Thursday, November 12, 2009

Real Estate

These are four of the six newly converted condo-units in a San Francisco building whose rear end abuts the Spencer Alley kitchen windows where I sit behind the computer that makes all these quotidian observations possible. Our two buildings also have contiguous, small, shabby backyard areas for our garbage bins (gray) and our recycling bins (blue) and our composting bins (green) – though the garbage bin area behind the former apartment building pictured here (currently elevated to empty unsold condo status) is now referred to in the real estate publicity handouts as a "shared garden."

Six weeks ago I gossiped here about attending the first open house held by the company that intends (or by now at least forlornly hopes) to reap big profits by selling these six formerly rent-controlled Mission District apartments for close to half a million dollars each, even though they front onto a noisy street, sit above busy restaurants, have no parking and only primitive internal amenities.

I am, however, a big fan of the curved glass on the original wood-framed bay windows, and have even been known to spend irrational sums of money on that intangible quality in material goods known as "charm" – so perhaps I would lust after one of these units myself if I knew less about their underside. A few hours after taking the pictures above, for example, I was more than ready to fantasize about moving into a far uglier apartment building a few blocks away on no better basis than the light emerging from the lobby through the wrought-iron grille-work over the glass panels of the front doors.

If I lived in the glass door-panel building I would be able to promise myself the daily treat of waiting for MUNI in front of the WIG FACTORY. Although like many other small businesses around here, there is no certainty that the WIG FACTORY hasn't in fact gone under – considering as how I have always seen it gated shut and never seen it open for business.

Over toward Alamo Square we can observe (above) what at least appears to be a more honest and conscientious restoration job on a luckier early 20th-century block of flats. Most of the Alamo Square buildings (as I discover on Wikipedia) miraculously survived both the '06 earthquake and the 1960s blitzkrieg of "urban renewal" (when federal money paid for the bulldozing of thousands of run-down Victorians) with the result that "the area contains the second largest concentration of large homes (over 10,000 square feet) in San Francisco, after the Pacific Heights neighborhood."

I reached Alamo Square Park on my walk just as the very early-seeming sunset came into its own. When daylight-saving-time ends, the weather suddenly gets colder too.