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Monday, August 07, 2017


A couple from the South Bay now own 120 lovely parking spaces in San Francisco, much to the dismay of residents. Tina Lam and Michael Cheng bought Presidio Terrace two years ago. Just the street and sidewalks.
Not the extremely expensive homes lining it.

Which apparently surprised the people who own mansions there no end.
They are upset, and outraged.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

"Tina Lam and Michael Cheng snatched up Presidio Terrace — the block-long, private oval street lined by 35 megamillion-dollar mansions — for $90,000 and change in a city-run auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill."


"Past homeowners have included Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her financier husband, Richard Blum; House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi; and the late Mayor Joseph Alioto. A guard is stationed round the clock at the stone-gate entrance to the street to keep the curious away."

Source: Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street

This is what America is all about: two Chinese immigrants bought a street that until racial covenants in real estate were banned (in 1949) they would not be allowed to live on, and that the guard at that gate would have kept them away from before they acquired it.

Further quoting from that article:

"The couple’s purchase appears to be the culmination of a comedy of errors involving a $14-a-year property tax bill that the homeowners association failed to pay for three decades. It’s something that the owners of all 181 private streets in San Francisco are obliged to do."


"Two years ago, the city’s tax office put the property up for sale in an online auction, seeking to recover $994 in unpaid back taxes, penalties and interest. Cheng and Lam, trawling for real estate opportunities in the city, pounced on the offer — snatching up the parcel with a $90,100 bid, sight unseen. Since the purchase in April 2015, the couple have been quietly sitting on the property, talking to a number of land-use attorneys to explore their options."


"He and his wife see plenty of financial opportunity — especially from the 120 parking spaces on the street."


"They didn’t learn that their street and sidewalks had been sold until they were contacted May 30 by a title search company working on behalf of Cheng and Lam, said Emblidge. The title search outfit wanted to know if the residents had any interest in buying back the property from the couple, the lawyer said.

“I was shocked to learn this could happen, and am deeply troubled that anyone would choose to take advantage of the situation and buy our street and sidewalks,” said one homeowner, who asked not to be named because of pending litigation."

[Oh boo hoo!]

"Last month, the homeowners petitioned the Board of Supervisors for a hearing to rescind the tax sale. The board has scheduled a hearing for October."


"Fried said that as far as she knows, the Board of Supervisors “has never done a hearing of rescission” — and that because it’s been more than two years since Cheng and Lam bought the property, it could be tough to overturn the sale now.

As for the threat to charge them for parking, the residents suspect it’s part of a pressure campaign by the couple to force the homeowners association to shell out big bucks to buy back the street.

The couple, however, say they’re in no hurry to sell".

[End cite]

[Matier & Ross, SF Chronicle, August 7, 2017]

I suspect almost no one in this city has any sympathy for the homeowners, and is instead warmly supportive of Tina Lam (originally from Hong Kong) and Michael Cheng (from Taiwan), who look extremely cute together.
Far more than the residents of Presidio Terrace, they represent us.
And all of us are probably more than a bit jealous.
We would've like to have done that.

If it were me, I would charge at least one thousand dollars per month for each of those 120 parking spaces. Which is below market, btw.

Pay up, or my fleet of disreputable used vehicles will be in front of your house every day.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


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