Hot Property: A hidden gem in Redwood City’s rockpile

Redwood City is full of surprises. The first time a visitor finds the narrow bridge leading to Upper Emerald Lake, or strolls into downtown’s Gourmet Haus Staudt for some authentic German food, he learns that Redwood City is much more than a bland suburb.

A single block from busy El Camino Real is Wellesley Crescent, another Redwood City surprise. Here, a few hundred feet from El Camino’s strip malls and gas stations, the street narrows, then fans out into a circle surrounding a grove of redwood trees.

Wellesley Crescent runs around the perimeter of Wellesley Crescent Park, three-quarters of an acre with picnic tables, redwoods and little else. The park may be small, but it is more than large enough to make this tiny section of Redwood City’s Edgewood neighborhood seem like an isolated enclave.

Today, Wellesley Crescent is home to a number of apartment buildings. Almost 100 years ago, it was something else.

Daniel Stafford was an original Wellesley Crescent settler. At 226 Wellesley Crescent, he built himself an enormous Queen Anne Victorian that still stands, along with a few other grand vintage homes, among the redwoods and apartment buildings.

Some years later, in 1916, Stafford decided to expand his holdings. On one-third of a nearby acre, he built a craftsman-style one-story home.

RE/MAX Realtor Michael Harris bought Stafford’s second home some 70 years later. Today, the home, which was given designated a historic landmark by Redwood City in 2001, is for sale, listed at $1.625 million.

Stafford’s second home is unusual and could use an owner eager to modernize. While Harris has updated some systems, much of the home is in or near original condition.

This is not always a bad thing. All through the house are original details: gumwood trim and built-ins, original stained glass windows, French doors. The front yard is shaded by mature trees — including two enormous redwoods — and the backyard includes an in-ground pool and cabana area.

The Stafford Home is a project with an upside. Its landmark designation, which lasts until 2011, provides new owners with a greatly reduced property tax rate. Harris estimates it will be “around $5,200” yearly.

All of this combines to make 197 Wellesley Crescent yet another pleasant Redwood City surprise.

lrosen@sfexaminer.com

Hot property

197 WELLESLEY CRESCENT
Where: Redwood City
Asking price: $1,625,000
Property tax: $21,125 (estimated)
The property: Three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms, 3,000 square feet, one-third of an acre property, pool, build in 1916.
Notable: Located adjacent to unusual, hidden circular park; home is registered historic landmark under Mills Act.
Agent: Michael Harris, RE/MAX Star Properties, (650) 208-3914.

Other properties

2087 28TH AVE.
Where: San Francisco
Asking price: $1,600,000
Property tax: $20,800 (estimated)
The property: Four bedrooms, four bathrooms, study, 3,000 square feet.
Notable: Sauna, fireplaces, CAT-5 wiring, custom tile and cabinetry.
Agent: Michael Plotkowski, Zephyr, (415) 505-1029.

417 HILLCREST ROAD
Where: San Mateo
Asking price: $1,625,000
Property tax: $21,125 (estimated)
The property: 1924-built San Mateo Park Tudor with four bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms, office, remodeled kitchen; approximately 3,000 square feet.
Notable: 8,550-square-foot lot includes solar-heated in-ground swimming pool with deck.
Agents: Suzanne Gogol, Alain Pinel Realtors, (650) 403-6260.

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