Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $6,000.
What happens when South Park-based architects build in South Park? Behold, this two-bed, two-bath, nearly 1,500-square-foot loft with soaring ceilings, two rooftop patios, and “stunning architectural details.” Toby Levy designed this three-unit building at 485 Bryant in 2000, and the current landlords bought it for $1.3 million in 2018—at the current asking price of $5,900 per month, they’re more than 18 years away from breaking even. Note that Levy’s fondness for sharp angles doesn’t stop at the ceilings here, as even details like interior walls and doors come in at unexpected degrees. [Correction: This unit has not been sold since the building opened. Another unit in the same building went for $1.3 million in 2018.]
Here’s a high-profile Russian Hill home that doesn’t know what it’s got going for it. The headline mentions “spectacular Golden Gate Bridge views”—which are just dandy—but look at the building itself, a shimmering white spire thrust straight out of the asphalt of Green Street, erected in 1930 and dubbed Bellaire Tower. Oakland architect Herman C. Baumann designed this Art Deco dish and many others like it throughout some of San Francisco’s swankiest neighborhoods. Fun fact: mayor-turned-governor Gavin Newsom once lived in this building. But he didn’t pay $6,000 for one bed and one and a half baths, though. No pets allowed.
There’s bridge views from this cottage in Cow Hollow (although the ad calls it Pacific Heights) as well, but here the best views are the cottage itself, complete with resplendent shades of green, narrow-plank floors, and blooming gardens. “It’s nestles behind my heritage Victorian, fully detached, and was completely renovated by us a few years ago,” the landlord says of this two-bed, one-bath hideaway, where pets are allowed and the owners even say they’ll furnish baby furniture if needed. Of course, there’s always a catch: Rent is $5,800 per month.
There’s some shuffling of numbers going on in Presidio Heights, where this same $6,000-per-month apartment on Clay Street gets listed as both a two bedroom and three bedroom abode. The explanation: “The living room can be used as a third bedroom or living space because the kitchen opens to a good sized dining/living area.” Which, yes, almost any room can double as a spare bedroom if enough creative energy goes into it, but this still seems like a cheat. Either way, it comes with one bathroom. The heavy-duty sliding doors separating that living room from the rest of the home are a nice touch, as is the pet-friendly attitude.
Finally, let’s look at an “upgraded multi-level townhome,” not situated in any of the eastern neighborhoods where new developments love such lingo but instead in Parkmerced at the Summit 800 Apartments. That’s the same apartment block that, only three years ago, induced groans with its ads bragging about selling prices in the “low $1 millions.” But in this case, the price is $5,950 per month for three beds, three baths, backyard, two-car garage, and lots of backsplash in the kitchen. Alas, no pets.
Which rental would you choose?
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South Park Loft
Russian Hill Apartment
Cow Hollow Cottage
Presidio Heights Apartment