Zephyr Announces new Flagship Office

Hopefully by now it’s no secret that Zephyr is our brokerage of record. Both Britton and I have been there since Day 1 of our respective real estate careers, and we have no intentions of going anywhere in the near future. We started at at our SOMA office (which is no more, don’t blame us) and when the recession ate that office up we moved to Zephyr’s founding location at 4200 17th St.

I won’t tell you why we picked the founding office when we moved almost six or seven years ago, but I will say it wasn’t for the facilities. And it probably had something to do with convenience. Victorians often don’t make ideal layouts for living, and the layout for an office space can be even crueler. The meeting rooms often felt closer to interrogation facilities, and the furniture and color scheme, well… let’s just say WE ARE SO EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW ZEPHYR FLAGSHIP OFFICE SPACE.

The new Zephyr flagship office will combine Zephyr’s current two upper market offices (2500 Market St. and 43200 17th St.) into one space. The offices will be in the former Tower Records space, and will have a street level lobby as well as elevator access for clients and agents.

While we have no intention of actually paying for desk space at the new Zephyr flagship office, we look forward to meeting our clients in what promises to be incredible space. We think Zephyr has the best agents and sales managers in the business, not to mention the best clients! We are thrilled to see Zephyr finally find new office space in the upper market area for a facility upgrade that will be as beautiful as our clients are smart!

We’d love to hear your thoughts here on our blog, on our facebook page, or on the twitter!

Whole Foods on Market Street opening November 6

This morning, like the grocery geeks we are, Matt and I took a tour of San Francisco’s newest Whole Foods, opening next Wednesday, November 6. It’s located at 2001 Market Street @ Dolores, the site of the former S&C Ford dealership.

Photo tour (click on any image for a larger version/slideshow):

A few nuts & bolts first…

Number of Whole Foods Markets in San Francisco: 7

Approximate square footage of new store: 27,000

Number of parking spaces for the store: 63

Number of those that are for electric cars: 2

Hours of operation: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm every day

Official opening day/bread-breaking: November 6, 9:45 am (They don’t cut ribbons, they break bread. Cool, huh?)

While the Safeway across the street continues quaking in its staid corporate boots, I’ll describe some of the unique features of the new Whole Foods.

Just to the left of the main entrance is a two-seat shoeshine stand, operated by a local vendor called A Shine & Co., adjacent to a wall of what our tour guide called “man products.” By which she meant “men’s grooming stuff,” like shaving gear and skin care. The shoe shine stand will be open daily until about 6:00 pm.

Now for some unique-to-this-store food items. Oh, Whole Foods, you had me at sausage on a stick, made in house and available in the grab-and-go section. There will also be locally made gelato with flavors like Blue Bottle Coffee (Ok, you had me at sausage on a stick AND Blue Bottle Coffee gelato). The bakery will put out mini foccacia in a variety of flavors daily.

Every Whole Foods has a hot bar, but this one amps it up with an entire section of the hot bar with all Paleo foods. If you’re throwing a cheese tasting party and you need 250 kinds of cheese from around the world, they’ve got you covered. They’ll also sell honeycomb from Steve’s Bees in Orinda and tell those of us who are unfamiliar with honeycomb how to pair it with cheese. Who knew?

Now I’ve got to bust on Whole Foods a little bit for a cake with a big ol’ carbon footprint. They’re selling cakes called Baum cakes and they’re flying them in from Denver. DENVER. That’s far away from San Francisco, even though a layer cake cooked in a rotisserie sounds really damn cool.

Castro Street Design Open House

SF Planning has been hard at work on an updated plan for Castro Street between Market and 19th St.

Castro Street Design. Source: SF Planning Dept.
Castro Street Design. Source: SF Planning Dept.

If you aren’t familiar with the proces so far, last fall the development of a draft conceptual design informed by community input and staff analysis started. In January and February of this year there were public workshops to get feedback from community members, neighbors, and local merchants on the draft design.

Based on that community input, SF planning went back to the drafting boards, and is ready to present their final conceptual design for the street.

Coming up on this Thursday, May 14 from 7:00 – 9:00pm the SF planning department will host a public open house at the Market and Noe center (2278 Market St. between Noe and Sanchez) to get feedback on the final conceptual design for Castro Street.

While I’m looking forward to the details of this proposal, the draft concept (6MB, pdf file) is big on increasing pedestrian flow and traffic calming. While a variety of solutions are proposed, the net result seems to be wider sidewalks for better pedestrian circulation, sidewalk bulb-outs at 18th and Castro, and the potential addition of several “mini-parks” that highlight various neighborhood locations of historic note.

Generally speaking, I’m all in for the proposed changes. The Castro neighborhood is an incredibly popular pedestrian destination, particularly with tourists, and I fully support almost any proposal that will make The Castro a more walkable location, particularly at the very busy intersections of Market and Castro and Castro and 18th Streets.

How would you like to see the Castro neighborhood change? What are your traffic calming ideas? How would you highlight neighborhood locations of historic note? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to show up at the community open house this Thursday!

What you need to know about District 5 Single Family Home Sales in 2012

The parade of 2012 real estate market statistics continues. Last week we started off with an overview of the 2012 San Francisco market, and last week we looked at home sales in northwest San Francisco, and Zephyr 2012 market share. Today I’m going to skip ahead a few neighborhoods from District 1 to District 5, which is the central part of San Francisco and includes the following neighborhoods/mls-subdistricts:

  • Glen Park
  • Haight Ashbury
  • Noe Valley
  • Twin Peaks
  • Cole Valley/Parnassus Heights
  • Buena Vista/Ashbury Heights
  • Corona Heights
  • Clarendon Heights
  • Duboce Triangle
  • Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights (aka Liberty Hill)
  • Mission Dolores

chart_5 (7)
The chart above shows the median days on market for single family homes in District 5, broken out by neighborhood. As you can see, median days on market was down, sometimes substantially so… with Mission Dolores, Clarendon Heights, and Eureka Valley (Castro) being exceptional examples of how competitive 2012 was if you were a buyer.chart_4 (3)
The chart above looks at the number of single family homes sold by neighborhood in 2012. It is interesting for a couple reasons – it does a pretty good job of showing what neighborhoods in district 5 have single family homes (when we compare this with condos in the coming days it will give you a good idea of the types of housing that predominate any given neighborhood). Even though the number of sales was either up or slightly down year over year, we still saw a decrease in days on market, which is exactly what we would expect when demand exceeds supply.
chart_5 (6)

Finally, the chart above shows the median sales price of a single family home in each of the district 5 neighborhoods. It’s no surprise that Clarendon Heights led the way with the most expensive median sales price, with the 2012 price being up both year over year and compared to 2009. Another thing to note is that some neighborhoods (like Twin Peaks) have very few single family homes, so small sample sets can lead to some erroneous conclusions… for example, that Twin Peaks prices are plummeting. I may try and get a post in this week that compares 2011 and 2012 single family home sales in Twin Peaks, to give you an idea of how small data sets lead to graphs like the above.

Happy Tuesday, I’m out the door for broker’s tour. I hope you have a great day!

Castro Market Stats

I need a new cliche. I’ve blogged in the past about the different types of averages. And I’ve also blogged about apples and oranges and whether or not price per square feet is a meaningful metric in San Francisco real estate. And I had planned to sit down today and write a quick market update about the Castro neighborhood. But something happened on the way to finishing that blog post… which is mainly that the numbers were so skewed I wanted to take a moment and talk about that instead.

As you can see from the chart above (click for a larger image if you are having a hard time reading it), I’ve plotted out the November 2011 and November 2012 sales for district 5k in San Francisco, formally known as Eureka Valley/Castro. Why Eureka Valley? Read why Eureka Valley… I’ve charted out both median and average sizes, list prices, sales prices, and days on market (DOM). I’ve done this both in absolute amounts, and also calculated the corresponding price per square foot calculations in the columns for median list price, average list price, median sales price, and average sales price.

About the only useful comparison we can use this data for (IMHO) is in comparing the number of sales. And no surprise, we’ve had tight inventory all year so sales are down from 22 to 14. However, the average and median square footages that sold in November of 2011 are substantially different from those that sold in 2012. Which means that the data really isn’t useful to tell us anything about the neighborhood market in general. These market stats are also for all residential property types (single family homes, condos, TICs, and 2-4 unit buildings), so a skew in the mix of property types could also easily skew the data in one direction or the other, presenting a false conclusion for the other market types.

Since the numbers are relatively low (22 and 14, respectively), I’ve actually pulled the reports that show the individual properties that make up these two data points in time. However, it is a violation of rules to present that much sold data on the internet without having a client relationship, so I can’t just post the reports (odd, I know… but that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax). However, if you are interested in them, feel free to email or leave a comment and I can share that information with you.

Goodbye Ford, Hello Whole Foods

It’s finally happening! After years of planning, waiting, hoping, and dreaming, the former site of the Ford dealership on Market @ Dolores is finally being demolished. And what will rise in its place? Not a new Ford dealer, but instead a food dealer. To be more specific, a Whole Foods.

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As you can see from the photos above, demolition is well under way and in a few years shoppers in the neighborhood will no longer have to endure the stale hell that is the Safeway on Market street. Instead, they’ll be able to fill their locally-sourced sustainably-farmed hemp grocery bags with all sorts of organic fruits and vegetables from the local foodshed. Or Cheerios, because believe it or not you can actually buy Cheerios at Whole Foods!

As you may know from my stalking of The Madrone I’m a big fan of demolition and construction photos. I’ll try to get by the site on a regular basis (given its central location, how could I not go by on a regular basis?) and keep a running update with new photos and movies as the months go by.

What do you think of the building? Is it a location that you’d be willing to live? Are you “meh” about the condos but happy about the grocery store? Will the presence of the Whole Foods do serious damage to Safeway’s business? Will we gain one grocery store on the south side of Market street only to lose the other one on the north side of the street? (In my fantasy world , Safeway closes and Trader Joe’s takes over their location.)

Regardless of your feelings about the Whole Foods condoplex being built, I have to say I’m glad to see that the empty site is finally an active construction site. In the long run, I think it is a great addition to the neighborhood and can’t wait to see it grow.