Joe Tierney — Real Estate Developer of Mystery, Dedicated Live/Work Aficionado or Both?

Just who is Joe Tierney, of 1236 Howard Street? The Appeal would like to know, and we’re not alone: Mr. Tierney, if you’re reading this, folks from planners to your would-be neighbors at 1250 Missouri Street to the President of the Board of Supervisors are dying to meet you! They’d like to ask you how it was you, according to Edward Wong — a secondary investor at your $9 million property whom you sent to a hearing today on said property — plain old either forgot to get the proper permits for installing kitchen and bathroom fixtures at the property, or in the words in land use attorney Sue Hestor, tried to pull a fast one on the city to build an illegal live/work building when expressly and repeatedly told not to?

Someone’s got some ‘splaining to do.

We reported on the facts earlier today — 1250 Missouri Street tried to begin life in 1998 as a live/work building, but after the Board of Supervisors banned live/works, a self-proclaimed “commercial condominium complex” started to go up without issue. No issue that is, until a subcontractor installing bathroom and kitchen fixtures told a neighbor he was building housing.

All this under the noses of the Department of Building Inspection, who have issued notices of permit violation to Mr. Tierney, but no fines.

No fines issued, and no inspections noticed the — according to the plans — available hookups for full kitchens and bathrooms? This prompted Supervisor Sophie Maxwell to ask in disbelief, “How was this allowed to happen?”

The identity of the project engineer might a clue: it was Rodridgo Santos, former head of the Building Inspection Commission, who held that post while designing 1250 Missouri. Easy to know the rules when you help oversee them, no?

At the request of Planning, Wong and Tierney will sit down with the city “to get our project back into compliance,” in Wong’s words, but perhaps sick of being blatantly played, the city threw down the gauntlet in a big way.

“They will not sell this project [until the permitting issues are cleared up],” promised Larry Badiner, zoning administrator. Not just an idle threat, for they can not sell the project without a condominium map, something Planning will not issue until the current mess is settled.

And don’t think Planning is playing — when Wong posited that more delays might lead to an “abandoned building,” Badiner sharply replied that an abandoned property would be an even bigger problem for Tierney & Co.


Even the property’s draft real estate listing drew ire Monday. Listings available online last week proudly proclaimed “full baths” at each of the 36 commercial condominiums, an apparent no-no. Wong said the listing was erroneous, and his company requested the real estate broker take it down.

Suzanne Gregg of Paragon Real Estate group, who’ve been charged with selling the project for the elusive Mr. Tiernan, confirmed Wong’s story, but that with “the seller in a bad place financially,” Paragon’s simply trying to move the property. Which is hard to do when you don’t even know what it is you’re selling.

“We don’t exactly know what we have here…[but] we never advertised it as offices or condos or anything like that,” she told The Appeal. “If your draft listing gives clients some trouble, that’s too bad… but we’re just trying to find some use for it.”

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