Why hasn’t the San Francisco mansion once owned by Nicolas Cage sold?
March 6, 2019
A San Francisco mansion with an arresting Tudor Revival facade continues to sit on the market without selling, despite a price reduction, a prime location with drop-dead views, and celebrity cache.
Hollywood actor and house collector Nicolas Cage famously owned the home on the corner of Francisco and Hyde streets for a brief spell in the 2000s.
Originally listed in 2017 for $12 million — and briefly taken off the market before returning in 2018 —the six-bedroom, six-and-a-half-bathroom home on Russian Hill’s so-called Gold Coast at 898 Francisco St. is now on the market for $10.95 million.
Listing agent Mark Levinson of Pacific Union says interest has grown in recent days as real estate activity picks up in March, but he admits the property, which has been largely left untouched since it was built in 1914 (except a slap-dash 1990s kitchen update), will require a special buyer who has both money and time.
“People look at it as a fixer,” said Levinson. “There are only a certain amount of people who have that kind of money and that kind of bandwidth. People in this price range are so busy and don’t have time for a renovation. Homes that do sell tend to be renovated and gorgeous. I think if the house were done, it would sell overnight.”
Unlike updated high-end homes with open floor-plans and modern amenities, this house has smaller, compartmentalized rooms featuring original details such as beamed ceilings, leaded glass windows, wood moldings, and fireplaces with ornate mantels.
“It has a formal living room, formal dining room, a great entryway for art,” said Levinson. “I think it’s a great house.”
While Levinson thinks $1 million in renovations, including a revamp of the kitchen, is all this house really needs, he says a more extreme makeover would boost its value exponentially.
“Any money you put into this house, you will get back,” he said. “I think Francisco is a huge opportunity for someone because whatever they put in, they’re going to get back. This is the Gold Coast in Russian Hill, it’s the best of the best. You’ll see one $20 million house after another.”
Is this really a $20 million block? Homes don’t turn-over here often, and the only recent sale indicates yes.
Last spring, Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs purchased a home of a similar size — six bedrooms spread across 6,000-square-feet — for $16.5 million in an all-cash deal. But unlike 898 only a few houses away, Jobs’ home had been remodeled over the years, most recently in a contemporary manner by S.F.-based decorator Steven Volpe, who was described by the Wall Street Journal as the “decorator to Silicon Valley’s elite.”
After that, the most recent sale of a somewhat comparable home seems to be 828 Francisco. The 7,723-square-foot behemoth is larger than 898 Francisco and sold for $17.5 million in 2005; now Zillow estimates its value at $23 million while Redfin values at it between $29.5 million and $32.61 million.