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Posted by Adam Brinklow

Outspoken architect’s latest work in waiting

 Renderings courtesy of Stanley Saitowitz

Starcitect Stanley Saitowitz, the outspoken architect behind many a stark and startling modern San Francisco building, designed a new home for sale at 3820 Paradise Drive in Belvedere.

Or at least, he designed what will very likely soon be a new home at 3820 Paradise Drive. Right now the six-bed, five-bath, stylized home has not yet materialized beyond its designs and the matching permits, all on offer along with the matching property.

Buyers with extremely deep pockets, as well as a yen for Saitowitz’s 8,000-square-foot vision, can lay down $12.75 million for the land and the plans, or go whole hog and pay $35 million and let the seller go ahead and oversee construction now.

That seller is art dealer Serge Sorokko, owner of Sorokko Gallery near Union Square, who makes the big offer after spending “more than a decade developing and working on entitlements for the Tiburon sites,” according to a press release from his office.

From the outside the would-be home most resembles some of the cooly contemporary museums that have in the past exhibited Saitowitz’s work, with a long, low profile that nestles beneath the nearby trees and hills. It’s encased in glass on all sides allowing light and visibility throughout.

On top of the Saitowitz home, Sorokko is also putting up a nearby plot with designs for another 8,000-square-foot home by Craig Steely for $18 million. A third property is in the design phase right now.

In case the size of the price tag left any doubt about what kind of buyer Sorokko and company are in the market for, his Paradise Drive sales pitch promises that the completed homes will “spotlight the surrounding natural elements seamlessly while serving as a striking stage for buyers’ own art collections.”

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Posted by Brock Keeling

Classic abode undergoes major makeover

This circa-1910 Victorian, located in Noe Valley, has done way with the past in lieu of a sleek, contemporary look.

Billed by the realtor as an “Edwardian-era cottage,” 564 Valley features four beds, three and a half baths, and an ample 3,064 square feet.

After a recent overhaul, it now boasts interiors and amenities de rigueur with today’s renovation-happy lifestyle—open floor plan, glass and steel railing, manicured backyard, and, yes, a marble kitchen island.

It’s most noteworthy aspects are is its prime and peaceful location (nestled on a cul de sac) and the two private terraces.

Asking is $3,499,000.

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

City approved 54 southern-lying new homes at former school in May

The owners of a 54-unit townhouse development in Portola, located a few blocks from McLaren Park, have put the whole lot up for sale, which includes plans, permits, and parcels.

Asking $10.75 million, an opportunity for some other would-be developer to fill in some in-fill in the city’s southernmost reaches.

Once upon a time, 495 Cambridge was Bridgemont High School (also known as Bridgemont Junior High). But the schoolhouse fell on hard times in 1998 and ended up evicted.

The San Francisco Chronicle wrote at the time:

Wells Fargo Bank yesterday evicted students of a Portola District religious prep school and more than 30 low-income boarders from their home.

[...] The school defaulted on a $4.7 million note, allowing Wells Fargo to foreclose and buy the four-acre former Roman Catholic convent. The bank then used the Ellis Act to clear a 30-unit apartment house attached to the school.

Back in 2014, the Planning Department said the circa-1951 school buildings were being used as a daycare center. And by May of 2016 the designs that came up to the Planning Commission called for “demolition of vacant school buildings and the construction of 29 residential buildings (nine stacked duplex buildings and 20 town-homes) with a total of 54 dwelling units on an 85,191 square foot lot.”

The city kicked the proposal down the road a full year before eventually approving it in May of this year.

And now the entire site, permits included, is on the market, described as “36 townhouses (attached units) and 18 duplexes,” with seven of the homes priced to be affordable for buyer making 90 percent of the area median income.

Architect Jeremy Schaub designed the new buildings.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

Only 10,218 more days left

Fun yet fleeting was the solar eclipse that passed through the United States today. Crowds gathered on rooftops. People planned viewing parties. Retinas danced close to the edge of irrevocable eye damage. Merriment was had by all.

But when will the Bay Area get the chance to do it all over again? Not for several decades.

The next solar eclipse over the United States will be in 2024. Unfortunately, only the midwest and east coast will get to see that celestial event in its totality. The northwest will have to wait until August 12, 2045 to see the next total solar eclipse pass through the Bay Area.

If you simply cannot wait that long to see the moon block out the sun, fret not. Another one is soon on the way.

“Total solar eclipses happen somewhere in the world every 18 months or so,” repots Vox. “That’s how long it takes for the specific conditions that create eclipses (the phases of the moon, the distance of the moon to Earth, and the moon crossing the plane of Earth’s orbit) to line back up.”

 Map via GreatAmericanEclipse.com

The next one will be on July 2, 2019, covering over a wide path of the Southern Pacific before passing across Chile and Argentina.

For the truly curious, NASA mapped every eclipse (lunar and solar) that will occur for the next 1,000 years.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

Did you see it?

Even a thick layer of fog failed to dampen Bay Area denizens’ interest in Monday morning’s solar eclipse. It was the first total eclipse of the sun visible in the United States in 99 years.

The moon began its pass in front of the sun around 9 a.m. on the west coast. It fully covered the sun between 10:15-10:18 along a 70-mile-wide stretch in Oregon. After months of waiting, the full eclipse lasted roughly two minutes.

While San Francisco didn’t get the vantage point other areas did—only 14 states were in the path of totality—northern California was able to see 76 percent coverage. Diehard fans headed to Oregon or other states with better coverage. But here in the Bay Area, folks took to rooftops, parks, and plazas to see what was up. Literally.

So what did the brouhaha look like in San Francisco and the East Bay? It looked like a crescent moon peeking through the clouds.

Here are some scenes from today’s rare solar eclipse.

San Francisco

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solar eclipse viewing party #LifeAtVisa #yolo #SFsummer #solareclipse2017 #solareclipse #nofilter

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Seeing it with friends is better than seeing it alone. # #ishouldhavedonemyhair #twins #whatatimetobealive

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

Tunnel tests on new trains complete, the transit agency plans to start switching new cars for old

Starting today, Muni light rail trains will once again roll through the tunnel between West Portal and Montgomery Station at nights and on weekends.

Weekend service and weeknight service after 9:30 PM between those stations has been a no-go since July 22, when SFMTA halted that tunnel traffic to provide a forum to test the agency’s new trains cars, which it says required some 1,000 hours of track time to be deemed suitable for public consumption.

The transit agency operated night and weekend buses to replace some of the suspended service. But riders complained that the bus service was “crowded, infrequent and confusingly routed,” as the San Francisco Examiner put it, prompting the city to eventually press larger buses with more seating into service for the fill-in rides.

Despite the month-long hassle, SFMTA says it had to bite the bullet to get its new vehicle rail-worthy.

Replying to comments on an agency blog announcing the shutdown in July, a spokesperson explained that the regular Muni schedule didn’t provide sufficient time for testing:

There is regular work that needs to be done [after service hours] and that limits the time for testing. The additional time also allows an entire test procedure to be conducted without interruption. This means greater consistency and time to review test results.

The agency adds that on top of testing the trains themselves it had to check how the automated systems the trains interact with worked with the new cars.

But that pain is over and done with (at least until the next time service needs to shut down somewhere), and now Muni hopes to start putting some of its fresh coaches into service this year.

Right not there are only five, but if all goes to plan 215 new trains will go into service over the next decade. Among other promises, SFMTA director John Haley says the new trains will run smoother and quieter on the rails even at top speeds of 50 miles per hour.

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

Neighborhood coalition says all market-rate development in the neighborhood should stop

The proposed 10-story, 330-unit development at 16th and Mission streets—which if built would loom over the nearby BART plaza—will go before the Planning Commission in November.

As the San Francisco Chronicle writes, Maximus, the developer behind the contentious construction dubbed 1979 Mission but that opponents nicknamed the “Monster on the Mission,” started on a new charm offensive last week trying to win over more neighborhood support in a closed meeting with business owners.

Protesters surrounded the building and four local cops guarded the door, according to the Chronicle. Meanwhile, Maximus is floating new offers to make the building more attractive to skeptics:

The developer is now looking at slicing off a piece of the property and giving it to the city for 100 percent affordable housing. In addition, Maximus is hoping to convert some critics at nearby Marshall School by dedicating some units to public schoolteachers. The developer has also agreed to renovate the school’s playground.

But convincing the most vocal of local plaza development opponents—a group called the Plaza 16 Coalition—will be something of a heavy lift.

Plaza 16 wants Maximus to give up the land entirely. Which is not exactly compatible with the developer’s present plans for the site. Or with any plans it could ever propose.

Among the group’s stated demands:

“We demand that Maximus Real Estate Partners abandon their current project at 1979 Mission,” and “We demand that the owning partners of 1979 Mission [...] transfer the land to community hands.”

There does not appear to be a lot of room there for middle ground.

Plaza 16 says it’s a collaboration of some 100 other local groups, ranging from the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club to the Clarion Alley Mural Project.

Back in April, Beyond Chron editor Randy show observed that, counterintuitive as it may sound, all of the new affordable housing development in the Mission makes development skeptics that much less likely to back more new construction like this:

When you add inclusionary affordable units, roughly 1,000 new affordable units in the Mission will soon be built. [...]

The Mission’s large affordable housing pipeline means that opponents of the Monster feel less compelled to back the project in exchange for greater affordability. Plaza 16’s position of “100% affordable housing on the site or no project” seems less a bargaining stance than a line in the sand.

The developer’s site for the project—which has notably not been updated since 2015, reflecting the lower profile it’s kept in recent years—points out that “1979 Mission Street will not displace residential homes because no housing exists on the site today.”

It also tries to frame the scale and location of the building as a positive, saying it will be “a visual and recognizable community focal point at a major [...] intersection.”

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

The sun will rise—and disappear—in the east

Monday morning may see fog in the city coinciding with the day’s total solar eclipse. It is San Francisco in the summer, after all.

With that in mind, some sun watchers may plan to decamp for a different collection of ZIP codes rather than risk an obstructed view of a spectacle that won’t come around again for nearly 30 years.

Here’s a look at the Monday morning forecast in the East Bay:

  • Alameda County

The National Weather Service says it’s nothing but blue skies smiling at Oakland and the surrounding area during the relevant period, a sunny (and then shady) contrast to the gray day across the bay.

“Mostly sunny, with a high near 77,” is the word for the daylight hours on Monday, with of course an added 100 percent certainty of 75 percent darkness starting around 9:00 a.m. or so.

NOAA’s Cloudiness Map, on the other hand, gives Oakland watchers only a 47.5 percent chance of being able to reasonably discern the event, with “overcast” being the most likely of the five listed cloud cover types for that day.

NOAA calculates this based on historical records of cloud cover in the same spot in year’s prior, so it’s not necessarily a fool-proof system. Hence why it’s called a prediction, of course.

Hayward, on the other hand, has an over 57 percent shot at a clear view that day, according to NOAA, with “clear” being the most likely conditions.

  • Contra Costa County

NWS is calling for even sunnier prospects further east on Monday, with nary a cloud nor hovering fog in sight. “Sunny, with a high near 83,” is the word, again with the aforementioned interruption of sunlight notwithstanding.

NOAA gives Concord and the surrounding area an 88.8 percent chance of having a clear view, with virtually no historic precedent for cloud cover. Further south around the Livermore area it’s 86.6 percent.

Clearly the best best for a cosmic view is to beat a path east. But we all know how fickle the Bay Area’s microclimates can be, and no forecast can tell us with certainty what fate is written in the stars (or barometric pressure), so anything could happen.

 Luc Viator

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

A clash of contemporary contemporaries

Friday is time for the High & the Low, a Curbed column chronicling the most and least expensive homes sold in San Francisco in the last seven days. Here’s this week’s pageant of extremes.

In its previous life, 432 Moraga was as nondescript as a house comes in the city, an inoffensive 1923 build with three beds, two baths, and a $1.22 million sales receipt from 2014.

Three years later this home came out the other side as a much more sleek and stark four-bed, four-and-a-half bath bit of business.

True, the interiors, though plush, are predictable with the exception of a few Tetris-like room shapes in the floor plan. But at least sharp, hard angles of its bare and minimalist new curb face are potentially intriguing.

As realtor Pete Brannigan (who did not handle 432 Moraga’s sale this week, for the record) notes, though, this rebuild was something of a roll of the dice. The previous million dollar-plus sale is a big chunk of money but hardly unusual in the city.

It’s recent $2.99 million asking price, on the other hand, was a bit more ambitious. Brannigan quotes a Paragon realtor pointing out, “Builders took a big risk hoping that buyers would accept the $2.5 [million] to $3 million price point.”

Golden Gate Heights is hardly a low-end neighborhood. But of the half dozen homes listed there right now on Redfin, for example, only one asks more than $2 million, and none approach $3 million.

So it may have been an open question quite how much starch was in this potential sale. The final result seems to have paid off, though, closing the deal a week ago for $3.15 million. Presumably, that qualifies as a plan coming together.

And in a handy coincidence, this week’s biggest bargain home opts for a certified contemporary look all its own, and this 11-unit circa 2012 condo collective also was until recently a much less ambitious looking building.

The number 201 studio apartment of this SoMa locale sold for $249,000 when knew and could possibly have doubled that money in the last five years, although the list price stopped a bit short at the $449,000 mark.

And in an admirable bit of restraint this sale managed to keep the final bid under half a million dollars, coming out the San Francisco equivalent of a thrifty deal at $465,000 this week. Even studios that dip below the $500K mark seem like scarce quarry these days, so enjoy it while it lasts.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

1930s Spanish-Mediterranean comes views of the Golden Gate Bridge

Too often in San Francisco, multi-million-dollar properties are built, renovated, and exchanged, all of them with lackluster staircases. Such a shame. So drama-free. So listless. Without naming names, homes upward of $5 million offer muted, rinky-dink stairs that have all the glamour of an office building stairwell.

But not 465 Marina.

Featuring six beds, five and a half baths, and roughly 5,420 square feet, this Spanish-Med gem, right across the street from the Marina Green, boasts a circular staircase replete with wooden stairs and banister.

Of coure, it’s hardly a sweeping staircase fit for Norma Desmond’s final descent, but it’s still comparatively grand for San Francisco real estate.

But that’s not all: Other choice details include new hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, fireplace, and large picture windows with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

And do note the window in the master bedroom’s closet. Little touches like that are what take properties to the next level.

Asking is $8,995,000.

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

Do not look directly at the sun—seriously

Monday’s total solar eclipse will not be totally total here in San Francisco, only obscuring about 75 percent of our view of the sun at its height at 10:15 a.m. But it should still be quite a spectacle.

And observers who want to take in that spectacle will need the precaution of some spectacles. NASA warns solar gazers:

“The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as eclipse glasses [...] or solar viewers.

“Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun; they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.”

Only those within the totality of the eclipse (which lies both north and east of Northern California) can look at it safely with the naked eye, and even then only for a moment.

But locals who still don’t have specialized shades in hand will have to hunt around and hope they haven’t all been snatched up by other eager would-be cosmic observers. A few potential leads:

  • The San Francisco Main Library will have 300 pairs for guests of their viewing party on Monday, “first come, first serve.” Remember, it won’t get completely dark here, so people will see you if you try to cut in line.
  • Previously, America’s libraries had millions of pairs of give-away glasses. Most of them are gone, but the Space Science site map still lists the Ortega Street branch as an SF pick-up point, so it may be your last best hope.
 Public Domain
  • The Exploratorium sells eclipse glasses for $2.75 each, although they warned the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday that they were selling out fast.
  • Earlier this week the South San Francisco Library was advertising some of the free shades through Saturday. But only “as supplies last,” so it is definitively time to start hurrying.
  • For the truly desperate, the Lick Observatory in Hamilton City was also still packing specs this week, at $2.50 each. That’s Hamilton City in Glenn County, by the way, more than 160 miles from San Francisco. But the next total solar eclipse won’t hit Northern California until 2045 (giving us a much better view then), so for some it might be worth the trek.
  • The San Jose Mercury News reported this week that Lowe’s stores in Richmond and Gilroy still had plenty in stock. There may yet be a pair in waiting if you call around.
  • Finally, although vendors like 7-11, Best Buy, Toys R Us, and Walmart said they sold out days or even weeks ago, it is barely possible that they’ve gotten a few of the hot-sellers back in stock at the last minute (or were holding a strategic reserve to boost the price just before the big event). This is pretty desperate, but that’s what comes of desperate times.

On a final note, beware of shady deals on off-brand eclipse glasses that may not actually protect your eyes. Anyone who has a suspiciously high volume of solar-shielded specs might be trying to sell you a corona calamity in the making.

 Family Flickr

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

From a fountain of turtles to a misting dandelion, these gushers will have you gushing

With all of the buzz lately about restoring Armand Vaillancourt’s polarizing but perennially topical fountain in Justin Herman Plaza, it’s worth remembering that San Francisco seems to have a distinctly love/hate relationship with fountains as a medium in general.

Some of the city’s most glamorous geysers have met with mixed reactions in their time. Others may have been well received but fell into neglect and run dry. While others are just overlooked entirely.

But with California’s first post-drought summer in years drawing to an end and the spigots still flowing, it’s time to laud the distinctive watermark that these pieces leave on our fair city, before we have to risk the chance that the fickle California weather gods leaving them all left high and dry again soon.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

True story

 Photos via Redfin

Arguably the best installment of the Real World franchise—introducing the world to such characters as Pedro Zamora, Pam Ling, Judd Winick, and a hygiene-free bike messenger who will remain nameless—the San Francisco season of the MTV reality show lives on in the hearts of many Gen Xers.

For several months in 1994, a group of seven strangers lived inside Russian Hill’s 949-953 Lombard. And now that space, where laughter, tears, and peanut butter atrocities were all caught on camera and launched into the pop culture lexicon, is on the market.

The circa-1925 Russian Hill home is now being sold as a triplex. After a fire tore through it ten years ago—a neglected scented candle reportedly caused of the blaze—it’s been redone. Gone are the purple and orange colors of the ’90s.

Today it features bright white interiors, new hardwood floors, and updated kitchen and bathrooms.

Rumor has it if you listen closely, you can still hear Cory crying about only God knows what this time.

Featuring seven beds and seven baths, spread out across the three units, the top unit has exclusive access to the 1,500-square-foot roof deck.

This house (which shouldn’t be confused with the home featured in the second Real World: San Francisco, MTV’s blasphemous and detestable 2013 failed return the Baghdad by the Bay) hit the market in May, but it’s been making the rounds as of late.

In 2014 one of the two-bedroom units was renting for a cool $5,800. Anyone interested in purchasing this slice of reality television, will need plenty of cash. Asking is $6,999,000.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

The shade of it all

Update: As of Monday morning, low fog has blanketed San Francisco and parts of the Bay Area. If you want to see the solar eclipse, traveling east will be your best bet. Otherwise, you can watch it via livestream.

On Monday, August 21, the nation will see a rare astronomical event: a total eclipse of the sun, caused when the moon moves directly between the sun and the earth.

While the eclipse is expected to be visible across most of the U.S., the part of the country that will experience its totality—i.e., when the moon completely blocks the sun—is far more limited.

The nearest place to see the total eclipse is in Oregon. In preparation, the state is expecting millions of visitors within its borders around that time. (Only 14 states will see the corona, the eclipse in its totality.) But for those who can’t head up to Oregon at 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, will the eclipse still be worth watching in San Francisco?


According to Vox, the path of the totality is only about 70 miles wide, and will be best viewed in the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and the Southeast. (Vox also has a handy interactive tool that tells you how much of the eclipse you’ll be able to see in your zip code.)

Although the Bay Area isn’t in the total eclipse region, the region will see 75 percent to 76 percent coverage.

The eclipse should begin in San Francisco around 9:05 a.m., and peak at roughly 10:22.

One potential snafu for watching in San Francisco: the weather. The city is known for its foggy days, and this summer has been a big one for Karl. Heading north of Sausalito or anywhere in the East Bay could mean more reliable, clear weather.

 An amateur astronomer from Nehru Science Centre examing his telescope during the solar eclipse at Gilbert Hill. The eclipse was not seen in the city due to fog and cloud cover. Photo by Vijayanand Gupta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
People watching a 2009 solar eclipse in Mumbai, India.

As for where you can see the eclipse, there will be many places in the Bay Area to witness the shadiness.

Pay careful attention to the solar eclipse glasses you purchase, especially online. Not all companies hawking viewers can be trusted.

“To properly view the Sun lead up to and following the eclipse, you need solar filter glasses that are in good condition and meet the standards set by the International Organization for Standardization,” reports The Verge. (You could even build your own eclipse viewer.)

For those who plan on venturing north to Oregon and into the path of totality, partial eclipse will start around 9:06 a.m., peaking at around 10:15 a.m.

 Photo by Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures

According to Curbed Seattle, “Those within 10 to 20 miles of the tip of the lunar shadow will experience what feels like a brief nightfall.”

The next solar eclipse in the United States won’t happen until April 28, 2024, when it will travel between Texas and Maine.

Update: The solar eclipse will have an affect on our electricity grids, shutting off a lot of electricity production as it moves across our country’s solar arrays.

Forbes reports: “The shadow from the moon will be 70 miles wide as it races across the United States at well over 1,000 miles per hour, from Portland, Oregon, to Charleston, South Carolina. On the way, it will cut solar power production by about 9,000 MW (see figure below), about as much electricity as produced by fifteen coal fired power plants.”

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available leading up to the eclipse.

Update: Here are 8 places to catch the celestial event if you are in the East Bay. Also, because it bears repeating, you need to use the solar-eclipse-approved filters. Staring at the sun without them will cause serious retina damage.

What will San Francisco’s weather be like? Possible foggy on the morning of the eclipse. Here’s what to look out for.

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Posted by Breanna Reeves

Phenomenon visible in the U.S. for the first time in 40 years

On August 21 a total solar eclipse will pass through the United States for the first time in nearly 40 years, according to NASA. But not all states will be able to feast their eyes on the full eclipse. In fact, only 14 states will have total visibility of the eclipse.

Don’t fret, everyone will have the opportunity to experience a partial eclipse. San Francisco will experience a partial eclipse at 10:15 a.m. PDT and will be able to see 75 percent of the sun blocked.

This sighting is rare and lasts roughly two minutes, and you don’t want to miss it.

We’ve mapped out the best places with high vantage points and great views of the sky that will give you a clear view of the partial eclipse (if Karl plays nice, that is).

Updates: Here are eight choice places in the East Bay to catch the solar eclipse.

Weather-wise, fog is on the horizon and in the air on the morning of the eclipse. Here’s what to look out for.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

What to expect above for the big celestial event

Update: As of Monday morning, low fog has blanketed San Francisco. If you want to see the solar eclipse, head east. Otherwise, you can watch it via livestream.

As expected, the weather in San Francisco will reportedly be foggy on the morning on the solar eclipse, Monday, August 21.

According to the National Weather Service’s 10-day forecast, there will be “patchy fog before noon,” which could mean an entirely obscured celestial phenomenon. However, Weather Underground predicts a cloudy morning with sun breaking through around 9 a.m. on the morning of the eclipse.

These forecasts are subject to change.

Typical cloud cover on August 21

Using data. for August 21 in the United States from 2001 to 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), working with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies (NCICS), put together a cloudiness map—or “average historical cloudiness.”

“Historically speaking, cloudiness may factor into each location’s chance for a good viewing. NOAA’s NCEI and the Cooperative Institutes for Climate and Satellites–North Carolina (CICS-NC) reviewed past cloud conditions for August 21,” notes NCEI. “We found that the coasts could be susceptible to cloudier conditions and that increased cloud cover may be possible as the eclipse travels across the country east of the Mississippi River.”

Which is to say, cloudy skies are possible throughout the nation. But locally-speaking, heading to the East Bay might be your best bet.

Karl or shine eclipse events

So what happens if, as expected, fog blankets San Francisco during the eclipse? Well, there’s always the NASA livestream of the eclipse—which the American Museum of Natural History will be broadcasting at the Hayden Planetarium that afternoon.

And be sure to check out The Verge’s comprehensive coverage of the eclipse, who will be livestreaming the event.

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

Five new rentals, from Bernal Heights to Japantown

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person's studio is another person's townhouse? Today's price: $1,700.

↑ Note that there is neither a kitchen nor a kitchenette in this bay-shaped Tenderloin studio. Instead, it offers a mini-fridge and microwave. That’s it, so not ideal for gastronomes. A tight squeeze for most renters, especially at $1,695/month, it’s still a pretty place located inside a handsome building. Also, this one-bath pad also allows pets. Small ones, ideally.

↑ Of course, on the other side of Van Ness Avenue in Japantown, things are a tiny bit more spacious and a tiny bit better stocked, with kitchen and combination bedroom/living room a hop and a skip apart in this Sutter Street one-bath studio. Actually, this building is rather handsome too, albeit it with a low-lying profile. And the price is a shave less at $1,675/month, but the catch comes in the “sorry, no pets” message appended at the foot of the ad. There really is no having it all.

↑ And then there’s a highly efficient studio in Bernal Heights, this barely-there, whisper-sized pocket of a one-bed in-law apartment on Peralta that advertises itself at a mere 175 square square feet and asks $1,650/month. Ironically, the shared yard that it opens up onto provides the tenant with many times the space. If this tiny terrace looks familiar, it’s because it last appeared on Comparisons two weeks ago. But back then it was asking $150 more a month, so to celebrate its sudden discount, here it is again.

↑ Technically, this other one-bath in-law in the Richmond claims to be even smaller, advertised at just 120 square feet—a size that should make every renter in the Bay Area sit down and have a good, solid think about what’s going on these days. But in fact, this ad reads suspiciously like someone trying to pass off their spare bedroom as a separate apartment. Several of the photos are of the larger upstairs unit. Hmm. But they say it’s got its own bathroom and entrance, and some homes in larger buildings closer to downtown make the same claim with less. It’s $1,700/month, by the way. As far as pets go, there is one dog on the premises already.

↑ And finally, after navigating some of those narrow and mysterious confines, this final one-bath in-law in Ingleside is a relief of sorts, a “nice little downstairs studio with an open kitchen area and a little desk nook,” as the ad puts it, underneath a family home and opening into their backyard. This kind of setup sets you back $1,650 in that neighborhood, no pets mentioned.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

Bygone structures that almost withstood the test of time

Charles W. Cushman’s private color photos, now available via the Indiana University Archives, feature scenes of San Francisco’s vivid past. From the World’s Fair to circa-1967 Haight street hippies, Cushman documented the city like no other.

After all, how many photogs captured a man and his pet raccoon going for a walk on Telegraph Hill?

But of all his shots, the ones of razed San Francisco homes might be of most interest to architecture geeks. From homes to a few structures that are no more, here are a few of our favorites.

↑ Old frame house at southwest corner of Franklin and Jackson. Demolished in May 1954. (Photos take in 1953)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives

↑ Old frame house at 2610 Jackson, Alta Plaza. (1953)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives

↑ Old house at northwest corner of Lyon and Pacific. (1953)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives<

↑ Unpainted frame house, northeast corner of 21st and Church. (1952)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives<

↑ Amusement Beach below Sutro Heights, beach below Cliff House and Sutro Forest. Businesses: Bull Pup Enchiladas, Rifle Range, Little Theatre, Cliff House. (1952)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives<

↑ Old Fortmann mansion on Eddy and Gough. (1959)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives<

↑ Old house on Franklin between Clay and Washington. (1960)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives<

↑ Mansion guest house at Franklin and Clay. (1960)

 Photo via Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection/Indiana University Archives<

↑ Coast guard buildings below north end of Golden Gate bridge San Francisco on a late November afternoon. (1961)

↑ Ruins of the old St. Mary's Cathedral, Van Ness at O'Farrell. (1962)

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Posted by Adam Brinklow

No points for just guessing “Not many places”

With the price of a San Francisco house hovering somewhere between the $1.4 million to $1.5 million range, homebuyers shopping for an abode in the city’s strictly six-figure set might be sweating it this summer.

Paragon Real Estate Group released some figures earlier this week compiling MLS sales over the last 12 months to answer the burning question: Where can folks still buy a house for less than seven figures in Sam Francisco?

According to Paragon analyst Patrick Carlisle, only about 20 percent of homes sold in the city since July 2016 fell under the one-million mark. That’s 593 public sales altogether.

No neighborhood in the city managed to sell even 100 homes at this price since last summer, although here are the ones that came closest:

  • Visitacion Valley: 89
  • Ingleside: 83
  • Excelsior: 82
  • Crocker Amazon: 71
  • Bayview: 70
  • Outer Sunset: 42
  • Mission Terrace: 25

Some 33 percent of houses sold between $1 million and $1.49 million during the same period, with the Sunset yielding the largest number of public sales in that category with 239.

Bernal Heights leads the list of neighborhoods selling the most homes between $1.5 million and $1.99 million with 85, and Noe Valley topped the rankings for homes selling between $2 million and $2.99 million with 126.

 Jeremy Borkat
The view from Bernal Hill.

And it probably goes without saying that the Pac Heights/Marina area leads the charge (the massive credit charge, that is) on homes $3 million and up with 77, although Noe Valley was a very close second at 75.

It’s important to note that more than 10 percent of homes sold the last year fell into this bracket.

Last week, the California Association of Realtors said that the average Bay Area home buyer should be making $179,390/year in order to really afford an average regional house with a 20 percent down payment.

Paragon breaks that figure down much more specifically, recommending $290,600/year for buyers in San Francisco and $294,500/year for those on the peninsula, down to as little as $82,600/year in Solano County (taxes notwithstanding).

In Santa Clara County it’s $237,000/year, in Alameda County it’s $176,400/year, and in Contra Costa County, $131,300/year.

To put all of those numbers into perspective, the recommendation for the median California city (if there is any such thing) is $111,000/year.

Solano is the only Bay Area region to come in below that average. And yet the Solano salary is enough to buy a home in 20 major U.S. cities according to the mortgage site HSH, including Miami, Portland, Chicago, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, and nearly enough for one in Washington DC as well.

 Daniel Ramirez
The view from Bayview Park.

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Posted by Brock Keeling

Arched doorways and stunning ceilings in the living room

Crowning a Spanish-Mediterranean residential high-rise, this top-floor condo in Pacific Heights still echoes the 1920s without falling victim to renovation purgatory.

Coming in at one bed, one and a half bath, roughly 1,309 square feet, 2090 Pacific’s penthouse features a corner living room with vaulted and beamed ceilings, arched doorways, and a wood burning fireplace.

What’s more, there’s a formal dining room with a curved ceiling a remodeled chef's kitchen, hardwood floors, plantation shutters, and more.

HOAs come to $679/month. Asking is $1,485,000.


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