Hayes Valley’s Newest Container Building

If you are a long time reader, you are no doubt aware that we are big fans of Hayes Valley and Patricia’s Green. What was once unhospitiable urban terrain, home to freeway off-ramps is now a bustling and vibrant urban destination. The folks at Proxy are behind the temporary installation/conversion of shipping containers on empty lots in the neighborhood that are awaiting development.

Newest container building in Hayes Valley

The shipping containers are currently home to a Beer Garden, Smitten (awesome!) and a Ritual Coffee location. Work has been taking place over the last several weeks on a new shipping container business, located at roughly 489 Hayes. What sets this shipping container apart from the other businesses, though, is that this shipping container is actually 3 containers that have been welded together vertically. Shipping container skyscrapers, be still a hipsters heart!

I have no idea what business will be the lucky recipient of this really cool space, but it has been fun to watch the work progress on the job site over the past couple of weeks. The proxy site doesn’t list any “coming-soon” businesses, but the project contact for the building site is also listed on the proxy website, so I’m sure that they have had a hand in this Hayes Valley project. Looking at the space, it seems (duh) incredibly vertical, so I’m not sure if the plan is for office space, the layout and flow don’t seem particularly hospitable to a retail site, but perhaps the developers have some evil-genius plan up their sleeves?

Do you have any tips about what is happening at this Hayes Valley construction site? If so, please leave a comment below or get in touch via email/twitter/phone/smoke-signals. We’d love to hear what the planned use for this vertical shipping container turned skyscraper shall be.


The Value of Parking

Not to sound like a completely left-wing lunatic San Francisco liberal, but this morning I was listening to NPR and… there was a story about the value of parking spots and if Hong Kong real estate has entered a bubble phase based on selling prices for parking spots.

What’s a Parking Spot Worth?

Recently, a developer sold off parking spots in a suburban Hong Kong apartment complex for up to $167,000 per spot. The NPR story also reports that a parking spot in a high-end neighborhood sold for HK$ 3,000,000 which – at current exhcange rates – comes out to roughly $387,000.

All of which makes parking in San Francisco look downright cheap!

I usually counsel buyers and sellers to value an independent, 1 car parking spot at about $50,000. The value can vary a bit based on neighborhood, the specifics of the parking spot, and the building it is located in, but my experience has been that 50k is, as a rule of thumb, pretty reasonable. A valet parking license in the Millennium, for example, sells for $35,000 while developers have sold parking in some smaller new construction buildings this year for as little as $20,000.

The increase in the value of Hong Kong parking spots are the side effect of recent regulations that are trying to put a lid on the already hot Hong Kong real estate market. However, because the recent laws didn’t affect the transfer of parking spots, investors and others have poured money into the market.

Is $167,000 worth it for a parking spot? $125,000? $50,000? What value do you place on having a parking spot? What do you think of the current value of San Francisco residential parking? Too expensive? Underpriced? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you’re feeling shy, feel free to drop me an email or a tweet!

Duboce Park Mini-Makeover

From the fine folks at Friends of Duboce Park comes a reminder about an upcoming community meeting that will provide an overview of changes proposed to the park’s entrance at the corner of Steiner and Duboce. As you can see from the rendering below, the changes will “bump-in” to the corner of the park, providing seating and community/neighborhood information. The meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday, November 28 from  7–8 pm in the Harvey Milk Photo Center Exhibition Room.

Proposed corner of Duboce Park. Image source: Friends of Duboce Park

From an email sent out by the group:

Friends of Duboce Park (FDP) is holding the second of three community meetings tomorrow night to present and get feedback on the design for improvements to the Steiner Street and Duboce Avenue corner of Duboce Park to make it a more welcoming and attractive gateway to the park. The corner is currently a dark, damp, and uninviting spot. We want your feedback. The community meeting tomorrow will be at the Harvey Milk Photo Center Exhibition Room from 7-8 p.m.

Working with a group of local landscape architects, FDP has come up with a plan to create a more inviting gateway into Duboce Park. As the picture above shows, a low, semi-circular wall creates more seating, a common request from park users. The design of the low seating wall echoes the wall around the Scott Street Labyrinth, with angled cutouts on top of the wall to deter skateboarding. Low shrubs and plants behind the wall keep the direct line of sight into the park and deter people from hopping over the seating wall to enter the park.

Additional lighting to match existing park lighting fixtures will improve safety at the corner. The addition of the way finder signs will point to and offer distances to nearby key facilities and neighborhoods, for example, Harvey Milk Center for the Arts, Harvey Milk Photography Center, the Lower Haight and Castro neighborhoods, CPMC, Buena Vista Park, Dolores Park, etc. The way finder signs also coordinate in style with existing park fixtures…

Noe Valley Market Stats

It wouldn’t be a holiday party without being asked at least once, “How’s the Market?” And since I won’t see all of you this holiday season, I wanted to take some time to break out how the market is doing in various San Francisco neighborhoods. Today we’ll take a quick look at real estate market stats for Noe Valley, San Francisco MLS sub-district 5C. Noe Valley had – unsurprisingly – another strong month with the “leading” MSI (months supply of inventory) indicator down 18% year over year while the “trailing” MSI is down 58%. See below for definitions of both the leading and trailing months supply of inventory calculations.

Regardless of how you calculate it, inventory in Noe Valley – and across San Francisco – is incredibly low. The MSI for Noe Valley (leading) peaked last December at about 3.6 months supply of inventory, compared to this past October which ended the month with about 1.6 months supply of inventory. MSI in Noe Valley hit a low of 1.0 in February of this year, which buyers experienced as writing multiple offers and sellers experienced as receiving multiple offers! As we head into the quiet time of the year for San Francisco real estate, expect to see a slight easing (increase) in MSI.

The “leading indicator� method of calculating MSI divides the number of properties currently for sale by the number of properties that went under contract.

The “trailing indicator� method divides the number of properties currently for sale by the number of properties that sold (closed escrow).

Data obtained from the SFARMLS is deemed reliable but not warranted. Your mileage may vary. If you have specific questions about a neighborhood or your property, don’t hesitate to get in contact or leave a comment below.

Divisadero Street – from Zero to Infinity

One of the things I love about San Francisco neighborhoods are how wildly they vary. Say what you will about San Francisco, our neighborhoods each have a unique character, charm, and style. And while The Marina might feel like it is a thousand miles away from the Western Addition, they both have Divisadero Street in common. I’ve been wanting to drive some San Francisco streets from start to finish (or finish to start) to give you a sense of how much things can change along one street in just a few blocks.

This morning I tackled Divisadero Street, which starts in the Buena Vista/Ashbury Heights neighborhood – that’s district 5F if you are playing along at home with a SFAR MLS map – and ends at Marina Boulevard in the Marina District.


Divisadero Street runs through or touches the border of all of the following neighborhoods (I’m going to go in the order you see in the video, which actually starts at the end of Divisadero and works back to the zero block). If you are curious about learning more about any of the neighborhoods, follow the link, I’ve made videos for many (but not all) of them:

I really enjoyed making this first video of a street in San Francisco from start to finish. What other streets would you be interested in seeing from beginning to end? I’ve definitely got Folsom street on the list, but I’m sure there are plenty of other streets that would make for a fun video. I hope you enjoy watching the video, feel free to leave your comments, critiques, and suggestions below.

You’re Parklet Isn’t This Hip

I’ve written before about parklets, and how they vary from their friends in the eco-system of urban parks, the mini-park and the park. I love parklets, even that one on Hayes street in front of Arlequin that would make an excellent parking spot for me on a regular basis. But I can walk a little farther, I’m cool with it. There are some pretty sweet and creative parklets throughout the city, and the other night I was in the Mission district for a soccer game and stumbled across the Deepistan National Parklet.

(click on any image below for a larger version/slideshow)

And I’m sorry, I don’t care how hip your parklet it, the Deepistan parklet probably has it beat. It’s got its own facebook page, with more fans than my facebook page (I’m not bitter, I’m just impressed. And wondering if I could become a hip parklet in the Mission?). And while I really love the parklet, what caught my eye was the Victorian home behind the parklet that is painted in bright silver. Yes, you heard me right – bright silver!

I’ve seen Victorian homes painted many a shade of, well, pretty much everything. I’ve also seen more than my fair share of Victorian homes that have been sadly abused. But I’m pretty sure that this is the first Victorian I’ve seen painted in shiny silver, and the crazy thing is that it works. At least, IMHO, it really works quite well. I have no idea if the folks behind the nation of Deepistan are the same creative and brave souls that painted their home silver. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the two are somehow related. After all, as the old cliche goes, the hipster never falls far from the coffee shop.

So hats off to the people of Deepistan and the shiny silver Victorian, they made me grin on a chilly Saturday evening!