855 Folsom #102

Purchased for $649,000 on 12/30/2005, 855 Folsom #102 is back on the market three years later and asking $649,000. Will it be déjà vu all over again?

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    Check out what’s also going on at the top floor of 855 Folsom. How will this affect financing.
    Click link then click on “Abatement Appeals Board/BIC 11/19/08” for the video.

  2. Posted by Noe 94131

    I wouldn’t buy at 855 Folsom until after you’ve watched “Downfall”.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363163/

  3. Posted by diemos

    It might be fun to swing by the open house just to see how much that place echos.

  4. Posted by seehsee

    I was one of the original purchasers at YBL (unit #306). I lived there a mere six months before reselling my unit and high-tailing i to more appealing environs–that’s how enjoyable I found it. Since leaving, my former unit has been resold a few times. Fairly recently it was listed and sat on the market for quite a while. Not sure if it sold or was withdrawn. YBL is a nice place to visit for a trip to admire the architecture…but not a nice place to live in.

  5. Posted by gowiththeflow

    Anon I dont see your link? Where can we access it?

  6. Posted by anon

    The link is embeded in my “name” under my original post.

  7. Posted by scurvy

    $650 per sq/ft would be more reasonable, making the price around $550k (about what I’d think it’s worth).

  8. Posted by anon

    I toured this building when it was new and thought it was creepy. I never understood why all the Saitowitz groupies were so enamored of this place.

  9. Posted by Jim

    The people who are “enamored with this place” are people who have sophisticated architectural taste and recognize great design when they see it. You just have to look at the the two newer buildings next door to the northeast to compare with the more usual drivel that gets built in this town.

  10. Posted by anon

    The people who are “enamored with this place” are people who have sophisticated architectural taste and recognize great design when they see it.
    Haha! And those who don’t like living in a tomb are ignorant and unsophisticated!
    I’m not saying it’s not great design (I don’t happen to think so, but that’s a question of personal taste). I’m saying they looked like crappy and impractical places to live in.

  11. Posted by LMRiM

    Looks like this owner of 102 has an actual 10% downpayment at risk here ($65K) from the prop shark loan data.
    I’ll never understand why – by the end of 2005, when SF was in such an obvious and unbelievable bubble and no money down loans were available all over the place – that anyone risked even a dollar of his own hard-earned money in these ponzi devices. I guess financing rates had some influence, but talk about being penny-wise and pound-foolish!

  12. Posted by seehsee

    Anon at 11:03. You are on-target with your comment. I, too, appreciated the design of YBL. When I was looking for a home to purchase at that time, YBL offered a level of design and sophistication that no other option presented. However, just as some of the most beautiful fashions are impractical or nearly unwearable, I found YBL nearly unlivable. And, for the record, most of my other homes have been very modern and anything but “cozy”. Somewhere along the line, Saitowitz simply missed the mark with YBL, and I’m honestly not even sure where. (I did sort of feel like I was living in a storage locker.)

  13. Posted by Willow

    The picture of the parachute in the MLS listing is ironic considering the apparent context of this sale.
    LMRiM: Give the seller a break…he/she made a decision in 2005 to buy based on the information available at the time. Looking at a particular set of circumstances and making judgements is always a lot easier after the fact.
    [Editor’s Note: At the time.]

  14. Posted by rubber chicken

    “I toured this building when it was new and thought it was creepy”
    It is creepy: 60-foot deep units with light only at the end; 7′-6″ ceilings in windowless corridors that stretch for 300-feet; a forced-march through the parking garage to access the units on Shipley; the lobby looks like a set from robo-cop.
    This building has a great facade but it is not great architecture. Like most of the dot-bomb “lofts” it is junkfood housing writ large and more permanent.

  15. Posted by Dan

    YBL has always reminded me of Yale’s Art and Architecture building.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/arts/design/28yale.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
    Brutalist raw concrete; admirable but not particularly comfortable.

  16. Posted by Mark D.

    A friend of mine used to work in the library in the Yale Art & Architecture building. The concrete surface of the walls is actually corrugated and chipped to make the texture as rough as possible. She used to say (only half joking) that if anyone inadvertently brushed up against the wall while in the building, it was a near-certain trip to the emergency room to be treated for 3rd degree burns.

  17. Posted by zim

    Wow, such antipathy for this building from former dwellers. I find it quite livable and hardly creepy. But each to his own.
    Bear in mind that these units (but not the ground floor ones) have 240 sq ft of windows. OK, it’s all on the one end, but that’s plenty of light, believe me, esp on the Shipley side, which is S-facing.
    I think the ground floor units are less desirable. Their layout is not great and they feel smaller compared to the higher units, plus, you always gotta have blinds or shades down for privacy.

  18. Posted by Jim

    All great art seems to fall victim to a period of public apathy or antipanthy. The Yale Art and Architecture Building was so abused and misused and remuddled that Paul Rudolph’s genius fell into obscurity. Since the building has been restored, it has led to a reappraisal of not only the fantastic building itself but of Rudolph himself. So too I predict with YBL. In the meantime, gosh, lets put some red flocked wallpaper on those creepy lobby walls.

  19. Posted by diemos

    “So too I predict with YBL.”
    The unit is a concrete box. Let me repeat that, a concrete box.
    It’s like something you would find in the third world or some dystopian future. I can tell you exactly what was said during the design meeting at 3AM just before the plans were due.
    “F!ck it.”
    It would be one thing if this was really a reclaimed industrial space and they had to work with the existing structure but THEY DESIGNED IT THIS WAY FROM THE START.
    Somebody actually sat down and thought that this was A GOOD IDEA.
    And even worse there’s apparently a coterie of architectural fashion victims who are more than willing to gush about the design genius this place is expressing.
    ROTFLMAO

  20. Posted by @

    Why all the hate for YBL? I used to live there for 3 years.
    Yes, it’s not for everyone but it does beat out a lot of the cookie cutter condos though out the South of Market. Compare it with 1 bedrooms at Soma Grand, Arterra, Symphony Towers, Hayes and the Palms.
    A standard 1 bedroom at YBL is 750SF. It has 18 ft windows, big living space, 2 bathrooms and a loft perfect for a huge bed and a small desk or TV. You either face the street or Shipley (No fishbowl living like the Palms). All have outdoor space to bbq and Parking.
    Go visit some of the above mentioned buildings and you’ll find that their 1 bedrooms are inferior to those at YBL.
    I do think the price of $650k high for YBL but I do remember some of these units going for near $700k 2 years ago when YBL was the only kid on the block. The street level units facing Folsom should be priced under $600k for the lack of privacy and noise.
    The only negative thing about the development is the stupid curly stairs, electric cooktop, and lack of closets. It is a beautiful building, and it is what it is. I’d rather have 10 YBL located along Berry than what’s currently up there now.
    You might hate the building, but it did win multiple awards including one of the best buildings in the world!

  21. Posted by snark

    Folsom Prison… should be its theme song.

  22. Posted by 855_renter

    I live here (rent)
    Our unit has a large deck, so perhaps it does not feel like a concrete box as mentioned above.
    best things about living here:
    * location is perfect for city dwellers: between high and low SOMA gives a lot of options
    * quick walk to BART/MUNI/CALTRAIN
    * easy to Metreon/Union Sq/MOMA/Yerba Buena
    * lots of good food choices nearby
    * shipley side is quiet (do not know about Folsom)
    * friendly staff
    The biggest downsides to living here are
    * draconian rules caused by busy bodies on the board who should have picked the burbs.
    * horrible Astound! tv service. We are already scheming a way to hide a dish on the deck so we can go back to TIVO.

  23. Posted by diemos

    “* location is perfect for city dwellers: between high and low SOMA gives a lot of options”
    location
    “* quick walk to BART/MUNI/CALTRAIN”
    location
    “* easy to Metreon/Union Sq/MOMA/Yerba Buena”
    location
    “* lots of good food choices nearby”
    location
    “* shipley side is quiet (do not know about Folsom)”
    adequate soundproofing
    “* friendly staff”
    staff
    I don’t see anything in that list about design. You could replace this building with just about anything and get the same list.

  24. Posted by bgelldawg

    Can someone explain how/why there are no HOA dues?
    This is a condo, right?
    And are there really 201 units in this building as stated on the MLS listing?

  25. Posted by Jeffrey W. Baker

    Hey 855 renter: there’s nothing that anybody can do to prevent you from putting a dish out on your own deck. No HOA and no contract of any kind can keep you from it. It’s the law.
    “The rule (47 C.F.R. Section 1.4000) has been in effect since October 1996, and it prohibits restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. The rule applies to video antennas including direct-to-home satellite dishes that are less than one meter (39.37″) in diameter (or of any size in Alaska), TV antennas, and wireless cable antennas. The rule prohibits most restrictions that: (1) unreasonably delay or prevent installation, maintenance or use; (2) unreasonably increase the cost of installation, maintenance or use; or (3) preclude reception of an acceptable quality signal.
    […]
    The rule applies to individuals who place antennas that meet size limitations on property that they own or rent and that is within their exclusive use or control, including condominium owners and cooperative owners, and tenants who have an area where they have exclusive use, such as a balcony or patio, in which to install the antenna.”
    If your HOA requires you to use a particular TV service, that’s anticompetitive and the FCC will be more than slightly interested in that matter.

  26. Posted by Rebarkah

    I hate this building so much I actually turned down a large BMR unit there for 200k that I “won” when I was looking for a place and thought I couldn’t afford a regular condo. I eventually bought a much smaller 1 bedroom in the Mission for 100k more that I’m really happy with as it’s in a great hood with a lot of character. Shipley BTW is actually a SE facing street, not direct south at all, although the garden units are nicer. And for those of you saying that YBL is great, I know a lot of architects and planners (I’m one myself) who attended the best schools and all find it at best, an interesting architectural exercise, hardly the half-masterpiece some seem to make it out to be.

  27. Posted by John

    I too looked at this building when it was new. Like some other Saitowitz projects, I found the design to look great on paper, but the execution leaving something to be desired. For instance, the concrete on the outside of the building seemed to have a blotchy appearance.
    Other negatives for me were the lack of availability of a gas cook top and the curly stairs. That, and he seems to have something against closets. One would think that a minimalist space needs plenty of storage.
    BTW, to those people who wonder why folks here seem anti-design, I won’t put much weight into the design comments of those on this board. People here are interested in real estate, not architecture.

  28. Posted by anon

    It’s a nice starter unit (if you like new-construction lofts in a great location). Love the lobby design. The developer Tansev is a real D-bag though (I’ve been in many meetings with him) and I wonder if he is still on the HOA board of 855.

  29. Posted by Jim

    “People here are interested in real estate, not architecture.” Phew. Thereby the source of so much junk that gets built. What a pity to be so narrow.

  30. Posted by elrayovac

    I happen to live & work on the Folsom side of 855 on the ground floor. It’s quiet, plenty of light, and solidly constructed, throughout. And unlike so many other associations, the building is extremely well managed and maintained by an efficient, conscientious staff. Before choosing YBL we had looked at 100s of other lofts and found most of them hastily constructed, with poor quality materials, and progressively shabby, threadbare and ill managed as they aged. In contrast, the YBL building has actually gotten better with time, (as noted by Chronicle’s Architecture critic John King in a recent article.) But I find most of these Socketsite comments are predictably provincial in their critiques and missing the point. If you were looking to live in the loft most recognized by a cadre of top international architects, this is the only San Francisco architecture to be included in the revered 2004 Phaidon Atlas of World Architecture ( 43 countries). No other structure in the city has this distinction. Love it or hate it, if you ask any local architect or hip interior designer, they all know the “Saitowitz” YBL building. It’s this kind of pedigree that makes a solid argument for YBL as trophy property. And some people get that. In any real estate market, good or bad, there will always be those who appreciate and place a premium on quality, well designed architecture.

  31. Posted by iheartYBL

    It may feel like a prison or icebox to the unfortunately unimaginative soul, but is a gorgeous light-filled oasis in the middle of Soma for others with a bit more flair for design and knack for decor. I own a third floor Shipley side unit and am in love with my place. Owning a work of art by a renowned architect beats a soulless one-of-many units in a Soma high rise anyday.

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