CFAH

Arterra Exterior: October 2008

Residents started moving in two months ago, an understated “grand opening” event was held last week (looking good and tasty margaritas), and at least one resale unit has been listed (touting “Pride of ownership!” on craigslist).

Keep in mind that Arterra remains roughly 50% sold. And the last we heard, incentives of “up to $25,000” were being bandied about on the unsold units (complete with that new condo smell).

$568000 Beautiful 1 Bed, 1 Bath Condo w/ Parking! [300 Berry #518] [Craigslist]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Trip

    I see that two units in this building were just reduced yesterday — #904 from $648k to $599k, and #448 from $815k to $799k. Modest, but an indication that price drops rather than just “incentives” are now on the table and underway.

  2. Posted by JJ

    Trip – where did you see those reductions?

  3. Posted by Trip

    Redfin now provides great info on new listings, sales, reductions, and city and neighborhood stats.
    http://www.redfin.com/city/17151/CA/San-Francisco

  4. Posted by DARK & TINY

    That 650+ sq foot one bedroom seems awfully small and dark. If you can get a nice loft someplace close by for the same money, why would you opt for a glorified hotel room? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

  5. Posted by Boo

    Yeah, those pics on that listing certainly don’t make the unit look desirable. Is that staging? Sheesh. And that fridge looks strange just sitting there without any cabinet surround.
    I was wondering though… does anyone that has moved in or maybe the person from the inspection thread have anything to say about lifestyle at Arterra so far. How are things working out? Management good? Developer cooperative? Roof deck/garden useful? Has the new building (Avalon dev)across the street changed things dramatically? And what is the smaller building still under construction adjacent to the Arterra?

  6. Posted by FSBO

    As info, MLS shows 8 units in Active status (including the two with price reductions that Trip noted above). MLS also shows 16 in Pending status and 1 expired listing for a total of 25 records. No units are shown as Sold.

  7. Posted by Jason

    I looked at this complex a couple months ago and I just fail to see why it costs as much as it does. It’s a pretty unremarkable place in an OK (not amazing) location. Small units, fairly typical finishes. Other than the little orange accents outside there’s not much special about it. Seriously, what gives?

  8. Posted by sf

    Isnt it supposed to be the greenest development in SF? That’s pretty special.

  9. Posted by j

    I like the “green” feature but I wouldn’t overpay this building. The design and color scheme is weird, no matter what John King tells me. The location next to the freeway is not ideal and Berry street is just a plain nightmare to get around. They are building another complex next door, so expect more construction in the next year or so. The smell on Berry has already been discussed, so I wont go into details. The plus is the public boat dock, basketball courts and the dog park and the end of the street.
    For the flipper, good luck. Arterra reminds me on the Palms, which reminded me of the Beacon. Middle of the way condos who had a bunch of “investors” who got sucked in with all the incentives that are now in foreclosure. Check out MLS, there’s at least 15 units for sale at the Palms and at least 2 Short Sales. This is for a building that is not 100% closed. Can you say, Oh Shit for the buyers who bought hoping to sell within the next 2 years?
    In market like these, LOCATION plus the building’s appeals matter most. My friend was thinking about placing an offer at a 1 bedroom at 88 Townsend, and it’s already in contract. 650 square (same or close to the Arterra), asking $660k (almost $100k less) .. wow! I thought it was sit for at least 30 days with no offer, but I was wrong.

  10. Posted by Jason

    I will admit that the LEED-certification (green building) is unique, but I question whether people are willing to overpay $100k+ for a unit to get it, even in progressive San Francisco. I would ESPECIALLY question whether that kind of value holds for resale, when (a few years down the road), LEED-certified complexes are either more common or somehow passe.

  11. Posted by Katy Dinner

    I can only hope that LEED-certified complexes will be more common and we will take it up a couple notches.
    I wonder how the Arterra will weather long term.
    ID 2.1 Durability Planning – Prerequisite
    “As a LEED H prerequisite, the builder is required to identify various project conditions related to weather, site drainage, potential natural disasters and the potential impact to the interior environment based on the home’s design. The homebuilder must then look for workable solutions that will ensure the long term durability of the home and maintenance of a healthy and safe indoor and exterior environment.
    The strength of reinforced concrete wall systems, both formed and cast-in-place on site, precast off-site and trucked to the project, or built in place with modular autoclaved concrete or concrete masonry systems, will provide unparalleled disaster and wind resistance. Solid floor and roof systems deliver quiet safety and security. Unlike conventional systems, they’re inherently fire resistant, and will not promote the growth of mold and mildew, and will not decay.”
    This is for 2008. I wonder what has changed since this building passed it’s certification?
    Real Estate is a long term hard asset.

  12. Posted by bernielomax

    @j: for those of us that work in the south bay I would actually say the location is a positive? cal train + freeway entrance? That would cut my commute from the marina by about 20-25 minutes.
    It also sucks to drive anywhere in the city between 5-7pm on weekdays and just about anytime after 3pm on a Saturday/Sunday – so, calling Berry street a nightmare is pretty illogical IMHO. I actually cut DOWN that street off 280 to then whip my ride up 4th rather than sit on King.
    Anyway, if you think these units are small go check out the 2 BRs at 310 Townsend that are REALLY OVERPRICED. I mean, it’s not even a second f’n bedroom. It’s like a walk in closet. Anyway, I see why people either love or hate this place. I for one, would argue that this location is actually a good one. Safe (relatively). Close to the ball park (plus if you are a Giants fan, minus if you are for the A’s). Close to grocery (walking D to Safeway/Whole Foods). Close to some retail (Borders/that crack coffee place/Amici’s/Tres Agaves/21st Amendment). So I guess I ask…what are you looking for? 700 HOA’s and a wine bar in the complex cause there isn’t a wine bar 8 blocks away (cough, Rincon)?

  13. Posted by walker

    I entered into a contract to purchase a 1 BR here, June of last year for $650K+. My financing fell through and I ended losing my deposit. I was mad at first, but now I’m glad. These units are ridiculously overpriced. You can now get a loft nearby, or a 1 BR at the met (which is a better location IMO) for around 100K less.

  14. Posted by Arterra Buyer

    Well after months of sitting on the sidelines, reading the SocketSite posts/trolls, I bit the bullet about two months ago and bought at the Arterra.
    I’ll let people know how the experience is once I move in but so far I’m pretty happy with my purchase from what I’ve seen.
    I intend on living in my unit for at least five years so I may have a different investment timeline than some of you. I am glad I took my money out of the market and put it in cash ahead of my down payment, which has helped me conserve value in this economic downturn. I’m also one of those guys who drives down 280/CalTrains so there’s another reason…
    My only comment is that there is no perfect place for everyone. Until you have skin in the game, however, it’s easy to throw rocks. Trust me, I know.
    Best of luck to everyone. Oh since it’s SocketSite, I must throw in a troll to the Palms (since I rented there). I am NOT a fan.

  15. Posted by Boo

    Walker,
    Did you wrestle with Arterra over your deposit at all? I imagine you did but in this environment are they really able to keep deposits for folks that no longer qualify?
    Any RE pros out there have any insight on that issue?

  16. Posted by j

    @bernielomax
    sorry i didn’t make it clear. my initial reply about Berry being a nightmare was reference to all the housing on the 1 tiny street with no outdoor parking, crowded block, and with the wind tunnel on Berry. in no way was I referencing about the location and close proximity to AT&T,South Beach, Cal Trains etc, which are very ideal.
    congrats to arterra buyer! glad you found the right place.

  17. Posted by Ellen

    @Boo
    I moved into my 1BR at Arterra a few weeks ago. The developer is very slow to fix punchlist items. The management is fine- the concierge and security are available and the building manager knows information.
    The constructions workers arrive around 7am. They and the Avalon workers are banging by 8am. I think many of the people who face the Avalon have gotten used to it. One neighbor said the Caltrain bell bothered him more than the construction.
    Some parking spaces are tight. I myself haven’t used the roof deck. I only see sales people bringing clients up there for now. Berry St. can be rather windy.
    walker: Sorry you lost your deposit. I was almost in the same situation.
    I’m surprised Leningrad hasn’t commented here yet.

  18. Posted by Ellen

    also @Boo
    The small building next to Arterra is a BMR unit. I heard teachers and police will be given preference, but that’s unconfirmed.
    Info here:
    http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2008/09/16/development_watch_update_mission_walk.php

  19. Posted by Jason

    [Removed by Editor]
    @Others: I don’t mean to trash the Arterra or the location, nor do I mean to trash those of you who’ve chosen to buy there. Some of the properties that I would consider buying (such as a bland older condo in need of some cosmetic reno at Diamond Heights) would be pretty passe to most of the crowd here, I’m sure. (Heck, I’m even considering–gasp–Emeryville!) Truth be told, I can’t even dream of affording the Arterra, and while I found the building/location/units to all be fairly decent, I can’t justify the price when you can do much better someplace else. That said, there are compromises to be made… especially in regards to overall complex quality, and you’re also shelling out for a signature building, which can make a big difference. I can also see how that location could be pretty amazing if you work on the peninsula.

  20. Posted by walker

    Boo,
    I wrestled hard. I consulted with 3 different attorneys (1 was a RE litigator). The purchase contract is written entirely in the builder’s favor. They were well-prepared for this type of situation.
    Again, I no longer qualified for a mortgage loan (which is probably a blessing in disguise). I’d much rather lose a deposit than sink thousands per month in what might be an imminent foreclosure.

  21. Posted by Anna

    “I heard teachers and police will be given preference, but that’s unconfirmed.”
    That’s total sales-speak. I don’t think they can give a class of people preference and most police/firepeople in San Francisco make too much to qualify for BMRs anyway. Sounds good when the sales people say it though.

  22. Posted by mbres

    We moved in about a month ago and face the city. The Caltrain is there of course but I hardly notice it and I am not looking at another apartment when I look out the window which is very pleasing. I echo Ellen’s general sentiment. The people I’ve met have been nice and down to earth and Berry street will be diverse and that is great, who cares if its teachers, police or construction workers whose job it is to push the buttons on the elevators that live next door.
    They just brought in some obnoxious art for the second floor, one piece is some kind of American Flag sitting on top of an oil barrel with a Dollar Sign where the stars are supposed to be. I think it was designed by Captain Obvious. I hope they get better stuff in there.
    On another note, I run a google search from time to time to see the press on the place and I ran across this last month:
    http://dockets.justia.com/docket/court-candce/case_no-3:2008cv04334/case_id-207040/
    maybe one of the many lawyers here can let us know if we should be concerned ?

  23. Posted by Palms Buyer

    @ Arterra Buyer:
    Like you said, there is no perfect place for everyone. Good luck with your purchase.

  24. Posted by Boo

    Thanks to all who responded to my questions. I’m curious because I’m buying at Esprit, which tipster called a pig with lipstick today, and with all the turmoil in the markets (I work for a major lender) and the delay in construction at Esprit I’ve ran many plays through my head wondering what the outcomes could be. I still have a job and I’m planning to live there for a good while so I’m closing this month hopefully. If they can finish the dang thing that is.
    Sorry to hear about the deposit Walker. I was almost ready to wrestle with the developer at Esprit so I was wondering if I would have lost on that one. But it sounds like you’re feeling that not buying was the best thing for you so in the end that’s what you need to focus on.
    Palms Buyer and Arterra Buyer need to meet up at Tres Agaves and have some shots and realize they both have cool condos that they like.
    Now where’s my piggy? Here piggy piggy…

  25. Posted by cachu

    i closed about one month ago at Arterra. i’m also having an issue getting the developer to fix items in my unit, but that’s the only issue i’ve been having.
    i face mission bay and with the triple pane glass, i don’t hear the train or the freeway. the only noise that gets in is the construction going on next door.
    the common areas are still under works. the roof deck still does not have a bbq and some of the tiles need repairing. the lounge and workout rooms are above my expectations. the rest of the building is shaping up.
    building management has been very friendly thus far. i’ve been doing a lot of construction within my unit as well as having a lot of things delivered and the staff has been a delight to work with.
    so thus far, i’m happy with my purchase. the only thing i’m unhappy about is that i don’t have any neighbors yet. i think i’m the only one that lives on my wing of this floor. 🙂

  26. Posted by Arterra Buyer

    Hey guys, I didn’t mean to throw the Palms purchasers under the bus. For all intents and purposes, I got everything I wanted out of the Palms while I was renting. Sure it has its faults but it’s been lived in. I’ll see if I sing a different tune two years after the Arterra’s been lived in.
    Now about those shots at Tres Agaves…

  27. Posted by Kevin

    Walker,
    I got out of my contract with the Hayes, who is the same developer as Arterra. They tried to withhold my deposit, so I hired a real-estate attorney, whom stated that the contract was practically illegal, because it was written so one-sided (ie in favor of the developer). I needed to close by a certain time, or else I would lose a company relocation package, which was significant. They delayed the construction by many months, and went past my closing deadline, so I asked for my deposit back and they still refused. Eventhough, I would not be able to afford the mortgage. I offered them to split the deposit, and they still refused. I hired a RE Attorney and spent a couple thousand dollars for his services, but he got half my deposit back pretty quickly. Therefore, instead of losing $25,000, I lost approx. $16,000, which you can write off your taxes. It sucks to lose that much, but the property’s value has declined by more than that, since I pulled out.
    I am not an attorney and had never hired an attorney before, but I do really recommend the RE Attorney, whom I used. He has a ton of experience in the local market working with RE developers and is quite the pit bull. Supposedly, my developer did not want to go to court against him, because he has such a great reputation. He said that I could have possibly gotten my entire deposit back if he took the developer to court, but then his fees would come close to the amount recovered (ie $25,000 to recover is not enough to go to court for, but you can threaten!). I would suggest him to any of you trying to get out of your deposits, which is a good idea with the recession looming. Prices will come down, and you will have better deals 2 years from now. Just read the news, layoffs everywhere, which decreases the number of buyers. In addition, people “feel” poorer with their current house values down and their 401k and investments signficantly down.
    My attorney was Michael Carroll, whom I hope to never use again. I will probably never again work with a brand-new development, and purchase a contract pre-construction. You just do not know exactly what you are buying, and when you will be buying it. I think Arterra and the Hayes are great locations, but they are both overpriced, which no one can honestly deny. Just wait a year or 2, and you will be able to get a unit at both complexes for much less.

  28. Posted by Leningrad

    Ellen: I’m sorry for not posting sooner, but I only live at Arterra part time and I have a life which has been busy. So here are my comments (based on being one of the first 2 or 3 people to move in; and only being there for 6 weeks):
    every one that we met has been very nice, even though they are not of my demographic persuasion. So has the construction workers and building staff.
    The 655 sq.ft. is well laid out and we found it to have more space than we thought and planned for. As for “dark”- no way, we face the courtyard and the sun is so bright we need to keep the shades closed part way to keep the heat out (yes there is no AC)
    Berry street is a wind tunnel- no surprise.
    For all you people who mentioned the smell on Berry street: “two words to you” I now notice it sometimes, but also am now aware of the same smell in other parts of the city; thanks a lot. Of all the wonderful things San Francisco is noted for, odor isn’t one of them (anyone been to Rotarua?)
    Parking: spaces are tight (drive carefully) mentioning that doesn’t go over too well with all my friends who don’t have ANY parking spot. I don’t know what will happen with on the street parking after all the construction is completed, but there is plenty of parking now when the construction guys (and girls) leave.
    green building or not, the window insulation is great for sound, will have to wait ’till it’s cold to see what heating will cost; but so far PG&E is way less than I expected.
    good point “Arterra Buyer”, I forgot that my deposit (over 20%) was from when the market was high, I hate to think what it would be worth now. Yet it is also true that now one could probably find a nice condo for less than what I paid, so I’m really happy for you. But that doesn’t detract from my happiness living at Arterra- it is everything I expected.
    I feel sorry for those who lost their deposit, best of luck to you.
    My punch list was small, and everything was completed, except for one big item (scheduling problem, I have to be there and not in Leningrad).
    can’t wait to go back next month!

  29. Posted by Sf guy

    Hello All,
    I also bought into Arterra a few months ago and just closed. So far my major issue is the tardiness of the developer in fixing problems. I will keep you posted if the issue does not resolve itself pretty soon.
    Ellen, I think I am your neighbor.

  30. Posted by ester

    I just checked SOMA and South Beach,and the 2/2 price seem to have dropped 15% from when I last looked at about 2 months ago.
    Am I mistaken??

  31. Posted by SocketSite

    The list price for 300 Berry St #518 has been reduced to $528,000.

  32. Posted by Ellen

    Just saw that reduction as well. The developer hasn’t budged on prices before. I wonder if the same incentives are still being offered.
    Sf guy: Please say hello if we run into each other again.
    Leningrad: Come back to SF soon!

  33. Posted by J

    Hey Kevin:
    I read your situation with interest. Which Michael Carroll did you use to help recover your deposit?

  34. Posted by Andrew

    After nearly one year of looking, we finally settled on the Arterra.There is little
    objective reason to compare the Arterra to The Palms or The Beacon(location being the sole reason).It’s like comparing San Francisco to Oakland.Real estate, not unlike, everything else in life involves comprise.First,few buildings in
    S.F. are as accessible to 101/280.Second,the views of the city and bay are spectacular.The neighborhood:clean,safe and well designed.The wind in the afternoon,a good thing! It clears the air and reminds one of Chicago(except in temp).
    The Arterra is ambitious in its goals and thus
    will come under much scrutiny and some criticism.
    Architectually it is a true success;honest to its
    ecological concerns,while remaining aesthetically
    pleasing.The seismic precautions undertaken during construction impressive and above code(this is especially important in code “C” Mission Bay). The staff professional,the HOA’s fair.

  35. Posted by SocketSite

    As a plugged-in but comment shy tipster notes, “Arterra #518 has dropped another $10k in price to $518k.”

  36. Posted by blue

    Same here…I’m very happy with the Arterra as well and my only issue is with the non-responsiveness and delay in getting the walk-through items fixed by the developer.
    Everyone that I met at the Arterra have been very friendly…lots of young urban professionals. My favorite things about the building is the quality finish and understated decor. The gym has a great selection of modern machines and the guest suite is a nice bonus.
    The roof deck has great views but is very windy…probably too windy to use the grill. The windows are almost sound-proof…except for the caltrain bell at midnight. (Anyone know if there’s a way to petition them to not ring the bell at midnight?)
    The weather in mission bay is generally sunny and the area is developing very quickly. I hope they open some nice cafes and shops in the neighborhood soon!

  37. Posted by SocketSite

    The list price for 300 Berry St #518 has been reduced yet another $10,000. Now asking $508,000.

  38. Posted by SocketSite

    The list price for 300 Berry Street #518 has been reduced another $9,000. Now asking $499,000.

  39. Posted by annie

    Kevin,
    I’m in a similar situation in trying to get out of my purchase contract at Arterra, since my loan fell through due to loss of job; can you let me know the full contact info for you RE lawyer?

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