Pacific Heights- One of San Franc’s most exclusive districts

Pacific Heights is blessed with one of the best panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, the Palace of Fine Arts, Alcatraz, and the Presidio sitting above its adjacent districts.  The neighborhood was first developed in the 1870s with small Victorian-inspired single family homes built. Starting around the beginning of the 20th century, and especially after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many sf homes were replaced with period homes and eventually apartment buildings (especially near Van Ness). Pacific Heights has always been a higher-end district and never experienced a prolonged period of disinvestment. In 2013, Pacific Heights was named the most expensive neighborhood in the United States. Pacific Heights continues to have a high level of prestige in San Fran.

Affordability is obviously a major issue in Pacific Heights, but the district has a surprisingly high pct of rental controlled units (65%). Purchasing a home here is not in reach for many with small condos starting in the 600Ks. Urban strengths for the district include its lovely hilltop parks (Alta Plaza & Lafayette), strong walkability, numerous small business and neighborhood retail amenities especially along Fillmore St,  numerous high quality schools, and safety.

Other areas for improvement in Pacific Heights include a need for more dedicated bike lanes and more economic and generational diversity among its population. Very few family households reside here.

Click here to view my Pacific Heights album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Excellent connectivity. And convenient access to Downtown with quality transit service.
* Pretty good racial diversity.
* About 65% of all housing units are rent controlled. Only a couple public housing projects here however.
* Park amenities include two lovely medium sized parks ( Alta Plaza and Lafayette) with gorgeous views of the City and the SE corner of the expansive but rather inaccessible Presidio Park. No smaller pocket parks.
* A more eclectic array of historic architecture mixing early and more mid 20th century design but still excellent.
* Culturally amenities are good but less than most San Fran districts. There are a good number of diverse restaurants, cafes, and bars. Also several nice museums (i.e. Recording SF Museums, Haas-Lilienthal House, and Academy of Art Auto; plenty of historic homes, and the historic Vogue Theater.
* Retail wise there are a great array of small businesses including every imaginable neighborhood serving store, tons of boutiques, home good stores, and salons,  a Whole Foods & several medium sized grocers, a Staples, a couple drug stores, several dessert & pastries shops,  a public library, and a major hospital, and a good # of churches.
* A very safe district.
* Strong concentration of highly rated walkable schools in Pacific Heights. Large concentration of Catholic private schools although still a good # of public.
* Excellent urban form except for a couple auto centric spots along Van Ness and California Ave.
* One of San Frans most expensive districts help Pacific Heights garner a lot of buzz.

URBAN WEAKNESSES

* Still very high density (25Kper sq mile) but lower for San Fran standards.
* Good distribution of bike stations but no dedicated bikes lanes in the district.
* Limited economic and generational diversity.
* For sale housing is expensive but some studios available in the 600Ks & 700Ks. 1-bedrooms start in the 800Ks & 900Ks  but most sell in the low-mid 1 Millions. 2-bedroom condos range from 1-3 M. 3-bedrooms generally mid 1 M-3 M but plenty of large options selling in the 4 & 5 Ms. 4-Bedrooms start at 3 M and up to 8 M.
* Medium rent is $2,400, expensive even for San Fran standards. Studios for least start in the high $1,000s, 1-beds anywhere btwn the low 2Ks and 5K, 2 & 3-beds anywhere from 3K-7K.
* Modern in-fill is a bit limited but what does exist is generally aesthetically pleasing and quality urban form.

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