They’ve decided it’s time to sell the small space they’ve worked out of for more than 40 years in South Berkeley. But rather than find new tenants, or sell the property to another business, they want to do their part to help out with the Bay Area housing crisis: They’re planning to sell the home-turned-office space to an aspiring homeowner, and the most expensive offer won’t necessarily win.
“We’re trying to take [the house] back to its roots,” Weston, 71, said. “There is a feeling amongst us … that we would like to sell it back to people who could be participants in the community.”
2903 Shattuck Ave., just listed for $699,000, was originally built as a home in 1904. Somewhere along the way, it was converted into office space. Weston and her three colleagues teamed up when they were all looking for office space in the early 1980s and began renting it. A few years later, the owner gave them the option to purchase the space. They decided to cobble together what they could for a down payment — Weston thinks it was about $10,000 each — and worked with a local bank to finance the property.
Now they agree the area doesn’t need the office space, and they want to find the right buyer. They aren’t interested in encouraging a bidding war. They won’t take an all-cash offer. They don’t care about a long escrow period. Assuming it all works out, they’re going to work with the right people to make sure this house becomes a home again.
“They don’t want cash, they don’t want an LLC. They really want to give someone an opportunity to make it a home,” said co-listing agent Janine Hunt. “This is a bit of a unicorn. This really doesn’t come up.”
2903 Shattuck Ave. is listed as a two-bedroom, one-bathroom, but the bathroom no longer has a shower. The kitchen was removed over the years, so a buyer will have lots of work to do to convert the space. There’s also an old shed in the back that will need to be removed, though Hunt noted it’s a perfect spot to put an ADU.
And the property still has its original charm, including built-ins, bay windows, original fir wood floors and a fireplace. And the missing amenities are easier to address given that well-below-seven-figures price tag.
Weston admits that had this been three years ago, the home sale might have been a different story — a more traditional outcome. But the pandemic transitioned so much work online, and the area’s housing crisis has only deepened. Weston said she and her colleagues feel so fortunate to have had the space for so many years, and now it’s time for the building’s next chapter — an owner on a (Bay Area) budget who’s ready to make it a home again.
“We want to pass on what we lucked out with,” Weston said.