CFAH

544 Natoma: Open Kitchen
It’s a boutique mixed use building at 544 Natoma Street that was designed by Sternberg Benjamin Architects in 2002 (and commissioned by Tony Espinoza/Sally Haskovec) to house a digital recording studio (San Francisco Soundworks) and its parade of recording artists (in two three-story residences) above.
544 Natoma: Living
The residences (which were offered to those recording for $150 per night) feature big windows, radiant heat, open floor plans and a fireplace that’s reminiscent of another ex-recording studio and residence a little farther to the south.
544 Natoma: Bath
And while the rock star recording studio is on the market as well, it’s going to take a plugged-in reader/tipster to provide any additional details on the offering (beyond “Penthouses starting at $1,350,000”).
UPDATE: And yes, a narrated virtual tour that actually works (in terms of both interest and engagement).
Soundworks Residences [544 Natoma]
610 Rhode Island From The Inside (Literally And Figuratively) [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by tharpo

    Wow. Just lovely. I wonder why they have to sell?

  2. Posted by anon

    love this space….check out http://www.soundworkshistory.com

  3. Posted by Michael

    re: http://www.soundworkshistory.com/
    That’s the first narrated virtual tour for a property that I’ve actually found interesting. Infinitely better to have the seller (?) narrating the story than the agent. Felt more like one of those NYT slideshows than a sales pitch. Love it as well.

  4. Posted by Tipster

    Beautiful, spectacular, but 6th and Natoma? Wonderful place to visit SF but pretty lousy location if you are going to actually live there.
    Though now that I think of it, it’s probably really easy to score drugs from your front door… OK, I take it back. Great place all around!

  5. Posted by anon2

    ^ they did say party like a rock star… 🙂
    it’s definitely not pacific heights but i don’t find 6th street all that intimidating just downtrodden. then again i moved here from new york.
    beautiful space. loft-like living with actual bedrooms to boot.

  6. Posted by anon

    “Wow. Just lovely. I wonder why they have to sell?”
    I guess that even the heated towel racks didn’t make up for the nightly gunfire…….

  7. Posted by anon2

    ^ talk about typical ignorance about the neighborhood. the last shooting in the area was two blocks closer to the st. regis than to this place.

  8. Posted by Anon3

    According to the agents site there is an open house:
    Preview Opening 6-9pm Thursday Nov.15th, 2007

  9. Posted by smarty

    “the last shooting in the area was two blocks closer to the st. regis than to this place”
    Maybe so, but I’d be willing to bet the guy that got shot was running (and being chased) from this area. Or maybe the criminals from this area are now using sniper rifles to complement their knives and drugs?

  10. Posted by Dan

    “I’d be willing to bet the guy that got shot was running (and being chased) from this area.”
    I assume the original poster was referring to the 18 y.o. who was shot recently, allegedly by a 15 y.o.
    They weren’t coming from 6th St. They were teenagers hanging out at Metreon, and the shooting victim was from Oakland.

  11. Posted by Smartier

    “Maybe so, but I’d be willing to bet the guy that got shot was running (and being chased) from this area.”
    You’re not so smarty and you lost the bet. It’s a sad story and the kids were hanging out at the Metreon at 4th and Mission (St. Regis is at 3rd and Mission):
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/13/BA8BTB1AU.DTL
    Do you even live in San Francisco “smarty”? You seem completely out of touch with what’s going on in the city its neighborhoods.

  12. Posted by fluj

    If you talk to the police these days they’ll tell you the most dangerous place to be just a normal person minding your business is the Metreon on a weekend night. That’s a relatively new development. A few years ago it was Columbus and Broadway on Fridays and Saturdays.

  13. Posted by Miles

    I’d have to wonder if it is possible to dampen the sound from a recording studio for the units upstairs – bass is pretty indiscriminate in traveling through walls. And yeah, an alley between Mission and Howard just off 6th? That’s still a pretty rough neighborhood.

  14. Posted by Michael

    “I’d have to wonder if it is possible to dampen the sound from a recording studio for the units upstairs – bass is pretty indiscriminate in traveling through walls.”
    Good thing to check. Probably not a big deal if it’s your band that’s recording while you’re staying in the penthouse and the label is picking up the tab. Might be a big deal if it’s now “home” and some random metal band is laying down tracks in the middle of the night.

  15. Posted by DerrySF

    The units are amazing. Have to say I think it’s hilarious that, no matter how cracked out and dangerous the neighborhood in which a property is located may be, someone will inevitably post to say how it’s really just fine after all. C’mon, 6th Street betw. Brannan & Market is undoubtedly the scariest corridor in all of SoMa, and one of the most blighted in all of SF.

  16. Posted by palms_rez

    My posting here is more about the neighborhood rather than the actual building. For five years, I lived on Natoma Street, one block (across 6th street) from where this building is. Generally speaking, it didn’t bother me at first. But slowly the chronic issue of homeless people and drug use on the street, people asleep in front of my unit, having to push them out of the way to get in the front door at times, etc, really became unbearable. Honestly, I didn’t care what these people were doing, just that I had to be confronted with it daily. One of our neighbors used to spray drug users across the street from their patio to get them to move along. Plus, there was consistently loud noise (we faced Natoma St) whenever the fire trucks came by on Howard (which was 3-4X per night after work or random trucks; we would have to pause movies or TiVo until traffic passed so we could hear what was going on (even with a 1000 watt surround sound system). There was always, always garbage on the street, although it was better in the rainy season. However, the worst is that three times while I lived there (that I know of), people in my building were attacked. Once was at the end of the block at 6th, another time a guy was jumped in the front door of our building by two people as he was leaving for work. He was clobbered with rocks and had to go to the hospital for a few days with a concussion. Just a few weeks before we moved this spring, another neighbor was stabbed and also hit on the head on our street while walking his dog. I saw the poor guy come back from the hospital; head wrapped in a bandage, hospital gown still on the top half of his body, and his arm in a sling….it was terrible. It’s a shame because the building where we lived is a nice building and I liked our space a lot. It was just beyond the front door that was scary. Sadly, since the drive to clean up around Yerba Buena ends at 5th, a friend of mine who still lives in the building said the refuse (so to speak) on Natoma has only gotten worse.

  17. Posted by anon

    I was there last night for the event, what am amazing place….I fell in love with the penthouse!

  18. Posted by anon1

    I was there too. Beautiful penthouse, but there are no closets. There aren’t many cabinets in the kitchen. Lots of windows and no air conditioning. No on sight parking. Questionable area and no alarm system. I also wonder how noisy the playground will be since it is right behind it. Do you think the price is right?

  19. Posted by anon

    Their is a walk in closet in the lower bedroom and a custom closet can be installed in the upper bedroom, there is one in the second penthouse. There is also an alarm system..

  20. Posted by MICHAEL

    Anyone know the asking price back in Nov? I saw it recently and am conidering making an offer. Little wary though that it’s been on the market for so long and no bites for such an undeniably spectacular space. Thanks

  21. Posted by tony espinoza

    it’s a funny story. we started the listing process with Colleen Cotter and Meredith Martin at Paragon and maybe some of you came to the party they threw there… through a fairly bizarre series of events they ended up backing out before we reached the MLS — so the place was never listed! i was rather shocked given that i built the place along with Colleen’s father and never would have expected to be dropped. We had a series of problems, first with a commercial lease that Paragon connected us with (and resulted in a refund) and with the staging folks (who damaged the floors). I’m not sure if they got burned out by these events, or perhaps combined with the subsequent slow down in the market, they decided to back out. anyway, just wanted to update this article with a comment for posterity. the neighborhood has absolutely improved with the addition of the Soma Grand, Federal Building, etc. etc. And the building is in pristine shape. But we’ve been sitting on it for the past year since I’ve been focused on a new venture (http://supersecret.com). We’ll probably offer to rent the units out soon if anyone is interested. 🙂

  22. Posted by tony espinoza

    feel free to email me: tony@sfsoundworks.com if interested.
    also – there are multiple garage parking spots including an in-building spot so the information above is incorrect.
    i lived there with my wife for years and we decided to move when it became clear that our 10 month old son was walking and the 5-level, 3 story space we designed wasn’t going to be ideal for him.
    i went to great lengths to insure that the studio did not create sound problems for the units upstairs (obviously a huge financial investment!).

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