Condo site has changed with time 

The 20 new condominiums at 520 Chestnut St. in San Francisco’s NorthBeach don’t have much history of their own, per se: they’re all brand new, with a preserved warehouse façade. That actually follows tradition for their little plot of land, which has been changing uses since the turn of the century.

"It’s been many things through the years," said Fergus O’Sullivan of O’Sullivan Construction, who built the condos after buying the building plus entitlements. His firm has also built condos at 1770-80 Fell St., 2346 Clement St. and 807 Columbus Ave.

From 1900 to 1905, the land held a two-story wood-frame home of Empire Malt House owner Joseph Schweitzer, who chose to live right next door to his beer factory, according to a 2003 Page & Turnbull Inc. report for the San Francisco city government.

The business eventually became the Bauer & Schweitzer Hop & Malt Co. and the neighborhood thrived around it, hosting single-family homes, apartment buildings, a saloon, a dance hall, a wagon shed, a market a shoemaker and "several barbers," the report said.

But the house burned down in the fire after the 1906 earthquake and was never rebuilt. The land was left vacant for a time.

The site changed owners 13 times between 1922 and 1936. A commercial building was built in its place in 1927, according to the report. In 1948, it was a garage for U.S. Forest Service vehicles. In 1974, it was a liquor warehouse, and by 1986 it was a manufacturing site.

The two-foot thick concrete manufacturing warehouse façade was preserved because of a decision by the San Francisco Planning Commission, O’Sullivan said. Today, the new building consists of 20 condominiums done in a very modern style, with radiant-heat floors, big windows, fireplaces and tall mahogany doors, O’Sullivan said. There are both one-bedrooms and two-bedroom units in the building.

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $700,000 to $1,299,000, depending on condo

Property tax: varies with price

What: 20 one- and two-bedroom units, including penthouse and townhouse units, ranging from 850 square feet to 1,400 square feet

Amenities: Fireplaces; radiant heat; concrete floors; views of Russian Hill, downtown and Coit Tower; 40-foot bamboo in common courtyard; Corian bathtubs.

Agent: Tim Brown, Brown & Co., (415) 594-9220

*Estimate based on 1.3% of asking price.

kwilliamson@examiner.com

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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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