2550 Webster (www.SocketSite.com)

Two months ago we profiled the Bourn Mansion at 2550 Webster, an unofficial San Francisco landmark with a rich history and a rather eccentric owner. And as a plugged-in reader reports today, “our fabled friend is on the foreclosure block. Set for public sale on 7/13 at 2:00 PM. Unpaid loan balance of $1.23m.”

Bourn To Run Party: A San Francisco Mansion Of Ex-Glory And Dreams [SocketSite]

50 thoughts on “The Bourn Foreclosure (2550 Webster)”
  1. I’d think that the biggest unknown for bidders on this property would be the amount of deferred maintenance that has accumulated. From what can be inferred from comments here on SocketSite, there’s at least 100K investment needed to make this place livable. But there might also be a million in work required.
    You’d need to have at least a cursory inspection to narrow that uncertainty down, otherwise you’re bidding blind. How does it work in auctions like this ? Are bidders given a chance to tour the property prior to auction ? I’d want to spend at least a half day inspecting from roof to foundation, but even a 30 minute walk through could reveal a lot of obvious stuff.

  2. I lived next door to this place, and completely amateurish guess but think the refurb / maintenance more likely to be in the 7 figures than 6.
    Can’t imagine the headache that combination of earthquake compliance + historical commissions + neighbors / permitting + 20+ years of crazy cat lady inside equals.

  3. Cool!
    This place would be a money pit like no other… To actually return this house to its original glory by restoring (or likely recreating) original interior details PLUS totally redoing the foundation (which you know hasn’t been touched since it was built) would be hugely expensive – probably in the 5 to 10 range.

  4. This is a magnificant home, but the work needed will be well into the millions. $100K will be needed just for the permits and the exterminator. The earthquake work needed will be outrageously expensive. Everytime our dog walks past the alley to the left of the house – and at the front door – her hair goes up and she is firmly intent on intense smelling and not wanting to leave. I can only imagine what is dead or dying … a bargain of a price at $1.2M but its a multiple of that all in. Not to mention the headache. It would, however, be a welcome change to the neighborhood to have it lovingly restored.

  5. Gotta be real hard to figure if this would ever pencil out. I would think it will fall into the hands of another eccentric/dreamer a la that church across the street from Dolores Park profiled here awhile back
    even if you ascertained a reliable estimate of the refurb/remodel costs, it would be a pretty broad guestimate that could change drastically half-way through the job
    and what value does one place on the “historic-ness” of this place?
    and what would the market be like 5-10 years from now?
    and how many comps can you find for a place like this?
    and how many buyers in that pool?
    . . . just a lot of variables and x-factors in place here

  6. Probably 7 figures of work that needs to be done, but also probably one of the only real “one of a kind” homes in all of SF.
    This house has been through ’06 AND 89 and is still standing.

  7. My prediction:
    Sells for around $4M
    Someone puts in 3 years of work and about $6M to get it in shape.
    But $10M for a historical mansion at that location is good. Compares favorably to the house across the street at $6.75M.

  8. In a less active seismic zone you could just repair the roof and windows, repoint the brick, update the plumbing and electrical, clean up the interior but leave it in a state of decayed grandeur and have a way cool place to live. Much nicer (and much less expensive) than “recreating” it, in my estimation.
    But here in San Francisco, until the seismic retrofit is done it’s just a pile of bricks. Look at those chimneys! The seismic retrofit will gut the interior and there you’ll be at square one. The cost will approximate building it anew. Multiple millions.
    It’s a beautiful structure. I hope someone will take it on.

  9. Will be purchased by dumb money at the auction.
    Will be purchased by smart money, gutted and with a new foundation, in 3 years at the second foreclosure auction.

  10. Could this place really be any more difficult than the place on Baker Street that was bought in gutted fashion just a few years ago. Perhaps the Callans have found their their next showcase home for 2011.
    I think the bigger issue here is probably all of the liens and other legal issues associated with it; although I suppose those get cleared in a foreclosure.
    I’m betting the nearby schools will buy it; or someone will get a deal at auction. It’s tempting.

  11. unreinforced masonry is the name of the game!
    millions and millions will be required to engineer and reinforce this place (walls, foundation). the whole place will probably have to be gutted, so the cat pee and other grossness will hardly even factor in the effort.
    what’s going to happen to the current resident? is she still alive?

  12. Seriously, a good demo crew could strip it to the studs for 150k in a week. No permits required. As for current residents, buh-bye.

  13. I’d love to take a structural engineer on a walk through. It’d make their head spin. I know it’s Historical with a capital H, but I’m wondering if the city would let the developer tear it down, but rebuild it exactly as it was, thus maintaining the historical shell. It seems like that would be the most cost effective way of rehabbing the place.

  14. Seems like this will be another example of: buy it on the cheap, let it rot even more (perhaps even helping out that process), get permits to demo it, build a new place, profit.
    Remember the “historical cottage” in North Beach?

  15. I bet a lot of incredible interior woodwork and flooring will show up in the re-store once this place gets demo’d … all at bargain prices with just a hint of “eau de chat.”

  16. This house will not be destroyed. It will be watched constantly by the neighbors and other preservationists. This is one of the most important residences in San Francisco, if not all of urban California, and it will be preserved. This is no cottage in North Beach.
    It is magnificent, as anyone who has ever been inside will remember. It is roughly equivalent in our history to Apsley House in London (well, maybe not quite that important.)
    Still I would advise modernizers interested in gray hardwood floors to keep away.
    Whatever the opinions of socketsiters about Arden Van Upp, the house has its own indisputable merits.

  17. It’s not a Landmark; and even if it was a landmark there is nothing anyone can do to prevent the interior of this structure from being totally gutted and rebuilt to modern standards; including a seismic retrofit, which would be much easier to perform on a gutted property. I saw wrap it in white plastic and let the work commence. I really don’t think there is an army of investors looking to sink a lot of funds into a goodwill project to restore this place to its grand status. Sadly, it’s likely to be a quick buck scheme.

  18. I love this house. If I had the capital I’d grab it in a second. If anyone buys it, let me know, I’d love a tour and I’ll even help with demo.

  19. What is with all the references to seismic refits. If the place has been occupied why would you have to bother. I thought that was for vacant properties. Furthermore, how many quakes have we had in the last 90 years. The place is still standing.
    If it ain´´t broke, don´t fix it.
    This will be an expensive fix. There will be no cheap route.

  20. I walked by with my dog, it looks like there’s been some sort of reinforcing already done to hold up the chimneys and ornamental pieces on the roof. The roof, of course, is in tough shape.

  21. Anyone have the scoop on how it evolved from the purchase price of $185K to loan amount of $1.23MM owed? Do these include liens, city fines, etc.?

  22. She could’ve refi’d about $10M out of this place during the bubble. That’s a much easier way to make money than ripping off prospective tenants’ $2500 deposits and rifling through the neighbors’ trash.
    Not even sure why she wouldn’t refi now — surely the place is worth more than $1.23M. Perhaps her credit is bad.

  23. what is there about this run down mansion that
    the “eccentric” owner gets so much mention?

  24. The owner is among the great eccentrics in San Francisco.
    Moreover, this house is iconic in the architectural fabric of this city: any owner who wants publicity can have it, especially if it is used for parties, and is the center of what used to be called “party fax,” a service listing all the best charity and public social parties in the city.

  25. Very doubtful that it will go for auction at the steps 7/13. I’ll give 2 reasons: 1) the 2nd deed of trust also filed a notice of default and likely would cure the 1st before getting wiped out, and 2) it appears as pending in the MLS.
    [Editor’s Note: While the listing for 2525 Webster is pending, 2550 is not only not pending but not listed as well.]

  26. “What is with all the references to seismic refits.”
    …Gut 2/3rds of the house and my understanding is code dictates current seismic compliance. Besides, would you really want to take a chance that after doing all the work your brick foundations and chimneys will stand up to the next big one? Just because it made it through the last ones means little when a quake will almost certainly have a different affect on The City next time around.
    Here’s hoping the remodel is more than skin deep and the new owner takes on 21st century energy/water efficiency behind the fancy fixtures.

  27. @whatever, is this on the mls? can you post the mls# as I’m not seeing it. Also, I think foreclosure is final so I wouldn’t be surprised if those loan/trust issues haven’t been resolved.
    [Editor’s Note: See note above.]

  28. Oooops, SS is right, wrong address. That’s what happens posting late at night. But I still don’t think it’ll go to sale the 13th.

  29. @whatever… Looks like 2550 is not going to go to auction on Monday. Likely to be postponed due to a bankruptcy, per the trustee. But they will announce a new date for auction on Monday.

  30. With Arden’s frequent manipulation of the loopholes of the legal system, I am sure she is savvy enough to stave off the foreclosure process for a long long time.

  31. I was doing a search to see if she was still alive… scary lady eccentric is not enough to describe her.,…

  32. Can people please post links on here to the MLS? Also to where the information on the property’s auction is? Any links to current information instead of just talking about them please.

  33. Sale is postponed to 8/10/2009.
    Last night around 10:00 PM there were no fewer than 6 Police Officers outside of the home shining lights into 2550 with some apparent disturbance.
    Me thinks that Ms. Arden is not going to go quietly.

  34. miss van upp has not lived there for at least five years, she walks up the street gets her at the gate and leaves she dose not go inside. windows on the top floor are broken water pours in when it rains the back of the house is caved in from neglect it sad to see such a nice home abbandon I hope a nice family moves in and loves it

  35. What is going on these days with this sale? The house is finally being emptied and mountains of trash removed. Being made ready for a sale? Or are these the first stages of a new owner’s renovation?

  36. At 2.9 someone is going to have a very nice house cheap, even if it takes another million to restore it.
    Too bad for Arden.
    But the Bourn Mansion will live on.

  37. Still available for 2.9. Apparently, enough cheerleading (and continuous underestimating of costs) by agents like Conifer failed to overcome the skepticism of people with a more realistic estimate like auden.

  38. Arden also never seems to go out without a lawyer these days (not sure how she’s paying them). I’m sure she’s threatening to sue any interested party.

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