San Francisco Chronicle


Marquee property Retail space, 3 apartments on Geary for $2.2 million


Richard Paoli, Chronicle Real Estate Editor

If the key to real estate is the thrice-repeated word "location," creating a geographic identity for marketing a property could be the great innovation.

Linda Harrison, an agent with Pacific Union Real Estate in San Francisco, has done just that. She has coined "Theater District'' as the location of a three-story building on Geary Street.

"I was looking at all the things this part of the city offers," said Harrison, a former Kodak executive before she turned to real estate sales, "and I realized most of the theaters are within easy walking."

The building at 577-579 Geary St. is one block from the Curran and Geary theaters. Other playhouses - Harrison counted 10 in all - dot her new district within its borders of Jones, Stockton, Pine and, to the south, the Mission Street edge of SoMa.

Built in 1916, the structure, which had housed a restaurant and two upper- floor apartments, was completely remodeled on a design by architect Toby Levy, who has contributed to a number of local projects including the Women's Building.

The owner, Donnetta Stafford, who runs retails businesses at San Francisco International Airport, purchased the building five years ago and was originally planning to occupy one of the apartments and use the retail space.

Stafford's plans have changed, and the building - which has not been occupied since the remodeling work began - is for sale. The asking price is $2. 2 million.

The buyer gets a building with ground-floor retail space backed by a huge studio. There is a separate entrance, through stylized Art Deco ironwork, for the studio and the apartments on the upper floors.

The flooring throughout is a mixture of slate and hardwood.

One flight up - there is also an elevator - is a two-bedroom, two-bath apartment. Above that is a three-bedroom, three-bath owner's apartment.

Levy's design brings in lots of light. And the mixture of stone and hardwood accents the very European look of the kitchens and baths. The only things salvaged from the building's previous life were two claw-foot tubs, again used in the bathrooms in the two upper apartments.

Other features in the Levy design are back-of-the-building balconies, skylights, glass brick and curving walls.

A subdivision request, required to convert the building to condominiums, has been filed with the city and is in the approval process, according to Harrison.

The three-bedroom apartment is close to 1,600 square feet, the apartment below is 1,350 square feet, the studio is 1,000. The retail space, with its separate entrance at 577 Geary St., is 600 square feet.

Parking for the apartments is in separately leased space in an adjoining building.

The seller's agent is Linda Harrison of Pacific Union Real Estate, at (415) 345-3143. The building is being shown by appointment.
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