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May 2, 2012

Mission All Grown Up—And Still Growing


I was running home on Monday morning after dropping my car off for servicing in SoMa. My route home brought me through the Mission, and I suddenly found myself reflecting on how much things have changed there since I first moved to San Francisco in the late ’90s.

Back then, I remember picking up my personal trainer to go to Crunch on Van Ness at 6:00am. She lived on San Carlos and 19th, and though she was willing to take public transportation to meet me at the gym in the early morning, I thought it might be safer to swing by and pick her up with my car. San Carlos is a little street parallel to Valencia, and thus was a magnet for random street activity.

It still is today, but now there are smatterings of luxury condos thrown into the mix—a sign of the times for the Inner Mission and the demographic it attracts when it comes to real estate. I thought I would check out the new condos at 179 San Carlos to see how they stack up next to recent new construction projects in the immediate area.

179 San Carlos was a vacant lot for a long time. The owner started the development process way back in 2004, with permits issued in 2008. I think they were held up at that point due to the economic downturn, so it’s no surprise that they have finished the construction in 2012 and have already sold one unit in the current market.

179 San Carlos #2 features 2BRs/2BAs, an office area and one-car parking, with about 973 square feet ($829,000). This condo has two spa-like baths, as well as a chef’s kitchen with high-end finishes. There are wide-plank floors throughout, as well as a shared yard and roof deck.

The first floor unit #1 is a 2BR/2BA unit with a large den and about 1,019 square feet. It was sold quickly with a $799,000 list price and is in contract for above the asking price.

#3 is the top floor, two-level condo that has 3BRs/2.5BAs and a reverse floor plan wherein the bedrooms are on the lower level. Initially marketed outside the MLS for $1,199,000, the price upon MLS entry is now $1,269,000.  I really liked this unit a lot; the views from the main level are extremely appealing, and the unit gets great natural light. With more than 1600 square feet, there’s plenty of room to stretch out. Of course, you’ll probably have the slickest property on the street, but it will be an enjoyable property nonetheless.

New construction condos in the Mission are selling for anywhere from $800-$1,000 square foot (witness the robust activity at 299 Valencia, which is already more than one third sold out). The deal behind the Mission’s continued popularity is that buyers—typically employed by tech companies—purchasing property there are looking for interesting, edgy urban areas in which to live that will provide proximity to public transportation, tech shuttles and restaurant/bars/cafes. 

It’s likely that the smaller-scale condo properties such as 179 San Carlos will be more prevalent in the next few years, as there isn’t that much land to be developed into larger buildings. (299 Valencia is one of the few that’s materialized.) And the Mission will more than likely attract more and more businesses that will appeal to these new Mission residents. I’d say that the neighborhood is no longer “in transition.” However, it will undoubtedly continue to grow into one of San Francisco’s most desirable neighborhoods for those looking for a mix of housing with all the basic amenities nearby.

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