Vertigo Celebrates 60 Years!

Vertigo Movie Poster

The Making of Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)

CAST

James Stewart
Kim Novak
Barbara Bel Geddes
Henry Jones
(Click their name if you would like to know more!)

Vertigo is one of Alfred Hitchcock's most powerful, deep, and stunningly beautiful films. At the time of the film's release, it was not a box-office hit, but has since been regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. It is a film noir that functions on multiple levels and was filmed mostly in beautiful San Francisco. The work is a mesmerizing romantic suspense/thriller about a dance with death, romantic delusion and an extreme case of acrophobia.

If you are a Hitchcock Vertigo fan, you will enjoy these fun facts about the film:

1. ALFRED HITCHCOCK BLAMED JIMMY STEWART FOR VERTIGO’S FAILURE.

Marred by mixed reviews, the $2.5 million Vertigo did comparatively less than Hitchcock’s previous movies, and was widely a recognized failure. Frustrated with its reception, Hitchcock partly blamed star Jimmy Stewart’s aging appearance. At the time of filming, Stewart—who had starred in Hitchcock’s three previous films—was 50 years old which, according to the director, was too old to convincingly play then-25-year-old Kim Novak’s love interest.

2. EDITH HEAD USED COLOR TO HIGHLIGHT THE CHARACTERS’ STATE OF MIND.

When having costume disagreements with Kim Novak about her famous gray suit, Head “explained to her that Hitch paints a picture in his films, that color is as important to him as any artist”. After a discussion with the director when Head wouldn’t relent, Novak finally understood their creative choices, “I thought, ‘He knows my point of view, he must see a reason why that would work. He wants me to feel that discomfort as Madeleine. And, of course, she should feel that way because she’s actually Judy, playing the part of somebody, so that edge of discomfort will help me.’”

3. KIM NOVAK WAS ALREADY BEING CONSIDERED TO REPLACE VERA MILES, HITCHCOCK’S FIRST-CHOICE LEADING LADY, BEFORE MILES DROPPED OUT DUE TO A PREGNANCY.

According to Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic, Hitchcock began to have doubts about Miles’s ability to be a breakout star when she showed signs of reluctance to be shaped by the director. Thus, Hitchcock sought a possible substitute. Author Dan Aulier writes, “A few weeks before Miles reported to Stage 5 at Paramount for hair, costume, and makeup tests, Hitchcock screened The Eddy Duchin Story, a biopic featuring an actress [Kim Novak] who was being molded by one of Hitchcock's crosstown rivals [Harry Cohn].”

4. HITCHCOCK EXPLORED NECROPHILIA WHILE SHOOTING THE FILM.

Hitchcock elaborated on the most perverse scene of Vertigo: the part in which Novak’s Judy dresses up as the dead woman with whom Stewart’s Scottie is obsessed. “I indulged in a form of necrophilia,”  In the scene, Scottie can’t bring himself to have sex with Judy until every detail matches his former lover, Madeleine.

5. AN UNCREDITED CAMERAMAN CAME UP WITH THE FAMOUS "VERTIGO EFFECT."

According to associate producer Herbert Coleman, it wasn’t Hitchcock who came up with the film’s famous camera technique (which essentially involves zooming forward while pulling the camera backward); rather, it was an uncredited second unit cameraman, Irwin Roberts. “He didn’t get screen credit on Vertigo because they gave the screen credit to another close friend, [Wallace Kelley] who did all the process work on the stage,”.

6. THE PRODUCTION CODE ADMINISTRATION POLICED THE MORALS OF THE FILM’S CHARACTERS.

Considering this was the 1950s, any kind of sexual activity was scrutinized. According to Auiler’s book on the making of Vertigo, the Production Code Administration, under the leadership of Geoffrey Shurlock, wanted to eliminate several scenes that contained illicit sex. This included, but was not limited to, discussions between Scottie and Midge (Barbara Bel Geddes) about her bra and her love life, and any underwear pictured during Madeleine’s suicide attempt.

7. THE FILM WENT THROUGH SEVERAL TITLE OPTIONS.

While the source novel’s literal translation was From Among the Dead, which is the title under which the film was cast and shot, it didn’t stick. A few Paramount execs weighed in with their suggestions, which included A Matter of FactThe Mad CarlottaFace in the Shadow, and Possessed by a Stranger.

8. A MUSICIANS GUILD STRIKE AFFECTED THE FINAL CUT.

In 1958, the same year Vertigo was in post-production, Hollywood's musical status quo changed drastically. Studios were dissolving their in-house music departments, so the industry’s composers, orchestra members, and musicians had to start working freelance or were out of jobs. According to a 1996 interview with Hitchcock’s daughter, Patricia, the union had a lot of things working against them: a leader who didn't look out for them, Hollywood using cheaper old recordings from Europe, and a tense intra-union split amongst members.

“Bernard Herrmann didn’t conduct himself,” said Patricia. “It couldn’t be done in Hollywood, so it was taken to London with Muir Mathieson conducting, and they did about a day and a half there, then the London orchestra went out in sympathy with the Los Angeles musicians. And the entire unit had to move to Vienna.” During the film’s restoration in the 1990s, each country’s recording ultimately aged differently, leaving the folks at Universal to remaster its sound.

9. ALFRED HITCHCOCK CHANGED THE SETTING FROM PARIS TO SAN FRANCISCO.

The French source novel, D'entre les Morts, was set in Paris, but Hitchcock believed that San Francisco was more interesting. With the city's vertiginous streets and hilly landscape, the location perfectly matched the film’s themes. In a city where there were such extreme physical highs and lows, awful for anyone with acrophobia, Scottie’s vertigo became a character in and of itself.

10. DESPITE HITCHCOCK’S TASKMASTER REPUTATION, KIM NOVAK GOT ALONG WITH HER DIRECTOR.

Happy to be on loan from Columbia, the Harry Cohn-run studio under which Novak was contracted, Novak reveled in her experience with Hitchcock. “I didn’t find him controlling whatsoever,” she told The Telegraph“I found him a joy.” She elaborated saying, “[Hitchcock] didn’t make me feel ‘less than.’ He never said, ‘You’re not doing it right…’  What I would do after a take is to look in Jimmy Stewart’s eyes … I used Jimmy to give me what I needed to keep going and to know that I was on the right path with it … So, Hitchcock wouldn’t say anything about my work in the movie but, on the other hand, he wouldn’t complain, either.”

San Francisco Movie Locations

URBAN OASIS: DOLORES HEIGHTS

Anchored by the exceptional 2015 renovation of Dolores Park and neighboring San Francisco's oldest intact structure, Mission Dolores Chapel, this protected enclave offers residents a genteel lifestyle perched above the current gentrification pulse of the Inner Mission.

The context of Dolores Heights, like the context of the city as a whole, is a tapestry that only grows more intriguing as new elements are added to the weave.  The steep, 400-foot hill itself is more of a definition rather than a destination, framing Noe Valley to the south, Dolores Park to the east and the Castro to the west. From afar it's a rustle of walls and rooflines, green trees and straight asphalt. Many streets within Dolores Heights are dead-end cul-de-sacs connected by steep staircases with beautiful views. Ed Hardy, a resident and renowned antique dealer, happily notes that Dolores Heights remains "relatively warm, sunny and fog-free by virtue of Twin Peaks blocking the strong winds and fog found almost year-round in San Francisco."

Award Winning  Dolores Heights Residence

Award Winning Dolores Heights Residence

"Today this affluent and tranquil neighborhood is mixture of Victorians, apartment buildings, and detached houses gently rolling down the hill to the recently renovated 13.7 acre Dolores Park that serves as the hub of neighborhood activity and leisure."

The Sky house  Liberty Street

The Sky house Liberty Street

Dolores Heights  Special Use District

Dolores Heights Special Use District

Today this affluent and tranquil neighborhood is a mixture of Victorians, apartment buildings, and detached houses gently rolling down the hill to the recently renovated 13.7 acre Dolores Park that serves as the hub of neighborhood activity and leisure.  But that was not always the case as "residents of the hill fought bitterly over location of the streets the city was preparing to cut into the sides of the hill," wrote The Chronicle in its 1958 piece describing the early 20th century in Dolores Heights. "Everyone wanted the paved street to be at the level of his house - not that of the house across the way, which might be 20 or 30 feet higher or lower." The result was that some streets are split by retaining walls between lanes. Others filled in on one side but not the other.  While families in the area staked their claim with affection and care, mid-century builders slapped in product with no thought for their surroundings.

Now, new houses must align with the guidelines of the Dolores Heights Special Use District established on January 10, 1980 by the San Francisco Planning Commission "to encourage development in context and scale with established character and landscape.”  Resolution #8472 further stated, “Dolores Heights is listed in the Urban Design Element of the Comprehensive Plan as one of five examples of outstanding and unique areas which contribute to San Francisco’s visual form and character and in which neighborhood associations should be encouraged to participate in the cooperative effort to maintain the established character.” 

While this twelve block gem sits atop its protected perch, the neighboring Inner Mission district beats to the drum of the current tech boom as the latest invasion of cash flushed millionaires snap up real estate that is home to the city’s Mexican and Central American immigrants.  Mark Zuckerberg’s purchase on 21st Street at Fair Oaks in 2012 signaled the beginning of this district's gentrification trend as developers have rushed in pushing property values upward to meet the demand of “time constrained” techies who have an insatiable appetite for move-in condition homes.

CaenLucier tip: While there is still much value growth potential for the Inner Mission neighborhood, we recommend that savvy, long term investors dive in while the property values have yet to skyrocket the way they have in Noe Valley over the past decade.

The City of Jewles

The City of Jewels - 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition

"The Innocent Fair" is a documentary from amazing rare nitrate film footage from the 1915 Panama-Pacific exposition shot in San Francisco.  The historical silent film reels were found in 1961 in Tiburon and subsequently employed by Ray Hubbard as the basis for this piece that he wrote and produced for KPIX-TV. 

While the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition was held to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal in 1913, it was also seen by city planners and dwellers as a stage to show off the city's - albeit hasty - resurgence and recovery following the earthquake and great fire of 1906. Today's only remaining specimen of the exhibit is the Palace of Fine Arts, however, the exposition left its stamp on the city, through its innovative architecture and city planning, yielding civic projects and developments that remain visible today, for example in the design of present day Civic Center with its Civic Auditorium and the contemporaneous structure of the emerging City Hall.

VIEW FROM THE TOP: DANNY BERNADINI - UPSCALE CONSTRUCTION

Building Upscale

Working with some of the best architects in the world, spending time creatively solving problems for clients and building a home from the ground up are just a few of the things that make a day at the office so fulfilling for Danny Bernardini of Upscale Construction.  As a native San Franciscan, Bernardini has been hooked on building since he was a child.  To this day, we see the child inside of him is still very much alive with his infectious curiosity, good will and an inherent ability to keep the creative process of home building a win-win process for all involved.  CaenLucier had a moment to catch up with Danny between appointments at a favorite watering hole near his Union Street offices.

Danny Bernardini, Tony Kelly  and  Brad Hayes

Danny Bernardini, Tony Kelly and Brad Hayes

CaenLucier: What was it that led you to becoming a general contractor in San Francisco?  How and when was Upscale Construction formed?

Danny Bernardini: I loved building as a child.  When my father hired a contractor to do any work around the house, I sat there and looked and tried to help anywhere I could.  As I grew older, I wanted to get into development, so I worked for a general contractor in Marin, then got my license and started Upscale Construction in 1995.  I saved enough money to start doing some home flipping, but then got my first break on high end home remodeling via a VC who saw one of the homes I flipped.  Soon after that, the word got out and Upscale Construction grew to where we are today based on client/architect/ real estate agent references.

CL: The city is a competitive market for high-end building firms.  What sets Upscale apart for the competition?

DB: I truly believe our core values set us apart.  We try to instill in our team what got us to where we are today, which is a company based on mutual respect, creativity, and customer service.

Mutual Respect Treat all members on the project team, whether it is the laborer, sub-contractor, project manager, client, or architect with the mutual respect you would want.  You want everyone on site and involved in the project to have a positive attitude towards working in the client's best interest.  If everyone is well respected, you will get that positive attitude reflected in their work.

Creativity – Custom building comes with challenges behind every door.  We found that our creativity to problem solving was one of the reasons many of our clients liked working with us.  We empower our team to think out of the box to solve problems and to be proactive in doing so.  No idea is a dumb one.

Customer Service – The design/build industry is based on customer service.  After all, we are building the homes people quite often live in for the balance of their lives.  Without customer service, you can’t gain a complete understanding of what the client wants out of their home.  If you don’t understand that facet, how can you really build their dream home?

CL: What is your favorite part of the design/build process?

DB: I personally love seeing what gets accomplished on the site.  When I was a laborer/carpenter, and even now, I found myself losing what we call “valuable time” at the end of the day walking through the job site looking at what got accomplished.  There is nothing better than knowing you built something from scratch! This is why I don’t see this time as time lost.  I actually value this time.  On that note, I miss swinging the hammer, so I do a lot of that at my own home.  I am enjoying teaching my son to do so!

 

 

 

"Treat all members on the project team, whether it is a laborer Sub-contractor, PM, Client, Architect with the mutual respect you would want.  You want everyone on the site and involved in the project to have a positive attitude and want to work in the client best interest.  If everyone is well respected, you will get that positive attitude reflected in their work."

Pierce Street  Pacific Heights

Pierce Street Pacific Heights

CL: What are the challenges that are presented when working with an existing home in town?

DB: One of the bigger challenges is trying to keep the neighbors happy.  Let’s face it, there is construction occurring on every other house these days.  The neighbors are constantly faced with double parked cars, noise, debris, etc. We try to make it as easy as possible on the neighborhood and we try to set up a relationship with the neighbors so they know they can come to us with any issues.  We have heard some people say "at least Upscale Construction will be the builder."  If a neighbor has to deal with a job site, most feel at ease knowing it is us managing the construction.

Another big challenge is communication.  I feel we are great builders, but to be honest, I think there are a ton of great builders.  I believe our communication style reduces the challenge of the actual build out for the clients and architects we work with.

CL: Are there any particular architects that your enjoy working with?

DB: We are really blessed in San Francisco to have some of the best architects in the world!  I enjoy working most with architects that are good collaborators and involve us in the early budgeting phase. Just take a look at our signs around town and you will see many of the talented architects with whom we work.

CL: With San Francisco as a tech hub, what new technology has come into play in your profession?

DB: Home automation is more and more prevalent in the homes we are building.  Savant home control systems seem to be one of the more popular choices out there.  Also, 90% of the homes are installing radiant heat throughout.  The day of the forced air systems seems to be going away. 

CL: What would your dream project look like?

DB: Something with a Bat Cave, unlimited budget, unlimited schedule, pleasant neighbors, and at a site with unlimited parking...wouldn’t that be nice!  We recently completed a Mid-Century home in Sea Cliff where the design was true to the original design, but modernized for how peole live today.  The client happened to be the architect.  For him to build his dream home in the vernacular I most enjoy was a treat!!

CL: How would you advise people looking to do a large scale renovation or “ground up” project to best interview builders?

DB: Interview your general contractors to best understand how they work.  Be collaborative with them and the design team to achieve your budget.  Share your budget.  Share your goals.   If you can find the team that is your advocate (team being the right architect, engineers, and general contractor) then you have made a great start.  I would not put several general contractors up against each other. There is a fallacy that people think they will get the best price by doing this.  The problem there is you have too many sub contractors bidding on the project and the sub selection might be based on price only versus right fit.  The subs will also only give so much effort to bidding it and they will miss scope.  They have little motivation to bid it if they know they have little odds of getting the job.  I could go on and on, but it is key to find the team members you truly believe have got your back, then make sure they are capable of the build, capable of managing the build, and capable of open, effective communication and transparency.

"Find the team members you truly believe have got your back, then make sure they are capable of the build, capable of managing the build, and capable of open, effective communication and transparency."

CL: What are the common mistakes that clients make during the construction part of a new home?

DB: They change their minds too much!! I am not sure about the exact psychology behind it all, but it seems a lot of client’s want something but hold back until construction starts to add it.  For example, we do a lot of pre-construction analysis with clients and commonly the "off the cuff" cost is too high.  So we then work with the design team and client to cut the cost to something they are happy with.  Then we start...mid-stream they add most of the items we discussed (and cut) back into the project.  The big problem then becomes the changes cost more than originally budgeted.  There is a sequence we try to keep in construction.  Disrupting it costs time and time is money.   I understand there are many variables in making decisions, but if a client knows for sure that they are going to do something tell us early so we can do it for the best price and in the proper sequence.

CL: What architectural style do you most gravitate towards?

DB: Contemporary and Mid-Century Modern.

CL: What would you do if not building San Francisco’s finest residences?

DB: I would sell produce.  It was my first job on Union Street as a kid and I loved it!

CL: What is your favorite SF restaurant?

DB: Tony’s Pizza in North Beach.  I grew up hanging out in North Beach and I love pizza!!

CL: What do you like to do in your time off? 

DB: I enjoy working on construction projects around my house, golf (which I never have time to do), and tennis with my family.  Most of all, I love spending time with my wife and kids.  I am a workaholic so the time I do spend with them is precious.

Wine Country  Healdsburg

Wine Country Healdsburg

Vallejo Street  Cow Hollow

Vallejo Street Cow Hollow

Elizabeth Street  Noe Valley

Elizabeth Street Noe Valley

CaenLucier would like to thank Danny Bernardini for all his time and effort participating in LOFTY HEIGHTS!

INSPIRED DESIGN: DECORATIVE FINISHES - WILLEM RACKE STUDIOS

Walls of Art

Dating back from the Caves of Lascaux and the fresco adorned ancient city of Pompeii to the more refined skills that ancient artisans employed using lacquer finishing and verre églomisé, decorative painting and finishing reflects the history that cultures had for story telling and beauty.  Willem Racke of Willem Racke Studios offers clients an opportunity to enter his world of time honored artistry to grace their homes with his fresh vision on traditional techniques. Sitting down recently with Racke at his production studio in the Inner Mission shed light on the creative talents of this master craftsman.

CaenLucier: How did you come to the profession of decorative painting?

Willem Racke: I fell into decorative painting. I decided to take a break from college in New Zealand to travel to the US and Europe for a 1 to 2 year trip. I lived in San Francisco for six months then went to New York with the idea of living there for a while, then moving on to Europe. I had a friend in San Francisco and she put me in contact with a friend of hers who lives in New York that happened to be a decorative painter who needed an assistant. I loved the work and was crazy about the art scene in NYC. That six months lasted over 3 years. I returned to San Francisco, started my studio and haven’t looked back.

CL: If you could indulge yourself at home with your craft, which room and what type of treatment would draw your creative talents?

WR: I have bought, renovated and lived in several homes over the last few years, integrating decorative finishing into every one of them. The building where I live now is an industrial building in South of Market, which I renovated into a sophisticated urban loft. The style is very contemporary and I've used decorative finishes throughout, subtle Venetian plasters, custom finished wood paneling, industrial metal finishes. I’m currently working on a mural for my powder room; it’s going to be silhouettes of trees in black-and-white. In my next house I would love to have a paneled library finished in eggplant color lacquer.

CL: Looking back in history what examples of different cultures informing each other have been brought to your modern day craft?

WR: I think people need to be reminded that decorative painting is the first form of art, man painted the walls of caves long before any of the fine arts as we define them existed. Decorative plaster, frescos and painting techniques all date back to Roman times and probably were established well before that. Many historic cultures were reflected in how they painted and finished their residences and temples, Venetian plaster is written about in Vitruvius's De Architectura, a 1st Century B.C. history of Rome. So nothing is really new, it’s all about a fresh vision for traditional techniques that suits the aesthetics of today.

Lacquer finishing, as another example, is enjoying a revival today. The techniques for creating great lacquer are the same as the ones used in ancient China, we have modern tools and equipment to apply the materials but the hand sanding and buffing are all essential to a true lacquer finish.

CL: What are a couple of centuries old techniques that you enjoy employing in today’s interiors?

WR: I like subtle, tonal Venetian Plaster, it really elevates a neutral palette, we do a special Strata finish that goes from dark to light in a way that complements the interior furnishings.  I really like Verre églomisé, a reverse glass painting technique that gives an effect that you can’t duplicate in any other way, it plays with the light in a room.

Willem Racke

Willem Racke

 

 

"I think people need to be reminded that decorative painting is the first form of art, man painted the walls of caves long before any of the fine arts as we define them existed. Decorative plaster, frescos and painting techniques all date back to Roman times and probably were established well before that."

Tortoise shell  powder room

Tortoise shell powder room

CL: What would the powder room of your dreams look like?

WR: I have always contended that if you are going to go wild, do it in the powder room. I have done many extravagant powder rooms. We did an all tortoise shell powder room in a Nob Hill a pied a terre, walls and ceiling and cabinetry that is just over the top. Recently, I completed a verre églomise powder room inspired by the post impressionist jungle paintings of Henri Rousseau, it was quite a feat of art and engineering to create and install but it’s spectacular. Another over the top powder room was for a young, hip couple. We did the floors walls and ceiling in op art themed polka dots that oscillate for a bit of a mind-bending experience. If you aren’t a bit stoned when you walk in you certainly will be when you walk out.

CL: Have you seen any decorative finish in your international travels that you have developed to make your own?

WR: The Tsarskoye Selo museum in the Catherine palace in Saint Petersburg is one of the highest examples of decorative finishing in the world. Every surface is decoratively painted or gilded or treated in some way. I was really impressed by the elaborate inlaid wood floors and I developed techniques to translate that look into stenciled and stained designs for wood floors.

CL: Have you seen over the years your part of interior design work go through particular fads?  If so what?

WR: When I first started finishing in the 80’s the look was Memphis, lots of pastel blues, purples and greens. There was a lot of sea sponging wall finishes and faux marble was usually over the top. Now finishes are more refined and subtle, I mean we still do faux marble, we participated in the restoration of the Salon Doré at the Legion of Honor where we faux marbled the trim to match the real stone.

CL: Do you have a particular finish application that is near and dear to your heart?

WR: I am really liking verre églomisé these days, it’s a vintage French technique of reverse painting on glass that has a lot of visual impact when it’s done well. The jungle inspired verre églomisé powder room is a memorable room. I also love tortoise shell finishes, they can be so dramatic in the right setting.

Painted Beams  at the Park Lane

Painted Beams at the Park Lane

CL: Looking back on your career, what was one of the most challenging projects you were commissioned?

WR: We did a Venetian plaster mural for Cushman Wakefield’s downtown headquarters that were designed by Gensler. The mural is a “snails eye” view of an office tower done in monochromatic tones of plaster and then incised to create a bas-relief. The geometry of the extreme perspective in different tones combined with the thousands of facets were a real challenge to execute but the final result was worth the effort.

CL: How do you find yourself most often brought into a interior design project?

WR: My projects are commissioned mostly through designers, architects and contractors, I also work directly with clients. I have worked to develop ongoing long term relationships with all my clients who rely on me for my knowledge, experience and sense of aesthetics.

CL: Any particular designers that you enjoy working with/understand how best to implement your skills into a project?

WR: I have had the opportunity to work with many of the best designers on incredible projects. I have worked with Jay Jeffers on many of his projects, his work is elegant and beautiful. I enjoy working with Kelly Hohla, she is a rising creative talent with a unique point of view. I love working with Darin Geise of Coup D’etat, he is a unique force in the world of bay area design, we have done wall finishes for the showroom as well as window displays. I have done projects with Peter Marino, an amazing architect and designer.  

Stained and  stenciled floor

Stained and stenciled floor

Tortoise shell  chest of drawers

Tortoise shell chest of drawers

Op Art  Powder Room

Op Art Powder Room

CL: What is your idea of a perfect client?

WR: The perfect client is someone who I resonate with on an aesthetic level. I like working with designers and clients who understand and respect the art and craft that goes into finishing. I have a lot of experience and expertise in the field and it’s always great to be able to work with clients and designers who know, for example, that I have an extensive reference library for research that centers on decorative arts, both historical and modern to resource from. I can do my best work when the designer or client gives me some free rein and likes to collaborate.

"It’s a big project with great design and finishes; we have been working for six months producing samples and concepts."

CL: What is your favorite project that you are working on currently?

WR: We are working on a project in Hillsborough with Kelly Hohla, interior designer and Richard Beard, architect. It’s a big project with great design and finishes; we have been working for six months producing samples and concepts. In one of the rooms, we are doing lacquer finish inspired by the 2015 San Francisco Decorator Showcase room I designed that has a muted, polychromatic palette and high gloss finish. We’re also doing a dark turquoise lacquer pantry. Subtle Venetian plaster finishes and custom wood graining and finishing are part of the plans.

CL: What are you reading at the moment?

WR: I’m reading The White Road: Journey into an Obsession by Edmund de Waal. The author is a ceramicist who specializes in porcelain. The story is about his travels to the “white Hills” of the world and tracing the roots of porcelain and how it became the refined art and collected thing it is today. The book was given to me by Ron Schwartz, my first client and now friend, who is a collector of fine porcelains. It’s really given me a respect for the art and it’s significance in history.

CL: If you could choose another career what would it be?

WR: I would be an architect. That was my original plan. I wanted to travel for a year or two then return to New Zealand to study architecture. Obviously, my life went in another direction. I am really happy though that my chosen career enables me to be a part of the world great architecture and design.

CaenLucier would like to thank Willem Racke for all his time and amazing energy!

BLUE CHIP HEIGHTS

2865 Vallejo Street

2865 Vallejo Street

1997 - Sold for $1,825,000

2003 - Sold for $2,750,000

2014 - Sold for $6,995,000

2016 - Sold for $7,450,000

"These numbers show one thing for certain. Time is your friend when owning a home in San Francisco and blue chip property protects value in a downturn and takes the most advantage of a market cycle taking off again."

2002  Pacific  Ave #4

2002 Pacific Ave #4

1998 - Sold for $1,000,000

2009 - Sold for $2,400,000

2011 - Sold for $2,720,000

2014 - Sold for $3,900,000

2016 - Sold for $4,200,000

Pacific Heights known the world over as San Francisco’s premier neighborhood is home to hundreds of architecturally significant residences, quaint shopping districts, and iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco bay. Since 1996, the median price of a Pacific Heights single family home has increased 367% from $1,200,000 to $5,600,000 with the condominium market showing a 286% gain from $375,000 to $1,450,000 in 2015. There have been downturns during this time, most notably the precipitous value drop in 2009-2011; but a long term real estate hold in this blue chip neighborhood has always been a wise investment. Even so, buyers often hedge and play the market timing game.

“In 30 years in this business, I do not know anybody who has done it (market timing) successfully and consistently, nor anybody who knows anybody who has done it successfully and consistently.” So were the words of John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group of Investment Companies. Over the past twenty years, we have noticed a strange phenomenon with intelligent and successful individuals in the San Francisco’s high end real estate market. For an inexplicable reason, very few tend to buy real estate when it is on sale. This is when the truly savvy take advantage of the window to buy at a discount and ride the market when it turns. Time after time in a hot market we hear, “I am going to wait until the market cools off to buy a home.” And yes they do wait…and wait…and wait! Most would agree that timing the bottom is luck. Which is why we see most of these “smart” buyers wait until the market turns and fervently chase each other back to the multiple offer market place. Makes sense right? Uh?

The reality of purchasing a home often relies on factors outside of market economics. A job transfer, an equity event, a marriage, more kids on the way, divorce, downsizing are some of the life events that call for a new home. Our advice to our San Francisco clients today who are looking at a mature market cycle is to protect themselves by specifically buying blue chip real estate. Buy in Pacific Heights! Practice time honored fundamentals. Location, location, location. Buy the least expensive house on the best block. Get into the 2000+ sqft condominium market. Of the 2,694 condominiums in Pacific Heights only 427 are 2000 sqft or more. This is a relatively safe sector since buyers are increasingly getting priced out of this neighborhood's single family home market and alternatively choosing to stay by purchasing a large condo.  Playing defense in a hot market is an astute way to build confidence and be prepared to strike when the right property comes to market. In the last twenty years the Pacific Heights market has topped twice. First in 2001 concurrent with the dot-com bust with a median price of $3,684,000 then in 2007 at a median price of $4,037,000. The market did take approximately five years each time to climb back to these peak prices. The current market the Pacific Heights median price is 38% above the 2007 top at $5,600,000.  How about that!

What to make of these market cycles when coupled with the lives we lead from our homes? These numbers show one thing for certain. Time is your friend when owning a home in San Francisco and blue chip property protects value in a downturn and takes the most advantage of a market cycle taking off again.

CaenLucier Tip: We encourage you to take our thoughts into consideration and listen to our seasoned professional advice when purchasing in any part of the market cycle. A bet on Pacific Heights real estate is one that we will continue to encourage for a solid part of your financial portfolio and a place to enjoy your life!

INSPIRED DESIGN: THE WISEMAN GROUP - INTERIOR DESIGN

Paul Wiseman

Paul Wiseman

"The internet generation thinks that quality and appropriateness come with the push of a button. What we do is a process, not a product."

Entering the home of The Wiseman Group along the northern slope of Potrero Hill is to be transported into a world of serene order and beauty punctuated by the ever warm greeting from the bespectacled master of ceremonies himself, Paul Wiseman. Before we sat down in the firm's project clad conference room, Wiseman indulged us in a tour of the firm's extensive design studios. During the past 30 years, Paul has become one of the most successful and respected interior designers in America. Architectural Digest’s special edition, “100 years of Design,” mentions Paul as one of the top designers. He has been widely published and over a 16 year period has been listed on the A.D. Best Designers list. Our look behind the TWG curtain tells a story of unrelenting precision and passion where the alchemy of Paul Wiseman and his creations live.

CaenLucier: What do you consider "good" design?

Paul Wiseman: Anything that is appropriate for its location, climate and use. Attention to detail and well considered options result in design decisions of the highest caliber.

CL: How has your constant curiosity as a person kept your work evolving and fresh?

PW: I am always curious and there are only two guarantees in life – death and change, so I might as well be curious about change.

CL: How do you see your client’s process today in relation to the way clients and the process worked as you came to prominence years ago?

PW: I think the internet has been a great benefit and also a great hindrance to our industry. The internet generation thinks that quality and appropriateness come with the push of a button. What we do is a process, not a product.

HAWAII RESIDENCE   WITH ARCHITECT RICARDO LEGORRETA

HAWAII RESIDENCE WITH ARCHITECT RICARDO LEGORRETA

HILLSBOROUGH   LIBRARY

HILLSBOROUGH LIBRARY

CL: You are currently working with Richard Beard on a Joseph Esherick home in Hillsborough. How has your experience working with Richard on past projects and this current project been unique, surprising and professionally enhancing?

 PW: Working with Richard has been professionally enhancing due to the fact that we are both well-traveled, with our focus based upon the love of architectural history and cultural references. This also enriches our relationship with clients by offering our special and unique talents within the design process. Working with a great client and a talented architect like Richard reinforces my belief in the collective creative process.  It’s a wonderful synergy! We also share a wicked sense humor.

Pacific Heights Collaboration: Paul Wiseman and Richard Beard Architects

Please view the before and after photograph slide show below!

CL: How have your travels trained your eye?

PW: I was very fortunate to have lived abroad twice in Australia and France and have the opportunity to have extended travels around the world before cultures became more homogenized. Combined with my general curiosity, it allowed me to have a very deep dictionary of cultural cross references.

CL: Have you ever traveled with a client for collective inspiration for a project?

PW: I have numerous times over the years.  In one instance even before the house was built, I went on a buying trip to London with our client. We really bonded around discovering four 18th century chimney pieces that set the tone for the entire design of the home. The soft limestone-not marble-suggested a relaxed palette for the décor.  We were so lucky to find them; I have never seen that quality since.

CL: Working with a variety of clients’ personal aesthetics and different property locations, is there a Wiseman touch that is a common thread throughout these homes.

PW: Every client is different. What I hope to achieve with every project is to get the client to connect to the architecture and location based upon their own personal preferences. Good taste comes in many forms and it is my job to be the guide.

Hillsborough Living Room

CL: You lived in a very formal residence on Nob Hill prior to your current residence on Belvedere Island. How have each of these residences been a reflection of the same person?

PW: The city apartment formally provided a great backdrop for that part of my life that was much more social. In order to maintain my creativity, the older I get the more I must have sacred space to rejuvenate that creativity. Belvedere provides a perfect venue – I can garden and cook and still entertain, but at a much more relaxed pace.

CL: What is your favorite color and why?

 PW: Most shades of yellow and green, because they remind me of nature.

"We have had clients that became serious students of the architectural styles and design motifs we chose for their home.  Armed with the knowledge and possessing great creativity, they put their stamp on the project and made it their own."

CL: How would you describe your "dream client?"

PW: Intelligent, curious, kind and respectful. We have had clients that became serious students of the architectural styles and design motifs we chose for their home.  Armed with the knowledge and possessing great creativity, they put their stamp on the project and made it their own.

CL: What is your favorite project that your firm is working on at the moment?

PW: All of my projects are favorites, but the most unusual is the Frank Gehry house that we are currently working on. It is Frank’s first residence in 25 years and his first residence in Northern California. 

CaenLucier would like to thank Paul Wiseman for all his time and amazing energy! We would also like to thank Layne Varholdt and Kevin Peters of TWG for their organization in helping us produce this feature!

VIEW FROM THE TOP: RICHARD BEARD ARCHITECTS

 

"Every site tells you something different, and siting and locating a new house is a real art.  After many years, I’m happy with my record."

When meeting Richard Beard for the first time one perceives a sense of calm and good humor.  Recently visiting his new Dogpatch offices, it is clear why, as we peruse high-caliber past projects and current visions underway that cast light on a creative talent at the top of his game.  With his substantial body of work, Beard shows his understanding of the ability of truly listening, deftly assessing a site, and creating an interactive approach with his discerning clientele which engages and always inspires.  After working at BAR Architects and heading up their residential design department, Beard decided to open up his own shop, Richard Beard Architects, in 2014 to create a smaller studio environment specifically focused on residential design.  We found him in good spirits over lunch as he shared some personal insights on architecture and beyond.

CaenLucier: When did you first realize that you wanted to dedicate your career to architecture?

Richard Beard: That’s easy:  I was a teenager, working for a bricklayer in Houston, under the hot Texas summer sun.  It was a very Ayn Rand / Fountainhead moment.  Think about when Gary Cooper is looking up out of the stone quarry at Patricia Neal, and you’ve pretty much got it.

CL: After working at BAR Architects as a senior partner for many years and heading up the custom home residential design group, how are you now enjoying having your own firm?

RB: I’m enjoying it a lot.  I’m happy to have been a part of BAR’s growth and success over the years—they’re up to about 85 people now I believe—but it was time for me to take a new tack and move on to a smaller studio of architects primarily focused on residential design.  The size is great, as is my staff, and I’m most happy that we have a roster of great clients and projects. 

Soda Canyon, napa valley  collaboration with paul wiseman

Soda Canyon, napa valley collaboration with paul wiseman

Burwell House  Sonoma County

Burwell House Sonoma County

CL: What architecture around the world inspires you?

RB: Wow.  That’s a big one.  I’ve been fortunate to have traveled quite a bit for work and pleasure.  It’s not always just the architecture, but how the community of design and culture develops with it.  From my own home state, Texas, there is Marfa, and all of Donald Judd’s work.  Completely amazing.   Visit his former studio in New York (soho) sometime, too.  And Renzo Piano’s Menil collection—one of the most beautiful yet understated museums in the world.  The Kimball in Fort Worth.  These were all early inspirations. Houston when I was growing up was a big boom town and still is to a degree.  Gerald Hines was bringing in great architects for commercial projects—it was inspiring.

The Menil  Collection

The Menil Collection

But further afield, have you been to the Amalfi Coast and Naples?  While it’s full of tourists much of the time, there are amazing places there that really impress on quite human scales and emotions:  in Naples, the Certosa for instance.  Sublime.  And on the coast, the San Pietro Hotel, sitting on an unbelievably steep bluff, not entirely “designed” but more accrued over the years, is really great.  And then there’s Ravello, the Villa Cimbrone and gardens.  No wonder Gore Vidal lived nearby for so long.

Villa Cimbrone  and Gardens

Villa Cimbrone and Gardens

I’m also a big fan of Japan.  In particular there’s a wonderful island, Naoshima, in the Seto Sea, that is magical in many ways.  Art installations and Tadao Ando’s architecture really amaze you, and the juxtaposition with the little fishing village’s indigenous architecture makes for quite a place.  I’m glad it’s so hard to get to, otherwise it’d be over-run.

CL: That’s interesting that you mentioned Japan.  I notice that you’ve had some multi-family projects over a long time in Japan.  How is working over there, versus here, for instance?

RB: Well, there’s quite a difference.  My client in Japan values quality, design and operations to an amazingly high degree.  For over twenty years I’ve been working for them, with the exact same team of interior and landscape designers.  They’re an inspirational group, challenging and rewarding.  Japanese contractors are amazing.  I was visiting a recent project under construction—I couldn’t believe how clean everything was.  On each floor are two rolling carts that contain fire extinguishers and five or six brooms.  That should tell you something.  The workers practice group supporting drills every day.

Pacific Heights  Paul Weisman  and  Richard Beard  Collaboration

Pacific Heights Paul Weisman and Richard Beard Collaboration

To view the before and after photos of this amazing residence- Click Here

CL: This all sounds pretty great; what would you like to do if you were not an architect? 

RB: Hah!  Concert pianist, but I’m a terrible player.  Ditto tennis.  Rock star?  But then Paul said I’d look like Keith Richards.  Writer was and is always an attraction, both fiction and non-fiction.

CL: What are your reading now?

RB: Apart from keeping up with the ever challenging stack of New Yorkers, I’m currently re-reading some of Truman Capote’s early essays, profiles and observations.   He was a great writer back then.  Also Haruki Murakami, “After Dark.”   And “Rendez-vous with Art” by Philippe de Montebello.

CL: What is your favorite project that you have completed recently?

RB: I think the Cole House project in Calistoga is a favorite.  It’s a historic farmhouse (late 19th century) complex we’ve completely re-done, while keeping all the historic exterior historic pieces in tact.  Great clients.  And the project includes a historic, commercial chicken coop.  Try that one.!

Cole House  Calistoga

Cole House Calistoga

Abalone Cove  Big Sur

Abalone Cove Big Sur

Santa Lucia Preserve  California

Santa Lucia Preserve California

ICAA Julia Morgan Award Winning Residence 2014  Dolores Heights, San Francisco

ICAA Julia Morgan Award Winning Residence 2014 Dolores Heights, San Francisco

CIVIC-CENTRIC

This exciting hub of culture and diverse city living has seen meteoric increases in property values as new mixed-use developments signal a shift towards a sophisticated, yet hip, gentrification.

SFJAZZ Center  201 Franklin Street

SFJAZZ Center 201 Franklin Street

When San Francisco commissioned Arthur Brown Jr. to design City Hall in 1913, he went into his bag of tricks from his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and modeled this civic landmark after Paris' Les Invalides to create an architectural axis to anchor the city after the 1906 quake.  CaenLucier narrows focus this month on Hayes Valley and the fortuitous flurry around the Civic Center. When Ron Conway rattled the cages of Ed Lee's offices, Doug Shorenstein's bet on mid-Market paid off with Twitter deciding against abandoning the city. With Benchmark Capital already across the street in the Warfield Building, it was game on for the tech sector effect on residential values. In an odd way, the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake followed by Art Agnos' tenacity to tear down the freeways reinvigorated two iconic San Francisco districts... The Embarcadero and Hayes Valley.

Hayes Valley has seen a renaissance like no other neighborhood in town. While the blue collar to white-ish collar transformation of Noe Valley, Potrero Hill, and Bernal Heights has been noteworthy over the past five years, Hayes Valley is truly where the action happens. Traci des Jardin and Bill Russell-Shapiro put their money down on Jardinerre and Absinthe, respectively, in the late '90's. In 2012, Randall Kline gifted our city, and particularly Hayes Valley, the Mark Cavagnero designed SF Jazz Center, adding to the internationally lauded opera, symphonic, and ballet companies that culturally anchor the Civic Center. The neighborhood now bumps to a new beat, a beat that embodies hip refinement and satisfies the intellectual curiosity of San Franciscans. Like many districts in town, Hayes Valley has been a hot bed for new development. With over 300 new units in the past four years and another 500 debuting and under development, it's go time for investors and astute residents to invest in this re-imagined neighborhood.

555 Fulton

555 Fulton

388 Fulton

388 Fulton

450 Hayes

450 Hayes

300 Ivy

300 Ivy

CaenLucier investment tip: The numbers don't lie. In the last three years of this robust market, the median price of neighborhood condominiums is up 38% ($830,000 to $1,150,000) and the single family home sector has climbed 54% ($1,550,000 to $2,400,000) CaenLucier is confident that this district has a continued sustainable and attractive growth curve.  Please consult us for leading edge opportunities in this neighborhood. We look forward to sharing our expertise in your pursuit of adding real estate to your portfolio.

Call Stacey at 415.450.8465 or Joe at 415.260.9791 for more information on this cool part of the city!

VIEW FROM THE TOP: ARCHITECT LEWIS BUTLER

Lewis Butler of BUTLER ARMSDEN ARCHITECTS discusses modern living in traditional exteriors, the importance of honesty with clients and his wife's novel, Dream House.

Lewis Butler

"I’m very honest and up front with my clients from the first conversation on. When you are honest with a client early on in your relationship, it stands out. Most likely no one else has bothered to tell them the truth."

Portola Valley  Courtyard House

Portola Valley Courtyard House

"Our most exciting developer project is 115 Telegraph Hill, which is four houses on the last large empty lot on Telegraph Hill.  Despite the fierce opposition that fought us for three years, we gained project approval and are going forward. " 

Lush with sensory detail and emotional complexity,   Dream House   is about family, home, and an architect’s journey to understand the crippling hold one house has on her.

Lush with sensory detail and emotional complexity, Dream House is about family, home, and an architect’s journey to understand the crippling hold one house has on her.

CaenLucier: How has being a professional architect enhanced your life?
Lewis Butler: I like being an architect, and I’m going to do it for a lot longer.  It’s a worn out expression perhaps, but no two days are the same and almost all of them are fun and entertaining.  There are tougher weeks when we have lots of opposition to our projects and have to attend hearings, especially when they run after work hours.  I like my clients, I like my employees, and I like most of the others that help us do what we do professionally.  A great benefit to what I do is the intellectual dialogue that often accompanies the process.  I end up in great conversations on various topics, and sometimes these conversations sail into uncharted areas.  Just yesterday, a client and I were recounting the great Orson Wells movies both famous and lesser known, and we were trying to piece together what happened at the end of his career.  I don’t know where that came from but it delayed the start of our meeting by a half hour!  Today it was a conversation with a potential new client about how Crick and Watson used physical models to lead them to the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.  

CL: Upon being elected as the chairman of the Department of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1938, it is rumored that Walter Gropius proclaimed "Classicism is dead!" Do you feel your Masters of Architecture from Harvard gave you a suitable foundation to interact with the strong classical language of San Francisco architecture?

LB: San Francisco is a very young city, and most of its Classical buildings were built when Frank Lloyd Wright was well into his architectural career.  So the Classical architecture in this city was built at the beginning of the Modern Era, which can make working within the Classical context more difficult, not easier.  Classical architecture in Rome or Paris is old, there is no question about that, which makes it easier to appreciate the contrast of modern architecture in its midst.  The best example of that is the Pompidou center in Paris, of course.  We find that our clients appreciate traditional architecture, but don’t want to live in a traditional interior.  So we combine an aggressive approach to open modern living with traditional exteriors in many cases, and find that the two seemingly opposites are very compatible, and elevate the final product.  We are also doing six new houses in San Francisco right now, and two new residential buildings. When we don’t feel that the existing architecture is good, we replace it with new, and that’s exciting.  Where education enters this answer is that one has to know which buildings have merit and which do not, and be able to explain that to the Planning Commission in a persuasive way.  We’ve never lost a hearing at the Planning Commission, and it’s our understanding of architecture and the city that has given us that successful record.

CL: I am sure you have seen a lot of technology advancement in the course of your 30 years in business.  How has this changed the way you work with your clients?

LB: New technology for the most part stacks on old technology, with occasional casualties like the Betamax and fax machines.  So we use every tool from hand sketching to complex 3D modeling programs to explore the architecture.  We still build models too; there is no substitute for a great model.  Different clients respond to different mediums, so we adjust our presentations to their preferences.  I will say that my iPad is out every day.  I keep a gallery of project photos in iPhoto, and show them to clients and employees all the time.

CL: Do you miss your drafting table and straight edges?

LB: Wow. Maybe the drafting table and straight edge is like the fax machine: we really haven’t used one in years!  I suppose I miss the idea of it, but not very much.

CL: What is the one tool you never leave your office without? Your iphone doesn’t count.

LB: I don’t leave the office without a sketchbook, tape measure, trace paper, a scale, and spare fountain pens.

CL: I am sure that every project is as unique as your clients and their needs. How do you like to start your relationships?

LB: I’m very honest and up front with my clients from the first conversation on.  If they are expecting something that is unlikely to happen, I let them know that.  We live in a world where it’s rare that people tell each other what they really think.  When you are very honest with a client early on in your relationship, it stands out.  Most likely no one else has bothered to tell them the truth.

CL: In a way, you establish mini relationships. Do you have a favorite story of a family that you helped?

LB: I have many stories like this, but my favorite family story is when the kids of one of our past clients hire us to work on their house.  It has actually happened quite a few times, and it’s great to get the perspective of the next generation as they become adults.

CL: I cannot wait to read Catherine’s book Dream House! From what I have read, her passion for architecture and family is undeniable. Did she discuss her book with you while she was writing it?

LB: We had many discussions about Dream House. After all, it was ten years in the making.  Dream House is a novel first, and is about architecture second.  The notion of architecture then occurs at many levels.  The chapters begin with a quotation from various famous architects.  The quotations have a lot to do with the content of the chapters in turn, and provide an “architecture” that structures the book.  Then there is the house itself, which is described in detail.  Since the protagonist Gina is an architect, there are great descriptions of the architectural process.  Catherine has a passion for family and architecture, and that’s what drove her to write Dream House. Otherwise you can’t possibly create what she did, because writing a book is much harder than being an architect, much harder.

"Catherine has a passion for family and architecture, and that’s what drove her to write Dream House. Otherwise you can’t possibly create what she did, because writing a book is much harder than being an architect, much harder."

CL: When you imagine your dream personal residence, what shape does the form and function take?

LB: Dream House begins with a quotation from Gaston Bachelard from his famous book The Poetics of Space.  A different quotation from the same book applies here, “Sometimes the house of the future is better built, lighter and larger than all the houses of the past, so that the image of the dream house is opposed to that of the childhood home. Late in life, with indomitable courage, we continue to say that we are going to do what we have not yet done: we are going to build a house. This dream house may be merely a dream of ownership, the embodiment of everything that is considered convenient, comfortable, healthy, sound, desirable, by other people. It must therefore satisfy both pride and reason, two irreconcilable terms.”

CL: How would you describe the process of working with developers as opposed to end users on a project?

LB: In the past we rarely worked with developers because they were frankly not interested in the architectural quality that we bring to an end user project.  In the last five years that has started to change, and I think that the markets are starting to overlap for the first time.  Developers are now understanding that the highest profit margins involve houses that have a level of quality that one would expect to provide for a discerning individual, not a mass market.  So we are working for three developers now on single-family houses and two-to-six unit buildings.  Our most exciting developer project is 115 Telegraph Hill, which is four houses on the last large empty lot on Telegraph Hill.  Despite the fierce opposition that fought us for three years, we gained project approval and are going forward.  These houses are finished at the very highest end, and even include a car elevator that allows the vehicles to disappear underground, allowing more view opportunities for the rooms above.  So the developers are really looking for the same thing from us as our individual end user clients, and that’s an exciting new market for everyone involved.

CaenLucier thanks Lewis Butler for taking the time to share with our readers!
115 Telegraph Hill Boulevard

115 Telegraph Hill Boulevard

Woodside  Kitchen

Woodside Kitchen

San Francisco  Residence

San Francisco Residence

After 10 Years, Mexican Museum Condos Set to Break Ground

706 Mission

706 Mission

The last time Curbed SF heard news about the long-delayed and super-luxury Mexican Museum Tower, it was planning to break ground in summer of 2015, but the site still sits dormant today. Now, the San Francisco Business Times reports that the $500 million building will begin construction in March. Building permits have officially been filed for the four-story museum and up to 190 condos by developer Millennium Partners.

Units in the building are expected to average a huge 2,700 square feet and fetch more than $2,000 per square, meaning that $5 million average units are possible. The project was plagued by lawsuits and protests for years—led by neighbors at the luxury Four Seasons tower—but an agreement has now been reached. Developer Millennium has agreed to pay $100,000 in street improvements. The building is expected to be finished by early 2019.

Rendering via Handel Architects

PIER 29's NEXT ADVENTURE

Pier 29

The Port of San Francisco’s vision for turning Pier 29 into a design and maker themed marketplace of local retailers and restaurateurs is ready to be put to the test, as the formal request for proposals for the first 20,000 square feet of space within the pier’s Bulkhead Building, which fronts The Embarcadero, has just been issued.

The RFP specifically seeks, “uses which focus on the creation and sales of arts, crafts and/or dry goods; including artists and designers working out of studio/exhibit spaces; innovators’ open studios; galleries; public and other markets; and ongoing exhibitions, cultural and exhibit space including ancillary space for live demonstrations and displays.”  But the Port will remain open to proposals for other creative uses “that meet the overall goals of activation and uniqueness.”

And perhaps taking a cue from the City’s Transbay Parcel F debacle, the Port’s RFP doesn’t set a minimum monthly rent for the space.  Instead, respondents are required to propose a rent “comparable to like situations in the market” with the economic return to the Port comprising 20 percent of the RFP selection criteria.

Built in 1915 to serve as a maritime warehouse, the Bulkhead Building was rebuilt in 2012 following a blaze and the 123,000 square foot Pier 29 was used by the America’s Cup Event Authority for the 34th America’s Cup. 

The Port has been hoping for a high profile and well-heeled retail tenant, such as Tesla or Google (which could have used the pier as a home base for the exiled and since decommissioned Google barge), to land the Bulkhead Building lease and anchor the pier’s overall redevelopment.

Proposals for Pier 29’s Bulkhead Building are due in March, interviews with finalists are slated for May, and the Port Commission is expected to select the winner in June with lease approval by the end of 2016.

Source: SocketSite

Salesforce Tower Above Ground: Two Years and 1,070 Feet to Go!

With its massive 14-foot thick concrete foundation having been cured and its basement levels constructed, the future Salesforce Tower and tallest building in San Francisco is now rising above ground.

The 61-story tower will reach a height of 1,070-feet over the next two years.

Salesforce, which is paying $560 million for its 15-1/2 year lease of the tower’s bottom 30 floors, the 61st floor and the (Transbay) tower’s naming rights, is slated to start its move into the vertical campus at 415 Mission Street in early 2018.

Courtesy of SocketSite