Bay Area Beauty: $7.5 Million Dollar Mansion With Million Dollar Views Hits The Market

Bay Area Beauty: $7.5 Million Dollar Mansion With Million Dollar Views Hits The Market

By James L. Knobloch September 1, 2016
All photos courtesy of Bloomberg

If you’re a real estate-loving San Franciscan with a few million dollars to burn and you’re looking for a project, you’re in luck! For a mere $7.5 million, this historic, 12,000 square-foot mansion in Berkeley, CA could be yours.

Related: San Francisco’s Most Expensive Property: How Have You Lived This Long Without Seven Fireplaces?

The property, which has been vacant for the past decade after fruitless listings in 2010 and 2014, sits on three acres of land (though it once stood on as many as 16 acres) and is more than 100 years old. Despite passing the centennial mark, the home has only ever had four owners, the first of which being a real estate developer named John Hopkins Spring, who built the home in 1914. The design was fashioned after Achilleion Palace on Corfu Island, the home of Empress Elisabeth of Austria.


How’s that for architectural pedigree?

When the property changed hands for the first time, it became a school, and remained as such for nearly 50 years before being bought by a different real estate developer, who called the mansion home for another 30 years. The current owner, John Park, acquired the property in 2005 for an estimated $6.3 million. Park is the founder of Fortiss, a company that provides gaming industry business solutions, and was living nearby at the time. According to him, when he saw the property for sale, it was a no brainer.

“I was like, ‘You know, I’m going to stay in this area indefinitely,’ or so I thought,” said Park.



But life, it would seem, got in the way. After Park moved to Los Angeles, the home sat vacant—with only a hired caretaker to look after the grounds and perform basic upkeep and maintenance—at which point Park knew the time had come to sell the estate.

Easier said than done, evidently.

Following the two unsuccessful attempts at selling the property, Park opted for a new tactic: upgrading the property’s mechanical systems, new skylights and of course, a fresh coat of paint. That being said, the estate’s future owners will still have their work cut out for them.

“It’s not a full restoration, which would have taken a lot more effort, time, and focus,” said Park. “Basically, I made it a little more livable.”

The grounds that surround the house—once well-manicured and filled with rose gardens and allées—have certainly seen better days, and will most likely require a major overhaul.  If you’re a glass half full kind of person, there’s a tennis court and several guest houses on the grounds. For you half empty-ers, said tennis court is in disrepair and those guest houses are apparently unlivable. C’est la vie.

It’s not all bad news, though. The house itself has been beautifully staged by Sotheby’s International Realty for this latest foray into the market, and boasts seven bedrooms and six-and-a-half baths. With all the bedrooms on the upper level, the downstairs is an entertainer’s paradise. After entering through the double height atrium featuring a grand staircase, guests stand to enjoy living and dining spaces, certainly, but also a classic, tapestry-draped billiard room. Architecture nerds will also delight in the home’s “vaulted passageways, coffered ceilings, and wood detailing in a fairly eclectic array of architectural vernaculars.”

The cherry on top? Breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.

Hopefully, the third time’s the charm for this charming estate.

James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

ABOUT THE AUTHOR James L. Knobloch

A creative professional with a sharp tongue and a big smile, taking on city living one slightly-veiled sarcastic comment at a time. Born and raised just outside of New Orleans, James is a living testament to his own mantra, “Southern hospitality is a privilege, not a right,” giving his work a unique, dry humor meets charm perspective.

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