625 Duncan

When the young tech couple “who like to entertain” purchased the 6,000-square-foot home at 625 Duncan Street for $7 million earlier this year, it became the most expensive home to have ever traded hands in Noe Valley.  And that was just their starting point.

Hidden behind an LLC, the couple has also quietly acquired the adjacent undeveloped parcel to the west (645 Duncan), a parcel upon which a 5,000-square-foot home was approved to rise and sparked a rather ironic fight to preserve “the character and charm” of Noe Valley.

Instead of building a four-story home on the lot, a development which would block the views from their home at 625 Duncan, the couple is working on plans to build a modern underground bunker on the parcel, an effective 800-square-foot addition to their home next door.  The parcel will then be landscaped as a garden and playground for 625 Duncan, “with switchback paths and patios that terminate at the top of the property at a huge view deck…and lots of lounge chairs at every level,” according to a plugged-in source.

And as part of the project, the west side of the existing home at 625 Duncan will be redesigned, opening it up to the landscaped lot to create a massive Noe Valley estate, the total cost for which should easily total eight figures.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Xman

    Their own little golden gate park, minus the hyperdermic needles. Hey, if I had the money, I’d do it too!

  2. Posted by Dan

    There is one 8 figure Dolores Heights house already– the Zuckerberg-Chan estate, still a work in progress.

  3. Posted by Dave

    Can we say bubble. Absurd potential price.

    If you want a deal on inner Bay Area RE check out the hills above Richmond. If the home has a Richmond Zip its price is deflated. One can get very nice homes w/Bay views for 600K or less even. As the East Bay experiences a larger price increase percentage-wise over next decade this is the place to buy.

  4. Posted by frog

    I’d venture that for most people buying 10 million in real estate the price, within reason, doesn’t matter. If you have 50 million and your house is less than 20% of your assets, you live where you want to live and any investment upside is a bonus, but is not expected. In other words, there’s absolutely no comparison between this house and a house anywhere else because whomever bought it doesn’t want to live anywhere else.

    • Posted by Pioneer

      That’s how most of us feel who live up on this hill. We can’t live anywhere else because we need good freeway access to the valley and love city life. I hope buying and developing the property next door does not become a pattern with the young tech crowd. We need more density in Noe, not less.

      • Posted by frog

        If the price is too high, you will live elsewhere. I have friends who bought in Bayview because it’s at the very start of gentrification and has good freeway access to the South Bay. I’m sure they’d love a place in Noe, but the price was too much and Bayview seems like a better investment.

        My post was more aimed at Dave who was saying that there are good deals in Richmond but that only makes sense if you need your house to be an investment.

        Now back to your comment, Pioneer, are we really concerned that the ultra rich are now gentrifying the merely really rich out of Noe? Because that’s getting funny.

        • Posted by Futurist

          Most of us in Noe are not “really rich”, just very happy. We like our neighborhood just fine.

          And we don’t want more density. We like it the way it is. Come live in our ‘hood. You’ll see how great it is.

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            You are rich Futurist. Don’t you think so? You have told us before that you have a paid off 2700 square foot home in Noe. It must be worth at least $2.5M. Doesn’t that qualify as “rich” in your book?

          • Posted by BetterSF

            I do not understand why it matters whether the neighborhood is rich or not. We should be open minded and we should welcome the changes in the neighborhood. As long as the development does not bring crime and other horrible things, just relax and give some freedom to property owners.

          • Posted by Frog

            I love Noe. And if you own your home, richer people moving in next door, which has been happening for over a decade, is a great thing. With prop 13, your costs don’t go up but your retirement prospects keep getting better, even if on a day to day basis you don’t feel richer.

            I just checked, the density comment was aimed at pioneer, not me. There’s lots of development left to do in the southern part of the city. Densifying Noe would make no sense. Building an Asian style apartment block at Candlestick with decent transit options up and down the bay would make much more sense for commuters.

          • Posted by NoeValleyJim

            @Frog I think Noe has an already built transit infrastructure and a good walkable neighborhood within a very short Muni or bike ride of the Downtown CBD, so I personally would like to see densification in Noe. I just spent a week in New York City and I think most of the residential areas are both denser to and more livable than almost anyplace in San Francisco.

            Let’s start by upzoning the Church Street corridor to 6 stories, residential and mixed-use retail only.

          • Posted by SFrentier

            Dave/frog- i’d venture to say that a bayview property will yield a better return than a Richmond heights one over the next 10 years. The gravitas is in the still in the city. I also think bayview will outperform noe percent wise, as noe is already gentrified.

          • Posted by Futurist

            @ NVJ: I think you just like to stir up trouble oftentimes with your comments. Just for “fun”.

            So you want more density in Noe? How would you advocate going to 6 stories on Church St? I suppose you will want to tear down all the properties just to increase the height? Oh, wait. How about all of the empty lots on Church St. which don’t exist? Exactly how would you do this?

            And no, I don’t support more density in Noe, or many of our other residential neighborhoods. We have so much potential along the 3rd St. corridor and heading south for growth for the next 30 or more years. “hoods like Noe are, in fact, livable and enjoyable BECAUSE we are not overly dense. It has worked that way for 120 years, and it will work fine in the future.

  5. Posted by Anon94123

    @Pioneer, when you talk about single family homes with yards and garages and “good freeway access” I would say that when say you like Noe because you “love city life”, what you really like about Noe is that you can have a suburban life near some city neighborhoods. Also, I still believe when we get at this price level, it is instructive to pick THREE homes in other locations for the price of this one home….my picks 1. A home on the golf course at Hualalai, a place in Tahoe, and a place in my hood, the Marina which does not have good freeway access but does have a greater density of apartments and homes, and is walkable and bike close to every part of town that holds my interest.

    • Posted by frog

      3 houses sounds complicated. But a half million or so does buy a lot of stays at some very nice hotels anywhere in the world. Sure that’s not an investment, but at the same time, your water pipe will never burst while you are away from the house for 3 months.

    • Posted by pioneer

      You would be wrong. I’m not a fan of single-family suburban homes, garages, cars, or yards and don’t think I mentioned any of those. I like density and want more. Yes, I like freeway access but I also love walking and cycling to Dolores, Castro and Mission-the parts of town that I’ve called home since 1986.

    • Posted by Futurist

      When people attempt to call Noe Valley “suburban life”, I simply have to laugh at the absurdity. They don’t really have a clue as to what suburban means. The houses in Noe are zero lot line homes, touching wall to wall, small yards, trees, sidewalks and public transit. Walking is easy to shopping and restaurants, to Muni stops and to Bart.

      Is calling Noe just a slightly derisive way of putting it down? Is it jealousy? or what?

      Noe is an urban neighborhood, like many others, part of our great city.

  6. Posted by eddy

    Seems like a missed opportunity for a residential helicopter pad.

    • Posted by BobN

      This comment interface needs a “like” feature.

  7. Posted by no_ vally

    I’m waiting for some anti-development’er to point out that merging two properties like this is tantamount to merging 2 unit apartments into a single unit…and completely verbotten in SF since it reduces potential housing stock. Just imagine if every ultra rich neighbor bought out his/her less rich neighbor and merged 2 houses/lots into one. You’d have…Atherton?

    • Posted by BetterSF

      Every argument is possible in SF. You turn left, someone will complain; you turn right, someone still complains; you go straight, someone will complain; you go backwards, someone will still complain. Everyone likes no change, everyone is happy with the status quo. Everyone is afraid of changes caused by development.

      Seems liberal like social changes but not physical changes.

      • Posted by BetterSF

        actually I think liberal does not like social change. Anti-gentrification means keeping everything the same forever, no change is allowed.

  8. Posted by curious

    So who are the owners?

    • Posted by pioneer

      Valleywag.gawker has some theories of who they might be.

  9. Posted by Blair Terrace

    Sounds awesome. I want to do the same thing to my townhouse on Potrero Hill. Call me and let’s brainstorm ideas!

  10. Posted by Futurist

    The owners of this property can do whatever they want with that craggy, steep, rough piece of land: within all legal planning and zoning codes.

    And I support their efforts.

  11. Posted by Drewski

    I’m sure that the previous owners and their families are quite happy. And the new ones are too. What more could you ask for?

    • Posted by Brian M

      We don’t do “happy” in the American Capital of Smug. 🙂

      • Posted by Drewski

        Who would have thought? Only a native.

  12. Posted by Pioneer

    I am a nearby neighbor and I think it’s a nice plan that will beautify that slope. I’ve seen the Sketch-Ups of the project and I like the direction the project is taking. What I like even better is they aren’t going for another curb-cut and more indoor parking.

  13. Posted by Elisa F.

    My family bought a house and lived in this neighborhood for 40 years. My mother cleaned houses, my father worked as a janitor. Now we rent our house to people in the tech community, and I’m sending my children to wonderful colleges. So anyone saying they don’t want more tech in the neighborhood, get over yourselves, those of us lucky enough to have built Noe Valley deserve our returns. I’m tired of reading about people who expect free housing and complain about rent. My parents complained about back breaking work. They matter to me a lot more than you do.

    • Posted by Futurist

      Yes. Excellent comments. Noe is a great neighborhood. Tech people are welcome to buy or rent here.

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