Arts & Culture
Arts & Culture
It’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in San Francisco and one of the fastest growing; Dogpatch, long a forgotten patch of real estate on the city’s central waterfront, has big plans.
Actually, it’s always had big plans. Dogpatch dates back to the mid-1850s, when gunpowder manufacturers built factories there, outside the original Yerba Buena city limits to avoid the new city’s ordinance forbidding “dangerous industries.” From that point on – and especially after the construction of a bridge leading from downtown to Potrero Hill and the Bayview District, making the district much easier to reach — and continuing through Dogpatch’s industrial prime, the neighborhood was magnet for large manufacturers like The Tubbs Cordage Company, the Union Iron Works and, later, Bethlehem Steel, for ship builders and other heavy industry. A steady flow of immigrant workers followed.
They stayed in rooming houses on Irish Hill, a micro-district notorious for its rugged, brawling living conditions, located adjacent to the ship yards and factories, or they bought lots a few blocks away. On those lots they built small Eastlake-style Victorian cottages, built by hand from house plans published for free in the evening San Francisco Call Bulletin.
The glory days lasted through World War II, after which the neighborhood entered a long period of decline shadowing the overall downfall of heavy industry in San Francisco. By the early 1990s, Dogpatch had all but slipped off the map, its sagging Victorian and Edwardian houses and flats occupied by longtime residents and counterculture artists. Activity at Pier 70, once the hub of neighborhood productivity, wound down to a whisper. What remained of Irish Hill was (and is) an anonymous berm, maybe 20 feet high, in a fenced-off lot owned by PG & E and the Port of San Francisco.
The neighborhood’s rebirth began at the dawn of the dotcom boom. Developers looking to capitalize on Dogpatch’s proximity to Multimedia Gulch and anticipating the redevelopment of Mission Bay and the extension of the Third Street rail line built entry- and mid-level condo and live/work buildings along Third, Tennessee and Minnesota Streets, inviting new residents and revitalization; Esprit, the clothing manufacturer, set up its headquarters on Minnesota Street. A few restaurants and shops popped up on and around Third and 22nd Streets.
Since then, Dogpatch’s trajectory has been consistently skyward. Today, the neighborhood is a vibrant hub comprised of a mixture of old and new. The residential heart is a four-block stretch of tree-lined Tennessee and Minnesota Streets, where a dozen of the original Victorian cottages share space with Edwardian homes and flats, small mid-rise condo buildings from the 1990s and 2000s and a few extant warehouses. Further south, the streets are populated entirely by large condo and apartment complexes, including Millwheel South, 32 units on Indiana and Minnesota Street that sold out in less than a month upon its 2012 completion.
With all of this growth it was inevitable that Dogpatch would become a destination for business. In the past five years the neighborhood has seen several new arrivals, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, wine shops, even a butcher, plus boutiques and a brewery, the Triple Voodoo Brewery and Taproom. Some standouts are Piccono and Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, whose miscellanea is actually limited to ice cream and cookies.
Dogpatch has come a long way but it’s far from through. Next up is a massive project, the development of 65-acre Pier 70. Plans include commercial, retail and 1,000 apartment units, with developers hoping to start by rehabbing six historic warehouses as soon as this summer. In anticipation of what can only have a massive impact on the neighborhood, developers have already begun smaller projects nearby, creating an interesting effect along Illinois Street in which the western side of the street is gleaming new condo buildings overlooking the eastern side of the street, whose collection of faded wooden waterfront buildings resembles a Steinbeck-era Cannery Row.
For several years now, all thumbs have pointed up in Dogpatch, where the future looks just as bright as the recent past. Locals are hoping the neighborhood’s funky soul stays intact, because even after two decades of growth, Dogpatch, once the rough-and-tumble embodiment of frontier San Francisco, remains a unique and special place.
Source : Parascopesf.com
The pie chart combines house and condo MLS sales for May.
This table breaks out the percentages separately for houses and condos:
June 2014 report by Paragon Real Estate Group
The construction boom that ended in 2008 changed the city and its housing market. Condos now outsell houses in San Francisco. The South Beach-Yerba Buena zip code, previously a commercial area filled with parking lots, now has SF’s highest median household income. Mission Bay was born. And our skyline has been altered with dramatic, new high-rises like the Infinity Towers and Millennium.
That boom died with the 2008 market crash. But now with the city’s economy, employment, population, rents and home prices all surging to new heights, new home construction is booming again.
Will increasing numbers of newly built condos and apartments cool our overheated real estate market? One would think it would have to – eventually. But the large projects announced weekly can take years to turn into actual housing units. What if local high-tech industry, jobs and housing demand continue to grow alongside increasing supply? And our financial and real estate markets are influenced by so many complex, fluctuating economic, political and even natural-event factors, that it is very difficult to make meaningful predictions (despite how much “experts” love to make them).
One thing we can predict: San Francisco will continue to change in unexpected ways, and it will remain an extraordinary place to call home.
San Francisco’s Most Expensive Condo Buildings
Perhaps the biggest common denominators of these properties are dramatic architecture, full service amenities (doormen and such), and the prevalence of spectacular views from many of the units. Eight of these properties didn’t even exist before 2000 and now they dominate the list of most expensive condo buildings in the city. Of course, excluding smaller buildings with only a sale or two per year rules out the vast majority of condo buildings in older neighborhoods, but it’s still astounding to see the impact of the previous construction boom on this market segment.
Luxury Condo, Co-op & TIC Sales by Neighborhood
Condo Values by Era of Construction
Condo Sales Volume by Neighborhood
A residential district that didn’t even exist 20 years ago now dominates condo sales in San Francisco (and there are big, new projects still under development there). To a large degree due to the availability of large, developable (previously commercial) lots and higher-density zoning, new housing construction is now concentrated in areas such as the Market Street and Van Ness corridors, SoMa, the Mission, Hayes Valley, Dogpatch and Hunter’s Point – and often in previously neglected or distressed corners of such areas.
San Francisco Demographics
Income, Age, Homeownership & Foreign-Born Population by Zip Code
San Francisco Median Home Price Trends
For well over 100 years, Potrero Hill’s real estate market was one thing; now it is another. Prior to the tech boom of the 1990s, Potrero was a place to find modest Victorian and Edwardian homes in various stages of disrepair. Often their spectacular views — of downtown, Twin Peaks or San Francisco Bay — were at odds with their modest price tags. Just as often as not they’d been in one family for generations or had been purchased for a song by counter culture pioneers in the 1960s.
That all changed in the 1990s, when Potrero’s proximity to tech start-ups made it a prime target for renovators and developers. “Multimedia Gulch,” a tech start-up friendly segment of SOMA, grew by 6,000 jobs between 1994 and 1998. Not coincidentally, the northern border of Potrero Hill, once crammed with warehouses, is now a hotbed of condo and apartment complexes dating back to the mid-1990s.
So comprehensive was the change that today, 20 years past the dawn of the dotcom peak, the majority of available homes on Potrero Hill is condominium units. Almost all, save for a few buildings constructed in the 1970s and 1980s and “The Hill’s” extant collection of multi-unit Edwardians, date back no further than 1993.
Potrero’s housing revolution did not end when the dotcom bubble burst. Development continued into the 2000s – up to and including the present. Business is brisk right now, with Onyx, a development located at 415 De Haro and featuring 20 one- and two-bedroom condo units, nearly sold out. Construction of Onyx Phase 2 is under way with anticipated completion in fall 2015. 12 more units are planned next to the old Double Play Bar and Grill at 2401 16th Street. Early-stage plans are underway to build 315 apartments on Mariposa Street, directly across the street from the Jackson Playground, and EQR, with 493 residential units, 39 commercial units and a park, just received its permits at 1000 16th Street (once the site of the Glidden Paint factory) after almost a decade of trying.
Potrero’s 1990s real estate reinvention ranged past the mass introduction of high-end condominiums; concurrent with the arrival of developers was the discovery of the neighborhood’s single-family homes as historic gems ripe for restoration and renovation. Faced with the reality of enormous profits, many long-time residents chose to cash out, raising the neighborhood profile to the point it remains at today: as a stylish, sunny, convenient, family-friendly place practically overflowing with beautiful historic homes and sleek modern condos.
The incredible views –Potrero properties feature some of the city’s finest downtown skyline views — don’t hurt, either.
In 2014, Potrero Hill’s for-sale real estate market is dominated by condominiums. In May, the ratio of sold condos to sold single-family homes was 16:3 (the district also recorded sales of two multi-unit buildings; it had no closed sales of Tenants-in-Common units, though there are some TICs on Potrero Hill). Potrero condos come in a variety of sizes, from studios all the way up to three- and four-bedroom units larger than some neighborhood single-family homes. They command prices above the citywide median. Seven-figure condo price points are becoming the norm on Potrero Hill, not the exception.
As for single-family homes, there are some spectacular examples of both historic and ultra-modern architecture on Potrero. Modern homes tend to capitalize more on The Hill’s spectacular views and maximize square footage, often employing unique solutions to steep hillside lots.
Meanwhile, Potrero’s original Victorians no longer fit into the “working-class” paradigm, routinely commanding prices well over $1 million. Many have become showplaces.
Potrero Hill is a long way from becoming the next Pacific Heights or even the next Russian Hill, but it might be on its way to becoming the next Noe Valley. With a great location and a lack of fog, great views, a thriving commercial strip featuring a broad range of restaurants and an eclectic combination of housing including Victorians, Edwardians, historic multi-unit buildings and new condos, it’s journey of the past 20 years appears to have ended with it taking its place among San Francisco’s desirable neighborhoods.
Source : Parascopesf.com
Over the past 30+ years, the period between a recovery beginning and a major “market adjustment” (or bubble popping) has run 5 to 7 years. We are currently about 2.5 years into the current recovery.
Periods of market recession/doldrums following the popping of a bubble have typically lasted about 4 years. (The 2001 dotcom bubble and 9-11 crisis drop being the exception.) Generally speaking, within about 2 years of a new recovery commencing, previous peak values (i.e. those at the height of the previous bubble) are re-attained – among other reasons, there is the recapture of inflation during the doldrums years and simple pent-up demand.
Our complete article on market cycles can be found online here.
In the 1700s, Spanish missionaries named the hill overlooking the new village of Yerba Buena “Potrero Nuevo,” in English “new pasture.” At the time, that’s what Potrero Hill was: a pasture, untouched except for the cattle using it as grazing ground. Plenty has changed about Potrero Hill since then.
The cattle are gone and Yerba Buena is now San Francisco, but clues as to Potrero’s past – the 150 years it spent as a working-class neighborhood, its stretch as the favored neighborhood of the 1990s dotcom boom, its continued bohemian bent – are everywhere. Change may be constant in Potrero Hill, but its roots are always showing.
From the start, the neighborhood locals like to call “The Hill” gained popularity because of two things: first, it’s one of the sunniest neighborhoods in San Francisco. The view from the hill’s western slope is not only of Twin Peaks; it is also of the fog, rolling in from the ocean but never reaching Potrero. Second, Potrero Hill is conveniently located. In the 1800s it was convenient for workers on San Francisco’s waterfront – ship-builders, longshoremen, laborers. Each evening they’d climb Potrero’s western slope, to their boarding houses and the ramshackle cottages some had built, often using plans from a Sears catalog.
Eventually, the work moved inland, to the warehouses and factories “South of the Slot,” and in the flatlands just north of the hill. Several of the Potrero buildings still exist. A few still house traditional businesses but most have evolved, becoming design studios (Showplace Square, the hub of San Francisco’s design and furniture scene, is nearby), artists’ studios, a few restaurants and, significantly, tech firms.
Between 1860 and World War II, Potrero welcomed waves of Scottish, Irish, Russian, Chinese, Mexican and African-American arrivals. Each group left its imprint on the Hill, as did the counter-culture generation that followed in the 1960s.
The 1990s tech boom permanently changed Potrero Hill. Suddenly, developers found the neighborhood. They built lofts and condominium buildings in the flats and on the north and south slopes, all the way to where Potrero meets the Bayview at Cesar Chavez Street. Property values skyrocketed and they’ve yet to lose momentum. World-class restaurants began popping up on sleepy 18th Street, the district’s commercial core. Today you can find more than a dozen eateries in a three-block stretch, including favorites like Chez Papa and Chez Maman, Rocket Fish, Aperto and longtime neighborhood favorite Goat Hill Pizza, along with specialty shops and coffee shops. On warm days it seems like everyone’s dining al fresco on Eighteenth Street.
Potrero is not what it once was but its bohemian core is intact. It’s not just that Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Beat poet and founder of City Lights Bookstore, has lived in the neighborhood for 60 years or that in the 1970s the Pickle Family Circus used an old church at 400 Missouri Street as their headquarters; Potrero is where free spirits are constantly creating, be they artists, writers, programmers working out of a garage near the Anchor Steam Brewery or musicians playing at Thee Parkside or The Bottom of the Hill.
All of this creating keeps Potrero vibrant, but the neighborhood’s true heart comes from its residents. Locals on “The Hill” care deeply about community. They attend neighborhood association meetings and festivals, donate time and resources to neighborhood schools and make a habit out of patronizing local businesses, be they unique galleries like Collage or old-time watering holes like Bloom’s. Many are like Ferlinghetti – long-time residents who’ve seen plenty of change during their tenure, and almost all come to 20th Street every October for the Potrero Hill Festival, this year celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Still, little reminders of Potrero Hill’s past keep poking through, like the Double Play, a corner restaurant and bar that once sat across the street from Seal’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco Seals (and later the San Francisco Giants) until it was razed and replaced with a shopping center; or the circa-1920s gym at the Portrero Rec Center, where local legend turned pariah O.J. Simpson spent much of his childhood. All around are homes from the Victorian and Edwardian era, some brilliantly restored, others still in original condition.
Mixed in among these relics are dazzling new homes, built by visionaries looking to take advantage of Potrero Hill’s incredible views. Potrero residents enjoy some of the finest views in the city – downtown, San Francisco Bay, Twin Peaks and, from the south slope, Candlestick Point and Bernal Heights. They also enjoy excellent cardio workouts, thanks to their neighborhood’s steep streets. A walk through Potrero Hill is an exercise in… exercise.
It adds up to a unique neighborhood that, while no longer exclusively working class, has sacrificed none of its color in becoming desirable to all manner of San Franciscans.
Source : Parascopesf.com
The youngest zip codes in San Francisco are those that are 100% rental: the Presidio and Treasure Island. The oldest zip code is the area of the North Waterfront and Barbary Coast, just north of the financial district along the Embarcadero. Second oldest is Chinatown (47 years) and the third oldest is the St. Francis Wood-Miraloma Park area.
Zip Code Demographics Data Table
Zip codes in the table below are in order of median household income.
The below charts and table are based upon U.S. Census surveys from 2010 – 2013. Please note that zip codes often contain neighborhoods of widely different demographics. For example, 94115 includes Pacific Heights, one of the most affluent areas of the city, as well the Western Addition, which is less affluent: when mixing areas such as these in one zip code, you end up with statistics that don’t really apply to either. Data like this is constantly changing and zip codes are blunt instruments for demographic investigation, but we still found the analysis to generate interesting, new insights into San Francisco.
The neighborhoods associated with zip codes in the charts and table below are simply representative of each area; other neighborhoods are often included within one zip code and many neighborhoods are divided between different zip codes.
Foreign-Born Percentage of Population
Of major metro areas, San Francisco ranks 4th in the country in percentage of foreign-born residents.
Residents with Bachelor’s, Graduate & Professional Degrees
San Francisco ranks 2nd in the country for percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees and ranks 3rd for percentage of residents with graduate or professional degrees. Not surprisingly, when looking at zip codes, educational attainment and household income typically go hand in hand.
Percentage of Housing Units Owner-Occupied
San Francisco has approximately 70% more housing units occupied by renters than by homeowners.
Average Size of Household
San Francisco has the lowest percentage of children of any major U.S. city and 38% of residents live alone. This brings the city’s average household size down, however the statistic varies widely by neighborhood.
Below is the table with all the San Francisco zip code demographic data we collected. It will be easier to read if you adjust your screen-view to zoom 125% or 150%.
The zip codes in the table are in order of median household income.
Below is a half-serious, semi-whimsical look at how San Francisco is ranked by a number of objective and subjective criteria, according to a wide (and not necessarily reliable) variety of authorities. Typically, these rankings were made within the last 2 or 3 years. Many should be taken with a large grain of salt.