South of Market: San Francisco’s High Rise Hot Spot 

Many of my clients have been asking me, ‘what’s the deal with the SoMa?‘ A burgeoning neighborhood just off the Bay Bridge, “South of Market” has peaked the interest of the masses and is quickly shooting to the top of every buyers list. So whether you are a 1st time home buyer, investor, or a curious local, sit back and hear what I’ve been telling my clients about San Francisco’s latest hot spot.

From Industrial Warehouses to Silicon Valley Getaways
Back in the nineties the SoMa was your typical industrial neighborhood filled with warehouses and auto body shops. Despite its central location, sunny weather and access to the Bay Bridge, SoMa was desolate and lacked the energetic population necessary to provide a hustle bustle atmosphere like that of Mission Dolores, the Castro or Russian Hill.

Warehouse conversions swept through the SoMa which laid the foundations for upscale residential infill, luxury high rise development, retail corridors and numerous civic amenities like parks and museums. The standard nature of warehouse architecture as large scale, vaulted and open gave way to the trendy exposed brick and timber lofts emblematic of the neighborhood. These modernized, bright and voluminous spaces attracted creatives and tech industry gurus from Silicon Valley who were looking for a change. Another form of conversion can be found in popular historic buildings such as the famous Pac Bell building located on 140 New Montgomery Street or one of San Francisco’s National Historic Landmarks known as the Stage House Lofts on 10th Street, which have all been completely updated and modernized, yet still embrace an old world charm that makes San Francisco’s architecture so timeless.

Luxury high rise development followed with the ensuing rise in property values as more people flocked to buy a condo in some of the tallest buildings the SoMa has to offer. These include One Rincon Hill, 300 Spear Street, Blu, and Millennium Tower which boast valet parking, spas, private decks and 360 views of the bay. Coupled with fantastic restaurants, museums and shopping all within a 5 minute walk, you can bet these properties don’t stay on the market for long.

SoMa is an investment during a recession?
San Francisco isn’t having a problem with creating jobs, as a matter of fact Venture Capitalists have poured a little over $6 Billion dollars into the SoMa and it’s sub areas (Mission Bay & South Beach). We have the on going success of major software, bio-tech, and technology companies which include: Twitter, Wired, Adobe, CNET, Yelp, Zynga plus many others.

Currently, San Francisco is working on the Transbay Terminal to be completed in 2013. This is a multifaceted connector that will transform the corner of First and Mission Streets into a multi-modal hub on a regional scale for Silicon Valley commuters, shoppers, and students, desiring easy access to the South Bay’s Caltrain service.

What’s next?
With all that said the last ten years have proven to be explosive for the SoMa and it’s sub areas. The next ten years will only create more demand that will inevitably raise values in the SoMa, Mission Bay, and South Beach areas. As a result, the market will exceed the financial comfort zone for most. History has taught us when one area becomes untouchable the new influx of people will consider the more affordable neighboring areas. These two pockets are creating a light buzz and are known by a few as the “Dog Patch” and “Media Gultch”. We’ll take a further look into these low-key spots in a couple weeks …


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