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Parcel Sadness: Small and 'Challenging' Cliffside Property On Telegraph Hill Hits Market For $150,000

A small but enticingly affordable piece of land over on Telegraph Hill just hit the market for the fifth time in 15 years, with the biggest question being whether it will ever be useful to anyone, for anything.

When any property hits the market in San Francisco for a price as low as $150,000, you immediately must assume that it is beyond repair or will at least require terrific expense to become anything of use to anyone. Such is the case with a parcel of land known as 202 Union Street, which has popped back on the market multiple times over the years as its owner(s) tries to game something out with it.

Socketsite calls attention to the latest listing for the land, which is hemmed in on all sides and has no direct access to any existing street. The listing describes the 1,470-square-foot parcel as a "Fun way to buy a Prime piece of San Francisco," but commenters have also noted that it's also a "fun" way to potentially lose money via property taxes. Its current owner appears to have put it on and taken it off the market multiple times in the last several years, listing at one point in 2019 for $500,000, but now we're down to $150,000, which is below the $200,000 they were asking back in 2016.


The listing also, in the photos, makes no bones about the access issues, not to mention the nearby rockslide that took place in 2005/2006.

Photo: MLS
Parcel map via MLS
via MLS

As one local realtor with extensive experience in the market tells SFist, he gets calls from out-of-town developers whenever this property pops up again, wondering whether anything could be built there.

"By itself, I don't think it has a chance of being developed," this realtor says. "You'd have to run sewage and utility lines up off of Sansome to this lot as well as perform all the necessary excavation." When you add that together with the not inconsiderable pushback that is guaranteed to come from the very vocal neighborhood association, the Telegraph Hill Dwellers (THD), things look nigh impossible with this piece of land. And this realtor surmises that the landowner and their agent may be looking to capitalize on the fact that three adjoining parcels are on the market as a package deal with frontage on Sansome at the foot of the hill — and this one might be of interest the buyer of those. That is illustrated in the drawing below.

via MLS

This may apply to the next-door parcels as well, but our realtor source says, "I just [fore]see a huge 'freak out' by the THD and other Telegraph Hill residents over removing a good portion of the hill to build something."

The realtor describes this as "a very risky undertaking, even for an experienced developer," and that doesn't even touch on the city approvals that would be involved.

But the next-door parcels, known as 1235 Sansome, also remain on the market — Socketsite reported on a pending sale in 2018 for $998,000, but that appears to have fallen through, and it again hit the market in November 2021  for $1,498,000, and was reduced last week to $998,000. A rendering of a possible structure there — with zoning allowing for a height of 84 feet — can be seen below.

via MLS

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Parcel Sadness: Small and 'Challenging' Cliffside Property On Telegraph Hill Hits Market For $150,000
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