Take an Amazing Escape to Napa Valley

napa winery photo

Terra Velo Tours has a new four day Napa Valley Weekend Escape. Private chef, sunrise yoga, hiking and wine. Sounds like an amazing idea for a long weekend!

Source: http://www.terravelotours.com/napa-weekend-escape/

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Forum set for $13 million plan to ease traffic on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard

traffic sfd 

Traffic clogs Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in both the eastbound and westbound lanes at Larkspur Landing in 2009. (IJ archive/Jeff Vendsel)

Fuming in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard between the freeway and Ross is a daily bummer for many, and although proposals for elaborate freeway interchange improvements have been shifted to the back seat, an emerging plan for the corridor may provide congestion relief.

The 2.5-mile stretch of the boulevard is in line for a $13.2 million makeover over the next three years, and a number of design concepts, proposals and priorities are in the mix.

No widening of the boulevard is planned, but the entire stretch is in line for a facelift as well as interchange overhauls including paving, sidewalk repair, new lighting, stoplight timing adjustments, pedestrian and bike lane improvements and related work in the existing right of way. The project will be financed by the 2004 Measure A sales tax.

The county Department of Public Works will hold a forum Nov. 18 at College of Marin to outline various improvement alternatives as a follow up to a session last spring. The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in Fusselman Hall. Free parking is available in Lot 9 off Kent Avenue.

Supervisor Katie Rice said it is important that residents speak out on what should be done.

“This is a huge opportunity to improve the way that corridor operates,” she said.

“It’s not just a facelift,” she added. “It’s all about improvements to the intersections and signal light timing, crosswalk safety.”

“Even though the road cannot be widened, there is room in the footprint to widen a lane or add a turn lane” in some locations, she said. “This should improve things for motorists, pedestrians and, to a degree, bicyclists.”

Larkspur Councilman Larry Chu noted that the project will not increase road capacity, but it will make improvements including easing traffic flow to Bon Air Center. In addition, other features include making sure “all signalized intersections … have the capability to not only sense demand, but also adjust to the demand conditions at different times of the day,” he said.

Bob Goralka, a county principal civil engineer, said the Nov. 18 session will provide an overview of the project, a summary of comments and concerns provided at the earlier session and a “range of design concepts and the tradeoffs of each.”

Officials will seek guidance on design alternatives for the boulevard’s four segments. They will be presented at a third forum early next year.

The design concepts incorporate various versions of improved pedestrian crossings, modifying left and right turn lanes and movements, adding lanes, revising signal phasing and coordination, adding bicycle lanes and pathways, and improving transit access and bus stops, Goralka said.

Source: http://www.marinij.com/general-news/20151109/forum-set-for-13-million-plan-to-ease-traffic-on-sir-francis-drake-boulevard

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San Francisco Dethroned as Nation’s Hottest Real Estate Market

After four consecutive months as the country’s hottest real estate market, San Francisco lost the top slot in October, although it still ranks high on the list, along with two other Bay Area cities.nob_hill_sm

In an ongoing monthly report, Realtor.com ranks the hottest real estate markets in the U.S. based on fewest days on market and buyer demand — cities where listings on its website receive roughly two to four times the amount of views as the national average. Since June, San Francisco has held the list’s No. 1 position, but in October’s report Denver claimed the top spot, while the City by the Bay dropped to No. 3. San Jose ranked No. 2, up three spots from the previous month, while Vallejo dropped one position to No. 5.

In total, one dozen of the nation’s hottest real estate markets are in California, many of them from the northern part of the state. San Diego ranked sixth, followed by Sacramento (No. 7), Santa Rosa (No. 8), Yuba City (No. 9), Los Angeles (No. 10), Stockton (No. 11), Santa Cruz (No. 12), Oxnard (No. 15), and Modesto (No. 19.).

Nationwide, buyers have more homes to choose from this fall and are also benefiting from a slightly slowing pace of sales. Homes sold in a median 81 days in October, one day longer than in September.

Northern California homes sold more than twice as fast as the national rate in October, with homes in San Jose leaving the market in a median 32 days, the quickest pace in any of the 20 hottest markets. San Francisco tied Modesto for second fewest days on market — 33 — followed by Stockton (35) and Sacramento (37).

Home price growth was flat month over month, with the $232,000 national median list price almost identical to September’s number. No California markets included in the report had a lower list price than the U.S. average, and Bay Area residents can expect to pay three to four times that figure.

As in September, San Jose was the most expensive of the 20 metro areas, with a median list price of $888,000, followed by Santa Cruz ($858,000), and San Francisco ($770,000). Prices in all three of those markets rose month over month when compared with Realtor.com’s September hottest-markets report.


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Sushi Ran To Open First-Ever Expansion Project in the Castro

sushi ran


I am very happy for my friend Yoshi Tome! My favorite sushi restaurant is expanding to San Francisco!

It’s a more casual concept from the Sushi Ran team.

Back when the news broke that Pesce was closing in the Castro, there was also the tidbit that the space had already been sold to new, mysterious owners. Well, they’re mysterious no longer: as rumored, the venerable Sushi Ran is taking over the space in a deal brokered by CGI Retail. It won’t be the same restaurant; rather, the team is switching things up a bit with this one, which should open early spring 2016. “The concept is fun, sophisticated, casual Japanese, with a full bar,” Sushi Ran vice president Suzie Buchholz told Eater. Despite the fact that chef/owner Yoshi Tome’s proteges populate some of the city’s best sushi experiences, this is Sushi Ran’s first expansion since opening its flagship location in Sausalito nearly 30 years ago. You can bet all eyes will be on this one once it opens. Stay tuned for more details as we get them.

Source: Stephanie Tuder. http://sf.eater.com/2015/10/29/9638312/sushi-ran-new-restaurant-castro

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Bay Area Annual Home-Price Gains Double California Rate

Although home prices eased a touch across the Bay Area from August to September, they still grew at more than twice the statewide rate on a year-over-year basis.Money_Suburb

In its September home sales and price report, the California Association of Realtors says that the median sales price for a single-family home across the nine-county Bay Area was $796,470 last month, a decline of 1.0 percent from August. Across the Golden State, single-family home prices fell by 2.3 percent from the preceding month to $482,150.

On an annual basis, Bay Area home prices were up 10.7 percent, more than double the 4.3 percent price growth recorded in California. Eight of nine counties saw year-over-year price gains, ranging from 13.3 percent inAlameda to 4.0 percent in Napa. In Marin County, home prices fell by 9.4 percent from September 2014.

In a statement accompanying the report, CAR Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young said that home prices across the state are moderating due to more buyers seeking out lower-priced areas. She noted that home sales in the Central Valley represented 26.4 percent of California transactions in September, up from 25.5 percent one year ago. During that same time period, the share of Bay Area homes sold declined from 18.8 percent in 2014 to 17.2 percent this year.

An uptick in sales in California’s Central Valley could likely be due to the rise of so-called “mega-commuters,” San Francisco and Silicon Valley workers who are willing to travel hundreds of miles from far-flung places where homes are much more affordable. The San Jose Mercury News recently reported on this trend, documenting back-breaking commutes such as the trek between the San Joaquin County city of Manteca and downtown San Francisco — a 150-mile round trip that can take up to three hours each way.

Bay Area workers hoping to buy a home closer to the office had a bit more properties to choose from as fall officially began, with the months’ supply of inventory (MSI) across the nine-county region rising from 2.3 in August to 2.5 in September. Napa and Solano were the only local counties where inventory dropped on a month-over-month basis.

Bay Area homes continued to sell at a quick clip in December, with the properties finding a buyer in an average of 22.3 days, unchanged from the previous month. Alameda County had California’s fastest past of sales, at 18.0 days, followed by San Mateo (18.7 days), Santa Clara (19.1 days), Contra Costa (20.3 days), and San Francisco (21.5 days) counties.

Source: (http://blog.pacificunion.com/bay-area-annual-home-price-gains-double-california-rate/)

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Happy Back to the Future Day!

‘Back to the Future’ Day: Time is in flux, and the ‘Future’ is today

back to the future


(CNN)“Back to the Future” Day has finally arrived.

In “Back to the Future Part II,” Marty McFly travels to October 21, 2015, to save his children, yet to be born in “Back to the Future’s” 1985.

What did ‘Back to the Future II’ get right?

The plot gets tangled — by fixing one thing, McFly and Doc Brown (and the villainous Biff Tannen) create a number of new messes — but what remains is the film’s vision of a year that was still more than a quarter-century away when the movie was shot and released in 1989. The entire trilogy is even being rereleased Wednesday, so you can see for yourself.

The film’s record isn’t bad, given that director Robert Zemeckis wasn’t pleased with setting part of “Back to the Future II” in 2015.

“I always hated — and I still don’t like — movies about the future,” he says in a new book, “Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History.” “I just think they’re impossible, and somebody’s always keeping score.”

In the Internet age, Zemeckis has grounds for concern. Over the past few years, Photoshopped images of “Future’s” DeLorean time machine have popped up on the Web, insisting that TODAY is “Back to the Future Day.” And now that the day has actually arrived, there have been countless articles (like, frankly, this one) and videos about what the film and its screenwriter, Bob Gale, got right about 2015.

As with other movies dealing with the future, such as “2001: A Space Odyssey” (set in the early 2000s) or “Blade Runner” (set in 2019, which will be here before you know it), the predictions of “Back to the Future II” are hit or miss: big-screen TVs, yes, Mr. Fusion, no; virtual-reality goggles, yes, “Jaws 19,” no.

The story behind the car that made time travel stylish

Coincidentally, perhaps the most important invention in the film is one behind the scenes: the VistaGlide motion-control system, a computer-operated camera operation that enabled Michael J. Fox to seamlessly share all those scenes with himself. The software was written by an Industrial Light & Magic developer, Bill Tondreau, specifically for the movie and was a milestone in moviemaking technology.

Still, it says something about the popularity of the trilogy that here we are, 26 years after the release of “Back to the Future II” (and 30 years after “Back to the Future”), and we care enough to “keep score.” Even “Back to the Future” stars Fox and Christopher Lloyd discuss the topic in a new Toyota ad.

Elijah Wood, who made his film debut in “Back to the Future Part II,” is also fascinated by the movie’s predictions and discussed them on a recent “Conan.” ‘Back to the Future II’ was this star’s first movie
'Back to the Future II' was this star's first movie

Wood and host Conan O’Brien did single out an item the film got wrong — the colander-like hat Wood’s character wears in the film. They never became fashionable.

Christopher Lloyd on the timeless charm of ‘Back to the Future’

There’s one prediction that could be aced in the next couple weeks. According to the film, the Chicago Cubs win the World Series in 2015 (over Miami, a city that didn’t have a baseball team in 1989).

As of “Back to the Future” Day, those Cubs are in the National League Championship Series, one step short of the big prize.

If they do go all the way, perhaps the Chicago-born Zemeckis won’t mind a little score-settling.

Source: CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/20/entertainment/back-to-the-future-day-feat/)

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Marin County: 3Q Results

The frenetic pace of real estate activity in Pacific Union’s Marin County region began slowing in the third quarter, even as sales prices continued to rise. We saw more price reductions in the quarter than we’ve seen all year, and several instances where homes didn’t sell. Buyers seemed less eager to jump through the hoops some sellers demanded, suggesting that they are either doing more market research or are perhaps simply exhausted after repeatedly losing out on bidding wars.

Nonetheless, open houses were well-attended and homebuyers were plentiful. Attractive homes in desirable neighborhoods sold quickly, often at prices well above list. Inventory levels remained exceptionally slim, although we saw an uptick in new listings starting after Labor Day. The market for high-priced homes – those in the neighborhood of $10 million and above – was particularly strong.

Looking Forward: Marin County is a desirable place to live and increasingly attractive to buyers with high-paying tech jobs in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. We expect strong sales in the fourth quarter, with many qualified buyers looking to get into new homes before the holidays.

Defining Marin County: Our real estate markets in Marin County include the cities of Belvedere, Corte Madera, Fairfax, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Mill Valley, Novato, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, and Tiburon. Sales data in the charts below includes single-family homes in these communities

Median Sales Price:

The median sales price represents the midpoint in the range of all prices paid. It indicates that half the prices paid were higher than this number, and half were lower. It is not the same measure as “average” sales price.

Capture 1


Month’s Supply of Inventory:

The months’ supply of inventory is a measure of how quickly the current supply of homes would be sold at the current sales rate, assuming no more homes came on the market. In general, an MSI below 4 is considered a seller’s market; between 4 and 6 is a balanced market; and above 6 is a buyer’s market.

Capture 2


Average days on Market:

Average days on the market is a measure that indicates the pace of sales activity. It tracks, on average, the number of days a listing is active until it reaches “pending” status, meaning all contingencies have been removed and both parties are just waiting to close.

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Percentage of  Properties Under Contract:

Percentage of properties under contract is a forward-looking indicator of sales activity. It tracks expected home sales before the paperwork is completed and the sale actually closes.

Capture 4

Sales Price as a Percentage of Original Price:

Measuring the sales price as a percentage of the final list price, which may include price reductions from the original list price, determines the success of a seller in receiving the hoped-for sales amount. It also indicates the level of sales activity in a region.

Capture 5

A Closer Look at Marin County:

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Marin Headlands home to be offered for rent by National Park Service

point bonita house

One of Marin’s newest real estate rentals offers mind-blowing views of the Golden Gate and the opportunity to live in a national park.

And it’s not cheap.

The landlords, the National Park Service, are asking at least $6,500 a month for the 2,100-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom homethat rests on a bluff between Point Bonita and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Once used for employees of the U.S. Life Saving Service and built in 1964, it has since been used by park employees who are charged below market rate. When a long-time resident left in 2014, park service officials decided to work on the home — one of three on the bluff — and put it on the open market. Bidding starts Tuesday.

“One of our mandates is to keep and maintain these historic buildings,” said Alex Picavet, spokeswoman for the park service, as she stood in the front yard of the home, which overlooks a mass expanse of sea. “The rent on this home helps us do that. This is unique, to open it to the public for rent.”

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area has many historic buildings to maintain, but with limited resources from Congress it is looking to be creative in how its finances upkeep and repairs. Offering the home to the public is one way to do that.

“We didn’t make a lot changes,” said Katharine Arrow, a park official who helped oversee the project. “But it has been refreshed.”

The home maintains its mid-1960s feel. Louvers have been saved, green Heath tiles have been set masterfully into the kitchen and ceiling light shades harken back to a simpler time. Because the home is part of a historic district, many of the elements had to be maintained, including a 50-year old sink in a washroom.

“Anything that we did to the house was defined by historic values and was in keeping with preservation,” said Melissa Bleier, realty specialist for the park service.


The airy home’s bathrooms are brand new, as are the appliances and kitchen, but they all become secondary to the view. To the east is the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco and to the west is the entrance to the Gate and an endless sight line — at least when the fog is away.

“The sunsets are amazing from here, and it’s all outside of these windows,” Picavet said, as she gazed out.

The home’s existence can be traced back to the U.S. Life Saving Service, which was established at Point Bonita in response to a plethora of shipwrecks in the later 1800s.

The service put a life saving station at Point Bonita in the Marin Headlands at the turn of the century. There, rescuers used slow heavy boats, which were launched directly into the water, along a set of rails, which still exist in a rusted state.

Quarters for the life savers were first located in a Victorian higher on the bluff. Eventually it was torn down and the three homes were constructed in the 1960s.

“It’s history and that’s why we want to preserve these buildings,” Picavet said.

Source: http://www.marinij.com/business/20151011/marin-headlands-home-to-be-offered-for-rent-by-national-park-service

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$9.5M Off-Market Sale Breaks Record on Potrero Hill

potrero hill house

The modernist house at 1740 20th St. has shattered Potrero Hill real estate records with a off-market sale. The listing agent confirms the home sold for $9.5 million, and since it reportedly has a little less than 3,000 square feet, that puts it at approximately $3,100 per square foot.

Everything about the deal is hush-hush. It was an off-market transaction, and the listing agent, Katharine Beckwith, doesn’t offer much information. She does confirm the sales price. When asked if it was a record-breaking deal, she emailed simply: “I would presume.” She says that the official records show the house at 2,976 square feet (three bedrooms, two baths). There are unconfirmed reports it might be slightly larger.

A blog by Zephyr real estate agent Eileen Bermingham has more information: “The previous owners obtained signed-off permits over the summer for a horizontal addition, garage expansion, and roof deck that had been in the works several years earlier,” she writes. She says the buyer was Atom Holdings LLC.

Bermingham also says that the previous Potrero Hill sales record was at 772 Wisconsin, a four-bedroom home that sold for $3.7 million in May 2014.

· 1740 20th St. [Zillow]
· Modernist Potrero Home Breaks Sales Record for Neighborhood[Insidesfre.com]
· Freshly Expanded Potrero Home Hits the Market for $3.395M [Curbed SF]



Source: Mary Jo Bolling:  http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2015/10/05/95m_offmarket_sale_breaks_record_on_potrero_hill.php

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California Still Dominates the Ranks of Hottest U.S. Housing Markets

California cities account for more than half of the nation’s hottest real estate markets as autumn gets underway, with San Francisco at the top of the list for the fourth consecutive month. SF Skyline

In a running monthly report, Realtor.com ranks the country’s 20 hottest housing markets based on quickest pace of sales and most listing views on its website. As in the previous two months, 11 of those metro areas are located in California in September, and Bay Area communities make a strong showing.

Homes in the No. 1-ranked San Francisco metro area, which includes Oakland and Hayward, are selling in a median 29 days in September, the fastest of any of the nation’s hottest markets. San Jose is the list’s second fastest-moving market, with homes taking 31 days to find a buyer. Nationwide, the median inventory age is 80 days.

According to Realtor.com Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke, U.S. housing inventory is currently reaching its 2015 peak at the same time as the pace of sales slows, opening a window for buyers who have been shut out of the market. But in the nation’s hottest cities, house hunters shouldn’t take this as a reason to drag their feet.

“Sellers in these markets continue to see listings move much more quickly than the rest of the country in September, and the seasonal slowdown is not as strong in these markets,” Smoke said. The pace of sales in San Francisco was unchanged from August to September, while homes in San Jose spent an additional four days on the market.

As in August, Vallejo ranked fourth on Realtor com’s list, while San Jose moved up a spot to the fifth position. The rest of California’s hot markets: San Diego (No. 6), Santa Rosa (No. 7), Sacramento (No. 8), Santa Cruz (No. 9), Yuba City (No. 10), Stockton (No. 12), Los Angeles (No. 13), and Modesto (No. 18). The latter replaced Ventura County’s Oxnard, which appeared on the list in both July and August.

Predictably, Northern California cities have the largest home price tags of the 20 hottest markets. San Jose was the most expensive, with a median list price of $878,000, followed by Santa Cruz ($824,000) and San Francisco ($750,000).

Photo: Flickr/Peter Kaminski


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