Shack with a view: Dilapidated home in San Francisco lists for $2.5 million


A dilapidated shack in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco is on the market for $2.5 million. The 640-square-foot home isn’t safe to enter, but it comes with two things that explain its staggering price tag: a view of the city and a demolition permit. 

The city’s Planning Department has already has granted permission to demolish the existing shack and replace it with a two-unit, four-story, 4,451 square-foot building with four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a two-car garage and private elevators. It took the current owner two years to secure the permits. However, new owners would need to obtain a final building permit before starting construction.

San Francisco is a city that is famously opposed to tearing down buildings — whether they’re the Victorian style that dominates its neighborhoods or something more modern. In December, the Planning Department ordered an owner to rebuild a contemporary-style home exactly as it had stood before he demolished it without permission last fall. In a unanimous vote, he was ordered to use “original methods and materials” to match the look of the original structure. If he doesn’t, all he has is a piece of land — he won’t be allowed to construct anything else.

So, to find a home in a desirable neighborhood with views of the city that also comes with a demolition permit is notable. According to the Zillow listing, the home — ahem, shack — has been on the market for 9 days and has been viewed by more than 3,000 people. The lot is 2,495 square feet, or 0.06 acres. That’s just enough for a narrow house and a small backyard. 

According to Zillow, the property last sold for $1.5 million in September of 2016. If the owner does get the $2.5 million asking price, that’s payback of a cool $1 million — minus about $36,000 in property taxes assessed from that time by the city, the cost of selling the home, and fees associated with getting the permits.

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