Hot Property: A former hot spot with an Art Deco twist

When Herth Real Estate agent Tom Cacciotti attended a 1991 party at the Hamilton Building, he didn’t realize the influence the building would have on his life. In 1999, Cacciotti moved into the 188-unit building, joining a passionate group of owners who’ve helped the former theater district hot spot regain its former glory.

In its heyday, the Alexander Hamilton Hotel played long-term host to a number of actors and musicians, including Vivian Vance and Florence Henderson. “They say that Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald stayed here,” Cacciotti said. “This was the only fine hotel that would allow African-Americans at that time.”

Back then, the all-steel-and-concrete Hamilton had its own restaurant and lounge. Today, the Hamilton ballroom is available to rent for events. In fact, the homeowners association just completed renovations of the ballroom caterer’s kitchen.

In 1961, the Hamilton became the first condo-conversion building west of the Mississippi River. Former hotel rooms with kitchenettes became studio and one-bedroom condos. A few units were combined into two- and three-bedroom spaces. The 21st floor became a grand penthouse with breathtaking views of The City.

By 1990, the year before Cacciotti’s fortuitous visit, the Hamilton had been the victim of several unfortunate renovations. Upset with the building’s decline, the homeowners held an “Art Deco Night” to spur enthusiasm for a massive remodel project.

Today, the Hamilton is a precious living slice of Art Deco Moderne. The remodel removed walls, dropped ceilings, paneling and poor style choices, replacing them with faithful Deco fixtures, rugs and furniture.

Unit 805 is a typical Hamilton studio. It has 520 square feet, a sleeping alcove and a large dressing room. The bathroom is all original, save for some added bathtub tiling. It has a small kitchen and city views. Its owners, Cacciotti said, kept it “immaculate.”

The Hamilton compares favorably to some new developments aimed at minimalist living. “We grow old here,” said Cacciotti, who estimates that around 25 percent of present owners have been in their units since the Hamilton “revolution” of 1990. Even a few of the original condo owners are still in place, he adds.

Cacciotti compares the Hamilton’s “Uptown Tenderloin” neighborhood to his native New York. “This is a classic city layout: residential above, commercial below,” he said. “If this was New York, it’d be untouchable.”

The Hamilton offers more than spacious studios and a central location, though. As Cacciotti prepares an upcoming one-bedroom unit for market, he can attest to the feeling of community this Deco “vertical village” has brought to his and 187 other residents’ lives.

lrosen@sfexaminer.com

Hot property

631 O’FARRELL STREET #805

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $375,000

Property tax: $4,875*

The property: Studio with alcove in 1930-built downtown Art Deco highrise.

Notable: Former theater district hotel won Art Deco Society of California Award in 2008.

Agent: Tom Cacciotti, Herth Real Estate, (415) 861-5222. Ext. 212.

Other properties

8300 OCEANVIEW TERRACE #409

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $375,000

Property tax: $4,875*

The property: 668 square foot Oceanview Terrace condominium with one bedroom, one bathroom, newer construction.

Notable: Location convenient to shopping, transportation and freeways.

Agent: David L. Klein, Prudential California Realty, (415) 810-6973.

936 EASTON AVE.

Where: San Bruno

Asking price: $375,000

Property tax: $4,875*

The property: Two bedrooms, one bathroom, 810 square feet plus unwarranted space.

Notable: Sub-$400,000 single-family home near Tanforan, downtown San Bruno, freeways.

<p>Agents: Kendra A Wall, Vanguard Properties, (415) 987-4420.

Just Posted

Thousands take to San Francisco streets in Climate Strike

The protesters are calling for urgent action on climate change, including putting pressure on local elected leaders to support more drastic steps.

Power outage impacts Muni subway service

The San Francico Municipal Transportation Agency said Friday morning that a power… Continue reading

Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence patch things up with leather fair organizers

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and organizers of S.F.’s leather fair have patched things up.

Rare monkey born at San Francisco Zoo

A rare monkey was born at San Francisco Zoo and Gardens, zoo… Continue reading

Youth protest climate change in a Global Strike

The Global Climate Strike is expected to be one of the largest… Continue reading

Most Read