When the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire wiped the city clean, the wealthy stood around the burned rubble of their Nob Hill homes and took a cool, hard look at San Francisco Bay. The best view in the city was in Pacific Heights, and with that swath of real estate now up for grabs, the big money built there and settled in.
Through the Great Depression and both World Wars, the residents of Pacific Heights built mansions in an ex-frontier town that now has a median sale price of more than $1.12 million, according to Trulia.
Today’s buyers have given this slice of San Francisco the name “Billionaire’s Row.” And those billionaires include a lot of tech names mingling with San Francisco’s “Old Money” crowd — Oracle billionaire Larry Ellison, Apple design genius Jony Ive, and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, just to name a few.
In the years after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, many of the city's wealthiest residents moved from tony Nob Hill to Pacific Heights, forever changing the face of the neighbourhood.
Pacific Heights has been an elite enclave of moneyed families ever since. The Gettys and the Trainas are just a few of the names who have ruled the Pacific Heights roost for decades.
William P. Getty, grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, and his wife Vanessa listed their 8,675-square-foot home for $15.9 million in May 2014. After a few price chops, it eventually sold for $12.5 million in July 2015.
In May 2015, chef Roxanne Klein and serial entrepreneur Michael Klein sold their massive, 16,000-square-foot home for $31 million. It had been the priciest listing in all of San Francisco for seven months.
But over the last five years or so, a huge wave of wealthy tech buyers have made their mark on the neighbourhood. Many say this is due to the influence of San Francisco's social king, Trevor Traina, who has founded several startups including IfOnly and DriverSide.
'My aspiration for my good friends is that they all love their homes,' Traina told Vanity Fair in 2013. 'And selfishly it's wonderful to have so much incredible magical brainpower nearby.'
Traina himself is said to reside in this stunning Georgian home that dates back to 1905. He and his wife reportedly purchased the home for a whopping $35 million under trust in 2013, though at one point the rumour mill was swirling that Marissa Mayer was the real buyer. Mayer vehemently denied the rumour.
Zynga founder and CEO Mark Pincus and his wife, One Kings Lane founder Alison Pincus, moved into the neighbourhood in 2012, purchasing a home on Pacific Avenue for $16 million. Just two years later, he put it up for sale for $18 million, though the listing was later taken down.
Apple executive Jony Ive reportedly bought a stunning home on 'Billionaires' Row' for $17 million in 2012. The home was originally listed for $25 million.
This house at 2724 Pacific once belonged to Doug Engmann, the former chairman of the Pacific Stock Exchange. The Pacific Exchange was founded in 1882 and was one of the more distinguished San Francisco institutions for generations.
The house sold for just under $24 million in March 2015, one of the city's biggest for the year. The buyer is still a mystery concealed by LLC.
A stone's throw away from the former stock exchange chairman's home, Oracle founder Larry Ellison owns this $40 million home. In 2011, several news outlets reported Ellison planned to buy the home next door, but the sale never happened.
Legendary VC Ron Conway listed his full-floor apartment on Washington Street for $9.5 million in early 2014. Conway hosted gatherings featuring a wide array of tech A-listers here, including Mayer and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
David Sacks, who sold his messaging company, Yammer, to Microsoft for $1.2 billion in 2012, bought this Pacific Heights home for $20 million later that same year. Sacks currently works as the COO of Zenefits.
Nirav Tolia, founder of neighbourhood-based social network Nextdoor, also owns a $7 million home in Pacific Heights. He told Vanity Fair that Traina had 'basically handpicked the neighbourhood' for them.
There are, of course, tensions between the old and new. San Francisco society's grande dame Denise Hale told Vanity Fair that her new tech neighbours are: '(O)ne-dimensional and can only talk about one thing. I'm used to brilliant men in my life who leave their work, and they have many other interests. New people eventually will learn how to live. When they learn how to live, I would love to meet them.'
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