Courtesy of YAHOO NEWS
August 12, 2017
SAN FRANCISCO — These days, the price of a San Francisco home
can easily top a million dollars. But one savvy investor has bought up a whole
street in the city's most exclusive neighborhood for a mere $90,000.
Trouble is, some of the
extremely wealthy residents of Presidio Terrace were not aware
their street was up for sale and are not pleased it has been
Presidio Terrace is an oval shaped street sealed off by a gate
from the tony Presidio Heights neighborhood. Lined with towering
palm trees and multimillion dollar mansions, the street has been
home, over the years, to famous residents including Sen. Dianne
Feinstein and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.
Thanks to a city auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill, Bay
Area real estate investor Michael Cheng, and his wife Tina Lam,
bought the street and now own the sidewalks, the street itself
and other areas of "common ground" in the private development
that, the San Francisco Chronicle reported, has been managed by
the homeowners association since at least 1905.
Cheng says reaction to the sale has been less than neighborly.
"I thought they would reach out to us and invite us in as new
neighbors," Cheng told The Associated Press. "This has certainly
blown up a lot more than we expected."
It turns out the homeowners association for Presidio Terrace
failed to pay a $14-a-year property tax, something that owners
of all 181 private streets in San Francisco must do, the
A construction workers stands in front of a gate leading
into the Presidio Terrace neighborhood Monday, Aug. 7, 2017, in San
Francisco. Thanks to a city auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill, a
Bay Area real state investor bought the street in the neighborhood and
now owns the sidewalks, the street itself and other areas of "common
ground" in the private development that, the San Francisco Chronicle
reports, has been managed by the homeowners association since at least
So the city's tax office put the property up for sale at the
cost of $994 in an online auction to regain unpaid back taxes, penalties and
interest. The couple eventually won the street with a $90,100 bid in an April
Scott Emblidge, the attorney for the Presidio Homeowners Association, said in a
letter to the city that the owners failed to pay because the tax bill was
mistakenly being sent to the address of an accountant who hadn't worked for the
homeowners association since the 1980s, the Chronicle reported.
Emblidge said the residents didn't know their street was put on the auction
block, let alone sold, until May when a title search company hired by Cheng and
Lam reached out to ask if any residents had interest in buying back the
That was one of several options Cheng and Lam have considered
for making the investment pay off.
Another option is to charge residents to park on their street — and rent out the
120 parking spaces that line the grand circular road.
"As legal owners of this property, we have a lot of options," Cheng said, adding
that nothing has been decided.
The matter could be headed for court.
Last month, the homeowners petitioned the Board of Supervisors for a hearing to
rescind the tax sale. The board has scheduled a hearing for October. The
homeowners association has also sued the couple and the city, seeking to block
Cheng and Lam from selling the street to anyone while the city appeal is