Gateway founder selling Seacliff mansion for $25M 

After seven years and an $8 million renovation, a Seacliff mansion sold to the wife of a computer magnate is back on the market for $25.9 million.

Joan Waitt, the wife of Gateway Computer co-founder Ted Waitt, purchased the home at 300 Sea Cliff Ave. and another one at 308 Sea Cliff Ave. with the intending to make a family compound, Alain Pinel Realtor Mark Levinson said. But the Waitts have wonderful homes elsewhere, he said, and realized that family obligations generally kept them from the Seacliff properties.

"They decided it would become a real estate project," Levinson said.

Built between 1936 and 1938, 300 Sea Cliff Ave. is known as the "Captain’s House," because it was built for the Kohlmeister family. That clan was headed by a sea captain who was said to use his legal rightof salvage and the nation’s then-low income tax to become wealthy, Levinson said.

It was later a family home for Jerome White, a 1921 founding partner of San Francisco’s Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe law firm, now known as Heller Ehrman LLP. White’s family lived on the property for about 30 years. The next owner was a personal friend of Levinson: the late Harley Schear, a renowned neurologist once mentioned in an Herb Caen column for failing to relinquish one long-distance call for another.

While hosting famous entrepreneurial families may not be new to the house, Waitt’s renovation added extensive novelty, Levinson said. The changes include hydroponic radiant heat in much of the house, New Hope steel windows and doors, plumbing and electrical upgrades, copper gutters, restoration of stained and leaded glass windows and new programmable lighting, sound and security systems. The front courtyard was re-landscaped, a medallion design was added to the travertine floors in the foyer and Venetian plaster was applied to walls. The exterior was also repainted to a pale color matching its historic images; it had most recently had an exposed brick façade.

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $25.9 million

Property tax: $336,700*

What: 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, 2 half-baths, more than 9,400 square feet

Amenities: On own point facing the Golden Gate, .44 acres of usable land, views of China Beach and beyond, spiral foyer staircase, walnut and oak wood floors, high-end kitchen appliances, wine cellar, leaded glass windows, fireplaces, Mediterranean garden courtyard and marble bath.

Contact: Mark Allan Levinson,,(415) 441-5500.

*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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