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What's Up With 445 Liberty and its Neighbor?

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445 (on the left) and 453 Liberty (right) [Photo: Curbed reader]

From a Curbed reader:

What is up with this pair of houses on a great block of Liberty in Dolores Heights? How did 445 get to build so far out (unlike all the other houses on the block)? How did they both get to build so huge? And why are they both unfinished after literally years of (sporadic?) work? The buildings in question are 445 (left of the photo) and 453 Liberty (right of the photo). Turns out these houses were built large right from the start. 453 was constructed in 1931, and is a killer example of Moderne design - those curved windows and block steps are especially great. 445 was built in 1947, and according to the 1950 Sanborn, was actually built out to the street from the beginning in an L-shape. It looks like a one-story addition was added later that closed in the L to take up most of the lot. And yeah, they’re both huge at over 3,000 square feet.

1950 Sanborn map showing properties [Photo: ProQuest Digital Sanborn Maps, 1867-1970]

So what’s up with the endless work? The stuff at 453 is mostly cosmetic, like repairing the stairs in the front and installing solar panels. Back in the 80s they added a vertical and horizontal addition in the back. 445 has more in store - they’ve been doing a ton of work since 2009. Permits cover everything from changing out windows to adding balconies and foundation work. The most recent ones were issued in June 2011, so who knows what the status is.

Mission Dolores Basilica

3321 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94114