Weekend Opens (7/23-7/24)

Posted by Dave Fratello on Saturday, July 23rd, 2011 at 3:00pm.

This week offers the calm before the storm... if this year's revised 6-man – next weekend – is going to be a storm again. Thinking of taking the kids down to the beach? Better this weekend than next.

Even as we get deep into July here, there continue to be intriguing new homes on the local market. For instance, this week you can take a first look at a couple of the Speedy Speckies, the first new Tree Section homes in a while – see the last writeup below for more before you tour.

Once again, one of the homes featured this weekend is also an advertiser and the sellers are friends – that's 849 10th this time – so we're providing a review with that disclosure and disclaimer. 

Interested in how the beach cities are doing, sales-wise, versus the rest of the South Bay? We've covered that in the new South Bay Confidential column. Your print edition of the Daily Breeze has a chart with all the data.

To plan your tours, try this Redfin map list of open houses – you can sort by price or sub-region of MB by clicking the title on a column. Or click here for the more traditional Beach Reporter list of opens.

As usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.

And if you're in active the market or thinking about it, please consider asking MBC for help in identifying the right agent for your needs. See our referrals page for a little more.


Hill Section

849 10th (5br/5ba, 4350 sq. ft.) is big, newer (2005) Mediterranean by a noted local builder with ample, unimpedable city and mountain views to the north and east. (The home immediately east is a double-lot home that's built to its max height, quite a bit lower than 849.)

The top floor, with the principal living spaces plus huge master suite, gets the views and lots of light. The long, open kitchen is tailor-made for socializing while cooking, and opens up to a family room. The formal dining and living rooms are separate up toward the front of the house.

The 4 additional bedrooms are downstairs, all of good size and with separate or shared (jack-and-jill) baths. Finally, a kids' playroom/sunroom opens out the the back yard, a sunny and private outdoor living space with built-in grill, burners, sink and fridge, plus an outdoor fireplace for those cool Summer evenings.

849 10th was purchased new in 2006 for $2.723m, before some additional customization (pecan hardwood floors, among other things). It's offered now for somewhat less, $2.589m (-$134k/-5%) to account for changes in the market since then.

There are 2 interesting points of comparison nearby on the market. Neighboring 861 10th (5br/6ba, 4500 sq. ft.) is a Craftsman that's been on and off the market for the past year since the current owner moved in; it recently posted a deal while listed at $2.495m, but it just came back.

The other is 853 9th (5br/5ba, 4230 sq. ft.), slightly smaller, a bit older (2001 build) and on a slightly bigger lot (300 sq. ft.) than 849 10th. It's got a much bigger list price: $3.089m. See Mrs. MBC's review from last week.

Back to 849 10th, we link above to the listing site, but here's the Redfin link as well.

849 10th is listed at $2.589m, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-5pm.


Sand Section

505 7th (3br/3ba, 2750 sq. ft.) graces one of the best South End walkstreets, though, like a lot of legacy homes in town, it's a curiosity in terms of design and layout.

We like the entertaining rooms downstairs, which open onto the patio off the walkstreet. There's a good-sized, updated kitchen that turns out to be just one of two in the home. Also downstairs are 2 of the 3 bedrooms and a big beach/mudroom with laundry.

Upstairs is a very spacious living/dining area and a fully modern kitchen, plus the master. There are decks off the front and back.

So it's different. There are echoes of the home's 70s vintage supplemented by newer updates. Fun, funky, unique.

505 7th starts at $2.1m.

Somewhere in the picture, as you evaluate value for 505 7th, is next-door neighbor 501 7th, much bigger (4br/3ba, 3600 sq. ft.) but needing a complete and utter rebuild to make sense. (That's coming.) It sold last August for $1.9m

505 7th is open Sun. 2-4pm. Parking note: Park off the garage on 7th Place if needed.

310 36th is a little (2br/1ba, 1025 sq. ft.) classic Spanish cottage with very big views from its high corner location and a great deck that shows them off. It re-debuts this week after a failed 4-month listing.

We got our first look today and... wow. The views are really something, the location right in the middle of hoppin' uptown MB has its benefits, and the home itself is a good mix of very well-updated (especially the kitchen) and old-school MB.

There are only so many buyers who want 1000 sq. ft. in the middle of primo El Norte – folks looking for a vacation/beach home, or the younger set for whom extra bedrooms or grass are superfluous concerns for now, while the call of the nearby surf is more urgent. As little old beach homes go, this one has notable pluses for these buyers.

The 1700 sq. ft. lot could allow for interesting redevelopment, too, some day. The neighbors and commercial properties to the immediate west may never impinge much on the views that are the biggest asset.

Now, of concern... there is the matter of the bar with the raucous reputation that's just west and across the street, settling into its new location at the site of a failed cougar club martini bar. Suffice it to say, the neighbors were very concerned about impacts – noise, traffic, etc. – as the sharks moved in. We're told that a few months in, now, the bar owners have proved to be good neighbors and many impacts have been limited or mitigated – for instance, the bar stopped mesquite-grilling because the smoke bugged the neighbors. Encouraging, but you'd want to understand the story fully before locking in here.

Disclosure: The brokers' open Friday, catered by MB Post, was an amazing little party full of treats we dearly enjoyed. Just in case this experience induced a little rose-colored-glasses effect, we figured we had best disclose that yum! factor.

310 36th traded 3 times in the past decade: 2002 ($640k), 2005 ($1.150m) and 2009 ($1.254m).

The earlier listing this year was at $1.250m, while the re-start with a new agent is at $1.239m.

310 36th is open Sat. & Sun. 2-5pm.


Tree Section 

1816 Palm (5br/4ba, 3800 sq. ft.) is a newer (2000) custom build that's 10-20% bigger than most of the last decade's construction, and on one of the great, quiet, prestige blocks in the Trees.

Everything's familiar, but just a bit bigger. The big living room at the entry is very bright and features a substantial fireplace, plus tiled floors; the kitchen/great room in back feels huge and wide-open. Kids' bedrooms upstairs all feature built-in desks, drawers and cabinets.

The whole house has been recently buffed, polished and repainted after several years as a rental, giving it a somewhat "new" feeling overall.

Close readers of MBC may recall our reference the other day in "Can Palm Turn the Corner?" to an upcoming nearby listing. Here it is.

For what it's worth, during the local market's peak, 1816 Palm was offered for much, much more – $2.595m-$2.695m. That may have been an overreach then (it never sold), but it does put today's list price of $2.299m – still at the high end – into an interesting comparative context.

We also note that a neighbor, 1812 Palm (5br/4ba, 3225 sq. ft.), a significantly smaller "stately Cape Cod beauty" triggered an amazing bidding war 2 years ago, selling for $2.1m in July 2009.

1816 Palm starts at $2.299m and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

2600 Pine
2600 Pine (5br/5ba, 3125 sq. ft.) and 2516 Pine (5br/5ba, 3200 sq. ft.) are the first of the new "speedy speckies" to open up for public viewings.

A rancher on a double lot previously held the address 2600 Pine. (See "Double the Fun?" for a bit more on that offering.)

Both of these spec homes offer very conventional layouts for the Trees, with a formal living room off the entry, a downstairs bedroom suite, formal dining and a kitchen/great room in back, plus a very small patio/yard. Each has 4br upstairs with big master suites in the rear. Each also has surprisingly narrow stairways.

Stylewise, 2600 is the more conventional, with what they call a "colonial" design. (Shingles and stone with some white painted-wood accents.) The dark hardwood floors don't seem to be finished yet. A rotunda area on the second floor in front makes for an interesting landing/office/play area.

2516 Pine
2516 pushes a more aggressive style – the broad label "Mediterranean" that they have given it doesn't suggest much about the extra, ornate embellishments you'll find around every corner. There are spirally columns around the garage, detailed patterns cut into the ceiling of the great room, flowery wrought-iron railings with some gold-painted details, and, most surprisingly, a great deal of stacked-stone ("stapled-on stone") laminate adorning walls and doorways all over the first floor – inside. That seems like a first. The palm trees planted smack in the middle of the driveway were also surprising choices. On the whole, the style is a little much.

What makes 2516 and 2600 Pine particularly interesting for market watchers is that they're the first spec homes in recent memory, and part of a whole package of them, all coming on at once from the same investor/builder team. (See "Speedy Speckies Sprout.") They have all been built rapidly – in just a few months – which can't help but raise eyebrows, but people need to see the final product to evaluate them. Now, here's your chance.

2516 and 2600 Pine both start at $1.999m, and are open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.
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