Archive for May, 2010

Cesar Chavez Sewer & Streetscape Improvement Project Update

Image from SF Planning Dept.

There was good turnout for the community meeting regarding the Cesar Chavez Sewer & Streetscape Improvement Project last night.  Representatives from the Planning Department, SFPUC, MTA, & SFDPW were presenting the project and answering questions.

The project will be done in stages starting with Phase 1, the construction beginning at Hampshire Street and proceed up to San Jose Avenue.  There will also be segments of work done on Harrison Street (from Cesar Chavez to 26th Street), Valencia Street (Cesar Chavez to Mission Street) Fair Avenue (Mission Street to Coso Avenue) and on Coso Avenue (to Coleridge Street) This phase will line the existing sewer pipe and add a second sewer line to increase the reliability of the system and to minimize the flooding in the area.

As the construction moves up Cesar Chavez Street, Phase 2 the streetscape improvements will start approximately 9 months after construction and will follow the construction up Cesar Chavez to San Jose Avenue.  This is the phase that will reduce three lanes of traffic to two.  Using low impact design (LID)  the medians will be widened, there will be added left turn pull outs at some intersections, added bike lanes and the busy street will be made overto be safer and greener!  Trees and landscaping will be planted in the newly widened medians, the corners will bulb out and stormwater planters will be installed.  New street lighting will be LED providing a brighter, whiter light while being more energy efficient.

The time line for the project is estimated to be 24 months, and is expected to begin this fall.  What’s really unusual is, to met deadlines, the work will take place 7 days a week!

Many neighbors voiced numerous concerns such as the displacement of traffic on to secondary streets, what type of trees and plants will be used, day lighting the Islais creek.  While the representatives present did their best to address the issues, there was still some unhappiness with the plan. When asked if the streetscaping  of phase two was a go, the reply was there “no foreseeable hurdles.” As for daylighting the creek, that’s not in this plan, but the 14′ wide median will allow for the possibility in the future.

Unlike so many proposals on the table in the mission district street plan project, this project (which has been in the planning for 10 years) has funding and at least Phase 1 will be completed. Why does this need to be done, the short story is that we have a combined sewer system here, and when there are storms we often end up with waste water being discharged into the bay and ocean.  Oh, and we pay daily fees every time it happens… We do need to be active and involved to make sure that Phase 2 does not get sidetracked.

Now we need some money to fix “the hairball” (I never knew it was called that!) that strange intersection of Cesar Chavez and 101!  The bike access is terrible; I’m confused as how to walk thru it, it’s just a mess….


Pocket Listings

Sometimes sellers ask about treating their property as pocket listing. People have often heard the term, but don’t always understand either the benefits or downside to having their property sold off the market. When a property is marketed quietly to other agents and their buyers I am usually only showing the property by appointment. It’s not entered into the mls and there are generally no open house showings.

And yes, of course there are benefits:

Perhaps the sellers don’t want to do, or pay for the prep involved in bringing the property to market. As their agent, I want the property to show its best and sometimes that means that sometimes the sellers are looking at packing and placing their items in storage, moving into a temporary home while new carpet, new paint, staging and repairs are done to their property. While I manage all the vendors and work and can even bring over a crew to pack their things up, it’s a very intrusive and disruptive process. Then during the marketing period, there’s open houses, evening showings, private showings and people peering into the windows and ringing the door bell because there is a for sale sign on the property.

Or perhaps, it’s a couple with young children and they just can’t tolerate that process, or a seller who just wants to quietly sell without all the neighbors knowing or coming thru the home. They want to sell, but they don’t want the whole rigmarole of the sales cycle. An off the market sale or pocket listing can make sense for them.

What’s the downside? Well, I always tell sellers that they will never know what the property would have sold for on the open market. There’s always a question as to whether they received the highest and best price. But each property sale is a snapshot in time, and perhaps the difference would be small. But if the home had been properly prepared and marketed, would the seller have received a better price? They will never know, and they need to be okay with that. It’s a trade off, but if it works for the client, that’s fine.

For the buyers a pocket listing can be an opportunity to buy without as much or any competition. Some people think they will get a better deal with an off the market purchase, but I like to make it clear that I think they will not get a “steal”. They are likely to get a fair deal and not to have to go up against multiple offers.

Of course sometimes, the seller wants too high of a price and no buyer sees fit to offer them what they want. It could in fact be the listing agent’s strategy to test the waters with the pricing without having to create a history in the mls of price reductions. That way, if it doesn’t garner any offers at that price, perhaps the owner will decide that they will not sell, or become more realistic about the asking price.

As agents, we all hear about and see pocket listings. My favorite this week was located in Miraloma Park on Molimo at Myra. It’s a mid-century home with all three bedrooms on one level. Both the bathroom and the powder room are remodeled. There’s hardwood floors, a spacious kitchen, living room dining room and two car parking in the garage. There’s a great deck from which to enjoy the yard. Priced at $829,000.


SF’s Painted Lady Gets a Price Adjustment

After coming on the market 3 months ago for $3,999,000, San Francisco’s oldest and largest Painted Lady gets a price reduction of over $200,000, bringing the new price tag to $3,799,000.

Built in 1892, 722 Steiner is known worldwide as the anchor of the Painted Ladies of Postcard Row. Featured in over 70 movies, TV shows and ads, including the 1980’s series Full House. Elegantly restored by current owners, the home is 4 levels, including a vacant in-law with private entrance on the ground floor and an attic suite, with full bath. Stained glass windows, hi-ceilings, Bradbury wallpaper, moldings, medallions, wainscoting,  four fireplaces & views!