I feel a little sheepish writing this, like I’m a Johnny-come-lately, or like I’m going to ruin some secret hotspots for the locals. Already some in the area are complaining about the techies and hipsters descending, although they don’t complain about the Citrus Brioche or Coffee Cake at Jane, or the Cheese Scones at Hookers. People with money and ideas are mining the Tenderloin in San Francisco. I really can’t tell the difference between merits earned, and PR paid for, but Kin Khao is a pretty amazing addition to the area. I have tried the Chicken Fat Rice and many other dishes, and I liked them all. So if their sudden rise is due at all to PR, I would say that it was money well spent. I have seen it mentioned on Best Restaurant lists in both Bon Appetit and GQ.
The European on Geary has some pretty incredible crab macaroons.
I’m not a restaurant critic, so I won’t comment on the rest of the food available at the bar, but I would say their specialty drinks are pretty potent. I was drawn to that one because it was opened (as was the restaurant Aveline) by a past contestant on Top Chef, a show I have watched diligently.
I’ve heard of a new boutique grocery store opening in the area soon, something akin to a Bi-Rite. The Nightcap on Ofarrell has been refurbished, for instance. I’m really not all that into drinking without food involved, so I can’t name all the drinking spots in the area, but there are some pretty stylish interiors happening. Michael Bauer has recently written on SFGATE about a new, small restaurant in the area called Huxley.
Of course the streets are pretty dirty. Piles of trash, viscous gobs of spit, human and non-human waste are in abundant supply. Somebody placed two rotting banana peels on my car the last time I visited the area. Maybe the City could invest some of those sidewalk cleaning green machines they have in France (I have been told the City already has some). Those might be fun to operate…for a salary of at least $69,000 per year (just a suggestion). Anyway, if you drop something in the Tenderloin gutter that you were intending to keep, you may be sorry.
What can one buy in the Tenderloin? Very little, as of today’s date, 2/27/15, via San Francisco’s MLS. There are two investment properties, one with 20 studio units for $3,650,000, and one with 26 units (0-1 beds plus 1 retail) for $5,950,000. Additionally available is a NNN property, or triple net lease. There are no financial specs included, so I can’t say if it’s a good deal, but if it is, a person should buy it, and not just because it’s one of the only properties for sale (I excluded businesses for sale).
As for residential properties in the Tenderloin, as of today, there are none. But the district called Downtown by the SFAR MLS is located between Nob Hill and the Tenderloin, and is the closest thing to, though considered better than, the Tenderloin. The building that has historically had the most affordable units is called The Hamilton, an Art Deco building with an amazing lobby located at 631 O’Farrell Street. The jr. 1 beds there have been a great deal in the past, and the last sale of one hit a building record of $480,000 for 520 sqft. The only thing for sale there right now is the penthouse, for just under $4m. I believe it comes with two deeded, tandem parking spaces, and the dues are about $4,300 per month. Assuming you have no loan, with dues and property taxes, you will be paying very roughly $8,000 per month just to keep the place. Hopefully you have some passive income to cover those costs. It’s an incredible place, one of a kind, with some stunning features. Personally I would hire some hotshot designer to customize the place for me, because I’m just not inclined to decorate, but that’s just me.
Other than that, your other Downtown options currently are 900 Bush, a perfectly fine condo building with (decreasingly) affordable condos. Some may think the dues are high, but heat is included (radiant), and the amenities include an outdoor pool, a small gym, and full-time reception/guards, among other things. One thing that can freak out some people is the discovery that half the building is located on leased land. It’s good to know details like this up front when looking for a place to buy. Right now there is a 1 bed for $645,000 available, as well as a 2 bed 2 bath for $999,995.
At 1001 Pine there is a 2 bed 2 bath for $1,250,000. I have been told that 1001 Pine is the original condo building in SF- before this building, no condos existed. With a condo you own the unit and the airspace inside it, with a shared interest with the other owners in the common areas as tenants in common (a form of ownership). Something to know about 1001 Pine is that you must hold the place as an owner for 1 year before having the possibility of renting it out. So it’s probably not an ideal building for a 1031 exchange.
Lastly, the penthouse at 490 Post is on the market. It’s listed as both a 1 bedroom condo in the residential section of the MLS, but also as a commercial condo. The tax records confirm commercial condo, so I would not suggest trying to live here. I don’t see a kitchen or any sort of shower or tub either, so I think this is for your business, not your home, despite the mls categorization. This one is priced at $2,995,000, and the dues are listed as $1,800 per month, so your carrying costs should be around $4,800 per month (in addition to the costs you incur with your actual home where you reside).