A Home for Urban Pioneers

If you haven’t heard by now, it’s a hot real estate Market in San Francisco. How hot? One of the newest projects to come to market, Millwheel South, has had so much advance interest that they’ve already sold several of the homes before their official grand opening. (scroll down for more photos/slideshow)

I was at the building last week, and had a little time to take some exterior photos of the building (which fronts both Indiana and Minnesota). The addresses for the building are 1301 Indiana St. and 1280 Minnesota St., and in total there are 32 homes in the building, but less than 32 are available for sale as you read this!

On a real estate map, the area is known as the Dogpatch. I’d say it’s a neighborhood for urban pioneers. Condo developments are going up – Esprit Park condos and park are just up the block – the Mission Bay Hospital is under construction, and lots that are currently home to granite warehouses and plumbing supply shops will eventually be transformed into homes or other uses more in keeping with the city that San Francisco becomes as it transforms from a naval and industrial center to a high-tech hub.

The grocery stores haven’t arrived yet, but restaurants and little boutiques are popping up across the neighborhood. Esprit Park (the park) was redone a few years ago and immediately across the street from Millwheel is Progress Park, which I’ve written about before. Are you an urban pioneer? If so, and your price range is the high 500’s to low 800’s, I’d advise you hitch your wagon on over to Millwheel before all the homesteads are sold.

Below are some pictures from my visit to Millwheel South last week:
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Important Information: Millwheel South is represented by Polaris Group. Neither Matt Fuller nor Britton Jackson are the listing agents for Millwheel South. If you have an agent or do not want independent representation, get in touch with them via their website or head directly on over to the sales office (on-site). Even more disclaimer: Real estate in San Francisco is a small, small, world, and while Polaris operates as its own legal entity, the principals have their roots at Zephyr Real Estate.

Neighborhood Blog Roundup – April 23, 2012

Happy Monday morning everyone! What better way to start the week than to take a look at what the hot topics have been across the San Francisco neighborhood blogosphere.

I don’t doubt I’ve overlooked something phenomentally interesting, entertaining, or otherwise blog-worthy (but come on, Supervisor Mar in a hottub is pretty awesome). Leave a comment or shoot me an email with your favorite neighborhood blog!


Happy Birthday, San Francisco Public Library

Happy Birthday, Main Branch of the San Francisco Public Library! We would have raised a book to toast your birthday yesterday, but the city street signs hogged the limelight with their makeover.

When I was at the library over the weekend, they had a banner up celebrating the opening of the flagship library location, the Civic Center Main Library.

It’s across the plaza from city hall, next to the Asian Art museum, and is a public facility which means… that you can pretty much count on encounters with people from the the homeless and indigent populations that camp out nearby.

I want you to visit the library and marvel in such a great public resource, but I don’t want it to freak you out, so here are my tips for visiting the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library:

  1. Don’t use the bathrooms on the main floor. They will be scary, and most likely involve sitting in a stall next to someone having a psychotic episode and/or a very loud and very public conversation with the voices in their head. There are other bathrooms in the building, find them.
  2. The Fisher Childen’s Center in the library is an awesome place to take your kids. There are plenty of tables and workspaces, it can be a great spot to read together, do homework, or otherwise enjoy a quiet spot conducive to concentrating. Kids can also check out their own books (assuming they have a library card), which my daughter always finds to be super fun.
  3. If you need to use the internet but didn’t bring your own device, the internet stations are heavily in demand and lock you into using Internet Explorer. Which might make you cry if you use gmail.
  4. The SF history center is in the building and it’s awesome – well, awesome if you’re into that sort of thing (which I am).

Here are a few more photos from the main branch of the library:
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Hot or Not?

San Francisco street signs are getting a makeover. As you can see from the montage below, our street signs have decided to stop yelling at drivers and instead use their lower-case voice. Which is shocking at first glance, but has kind of grown on me the more I look at it.

San Francisco Street Signs Get a Makeover

Ive got a slideshow at the bottom of the post showing all of the individual street signs in better detail, for those of you that want to obsess about kerning, pixels, and other fine points of graphic design.

My first impression was that the signs somehow looked cheaper. I think it was all the extra white space on the signs, like we couldn’t afford letters that were big enough for the sign. But the more I’ve stared at the new and old San Francisco street signs side-by-side, the more the new look grows on me. While at first it felt too timid, it now just seems like a more polite sign since the letters aren’t screaming in all caps.

I spotted these signs in Forest Hill Extension while on broker’s tour today, but I’m curious where else people have been seeing them? Is there an orderly city-wide rollout of new signs? Or will they be replaced as needed, methodically rolled out over time? I’m really hoping we get new signs everywhere – and soon – not because I’m wild about the new sign, but just because seeing both old and new next to other really bothers me!

Any sign experts out there? I’m curious about what goes into sign design. Safety, readability, tradition… how did it all come together for the new San Francisco street sign? Anyone that knows anything about the backstory on our signs, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment or get in touch.

Additional pictures of new and old San Francisco street signs:
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Agents, Meet Your New Best Friend

I’ve written in the past about my concerns that fragmentation has on the real estate industry, and I also usually write on this blog for buyers and sellers, not my fellow agents.

Today, however, as I get ready to walk out the door on broker’s tour, I want to write about a local startup that I’m cheering for.

The company is Theo, and they have a couple of products. The first is TheoTour, and the other is MyTheo. If you are an agent in San Francisco with an iPhone, you owe it to yourself to download their TheoTour app and make it your new best friend. MyTheo is still in beta testing, but TheoTour has shed it’s beta status and is now available for any agent in San Francisco that wants to do business a little smarter and a lot less wastefully.

TheoTour, in a nutshell, is an app that replaces your old-school 30-page 2-line black-and-white MLS tour sheet with a smart tool for viewing homes on broker’s tour and sharing that information with your clients. Instead of killing trees so you can look at a two-line text description, download TheoTour and take a look at a full color photo of a home before deciding if you want to add it to your tour for the day.

In addition to saving paper, it has a built-in mapping function. While I’ve been touring San Francisco long enough that I can tell you where 95% of our streets are located, every now and again a little alley will come along and trip me up. In addition, it makes it a lot easier for me to put tour in a logical geographic order without having to wrack my brain, juggling six locations in a neighborhood to figure out which one makes the most sense as a starting point.

Finally, it has some basic sharing functions that make it easy to text or email a listing that you’ve seen to a client with your comments. Which is a whole lot more efficient than how I used to do it (which was to write a note on the property statement to email my client about it when I got back to my desk).

And here’s the best part: Until April 25, the app is available for free in the Apple App store. Get it now and fall in love… the pricing is expected to be as follows:

TheoTour will become a paid app starting April 25th, with a 30 day free trial period.  After the trial period, any SFAR MLS member will be able to purchase a subscription under the following plans:

  • $4 Monthly
  • $25 Annual
  • $80 Lifetime

And while I’m definitely a cheerleader for SFTheo, I also worry about them. As I’ve written at agbeat, I worry about small tech companies trying to make it big when the MLS landscape is so fractured that reaching a critical mass can be a real challenge. So in what can only be described as a win/win, go out and download TheoTour. You’ll have a smart tool that makes your tour day more efficient and enjoyable, and an awesome start-up will have one more customer to help them on their quest to build great tools for the SF real estate community.

Disclaimer: I’ve been a beta tester for their programs since last fall. I just found out yesterday that they have generously rewarded their beta-testers with a free one year subscription to the TheoTour app. That said, I haven’t received and wouldn’t accept any compensation for writing this blog post. (although, to be honest, in the spirit of putting my money where my mouth is, I do plan on purchasing a lifetime subscription to the product when it becomes available).

More pics from the TheoTour App:
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