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Curbed Cup 1st round: (1) SoMa vs. (16) Presidio Terrace

Which neighborhood should advance? Cast your vote now!

mid-rise buildings from victorians to contemporary with sky and a hill on the horizon.
South of Market.
Photo by trekandshoot/Shutterstock

The Curbed Cup, our annual award for the neighborhood of the year, kicks off with 16 neighborhoods vying for the prestigious (albeit fake) trophy. We’ll reveal each of the neighborhoods this week, and polls will be open for 24 hours so you can cast your vote as to which hoods should advance. Let the eliminations begin!


One of the city’s biggest neighborhoods had one of its largest years in decades, making it our No. 1 seed. No longer an industrial footnote below San Francisco’s main artery, South of Market saw such record-breaking moments as the topping off of Salesforce Tower (the city’s tallest skyscraper) and a $42 million penthouse hit the market. SoMa also made waves for new growth, especially along Folsom Street (most of it far too short, though), and for Transbay Terminal’s continued development. (Note: SFMOMA, the Metreon, and the Fourth Street Trader Joe’s are in a different hood, the Yerba Buena neighborhood, but surrounded by SoMa.)

Ayesha Curry’s International Smoke opened to fanfare this year, Target made plans to open a new store on Folsom, and the 6x6 mall remains San Francisco’s biggest question mark.

With change also came heartbreak, like the continued erosion of the area’s queer community (although newly formed nightlife cooperative The Stud did its part to keep the leather and lace flowing freely), as well as the toppling of the Goodwill flagship. Most recently, Brainwash, a laundry and cafe/comedy club, shut its doors after 28 years.

But when it came to architecture, SoMa proved woefully underrated—Pinterest HQ and In Situ won 2017 AIA awards for their design, and new light shone upon old favorites like the U.S. Court of Appeals, a beaux-arts love letter to granite and marble.

Big changes are also in store for the area as District Six Supervisor Jane Kim, after eight years in office, prepares to leave her seat.

California Couple Buys Street In Exclusive San Francisco Enclave
Presidio Terrace.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Presidio Terrace

Like a sliver of Orange County in San Francisco, the tiny, tony enclave sandwiched between Presidio Heights and Presidio Park made national headlines for all the wrong reasons: Homeowners living in the gated community, noted for its O-shaped private street, had managed to lose ownership of their byway (again) after failing to pay homeowner association taxes for over two decades.


After the property went up for auction, a South Bay couple legally and fairly purchased the street and sidewalks. But the powerful homeowners, rife with indignation, weren’t having it.

Enter Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who stepped in and demanded the city’s Board of Supervisors bend the rules and reserve the sale. The scheme worked. The couple lost their street and sidewalk. And Presidio Terrace showed Leona Helmsley’s infamous adage still had legs in 2017. Alas.

The city’s meek relationship with power private entities (from Uber to Twitter) could be encapsulated by the shenanigans that went down this year inside this small neighborhood, making it our No. 16 seed.

Ethically-tenuous power plays notwithstanding, Presidio Terrace still has bragging rights to some of San Francisco’s most gorgeous and opulent properties.