It looks as if Julia Roberts has done more than leave her heart in San Francisco. The A-list actress now also has a lovely home there.
The news that the star of “Pretty Woman” has scooped up a shingled mansion in the neighborhood of Presidio Heights has set the internet abuzz.
Roberts has been spotted in the foggy city over the years, and while we could speculate on the personal reasons behind the purchase, we’d rather take a look at her choice in real estate. Specifically, why did she pick Presidio Heights, and where the heck is this not-so-well-known neighborhood?
Presidio Heights is a savvy pick
For those unfamiliar with the area, her choice of neighborhood might be puzzling. It doesn’t have the name recognition of posh Pacific Heights, although it borders on that much better-known nabe. It’s snuggled right up against the Presidio, in the northwest corner of the city.
It’s nowhere near the trendy South of Market area, where many newly minted millionaires have been busy dropping cash on condos. That neighborhood is home to Salesforce Tower, Millennium Tower, and the Four Seasons Residences on Mission Street, where Steph Curry just spent $8 million on an as yet unbuilt pied-à-terre close to the Chase Center.
Instead, Roberts chose a quiet, secluded, family-friendly—and pricey—neighborhood, close to excellent schools, and where 100-year-old Tudors and Victorians dot the streets. In fact, a mini Petit Trianon-style mansion for $21.8 million, just up the street from the home Roberts purchased, is one of the most expensive listings in San Francisco.
A home with a view (or two)
Built in 1907, the place Roberts bought is a classic residence designed by the architect Sylvain Schnaittacher and remodeled by John Wheatman. The layout features views of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge from the kitchen, family room, and the master bedroom suite.
Along with five floors, five bedrooms, and 4.5 baths, the 6,245-square-foot space includes a bonus room on the top floor, and a two-car tandem garage, wine room, outdoor dining space, and garden.
The property was originally on the market in 2019 for $10.25 million, and its price dropped last fall to $9.65 million before finally selling in January for $8.3 million. The residence previously changed hands in 1997 for $1.88 million.
The hilltop locale features stately homes, views of the Golden Gate Bridge, and an easy walk to Presidio Park, which borders the neighborhood.
The park offers access to the fields and tennis courts of Presidio Wall Playground, hiking trails, and golf. The artist Andrew Goldsworthy’s breathtaking “Wood Line” site-specific installation can be found there, one of three he made in the Presidio.
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A real San Francisco treat
Even though it’s not in the center of the city’s action, Presidio Heights is definitely not the suburbs.
A few blocks away on California and Sacramento streets are Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as coffee shops, local markets, and boutiques. It’s also the home of one of the city’s oldest operating movie theaters, the Vogue, which just hosted the Mostly British film festival that attracted stars like Ben Mendelsohn and Will Forte.
Walk or bike a few blocks more, to Arguello Boulevard, and feast on the famed croissants from the top-rated Arsicault Bakery. So yes, if, as we suspect, the actress is also a foodie, she’ll be very happy on the western side of the city.
Plus, the location is about 15 minutes by car to the Financial District, and about an hour to Silicon Valley.
Low-key and loving it
In short, the high-end nabe isn’t overly ostentatious and would prefer to stay that way.
“The neighborhood is a fabulous neighborhood. It’s been long sought out, since I’ve been selling real estate,” says the San Francisco agent Val Steele, with Compass. “If you like anything about nature and outdoors, you’ve got the largest urban national park in your backyard.”
The neighborhood is also reportedly the home of Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who dropped $7.35 million on a residence two years ago.
And it’s close to the private enclave of Presidio Terrace—the only gated community in the city—which Sen. Diane Feinstein once called home. The very limited number of 36 homes don’t come up on the market often, but one represented by Dennis Otto of Compass is currently on the market for $9 million.
“You’ve got good walkability,” says Otto of the area. “It’s got a low-key vibe to it, great housing stock. People kind of respect each other’s privacy.” He adds, “To me, it feels a little bit less congested than what you might get in some other neighborhoods. The homes are really large and beautiful. It’s a great place to raise a family.”
Roberts reportedly spent the weekend of her 50th birthday in the city back in 2017. And she thrilled diners and wait staff alike when she celebrated her 52nd birthday in 2019 at the Outer Sunset outpost Outerlands.
Now that she also has a home here, we imagine she’ll be seen around town much more than on her birthday.
Caroline Kahn Werboff with Sotheby’s International Realty-San Francisco Brokerage represented the seller. Nina Hatvany with Compass represented the buyer.