Owner of $32M Cow Hollow house buys next door for another $14.5M

Mid-century home built in 1956 sells for first time

John Bautista with 2582 Filbert and 2556 Filbert (Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Jacob Elliot, Open Homes Photography)
John Bautista with 2582 Filbert and 2556 Filbert (Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Jacob Elliot, Open Homes Photography)

The owner of a $32 million San Francisco home has expanded his holdings on the Cow Hollow block, purchasing his next-door neighbors’ home and vacant lot for $14.5 million. It is the first time the mid-century home and its vineyard gardens, which total 10,000 square feet, have sold since it was built in 1956.

Tech and VC lawyer John Bautista, a partner at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, purchased the spec house at 2582 Filbert Street for $32 million at the tail end of last year, according to deed records. The 12,200-square-foot newly built home on a triple-wide lot with a 72-foot-long lap pool originally listed at $46 million. It was the second-biggest residential sale in San Francisco in 2021.

Patricia Lawton at Sotheby’s was his agent on that deal and also acted as the buyer’s agent at 2556 Filbert next door, which deed records show was purchased by Filbert Properties LLC on July 22. That LLC’s address is listed as Bautista’s other Filbert address and his name is attached to the LLC filing, according to state records. Lawton did not reply to requests for comment.

When 2556 Filbert first came to market in May, the development potential of the vacant lot, currently planted with vineyards and fruit trees, appeared to be one of its key selling points. Not so, said listing agent Janet Schindler, also of Sotheby’s. The mid-century 3,500-square-foot house at the rear of the lot was actually what most buyers were interested in, she said via email, with many citing the high costs and long timelines of building as a reason to leave the garden lot closer to the street as is. Most people wanted to add on to the “time capsule” main house and perhaps build a small guest house on the lot, she said.

Schindler had the home listed separately from the vacant lot at $8.5 million, or about $2,500 per square foot. With its 180-degree Golden Gate Bridge and Bay views, it could have sold at that price “all day long,” she said. In order to get the lot sold as well, she had to drop the price for the overall estate from $15 million to $14 million. At that point it received multiple offers and ended up selling right between the two asking prices at $14.5 million, she said.

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The sellers, who are the children of the couple who built the home in 1956, are happy with the reduced price, she said. They were emotionally attached to the house they had grown up in and had been discussing its possible sale since before the pandemic. That hesitation cost them, she said.

“Most of the buyers who may have considered building a home on the lot now had to face post-pandemic material delays, and material and labor shortages,” she said. “Quite simply, it costs more to build post-pandemic, which is what is driving up the prices on ‘done’ homes.”

Even if buyers aren’t looking to take on big projects right now, she thinks it helped that high-end architect John Maniscalco created preliminary design drawings for the virtually staged property. His different versions of the main home had options ranging from 8,000 to nearly 15,000 square feet.

“Buyers need a little sense of vision and that is what we provided,” she said.

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