In The News

San Francisco’s New Launches: Buyers and Developers Are Thinking Bigger

By Nancy A. Ruhling
Originally Published March 17, 2021

Condos and homes built for indoor-outdoor living highlight the developments starting sales

After a year of pandemic-induced inertia, buyers started returning to San Francisco’s downtown condo market in the fourth quarter of 2020, snapping up second or primary homes that have larger indoor spaces in addition to luxury finishes and personal-service amenities.

“The pandemic broadened the scope of opportunity and allowed some people to size up,” said Sandra Eaton, regional director West Coast at Compass Development Marketing Group, adding that many people who retreated from the city started returning because they missed the vibrant lifestyle it offered. “This trend is continuing through the new year.”

She noted that California’s lockdowns and work-from-home routines forced people to re-evaluate their living quarters.

“Indoor spaces became more important to them, but they still want outdoor spaces like community parks and dog parks, and services like car-washing and dog-washing areas,” she said. “Some people realized they wanted a larger kitchen or a bigger personal space where they could have Zoom meetings or do yoga classes.”

People also started to rethink their transit options. “All of California is very car conscious, but San Francisco is getting less so,” she said. “Residents are learning to live without two cars or even one car and are using cars-sharing services, which some condo developments are offering.”

All this new activity resulted in an 8.7% year-over-year increase in sales in the fourth quarter in the downtown area, according to Compass Development Marketing Group’s “New Development Market Insights” report.

The resurgence in sales, however, didn’t bolster prices: They declined an average of 10.4% year over year to $1,056 per square foot, which Ms. Eaton said is the lowest they have been in the last five years.

Ms. Eaton said the dynamic downtown market is being shaped by people trading spaces—some buyers switched the locations of their primary and secondary homes, keeping their main home in the suburbs and a pied-à-terre in the city.

“San Francisco is a legendary world-class city,” she says. “In terms of housing, there were fewer choices pre-pandemic. Now, there are more choices, but that window will close. I can’t predict when that will happen; it will depend on a number of factors, including the economy and Covid.”

Here are some of the new condo developments in San Francisco that are enticing buyers.

2238 Market, 2238 Market St., Duboce Triangle

Renderings: Binyan Studios

This curated collection of condos and limited-edition townhomes has a contemporary, timeless design that syncs with the neighborhood’s historic streetcars, and its Victorian flats and apartment buildings.

“We decided early on that … we didn’t want to follow the herd of shiny glass towers,” said San Francisco-based architect Alan Tse. “That isn’t our residential location or neighborhood context. We wanted to be of the neighborhood and offer a canvas to our residents and not force a certain look upon them. Of course, we are creating a very contemporary space within a newly constructed building, but we used these insights to be considerate and empathetic to our residents and neighbors.”

The residences, which feature hand-selected finishes and fixtures that give them a custom look, have a warm, modern palette of materials.

Duboce Triangle, which is also known as Mint Hill after the nearby United States Mint, is one of the city’s central neighborhoods, below Buena Vista Park and between Castro/Eureka Valley, the Mission District and the Lower Haight.

Sales will launch in the spring.

Number of Units: 42 condominiums (studios, one-, two- and three- bedrooms) and two townhomes
Price Range: Starting in the $800,000s 
Developer/Architect: Prado Group; Vanke/BDE Architecture; Alan Tse Design
Condo Sizes: Condominiums are approximately 620 to 1,700 square feet; townhomes are approximately 2,900 square feet
Amenities: Rooftop terrace with an open-air lounge, an outdoor kitchen and dining area, package and refrigerated-grocery reception, a bike repair room with secured storage, a dog-wash room and electric-vehicle parking

The Linden, 2325 Valley St., Uptown Oakland/Hive District

Photos: Scott Hargis

A boutique condo development, The Linden is in Oakland’s revitalized Uptown Hive District, a work-live-play area that features world-class entertainment, shopping and dining.

Only 1.5 miles from the San Francisco Bay Ferry and a half mile from the BART station, The Linden,designed in a sleek contemporary style, has only six two- and three-bedroom units. 

The neighborhood caters to upscale professionals and families.

Sales launched in October 2020.

Number of Units: 6
Price Range: Starting at $899,000
Developer/Architect: Signature Development Group/Flynn Architecture
Condo Sizes: 1,031 to 1,475 square feet
Amenities: A landscaped courtyard entry, an elevator and a secure gate with a ButterflyMX smart intercom entry system  

The Oak, 1554 Oak St., Upper Market Street

Rendering: Compass Development

Made for outdoor living, The Oak consists of a pair of 12-story towers, whose floors are connected by a glass sky bridge. Its units feature floor-to-ceiling windows to bring the views inside.

The site—at the nexus of Hayes Valley and South of Market, or SoMa—gives residents easy access to the walkable city’s parks, sports and entertainment venues, farmer’s markets and an array of restaurants, cafés and nightlife spots. 

Sales will launch in April.

Number of Units: 109
Price Range: Low $600,000s to mid-$2 million
Developer/Architect: Z&L Properties/Handel Architects 
Condo Sizes: 500 to 1,724 square feet
Amenities: Two landscaped rooftop decks, a rooftop outdoor kitchen with fire pits, seating and a barbecue grill, a fitness center, a staffed lobby, a community lounge, a Zen garden, an on-site parking garage and private bicycle entry and bicycle storage. Most of the homes have Juliet balconies.

The Quinn, 345 8th St., South of Market

Inspired by the industrial and cultural crossroads of San Francisco’s historic SoMa district, The Quinn’s boutique studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom condos strategically combine architecture and art by incorporating large specially commissioned murals by the artist KFiSH throughout the living spaces.

The residences, a mix of lofts with private outdoor spaces and flats with courtyard and city views, are located at the nexus of the Market Street corridor, Hayes Valley and Mission Bay. They are a close walk or bus or bike ride from the neighborhood’s amenities, which range from cultural attractions to restaurants.

Sales will launch in the summer.

Number of Units: 38
Price Range: Prices have not been determined. 
Developer/Architect: Presidio Bay Ventures/RG Architecture
Condo Sizes: Approximately 550 to 1,200 square feet
Amenities: Community spaces include outdoor areas, including gardens and open-air spaces, a rooftop sundeck with an outdoor grill and pizza oven, a secure bike-storage room and an enclosed dog walk. There’s also a touchless entry system, a remote package reception area, fiber-optic wiring, an app-based video intercom and Nest thermostats. Wellness and sustainability features include a medical-grade air filtration system, solar panels and water-conscious plants with a smart irrigation system.

Renderings: NQS Creative