Feinstein's New House Feb 4, 2006 5:41:05 GMT -5
Post by RPankn on Feb 4, 2006 5:41:05 GMT -5
Feinstein's $16.5 million view in Pacific Heights
Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Sunday, January 29, 2006
Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her mega-millionaire husband, Richard Blum, are pulling up stakes on their quiet Presidio Terrace home and moving uptown to a Pacific Heights mansion -- with views to die for.
The $16.5 million mansion -- which sits at the foot of Vallejo Street, between the Presidio and some of the city's most hoity-toity addresses -- offers a sweeping view of the bay.
It's right off what Herb Caen christened the "Gold Rush" -- the final two blocks of upper, upper Broadway, where the residents include Ann and Gordon Getty, Oracle founder Larry Ellison, and Mimi Haas -- as in the Levi Strauss Haases.
"And everyone is extending a warm welcome,'' said former Mayor Willie Brown, who hangs with the hill crowd. "They figure it will mean better homeland security."
The very hush-hush house sale, we're told, was finalized within the past three weeks. Workers are busy fixing up the place and installing new recessed lighting before Feinstein and Blum move in.
For the past two decades, San Francisco's top power couple has lived in the shadow of Temple Emanu-El -- on the very private and swank Presidio Terrace, just off Arguello Boulevard -- where they've hosted everyone from reporters to presidents.
The house, which has yet to go on the market, comes complete with a flagpole.
So why the big move?
"We've never had a view, and this was an opportunity to get one,'' Feinstein said Friday. "We also have an expanding family -- five grandchildren and soon to be a sixth -- and we needed some more space.''
Their new, 9,500-square-foot mansion -- once owned by the former wife of "Star Wars" creator George Lucas and featured as the 1995 San Francisco Decorator's Showcase -- offers much more than just picture-postcard vistas.
The four-story abode, which has sat empty for the past couple of years, has five bedrooms (including two master suites), three fireplaces, an elevator, a wine cellar and an in-law apartment.
"It's a very gorgeous, gorgeous property -- a very special home,'' says Sotheby's agent Pattie Lawton, who represented the sellers, a couple she declined to name.
The sellers never actually lived in the house, which they bought in 2004. The price then wasn't disclosed, but real estate industry sources said they believe it was close to its appraised value of $12 million.
One big curiosity is the garden just off the front entrance that is actually part of the Lyon Street steps, a favorite of joggers, walkers and camera clickers.
At night, the 332 steps are also a popular hangout for teenagers to sneak a drink or two.
This is hardly Blum and Feinstein's only real estate undertaking in recent years. Five years ago, they traded in their five-story townhouse in Washington, D.C., for a nearly $6 million, French Renaissance-style estate in the Spring Valley neighborhood, just down the street from American University.
A couple of years earlier, they built themselves a $7.4 million ski retreat on 30 acres in Aspen, Colo., just down the road from the 15-bedroom pleasure palace of a Saudi prince.
No word yet on if -- or where -- the flagpole will go up on the new digs.
More home views: Speaking of home, Sen. Feinstein was undoubtedly feeling heat from the West Coast before announcing Friday that she would support a floor filibuster against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito after all.
Just a couple of weeks back, Feinstein said she probably wouldn't support a move to block the nomination, unless Alito turned out to be guilty of some "moral turpitude.''
But by Friday, Feinstein apparently had heard the message loud and clear from constituents urging her to support the filibuster.
"It was very strong in terms of Californians contacting us in support of the filibuster,'' Feinstein spokesman Howard Gantman told us.
Hit-hit-hit -- then run!: To chase or not to chase -- that was the question facing a couple of San Francisco cops when they spotted a stolen Chrysler minivan speeding down Fillmore Street last Sunday.
At first they chased. Then on Turk Street, when the minivan driver hit the gas and blew a red light at Divisadero, the cops -- fearing for public safety -- pulled back.
The hot wheeler, however, was apparently too caught up in the chase to notice the cops had quit. He barreled up Turk, and at the crest of the hill tried to make a left turn onto Baker Street.
But the driver was no NASCAR ace. He lost control and plowed along a line of four parked cars until finally coming to a stop, whereupon he jumped out and started running down the hill.
Unfortunately, in his haste to beat feet, he forgot to put the minivan in gear or set the emergency brake -- and soon, the empty minivan was chasing him down the street.
The minivan hit another line of parked cars, then continued on through the intersection at Golden Gate Avenue -- colliding with four more parked cars before finally coming to a stop.
As for the thief, he was last seen scampering onto the 24-Divisadero bus and fleeing the area.
Table talk: Considering the number of times he's been spotted lunching at San Francisco's very fashionable restaurant Boulevard, Oakland Mayor and state attorney general candidate Jerry Brown seems to have found a second home.
"It's about raising money,'' said one politico in the know. "And that's the place he seems most comfortable doing it."
Our insider also predicts that if Jerry does win the AG's race, "I'll bet you anything he moves back to San Francisco."
Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. They can also be heard on KGO Radio on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Phil Matier can be seen regularly on KRON 4 News, and also on Sunday morning at 9:30 on his own show, "4 the Record." Got a tip? Call them at (415) 777-8815 or drop them an e-mail at email@example.com.
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