Metrosexuals Make San Francisco Proud!

Here’s the good news:

They found that San Francisco offices were the cleanest, but the types of bacteria didn’t differ all that much from those found in New York. Tucson, however, had different germs entirely, and the researchers suspect the desert environment is likely the cause.

Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/1d6LM)

Here’s the bad news:

Studies have shown that for every cubic meter of air in an office building, there are about a billion bacteria swarming about. Yet very little is actually known about these bacteria, how they get in and where they are most likely to be found.

Wondering what the hell I’m talking about?

Researchers measured bacteria levels at offices in New York, San Francisco, and Tucson to determine both the quantity and type of germs present. According to the study authors, New York and San Francisco had roughly the same germs (although they didn’t note their political preference, propensity to slam the car horn, or feelings about what type of pizza is real pizza) although the offices in San Francisco had far fewer germs. Tucson had strange germs (have you ever been to Arizona? The place is so bizarre it creates politicians that think Sarah Palin would be qualified to be Vice-President. But I digress…) and not only was Tucson filled with strange germs, there were (again) more germs in Tucson than San Francisco.

The researchers let their rational brain get the better of them and theorized that men are bigger and thus shed more germs. Fundamentalists view the study as a rare moment when “science” confirms what they already know, which is that both New York and San Francisco are the work of The Demon (and his assistants, one assumes).

But come on folks, we all know it – we have San Francisco’s legion of well-groomed metrosexual men to thank for our clean(er) offices. So next time you see a well-groomed man in the office, don’t snicker – just say Thanks!

Cole Valley Photo Walk

Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day, I’m about to walk out the door for Tuesday broker’s tour, but wanted to get some photos posted before I start touring for the day.

[portfolio_slideshow width=620 showcaps=true  navpos=bottom pagerpos=bottom pagerstyle=carousel click=lightbox centered=true]

I took advantage of a “quiet” Memorial Day weekend to take a nice photo walk in Cole Valley. After I finished documenting the N-Judah N-Pocalypse, I headed south on Cole street, walking up to Tank Hill, back along the south-most streets of Cole Valley, and then along Stanyan north towards Golden Gate Park.

I wasn’t out to photograph any particular home, just to capture a bunch of pictures that “felt like” Cole Valley to me. The beautiful weather certainly helped get some great perspective shots from up on Tank Hill.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of Cole Valley homes and the neighborhood in general. Of course, I like a lot of San Francisco neighborhoods (for a variety of reasons), so please don’t think that Cole Valley is the only cool and awesome place to live in San Francisco. We’ve got plenty of awesome neighborhoods, depending on what you are looking for.

As you’ll see in the pics, Cole Valley is home to one of the skinniest homes in San Francisco, but also some very stately homes with grand proportions and scale. It is also an interesting mix of “classic” homes mixed in with some incredibly sleek and modern homes. And like any great San Francisco neighborhood, it is incredibly walkable with some wonderful shops and businesses on Cole Street, and convenient access to transit and the N-Judah.

I really enjoyed this neighborhood photo walk, any suggestions for which neighborhood I should stalk, er document, next? Leave your suggestions in the comments, and I hope everyone adjusts to being back at work after the 3 day weekend!

 

 

Scenes from the N-Pocalypse

For those of you who haven’t heard, the N-Pocalypse is upon us! The N-Judah has been closed since Friday evening with service closed through 5am on Monday, June 4. I prefer to think of the N-Judah being shutdown until Monday afternoon on the 4th, because every San Franciscan knows that while our bus drivers are awesome at texting while driving, they aren’t so good at the fundamentals. You know, things like showing up even remotely on schedule.

Since the weather was beautiful yesterday, and I couldn’t ride the train anywhere (and something about San Francisco buses scares me), I took some time to walk along the N-Judah in Cole Valley and the Inner Sunset to take some pictures of the N-Pocalypse in progress. I’m happy to report that they’ve definitely succeeded in ripping things up quickly. Now the question is – will they be able to put it all back together in time?

[portfolio_slideshow width=620 showcaps=true  navpos=bottom pagerpos=bottom pagerstyle=carousel click=lightbox centered=true]

As you can see from the pictures, they’ve got the N-Judah track and surrounding street pretty well ripped up. As for why? According to muni, this extended shutdown of the N-Judah will allow them to bring muni riders:

  • New track for a smoother, faster ride on Muni [um, doubtful. - ed]
  • Bulbouts to enhance safety and boarding at N Judah Line stops
  • Curb and ramp upgrades
  • Water and sewer improvements
  • Pole replacement

It also makes a great photo opportunity!

I don’t know what the work schedule along the track is, but I noticed high-intensity lights along the street. I hope that they aren’t doing construction 24/7, as they are at the Transbay Center, but couldn’t find the posted construction hours on the SFMTA’s site.

Has the N-Pocalypse caused major headaches in your life? Or have you just been waiting at a muni stop since Friday evening, cursing muni for running such bad service without even being aware of the shutdown? Either way, we hope you are having a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Joe 1, Fire 0

I’m pretty sure most of you don’t visit this site for fashion or style advice. Or, for your sake at least, I hope you don’t visit for style and fashion advice. Each year when my homosexual license is up for renewal I fail the “current designers” and “fashionable trends” parts of the test, but I have such an extensive collection of Madonna albums and dance mixes that my fashion stupidity doesn’t doom me from tribal exile.

Why should you care? Even though I’m fashion and style challenged, I manage to look decent thanks to a consistently great haircut. Which is why I’m so happy to announce that Joe’s Barbershop in the Castro is re-opening this weekend. They were closed because of a pretty serious fire, but all has been repaired and Joe and his amazing crew of barbers will be back in the shop starting today (but officially tomorrow). So for those of you who are dying to know (but afraid to ask) about where I get my awesome haircut, now you know.

The return of Joe's Barbershop

In addition to being a client of Joe’s, Joe and his partner – the amazingly talented writer DogPoet – are clients of mine.

And if you think buying a house and getting financing in the current market is a challenge, just contemplate purchasing a home when your business is on fire. But we got it done, because that’s how we roll around here. And on what may, or may not be, a related note – Prominent Escrow is the most incompetent and unprofessional escrow company I’ve ever dealt with and I’d urge you to avoid them if at all possible. But I’m not quite ready to put that story into print, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Anyway, back to the important point: Joe’s Barbershop is back, and starting today (but officially Saturday) you can get an awesome haircut at a neighborhood institution. So stop by, get a great haircut, and give Joe and all the barbers a high-five. They’ve earned it!

Joe’s barbershop is located at 2150 Market St. between Church and Castro, on the north side of the street. Now you really don’t have an excuse not to go!

Will This Really Become an Arena?

The Golden State Warriors (that’s basketball, for those of you – like me – that are sports impaired) announced a deal with Mayor Ed Lee to build a new arena in San Francisco.

The announced deal is to build the Stadium at Piers 30 and 32 along the Embarcadero, in the South Beach neighborhood. As you can see in the picture below, the piers are currently – on their busiest days – nothing more than parking lots. Piers 30 and 32 are also said to be in pretty bad structural shape, with repairs needed in the $50 – $100 million dollar range before arena construction can actually begin.

Future Home of a Warriors Arena?

So the question of the day is: Will Piers 30 and 32 really make it through the marathon of public and bureaucratic review and cross the finish line a winner, or will the arena end up being built elsewhere? Below are two Q&As that sort of address that. Both are taken directly from the Warriors page on the San Francisco arena project.

Will there be public hearings for residents to voice their opinions about the project?
Yes, as with any building project, there will be an extensive public planning and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, with numerous opportunities for the public to weigh in. Fans are also welcome to send their thoughts and suggestions to the Warriors via e-mail at SFArena@gs-warriors.com.

What does this announcement mean? When will the groundbreaking take place?
This signifies the mutual commitment of the Warriors and the City of San Francisco to build a new arena on San Francisco Bay by 2017. A specific groundbreaking date has not been set, but construction is expected to last approximately three years.

As you can see from the very well-massaged (not by me, by the PR professionals) text above, nothing has gone before the Board of Supervisors, Planning, Zoning, or Environmental Review so what was announced this week was a hope and a dream with some lovely artistic renderings (that optimistically include the Transbay Tower in them). But whether or not the area actually gets built in this location is still – in my mind – very much an open question. What do you think?

Artistic Rendering of new Basketball Arena

Additional Artistic Rendering of Golden State Warrior's SF Arena

Awesome Miraloma Park Home… Could Be Yours

Meet 769 Foerester! She’s a large, no scratch that, enormous single family home that is for sale in the Miraloma Park neighborhood.

The tax records report the home as having more than 2,000 square feet of living space, which is absolutely enormous for a San Francisco home, particularly when you consider that this home is listed for under one million dollars (a cool $995,000 to be exact).

As you can see from the above picture, it’s also nicely done, and it isn’t a short sale or REO (bank owned foreclosure), so you shouldn’t have any problem moving you and yours right into this sweet house.

Miraloma Park isn’t on a lot of buyer’s radar screens, but it’s a friendly little neighborhood that has surprisingly good access to the city, the peninsula (yea, I’m talking to all of you with vested stock), as well as public transit via the BART station in Glen Park. For those of you with rugrats, 769 Foerster is also amazingly close to the recently renovated Sunnyside Playground, which is one of the better kept secrets in the world of San Francisco playgrounds.

So let’s review: It’s under a million, it has five (!) bedrooms, over 2,000 square feet of living space, parking, and is conveniently close to a great playground and public transit. Is there any reason you are still reading this? If I’ve caught your attention, offers are due on 769 Foerester on May 30…

Additional Photos:
[portfolio_slideshow width=620 showcaps=true  navpos=bottom pagerpos=bottom pagerstyle=carousel click=lightbox centered=true]

Disclaimer: Advertising another brokerage’s listing without their express permission (other than IDX, which is a whole different ball of wax) is a big no-no. 769 Foerster is making it’s super-special-guest-star appearance here at JacksonFuller at the request of the listing agent, Faye Dibachi of Zephyr Real Estate. If you are a buyer without an agent and would like more information about this home, please get in touch with Matt or Britton and we are happy to help you out. If you are a listing agent, or already have a buyer’s agent then please get directly in touch with Faye. 

Prop A – What the Heck?

As you might have noticed, I’m a big fan of our city’s refuse collection system – particularly our incredibly high diversion rate and our composting program.

One of the many anti-A mailings I've gotten

So when I started getting junk mail for the upcoming June 5 election, I was puzzled by Prop A, which either breaks up a local, employee-owned company thus causing Waste-Diversion Armageddon… or, it could lead to competitive bidding, franchise fees for the city, and Unicorns dancing in parades.

The thing (well, one thing) that fascinates me about this initiative is that every mailer I’ve gotten about it is urging me to vote NO. I have  yet to get one mailer in favor of Prop A, and if it wasn’t for my 96 page June 5 ballot guide (which will soon be recycled) I’d have no idea who or how this question ended up on the ballot, thus filling my mailbox with dead trees urging me to vote no (ironic, isn’t it?). It turns out that Prop A ended up on the June 5 ballot by petition, and Tony Kelly and Retired Judge Quentin Kopp seem to be leading the charge in favor of Prop A.

Quentin Kopp has a freeway named after him (I-380) and was also once on the board of supervisors, and an almost-winner when running for SF City Mayor (against Feinstein) and California State Senate. Tony Kelly is described as a “neighborhood activist”, past candidate for D10 supervisor (endorsed by Matt Gonzalez) and is the President of the Potrero Boosters.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian has endorsed Proposition A, with perhaps one of the most pathetic endorsements I’ve ever read. I can’t bring myself to link to it, so I’m going to paraphrase their endorsement:

Prop A is pretty flawed and could kind of screw things up that we’ve come to like about refuse collection in SF. However, our disdain for corporations is greater than anything else, so vote yes on Prop A even though it really isn’t that good of an idea.

So, along with every other levelheaded entity in San Francisco, the vast corporate-empire known as the JacksonFuller Real Estate Team also asks you to Vote No on Proposition A.

On an entirely related note, today is the deadline to register to vote for the June 5 election. If you aren’t already registered, get on out there and do it today!

Important Point: The vast corporate conglomerate known as JacksonFuller really isn’t vast or corporate. We are two people with a blog (and some real estate licenses, a lot of experience and a long list of qualifications as great Realtors). Our viewpoint is purely our own and does not represent either our managing brokerage or the San Francisco Association of Realtors. We speak for ourselves and only ourselves, and even that was kind of difficult this morning until I had some coffee….

Get Outside Saturday!

This Saturday has a lot going on outside in San Francisco. The San Francisco Parks Alliance is sponsoring “Love Your Parks Day” which has a ton of awesome events happening throughout the city.

Get out and Love Your Parks!

The following events are already full:

  • Golden Gate Park Oak Woodlands Habitat and Trail Restoration
  • Visitacion Valley Greenway Native Planting
  • Free Kayaking on the Blue Greenway
  • Mountain Lake Park Clean Up, Planting, and Nature Walk

However, there are still an incredible number of awesome things that you and your family can go do outside this coming Saturday, including:

As if the oppportunity to get out and about, enjoy some of San Francisco’s great open spaces and meet new neighbors and community members wasn’t enough of an incentive, volunteers that sign up in advance will also get a free t-shirt and lunch. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for free t-shirts.

I just asked Siri what our weather for Saturday is like, and even she had to agree it is forecast to be beautiful, with sunny skies and a high of 68 degrees, which sounds like a pretty perfect San Francisco day to me.

One of the (many) things I love about San Francisco is the incredible amount of awesome outdoor spaces and places that sprinkled across our city, from the Presidio on the northern tip to Mclaren Park on the southern end and everything in between. I hope to see you out helping take care of our awesome parks this Saturday!

 

 

Narrow Streets and Neighborly Behavior

Narrow Streets and an Unhappy Neighbor

It’s no secret that San Francisco houses are old. Many of our neighborhoods were designed and built either before cars were invented, or when cars were still pint-sized novelties.

Bernal Heights, for example, is a neighborhood that is notorious for narrow streets. While some neighborhoods were built when cars were king – Midtown Terrace comes to mind – most weren’t. Which leads to all sorts of problems. And the problems generally fall into two categories: near misses with other cars while driving and sideswipes or other damage to parked cards.

While out on broker’s tour yesterday, my trust sidekick and I drove past the vehicle featured in this blog post. As you can see, someone’s got a car that has been side-swiped on a narrow street in a San Francisco neighborhood that shall remain nameless (it’s not one of the neighborhoods I’ve mentioned so far). And apparently, this persons car hasn’t been hit once, but a total of four times! Cynical readers may wonder if it has to do with narrow streets or their bumper sticker, but despite what you might hear on the news San Franciscans are a pretty darn tolerant lot – even of Republicans. I even have an openly Republican colleague, and we’re still totally cool.

Someone would like a note. And a new mirror.

So here’s our public service announcement for the week: Drive carefully in San Francisco neighborhoods, especially when there are narrow streets and the visibility is limited. While it sucks that this person’s car has been hit four times children, furry animals, and beloved pets have also been spotted roaming the streets of San Francisco and it would be far more tragic if you were to hit one of them.

I'm pretty sure this isn't a rhetorical question

And if you don’t take our advice, or if you do take our advice and something bad still happens, then be a good neighbor and do the right thing: take ownership of your mistake. While I can’t speak for this car owner, the fact that someone just went about their day and drove along as if nothing happened seems almost more obnoxious than the damage itself.

Even if the owner isn’t home or doesn’t see it I’m pretty sure that karma can see what you’re up to – even on the hilly and narrow streets of San Francisco!

Final Score: Birds 1, Urban Death Traps, 0

San Francisco real estate wouldn’t be San Francisco real estate without the fun that is the planning, zoning, and building departments. And while their regulations and byzantine procedures sometimes (okay, often) frustrate and confuse me, I ran across an article in Architect Magazine about new SF building regulations regarding… wait for it… birds!

A bird safe bus shelter, source: Architect Magazine

In their article Building for the Birds, the article highlights how San Francisco is the first city in the nation to actually regulate building development with birds and bird habitat in mind. Before you scoff and think this is all ridiculous, consider this:

… But the city’s dense urban core can act as a death trap. For example, buildings with glass façades are hazardous for birds: not recognizing transparent glass as a barrier, birds often try to fly through it, or, seeing vegetation reflected in glass, fly into it. During nighttime flights, they can become disoriented by brightly lit skyscrapers that obscure navigational stars and circle the buildings, confused, until they drop dead of exhaustion.

The article sums up the new regulations better than I can, so instead of trying to paraphrase, here they are:

The new standards provide specific guidelines for façade treatment, lighting design, and small wind generation features installed on buildings. The most significant change concerns the “bird collision zone” of buildings—the lower 60 feet where glass most often reflects vegetation—which must feature no more than 10 percent glazed windows, going forward. Solutions to the glass hazard include fritting the windows or screening them, which is the least expensive option. Lighting must be minimal and shielded; uplighting and event searchlights are prohibited. And buildings cannot feature horizontal-access windmills or vertical-access wind generators that do not appear solid.

The biggest controversy around this seems to be around the changes to windows required in the bird collision zone. As you might expect, some feel that the regulations are cumbersome and will add significant costs to the projects. Others argue that the costs are minimal, and if developers plan for this up-front they will face fewer costly last-minute changes required to get environmental approval.

What are your thoughts?