Architect’s triple-sized condo opens in LightHouse conversion 

A triple-sized condominium in the historic art-deco style Lighthouse Lofts is being sold by a real estate agent who lived there himself for more than a year.

The lofts, located at 1097 Howard St., were part of a major dot-com era condo conversion after the nonprofit LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired sold the 1923 building and moved to a new structure on Van Ness Avenue.

"It was where our organization’s headquarters were. I believe that many years ago we had a workshop there," said George Clark, the nonprofit’s chief development officer. "We did training with individuals who had lost their vision on how to use a white cane, how to set up their houses for safety and to read Braille. We pretty much do the same thing here."

The architect of the conversion — Charles Smith III of Verdigris, Patina and Rust — lived after the conversion in a unit he built for himself that was three times the size of the other units in the building. It combines wood, industrial materials and Japanese screens to create interesting spaces, according to McGuire Real Estate agent Jito Garcia.

Garcia currently owns the condo.

An immigrant fromBrazil, Garcia moved to the United States in 1980 to practice his English, but ended up remaining and moving to California. He’s moved between 10 and 12 times in the Golden State as he pursued his hobby of improving properties for resale, he said. A gay man, he has also busied himself with AIDS-related charities, serving the Stop AIDS project, Healing Waters and the Academy of Friends.

He loved this condo and entertained frequently, he said, but after putting on some personal touches, he is ready to move on.

"I put in the fireplaces myself," he said of the condo. "I painted and decorated it, even though the architect did an amazing job. But it had no color on the walls ... he made a fabulous place, but it was very quiet."

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $2.4 million

Property tax: $31,200* plus $1,100 monthly homeowner’s dues

What: 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, more than 4,200 square feet

Amenities: Sliding panels to separate space, two fireplaces, gas range in kitchen, glass and granite bathrooms with views of The City, oversized windows.

Agent: Jito Garcia, McGuire Real Estate, (415) 606-9090

*Estimate based on 1.3 percent of asking price.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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