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Unprecedented Sale Of San Francisco Street Raises Questions

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- New questions were emerging Wednesday as to how one of the most exclusive streets in San Francisco was sold in a tax auction.

Despite being home to over 30 mansions worth millions of dollars, the street wound up being valued at only $221.

Homeowners who live on Presidio Terrace are up in arms and are calling for the city to step in.

The question of why the exclusive SF street was valued so low and how in only had an annual tax bill of $14 a year were questions KPIX 5 put to San Francisco Association of Realtors President Matt Fuller.

"I've never seen anything like this before," said Fuller. "Private streets are really rare in San Francisco. This is a very, very old development. One of the first in San Francisco."

In fact, the neighborhood dates back to 1905, even before the great San Francisco Earthquake.

"There was a time when that was a big tax bill, and this goes that far back," explained Fuller.

According to the County Assessor, the property had never been sold, but was reassessed in 1985. Despite that, the low rate remained.

"It has got an incredible location and an incredibly strange shape, so it's certainly not a buildable lot," said Fuller. "As an assessor you have nothing to kind of assess it against. What do you use to pick a value?"

KPIX 5 put the $14 a year tax bill question to Board of Supervisor London Breed.

"Lucky them," Breed replied. "We have to get to the bottom of it."

But even the lowest tax bill has to be paid and, thanks to a series of mix ups that included the bill being sent to the wrong address for some 30 years, the street was eventually sold at a tax auction to Tina Lam and Michael Cheng for $90,000

"It's just being part of the city that I love," said Lam when KPIX 5 spoke with her earlier this week.

When asked if she was going to sell it back to the owners, Lam replied, "I don't really want to."

The wealthy homeowners are crying foul and asking the Board of Supervisors to overturn the sale.

"If something wrong happened we need to correct it," said Breed. "If its right then it is what it is, but ultimately we need to get to the bottom of it."


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