Gazing at the reflective, champagne-hued stainless steel and glass façade of The Pacific that has brought new shine to the historical grandeur and posh prestige of San Francisco’s Pacific Heights, it’s difficult to remember that, not so long ago, it was Dugoni School of Dentistry students emerging from the former structure at the corner of Webster and Sacramento.
Today it’s high-end homebuyers seeking the finest in modern luxury in the city gathering to take in its most anticipated real estate project as it readies its 66 condos for sale this summer. The project’s 10 standalone, three-story townhouses, occupying the former dental school’s parking lot, have already been released for sale; four remain.
“The opportunity to develop 77 units in Pacific Heights is not something that comes around often,” Glenn Rescalvo, partner at Handel Architects, told us.
The firm was tapped for the project thanks to their “expertise in both adaptive reuse projects and high-end residential design,” Rescalvo said. “Additionally, the structure itself is very unique for this area of San Francisco. As a dental school, the building was essential built like a hospital, having high floors and large floorplates, which made converting it into high-end luxury residential units very appealing.”
Indeed. I had the privilege of being among a select group invited to the official groundbreaking of The Pacific in November 2014 and have watched it evolve; the buzz has only gotten louder and more lively.
While my clients wait patiently (extremely patiently) for the opportunity to purchase one of these properties, the rest of San Francisco’s high-end condo market is waiting to see how The Pacific is received once they’re officially open for business. It’s one thing to talk about how spectacular the views, the floorplans, the details, and the amenities are (and they really are). It’s another to translate that widespread awe into sales.
The condo market has continued to impress in the area — Pacific Heights’ Rockwell condos, separated from The Pacific by Lafayette Park, have sold through 95 percent of their 229 residences at an average price per square foot of $1,177. Would it surprise you to hear that the number being dangled for The Pacific could reach nearly triple that figure?
Yes, $3,000 per square foot is the over-under. Neither Trumark Urban nor Sales and Marketing Firm Polaris Pacific have yet to release actual pricing information for the condos, but that hasn’t done much to stop the chatter.
Arden Hearing, managing director of Trumark Urban, told the San Francisco Business Times that some of the top penthouse units can be combined for a “7,000 or 15,000-square-foot home,” causing the publication to muse that, “Depending on location in the building and views, that means some larger units could fetch $12 million.”
That would put The Pacific’s price in New York territory. NYC’s condo market overall, “driven in part by new construction favored by overseas buyers, is on a tear,” said CNBC. In the past year, the super-hot West Village “saw the steepest price appreciation, with average condo sales prices climbing roughly $700 per square foot,” said The Real Deal. “The average price per square foot for deals done in March 2016 was about $2,500 per square foot, compared to roughly $1,800 per foot in April 2015. That jump was partly due to the success of Greenwich Lane, a condo/townhome project “where prices regularly exceeded $3,000 a square foot and have crossed $5,000 a foot on at least two occasion.”
If this were any other project, I might say The Pacific will be an interesting gut check for the city’s luxury condo market. But the truth is, I’m not sure how much the words “absorption” or “pipeline” matter here. This project, located in a setting that is among the most admired in the world, one that hasn’t seen a new, ultra-luxe real estate offering like this in decades, and one that offers a truly inspired vision of luxury living in San Francisco, has the possibility of redefining the upscale condo market, and its pricing standard. In Rescalvo’s own words: “Pacific Heights is known for its beautiful tree lined streets, large well-kept Victorian and Edwardian homes and some of the most astonishing views. Combining all of this with units that have high ceilings, floor-to-ceiling glass, and ample living space — in the beautiful neighborhood of Pacific Heights — is unheard of.”
Like a wildfire that establishes its own weather pattern, the firestorm of interest in The Pacific simply shows no sign of dying down, especially when you consider what you get here:
- Generous space ranging from 2,404 – 3,006 square feet and functional, family-friendly, yet chi and airy floorplans designed with the input of the local luxury real estate community.
- A completely re-clad exterior and bay window elements “that we refer to as ‘glass apertures,’ which, are placed throughout the façade, providing the sensation of being suspended, overlooking a spectacular view of the city,” said Rescalvo.
- Finishes, including Arclinea Italian cabinets, Gaggenau appliances, Dornbracht, Waterworks, and Duravit and Blanco fixtures.
- Some of the city’s best views, spanning the San Francisco Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, the city skyline, and Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais.
- Common areas and amenities inspired by some of the finest luxury hotels in the world—Bulgari in London and Milan and the Setai in Miami and New York. Amenities include: shared gardens; a yoga/fitness studio; a penthouse observatory lounge; an attended lobby and concierge; a private valet garage, a fully appointed guest suite; and, “At the top of the building, a two-story space overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Mt. Tamalpias that has been designated as the owner’s lounge,” said Rescalvo. “Sharing the floor with penthouse units, this space has been designed as an indoor-outdoor living room for all of the building owners to enjoy.”
“Our mission has been to create something that has never been done before – a boutique, effortless living experience in the middle of the most desirable neighborhood in the world,” Trumark Urban’s Hearing told The San Francisco Business Journal.
In a time when “unique” doesn’t always translate to “desirable,” a new standard has been set. Will buyers be moved to move? I have little doubt.
About the Author: Joel Goodrich lives in San Francisco’s Nob Hill and works in the Pacific Heights office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. The veteran luxury real estate agent has sold some of the most expensive homes in America, including the historic 35,000 square-foot Tobin Clark Estate in Hillsborough.