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October 11, 2010

Preview: 1 Ecker in Yerba Buena

I stopped in to preview the “new” 51-unit brick and timber condo development at 1 Ecker over the weekend. Some of you might recall that condos here were on the market a couple years ago, but that the development was then foreclosed upon. The new owners reportedly paid $14M and expect to spend several million more finishing the building. Delivery is expected in early December.

1 Ecker is located between 1st and Second Streets, Stevenson and Jessie. Formerly an icehouse in the 1900s, the floor plans include lofts, junior one-bedrooms, one- and two-bedroom homes. There are also two commercial spaces (one of which is the current sales office) that have not yet been leased. Ecker Place itself is a pretty quiet street, adjacent to Golden Gate University and Yank Sing:

The lobby has been updated with some nice modern touches and red accents:
Off the lobby is the “visual urban garden,” a space designed to be seen but not wandered.

There are twelve lofts on the first floor, and 13 units on each of the other three floors. Price ranges are as follows:
Junior 1BRs
444 – 728 sq ft
$299,000 – $518,000
HOAs: $354 – $453/mo

589 – 944 sq ft
$439,000 – $572,000
HOAs: $395 – $500/mo

954 – 1,260 sq ft
$599,000 – $903,000
HOAs: $499 – $586/mo

I toured three different units on the fourth and top floor, including #403, the largest 2BR unit. Appliances are included, but not washer/dryers. And keep in mind that only the largest units have gas-powered ranges; the smaller units have electric ones. Here’s a shot of the kitchen area in #403:

Unit 403 faces east and north, and is about 1,250 square feet. I also checked out a nice Jr 1BR listed at $418,086 that faces Market Street. Unit 411 is a 1BR that doesn’t have much of an outlook (unless you consider your neighbor’s window to be an outlook). That’s listed at $484,000.

The rooftop lounge is a nice space, outfitted with couches, tables and flower boxes:

There is storage, but no garage in the building. Lack of parking will be sort of the kicker for most buyers; however, 1 Ecker is similar to recent development 25 Hotaling in that it targets downtown professionals, empty nesters and pied a terre seekers who will be relying more on their feet or public transportation to get around. And for those intermittent car trips, there are also car-sharing pods nearby.

1 Ecker is certainly located in a convenient area that has even more potential now that the nearby Transbay Terminal is slated for development. The property is also around the block from the high-end Millennium, as well as Salt House restaurant. Rail and bus lines along Market are only two blocks away. As you can imagine, the Walk Score is 98 for this property.

I’m going to bet that 1 Ecker’s condo sale chances in 2010 are a lot better than they were the first time around. (Assuming no foreclosures happen in the near future.) For one thing, the real estate market has improved in the city. And though the units are on the small side, their target demographic will probably not be looking for large homes to fill with furniture. Additionally, there are not many competing new developments left in San Francisco’s downtown area (One Hawthorne, BLU and 829 Folsom are about it right now.)

But with 51 units to sell, I’m betting prices on some of these units will certainly be negotiable.

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