Noe Valley Voice April 2010

Feeling lucky? The nonprofit Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is selling $150 raffle tickets for an opportunity to win this $3 million “dream house” on Alvarado Street. The winner of the top prize can take the house or $1.5 million in cash.
Photo courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

House in Noe Valley May Fulfill Arts Center's Dreams

By Corrie M. Anders

Noe Valley sure is getting a lot of publicity these days. That's because, with a blizzard of TV ads starring former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is raffling off an opulent "dream house" in the neighborhood.

The four-bedroom, 3.5-bath Arts and Crafts­style beauty, located on Alvarado Street a few blocks from 24th Street, is a "one-of-a-kind, multilevel home valued at $3 million," enthuses Brown in the ads. At that price tag, it's no surprise the cost of entering the lottery is $150 a ticket.

The grand prizewinner, whose name will be drawn July 10, will have the option of taking the house or $1.5 million in cash, says Charles Ward, director of development for the center, which showcases a wide variety of theater and fine arts groups at its downtown gallery complex.

Ward says in order to encourage people to buy more than one ticket, YBCA is offering $300,000 in additional prizes--including two $25,000 cash awards, a new Toyota Prius, and resort vacations in Europe and Hawaii--and there's a 1 in 100 chance of snagging one of the prizes.

"Having been in politics a long time, I can tell you I like those odds," jokes Brown.

Like many local arts organizations, YBCA has watched its budget dwindle during two years of recession. After successfully raffling an Inner Sunset District home last year and netting $1.3 million, the nonprofit organization decided to reprise its sweepstakes fundraiser this year.

So why did it choose Noe Valley?

"It's one of those signature San Francisco neighborhoods," says Ward. "It's a neighborhood that's known for its beautiful homes, beautiful views, and the shopping on 24th Street."

The dream home on Alvarado was also an extraordinary find.

Accented with a cedar shingled exterior and ebony black trim, the house was originally built as two stories in 1900. In 2002, the homeowners completed a major renovation, which added a third story and an in-law apartment on the ground floor.

The home features panoramic views, three balconies, and a backyard garden and deck with an eight-seat spa. The light-flooded master bedroom has 15-foot peaked ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace--one of four throughout the house. One of the other hearths is just off the kitchen in the dining room, where it doubles as a wood-burning barbeque pit.

The gourmet kitchen has a six-burner cooktop stove, four combination ovens, and a warming tray--all stainless steel--with granite countertops and a granite island.

"People who are thinking, What would my dream house look like? might not know," says Ward. "But when they see that house, it more often than not fits the bill."

YBCA is using the spotlight-loving Brown to tout the raffle in television commercials on four local stations--KGO, KPIX, KNTV, KBCW--and various cable networks, including CNN.

The center hopes the ads will persuade buyers to purchase the maximum 40,000 tickets during the next three months.

There will be an additional five drawings for those who buy tickets before certain dates in April, May and June. Those "early birds" will have the chance to win cash awards of up to $25,000. And patrons who purchase multiple tickets or refer a friend can enter two separate drawings, with top prizes of a new Prius and a new Smart Car.

The YBCA website says all winning tickets in the additional prize categories will be re-tossed into the hopper for a chance to snag the house.

Patrons won't get to preview the home, however. YBCA is trying to keep the address of the property a secret in an effort to protect the privacy of the homeowner. (There's little chance of that, though. The location was published on Internet blogs within hours of the raffle launch March 3.)

The arts organization needs to sell at least 37,000 tickets to make good on the Noe Valley house giveaway. Otherwise, the grand prizewinner will get half of the net proceeds up to $1.5 million.

Ward says the number's attainable. "We sold almost 37,000 tickets last year, so we don't expect to have a problem reaching our goal," says Ward.

There's one little caveat for whoever claims the house or takes the $1.5 million. The IRS and state government will be looking for their cut of the winnings. It's a nice problem to have.

To get more information about the early-bird deadlines or to buy tickets, call 1-800-870-7886 or download the registration form at

The home’s state-of-the-art kitchen has four ovens, a warming tray, and a six-burner cooktop, set in a granite countertop island.
Photo courtesy Yerba Buena Center for the Arts