639 Grand View Avenue

Purchased for $1.3 million in September 2013, plans for a major renovation and expansion of the Noe Valley home at 639 Grand View Avenue were drawn, permits were requested, and the property was then flipped to “SS Dreambuilders LLC,” a name should sound familiar to those who are plugged-in, for $2 million in June of 2014.

While the home was subsequently gutted and the rear expansion framed, the project, which would appear to have been financed with over $3 million in purchase and construction loans, has since been abandoned.

And this afternoon, 639 Grand View Avenue is slated to hit the courthouse steps with Dreambuilders having been in default since April.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Incline JJ

    Purchased 07/15/2014 for $2,000,000. The foreclosing Deed of Trust is a 2nd!

    • Posted by John Smith

      Just curious where the foreclosure data is coming from? I don’t see this property listed on RealtyTrac’s foreclosure feed?

  2. Posted by mukdutch

    SF is such a disgusting city visually in most non niche neighborhoods. Look at this trash next to more trash. $2M with another $M in construction loans…!!? Noe is definitely niche and this isn’t representative of the overall feel and aesthetic but damn.

    • Posted by North-Sidey

      @mukdutch – Meh, that’s not really true. I mean this is a particularly ugly block of Grand View, but that backside of those houses have views that would put them in the 99th percentile in terms of views for American homes. (If there was such a metric, lol). But anyway, to your point… no. Just not true. A LOT of America is seriously ugly.

      • Posted by checker

        No, mukdutch is right. Most of SF (80%+) is just disastrously ugly.

      • Posted by Some Guy

        Mukdutch is correct, >80% of SF neighborhoods are archictectural garbage.

        • Posted by Dave

          I agree about SF neighborhoods but would use the term “unattractive” as opposed to ugly.

          People who have lived here a long time or were brought up here as I was often get de-sensitized to the visual clutter. Its true though that many other cities have more attractive neighborhoods generally. I first really realized that after stints in Portland and Seattle.

          • Posted by Ohlone Californio

            Seattle has some nice neighborhoods and some hideous houses, and some hideous architecture. Just like here. People who try to make a blanket statement that Seattle has nicer looking buildings are full of it, IMO.

          • Posted by cleverpunhere

            Yeah, I like the way they decorate their yards with old cars in the Northwest, really classes up the place.

        • Posted by cfb

          no, actually mukdutch is wrong,

          • Posted by Futurist

            Yes, he is wrong. what an awful thing to say SF is a “disgusting city visually”.

        • Posted by Sierrajeff

          Depends on the metric and perspective, I guess. In the Inner Richmond, for instance, there are streets that seem really ugly, and others that are really pleasant. But on closer examination, the differences tend not to be the architecture, but the streetscape – streets that have retained yardlets and trees, and that have buried wires, are pretty and pleasant; in contrast, the same vista of house facades but with solid pavement and wires everywhere seems like a dystopian nightmare.

          Just last night I was walking on Cole from 17th – there is *in theory* an amazing view of St. Ignatius, as you look [north] … in any other city, that view of St. Ignatius would be sought after, and would be a lauded attribute of Cole Valley … but here, even Cole itself is festooned with wooden poles and wires everywhere, so there was no point at which there was an actual clear, open view of St. Ignatius. It’s bizarre to me how San Franciscans are so blinded to all the wires and poles and other visual clutter. This could be *such* an amazing looking city – not by changing the existing architecture, but merely by cleaning up all the visual clutter and detritus that detracts from the city’s natural beauty.

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            Yeah, we all pay an “undergrounding” surcharge to PG&E to bury the lines in SF, but PG&E – paying itself very handsomely – burned through that about 10X faster than was estimated. So no more undergrounding. My wife worked on this while at the CPUC. A complete joke. My street was one of the first to be undergrounded. Lucky me. It does make a tremendous difference.

          • Posted by Notcom

            “Yardlet”, I think, hints at the real problem: SF is built to a uniquely (for the West Coast) high density; it’s hard to get in much architectural expression when you’re restricted to a 25′ wide facade that’s only visible when you’re in front of it. And any city dominated by row houses – Brooklyn. Philly, Baltimore – is going to have much the same issues…higher quality materials and more design consistency, perhaps, but still a lot to complain about.

          • Posted by Dave

            You make good points. I disagree however that architecture is not a part of the problem. 70% of SF is row houses on mostly grid streets. Sunset, Ingleside, Mission, Bayview, parts of the Richmond. The ticky tacky architecture is unappealing. Adding to the clutter you mention are the parked solid streets. Most SF homes have parking for a single car in their garages. Many SF homeowners have 2 and 3 cars. Not to mention many don’t park any of their cars in the garage. It can become an eyesore.

            Portland which I know well has “middle class” hoods where the norm is often like Westwood Park or Forest Hill. Steps above the Sunset. Raleigh Hills, Maplewood, Cedar Hills, Pill Hill, Lake Oswego to name some.

            In the older east side neighborhoods the homes are small and so are the lots but this area is not an endless grid of row homes. Its being fixed up now and some of these older homes transformed. It is easier to do that when the home is not attached. How does one fix up a Sunset home? Add a floor? It just adds to the crammed feel. Look at 19th Ave. – no amount of money could transform that mess.

          • Posted by cleverpunhere

            The Portland obsession gets increasingly bizarre. Most of the “hoods” Dave lists are not even within Portland City limits, and could not be more different than San Francisco. Raleigh Hills, for example, is not in Portland, is less than 1/4th as dense as San Francisco, and has a “downtown” that is a mess of low rise strip malls and fast food. So yeah, it is different, so different that the comparison loses all meaning. Lake Oswego is 10 miles from Portland, like comparing San Francisco to Kentfield.

            I don’t mean to be harsh about this, but the number of misinformed comparisons just blows my mind. I don’t get it.

          • Posted by Jake

            Dave has a rare and prolific gift for creating reality distortion fields (RDF), somewhat akin to the late Steve Jobs and mescaline, though unlike them Dave’s RDFs are primarily self-interacting fields.

          • Posted by Sierrajeff

            @JR – I’m incensed about the PG&E undergrounding charges (and S.F. rolling over about them) – PG&E is charging several multiples (in cost-per-mile) versus utilities undergrounding in San Diego and other California cities – even though for half the city, the ground consists of sand (*very* easy to dig through), not rock.

            @Notcom – I disagree wholeheartedly – there are *plenty* of rowhouse neighborhoods where beautiful yardlets make for a beautiful neighborhood … Back Bay in Boston is a famous example, but you need go no further than right here in the Inner Richmond. Walk up 3rd or 23rdf from Fulton – lots of greenery; each small yard is a piece of a larger whole, creating a welcoming greenspace; compare that with the same blocks on 4th or 24th, a concrete nightmare. Or go north on Funston from Fulton; the first 3 blocks as you head north have beautiful, vibrant plantings. Then as you cross Anza, and particularly north of Geary, you have the same housing stock, but concrete “yards”, and the difference is striking.

          • Posted by curmudgeon

            a lot of ugliness can be disguised by trees and greenery. The fact that SF is largely attached housing, and is often built to the sidewalk (or paved), plus the fact that our urban forest is both naturally (climate) and institutionally impoverished, means that the ugliness stands out. And yes, that includes all the overhead wires. When people mention how beautiful cities are in the northwest, I think it’s less a case of the quality of the built environment, and more the fact that those cities are so god damned GREEN.

            [Editor’s Note: The Plan To Make San Francisco More Green]

          • Posted by Dave

            Replacing existing trees that fall or are diseased is a key point of this plan. Unfortunately, at least on Sloat and around Lake Merced and up through Portola, trees that have fell during last winter’s storms or since have not been replaced. Three trees were planted in the median in front of Mollie Stones a few years back. Two are gone. One is bent and ready to fall over. There seems to be no remediation by the City and all of these trees were planted by the City.

    • Posted by Serge

      The problem is that apparently we aren’t learning from our past mistakes (see: mostly everything from the 1950s until now). We surely didn’t learn in the 80s. Some architects try, but it seems that those ideas get whittled down.

  3. Posted by ohmy

    This fish is not for eating, its for trading.

  4. Posted by Futurist

    No, it’s not ugly. No a lot of America is not ugly.

    This project has great potential and when completed will probably be in the $3m+ range.

  5. Posted by Incline JJ

    Status: Sold back to beneficiary for: $521,443.88
    APN: 39-6501-031-01
    TS Number: 75915
    Sale Date: 08/16/2016
    Sale Time: 2:00 PM
    Sale County: SAN FRANCISCO
    Property Address: 639 Grand View Avenue
    Sale Location: At the Van Ness Avenue entrance to the City Hall at 400 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA.

    • Posted by soccermom

      I think the first loan is for $2.5+mm, right? Data records are muddled

      So the foreclosing lender took this back for $521K, implying a value of over $3mm for the gutted, framed “situation.” I wonder if there’s a due-on-sale clause. I think the foreclosing lender has only begun to lose money on this….

  6. Posted by Incline JJ

    Mortgage Recording Date: 07/15/2014
    Mortgage Transfer Type: Resale
    Mortgage Document #: 00000J907327
    Lender: La Costa Loans Hldgs Llc
    Document Type: Trust Deed/Mortgage
    Loan Amount: $2,550,000
    Borrower 1: Ss Dreambuilders Llc

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      These guys have done a pretty good job of convincing “private lenders” to hand them wads of cash. I imagine these lenders’ investors are not so enthralled. Just a hunch that lawyers will be involved.

      • Posted by Dave

        Good points. I’m curious as to the nature of this LLC. Did investors just turn money over with the promise of good returns from RE investments? Flips are risky and especially in a frothy market.

        LLCs can work but really need to be tied to a specific identified non-flip project where managing partners from the LLC are directly involved in the project.

        Hopefully the lender’s investors will recoup their investment when all is said and done.

        • Posted by soccermom

          Given the lender’s ability to take possession of the house (as above) the legal form of title-holding is less of an issue than the lender having knowledge of the process and confidence in the builder to execute. Not sure what the value-add of a lawyer is at this point. The lenders take ownership of the asset and now steer the ship. Presumably taking possession isn’t an issue as long as there are no squatters in the construction project.

          Getting paid double digit interest in a hard money loan is what entices most lending of this category. This kind of outcome is of course why banks infrequently make such loans. I hope the new owners can finish the work or come to Jesus and realize they should sell to someone who can. In the meantime it will only decrease in value, especially if the work is not yet weathertight.

  7. Posted by 101

    It would have been amazing what 2 million would have done to this property . There is no doubt the new owner will do just as good of a job renovating it.

    As for all the opinions that SF is a dump, you obviously do not live here or are quite jealous people throw around millions while you work your $20 an hour job.

    • Posted by dB

      “you obviously do not live here or are quite jealous people throw around millions while you work your $20 an hour job.”

      Barf. Oh Socketsite commentariat, what have you become?
      Though this board, ’twas ever a contentious place (I most actively lurked and commented in the posting heydays of ‘anonn’ (torch passed to soccermom?), Paul Hwang, LMRIM etc…), dumbed-down sentiments like the one above were, IIRC, nowhere to be found.

      Does the decline here reflect macro or micro trends? I wonder.

  8. Posted by DM

    I left SF after 40 years and am surprised at how little I miss it.

    • Posted by Rillion

      I was up in the Sierras for a week. Only missed SF when the temp’s were hitting 90 every day.

  9. Posted by Incline JJ

    These clowns, SS Dreambuilders have another property in NOD. On Missouri Street.

    • Posted by EBGuy

      Check out 361 Upper Terrace. Looks like the estate of the deceased took back (read: foreclosed) the property from Dreambuilders. From what I can tell, there were, uh, many other junior lienholders

  10. Posted by RW

    As a life long resident of SF i cannot say i find San Francisco as architecturally ugly by any means. Some areas of the city are architecturally distinct and pleasurable because of the demographics that created those areas and remain constant to those areas including Civic interest beyond just homeowners in keeping those area’s appealing. San Francisco’s architectural beauty or lack of beauty to me is basically the story of wealth and class in the history of the City.

    There was mention of Sunset, Mission, Bayview, and Ingleside all areas which were constructed for affordability (working class) and not centered around distinct natural views. That said what is the expectation for architectural beauty coming out of homes largely constructed through the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s to those who were not Gold, Oil, Rail, or Steel baron’s and who worked in general labor industries. The only discernible thing to me has always been that some neighborhoods feel more safe, relaxed and appealing by the presence of streetscaping and public landscaping areas. In many of those very areas mentioned before, smaller homes and growing families have eliminated all landscaping from setbacks and once existing street trees have disappeared not to be brought back. If even half of the wide streets of the Bayview, Sunset, Ingleside, etc. were tree lined it would make a huge change in the block aesthetic but in the end it would not change that the homes were build for working class people. For example drive through Ingleside and Ingleside terrace, it is the epitome of older homes built for wealthier people masterplanned with green space and landscaping for each home juxtaposed to homes built for the working class where landscaping was a non thought on the part of builder/city.

  11. Posted by Ohlone Californio

    When I met these people and saw how their thing worked I honestly could not believe it was real. It wasn’t.

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