The Palms Lobby

Of the 300 condos at The Palms (555 4th Street), sixteen (16) are currently listed for sale with none currently in contract.

Of those sixteen, four appear to be developer sales (through what’s left of the sales office), at least five have been reduced in price, and at least one (a two-bedroom) is soliciting a short sale (purchased for $789,000 in 2006, listed for $868,000 three months ago, and asking $750,000 “subject to lender’s approval” for the past five weeks).

We also can’t help but note that while 555 4th Street #629 has been described as “The Palm’s Largest Residence!” with “Over 2100 square feet of luxury” for 111 days, ten days ago 555 4th Street #107 hit the market advertising a “spacious 2585 square feet.”

∙ Listing: 555 4th Street #107 (3/3) – $1,759,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 555 4th Street #421 (2/2) – $750,000 [MLS]
∙ Listing: 555 4th Street #629 (4/3) – $2,395,000 [MLS]
Apparently Only Eight Condos Left At The Palms (555 4th Street) [SocketSite]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by "Dave"

    I own an SFR in Noe so I don’t claim to know the condo market very well, and certainly not the SOMA-condo market. But what is going on with the wild spread in the prices of these properties? Is this unique to this building? It strikes me as a very odd marketing move. It’s like BMW selling a $10k car, a $50k car and a $200k car…

  2. Posted by Jay

    Socket site, you didn’t notice the 2 beds 2 baths for $675.
    555 4th St #401
    So now there are a fair number of 2/2’s in Soma for the 600’s. Wake me up when we hit the 500’s.
    (There is a $619k 2/2 at 201 Harrison so it can’t be more than a month or two)

  3. Posted by phatty

    I can’t describe in words how intensely I dislike this building; everything about it. I don’t think it can be used as a comp for other condos in SOMA because it pales in comparison to everything else in the neighborhood (except perhaps the Beacon). It’s so bitterly awful….

  4. Posted by Karl & Lenny

    Jay – That 2/2 at 201 Harrison is smaller then many 1bdr’s in SOMA. It’s a little misleading. It seems like a great deal from the listing and then you walk into the place.

  5. Posted by Dirk

    I agree with phatty. The Palms is hideous. The design is gimmicky and an eyesore. What were the developers thinking?

  6. Posted by badlydrawnbear

    The Palms may be “hideous” and an “eye sore”
    but that doesn’t explain a 640k spread between a large condo on the first floor and a smaller condo on the 6th.
    Is 107 hoping for a bidding war? is 629 just waaaay over priced? are views worth 640k and less square footage?
    I also find it interesting that 107 is a 3/3 with +2500 sqrft and 629 is a 4/3 with 2100 sqr ft.
    Honestly, I am waiting for fluj, or similarly plugged in reader, to help explain this because this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me right now.

  7. Posted by shman

    To address badlydrawnbear’s question about the difference between units 107 and 629:
    The 1st floor unit is three levels and is right on the street. Yes, there is a gate and a cute garden, but the windows in the living area are frosted over for privacy so you can’t even see out. Probably better than watching the pedestrians and cars five feet away (even though it is at the back of the building). Also, the layout of the unit is kind of strange with the middle 2nd level being open space to the bottom. Functional to some degree but not a separate room unto itself. Using it as an office, you’d be open to the sounds around you in the living area. And, finally, it is in the back of the building without much direct light. Maybe in the morning they get some in the bedrooms on the third floor, but I bet the living area is pretty much in the shade all the time.
    The 6th floor unit, by contrast, faces west and northwest, gets afternoon and late afternoon light. The layout, in my opinion, is far superior. Plus, they have views going west and north (downtown). And last, there are a lot of major upgrades in that unit.
    Just my opinion based on what I’ve seen —- I live in the building and have been watching these listings.

  8. Posted by anon

    Sure you can have your new 2Br condo in the 600s if you dont mind the sound of club kids partying outside in the middle of the night.

  9. Posted by Ryan

    shman is right they are two very different units. last time i heard 107 was one of only 2 units like it in the building. it has a street entrance and is on one of the small ally’s in the back. its a true town house.
    629 has more of a penthouse feel with amazing views compared to 107, and i wouldnt say it offers a 4th bedroom by any means, an office at best with swing doors.
    and also like shman says you can see the dollars that were spent in that unit upgrading for sure!

  10. Posted by Mole Man

    Those kitchens are really dark and scary!

  11. Posted by Michael

    #107 is spread over three levels, isn’t finished as nicely and doesn’t have the views but I also think #629 is overpriced at $1,122 a square foot in this building.
    The two-bedroom short sale surprises me. Having a hard time selling for $39,000 less than they paid to the developer in 2006?

  12. Posted by JJ

    I was able to get 850 sqft (recently remodeled) plus a nice balcony at Museum Parc for what it would have cost me to get 650 sqft at The Palms. I liked The Palms, but the small size of the units was ultimately a deal breaker.

  13. Posted by Recent ORH buyer

    Mole Man,
    I have no connection to this building, but I totally disagree with you on the kitchens. I’m a fan of the dark wood in kitchens [provided the unit has sufficient natural light] and can’t stand the off-white kitchens some new developments have … although the white cabinets would be perfect for a hospital.

  14. Posted by Recent ORH buyer

    Note – my comment references the kitchen in 629 … the others two aren’t quite so appealing [IMO] with the lighter colors.

  15. Posted by Kevin

    If you have ever driven past this buidling, you will realize that you cannot use this building for comps. I was shopping for a condo a year ago, and realized back then that the prices for these units would not hold up. This has to be one of the worst locations in SOMA. It is situated right next to a McDonald’s, so you constantly smell fries. It is also on a busy street, and it almost level to the very busy freeway, so the views are really not that spectacular at all. At least Rincon Hill’s upper levels are way above the freeway. I tell you, the units at 1 Rincon and the Infinity are looking so much better than most of what there is to offer in SOMA. They offer you the ability to walk a few blocks to the embarcadero and go for a run, and are also closer to many places of work. I have no vested interest in either, but if I had a million dollars to spend on a condo, I would consider 1 Rincon and Infinity way before the Palms.

  16. Posted by shman

    Reply to Kevin here – he must be confused about something.
    This building is on 4th b/t Bryant and Brannan.
    McDonald’s is at 3rd and Townsend.
    On the value vis-a-vis Infinity or ORH, but aren’t these generally priced less than in those buildings, anyway? Except for the mammoth unit 629, PSF seems generally less than those other buildings.

  17. Posted by grrr

    FO Phatty. My home in the Palms is awesome. I suspect that because you are so disagreable that nobody has ever invited you in to their home at the Palms. It is truly the BEST location for a home in San Francisco and the BS you’re spreading needs to be challenged. the Palms is an:
    easy walkto downtown/union square/financial district. all of SoMa.
    two/three blocks from Safeway and Whole Foods but (important) not above them or across from them. Same for the Caltrains station, AT&T Park, etc. Close to be convienient, far enough as not to be bothered. Meanwhile, some of the best restaurants Coco500, Orson, Bacar, Fringale, Zuppa, etc. are across the street. Bof A, Wells and Starbucks, walgreens, dry cleaner, and a gas station a block away — do you really need anything else?
    And 280 is a very easy off ramp 4 blocks away which gets you to Target and the wonders of Colma Daly City in minutes….but again, you are still 3+ blocks from congession onto any bridge. And the ONLY time there is traffic on 4th is for about 10 minutes twice a day and if goddamn critical mass comes (which only runs down pedestrians).
    Inside, the lobby is awesome and appropriate. the units are varied as any developement. To each his own. Ours is a 2/2 with ideal fixtures, appliances, etc. (wouldn’t change a thing), 6 closets and sweeping view from Twin Peaks to the Bay Bridge. We love it. [Removed by Editor]
    [Editor’s Note: Other than the little personal jabs (one of which we’re removing), great response.]

  18. Posted by Dirk

    Her grrr…you forgot to mention that the Palms is also across the street from Glas Kat nightclub and a parking lot.
    Best location indeed…

  19. Posted by grrr

    Kevin. Get a clue. You are taking about 170 Off Third.
    Anon. Tabu is a club next to Orson. Yes, it’s got clubbers about 3 days a week and at no time can you hear any thump thump even OUTSIDE THE DOOR of it, let alone across the street, through brick, glass and the entire length of the Palms.
    Your caddyness in totally incorrect, which makes it even more lame.

  20. Posted by grrr

    Dirk. Unless you live in the little house on the prairie, wtf? a parking lot? pleeze. it’s the city. cars park there. nothing else. and only a small sliver. Frankly, for people on that SW corner is means they all have a totally unblocked view south.
    the nightclub, is so not a factor, and frankly, I’ll bet you know that.

  21. Posted by missionbayres

    I’ve always wonder what’s with all the colorful lights at the Palms. Waste of energy. Reminds me of Miami’s or Vegas. I hope out of towners don’t mistaken it for another SOMA nightclub…
    I don’t hate the building though (actually I kind of do), it’s built like a monolithic apartment building, and yes similar to Beacon in it’s mammoth size.

  22. Posted by grrr

    MissionBayres — ugh — you so tire me. The lobby looks, sounds, feels , great. Who cares if there are 300 homes vs. 150? Few are even remotely alike due to floorplan, view, location, etc. Not to mention personal style. No one is forcing you to say hi to your neighbors. Truly a pointless critique unless you are comparing it to living in a single family home in a rural area, really. Sorry, you don;t like it (or anything you are not plugging) but you are simply wrong. I’d love to hear — truthfully — where you actually live (and not just invest).

  23. Posted by steve

    Since when do people think they can argue about taste and prevail?

  24. Posted by missionbayres

    Whoa grrr, you’re starting to sound like Recent ORH buyer. Frightening…
    Anyhow, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and your defense of your home is understandable.
    I toured the building several times, once the inner courtyard had a hairy half naked man tanning himself next to the window for the whole world to see. It was NOT a pretty sight. You couldn’t pay me to live in what amounts to a fishbowl with way too many fishes.
    I live in Mission Bay, a nice two story rental with partial views of the stadium and bay. I do like this neighborhood and plan to buy soon, but am willing to be patient and wait for more reductions. You think that short sale in your building is the first? Wake up, there will be many more before this is over…

  25. Posted by grrr

    16 out of 300 for a property less than two years old? Big deal. Get some perpective. And that 16 number includes a handful of homes left (generally the leftovers) just as the market got sketchy. 280+ homes are filled with folks lovin’ it. The building is truly a great place to live.
    The inner courtyard and some chunk sunning himself? Look around — with your partial view of AT&T park — you must see about 20,000 like that every warm, Giants gameday! I could care less about it and never see it, unless I get a dog (even then) or start smoking (won;t happen) or want to pose a picture by a nice palm tree. Inner courtyard homes are, generally, much less expensive than the other homes in the building with equivilant sq. ft. and for that reason, and also because others enjoy the “common” space to “expand” their own outdoor space, some people like them. to each his own. With 9 floors and 4 sides, inner courtyard, etc. there are so many different homes at the Palms that to generalize is kinda foolhearty.

  26. Posted by Karl & Lenny

    Grrr…..relax. Everyone is entitled to an opinion even if you disagree with them. Your arguments are just as much opinion as Mission BayRes and you come off sounding like an angry jerk. Mission Bay Res doesn’t like the Palms. It’s ok if you two agree to disagree. You said it yourself….to each his own.
    Maybe you two should take this outside

  27. Posted by grrr

    Opinion? fine (even when tragic). Outright misformation, intentional distortion, etc.? Nope. Must not go unchallenged, especially by a repeat offender such as MissionBayRes. And, again, you are taking about my home, which I’ll defend inside — and out.
    And back to the property at hand. Truly, we ‘ve lived at The Palms a year and get more and more tickled by our purchase each day. Much of that has to do with the location, which, again, I’ll tout here — and outside, if needed.

  28. Posted by scurvy

    Ehh, this building is OK. It’s not great, it’s just OK. Being across the street from a club? Not good. You can’t hear the noise from the club, but you definitely hear the clubbers (and their cars) when they leave. This is the “we’re barely too old to go to the club on 3rd & Harrison” crowd, which is to say, not your Bubble Lounge crew. You’re near Caltrain, 280, & 101 which is a plus to the south bay commuters (for the next year or two until you can no longer put up with the commute). Being so close to AT&T Park kinda sucks to be honest. During baseball season the entire neighborhood is overrun with fans. The side that faces Brannan Street? Well, you might think we can’t see you cleaning your apartment in your skivvies every Wednesday, but we can. We do. There’s a ton of bored office workers at 475 Brannan….
    The only sides of this building I’d live on would be the ones that face quiet, no-name side streets. No views there, but whatever. Cheap and no noise.

  29. Posted by Dude

    Whether it’s a great location and fantastic place to live is subjective. But 629 is grossly overpriced given recent comps. Most recent sales here have been around the $830-$850 psf range.
    #649 sold in May of this year for $837 psf. Prior to that, #831 sold in November of ’07 at $859 psf.
    But the numbers on these listed units look fishy…. #107 reportedly last sold in October of ’06 for $1.345 million, or $520 psf. Looks like #629 last sold in November of ’06 for $895K, or only $426 psf. Coincidentally, #107 seems to have hit the zenith – no other unit in the building has ever sold for more than $1.345MM from the data I can see.

  30. Posted by anon sf

    Palms has like 5 or 6 units that has been reduced by as much as 100k+. Grrr, how does it feel to live on a sinking ship? If the building tickles you so much, you must be the only one or else there would be more buyers rushing to get in.
    Seems like the developer’s been trying to sell the final few units for the last 2 years. At some point they’ll have to fire sale them off instead waiting and waiting and waiting for the buyer that will never come.

  31. Posted by shman

    This is just a guess, regarding the discrepancy between the last sale price for #629 and the current asking price.
    When we were looking there in early ’07, we were told that someone who was involved in developing Soma Grand had purchased two units in the Palms and combined them.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if #629 is that combined unit. I don’t know that for sure, but it would make sense.

  32. Posted by missionbayres

    “Opinion? fine (even when tragic). Outright misformation, intentional distortion, etc.? Nope. Must not go unchallenged, especially by a repeat offender such as MissionBayRes. And, again, you are taking about my home, which I’ll defend inside — and out.”
    Grrr, looking thru my 2 posts I said Palms has many colorful lights that waste energy, and makes it looks like a nightclub. I also said it’s monolithic and mammoth in size. And a big ugly naked man likes to tan himself against the window where many residences can see him from inside their own units.
    So where is the intentional distortion? To me it’s all my own opinion and observation…

  33. Posted by grr

    Scurvy: prime example of total BS. Point by point.
    * Please god, nobody feed him an orange and perhaps he’ll just die of it.
    anonSF: BS, you know it or you’d have a name. 5 or 6 units WTFC. meaningless.especially in this market. nearly 300 homes fully occupied with happy campers all round. And, we don;t give a crap about investors that got stuck with the bad units or have to fire sale their home all over town. Most people bought and live there. These sellers are just the same group all over town that greedily snapped up condos to invest in and now are trying to unload property — purely due to their own financial situation, not because of these properties.

  34. Posted by phatty

    Grr, I toured the Palms once. Only once though, as I am unable to stomach another visit. I’d say the egregiousness of the floor plans speak for themselves, as well as the tackiness of the lobby. So I’ll just address the location. In a word: undesirable. Too busy a street, and too unfeeling a neighborhood. The only chance that section of town will get some real feeling and life to it is if the hideous building you live in were torn down and replaced by something with any amount of character or charm.
    I’ve also dined at Coco500. If you believe that’s one of SF’s best, then I imagine you fit right in at the Palms.
    Personally, I don’t understand why people would live in the city and commute to the South Bay… but if I did, I’d much rather access the Interstates via the Embarcadero (South Beach). Much easier, and much prettier.
    Honestly though, if you’re happy with your purchase and enjoy living there; more power to you. I’m happy for you that you found a home you enjoy, and I can’t knock you down personally for that. But that won’t stop me from stating my opinion that I, for one, am offended by the buildings very existence. I think SF is an amazingly beautiful city, and it upsets me to see incompetent developers slap together below-grade and obtrusively ugly buildings that reek havoc on the city’s look & feel, simply to make a quick buck.

  35. Posted by Dirk

    You know, grrr…I think I speak for this entire forum when I say that I’m tired of hearing from you. You do sound like an angry jerk. These folks are just expressing their opinions on the nightclub that you live in. You can defend your nightclub all you want, but I don’t think you’re going to get anyone who views the Palms as you do.

  36. Posted by lolcat_94123

    grrr – sorry dude but the neighborhood sucks. I lived there for a year. Sure it’s central to everything no doubt, but it’s dead on the weekends and shady during the week. I even liked the fact that it’s next door to glas kat because I would be there multiple nights a week.
    But I’d never buy at the palms.
    I was told that neighborhood is supposed to be hip and cool so I moved there when I came up from palo alto. Negative. After a year I moved to the marina and I’d never move back, even though I still hit up glas kat and the soma clubs.
    Props to you for digging your place, but let others have their opinions.

  37. Posted by Recent ORH Buyer

    I’d have to agree with grr here – 16 units is around 5% of the building, possibly some of the less desirable units. The fact that these are unsold doesn’t mean, in itself, that the entire building is a failure, particularly in a more difficult R.E. market as of late. I also concur with him that I have no sympathy for flippers who bought condos as investment and are now getting burned. Grr likes his building and is presumably there for the mid to long term and should do fine on his place, enjoying his life there in the interim.
    Missionbayres – you never specified where you live, so we can trash your place, as you have a habit of doing to everyone else’s building.

  38. Posted by scurvy

    grrr, I’ve lived and worked in the neighborhood for longer than you have. I know it pretty well.
    1) Giants games. You’re telling me that Brannan and 4th aren’t gridlock on gamedays? What about Zoe? The fans are an inconvenience even to pedestrians.
    2) Facing an office building…shall I setup a webcam from my desk? I can; I’ve got the spare time.
    3) GlasKat/whatever-it’s-called. If it’s not a huge issue, why are there security guards posted outside the Palms front entrance whenever the club is in use? Why does the side-street next to the club close and post a guard telling would-be clubbers to move along?
    4) SoMA is for commuters. It is. Most people that work in SF prefer to live in other parts of the city (unless they live in SoMA which some of my coworkers do).
    Don’t get me wrong, there are some pluses. I laughed because you missed the biggest one in your laundry list (Walgreens? lol)….it’s South Park. South Park is the gem of SoMA. I’d prefer to tout easy to access to South Park than the freeways. But hey, that’s just me. I’m a live-work SF resident, not a commuter.

  39. Posted by missionbayres

    Recent ORH Buyer / Grrr, are you two brothers?
    I rent at Avalon in Mission Bay. Trash it all you want, I encourage you 😉 I can always move without navigating the treacherous RE market. Sold 2 properties in 05/06 when I felt things changing for the worse. Best financial move of my life! 🙂
    No one has disputed that 16 units for sale is a lot. But it’s probably the highest for any completed condo complex outside of The Beacon.
    It’s the building and the location (and the weird lights, nightclub, drunks) that people has issues with. The fact that the HW101 off ramp faces and runs toward the building is also very bad Feng Shui.

  40. Posted by AnonAgent

    “When we were looking there in early ’07, we were told that someone who was involved in developing Soma Grand had purchased two units in the Palms and combined them.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if #629 is that combined unit. I don’t know that for sure, but it would make sense.”
    It is. Highly upgraded as well.

  41. Posted by Willow

    Lots of The Palms haters out there…It is a strange building that’s trying too hard to be trendy but I think the location is pretty good. The units are nice enough but the long corridors are a turnoff. Unfortunately it has such a bad reputation that it will effect resale value.

  42. Posted by g

    LOL. I haven’t heard anything, good or bad, about the Palms, except here on Socketsite. I’m not sure what kind of a “bad” reputation it really has in the outside world. I actually like the look of the building, but it’s waaay too close to 4th and Bryant and all the shadiness around that area (hasn’t there been a few shootings at that intersection in the past few months?).

  43. Posted by lies...damn lies...statistics

    Honey, get my gun!!!! Someone on the internet is WRONG again!!

  44. Posted by grrr

    Totally BS from 7 consistent posters — Dirk, scurvy, blahh, anon, missionbay, etc.
    Sad to see nearly every informative posting on socketsite about practically any condo sidelined by their comments repeatedly based on mostly incorrect information and influenced by bitterness about their own financial siuation.
    Re: the above:
    Drunks? Yes, SF has some wandering drunks/homesless. duh. But they’re are not around the palms. Crowds? Biggest crowd I’ve ever seen is when people are waling to and from work…so? At Taboo (the GlasKat) I think there was about 50 IN LINE TO GO IN on the other side of 4th (not even close to Fringale and if they were, you’d know about it). Gridlock traffic (that’s on 3rd and King, perhaps 4th and King+townsend….and not “gridlock” like 3rd and Howard/Mission/Market)? security guards? the building has guards, like every building. so?
    sorry, missionbayres, the 101 off-ramp (which neither faces or “runs into” the Palms. It “runs into” Bryant, a full block away from the Palms. And only a trickle of cars come off it ever, anyway.
    BS. You punks live in bizarro land. And, Dirk, you are a p*ssy, I’ll beat your *ss.

  45. Posted by sparky

    The Feng Shui of highway off ramps…missionbayres that is awesome.

  46. Posted by likesemtall

    “BS. You punks live in bizarro land. And, Dirk, you are a p*ssy, I’ll beat your *ss.”
    What is this, elementary school? grrl seems to have major issues. Best we leave him/her alone for a while.

  47. Posted by haha

    keep going grr! I love it.
    This board needs more like you.

  48. Posted by paco

    i agree with haha
    grrr is catagorically refuting the misinformation…albeit a bit stridently-but with conviction and knowledge…

  49. Posted by likesemtall

    Conviction yes, but knowledge? Knowledge assumes he’s educated. He comes off sounding like a spoiled schoolgirl. But you’re right, I guess the cat fight has been fun to follow.

  50. Posted by Willow

    g – I was specifically referring to the “chatter” I’ve heard from realtors regarding the poor quality of the building. (Some of whom are from Vanguard Properties who marketed the building!)I’m not saying the “bad” reputation is justified but I’d speculate most realtors will steer clients clear of this building.
    grrr – I love your passion although I think you’re taking this way too personally. It’s a little unsettling actually.

  51. Posted by phatty

    Well, after reading all of grrr’s tactful dialogue, I’ve now reconsidered my stance on the Palms. Clearly with people like him in the building, it’s San Francisco’s epicenter for gentility and the elite.

  52. Posted by S Beach

    “BS. You punks live in bizarro land. And, Dirk, you are a p*ssy, I’ll beat your *ss.”
    grrr, are you in high school? If violence is the way you settle disputes, I sure hope you don’t have children.
    I do admire your passion, and I guess it’s understandable especially knowing your property is probably 15-20% underwater. Good luck.

  53. Posted by RSVP

    Are the remaining Palms units that are being offered “subject to lender’s approval” mean that buyers need to be pre-approved by their in house lender or that the remaining units are lender owned REOs needing final sale price approval…or both?
    [Editor’s Note: Neither, it only refers to the attempted short sale of unit #421. In other words, the list price is less than what is owed (which is why a sale at such a price would be subject to the lender’s approval), but it is not yet bank owned.]

  54. Posted by RBall

    I’ve been walking at the MoMa and Yerba Buena Gardens, Moscone Center at night and the buildings reflect the same colorful lights like the ones at the Palms.
    The Palms is easy to spot at night if you are at The Hilton with 180 degree views from the 45th floor or the top floor Lounge at the Marriot.

  55. Posted by SocketSite

    555 4th Street #421, the short sale noted above, closed escrow on 8/22/08 with a reported sale price of $700,000. Once again, purchased in 2006 for $789,000.

  56. Posted by EBGuy

    555 4th Street #520 (2bed/2bath 888 sq.ft.) is supposed to hit the market (errr, court house steps) this afternoon at $626,055. Originally sold 8/31/2006 for $749,000.

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