On the market for $19.675 million back 2016, having avoided being foreclosed upon by way of a Bankruptcy filing, the seven-bedroom home at 224 Sea Cliff Avenue appeared to have quietly sold for $18.8 million at the end of 2017.  But alas, the sale never actually occurred and was subsequently scrubbed from Zillow.

Having returned to the market with a $15.0 million price tag this past October, a price which was then reduced to $13.7 million at the end of last year, the property was briefly listed as having been “in contract” prior to being withdrawn from the MLS in May.  But the property hasn’t traded hands.

And as noted by a plugged-in reader, 224 Sea Cliff Avenue, which was purchased by the infamous Luke Brugnara for $7 million in 2002, subsequently leveraged, and features a private walkway down to a secluded beach cove below, is slated to hit the courthouse steps anew this afternoon.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

UPDATE: A creditor has foreclosed but it doesn’t appear to have been the first, or even second, mortgage holder.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by David

    > a private walkway down to a secluded beach cove below

    Aren’t beaches public land in California? Can I go knock on their door and ask to be let down to the beach?

    • Posted by Notcom

      Certainly.
      Whether you’ll get it is another matter.

    • Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

      I am disappointed. I was expecting Notcom’s link to direct me to news coverage of the inspiring, Horatio Alger-esque tale of how a man can move here from India, make a fortune, purchase a huge swath of land abutting the coast which included the only access road to a popular beach, and then within a year, decide he didn’t want to share said beach and close a gate to it.

      After about a decade of subsequent litigation, the man has his lawyer tell Californians in condescending tones that they are “communists” if they insist on public access to the beach. This, while admitting “he also hadn’t spent a single night” on the property.

      Yes. As Jake T in the socketsite comments section would say, “Welcome to America”.

      • Posted by Notcom

        I try to provide info people don’t already have.

      • Posted by Jake T

        Update your mental model: the entitled neighbors eager to give their unnecessary and unprofessional advice on your humble request to add a bathroom to your home is a far better example of the American experience than this sideshow lawsuit. It was only a few years ago that an Indian family had to prostrate themselves in front of the planning commission to let them build space for live-in grand parents, and planning was happy to entertain NIMBY complaints about volumes and massing. Welcome to America, indeed!

      • Posted by heynonnynonny

        Khosla’s Martins Beach argument is that somehow a former Rancho is not subject to California law, right? Yet much of the Bay Area was part of one Rancho or another – wouldn’t a ruling on Martins Beach have broad consequences for the rest of California?

    • Posted by Wiseguy

      Access is the issue. Sure, that cove is public but the pubic cannot go through private property to access it. They could canoe over if they wanted!

    • Posted by jimmythekid

      Beaches are public to median high tide. But there is no right of access through private property. You can walk there at low tide or land a boat. You cannot walk there through private property. See Nolan Vs California Coastal Commission also Dolan v city of Tigard oyez.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        Yes, this. ^^^

        I’m no lawyer, but my recollection is that the argument on Martin’s Beach revolved around the fact that the public had relatively unimpeded access to that beach for decades until Mr. Khosla decided to lock the gate. If there’d never been public access, I’m not sure there would have been an argument that it had to be granted.

        Some states do require public beach access over/through private property. Hawaii, for example, requires beachfront development to provide a means for the public to reach the beach (all beaches are public.) But this is not the case in California.

  2. Posted by Notcom

    “…sale never actually occurred…”

    Yeah, well you can’t get much quieter than that !!

    • Posted by Jake T

      The editors on this site will not rest until every unusual real estate transaction is forced to announce itself through a thousand bucks of Google AdWords spend on local real estate blogs. Until then, it’s ambiguous accusations of “quietness” for you!

      • Posted by SocketSite

        As we’ve previously noted, and then noted again, we typically employ ‘quietly’ when a property is on the market or changes hands without being listed/publicized or is actively trying to be obscured or hidden from public view. And now back to the property at hand…

  3. Posted by jimmy

    a longneck bud says the bk court killed the deal. the debt on this pig is larger than the fmv. lenders not happy with painful haircuts tend to employ all available tactics to recoup ALL $. watch ’em sue borrower for loan fraud (likely a line a mile long).

  4. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    The patio over the garage is realistically staged.

  5. Posted by Jimmy

    The deal was killed by the IRS and others creditors. The cove is accessible from Baker Beach when the tide is lower. Not a place to put your towel, but rather a great path over to China Beach.

    PS: How much longer will it be called China Beach?

  6. Posted by InclineJJ

    Status: Sold to outside party for: $71,000.00
    APN: Lot 001S, Block 1307
    TS Number: 17-217
    Sale Date: 07/14/2020
    Sale Time: 2:00 PM
    Sale County: SAN FRANCISCO
    Property Address: 224 Sea Cliff Avenue

    • Posted by SocketSite

      We haven’t had a chance to review the auction documents, but based on the above, it would appear that it wasn’t the first, or even second, mortgage holder that foreclosed but rather a more junior lien holder.

  7. Posted by Tony Timpa

    Beaches are public in California, but, absent an easement, the public does not have the right to cross private land to access public beaches. Wiseguy is correct that one could swim or paddle to be beach and have legal access. We do not recommend a canoe for anyone at China Beach.

    Vinod Khosla is an unmitigated d*ck to think that he could take what had been a publicly-accessible beach and privatize it.

    While we’re on the topic of rich guys who limit beach access, let’s not forget Tom Steyer, self-described environmentalist whose work with the California Coastal Commission continues to prevent development of the most desirable portions of state land. Steyer, of course owns 496 and 494 Sea Cliff (a stone’s throw from Brugnara) at the end of the cul-de-sac above China Beach. He’s got two houses perched above the Pacific Ocean he doesn’t use in San Francisco. God forbid anyone else try to build a new one. That’s good politics, right? Okay for the 0.0001% to have nice stuff, but not for everyone else. Thanks for protecting California, tough guy.

    Brugnara has done a masterful job of delaying any transfer of possession of this home. Anyone looking for entertaining legal-esque reading can check out his hand-written “Notice of Appeal” (presumably drafted from jail) that was filed with bankruptcy court under case 3:2017bk30501 on June 22nd. Look it up in PACER. Raising issues of equitable ownership (Brugnara himself vs. Brugnara Properties, settlements that his wife Kay signed that he did not.) If like, you’re a pretty smart guy in jail with nothing else to do and you have your house you’re trying to hang on to, then you can write up quite a legalish piece of work.

    • Posted by Notcom

      I would think no small part of being a “pretty smart” guy is not ending up in jail in the first place.

      • Posted by Tony Timpa

        If you think only dumb people commit criminal acts, your experience of the world is limited.

        • Posted by Notcom

          I certainly didn’t say that…did I? I said the smart ones don’t usually end up in jail. There’s little I’ve heard about Mr. Brugnara that makes me think he’s an exception.

  8. Posted by Some Guy

    I wonder what fraction of the total property construction cost went to that beach-access stairway. The footings & forms for all that concrete must’ve been pricey.

  9. Posted by Tim Bennett

    Are you saying that someone actually bought this home at a city foreclosure auction for only $71,000 ???, or is this just one of several loans that must be paid-off ??? I heard that the inside had been ‘trashed’ & neeced extensive work, but the lot alone is worth millions !!

  10. Posted by Tor

    That stairway to the cove is an abomination. At least they could have painted it a color that blended in with the terrain.

    • Posted by Notcom

      Isn’t ‘coral’ a preferred primer coast for guano ??

    • Posted by jimmythekid

      He should have painted the terrain to match. That ill learn ya.

    • Posted by Joanne Mcknight

      Yes, the orange stairway to the teeny tiny beach is an abomination. As is the orange house. The best color in a Sea cliff course is light to medium gray or plain white to blend with the endless fog. I’ve heard the place needs a new roof, an entire new floor and a total replastering or drywall walls and ceilings. That’s why there’s no interior pictures. It was at 15 million Now there’s a new agent offering it at 17 million. Ha ha I’m keeping an eye on it. I’ve thought of offering 3 million cash at some point when it becomes absolutely clear the building is worthless.

      A lot of the railings around the decks and stairs look like Home Depot specials.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        Come on. That little beach alone is worth 3M.

  11. Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

    $71,000 sounds like a mechanic’s lien.

    stiffed his contractor and triggered the avalanche?

    • Posted by Tony Timpa

      One data service lists the foreclosing debt as the 10th-in-line secured debt on the property, so the purpose of foreclosing here is unclear.

      If the new owner/titleholder can actually take possession from Brugnara’s family, that may open some floodgates.

      We could easily see several more foreclosure auctions from loans 1-9 on the property. In economic terms, the $71K could have been incinerated in a fireplace as usefully, unless part of a larger strategy for one of the larger loans to take ownership.

  12. Posted by inclinejj

    “$71,000 sounds like a mechanic’s lien.

    stiffed his contractor and triggered the avalanche?”

    It was not a Mechanics Lien.

  13. Posted by sockettome

    Here is an interesting tidbit…Brugnara is the nephew of former San Francisco Police Chief Anthony “Tony” Ribera.

  14. Posted by Did I tell you that Tony Blair is my best friend?

    Anthony Crossley at Colliers International was Luke Brugnara’s exclusive San Francisco broker. He could provide information about what is going on behind the scenes.

    • Posted by [Did I tell you that Tony Blair is my best friend?]

      Mr. Crossley was also a character reference for Luke Brugnara at the Federal Court prison sentencing.

  15. Posted by Inclinejj

    The plot thickens. Same Trustee and same Trustee Sales number:

    Status: Sale Scheduled: 08/13/2020
    APN: Lot 001S, Block 1307
    TS Number: 17-217
    Sale Date: 08/13/2020
    Sale Time: 1:30 PM
    Property Address: 224 Sea Cliff Avenue

  16. Posted by eddy

    Some activity on the property as if its being cleaned up again for show.

  17. Posted by SF N8V

    A great example of Buyer Beware: The $71k successful bidder of the Trustee Sale of the 5th mortgage wet himself when he learned that there was $17m of liens ahead of him! He somehow voided his cashier’s check, triggering a new sale and a new line of litigation for costs associated with the delays he caused.

    • Posted by InclineJJ

      I have seen this happen a couple times. Once the bidder bid and the crowd informed him that he was buying a 3rd TD. He walked away at the sale. Another went to the trustees office claiming ignorance of how sales work and wanted his money back. The trustee gave him back his check. It doesn’t happen that often.

  18. Posted by InclineJJ

    Sale Date: 08/13/2020
    Sale Time: 1:30 PM
    Property Address: 224 Sea Cliff Avenue
    Opening bid: $50,000.00

  19. Posted by InclineJJ

    Status: Postponed from 08/13/2020 to 08/14/2020 by Trustee’s discretion

  20. Posted by InclineJJ

    Status: Sold back to beneficiary for: $50,000.00

  21. Posted by soccermom

    Now for sale, for $17.5mm. Will the ‘owners’ get out ahead?

    At least the dirty basketball hoop is out of the driveway. They painted the house and planted $30 worth of New Zealand flax in front. Maybe the $50K purchase will turn into a million bucks.

  22. Posted by soccermom

    The comp is Neil Ward’s upcoming listing at 190 Sea Cliff for 25mm.

  23. Posted by InclineJJ

    SoccerMom Welcome Back

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