Pied-à-terre, weekend getaway… are these on your wish list? Consider fractional ownership. According to Jamie Cheng of the Helium Report in San Francisco, more and more suburbanites (ouch) are purchasing fractional properties within 90 miles of home. Besides publishing an independent consumer guide to fractional ownership, the Helium Report educates consumers via daily industry news and property descriptions on its website. “There is an interesting migrating trend in fractional owners from mountain, beach and golf properties to urban destinations such as San Francisco,” says Cheng. “We are seeing a lot of empty-nesters looking for an upscale experience without the hassle of maintaining a property themselves.” While traditional time shares—the original concept of shared ownership—work for many people, fractionals offer more flexibility as far as travel dates, and in most cases more luxurious amentities; they are also substantially more expensive. “This price discrepancy does not hinder most fractional buyers,” explains Cheng, “since two thirds pay cash.” While the long-term value of an interest in a fractional property is still unproven, Cheng advises prospective buyers to look at it as a lifestyle choice, not necessarily a way to make a buck. Interested? Here are a few properties within that magic 90-mile radius.
Place Ghiradelli Square
Location Ghirardelli Square is located at 900 North Point Street between Beach and Larkin Street. It is near the west end of Fisherman’s Wharf, two blocks east of Van Ness Avenue and one block west of the Cable Car turnaround at Beach and Hyde Streets. Known as the go-to spot for San Francisco snow globes and I Love SF Tee shirts, the plaza is being renovated to replace the tourist shops and national chains with independently owned local businesses much like the transformation at the Ferry Building. Units Most of the one-, two- and three-bedroom homes offer intimate terraces with views of the bay. Inside, they are designed with classic red-brick walls and timber beams, while the kitchens offer state-of-the-art appliances, including wine refrigerators and espresso machines. Step outside to enjoy access to private clubrooms and fire pits for gathering with friends and family. Number of units 54 residences. Percent of ownership One-tenth ownership offers five weeks or 35 days. Starting price $250,000 (two-bedroom units). Annual fees Start at $10,700 (two-bedroom units). Property taxes Approximately 1 percent of purchase price. Ownership benefits A 24-hour concierge that can arrange services including personal shoppers, housekeeping, valet service, childcare and private chefs. Does unused time go into rental pool? Yes, owners may put up to two weeks of their ownership interest into the rental program. Does unused time accrue? No. Reciprocity Yes, for any other Fairmont Heritage Place property such as Acapulco, Franz Klammer Lodge in Telluride, and planned Fairmont Heritage Place homes in Idaho’s Tamarack Resort, Turks & Caicos, and Zimbali, South Africa or any property in more than 50 of the Fairmont Hotel & Resorts’ portfolio, subject to availability.
The Ritz-Carlton Club, SF
Location The renovated 1890s original Chronicle Building at 690 Market Street is centrally located, walking distance from theaters, restaurants, museums and downtown shopping. Units one-, two- and three-bedroom units all feature a dining room designed for entertaining and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen. Living space includes state-of-the-art entertainment center and Wi-Fi. Number of units 44 club residences. Percent of ownership One-twelfth interest. Starting price $232,000. Annual fees between $10,500 and $12,500. Property taxes Approximately 1 percent of purchase price. Ownership benefits Twice-daily housekeeping, valet-attended garage parking, 24-hour concierge, lounge and executive boardroom. Does unused time go into a rental pool? No. Does unused time accrue? No. Reciprocity Yes, deeded time can be used at any Ritz-Carlton Club, such as, Aspen, Kapalua Bay and Lake Tahoe. Members have reciprocal benefits to other RCC Clubs.
The Lodges at Calistoga Ranch
Location Situated on 157 wooded acres and set around spring-fed Lake Lommel, the property includes private hiking trails, an outdoor swimming pool, a wine cave and thermal spring-fed bathhouse. Units Each two-bedroom lodge offers more than 2,500 square feet of indoor-outdoor living space, including a master suite with bath that opens to an outdoor shower and garden and an expansive kitchen with wine storage. At the heart of each unit is an outdoor living room, complete with a fireplace. Number of units Currently 15 lodges are available; after Phase III is completed in summer 2008 there will be 27. Percent of ownership One tenth, three full weeks or 21 days. Starting price $435,000. Annual fees $12,770. Property taxes Included in annual fees. Ownership benefits Owners have complete access to everything at Calistoga Ranch including world-class spa, fitness center and comprehensive wellness program. They also get to participate in year-round private events hosted by member winemakers. Does unused time go into a rental pool? No, but friends and family can use the lodge even if owner is not present. Does unused vacation time accrue? No. Reciprocity Yes, at the Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico (another Auberge Resort). Owners also get a 10 percent discount at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, at Solage Calistoga and at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina.
The Orchard at Carneros Inn
Location Carneros is located on Highway 37 between Napa and Sonoma. The property includes an infinity-edge pool that overlooks the vineyards, lap pool with cabanas, Jacuzzi, children’s pool, 3,000-square-foot fitness center, yoga/pilates studio and world-class spa with lavish treatment rooms. Units Each two-bedroom, 1,700-square-foot detached residence features indoor and outdoor living spaces, including modern kitchens with stainless-steel appliances, bathrooms with soaking tubs, private outdoor spa tubs, large-screen flat-panel televisions, high-speed Internet access, DVD/CD players, Frette linens, outdoor showers, private decks, courtyards and indoor fireplaces. Number of units 17 villas. Percent of ownership One-tenth interest, 21 days, guaranteed seven nights within each season. Starting price $300,000. Annual fees $8,100. Property taxes 1 percent of purchase price. Ownership benefits Ownership also includes personal concierge service, available to make arrangements prior to arrival and during stay for dining reservations, tee-times, personal chefs, pre-arrival grocery shopping, spa appointments and babysitting. Does unused time go into a rental pool? Owners may rent out their three-week slots. The Orchard cottages are likely to fetch $1,200 to $1,800 a night, which goes back to the owner. Does unused time accrue? No. Reciprocity None yet, but there are options planned for the future.
Mayacama Residence Club
Location On 650 acres in the heart of the wine country, with easy access to Sonoma, Napa and Alexander Valley attractions, Mayacama also boasts a world-class golf course, ranked 66 by Golf Digest. Units Each Mediterranean inspired three-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom villa has plenty of space for indoor/outdoor entertaining and relaxing, including an outdoor kitchen. Decks off every room provide sweeping views of the golf course and tranquil Sonoma scenery. Number of units Three villas are completed, construction started on six is due to finish in 2008; final goal is 12 to 16. Percent of ownership One fifth interest, 70 nights a year. Starting price $650,000 with club membership. Annual fees $16,664. Property taxes Approximately 1.5 percent of purchase price. Ownership benefits 24-hour concierge, Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course, tennis, restaurant, clubhouse and spa. Does unused time go into a rental pool? No. Does unused time accrue? No. Reciprocity None, currently.