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Big changes in little Hayes Valley

By Anna Marie Erwert

Hayes Valley has in past decades enjoyed an evolution: from rough little pocket at the base of the lower-Haight neighborhood– something you passed through on your way downtown or to the freeway– to a neighborhood with its own identity and flavor. Make that lots of flavors since today in Hayes Valley you can get anything from fresh seafood to German cuisine to Thai food to lavender-honey ice cream.  Capitalizing on its cozy dimension, the area feels European. You can shop, eat, walk your dog, have a drink on the same street. You can sit outside on a sidewalk cafe, or visit a park filled with sculptures. And unlike some areas in the city that have gentrified beyond recognition, Hayes Valley still has an edge as well as posh side: punk rock and tats; jazz and funky glasses; tech jobs and iPhones; sweater sets and Jimmy Choos. The mix makes for spectacular people watching and one of the best, widest spectrum of bars, shops, and restaurants you can find in one small section of an already small city.

And this little section is just about ready to explode.

New construction

Spurred by the red-hot demand for new housing, developers are moving into Hayes Valley in a big way. DM Development’s 8 Octavia Blvd complex will bring 49 new homes to the area; their 400 Grove St. project will add another 34; and their mixed-use development at 450 Hayes will include “50 high end homes” perched atop commercial space. A short distance away, 300 Ivy will bring 63 residences — including the 5 townhouses fronting Ivy Street. There’s more: let’s not forget 2001 Market St., a mixed-use plan from the Prado Group ushering in 82 condos and a Whole Foods. Also a big project is the Linea, promising 115 stunningly modern luxury condos within walking distance of Market and Octavia.  All of these projects are approved and have either broken ground or will this summer.

We should note as well that the majority of this development is targeted at high-end, well-heeled city buyers.

Available now

This TIC at 51 Octavia shows not only the aesthetic and vibe of Hayes Valley, but also the perceived value. Tenancy-in-common (TIC) housing suffered hard times with the economy’s recent downturn, with banks gun-shy to provide fractional financing and people unable to qualify for huge loans on entire buildings. But, if this new listing is anything to go by, those days are over: the official site promises “Fractional Financing,” as well as 3 beds and 2 baths spanning 1620 sq. ft. The price: $849K. If this seems like a lot for a TIC, it is. But the neighborhood is upscaling, developing, and becoming more valuable by the second. And with the dearth of inventory in San Francisco in general, we’re wondering if this unit might end up selling for even more than asking.

What do you say, readers?

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest, and writes for SFGate and CurbedSF. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert