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Rare new condos on former gas station coming to Pacific Heights

The sales center for the upcoming 41-unit Union House condo project hasn’t opened yet, but a list of interested parties spans more than 1,000 prospective buyers.

DM Development expects to wrap up construction in January on the $60 million-plus project at 1515 Union St., which sits at the intersection of Union Street and Van Ness Avenue straddling four neighborhoods: Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, Cow Hollow and the Marina.

The 41-unit building, known as Union House, represents the largest new housing project in that part of town in decades, said Mark MacDonald, principal with DM. MacDonald characterized the development as “a once-in-a-lifetime” project because of its location, architecture and rare offering in the market.

“What we wanted to do here is capture the warm tones, textures, and historical details of this area combined with a more contemporary design,” he said.

The development, previously known as 2465 Van Ness Ave., was once home to a Chevron gas station that closed down several years ago. DM paid $10 million for the 13,747-square-foot site in 2016, according to PropertyShark.

A handful of other nearby condo sites were also former gas stations, including Trumark Urban's Amero, a 27-unit project at 1500 Filbert St. completed in 2014, and 22 condos at 2301 Lombard St. that DM Development also entitled.

Earlier this year, developer Presidio Development Partners sold out its 28-unit 1598 Bay St. project in the Marina that also usurped a gas station. Prices at that project ranged from $850,000 for a one-bedroom to just under $3 million for a three-bedroom, or $1,400 to $2,000 per square foot.

Union House, designed by Handel Architects, includes a mix of ground-floor townhomes that open up onto Van Ness, one to three-bedroom homes and five penthouses on the top floor. The homes range from about 875 square feet in a one-bedroom to more than 2,400 square feet in the penthouses. Webcor Builders is the general contractor on the $50 million construction.

Union House only rises seven stories, but faces mostly low-rise buildings to the west, which allows for expansive views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and the west side of San Francisco.

“This was a blighted gas station,” MacDonald said. “The neighborhood would rather see a beautiful landmark building than a shuttered gas station.”

DM expects the first residents to arrive in February. Prices will start around $1.25 million for a one-bedroom, $1.85 million for a two-bedroom, $2.5 million for a three-bedroom and $4 million for a penthouse. The building also includes about 2,900 square feet of retail on the ground floor where MacDonald would like to lure a restaurant.

“To have a new condo at this level of quality, the demand is extraordinary,” MacDonald said.

Very little new housing has been built on the north side of San Francisco while the vast majority of new condos are in SoMa high-rise towers, said Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst for residential brokerage firm Compass.

“In the northern part of San Francisco, these have been established residential neighborhoods for 140 years, so you don’t have the big open spaces, you don’t have that much in the way of larger commercial lots for development,” he said. “In recent years, the demand has been quite strong for new developments for people who don’t want the South Beach or SoMa ambiance, which is often too urban for them.”