Alexander Clark Real Estate

‘The Front Steps’: Richmond Celebrity Homes–The Metallica Collection

Celebrity homes are a guilty pleasure of many SF housing watchers, but the Richmond does not get as many gilded homeowners as some neighborhoods–you win some, you lose some.

But until just a few years ago, and unbeknownst to many, there was one big, loud exception, if we cast our eyes a bit north to Sea Cliff.

(Once again, our opinion about whether Sea Cliff is part of the Richmond or a distinct neighborhood remains strategically elastic.)

There, on Sea Cliff Avenue, multi-time Grammy winning Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett owned a sprawling seaside mansion, which he paid a hefty $5.7 million for in 2005.

Hammett, noted for his outspoken opinions, crushing solos, and love of horror memorabilia, doesn’t seem like a tony Sea Cliff or everyday Richmond kinda guy–and yet he was, for over a decade, though rock star duties probably meant few of us ever ran into him at Green Apple.

Here’s the kicker though: Lest we imagine that metal is not still the music of excess, Hammett did not just buy one Sea Cliff mansion.

(320 Sea Cliff)

He bought TWO, one at 308 Sea Cliff, the other at 320 Sea Cliff.

You’ll notice those are immediately next door to each other–guess that’s one way to cut down on the noise complaints.

So why are we referencing Kirk only in the past tense? Well, Sad But True, he put both of his neighborhood homes up for sale in 2016, both for $16 million.

And then he had to put them both up again the next year, because despite being in the hottest housing market this side of Venus, they didn’t sell. Nor did they after another year, despite several price cuts.

How to explain that there’s something quintessentially Metallica-like about owning two spectacular luxury properties in one of SF’s most beautiful neighborhoods, trying for years on end to sell both of them simultaneously, and not quite being able to do it? That combination of brash excess and human fallibility feels very on-brand for the band, although probably don’t mention that if you ever make the acquaintance.

(308 Sea Cliff)

The house at 320 Sea Cliff did eventually sell in 2019 for $11.7 million. The most recent ad for the other address expired in 2018 and never reappeared.

We’d like to think that means Hammett is still there, hunkering down in his unsold villa and riffing secretly in the night. But no, he just sold off-market in 2018 for $12.8 million.

Do you know any other famed Richmond residents? Fire an anecdote our way and let us know if we should check out the history of their homes.

Speaking of which, here’s a special treat for you: Hammett may be gone, but we’ll always have these striking listing photos to remember him by.

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