Hills Bros. Coffee mansion sold for under list price

Hills Bros. Coffee mansion sold for under list price

Luxury mansions can sit on the San Francisco housing market for years, but this wasn’t the case with a historic home once owned by the heir of the Hills Bros. Coffee fortune.

The house at 3498 Jackson, originally listed for sale in September for $12.9 million, just sold for $12.3 million after a bidding war between three parties, according to real estate brokerage Compass. The winner was San Francisco tech CEO Vignan Velivela, the co-founder of AtoB, a company designing financial products for the trucking industry.

Velivela may have felt connected to the home, given the location of the company’s headquarters. “With his professional offices in the former Hills Brothers coffee plant on the Embarcadero, he now can come home to one of San Francisco’s most beautiful and historical residences formerly owned by the Hills family,” said Compass agent Karen Mendelsohn Gould. “A rare and whimsical opportunity!”

The exterior edifice has been well preserved, exhibiting the French Eclectic style just as it did in the 1930s when it was built.

The exterior edifice has been well preserved, exhibiting the French Eclectic style just as it did in the 1930s when it was built.

Adam Potts

A serendipitous transaction, sure, but this home sale also had a unique objective for the anonymous sellers. A large portion of the proceeds are slated to be distributed among different animal and nature nonprofit groups in the Bay Area. 

From this hallway view, we see the home's oval staircase that connects its four levels.

From this hallway view, we see the home’s oval staircase that connects its four levels.

Adam Potts

This was the first time the home had hit the market in 55 years. 

Among San Francisco’s most iconic food brands, Hills Bros. pioneered the ability to vacuum-seal cans of coffee in the 1900s. The brand’s sign still stands today above 2 Harrison St. in the Embarcadero, though the offices are now occupied by Google.

Light fills the living room, a spacious area that takes up the full backside of the home's main level. 

Light fills the living room, a spacious area that takes up the full backside of the home’s main level. 

Adam Potts

Herbert Gray Hills lived in the seven-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bathroom home with his wife Winifred and their family from the 1940s to the mid-1960s. Among many amenities, it features a gym, a separate caretaker’s apartment, a walk-in safe, an elevator to all levels and a four-car garage, according to the listing. 

Huge windows look out on classic Presidio Hills views.

Huge windows look out on classic Presidio Hills views.

Adam Potts

A formal dining room with dramatic built-ins overlooks the landscaped property.

A formal dining room with dramatic built-ins overlooks the landscaped property.

Adam Potts

The primary suite is on the second level and includes a dressing room, two bathrooms, plus a sitting room/office.

The primary suite is on the second level and includes a dressing room, two bathrooms, plus a sitting room/office.

Adam Potts

A whimsical patio offers outdoor living, both covered and exposed.

A whimsical patio offers outdoor living, both covered and exposed.

Adam Potts



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