Category Archives: Real estate
If you are interested in homes and architecture, and want a taste of something completely different, you could do worse than visit the newly listed home at 2633 Marin Avenue this weekend.
The two-bedroom, two bathroom home is a rare example, for Berkeley, of what is known as organic architecture — more commonly seen in Big Sur and Marin County. Designed and built by Mark Hajjar in 1975, the home, which is priced at $749,000, is effectively a giant tree house perched on rough-hewn tree trunks from Cazadero.
As the listing agents explain in the home’s brochure, it makes generous use of recycled materials including salvaged wood and castoffs from both Victorian houses and a WWII era factory — a green approach that was ahead of its time. … Continue reading »
The Claremont Resort and Spa, whose gleaming white presence is a defining feature of the East Bay Hills, is for sale once again.
Paulson & Co., a New York based hedge fund, and Winthrop Realty Trust have put the $279-room hotel on the market for $80 million, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix is also for sale for $250 million. The Paulson–led investor groups seized control of the Claremont and four other luxury hotels from Morgan Stanley’s real estate funds and put them into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2011. The sales are an attempt to bring the properties out of bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg.
Around lunchtime on Wednesday men in dark business suits were wandering around the Claremont’s gym, contrasting sharply with people sweating in their spandex and shorts. … Continue reading »
Chances to buy — or at a minimum see inside — a Bernard Maybeck designed home in Berkeley come along rarely. The Kennedy-Nixon house at 1537 Euclid Avenue in north Berkeley has just gone on the market.
The landmarked home, which was built in 1914 (and quickly rebuilt in 1923 after it burned down in the devastating Berkeley fire of that year), is priced at $1,995,000. The home has had only three owners since it was built, and it has stories to tell.
The Nixon family built it as a live-in studio for their daughter’s piano teacher, Alma Kennedy. It was designed to include a recital hall, a waiting area for students’ parents, a reception room with a small kitchen and an upstairs sleeping quarters. The recital hall, with its cathedral windows and clear-heart unfinished redwood paneling, is particularly arresting. … Continue reading »
The woman who was the only named member of the group in a citizen’s lawsuit against Berkeley’s use of library bond funds has filed a number of lawsuits against her critics.
Judith Epstein, who is part of Concerned Library Users, has filed suits in the Alameda County small claims court against Berkeley City Councilmember Darryl Moore, Pacific Union International, and Julie Nachtwey, a realtor for Pacific Union, according to court documents. The suits all claim that Epstein’s reputation was sullied because of comments the defendants made. Epstein asked for as much as $10,000 in damages, according to court documents.
“Moore made the following false and defamatory statement to the Berkeley Times about those of us who were suing the city of Berkeley over the illegal use of library funds,” Epstein wrote in a declaration to the court. “This placed me in a false light before the public. It was part of a campaign of harassment, bullying, and the intentional infliction of emotional distress with the purpose of trying to get us to drop the lawsuit.” … Continue reading »
In a top-secret location in Berkeley, Patrick Kennedy is showing a reporter around a tiny living space — so compact in fact that, at 160 sq ft, it is the smallest apartment one is legally allowed to build.
“It is how small you can go without causing psychological problems,” jokes Kennedy, who, through his company, Panoramic Interests, is responsible for developing swathes of Berkeley. His projects include the Gaia Building on Allston Way, the Berkeleyan Apartments on Oxford Street, and the Touriel Building on University.
The “bijou” apartment in which we are standing, with its trompe l’oeil view of the Bay Bridge, is the prototype for the SmartSpace, a largely prefabricated, furnished space that, when multiplied and stacked together like Lego blocks, creates a fully fledged apartment building. … Continue reading »
A home designed by Julia Morgan is always worth a second look. The early 20th-century architect’s designs are woven into the very fabric of Berkeley, with many residential projects to her name, and two notable public buildings: the Berkeley City Club on Durant, and the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts on College.
Now comes to the chance to buy one of Morgan’s family homes. The 4-bedroom, 3-bathroom brown-shingle at 2900 Derby Street, opposite the Clark Kerr campus, was built in 1904 and it has just been listed for $1,025,000.
Along with the swaths of first-growth redwood paneling, the home’s stand-out feature is probably its charming inglenook fireplace in the living room. The kitchen is modern and light and gives out onto the back garden.
According to the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association, the house was moved to its current site from 2819 Garber Street in 1920. … Continue reading »
Parker Place, a 155-unit development at Shattuck and Parker, won City Council approval last night after a long development tussle.
The project had originally been approved by both the Zoning Adjustments Board and the council in 2010, but a procedural error led to a lawsuit. It returned to the council last November, was the subject of a ZAB public hearing in December, and came back to the council for final approval last night.
Despite the approval, the developers expect opponents to pursue a lawsuit to delay or stop the project. Any suit would need to be filed within 30 days of formal notice of the project’s approval.
The project calls for two five-story mixed-use buildings at 2658 and 2660 Shattuck (both sides of Parker on Shattuck) and a three-story residential building at 2037 Parker. In addition to the 155 dwelling units, there is nearly 23,000 sq ft of commercial space on the ground floor. … Continue reading »
Latest figures on home sales suggest many buyers are still having to work hard to get their hands on a new home in Berkeley. Sellers, it appears, have the advantage, and, according to research compiled by Redfin, have done so for the past 12 months.
Everything in Berkeley points to the continuation of a sellers’ market. The data (presented in the Redfin graphs below) shows that the total number of homes for sale is down 26.8% from October last year, and down 15.2% over last month.
Meanwhile, prices are up 0.4% year-on-year, and up 8.6% from last month. Sale-to-list price is 101% for single-family homes and 106% for condos in Berkeley (a 12-month high), which means buyers are often having to pay over the listing price to ensure it is them not someone else closing escrow on their dream house. … Continue reading »
For fans of mid-century modern architecture — and those who appreciate plentiful acreage, additional living space and views — there’s a lot to recommend the 3-bedroom, 2 bathroom home at 636 Wildcat Canyon Road.
The property is sited on over an acre of land and the views are onto the Tilden hills; there are the tall ceilings and walls of glass one associates with the mid-century style; and there’s a separate 1-bedroom guest house included in the price tag. … Continue reading »
It’s going to take someone with a certain je ne sais quoi to buy the newly listed home at 1985 Tunnel Road ($998,000). Someone who says “‘pah’! to minimalism, enough with discreet style, who cares about low-key elegance and understatement? I want to live large.”
This home has a circular master bed, no less, gold leaf galore and two enormous, trumpet-like towers jutting over its roofline. It’s not a house to go unnoticed.
The three-bedroom, three-bathroom house was built in 1996, rising from the ashes of the Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm — one of thousands of new-builds which came in all shapes and, mostly big, sizes. … Continue reading »
Berkeley residents can claim rebates up to the value of $6,300 for implementing energy efficiency upgrades to their homes. And they can learn all about the what, where and how at a Berkeley Home Energy Efficiency Forum happening tomorrow, November 2nd, in Berkeley.
The City of Berkeley has partnered with Energy Upgrade California to offer the workshop as a one-stop shop for all Alameda County homeowners to find contractors, get information about the rebates and tax credits available and have all their questions answered.
Residents will get a chance to meet participating contractors who are trained and ready to work on their home, as well as homeowners who have already made energy improvements to their homes. … Continue reading »
While the median price in Berkeley right now for a house is $576,000, there is still a lots of choice to be had among homes that come in at under half a million dollars. (Many of them are in the flats which gives them the added advantage of being out of fire zones and a little further away than some from those pesky earthquake fault lines.)
A new book and exhibition on the architecture of William Wurster, the co-founder, in 1959, of the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley, serves as a reminder of the desirability of the homes he designed. And Wurster homes do still come up for sale in Berkeley and the Bay Area with some regularity, so becoming an owner of one is not outside the bounds of possibility.
In fact, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone lived in a William Wurster designed home in Berkeley — until he sold it in September 2009 for $550,000, the same price he paid for it in 2006.
As one would expect, Stone tweeted the news that he was putting his home on the market, writing to his then 980,000 followers (now 1.7 million): ”We loved our Wurster cottage in Berkeley but it’s time to move – if you’re into architecture, check it out.” … Continue reading »