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See inside an 1800s San Francisco firehouse-turned-luxury penthouse asking millions

The penthouse in the former firehouse is being listed for the first time since it was originally purchased back in 2017, and its current asking price is $4.5 million.| Courtesy Open Homes Photography

Luxury homebuyers looking for historical design touches, along with a touch of urban grit, may find their forever home in the penthouse of 6 Mint Plaza in SoMa. 

The 3-bedroom, 3.5-bathroom home spans 3,520 square feet and the entire ninth floor of the 22-unit building. The penthouse is being listed for the first time since it was originally purchased back in 2017, and its current asking price is $4.5 million. 

Courtesy Open Homes Photography

Its “historical bones” allude to the building’s previous lives as a warehouse for Hales Brothers Department Store and a firehouse dating back to the days of horse-drawn fire engines. The penthouse includes exposed concrete walls and columns, as well as industrial steel-sash windows.

An archival photo of Engine 17 at 34 Mint Street in 1915. The former firehouse has been turned into a condo development. | Courtesy of the Guardians of The City

The property itself overlooks the Old San Francisco Mint, a Greek Revival landmark that was one of few buildings that survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. 

The primary bedroom includes a walk-in closet, and an outdoor terrace and an en-suite bathroom with double sinks, a soaking tub and a steam shower. Particularly in space-deprived Downtown, one rare amenity is a two-car side-by-side private garage. 

Courtesy Open Homes Photography

Modern touches include a chef’s kitchen with two sinks and a high-end gas range. The private elevator that whisks visitors and residents to the unit opens up to a grand foyer with a 100-bottle wine wall and a separate living room, media room and dining room. 

Courtesy Open Homes Photography

A shared roof deck includes a barbecue grill, lounging chairs and a fitness center, in addition to views of the south of the city. 

Courtesy Open Homes Photography

Alan Morcos with Compass, the property’s listing agent, said historical renovation specialist the Martin Company was responsible for revitalizing the property, as well as two neighboring buildings at 3 and 10 Mint Plaza. 

The for-sale condo market in San Francisco has taken a bit of a beating over the last few years, particularly in Downtown neighborhoods subject to reduced demand in pricing as office workers stayed home.

Courtesy Open Homes Photography

According to a March report from Compass, the median condo sales price in San Francisco was $1.13 million in the first quarter of 2023, down around 3.6% from the same period in 2019.

Courtesy Open Homes Photography

Morcos characterized the property’s neighborhood as a “transitional area” that has some problems with street conditions, but also new signs of life including the 5M megaproject that opened last year and an Ikea-anchored mall slated to open in the late spring. 

Morcos said a likely buyer could be someone with experience in large and densely populated urban environments like New York, Chicago, London or Paris. He said that the buyers that he’s worked with have started to come to terms with higher interest rates, and the spring has seen an uptick in touring activity. 

Courtesy Open Homes Photography

In 2022, 49 luxury condos were sold in the district that includes SoMa, more than half of which cost more than $3 million. 

“Most buyers are getting adjustable rate loans with the assumption that rates will eventually tick down and they’ll refinance,” Morcos said. “We’re definitely in a different situation from when rates were first raised and the stock market was much more volatile.”

Courtesy of Open Homes Photography

Kevin Truong can be reached at