for Vanguard. Too ??????!”
    Sales team is another thing that puts the Infinity in a totally different league above the Palms. Not that this should necessarily have anything to do with the quality of the projects themselves, but things do add up in a way. And there are reasons why the Palms sales team is only hired by projects like 140 South Van Ness, the Palms, etc, while the Infinity’s team works on the best projects like the Brannan and so forth. People who dealt with them would know what I’m talking about (try a search).
    The Palms is also the only new development I know that allows a hidden bidding process for every unit. A friend of mine was considering a 2bd on the 6th floor last year, and when she asked how come they would allow bidding, they told her that they were required “BY LAW” to do it. I’m glad they didn’t tell her that “by law” she had to buy only at the Palms.

  59. Posted by anonymous

    Blahhh,
    There’s a 1,113 square foot unit in building C (5B) and a 1,090 square foot unit in building A (5B). The original poster said he or she was interested in a 1100 square foot residence. So where are you getting your information from? Do you know for a fact that they are sold? We already discussed the 5th floor unit in the tower a few weeks ago and that was going for something like 900,000, much less than 1,000 a square foot.

  60. Posted by 94114

    Any decision made yet on The Palms vs. The Infinity? Inquiring minds want to know.

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