1001 California Street

As we outlined in the fourth quarter of last year, the 3,680-square-foot “Townhouse No.1” at 1001 California Street atop Nob Hill, which is one of the two multi-level condos which replaced the perennially plagued restaurant space at the base of the iconic Beaux-Arts building, was purchased as new for $4,335,000 in April of 2015.

The four-bedroom unit, which doesn’t require an elevator ride to reach, is outfitted with a great room overlooking Nob Hill, a requisite “chef’s kitchen” and designer finishes throughout (along with direct access to the garage and additional storage space).

And having returned to the market priced at $5.8 million in May of 2018, relisted for $5.288 million in February of 2019, reduced to $4.995 million in October of 2019, reduced to $4.695 million in January of last year, further reduced to $4.445 million last May and then dropped to $3.995 million this past November, the resale of 1001 California Street #TH1 has just closed escrow with a contract price of $3.6 million, representing a net 17.0 percent drop in value since the second quarter of 2015 on an apples-to-apples basis.

At the same time, the Bay Area index for condo values is up 18.0 percent since the second quarter of 2015 and the “median sale price” is up as well.

28 thoughts on “Contemporary Nob Hill Townhouse Trades for 17 Percent Less”
  1. I know they say it’s better to have the worst place in the best neighborhood (than the best place in a bad neighborhood), but a ground-floor ex-restaurant unit just seems like a dealbreaker. Like I’d rather be anywhere else at 1/3 the price.

    Does anyone from this neighborhood know if taking away a business from the ground floor in anyway removes any vitality from this neighborhood’s street level? I know, it sounds like a doomed space, but maybe because restaurants were too expensive? Why not a simple cafe? Sounds more fun for a 700K loss over 5 years than a somewhat creepy accidental-voyeur unit (you’re walking down the street and suddenly you see someone making coffee for themselves in their kitchen and you feel weird about it).

    1. Because of the way the space is configured, with steps up from the private foyer fronting California Street, the living space and windows of the unit are actually above eye level of those on the sidewalks outside.

      And in terms of “why not a simple cafe,” the sale of the two units fetched a combined $8.1 million back in 2015.

    2. If the restaurant was keeping this area vibrant, it stopped doing that more than a decade ago because that’s when the last restaurant in this spot closed down. And when it was open, it was basically a mausoleum, like the rest of the neighborhood. If you are 85 years old and still living off a nineteenth-century timber fortune, 1001 California is your most desirable address.

      1. LOL. My wife and I moved just up the street on California several years ago. I resisted the move because it seemed like such a staid neighborhood but I actually have fallen in love with it. Several famous artists and filmmakers live in our building. Huntington Park is a delight at any hour. Not only is Osso a handy restaurant option, Nob Hill Cafe and Venticello are competent neighborhood eateries as well, and the bar at the Huntington Hotel is a great place to hang out. I frequent many neighborhoods in the city. I’m always happy to return to mine.

        1. “the bar at the Huntington Hotel is a great place to hang out”

          – If you can afford cocktails at $18 a pop, sure.

      2. I LOLed at this. Well played. Nob Hill is a bizarre place to live: beautiful and grand but with few services for locals and lots of seniors.

  2. I jog through here now and then. looks like there are a few eateries on Pine Street, block down the hill, but neigh a business in sight around Huntington Square. probably, especially now, the rent would decimate all but the most 5 star on 5 star place with a viable business plan, etc. I don’t think that particular corner has housed any business in… and with the steps from the front door, a business might have to install a ramp (aka trouble written all over it)…

  3. So wait a minute. You’re telling me that a beautiful plush condo in an A+ blue chip location traded for under $1K per foot? That’s the story.

    1 dedicated parking space (uncovered?) and $5800 a month in HOA fees don’t make it sexier, but what a great location and IMHO great value.

    Well-bought. Would be a good purchase as a consular residence.

    1. “That’s the story.”

      No, 17% below 2015 pricing in a post vaccine world for a “beautiful plush condo in an A+ blue chip location” is the story. It wasn’t that long ago that people were saying that while renters might leave the city, owners would never compromise on price.

      1. It seems real estate is either “a great price” or a “great investment”…why shouldn’t people always be happy??

      2. I don’t know any people who were saying owners would never capitulate on price. But $1kpsf is a nice round number around which a lot of SF real estate trades, so I think it is a useful benchmark.

    2. Agree regarding consular residence! The market for those is red hot, or at least that’s what I read in Chancery Weekly

  4. I thought these were black and white photos until I spotted a couple of small green plants in them. There’s a TV ad for something showing an all-white minimalist decor as a joke (as it should be). Buyer: Invest in paint with some color as soon as you’ve closed escrow (but I envy the deal you got).

  5. With all the gloom and doom talk, what about this place. listed for $770K, went into contract less than 6 days later, and sold for $1.2M. Over 50% over asking. And it is a tiny place at 770 sqft, and bedrooms have sloped roof.

    The market is coming back.

      1. But it’s the “cutest little condo ever….EVER”

        In a general sense, tho, ‘itm’ is onto something: R/E in SF still draws jaw-dropping prices that the rest of the world would envy. Yeah, it might be down over the past 6 mos…6 years… 6 mating cycles of some weird insect, but unless you happened to have bought during that interval – and are looking to unload, presently – such is only a bit of trivia.

        1. …but unless you happened to have bought during that interval – and are looking to unload, presently,” or happen to be in the market (to either rent or buy); are trying to value an existing property, portfolio or investment’s returns; or are simply trying to keep abreast of the underlying trends and directionality, “such is only a bit of trivia.” And with that we’ll agree.

          1. I think even the fact this nob hill property sold is a sign that market is recovering. This nob hill place required a buyer rich enough to buy an awesome single family in the most desirable neighborhoods with an awesome view, but somehow prefer this first floor condo in an ancient building designed to the taste of a silver preferring Donald Trump.

          2. Pre-vaccine there was a growing crop of apples around 2015 pricing, which is already a pretty serious price concession. There were some here that thought/hoped that once a vaccine was out prices would snap back. Wouldn’t put too much stock in this one single data point, got to wait for more post-vaccine apples to drop. But going from 2015 era prices to 17% below 2015 makes this one data point trend more towards the market continuing to deteriorate vs an indication of recovery.

            “Over-asking” and listing gimmicks aren’t really a reliable indicator of what actual buyers are willing to pay (and what actual sellers are willing to accept) now vs in the past. Definitely keep an eye on the apple crop now that we are post vaccine to get an idea of how things are trending.

    1. Big places in Name Brand neighborhoods will always draw more eyeballs, especially if they have interesting back story (former restaurant).

      That unit is so cute, it’s almost suspect. Is 1.2 million and no dishwasher common in SF?

      1. For $1.2M, or $1500/sqft in an older “non luxury” finishes definitely feels over priced, and probably result of the kind of bidding war the market haven’t seen since Covid. But the style is definitely more to the taste of millennials than boomers (or what the generation before that is as in the Nob Hill condo).

        Btw, just browsing listings now, I see the practice of “offer date” (where seller is not accepting early offers, but expect multiple buyers put in offers at the same time) is coming back now also.

        1. Many properties also have offer dates that are not reflected on sites like Redfin, in my experience. It’s remained relatively common since I started looking in August.

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