The Brannan

I’m starting this blog out with a review of The Brannan, as I checked out a few open houses there this weekend and it’s top of mind right now.  I actually liked The Brannon a lot.  First, the location – The Brannan is located in SoMa just a couple of blocks off of The Embarcardero on Brannan.  It was built in 2000.  There are three towers to the complex, each with their own address (219, 229, and 239 Brannan Street).  For me, the location is good as it’s walkable to SoMa, Caltrain, and the Financial District, and it’s on a pretty quiet block.

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The Brannan is a full service complex, which means it has all kinds of amenities (pool, gym, 24×7 concierge, etc.), and high HOA dues to fund all of the amenities :)  In general, I don’t get excited about full-service buildings since I know I won’t actually use the amenities enough to justify the high HOAs.  Plus, as a first-time buyer, paying another $700+ per month on top of my mortgage can be a deal-killer.  I’m more interested in the actual home than all of the frills of the building.  That said, The Brannan’s amenities are really impressive.  The attended lobby is well-done – you feel like you’re walking into a boutique hotel (see picture below).  Very understated, but very well-done.  And the pool and surrounding deck are the nicest I’ve seen in any SF building so far.  The gym was clean and spacious.  So even though I tend to stay away from the full-service complexes, I could be convinced by The Brannan’s amenities.

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I looked at three units, all of which were out of my price range.  Here’s the summary:

  • The only one I can even consider right now was unit 1K  in 219 Brannan – a 2BR/2BA for $775,000 (HOA: $684).  (Update: a little research on the MLS shows that this unit was listed 2 weeks ago for $750K, then withdrawn, then relisted for $775K.  What gives?)  Not a bad deal since I’m considering 1BRs for just a little bit less.  The pros:  nice-sized (1028 sq feet), decent layout, big master bedroom and closet, nice kitchen.  The cons:  it’s on the ground floor, but not directly as it overlooks the sloping driveway down into the building’s garage.  This is a bit weird and definitely not something anyone would look for in a home, but honestly it didn’t seem too bad.  I don’t think it would bother me too much; I’m more concerned with how it would impact resale value.  The other downside of the condo was that there were no views to speak of – actually you look into the Oriental Warehouse building which is probably 50 feet away.  The living room, guest bedroom, and master bedroom all look into the condos at the Oriental Warehouse, so privacy could be an issue.  (BTW, I love how the real estate agent spins this on the condo’s flyer: “with a Juliet balcony overlooking the historic Oriental Warehouse.”) So in general, an OK unit in an impressive building, but I understand why it’s priced so much lower than the other 2BRs in The Brannan.
  • The second condo I saw was unit 8A in 219 Brannan – a 2BR/2BA for $1,075,000 (HOA: $708).  Honestly, I checked this one and the next one out just to get a sense for some of the other units in comparison to 1K.  This one was nice – the home layout, hardwood floors, and views were pretty slick.  1220 sq feet.  I don’t have a great sense for whether this was priced competitively or not, but it seemed like a solid home for the money (when compared to the next one).
  • The third condo was unit 7J in 229 Brannan – 2BR/2.5B, 1,589 square feet (supposedly the largest 2BR floor plan at the Brannan), for $1,450,000 (HOA: $755).  I thought this one was OK, but didn’t really do it for me considering the price.  I actually liked the layout and appointments of 8A better.  Of course, it’s not like I’m going to be buying either 7J or 8A, but from my perspetive 8A was a better deal.

So – there you have it, a quick summary of three different 2BR units in The Brannan.  I’ll be keeping my eyes open for any new deals in the building.