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Unless an appeal is filed within the next few hours, the permit to demolish the one-story building on the southwest corner of Mission and Ninth will be issued, clearing the way for San Francisco’s first micro-unit building to rise and be ready for occupancy in 2015.

Originally proposed as student housing, the 11-story building to be constructed at 1321 Mission Street and dubbed SoMa Central “The Panoramic” will have a total of 160 market-rate units, 120 of which will be so called micro-units as small as 274 square feet, and only half of the units have been pre-leased to the California College of Arts.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anon

    Excellent news. Hopefully we’ll get a couple hundred more of this type of building built all over the city.

  2. Posted by Adam

    I wonder if this catches on would if it would become the new baseline for rent prices? That is to say, if standard rent of x is charged for these micro-units, does that lead to much higher rents for units that would have previously qualified as the low end? Also, the income from a micro-unit building is likely to be better than from a building of similar size with larger units. If this model grows in demand, does it discourage developers from constructing properties capable of housing families?
    This is merely conjecture.

  3. Posted by curious

    Do they have new Micro Unit buildings in New York? I know they don’t in Chicago, Boston or Washington. I am not sure why so many applaud such projects in San Francisco as I think these type of projects are only necessary here because of Rent Control and Nimby growth restrictions. If we had market rate rentals throughout the city micro units would be less necessary or desirable.

  4. Posted by Futurist

    A couple of hundred more?
    No. Bad idea. Bad news. The dumbing down of living in SF. what next? 100 square foot units?
    I hope this is the only one. Does nothing to address the housing cost issue here in SF, except a quick Band-Aid approach.
    Like Adam said, I feel this will only INCREASE rents of other larger units.

  5. Posted by Zig

    “Do they have new Micro Unit buildings in New York?”
    They have a lot of grandfathered units in NYC that are quite small and it looks like they are starting to build them again
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-22/new-york-city-to-get-first-micro-unit-apartment-building.html
    Chicago doesn’t need them as is it 240 sq miles

  6. Posted by Zig

    “Does nothing to address the housing cost issue here in SF, except a quick Band-Aid approach.”
    I think it addresses the issue for those who will live in these units quite well. It will take a number of solutions to make housing more affordable and accessible. This is a good idea for some locations.

  7. Posted by anon

    @curious – not sure about NYC, but these are going up like crazy in Seattle (two completed in the last six months, five more buildings under construction).

  8. Posted by anon

    I see Futurist is coming down on the anti-choice side again…

  9. Posted by lyqwyd

    “does that lead to much higher rents for units that would have previously qualified as the low end?”
    “Like Adam said, I feel this will only INCREASE rents of other larger units.”
    Nope, that is exactly the opposite of how it works in the real world. These units would not set a floor, existing larger units would set a ceiling on the price that could be achieved for these units. People would only live in a smaller space if they can save money compared to what they can already get.
    “Also, the income from a micro-unit building is likely to be better than from a building of similar size with larger units.”
    While total revenue might be higher, the cost to build per unit would also be higher, so would maintenance costs, as well as vacancy rates. It is yet to be seen whether this will be more or less profitable than any other development. My bet is it has more to do with the management, than the units.
    These projects will actually bring the cost of housing down, relative to the prices had they not been built. Realistically it will probably only result in a slight decrease in the rate of growth in prices, as it will be fairly limited in numbers for the foreseeable future.
    These will only compete at the bottom end with room shares and small studios. Basically, people who have a small studio, or live in a roommate situation will be interested in this.
    The type of person who would be interested in this would either be very cost conscious.
    a) very cost conscious: Their current tiny studio is too expensive.
    or
    b) Desiring of privacy, but can’t afford a studio at current prices.
    c) Doesn’t care about the size of the unit, and wants to save money.
    So, conventional studios will have less demand, thus prices will be lower relative to if these units were not built.
    Also, multiple bedroom shares will have less demand, thus resulting in lower prices for larger units as well, making housing slightly more affordable at all levels, relative to were they not built.

  10. Posted by Futurist

    Here’s why it’s not a good idea:
    They are VERY expensive per square foot. They will simply reinforce and increase the baseline rent for a one bedroom unit, or more.
    These will not be “long term” places to live because they are so small. The renter moving on from one of those will hit sticker shock when they want a larger place, but still cannot afford it.
    If anything they should be a full one bedroom or two bedroom:a way to keep the cost “reasonable”.
    It’s “luring” people into thinking that SF is now affordable, when it’s really not.
    And yea, if you think I’m on the anti-choice side, then I guess I am.
    What next? The City using a public parking lot with tents that rent for $100/month because it will ALLOW for poor people to live here: because they’re “entitled” to live here.
    Ridiculous. This solves nothing.

  11. Posted by MoneyMan

    Maybe the next option will be the shoebox-like rooms that are in Japan. Where you basically slide out what looks like a casket to sleep in and it goes back into the wall.
    Or we could eliminate rent control and let the market take care of supply and demand.

  12. Posted by curious

    @zig, NYC is about 300 square miles, but I was talking about Manhattan as you guessed, but regarding Chicago, I was talking about the downtown/streeterville/gold coast area of Chicago.
    Fascinating to hear these are being built in Seattle. Thanks everyone.

  13. Posted by Futurist

    Exactly, MoneyMan:
    It’s either the coffin-like rooms, or the tent in the parking lot concept next.
    But yay! They get to live here.
    This is living?

  14. Posted by lyqwyd

    They are VERY expensive per square foot. They will simply reinforce and increase the baseline rent for a one bedroom unit, or more.
    Nope, not how things work. A new, lower quality, product does not cause an existing higher quality product to increase in cost. It must be lower price to compete, or it will simply sit. When generic drugs come out, does it cause the price of brand name drugs to go up? No. This is basic economics.
    These will not be “long term” places to live because they are so small.
    So what? Not everybody wants a long term housing situation.
    And yea, if you think I’m on the anti-choice side, then I guess I am.
    Nice to see you finally admit it!

  15. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Anon – how funny, you made almost exactly the same comment a year ago in the predecessor article – and it was also the first comment then, too. Hmmm…
    Personally I think it’s a 21st-century SRO, which will do nothing to improve the neighborhood and will look like crap after a few years of non-investment by the owners.
    And the parking ratio is ridiculous – even if the developer and the City think that not one of these 160 people will have a car themselves (which is insane – hence this will add to street parking woes), only one car-share for that many people is crazy.

  16. Posted by Sam

    These are awesome, if we could get 10 of these at 20-30 stories I would move into one.
    In my ideal bladerunner world these buildings would connect and certain floors would be zoned for commercial use, including shops, bars and small restaurants. I would be there in a heartbeat

  17. Posted by anon

    Personally I think it’s a 21st-century SRO, which will do nothing to improve the neighborhood and will look like crap after a few years of non-investment by the owners.
    Well, if this is true, it will improve the neighborhood by providing affordable market-rate housing (since crappy housing tends to be cheaper). No idea why there is this assumption that a developer of smaller units would go for “non-investment” though. Why do you think that will happen? Are new rental buildings full of one bedroom units kept up worse than buildings full of two unit buildings?

  18. Posted by Futurist

    Jeezus. all we need is a “bladerunner” world.
    This entire building is drugged up on what the Socialists are selling on the street right now. Thanks Scott Wiener.
    And speaking of drugs: Will this become another SRO drug den?
    One of THE worst solutions ever in a sad attempt to make San Francisco “affordable”.

  19. Posted by anon

    Love that it’s the “let the market build what it wants” guys are being labeled socialists by Futurist. Bizarre world that we live in.

  20. Posted by Fishchum

    At these prices, I doubt the residents will be panhandling for or stealing for drug money (considering they also have rent to pay).
    More non-sensical hand wringing and hyperbole from Futurist.

  21. Posted by S

    These would have to be cheaper than a current studio since they are so small. I really don’t get the argument that these will increase rental costs for bigger units. If anything, a lot of these can free up more family style flats since individual roommates can have an affordable option to live alone.
    True SRO’s share a kitchen per floor (sometimes bathroom) so these are a step above if you ask me. I don’t think anyone needs to worry about these changing SF into one big sixth st.

  22. Posted by SFRealist

    Exactly. These will make bigger apartments more expensive.
    Just like how the Honda Accord makes a Mercedes more expensive.

  23. Posted by S

    Also I might add that I’m happy to see something developed that’s market rate and geared towards folks with less means.

  24. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Nope, not how things work. A new, lower quality, product does not cause an existing higher quality product to increase in cost. It must be lower price to compete, or it will simply sit. When generic drugs come out, does it cause the price of brand name drugs to go up? No. This is basic economics.

    This comment doesn’t make sense, even on it’s own terms.
    Microapartments are going to be cheaper than studios on an absolute basis at first, and so they will meet the standard of being “a new, lower quality, product” at “a lower price”.
    The key to the 3:31 PM observation from Futurist is that the micro-units are more expensive on a per square foot basis.
    And then, later on after market absorption, the prices of traditional studios will go higher because the additional square footage in a traditional studio represents positive utility to the tenant that he or she is going to pay for. Unless you think, contra “basic economics” that there is such a thing as a free lunch.

  25. Posted by anon

    So you’re claiming that building smaller units will cause an increase in price of larger units. Using that logic, we should simply build NO new units, so that prices fall.
    The key point that you’re missing Brahma is “after market absorption”. The whole point is to NOT ALLOW full market absorption, by allowing enough development for supply to keep up with demand. You’re simply describing a situation where demand outpaces supply, and in that case it doesn’t matter whether we build small units, big units, or some of all sizes – all prices will continue to go up at faster rates than other areas.
    You can’t seriously think that the building of more smaller units will cause prices to increase more than the building of fewer larger units? Or do you?

  26. Posted by anon

    ^Clarifying that last point – which of these scenarios do you think will lead to higher market-wide prices:
    A. 200 micro units built in a new building
    B. 150 normal studio units built in a new building
    Assume the exact same envelope for the building.

  27. Posted by lyqwyd

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but it still always shocks me when people have such a poor understanding of simple economics, I know our educational system is poor, but seriously, how can it be this bad!?
    On top of that, it’s just basic logic. If all you needed to do to increase the price of your product was to release an inferior product, then every company would do it all the time, and prices would climb to infinity!
    How on earth can people possibly believe this garbage?

  28. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    We used to have cheap housing that people could afford at market rates, but then we tore out the trailer parks in China Basin and built a ballpark there instead.
    I think that I would rather live in one of these than in a trailer. And yes, I have lived in a trailer before, so I have some knowledge of what I am talking about.
    I think this will help alleviate some of the market pressure of housing.
    Brahma, you don’t like building “luxury” condominiums because you think that this causes the cost of housing to go up and now you don’t want to build bargain basement housing because you think that it will cause housing costs to go up as well. What kind of housing do you think should be built?
    If you are opposed to building any kind of housing because you think construction of housing causes prices to rise, would you perhaps be in favor of demolishing housing instead? Do you think that demolishing existing housing would cause prices to go down?

  29. Posted by Steve

    butt ugly. who’s the architect?

  30. Posted by Mike

    Welcome to Le Sardine Peut.

  31. Posted by Spencer

    Lyqwd is right on the economics here. If you build enough of these it will put pricing pressure on regular studios and small one bedrooms to lower prices to compete. But many will have to be built to do that. I doubt it can have any affect on 2bdr or larger units, but maybe if 20,000 were built:)
    I have one comment about the building. It could be at least 20flrs in this location. Why not really test the waters and pack in the units, with maybe some larger units on top for the Jeffersons

  32. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Anon – because any free-market actor will try to minimize their costs, and because in a building with high turnover (which this is destined to be) there’s little incentive to keep existing tenants happy. Speaking as someone in the R.E. finance world, I know that the first slice of income will go to pay debt and the bare minimum of maintenance, and the rest will be distributed out to cover the preferred returns and management fees of the equity investors and developer.
    Just look at some of the no-longer-new buildings near Caltrain – the ones that were some of the first to be built down there – now feature unmaintained landscaping, dirty foyers and stained carpets. These new-SROs will fare no better.
    As for housing costs – yes, as a general rule if you increase supply, you decrease cost. That’s the *general rule*. However, the point Futurist was making was that in this specific instance, the per-square-foot price of these is *higher* than currents studios and one bedrooms – hence if these successfully lease at those prices, owners of studios and one bedrooms will be incentivized to increase their own prices.
    So yes, if a dozen of these were built, or if S.F. built 6000 or 7000 housing units a year for the next decade, housing costs would go down because supply would go up. But the query is whether just this one, surprisingly expensive buildling could actually have the effect if *increasing* prices.
    (Aside – Futurist, don’t swing too wildly with your bat. Bad form to characterize proponents of this as “Socialists” – personally I’m as leftie as they come and I think this building’s ridiculous; more generally, this is clearly an example of the free market run amok (“Decent housing? Bah, let’s just cram ‘em in and max our income!”) and so if anything more of a libertarian/free market outcome than a socialist one.)

  33. Posted by SF owner

    I think these will ultimately drive rents for other units (and prices) higher. The simple laws of supply and demand don’t really apply to SF real estate. Rather, SF and other major cities are subject to network effects, where each subsequent addition to the building stock increases the value of all the other buildings around it.
    Think about it. These are expensive to construct and thus the developer/owner will need to charge above average $/sqft to make the numbers work. There are more renters than supply thus some members of the renter pool will consent to paying these prices. Studio and one bed prices will rise accordingly and now you also have hundreds of people spending their paychecks locally which drives the local economy (and again, RE prices). Finally, you also have hundreds of future “move up” renters or buyers now who are settled in SF via a toehold in these units versus settling in the east bay or elsewhere. Many of these people will not want to move out once they outgrow their starter units.

  34. Posted by anon

    @Sierrajeff – as a general rule, the smaller the unit, the higher the per square foot costs. Studios cost more than one bedrooms per square foot, one bedrooms more than two, etc. You still haven’t answered why that doesn’t matter when it’s a normal studio, but will cause all prices to rise because these are even smaller than studios.
    Also, yes, some buildings will be ill-maintained, as you point out with some of the buildings near Caltrain. Not sure why that would be more of the case with these though? Whatever unit mix is built here is going to have high turnover, and it seems odd that if we force a change in mix to a unit type with lower per square foot rents that all of a sudden the landlord (making less) would maintain the building better?
    @SF owner – so the key to keeping prices down is to not build anything new anywhere? Something tells me that is unable to work.

  35. Posted by BobN

    Not sure why that would be more of the case with these though?
    More tenants per sq ft. More foot traffic. Probably more going in and out, since staying in for long periods will probably be unpleasant.

  36. Posted by anon

    ^Ok, possibly more common area usage. But by the same logic we’d be seeing less usage of the actual units themselves, since people will be out more. So things like plumbing, fixtures in the units, heaters, etc will stay in better shape due to less use. Less cooking will take place, so fewer issues with smoke/grease stains/smells, etc.
    I’m not convinced that the maintenance cost will be soooo much higher for these that somehow they’re destined to become slummy in ways that a building full of 400 sq ft studios would avoid…

  37. Posted by BobN

    ^Ok, possibly more common area usage.
    I wonder if the common areas like entertainment rooms, roof terraces, gyms — if there are any — will be used more. In my experience, they’re always empty. No one ever uses them, well, except for the marketing staff doing tours to prospective tenants.

  38. Posted by Dsn

    1. No one will be forced to rent a micro-unit. Some may choose to do so, rather than live with roommates or live in a larger place in Oakland.
    2. SF only allowed a limited number of micro-units. There will be no appreciable change in rents up or down as a result of these few units.
    3. People have been living in SF in as little space– in SROs, in student housing, in shared spaces that have people living in the living room and in the closet– so this level of crowding isn’t really new.
    4. The price per square foot will be high, as it is for new housing. Eventually the building will age, and the newness appeal will fade. Then the building will provide housing that is relatively affordable compared to larger studios. That also doesn’t mean it will be a slum.

  39. Posted by Piet

    “That also doesn’t mean it will be a slum”
    Don’t be so sure. This unimaginative UGLY building already spells slum to me in about 20 years. I can see where some architects could have taken a much more creative solution to this type of housing, but this design spells trouble to me. As someone who visits Denmark at least one time a year, and travels a lot through northern Europe, there is a LOT of better affordable housing solutions out there to be studied besides micro-units that look like THIS.
    Speaking of which, I think many here would be surprised how many of my visiting friends are shocked by the poor quality of much of the new architecture of San Francisco, as well as at the poor condition of the transit, streets and of course the homeless problem, which they find beyond belief.
    I guess as long as these units stay south of California Street I should not be too upset.

  40. Posted by Cody

    1) I don’t think the rent will be cheap
    2) Some assume that the quality will not be there – I predict they will be nice
    3) I live in an apartment that is 350 square feet – 220 is not going to be bad
    4) This is the result of a city growing in a confined space. 50 years from now SF may look like Hong Kong.

  41. Posted by Alai

    The renter moving on from one of those will hit sticker shock when they want a larger place, but still cannot afford it.
    It’s “luring” people into thinking that SF is now affordable, when it’s really not.

    Well, there you have it. We should make sure that everything that’s built in San Francisco is as expensive as possible, so as not to give the plebes the impression that they might be able to live here.
    I’m baffled by the focus on “price per square foot”. People don’t rent housing by the square foot (if they did, you’d see a lot more people renting smaller units). It’s like saying that buying a sack of 10 pounds of avocados at Costco is 30% cheaper–per pound–than buying avocados at the grocery, therefore we should forbid selling single avocados, in order to benefit the poor. It’s nuts.

  42. Posted by BernalDweller

    I can’t believe the freakout over a building of studio apartments. When I moved here in the mid-80’s, in my twenties, it was very common to live in small studios, roughly the same size as these. They served a basic need for young single people. Lyqwyd and Dan are right on this.

  43. Posted by 94123

    I think the discussion is about what the future fabric of the city will look like. London has finally concluded that trying to provide affordable housing in the city center is not possible and is now refurbishing and releasing thousands of council flats as units for purchase, none of which are affordable.
    How can a city as small as San Francisco hope to accommodate all of those who feel they must be able to live in the city? There’s plenty of rentals in Daly City the last time I checked.
    @BernalDweller, I moved to SF in the 80s as well (87), and believe it or not, I moved here because it was much MORE AFFORDABLE than Los Angeles at the time. I have read again and again by people here that “San Francisco has always been expensive”, and that is simply NOT THE CASE. There was a great migration of middle and upper class families out of the city from the late 50s through the 80s. After the 89 earthquake, real estate values were very low and I was able to purchase a home in the Marina for what a C- condo in Santa Monica would cost (which is where I moved from and had sold my unit). My partner was living in an apartment in Pasadena and when he moved here in 91 and his rent in Pacific Heights on Jackson Street was $400 less than his rental in Southern California.
    San Francisco has become a destination of wealth in the last 20 years and all the tiny studio construction will not change the increasing cost of housing.

  44. Posted by anon

    There’s plenty of rentals in Daly City the last time I checked.
    And they’re astoundingly expensive too. Which is why Daly City (and every other city in the Bay Area) should be allowing significantly more development.
    Also, you say that SF was cheaper than LA in the 80s, but then go on to say that you really mean that SF was cheaper than Pasadena and Santa Monica in the 80s. There is doubt there. SF has seen larger price increases over the last 20 years than small high end suburbs of LA. That doesn’t mean that SF was “cheap” in the 80s.

  45. Posted by 94123

    @Anon, Los Angeles in the Reagan 80s had a huge price bubble and at that time Los Angeles had the feel very much to what the Bay Area feels like today. Reagan had billions in defense spending coming to various Southern California contractors and the entertainment industry was making huge profits. L.A. was on a roll like the Bay Area right now. I know many from my generation (I am in my late 40s)who moved north after graduation because San Francisco was both affordable and attractive. I remember a friend of mine from U.S.C. moved up here and had told me it was like someone gave him a 50% pay increase because housing was so much more affordable here. San Francisco in the 80s was a different place. Noe Valley had homes being owned by school teachers (I knew one!) and plumbers (I knew one also!).
    So getting back to this building, do YOU think that building thousands of studios will reduce housing costs in San Francisco? I do not. I am betting that the northern side of the city, which has far less room to add additional housing, will turn out to be the safest investment as real estate housing BUYERS, especially about 2.5m, are still looking for neighborhoods that feel the most like San Francisco. We are becoming a boutique city and like other boutique cities, some of the new arrivals will find they cannot afford to live in the center.

  46. Posted by Jimmy the House Flipper

    Yeah but the difference between LA in the 80’s and SF today is that the bubble in the 80’s eventually ended (badly) whereas this boom will go on forever because everyone in the world wants to use our apps and website! And this will never change. SF will re-invent itself over and over again while LA is just an economic backwater by comparison with only a handful of billionaires while we have about a dozen here.

  47. Posted by Futurist

    So let them cluster all these cheesy SRO’s into the Mission and Soma. Fine with me. They do nothing to create good neighborhoods and culture.
    And I’m not really worried, ’cause these will never come to Upper Market, Castro, Noe or Glen Park.

  48. Posted by 94123

    Not sure if Jimmy was being serious, but his comment reminded me of this article about L.A. vs. SF Bay Area economic trends. Looks like I made the right choice heading to SF in the 80s.
    http://www.newgeography.com/content/003741-southern-california-economy-not-keeping-up

  49. Posted by Dan

    I moved from a nice 1 bedroom apartment with garage parking in Westwood, for which I paid $600/month in 1987 and $625/month when I moved in 1991, to a similar sized apartment in the Castro that was in much worse condition with no parking, which cost me $800/month in 1991. (After I left, my LA apartment may have rented for about $800.) A friend living in Santa Monica, where there was vacancy control, paid $400/month for a one bedroom 5 blocks from the beach. So my anecdotal evidence is different from that of 94123.

  50. Posted by anon

    “This suggests that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, tech employment is likely not to grow fastest in our biggest and most expensive urban cores, but spread out across an ever-widening geography. None will likely rival Silicon Valley, with its enormous resources and powerful inertia, but they will make themselves heard in the marketplace.”
    http://www.newgeography.com/content/004062-the-surprising-cities-creating-the-most-tech-jobs
    Found this article linked from other article and thought of Jimmy The House Flipper’s comments.

  51. Posted by anon

    So getting back to this building, do YOU think that building thousands of studios will reduce housing costs in San Francisco?
    I think that building thousands of studios will reduce costs relative to not building thousands of studios. That doesn’t mean that I think prices will go down, but rather that they’ll increase more slowly than if we decide to keep this type of in-demand housing illegal.

  52. Posted by Truth

    SF had cheap rent in the mid ’90s. Large 3br Victorian flats in the Mission were as a rule sub $1000. Large 3br flats in upoer and Lower Haight were 1400-1700. It started changing around 1998, getting more and more expensive. Sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, sometimes (relatively briefly) declining.

  53. Posted by anon

    ^My rent in 2000 sq ft 4 BR house in Seattle (Greenlake area) was $800 in 1997.
    While SF in the mid-90s was cheap relative to SF now, it was still an expensive city compared to nearly any other place in the country.

  54. Posted by Futurist

    I hope we don’t build thousands of very cheap studios for rentals.
    I hope people moving here catch on that IF they can’t afford to live here in the city proper, you know the cool parts, they realize they could find a place in Oakland and help improve the quality of life and neighborhoods over there.
    Where does this insistence that anyone of any income can move here and we will help them live here no matter what? In the smallest, cheapest rathole of a living unit as possible.

  55. Posted by Anon2

    “Put simply, the point of sardining is to make as much money as possible for those who already have the most . This is the raw truth that fuels the hype, and of course pays for it as well. But it’s a tough sell to neighborhoods and cities increasingly experiencing the negative effects of real estate wealth jamming, and more broadly wealth inequality. Enter the story of density to make another “truth”.”
    “The story of density is a seductive story. Society-making is sobering and full of harsh realities. The story of density is seamless, velvety. It is no wonder the story gets sold, implemented, and then told and re-told, despite the validity and logic of the story being pretty awful.” (New Geography Magazine)
    San Francisco in many ways is more a monoculture than the highly diverse suburbs that surround it.
    So if density isn’t about innovation or diversity then what is it about? It is about Dollars and Profits!

  56. Posted by anon

    Where does this insistence that anyone of any income can move here and we will help them live here no matter what?
    I don’t think anyone here is suggesting that (these units are not all that cheap, really – still more than you’d pay for an apartment in 98% of the country). We simply want choice. If builders want to build small units, go for it.
    Others, like yourself, prefer a Soviet-style central planning regime where the government decides what each resident of SF “needs”, causing massive shortages.

  57. Posted by anon

    So if density isn’t about innovation or diversity then what is it about?
    For me it’s just about living in an area where I can walk to several hundred stores and restaurants, along with where I work. Don’t much care for diversity, etc, though it’s fine if it’s there.
    I just like dense built environments, because they support the lifestyle that I like. Only 3-4 places in the US with decent density, and SF is one of those.

  58. Posted by Dan

    Futurist: Don’t worry that thousands of “poors” are going to ruin our city. New construction market rate studios won’t be cheap! (Just not quite as expensive as NEMA or 38 Dolores.) The young, single folks likely to live in these buildings help keep our city vital. SF needs all kinds of housing.

  59. Posted by anon

    @Anon, we are talking about very expensive SRO’s.
    You can have all the density you want, the question is what kind of housing to create your beloved density. My brother’s very modern apartment in Osaka is much larger than these units and in a much better neighborhood with a lot more density, but for about the same price.
    Still, Futurist is right, as long as these crappy buildings are only in the Mission and SOMA, and not in the more desirable neighborhoods, they cannot do that much harm.

  60. Posted by Kathleen

    Disgusting. CAFO. The planning department has no respect for San Francisco.

  61. Posted by InMenloPark

    @Dan, “young single folks” that “keep a city vital” are moving to Oakland, or Austin, or Boulder, or Raleigh-Durham, or San Diego, or Portland, etc. etc. (From article posted earlier about where the Tech jobs are moving to). San Francisco is on its way to becoming Santa Barbara with skyscrapers whether we like it or not.
    When I look at this building, I just don’t picture young creatives lining up to live here. The current innovation boom we are enjoying the wealth from was mostly created in suburban homes and garages, not 200 sq. ft. SRO units.

  62. Posted by anon

    You can have all the density you want, the question is what kind of housing to create your beloved density.
    I don’t much care, let the market figure that kind of thing out. If people don’t want it, this building type will not catch on and more won’t be built.
    My question is simply: Why limit the choice? What can possibly be gained by keeping this type of housing illegal?

  63. Posted by anon

    “Do you think that demolishing existing housing would cause prices to go down?”
    One of the interesting things about urban housing markets that make them different from a typical case of supply / demand, is that the presence of lots of people *IS* what creates the demand for more people to live there. People want to live where there are already a lot of people, for economic reasons, social reasons, cultural reasons.
    Look around the world, and you find that in many large cities, building new housing and bringing more people into the area might actually *create more demand than it satisfies*.
    This might be exactly what is happening in San Francisco.
    That said, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between cause / effect in only one case with a complex system. We see in SF lots of new construction, and we also see lots of price increases. It’s not a simple matter to determine which was the cause and which was the effect. Maybe they caused each other.
    Still, even if new housing *does in fact* increase the price of existing housing, is that necessarily an undesirable thing, since it also increases the aforementioned economic, social, and cultural access by at least as much?
    I think we need to get away from discussions about abstract economic theory, which most people neither understand nor care about, and which even professionals have trouble with. We need to start talking about what people want. I think people want more economic opportunity, more social access, and more cultural exchange. Build more, get more.

  64. Posted by Futurist

    No.
    What people want most here in SF is inexpensive housing. That’s really all they would like. All of the rest good parts of living in a thriving, diverse urban culture like ours will fall into place.

  65. Posted by jill

    i paid $2200 for a 2dr in 1999.
    imho, SF costs RELATIVE to other cities has not changed very much.. still as diverse as it was in 99. young successful people i know are flocking here, not oakland or austin. oakland and austin may be getting artists or others who are 2nd tier in their field. SF bringing in the best and brightest iis a very good think

  66. Posted by Truth

    “The tech jobs are going to Boulder and Austin”
    ?? where does this meme exist, outside of contrarian Socketsite posters’ navel gazing? Reminds me of other Socketsite hits. Rent ads on Craigslist as “wish prices,” FB and other tech’s effect on SF as “realtor propaganda,” southward gentrification as “SF is tanking” etc etc.

  67. Posted by Dan

    anon wrote: “We see in SF lots of new construction, and we also see lots of price increases. It’s not a simple matter to determine which was the cause and which was the effect.”
    The price increases happened when very little new housing was being completed. Most new buildings are just now opening up or are in various stages of planning and construction. Clearly the price increases are the cause, and the new construction is the effect, not vice versa.

  68. Posted by noe mom

    Before the City goes hog wild approving a passel of these they ought to see how it plays out after they are on the market for a year or two. And frankly, I don’t think you can pawn this type of building off on the Mission. They won’t get any further west than Van Ness.

  69. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    San Francisco in many ways is more a monoculture than the highly diverse suburbs that surround it.
    You mean like Marin? Give me a break.
    San Francisco is hardly a monoculture and if you honestly believe this, you need to get out and walk around more. The Marina, Chinatown, The Excelsior, Mission Bay, St. Francis Wood, North Beach and The Sunset all have very little in common.

  70. Posted by anon

    NoeValleyJim, You need to borrow the wife’s car and go to East Bay suburbs which have a lot more racial and income diversity than SF neighborhoods you listed, or Marin. I read the article and it speaks for itself. Part of San Francisco’s uniqueness is that it has shoved a lot of poor people across the bay to points east, and then pretends they are not there. May I suggest a ride through Richmond, and be sure to lock your doors.

  71. Posted by anon

    May I suggest a ride through Richmond
    Well played sir, now I’ll raise you a Hunters Point.

  72. Posted by Jimmy (not a Real San Franciscan (TM))

    You guys are welcome to embrace diversity to your heart’s content but I’m going to stick to my mono-cultural upper middle class Asian/Indian/White neighborhood thank you very much.

  73. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    East Bay suburbs? You mean like Orinda or Piedmont? Maybe you mean Dublin or Pleasanton? Or Walnut Creek perhaps?
    Oh, you meant Richmond! Richmond doesn’t strike me as particularly diverse, it seems more monocultural than San Francisco.
    Oakland is pretty diverse though, grant you that.

  74. Posted by anon

    NVJ, there were seven people shot in Oakland last night. Look it up and stop the silliness.

  75. Posted by Jimmy (not a Real San Franciscan (TM))

    Diversity in action!

  76. Posted by UpMark

    BAD IDEA: Micro-units = SROs (rebranded with a cool name)
    These aren’t here to help our city’s housing problem, it’s going to create more of them. Look at how well SROs seem to work for us. They may not be subsidized like SROs but they do help the city’s tax revenue by packing more people into a dense space.
    Ask yourself, who would want to live there? It’s not as “forward-thinking” as they’re spinning it. In fact, take a step back, and look at how well micro-housing works in places like Hong Kong.

  77. Posted by anon

    ^SROs worked fine for us for decades. They have a bad name now because all of the units are extremely old, subsidized, and used as housing for released convicts, etc. None of those things are relevant at this location, with market rate new units.

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