Great Streets: 18th St. (Sand)

By Dave Fratello | February 15th, 2008
MB has tons of charms, but one of its true jewels is a seaside walkstreet that's cozy, warm and winding: 18th St., west of Highland. (Click any pic to enlarge.)

No doubt, the midtown walkstreets nearby are all prized for their their ocean views, proximity to downtown and relative isolation.

They're quiet because Manhattan Ave. doesn't run at all between 15th St. and Marine (which would be 22nd), which means few people driving around town might even know what's west of Highland in this area.

18th St. stands out, for MBC, for one principal reason – the walkstreet itself winds and banks in a gentle, serpentine fashion all the way down the hill, with all the odd curvy points landscaped to the individual tastes of residents. It's not quite Lombard St., San Francisco, but it is unique in MB.

The flavor of the neighborhood is the other big factor. The 30 or so homes on the block between Highland and Ocean are easily worth $100 million or more, all told, but there's very little new construction. Many of the homes date from the 1970s, some older, some newer. Most are well kept. You get the sense that residents know a good thing and don't let their homes get out of the family too often.

A couple of shockers on the block: A double lot at the corner with Ocean features a 430-sq.-ft. home built in 1909 (pictured), with original landscaping to boot. (We kid.) Halfway up the block, there's a completely vacant lot that's paved over and used for parking.

You just know there are folks who think either one would make a great place for a $6-8 million home.

There was one sale on 18th last year, at 132 18th. The home was (is) 3br/4ba, 3000 sq. ft., mostly new circa 1993. It went for $3.75m, down almost $250k from start, but still plenty steep. Those sellers were comparative fly-by-nighters, having bought onto the block in 2004 (at $3m).

Thusly we conclude the first of our "Great Streets" series. We first asked readers to nominate streets, or blocks, in this story last month – some great ideas there – and welcome your nominations in the comments here, too.

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