Ruling Pacific Heights

As J. Paul Getty’s grandson tries to sell his San Francisco home for $15.998 million, is this a sign that the area’s elite is changing?


In October last year, Vanity Fair described the Getty family as one of the two families that “ruled the roost 30 years ago” in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights and as one that “continue[s] to do so today”. With one scion of the dynasty selling his home on Vallejo Street, could this be a sign that times are set to change in this notoriously “Waspy” neighbourhood?


William P. and Vanessa Getty at a party and at home
Their home, 2900 Vallejo Street stands in a prominent corner position

According to records, society figures William P. Getty and his wife Vanessa – “Bill” and “Nessie” to their friends – purchased 2900 Vallejo Street for $11,500,000 (£7,079,000) in 2002 and then commissioned “San Francisco style guru” Ken Fulk – whose other clients have numbered Bebo founders Michael and Xochi Birch and Napster co-founder and first president of Facebook Sean Parker – to redesign its interior.


This “Spanish-Italianate” mansion was built in 1912 by the “noted Bay Area architect Louis M. Upton” and now features such things as a “trademark white-and-chocolate” painted stair rail in typical Ken Fulk style. It also retains many of the building’s original features and includes 8,765 square foot of accommodation over five levels and is primarily designed for entertaining.


The staircase has been decorated in typical Ken Fulk style
The couple have been able to entertain with a spectacular backdrop at 2900 Vallejo Street
The formal dining room comfortably seats ten
This top floor den is certainly a room with a view

Despite having just 3 bedroom suites in the main property, there is also a formal living room, a formal dining room, a sitting room, a study, a club room, a family room and a den whilst on the lower level there is a one-bedroomed guest apartment. In addition, the house benefits from garaging for four cars, a fitness room and a fully fitted wine cellar.


Other highlights of the property include what selling agent Neal Ward of McGuire Real Estate describes as “postcard-perfect Bridge and Bay views” and a situation “on one of the [area’s] most desirable streets. Equally, so impressive is 2900 Vallejo Street to 7×7’s Sarah Medina that she goes as far as to say she’d “gladly give any number of body parts to live in” it.


The wine cellar is rather lacking in stock but certainly large enough to house an extensive collection
The view from the roof deck is towards both Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge
There is also a courtyard garden

Of why William P. and Vanessa Getty are selling, it is not known but of the changes that have occurred to the social demographic of Pacific Heights in recent times, Mrs Getty told Vanity Fair:


“It’s all great… For society – and I hate that word – for things to continue to be exciting and interesting, circles have to keep expanding… Even when [designer] Tory [Burch] was out here, she spoke at Stanford. She went to Google. It’s all interlinked”.


The best homes in Pacific Heights are now owned by a new generation of wealth including Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer and Oracle’s Larry Ellison. Whoever is able to pay Mr and Mrs Getty’s $15,998,000 (£9,848,000) asking price is most likely another of their number.




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