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Grosvenor's Big 41-Year Reveal

It's been in San Francisco since 1973, but Grosvenor's first (and not last) residential effort is now opening. Bonus fact: It sits in three neighborhoods. (Just like clothes shopping, try on several and see what fits.) We got an insider's look.

Grosvenor VP of development in S.F. Steve O'Connell gave us the tour of 1645 Pacific, a six-story oasis at the intersection of Nob Hill, PacHeights, and Russian Hill. Known for its prime Union Square retail properties, this is the developer's first residential foray into S.F. 1645 Pacific is a rags-to-riches story, from an old car garage to 39 luxury residences and penthouses from 613 to 1,877 SF (some of the city's biggest new construction condos). One ground-floor space is leased to an art gallery, and another's up for grabs (he pictures something quaint that fits in the neighborhood). Working with Nick Podell and Richard Beard of BAR Architects, the team went for a pre-war, ritzy look with a black-and-white marble lobby.

The back courtyard has a modern twist, above. Famed street artist (and Marin resident) Zio Ziegler designed this mural, which took him only three days. His art is sprinkled throughout the property, too. While other new condos go the pre-sale route, Grosvenor gambled on a different approach: finishing it first so potential buyers could experience the building instead of browsing floor plans. (The night of our tour, we spotted a young couple signing on the dotted line.) Move-ins start this month—if the giant in this mural lets you pass.

Here's the view from one of the two penthouses. Steve says Grosvenor feels like the project is in a secret spot sandwiched between three neighborhoods near the busy Polk and Van Ness streets. And the bespoke-and-handcrafted feel is a homage to PacHeights architecture; Mad Men-esque alabaster light fixtures were restored and hung inside the elevator. Each of Grosvenor's buildings draw inspiration from the surrounding neighborhoods, he says.