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Derelict church in Ingleside asks $1.5M

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Living on a prayer, indeed

A derelict white building on Ingleside Street, with a cross above the door. Image from Google

Imagine paying nearly $1,500 per square foot for a modestly sized abandoned building; is it a miracle or judgment from on high? In the case of the former, Rescue Prayer Mission located at 263 Lee Avenue, it could be a close call.

The onetime church—zoned as a dwelling, according to the San Francisco City Assessor—listed this week with an asking price of $1.5 million.

While not an apocalyptic sum in San Francisco these days—the California Association of Realtors estimates the June median price of a house in San Francisco was $1.76 million, making this property modest by comparison—the building measures just over 1,000 square feet. It’s also listed as a zero-bedroom, one-bathroom setup, which borders on sinful even in this market.

Further, the listing by the realtor—who could not be reached for further comment—says nothing about the building except “bring your imagination to this fixer upper.”

And to top it off, the only image of the place provided is a single exterior photo so grainy that it resembles footage from a security camera.

This has all of the telltale signs of a teardown, but city records do not reveal a checkered past for this property, though it has had its troubles.

In a 2012 report, a building inspector cited the locale for broken windows, and in 2013 a complaining neighbor observed “lead paint that is peeling” and “wood that is rotted out”—both of which are alarming. However, houses in far worse condition have sold for tremendous sums in recent years.

That 2013 complaint also described 263 Lee as an abandoned building. Prior to that it served as the Rescue Prayer Mission, formerly owned by Robert Harmon but transferred to a trust in his name in 2002.

The sign and simple wooden cross above the door still mark its onetime use. The lot itself is likely more valuable than the building, as it measures at over 2,800 square feet. Either way, the former Rescue Prayer Mission is evidently praying that some ambitious soul will come along to rescue the lot from obscurity, with $1.5 million in hand.