As we first reported eight months ago:

The owner of the three-bedroom condo #22A at the Four Seasons Residences in San Francisco purchased the adjoining 836 square foot one-bedroom in October of 2008 and would like to merge the two units to create a 3,743 square foot four-bedroom home.

As the proposed merger will result in the loss of a legal dwelling unit, it needs to be approved by Planning. And in order to be approved without a formal hearing, the least expensive of the units to be merged would need to be deemed “demonstrably unaffordable or financially inaccessible housing.”

While the one-bedroom recently appraised for $1,350,000, believe it or not, that’s no longer considered to be demonstrably unaffordable or financially inaccessible housing in San Francisco. And as such, a formal hearing for the proposed merger will be held this week, a merger that the Planning Department recommends be denied.

Set at 80 percent of the combined land and structure values of single-family homes in San Francisco, the threshold for “demonstrably unaffordable and financially inaccessible housing” in the city is now $1,506,000, up from $1,342,000 nine months ago.

While the merger was approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission, it was never executed.  And today, the two adjoining units, 765 Market Street #22A and 765 Market Street #22B, have hit the market listed  for $5,950,000 and $1,550,000 respectfully.  From the listings:

“Rare chance to own 2 separate units in San Francisco’s iconic Four Seasons with city approval to combine them into one Super Unit. Both units 22A and 22B are sold together offering buyer a unique and exclusive opportunity to either combine the units into one or keep them separate. All necessary permits have been garnered for this one of a kind combination and included in the sale. Instead of purchasing a pre-finished unit buyers will be able to materialize theirs (sic) own vision all the way down to the finishes.”

The 2,757 square-foot unit #22A was purchased for $3,420,000 in 2006 and the 836 square-foot unit #22B was purchased for $1,750,000 in 2008.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by seriously

    Does anyone else find all of these levels of “approval” ridiculous? It’s your property. You should be able to combine it if you want. The city should be notified when you take out construction permits so they can keep track of the total number of units, but none of this should be up for discussion.

    • Posted by Orland

      What’s the problem with obtaining approval (likely pro forma in most cases) when the effect is to eliminate a dwelling unit? Private ownership has its limitations when it exercise has public ramifications.

      • Posted by Chris

        A $1.35 million condo has “public ramifications?” For what public? The super-rich elite public?

        This is just bureaucracy run amok. Yes, preserve affordable housing (and $1.35 million is not affordable under any logical standards). But, stop wasting my tax dollars and my government’s time and energy on reviews and hearings for the merger of two fancy high-end units. Let them do as they wish, and focus public resources on matters that truly affect the public at large.

        • Posted by Orland

          So you want an exemption for the rich from applicability of a law with a valid objective?

          • Posted by Chris

            No, I want stabdards that make sense. An “affordable unit” should be designated as something costing under $500K, and even that is absurd. Either the regulations, or the city’s legal interpretations of them need to be changed. No exemptions, just common sense.

            And, if there is a need for more “affordable units,” then leverage the hundreds of millions of dollars the city is sitting on of funds SPECIFICALLY designed to build affordable housing.

  2. Posted by Jimmy The House Flipper

    Its like you need an act of Congress to do the most simple thing WITH YOUR OWN PROPERTY! ie knock out a wall between two units. This is the definition of insanity. As if either unit would ever be offered for rent!

  3. Posted by soccermom

    $2,000 per foot pre-construction cost? Seems steep to me.

    I guess that if you are really going to ask for .01%-er prices (huge unit in blue-chip building) you need to follow the project all the way through and combine the units. Otherwise, lop off $1.5mm for it to sell… Still a nice profit over those 2008 purchase prices.

  4. Posted by Conifer

    There are a few famous elements of the creed of the left in San Francisco.
    (In the Chronicle, Matier & Ross call left “left,” but Heath Knight calls left “progressive.”)
    Among the most discussed of these credal elements are:
    Dwelling Unit Mergers
    Car Hatred
    Formula Retail

    • Posted by Joel

      I would actually argue that there is less of a left/moderate split over the great car-bike debate than there once was. After all, bicyclists are often pro-development and some even -gasp- work in tech!

      • Posted by Brian M

        No! We are all raving Maoist Cultural Revolutionaries!

        Like in this case, I am planning to personally lead an Army of Militant Heroin-Addicted Homeless Warriors to OCCUPY both units! Power to the People! (!! 🙂 )

        • Posted by frog

          Brian, I’d like to join your group. Do you have anywhere safe I can lock up my 10,000 carbon fiber race bike while we protest the rich people.

          (As an aside, how can we have so few safe places to store bikes in this city, if biking is supposed to be the way we get around?)

  5. Posted by MDG399

    Dear Soviet-Frisco –

    it’s theirs – they can do what they want with it – Stop meddling in Property-Owners lives

    thank you


  6. Posted by Live Smart

    It is too bad the owners didn’t just merge them earlier. Not that it is apples to apples comparison but I saw a number of two unit listings advertised as completely gutted, ready for new owner to put in desired finishes.

    I was at a high-end shower fixtures (Grohe, Hansgrohe) and tile store and saw some really beautiful tile (one had 3-D waves, another had an intricate basket-weave design, all from Spain.) Drool.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      What a coincidence. I was just looking at those wave and basket weave tiles a few days ago. Another wild texture could be described as “random cubes”. I liked how they looked. Clean. But then rejected them since those surfaces would accentuate how lazy I am at cleaning.

      • Posted by Is it legal to marry a tile yet?

        Nothing says class faster than soap scum on sexy tile work. Maybe just one focal wall of undulating waves, and two sides of large single piece glass tiles. Need to ask shop owner for advice (and to spend the night @ the shop.)

        Didn’t see “random cubes” – double as rock climbing wall? I saw one w/ sharp angular texture like the white bubble walls @ BART stations. Even with million dollar views, you get used to it after three months. Ideally, someone should create a google glass surround room where you can download highly realistic different tiles to suit your mood.

  7. Posted by Alai

    I wonder: are the commentors equally indignant about the city’s prohibition of illegal in-laws, where the owner has decided to split rather than combine?

  8. Posted by Not Bashing

    @Alai – in a city that needs more housing desperately, yes. We should be looking to add more housing units, not trying to prevent them. Legalizing in laws and making the process for new construction less draconian would go a long way. I do agree that the city is wasting time and resources trying to prevent this kind of merger – affordable housing does not reside at the Four Seasons.

  9. Posted by BTinSF

    It seems to me the dwelling unit was eliminated by the purchase by a single person. If he simply chooses to leave it empty and unmerged, it’s still unavailable. So why don’t we have a law that nobody can own more than one home?

    In case it isn’t obvious, I’m being facetious.

  10. Posted by SocketSite

    UPDATE: The list price for the 2,757 square-foot unit #22A has been reduced to $4.85 million, $1.1 million under its original ask.

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