Weekend in the Sand (10/24-10/25)

By Dave Fratello | October 24th, 2009

We've got some great open-house options this weekend, including a big Strand home.

But first, you know we have to talk about pumpkins one last time.

The World Famous Pumpkin Races are Sunday downtown by the pier. There's unlimited racing almost all day for a mere $15 entry fee, plus championship qualifying races on the main track.

The finals – part race, part farce, part kabuki theater – run from 5-6:30pm. Costume parade and trick-or-treat from 4-5pm.

MBC readers, we still want and need your help to reach that $1,000 fundraising goal to help the MB Ed Foundation and get MBC listed as a sponsor. Whether you're racing or not, please sponsor the MBC team with $100 or more, or whatever works. If you are racing and still need to register, please do it online through the MBC "team" and help us get credit toward our goal. Thanks!

OK, back to open houses – we're focusing just on 3 listings in the Sand Section.

Click here for the complete list of opens published in the Beach Reporter, or at any time use the link from the "Property Search Tools" pull-down menu in the top navigation bar.

As always, click any highlighted property address for more pics & details via Redfin. Please report back here at MBC on any open houses you visit – what you like, what you don't like, etcetera.

Sand Section

This weekend, we'll set a new record for the priciest property opened to the public and featured here at MBC. But first we'll talk about our actual favorite.

455 35th is a large and darling Cape Cod (3br/3ba, 3075 sq. ft.) that will draw lots of interest at $1.599m.

The mid-80s build has some recent improvements done by the current owners, including a very nice high-end kitchen.  Location is pretty quiet despite the relative closeness of Rosecrans.

Love wine? The house is customized for oenophiles – a special, climate-controlled wine room downstairs is complemented by additional wine cabinets upstairs and in the garage.

It's nice to see a legal (grandfathered) roof deck, and 75% of the view from this one is worth the price of admission. City views, ocean, treetops, great. (The other 25% is the refinery's tank farm.) 

Some rough edges... the wood flooring in the first-floor living space, now a kids' play area, could use some work. (Hey, it's a play area.) And the 2 downstairs kids' bedrooms have no flooring at all – raw, exposed (but painted) concrete – a look that may grow on you, or you may simply cover those up with fresh new carpeting after move-in.

Finally, the 2-up/2-down bedroom layout won't be a favorite of families with small kids. (The fourth "bedroom" is now an office upstairs with the master, and would need a closet to be legit.) But the tradeoffs here mostly work in favor of a sweet home on a nice block.

This home was purchased in May 2003 for $1.250m. The current markup to $1.599m is 28% over that point, but it reflects substantial work in the interim – the kitchen and wine room, in particular, plus the addition of air conditioning.

Seeing this listing come up, we immediately thought of supercute 464 33rd, a crisp remodel (3br/3ba, 2550 sq. ft.) that sold almost immediately in April, closing for $1.6m in June. Here you get a bit more house for the same money.

455 35th is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

At $12.5m, you imagine that there's going to be plenty to like about 2920 The Strand. And yet...

What there is to love: Start with one-and-a-half-size corner lot in a quiet segment of The Strand, one of the more private stretches of beach in the area. Huge ocean views, of course, from the front rooms, including the master, which floats high above the Stand and sand, drinking in the sea.

If you lived here, it would be a major effort to get out of bed each day.

There's something nice, too, about the atrium with pool, a sunny space right off the entry that's plenty private but somehow ties the home in with the environs. Finally, there's an overall sleekness to the design (a late-80s build) and the wood accents soften what might otherwise be an overly sterile, contemporary feeling.

But this is not all going to be a love-fest for viewers this weekend.

The kitchen needs help. The master, despite its pluses, lacks adequate closet space. Here and there are surprisingly cheap elements like the bedroom doors. The layout – well, tell us what you think. All in all, the home will need work. You don't expect that in a top-dollar listing.

So how about that $12.5m price? The last sale was in 2006, at $9.0m. It's clear that the rest of MB has not appreciated 39% since then, as this offering purports to have done. You could even make a case that the 2006 sale was near land value at the time. Now?

2920 The Strand is open Sun. 2-5pm.

121 17th is one we need to see and hear more about.

You can't beat the 100 block of 16th-19th Streets, great.

But the "contemporary" design here may have been dated by the time construction was complete (1985). Something is making us think of Ronald Reagan's brown suits.

We're not talking about a lot of house, either – at 3br/3ba, 2200 sq. ft., the home is barely more than half the size of the max for a full-size lot in the area. The home may be terrific for the family there now, but we fear it's got limited appeal outside the bloodline.

At $3.999m and over $1,800/PSF, this one seems out of kilter. Land value is probably between $2.5m-$3m; the structure doesn't add much.

The one 100-block sale we see in the last 6 months was substantially larger 132 19th (3br/3ba, 3300 sq. ft.) which sold in May for $3.315m and $1,005/PSF. (See "Some Sand Sales" for more, plus a pic.)

If there's some feedback here on the open-house story, we'll consider this listing for a pricing poll later in the week.

121 17th is open Sun. 2-4pm.

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