Neighborhood Upset When San Francisco Street Sells for $90,000

Some residents did not know their street was up for sale.

August 8, 2017 10:35 am

An investor just bought a whole street in San Francisco’s most exclusive neighborhood for $90,000. However, some of the wealthy residents of Presidio Terrace were not aware that their street was up for sale, according to the Associated Press, and are not pleased that it’s been sold.

Presidio Terrace is a street sealed off by a gate from the tony Presidio Heights neighborhood. Over the years, the multimillion dollar mansions have been home to famous residents, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

Bay Area real estate investor Michael Cheng and his wife Tina Lam bought the street and now own the sidewalks, the street itself and other areas of “common ground” in the private development thanks to a “city auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill.” The street has been managed by the homeowners association since at least 1905.

The homeowners association for Presidio Terrace failed to pay a $14-a-year property tax. This is mandatory for all owners of the 181 private streets in San Francisco. So the city’s tax office put the property up for sale.

According to a letter from Scott Emblidge, the attorney for the Presidio Homeowners Association, the owner failed to pay because the bill was being mistakenly sent to the wrong address.

Cheng and Lam now have many options. They were thinking of asking if residents had any interest in buying back the property. Another thought was to charge residents to park on the street and rent out the 120 parking spaces that line the road. Nothing had been decided, but Cheng says the neighborhood has not been very friendly or welcoming.

“I thought they would reach out to us and invite us in as new neighbors,” Cheng told The Associated Press. “This has certainly blown up a lot more than we expected.”

The matter could be headed for court. The homeowners have already petitioned the Board of Supervisors for a hearing to rescind the tax sale. That hearing is scheduled for October. The homeowners also sued Cheng and Lam and the city, hoping to block them from selling the street to anyone else while the city appeal is pending.

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