Noe Valley Voice October 1998

Condos Crop up Around St. Paul's

By Karen Topakian

By early spring 1999, Noe Valley will see 43 new condominiums where St. Paul's Primary School, High School, and Sisters of Charity Convent once were.

(That's in addition to construction of a new elementary school at Church and 29th streets. See "St. Paul's Starts Building New School," December 1997 Voice.)

Occupancy of the condos will mean a wave of new residents, as well as a rise in parking and traffic congestion in the area.

But the good news is, the imposing granite structures that are the signature of St. Paul's Parish will look pretty much the same after the condo conversion.

The former St. Paul's Primary School, located at 300 Valley St. near Sanchez, dates back to 1920. It was among three properties sold by St. Paul's Church over the past four years to pay for retrofitting its most important landmark, the twin-spired gothic church on Church Street.

The primary school was sold to Lansing Development Co. for $925,000 in January of this year. The sale was handled by B.J. Droubi Real Estate on 24th Street.

In its condo incarnation, the primary school will have 7 two-bedroom, two-bath townhouses.

"We will be gutting the inside, but we are maintaining the integrity of the exterior of the building," said Adam Gavzer, of Lansing Development. "It will keep its historic feel."

The renovated building will also feature a landscaped garden in the back with a fountain.

Gavzer said prices for the condominiums, ranging in size from 1,600 to 2,300 square feet, had not been set, but that each unit would have one deeded parking space as required by city law. He expects the condos to come on the market as early as February 1999.

36 Units at St. Paul's Commons

Meanwhile, the former St. Paul's High School at 317 29th St., built in 1917 -- and the 1926 convent nearby at 323 29th St. -- will be transformed into a 36-unit condominium complex to be called St. Paul's Commons.

"This historic building will retain its original hardwood floors, but will be built to the structural codes of today," said Victor Gonzalez, director of development for Monahan Pacific Development Corp., which purchased the property for $2.65 million.

Roughly half of the condos will be one-bedrooms, ranging in size from 850 to 900 square feet. The rest will be two-bedrooms with 1,100 to 1,200 square feet. (There will be 1 three-bedroom unit.)

Some of these converted classrooms will have their own roof decks and patios, he said. All residents in the Commons will share a landscaped back yard. As with the Valley Street complex, each unit will have one parking space.

According to Gonzalez, St. Paul's Commons is about six months away from completion, and the first open house will be held sometime in early spring. "We will probably set the rates the day before the open house," Gonzalez quipped.

Though the exact prices are still under wraps, four of the 36 condos will sell as "BMR" units -- below market rate -- as set by the Mayor's Office of Housing. (According to a 1992 city law, all housing projects that require a conditional use permit and which are larger than 10-unit developments must offer 10 percent of their units at below-market prices.)

At St. Paul's Commons, 1 two-bedroom and 3 one-bedroom units will be sold as BMRs. This means they will go to moderate-income buyers at a 10 to 30 percent discount. To find out about this program, call the Mayor's Housing Office at 252-3177.

Neither developer has hired a firm to handle the sale of their units, but Gonzalez says he already has 50 names on a waiting list. To reach Monahan Pacific (located in Corte Madera) call 945-7777.

The number for Lansing Development is 896-5135.