CFAH

1750 Taylor

Listed together for $5.5 million in October of 2013, the Royal Towers (1750 Taylor Street) one-bedroom unit #804 and adjacent, but not connected, two-bedroom unit #805 sold for a combined $4.6 million in January of 2014. From the listing at the time: “Combine these 2 apartments and have amazing space and incredible, dramatic views!”

Last year, an application for a Dwelling Unit Merger to combine the two units was filed with the City. And if San Francisco’s Planning Commission upholds its preliminary motion of intent, next week the merger will officially be denied.

While San Francisco’s Planning Code generally disallows the merger of a unit which isn’t deemed to be demonstrably unaffordable, the threshold for which is currently $1.63 million in San Francisco, units 804 and 805 were recently appraised for $1.695 million and $3.5 million respectively.

From the City’s draft motion to deny:

“Although the smaller unit exceeds the Numerical Criteria, the merging of two unaffordable units into one unit that would approach or exceed $5,000,000 and be unaffordable to a larger percentage of the population than the two individual units considered separately would not be in the best interest of the community.”

In addition, citing Mayor Lee’s 2013 Executive Directive that all housing, including owner occupied, should be preserved when possible: “While the applicant’s family would occupy the merged unit, there is no compelling reason as to why the family could not continue to occupy both units as currently configured,” and once the units are merged, “there is little chance that the City would recoup the loss of the unit.”

While the merger of demonstrably unaffordable units had previously not required a hearing or special approval in San Francisco, an interim zoning control was adopted last year but is set to expire at the end of 2016. That being said, legislation to permanently do away with the ability to ever “price out” of a hearing is in the works, as we first reported.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by MKP

    shameful. sure, totally cool to keep living in two separate units and run across the hall to go to the kitchen.

  2. Posted by donjuan

    Washer/dryer in the parking lot? Sign me up!

  3. Posted by ess

    I love the idea of a massive unit at one of the coolest buildings, but I like the denial reason too.

  4. Posted by annoying-guy

    “Planning Code generally disallows the merger of a unit which isn’t deemed to be demonstrably unaffordable”

    there are 3 negatives in that sentence.. it makes my brain hurt.

    • Posted by DrPants

      Uggh same. I had to read this a few times. I guess I’m on the slow end today.

  5. Posted by SFrentier

    Will probably do what everyone else in this situation does. Bust out a common wall, and give a big FU to the city anyways. Won’t get the value nor ideal configuration of a larger unit, but at lease can use both spaces w/o walking outside.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Professionally run buildings typically won’t allow renovations without an approved building permit from the city.

      • Posted by SFrentier

        You don’t think they can get away with an “inside job”? At least creating an opening between the 2 units w/o getting anyone on the outside involved?

        • Posted by SocketSite

          It’s unlikely. There’s too much shared liability should something go wrong.

          • Posted by DrPants

            I feel like they can definitely bust down a hole in the wall. They will certainly not get away without repercussions. There is bound to be tons of HOA violations and at the least get them kicked out. Then the city will have there shake at it.

            Kinda reminds me of the guy that dug his own driveway.

          • Posted by Jake

            They might get a work crew in there without prior HOA/mgmt approval, but they would be unlikely to get them in the next day. This building has a 24-hour doorman and on-site management. Serve them right to bust a hole in the wall and then find they were blocked from debris removal. Smokey, this is not the ‘Nam of SF’s hoi polloi districts. This is Russian Hill. There are rulers.

          • Posted by milkshake of despair

            They can carry out the construction debris one pocket at a time for the next 10 years.

      • Posted by Bud Mor

        I guess you never saw the “Great Escape”.

  6. Posted by Sara Short

    Ayn Rand was right….

    • Posted by Stop Driving

      … and I thought SS moderators were deleting irrelevant topics.

  7. Posted by Aaron Goodman

    Some trusses and a retrofit are in order, watch the sway on this one post EQ, not to mention the dip in values when its all red-tagged…

  8. Posted by BigV

    rather than disallow mergers, why dont we encourage the creation of more new units? This is the wrong battle to be fighting.

    • Posted by woolie

      You’d have $2m condo owners complaining that they’re building $3m condos to block their view.

    • Posted by DM

      Amen. Using “affordability” in this case is absurd.

  9. Posted by dB

    Aaron, it’s on a very solid rock, and wasn’t red-tagged in ’89. What makes the retrofit needs different today?

  10. Posted by Lori

    No way could you demolish walls without anyone knowing. Cement buildings echo like you wouldn’t believe when that kind of work is being done. Speaking from experience. Plus, in high end buildings like that one, you can bet that neighbors will complain.

  11. Posted by Chris

    The Planning Commission approved the unit merger with conditions at its June 2, 2016 meeting.

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