Paragon Shares the Wealth at 1400 Van Ness
Posted by Maureen Healy — February 4, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO – (Feb. 5, 2008) – Paragon Real Estate Group has acquired the neoclassical building at 1400 Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco as part of a unique co-ownership arrangement with its agents. Paragon founders – all San Francisco residents and experienced real estate developers -- rolled the dice when they opened their residential and commercial brokerage business in 2004 and were soon competing successfully against long-established firms acquired by national conglomerates.Now the fastest-growing real estate brokerage with 2007 sales nearing $1 billion in just under three-and-a-half years, Paragon is making good on a promise to share the wealth with its agents. “1400 Van Ness is a physical manifestation of our success and an exciting opportunity for our agents to invest in a significant commercial building,” said Sally Stull, who was a highly successful realtor in the city before co-founding Paragon in 2004 with colleagues Bob Dadurka, George McNabb, Anita Head and Randy Zinn. “As far as we know, we’re the only company offering agents a stake in the San Francisco landscape.”The Paragon investment family joins an expanding list of private developers who are rapidly transforming Van Ness Avenue into a vibrant center for business and downtown living. Known as the City’s auto row following the 1906 earthquake and fire, mixed-use development along the Van Ness corridor began after height and use restrictions were lifted in the 1980’s. “It’s taken a while for developers to fall in love with Van Ness, but now it’s in full swing,” says Paragon commercial real estate expert Jay Pon.There are currently seven condominium, office and retail projects underway on the Van Ness corridor. If California Pacific Medical Center moves to Van Ness as planned, Pon predicts the area will be on the fast track to becoming “a New York, cosmopolitan place to live,” offering grocery stores, transportation and readily available healthcare all in one central location.City ordinances protect grand, historical buildings like 1400 Van Ness, preserving colorful architectural features that distinguish the Avenue and lend to its grandeur. According to Forum Design principal architect, Warner Schmalz, the Paragon building renovation will reflect the exuberance and size of the Avenue. The exterior Corinthian pilasters and rusticated base will be carefully restored. Contemporary interior offices will be linked to a street-level café by a dramatic, two-story glass and stone staircase.“I think the auto row history of this building is an interesting footnote about what Van Ness once was and what it wanted to be,” said Schmalz. “This project will be a lasting symbol of what the city can do 100 years later.” For Paragon agents, it’s also a symbol of their company’s commitment to them and to San Francisco.