The Tenderloin/Van Ness:

Like the meat cuts of the same name, this neighborhood is indeed tougher and rougher. Euphemistically known as Lower Pacific Heights or Lower Nob Hill (sometimes the Tendernob) the area is permanently gritty and shadier. Why? Big building shadows, soot from area traffic because there’s a high frequency of heavily traveled one-way streets going east-to-west and north-to-south here (e.g., Larkin, Geary, Van Ness, Ellis, Eddy, Taylor, Bush, Post, Sutter). The area has long been associated with the seedier elements of society. Any mention of the area must also note the large homeless population too. It’s tough. That said, there is real estate here too. There are newer build condominium buildings here (see Civic Center) along with old-school buildings like the Belgravia scattered throughout the area that surprise as well as puzzle in this most urban of areas. 

Civic Center:

Very modern model urban forest. Being anchored by Van Ness Ave. the soundtrack here is of car horns, revving engines and reverse beeps. Most homes here will be a condo or stock co-operative (co-op) with views of, well, other tall condo buildings. Many condos will have a decidedly pre-war feel but yet many others are of newer construction with varying degrees of views. Most will have at least a secure entry lobby with some having security guards. Parking, if you can find it, will be underground. The area itself is full of cars, artists (the symphony, opera and ballet are here), lawyers (state and federal courts are located here along with SF’s city government), tourists and homeless people. You may get swept away by the odd wind vortex that’s created by Van Ness near Grove Street. If being close to mass transit, the arts and a certain grittiness is your cup of tea, then this urban jungle of neighborhoods will be just right. Sutter’s new Cathedral Hill hospital along with a few other adventurous car dealerships are leading a Van Ness corridor revival. Notable buildings in the area: One Daniel Burnham Court (senior-focused units and circa 1980s feel condos), the Artani (2008 vintage modern LEED-certified condos),the Marquis (industrial timber and brick lofts circa 2002), Opera Plaza (1970s brutalist architecture condos gone a wry) and Blanc SF (circa 2014 new-build condos designed, in part, by Stanley Saitowitz) and new build ones like the Rockwell coming online soon.

Union Square:
This is the most New York-like living you can have in the City that’s located in an area where you can hear honking and hail a cab. If you can find housing as the area is known for its tourists, shopping, holiday ice rink and proximity to the Tenderloin. Spaces for sale can be hidden gems, but you’re far more likely to find commercial properties here. There are a few named condominium buildings here (e.g., the Odeon, the Royal) that have units with views (usually of other buildings or a busy street) and parking is at a premium.

Areas include: Van Ness / Civic Center, Tenderloin, Downtown, FiDi - Financial District / Barbary Coast