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Mechanic cashes in on SF's high real estate market

Mission District mechanic sold his building for millions in the midst of San Francisco's soaring real estate market.
April 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
One of San Francisco's newest millionaires is not the inventor of a clever new start-up, he's a mechanic who cashed in on the city's soaring real estate market.

The sale of the Mission District building also means the auto shop that was there is gone. It's the latest in a series of businesses to close lately, all on Mission Street.

Nearby the mechanic's business a restaurant shut down and a bookstore closed because those rents were just too high, but for the mechanic who owns his own building, he'll be just fine.

Jesse Henry's dad was a mechanic so he followed in his footsteps when he opened Superior Automotive. He also followed his dad's advice.

"He always said, 'If you get something, you got to buy it and keep it,' because his landlords, every time he had a business, he had to move his shop here and move it there. And it got to be a headache," said Henry.

Henry bought his building about 10 years ago. On Friday, he just cashed in on San Francisco's white hot real estate market.

"I sold this for almost $9 million bucks," said Henry.

It's a cavernous building, smack dab in the middle of the Mission District -- a neighborhood that has seen plenty of change in the last few years. But the price of his property pales in comparison to what's considered the most valuable commercial real estate lot in the city right at Third Street and Townsend. The lot the McDonald's sits on is going for $17 million.

No official offer has been made for the lot just yet and McDonald's still has a lease here till 2017.

Back in the Mission, Henry understands that his sale means more change will be coming to the neighborhood.

"I bought this building, and that's the big difference between me and the hundred other guys out there renting right now," said Henry.

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