CFAH

The Belli Building in 2004 (Image Source:
As Melvin Belli’s one time Gold Coast home still seeks a buyer, over the past month the infamous and Landmark Belli Building at 722-728 Montgomery has been doing the same.

The flamboyant and influential Belli was a pivotal figure in today’s litigious society as an innovator in the area of personal injury law. He took on big corporations and controversial clients. Belli’s clients included Errol Flynn, Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Lana Turner, Mae West, Muhammad Ali, and Jack Ruby.

The Gold Rush era building at 722 Montgomery Street is a historical landmark and the offices where the renowned attorney held court. Eventually reduced to a ramshackle, the offices were once a monument to Belli’s $60 million success. Belli died in 1996 at the age of 88, just a few months after filing for bankruptcy.

Particularly galling to San Franciscans is the fact that Mrs. Belli, who announced the ground breaking for a Belli museum on the site in 1997, sat on the San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board while she allowed the Belli building fall into ruin.

An ongoing rebuild of the Belli building is still under wraps, and if finished as planned would yield 11,615 square feet of commercial space, 12,098 square feet of residential space (configured as 12 condos), and a 4,639 square foot basement.
The Belli Building (722-728 Montgomery): 11/15/09 (www.SocketSite.com)
Asking $10,500,000 in its current condition, the Loopnet listing created on October first notes, “This property will not last, Family has asked for it to be sold in as is condition within the next 30 days.” Okay, so maybe 60. And under ten.
UPDATE (11/17): A plugged-in reader adds:

Perhaps the motivation for this statement [(“Family has asked for it to be sold in as is condition within the next 30 days”)] was the [Notice of Default] filed on September 24. Ms. Belli recently (end of August) sold off two units at 481 Clementina. Evidently, she did not raise enough capital to prevent the mechanics lien on November 4 for the Montgomery property. And, of course, the requisite lawsuit by the builders.

That would do it. And buyers, pay attention to those encumbrances.
24 Karat Gold Coast (2950 Broadway) Brochure, Plans, And History [SocketSite]
Landmark 9: The Belli Building (722 Montgomery) [noehill.com]
Farewell Favorites: Belli, Belli & Belli [mistersf.com]
∙ Listing: 722-728 Montgomery Street – $10,500,000 [loopnet.com]
B.A.R. BUILDERS VS. NANCY HO BELLI [sftc.org]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by The Dude

    The building will not sell period. The building is a mess inside. The price is nuts. The configuration as planned is nuts. The fact that tours actually show off this building in its current status with the scaffolding up is nuts. Mrs. Belli is nuts.
    At this point THE ONLY thing going for this building is its historical significance and you can thank Mrs. Belli for pretty much screwing that up with what she has done to the building.

  2. Posted by Rincon Hill Billy

    Let me paraphrase The Dude’s remarks:
    “NUTS!!!” give or take a few !!!

  3. Posted by SFer

    It’s a great area, but I think it’s difficult for it to fetch $370/ft. CB is going to have a fun time trying to sell it, but it would be great if they do.

  4. Posted by jaja

    Wow, just imagine if you are some dotcomer who made it big. Buy this place and turn the bottom to retail and keep the upstairs as one’s sweet pad. The location is awesome. Walkable to work downtown, eat dinner at Chinatown, take a long stroll to ferry bldg. If I have the money, I would take it (with a better price of course or wait for REO!)

  5. Posted by EBGuy

    This property will not last, Family has asked for it to be sold in as is condition within the next 30 days.
    Perhaps the motivation for this statement was the NOD filed on September 24. Ms. Belli recently (end of August) sold off two units at 481 Clementina. Evidently, she did not raise enough capital to prevent the mechanics lien on November 4 for the Montgomery property. And, of course, the requisite lawsuit by the builders.

  6. Posted by jon

    Is there a connection here with Arden Van Upp?

  7. Posted by jessep

    Thank you socketsite for posting on this building.
    It is a smelly eyesore that I walk past daily on my way to work. I live about a block north.
    So this property is zoned as mixed-residential then? that’s good for any buyer that is interested.

  8. Posted by Tall Guy

    I’m going to make it a single family home with a family-run wine bar below.
    Oh wait, its 2009, forgot about reality. No one will loan me the $10,500 just to buy old bricks and land. Damn.

Comments are closed.

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