December 6, 2013
Designs For Group Housing On Market Street 2.0
As we first reported last month, plans to raze the two-story FastFrame building on the northwest corner of Market and Gough and build a 7-story building with 42 "single room occupancy" units over 1,500 square feet of ground floor retail have been submitted to Planning for review.
While the Market Octavia plan requires 40 percent of all new developments in the area to be two-bedrooms, group housing is exempted from the rule. And with "limited individual kitchen facilities" in each of the 42 proposed
units rooms and a shared kitchen and gathering area, the 1700 Market Street project is positioned as group housing with market-rate rents.
The concept floor plans for the rooms which range in size from 280 to 530 square feet:
The proposed mezzanine level with the communal "group" kitchen, lounge and meeting room:
And the ground floor plan with parking for 25 bikes and no autos:
A shared 1,500 square foot roof deck would serve as the required open space for the building.
First Published: December 6, 2013 1:15 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
The group kitchen idea is good, but they should have added space for a one burner stove, a small fridge, and a microwave in the units.
Posted by: wc1 at December 6, 2013 1:39 PM
It looks like crap. NO articulation of the facade after the 2nd floor? It's just copy+paste. After the boom this will turn into a scary SRO. We need to have taller and more valuable housing at such a prominent location in midmarket. This area is about to be super nice! If we want to fix the housing crisis provide real housing for real families and build UP. 42 dinky units that make a dorm look luxurious is a drop in the bucket.
Posted by: seriously at December 6, 2013 1:46 PM
What a ridiculously stupid idea.
Another drug infested, cheap and cheesy solution to our housing.
Posted by: Futurist at December 6, 2013 1:54 PM
there are 39.1m citizens living in poverty in the US this year.
apparently san francisco is determined to build housing for all of them.
Posted by: dahubbine at December 6, 2013 1:57 PM
This is just a developer trying to make maximum $$ by getting the most rental revenue possible out of a small lot.
What happens 15 years from now, when the economy is in a recession and communal spaces go out of style with techies? Answer: The city will lease all the rooms and bammmm we now have a fourth SRO within a one block radius on Market.
Posted by: gough and market at December 6, 2013 2:02 PM
Am I looking at this correctly? That one small kitchen for all 42 units? Really?
Posted by: ejay at December 6, 2013 2:17 PM
I did not know that San Francisco allows the building of new slums.
In what other city in the advanced industrial countries would this be allowed in 2013?
Posted by: conifer at December 6, 2013 2:30 PM
^^ How do you think you increase density within a limited areal space? This works! seven floors, could be higher tho, and one kitchen. That my dear is density and if you don't like it move to Kansas! (hee hee)
Posted by: contrarian at December 6, 2013 2:48 PM
Nice, build it. (though twice the height).
Posted by: Sam at December 6, 2013 2:50 PM
In what other city in the advanced industrial countries would this be allowed in 2013?
Portland, Seattle, New York City. And that is just in the US. Probably more in Japan.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at December 6, 2013 3:04 PM
Density is fine, but make it market rate housing: 1-2 bedrooms, with parking.
Posted by: Futurist at December 6, 2013 3:09 PM
Where in Manhattan are they building this?
Posted by: conifer at December 6, 2013 3:18 PM
[Editor's Note: There's a difference between group housing and micro-units, which are small but self-contained. From the Bloomberg piece with respect to the project in Manhattan: "Each unit’s kitchen will include a full-height refrigerator, range and space for a convection microwave oven."]
Posted by: warehouse at December 6, 2013 3:43 PM
"I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so...."
Posted by: jeremy at December 6, 2013 3:44 PM
but make it market rate housing:
Um, these are market rate.
No idea why small units bring fears of "scary SROs". The current scary SROs are that way because they're 80+ year old buildings and thus cheap. This, um, won't be 80 years old and cheap.
Build it. Plus build hundreds more of these. Great, great stuff. We're finally catching up to Seattle.
Posted by: anon at December 6, 2013 3:58 PM
The NY mirco units: "Each unit’s kitchen will include a full-height refrigerator, range and space for a convection microwave oven. " and also loft space above. These do not seem to have any kitchen utility. Micro units are fine, but should have some place to store food and cook food, make toast & coffee, etc. Many units in Paris for instance are of similar size but do have these basics and we should too. We have building codes just so we don't build crap that will turn into slums in 20 years. Communal kitchens are a joke unless you are in a "commune".
Posted by: Skirunman at December 6, 2013 4:41 PM
Whoops, never mind, just re-read and saw that I originally missed the "limited individual kitchen facilities". Would like to have more details on what is actually going in as floorplan does show a separate kitchen sink, which is needed.
Posted by: Skirunman at December 6, 2013 4:43 PM
Each unit will have a kitchenette, and if smartly done, should have a decent size fridge, a 2 burner stovetop, a microwave/convection oven and a sink. That's all a single person needs for most meals.
These units will be snapped up by students at the SF Conservatory Of Music, and other nearby schools, if they can afford it, as well as by single people who don't want to have to rent with roommates. There are always lots of single people moving to SF and not all can afford $3000/month or deal with a master tenant and a group of roommates.
Posted by: Dan at December 6, 2013 5:06 PM
Quote my full comment, anon, not just parse out what you want to hear.
Market rate ONE AND TWO BEDROOMS WITH PARKING.
This project, as currently proposed, is simply junk housing at its' worse, creating a new type of slum housing.
Posted by: Futurist at December 6, 2013 5:08 PM
How do we pressure the city to let us build UP? People saying "this is the solution to housing- density" are wrong. Yes, we need density, but not crappy short housing! People bitch bitch bitch every time a big building goes up, but we NEED them. If you don't want a 10, dare I say 20, or like in NYC/CHI a 50 or even 60 story building you're going to wind up with crap like this being the baseline for cheap housing.
Posted by: seriously at December 6, 2013 5:38 PM
Futurist, we know you want market rate one and two bedrooms with parking. The MARKET wants a variety of unit types, including these studios with kitchenettes that would be great (as others have pointed out) for nearby student, new residents of SF, or oldsters who want to downsize. Hell, they'd even make great pied a terres. Bring it on.
And finally, you know full well how difficult it is to provide parking on the pie shaped end of block slivers along market. That's why they sat underdeveloped for years. It's only with the relaxation of parking requirements that these become developable.
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 6, 2013 5:38 PM
There are plenty of these already operating in the city and they are not full of drug addicts. Lots of them are in Chinatown and are full of working families. To claim that market rate housing attracts drug addicts just proves how disconnected from reality some of you really are. This will attract young working people that will add vibrancy to the city. Hopefully they push out you old cranks on the process.
Posted by: sf at December 6, 2013 5:45 PM
Families in Chinatown do not live in SRO's. If they do, I suspect these are not much above slum housing. Which these new units, IMO, fall into that category.
It does not solve housing for families, it does not solving housing for working class people. It provides housing (primarily) for young, single, well paid tech workers.
And btw, sf: stop calling people names with those you disagree with. Show some class and intelligence.
Posted by: Futurist at December 6, 2013 6:53 PM
So what do you think the market rate will be for [these]?
Not having that basic kitchenette in each unit is muy stupido in my opinion. Is the dev actually going to hold this thing long term, or sell it off to some Chinese investors? I think these could become white elephants when this tech/sharing trend fades and hipsters grow up. Can't tweet, uber and crowd source your life forever....
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire (formerly 49yo hipster) at December 6, 2013 7:20 PM
It provides housing (primarily) for young, single, well paid tech workers.
But I thought you said it was "slum housing"?
Which is it? Housing for well-paid tech workers or slum housing?
Posted by: anon at December 6, 2013 8:48 PM
"this tech/sharing trend fades and hipsters grow up."
People have been renting rooms with shared kitchens and bathrooms for a long time. They're called flats. Not really a "tech trend", as fun as it is to blame everything on tech.
SROs are slums because HUD and the city have teamed up to make them that way, so that the unemployable can live in one of the most desirable, costly, and job-rich cities in the country for free. But granted, if we keep electing progressives yes, these too could end up as Section 8 housing for the homeless in 15 years. But so could any housing.
Posted by: MarketStMeridian at December 6, 2013 9:40 PM
^ I disagree with you. In America, most people don't rent these SRO type units. Either poor, mentally/physically challenged people (who can't afford a studio) rent them a la SRO, or trendy-hipster-tech nerds want to propagate college life for a few years will rent them in a "hip" new bldg if their buddies are there.
I just don't believe the a real estate investor is dumb enough to build and keep this w/o contingency plans, or plans to sell the property to some naive out of country investors.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire (formerly 49yo hipster) at December 6, 2013 10:32 PM
Yes, futurist, which is it.. Slum housing, housing for well paid tech workers, or drug addict housing? And calling someone a crank when they exhibit cranky behavior is not name calling. If you are hat sensitive, I can't help you. But it sounds like the direction SF is taking is misaligned more and more with your philosophy and it's time to head to the retirement home dad!
Posted by: sf at December 6, 2013 10:38 PM
The best outcome for this and all similar new buildings would be a sale to Academy of Art or an academic institution as a dorm. It is suitable for college or young grad students.
Posted by: conifer at December 6, 2013 11:09 PM
Either poor, mentally/physically challenged people (who can't afford a studio) rent them a la SRO, or trendy-hipster-tech nerds want to propagate college life for a few years will rent them in a "hip" new bldg if their buddies are there.
Well, yes. Obviously. Poor people, mentally/physically challenged people (who are also poor), trendy-hipster-tech nerds (some of whom aren't actually millionaires, believe it or not). Also, poor graduate students. Poor artists. Poor immigrants. Poor anyone.
I get it: allowing poor people in the city is not without problems. But when you use the power of government to ensure that the only housing that's built is the type of housing that's favored by wealthy people, you're doing a serious disservice to people who are poor.
It's one thing to note that housing costs are high in the city and that anyone who is not wealthy has a hard time. It's quite another to promote as public policy the idea that all housing should therefore cater to the wealthy (just because some people will only eat organic celery from the farmer's market, doesn't mean we should make it illegal to sell conventional produce).
Is this the ideal solution? Perhaps not. I would love to see the areas around all the BART stations developed with thousands and thousands of modest (but larger than these) apartments. I'm sure they would be in high demand. But that's not happening, and it's not likely to happen. If it was, we probably wouldn't be having this argument, because there would be less demand for tiny studios on Market, and no one would be proposing to build them. But there is, and they are, so we are. And that's probably for the best.
Posted by: Alai at December 7, 2013 2:33 AM
Thanks for "SROs are slums because HUD and the city have teamed up to make them that way, so that the unemployable can live in one of the most desirable, costly, and job-rich cities in the country for free. But granted, if we keep electing progressives yes, these too could end up as Section 8 housing for the homeless in 15 years." MarketStMeridian. A bit of an overstatement but probably a bit of truth in there as well.
And I guess that's why I keep reading - good grounds for debate.
This proposed project does seem very lacking in the basics that could differentiate it. How about along with the small kitchen space, add an under counter small ventless W/D? Would greatly increase potential rental income.
Posted by: GoodByeBadTimes at December 7, 2013 6:59 AM
"I used to brag that I can hold up any eviction — even if the landlord had legal rights, I could hold it up for a year." - Ed Lee, mayor of San Francisco, NYT November 12, 2013
Good luck when you put at-risk renters into a housing situation like this and one stops paying. Who wants to be branded a nouveau slumlord?
Posted by: soccermom at December 7, 2013 9:45 AM
Where I'm from, this would be called a hotel.g
Posted by: BobN at December 7, 2013 10:06 AM
seriously, having read futurist's comments in other threads, he actually is a crank, no clue why he wastes his time writing about urbanism, since he's clearly living discredited and irrelevant opinions formed 40+ years ago.
anyway, i can't fathom how this is going "slum", the real worry is that it would go airbnb/pied-a-terre and sit vacant much of the time, with loads of transient visitors.
that whole area is set to boom, loads of redevelopment potential, from the motor hotel all the way down to van ness/svn. this guy is smart to hedge with this sort of project ahead of the curve.
Posted by: david m at December 7, 2013 1:48 PM
Each unit has "limited kitchen facilities" just to temper the hysteria
Great idea and project. Great location for this type of housing and much better to allow the market to dictate what should be built than SF busy bodies. The S show we are dealing with now is because of too much planning
Also a history lesson for you all. This type of housing was very common for working single men a generation or two back. As with much of city planning sometimes stuff we were doing before WW 2 was best
Posted by: Zig at December 7, 2013 2:06 PM
They really need to drop the SRO reference for micro-unit
SRO now equals drug addict in the SF lexicon
Posted by: Zig at December 7, 2013 2:09 PM
I agree. Part of this is semantics. But another way to avoid the SRO stigma is to make these available only to those involved with the arts. It's close to the Opera House, Jazz Hall, and the Ballet building. Put in a couple of music practice spaces and rehearsal rooms. That would create a vibrant and creative living environment and change the image of these types of developments.
Posted by: jlasf at December 7, 2013 3:35 PM
amazing. this will be a slum in no time. this isn't living for anyone. this is the most short sighted bs. who is running the show in sf? this is plain dumb. another sro? are you kidding me? who's district does this fall into? we should petition that sup like crazy. she/ he must be getting paid off. no other reason to do this. this will serve nobody long term.
Posted by: jls at December 7, 2013 4:29 PM
^Ugh, another person who doesn't understand why current "SRO"s are slums and why this has nothing in common with them.
Posted by: anon at December 7, 2013 5:54 PM
Yeah because market rent of $1500 a month is totally slumming it.
Posted by: sf at December 7, 2013 7:23 PM
Kids, let's differentiate between "tiny, low cost shared housing" (this project) and SRO's which are made for permanently poor, nowherely- mobile people (like the multitude of existing SRO's we all know and love.)
Obviously the developer wants to rent this to grad students, hipsters, etc and make a tidy rental profit. The question is, if this housing will have any demand from this type of quality clientele 10-15 years from now. If it does, fine. If it doesn't, they can't legally (and therefore reliably) just airbnb this thing to tourists. So they will have to rent it to whoever shows up to rent it, i.e. poor, SRO type people. Therefore it could degrade to slum type housing.
I think the owner is taking a risk long term, especially if this now hip type of housing becomes passé. And if that happends, not only does the developer end up screwing the pooch, but so does the neighborhood. But SF gov loves social engineering, and hence approved this project. Spin it round and round, where it ends no one knows.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire (formerly 49yo hipster) at December 7, 2013 8:43 PM
So the city allowing the market to provide housing that the market is demanding is "social engineering", but the city making this type of housing illegal and forcing the developer to build something else would be...
Posted by: anon at December 7, 2013 9:57 PM
It's all social engineering when the city has a heavy hand in it, as is the case in SF. i.e. Houston? Not so much social engineering. (Not saying SF should be that loose, but it's way over the top as is.)
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at December 8, 2013 12:09 AM
Any type of housing in any neighborhood in any city could fluctuate and demographics change. That's why we have million dollar condos in Potrero Hill and Dogpatch,
What's your point?
Posted by: sf at December 8, 2013 12:48 AM
@poor.ass.millionaire - that's my point. This is a case of the city taking their hand out, a la Houston. Currently the city is social engineering by preventing the market from building the housing that it would like. They're making some currently illegal, legal. On what planet is LESS government intervention MORE social engineering?
Or are you just blinded by status quo bias?
Posted by: anon at December 8, 2013 9:08 AM
That rendering is missing 20 people popping a squat, doing/selling drugs and intimidating pedestrians downstairs. It's too miserable to stay in their small rooms, and it's so "affordable" they don't have to go to work. Great plan for Market street. We don't have enough of that already.
Posted by: taco at December 8, 2013 9:19 AM
This is basically just a building full of studio apartments.
I have no idea why so many people on this site are saying "omg! studio apartments equals drug addicted losers pooping on sidewalk! terrible! do not want!"
I guess none of you have ever lived in a studio apartment yourself. I have. It didn't turn me into a drug-addicted loser.
We want affordable housing, right? Studio apartments are affordable housing. Get over it.
Posted by: anon at December 8, 2013 1:13 PM
^Indeed. I'm especially perplexed at poor.ass.millionaire's comments, since this is clearly less government intervention. You can build these in Houston if you want to. In SF, they're illegal to build. In this one location where rules have been eliminated and the market can again build this type, it's being called "social engineering"? Um...what?
If SF cut taxes would that also be social engineering? Eliminating rent control is social engineering?
Posted by: hipster checker at December 8, 2013 1:30 PM
You can't build them in Houston. Houston would mandate an additional parking garage about the size of the building itself (of course, that doesn't count as social engineering, because it's the kind of social engineering that certain people approve of).
I got curious, so I looked it up: Houston would require 52.5 spaces for the studios, and 6 spaces for the ground floor commercial-- roughly 19,000 square feet of parking garage. On this lot, that's six or seven stories.
Posted by: Alai at December 8, 2013 2:27 PM
"I would absolutely welcome this building into my neighborhood and next to me. We are supposed to be a compassionate, supportive society. Everyone deserves a chance at redemption and a new life.
I stand by my previous comment. I am intolerant of those who preach "fear" about impending doom if that facility goes into the Rincon neighborhood. That's the same insane mentality we put up with for 8 years with Bush."
Posted by: noearch at February 11, 2010 10:35 AM
Re: Transbay Block 11A
Posted by: checkit at December 8, 2013 6:08 PM
This concept may have a future or it may not, but if you want to get upset about new SROs and blight, there's plenty of sure things under development to focus on instead.
The Hugo Hotel for one, slated to be Mercy housing for the formerly homeless. I think we should by all means house our poor and disabled...that the mentally ill roam our streets in droves is a travesty, but I disagree that the housing has to be in one of the most expensive job rich cities in the country.
Posted by: MarketStMeridian at December 8, 2013 7:47 PM
Honestly, I think that one of the issues there is that San Francisco is one of the cities most friendly to people without cars, i.e. the poor and diabled. The very thing that makes it one of the most expensive job rich cities is what makes it a decent place for people with no money.
There is something weird about our society, which is that places where you can live without a car are in such short supply--and that the demand for them is so high--that anyone who can afford to live comfortably there can easily afford a car. Meanwhile, people who can't afford a car can only afford to live in places where you absolutely must have a car. And then there are a large number of people who are struggling-- those who live in the exurbs who struggle to afford a car which is constantly breaking down, and those who live in SF and struggle to afford the market rent.
Posted by: Alai at December 8, 2013 11:27 PM
anon- NO these aren't just studios. No kitchen. They have shared kitchen and common areas. Not studios, not same thing.
These are quasi communal living, and not very American. Look, I don't mind these conceptually, I only care if they fail, because then they will become slum housing. This country's culture and mentality won't support these, once the trend wears out. Hipsters may think they are more European in mind, but ultimately you Americans like having your own space. Your culture will fail these. Don't blame the messenger.
sf- no bozo, there is a point. It's not simply any housing can change in any market. Like let's build a $10 million mansion in bayview....I mean it *could* change. Yeah right.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at December 9, 2013 12:10 AM
I'm going to ignore the nut who seems to have been sent here from the Streetsblog cult to force every discussion to be about "evil" automobiles.
Agree with P.A.Miillionaire, these are NOT studios. How is it my job has taken me to Japan, Singapore , and Europe and in all of those countries I have been able to find NICE studios with kitchens? I still miss the small studio I had in Lille , and the modern tiny unit on the 38th floor of a tower in Osaka that rented for about $2000 ( U S dollars). I could not find studios that nice or that easy in San Francisco, and partially it is because of crap like this being pushed through.
For fun I spent a weekend at SF Zen Center's Green Gulch farm and experienced communal kitchen and dining, but as was mentioned earlier, Americans are not comfortable with each other in this type of setting. After one weekend I was ready to get back to my own personal space.
Why do they want Market street to become a future slum?
If any street can handle much taller and better buildings it is Market Street.
Posted by: Anon2 at December 9, 2013 6:04 AM
Ah, after poor.ass.millionaire figured out that this is the market asking for these and not government, he shifted to "not very American" as the reason to suppress the market and keep these from being built. Then Anon2 says that he can't find good studios because the government isn't forcing the market to build them, but the market is instead pushing "crap like this" through. How about you pony up and build some nice studios instead of pushing for the government to make housing types that you don't like illegal?
The socialists in SF never cease to amaze me...
Posted by: anon at December 9, 2013 7:55 AM
anon- it seems you still haven't realized that these are NOT studios! And what makes you so sure the market seriously wants these (outside of a fleeting trend?)
Like I said before, the developer is taking a huge risk long term. Short term, these will rent for huge $ per square foot I'm sure. Then dev can flip bldg to dumb investor money to deal with it's success long term.
The city can't loose here. If this fails they'll just take it over and it'll be SRO in no time. If we're lucky, the market will still be good, the gov cooperative (high risk), and another private party will buy it, gut it, and turn it into normal units.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at December 9, 2013 8:13 AM
poor ass millionare where did you grow up? Maybe you have a American mentality that is not exactly a San Franciscan mentality? This place is a little different as you know.
As I have posted many times SROs were very common in San Francisco for generations. Working class single men lived in SROs and more well to-do lived in "hotels". These were not the formerly homeless.
I just see this as a return to something that is extremely logical in a dense city. Already San Francisco has hundreds of thousands of people with relatively high incomes living in conditions that most of the rest of the nation wouldn't understand (i.e. no dishwashers, no in-unit laundry, nurseries in walk in closets, no car etc.)
Why do we have to force a suburban mentality on SF? We just need to let SF become what it is destined to be
Posted by: zig at December 9, 2013 8:46 AM
I never said that these were studios, that was another anon. That said, don't much care. The market wants to build these, and I don't see a good reason for the government to disallow it.
I'm sure the market wants them because the market is proposing to build them, um, was that a trick question?
I don't understand your desire for the city to strangle the market and only allow unit types that you prefer. Too socialist for my taste.
Posted by: anon at December 9, 2013 8:47 AM
@poor.ass.millionaire - Your earlier comments about social engineering are hilarious - you're now claiming that the city should ignore the market and "look ahead" to what the market might want in the future and make everything "not American" illegal. Wow, talk about social engineering and using the state to force your ideas on others.
Posted by: anon at December 9, 2013 9:02 AM
I'm not sure what the fuss is about having "limited kitchen facilities". This is clearly directed at single folks, many of whom probably eat out alot and don't need or want a huge kitchen.
Posted by: etslee at December 9, 2013 9:56 AM
These are studio apartments, per the definition in Wikipedia: "A studio apartment, also known as a studio flat (UK), efficiency apartment or bachelor apartment, is a small apartment which combines living room, bedroom, and kitchenette into a single room."
Posted by: Dan at December 9, 2013 10:14 AM
Gee zig, when exactly did these SRO's for working people happen? 50 years ago+. Not today. Sorry to burst your SF-is-special bubble, and nothing to do with (vastly different) suburban mentality, but communal living isn't going to make it here, outside of a fleeting trend. At a minimum these each need a kitchenette to be practical.
Anon2- you're hilarious, thinking I'm a socialist. I'm the one profiting from SF's whacky housing policies, fool. The city allowed this because they want cheap housing. City has nothing to loose if this fails commercially. And the short sighted dev probably has a short term exit strategy, as everything is selling and renting these days. Dat is da problemmm.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at December 9, 2013 10:18 AM
but communal living isn't going to make it here, outside of a fleeting trend.
Which is why we must ban it immediately! Private companies cannot be allowed to fail - we must save them from themselves, comrade!
you're hilarious, thinking I'm a socialist. I'm the one profiting from SF's whacky housing policies, fool.
And? I profit from government stupidity as well - the difference is that I recognize the difference between government action (banning something) and government inaction (allowing the market to produce product and succeed/fail based on the merits). This is a case of government getting out of the way and allowing something. You're for government keeping this housing type illegal because of some fear that the market will fail. That's socialism, pure and simple.
Posted by: anon at December 9, 2013 10:36 AM
"Meanwhile, people who can't afford a car can only afford to live in places where you absolutely must have a car. And then there are a large number of people who are struggling-- those who live in the exurbs who struggle to afford a car"
Thanks for understanding - I have struggled mightily to get a car - especially one with $10k hubcaps and Focal Utopia subwoofers. Now that I have one i don't seem to have any money for an apartment - are these new apartments available? can I get sec 8?
Posted by: frustration in exurbia at December 9, 2013 10:49 AM
p.a.m. wrote,: "At a minimum these each need a kitchenette to be practical."
These units will have kitchenettes.
Posted by: Dan at December 9, 2013 11:09 AM
You people are driving me crazy. As has been pointed out several times, these units have kitchenettes. So they are, essentially, studios.
People (including P.A. Millionaire among others) are locked into this idea that they are SRO's in which people must share a kitchen facility in order to eat. In day to day reality, folks will use their kitchenettes for food prep (which for most folks in studios is limited to warming things up in microwaves, to be honest). The shared kitchen will be the equivalent of the "media room" or "shared roofdeck" in fancier condos. In this case residents will have the facility to occasionally make a major meal, or actually have the ability to invite folks over for dinner.
This is a creative solution, and one I think the market will accept quite readily.
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 9, 2013 11:31 AM
At least two of the seven units on each floor are over 500 SF in size. Those are regular studios with a smaller than normal amount of space giv4en over to the kitchen.
This makes sense compared to studio condos in many other projects where half or more of the unit is taken up by installing precisely the same kitchen layout that the larger units in the building have. This just acknowledges that for many, their cooking abilities and inclinations will be fully satisfied with these tiny kitchens.
There have also been many posts her at Socketsite showing over designed 7 figure lofts and condos with professional grade kitechens where snarky commenters say that the kitchen will only be used to dish up take out food.
All that being said, that mezzanine communal kitchen is way undersized for more than two or three people to sue at the same time.
I would like this to go forward simply to watch what this socialogical experiment as it develops. I suspect: that a clique will develope that will take control of the communal spaces to the exclusion of others who stay exclusively in their rooms; vegan versus vegetarian versus carnivore fights; fights over food allergies (I threw that dish away becasue you put peanuts in it!); snarky petty fights between people who shop at Whole Foods and cook with the Zuni cookbook versus people who just want to microwave frozed dinners; and so on.
This should be televised.
Posted by: redseca2 at December 9, 2013 11:57 AM
Hey, guys. Its called "affordability by design." Every city in the world had successful housing like this until after WWII in the US where we switched to "unaffordability by design" – i.e., huge minimum square footages, required parking, etc. Cities are places where there is a constant turnover of population - young grads leaving home and getting their first job; new immigrants (from abroad or from other states) getting on their feet; retirees who are watching their dollars and don't want or need big apartment; the folks who serve you at Starbucks, etc. The other choice is to keep building large units which are taken up by singles sharing a flat or apartment. Its a choice. Let's let people choose the lifestyle they want. I lived in a 480 sq. ft. unit once - and loved it, until I got a little older and wanted and could afford more space.
Posted by: Jim at December 9, 2013 12:29 PM
the concept floor plans show rooms. with a bed a chair and a bathroom. Limited kitchen indeed. Wash your dishes in one of the water conveniences in the bathroom.
A microwave. That is what construction workers use to heat up their lunches in the field using a generator.
What a slum this will be, and it really helps the foodie image of SF
Posted by: contrarian at December 9, 2013 12:34 PM
If these units include kitchenettes, why don't they show on the floorplans? I agree that most units are large enough to include a little kitchen though some of the smaller ones (2,3) seem kind of tight for space.
Units without kitchenettes and a communal kitchen on another floor is a recipe for curry scented elevators.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 9, 2013 12:56 PM
As "Group Housing" per section 209.2(a) of San Francisco's Planning Code is defined, under which this project would need to fall in order to avoid the two-bedroom requirement for new developments within the Market Octavia Area Plan as reported above:
"Providing lodging or both meals and lodging, without individual cooking facilities, by prearrangement for a week or more at a time and housing six or more persons in a space not defined by this Code as a dwelling unit. Such group housing shall include but not necessarily be limited to a boardinghouse, guesthouse, rooming house, lodging house, residence club, commune, fraternity and sorority house but shall not include group housing for religious orders or group housing for medical and educational institutions, whether on a separate lot or part of an institution, as defined and regulated by this Code."
Posted by: SocketSite at December 9, 2013 2:07 PM
Obviously 42 units can't share a small kitchen on another floor. If these don't come with kitchenettes--and they will-- they will have space for fridges, hotplates, and microwave/convention ovens to be added.
Posted by: Dan at December 9, 2013 2:50 PM
"Already San Francisco has hundreds of thousands of people with relatively high incomes living in conditions that most of the rest of the nation wouldn't understand (i.e. no dishwashers, no in-unit laundry, nurseries in walk in closets, no car etc."
Zig thanks for this comment. But again, why can't we see a project developer with the market smarts to differentiate a product like this by including an apartment-sized combo in-unit W/D in each unit? This can be done in the same amount of cabinet space as required by a dishwasher (which could be omitted or be crammed under the sink - special model with less capacity). Also definitely need a combo convection/microwave oven but how about value-engineering the archaic cooktop out? Have not used one in years. And they pose fire hazards.
We need developers to build products for how people live today.
Posted by: GoodByeBadTimes at December 9, 2013 4:08 PM
"... without individual cooking facilities..."
By code it looks like each individual unit can not in fact have what I would call a kitchenette. This is my take on why no kitchen plumbing is shown on plans. Obviously one could put in a table top microwave, hot plate or small undercounter fridge after they move in, but these will then basically be like dorm rooms. None of these kitchen appliances would actually be "built-in" and no venting likely.
Would be interesting to see if plans actually have required electrical for these appliances as code typically requires dedicated 20a circuits for items like microwaves and 2 burner hotplates along.
Posted by: Skirunman at December 9, 2013 4:33 PM
Skirunman makes a good case for why kitchenettes should be built-in here: safety and convenience. Without built-ins, residents will bring in their own fridges, hotplates, and microwaves. If they're not plugged into dedicated circuits then they're gonna trip the breaker every time they crank up their favorite JP Sousa anthem on the stereo whilst heating up a frozen burrito and making hot water for tea.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 9, 2013 4:56 PM
"heating up a frozen burrito and making hot water for tea."
Milkshake there's no need for a hotplate (not that someone won't bring or buy one). You can heat up the fro burrito AND boil water for tea in a microwave in far less time and probably for one-tenth the cost and without heating up all 380 square feet. Can this be the generation that leaves the obsolete cooking methods in past?!
Posted by: GoodByeBadTimes at December 9, 2013 5:22 PM
Just re-read the pertinent SF Planning Code sections and by definition it seems to me the units can not in fact have built in kitchenettes as the individual units can not be "dwelling units". The primary definition of a dwelling unit is that it has one, and only one, kitchen.
Will be interesting to see how this shakes out. These micro-units could be built with true kitchenettes, and in unit combo washer/dryers for that matter, in the space allocated without much effort if planning code allowed it. Like I said earlier, this is done in places like Paris with nice effect. Right now these look to be dorm rooms to me.
Posted by: Skirunman at December 9, 2013 5:35 PM
@GoodByeBadTimes Try to fry an egg in a microwave, yuck!
Posted by: Skirunman at December 9, 2013 5:39 PM
I'd personally want something like this 2 burner radiant cook top at a minimum if I was 24 again and willing to live in a dorm sized room.
Posted by: Skirunman at December 9, 2013 5:42 PM
Skirunman and milkshake of desire nailed it. As I've said, I'd have zero issue with these if they were true studios with kitchenettes. (No need for private W/D btw; a set per floor would suffice.) As planned, these suck.
And btw, yes the city is getting in the way again with their asinine definitions! The dev is basically forced to make these SRO type communal living, because the frickin code won't allow for kitchens, unles you provide so-and-so unit mix (i.e. not all studios.) Just another day at the planning department.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at December 9, 2013 6:16 PM
OK, the more I think about this it seems to me this is likely just an attempt to get around the required 40% 2-BR requirement of the Market Octavia Plan. Otherwise, why not just build true "efficiency units" as recently amended in the SF Building Code. Is there really a market for true communal living outside of a college dorm? I guess time will tell...
1208.4. Efficiency dwelling units. Efficiency dwelling units shall comply with the following:
1. The unit shall be occupied by no more than two persons and have a living room of not less than 150 square feet of floor area. An additional 100 square feet (9.3 m2) of floor area shall be provided for each occupant of such unit in excess of two.
2. The unit shall be provided with a separate closet.
3. The unit shall be provided with a kitchen sink, cooking appliance and refrigeration facilities, each having a clear working space of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in front. Light and ventilation conforming to this code shall be provided.
4. The unit shall be provided with a separate bathroom containing a water closet, lavatory and bathtub or shower.
5. The total area of the unit shall be no less than 220 square feet, which area shall be measured from the inside perimeter of the exterior walls of the unit and shall include closets, bathrooms, kitchen, living, and sleeping areas.
Posted by: Skirunman at December 9, 2013 6:22 PM
"@GoodByeBadTimes Try to fry an egg in a microwave, yuck!"
Skirunman have never fried an egg in my house - way too messy and inefficient. Stir egg up and pour into bottom of olive oil-lined corning wear and cover and place in microwave and nuke to desired consistency - delicious - and again at a small fraction of the time, cost, and carbon footprint! Let's leave the archaic cooking technology behind and leave the planet a better place for the generations after us.
Posted by: GoodByeBadTimes at December 9, 2013 6:35 PM
@GoodByeBadTimes I like fried eggs...anyway, to each his own. Enjoy your delicious microwave cooked food!
Posted by: Skirunman at December 9, 2013 6:48 PM
I agree with skirunman (and p.a. millionaire) on the motivation of the developer. I admit that I read socketsites "limited kitchen facilities" references to mean kitchenette. And it would shock me if it wasn't the developers intent to provide that (or at least provide room). Because I agree that there isn't really a market for true communal living, particularly on this scale. So I stand corrected on my earlier post.
It's obviously a problem of the Market Octavia Plan, which otherwise is pretty good. I guess we will see if this end run works. I would personally be absolutely fine with efficiency units in this location, and a larger communal kitchen would be a great bonus. THAT's what I thought we were discussing. (Also agree with P.A. Millionaire that w/d on each floor would make a lot more sense in this set up).
Posted by: curmudgeon at December 10, 2013 12:05 PM
Now that the kitchenette issue is clarified, most of us are on the same page with this development.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at December 10, 2013 2:41 PM
^Well, I still don't see a reason to ban this building as is, but if there is some kind of reason that the same building couldn't be built with kitchenettes, then that's stupid. Both should be fine to build.
Posted by: anon at December 10, 2013 3:11 PM
Who talked about "banning?" I never did. I only said its stupid to build it w/o kitchenettes.
Posted by: poor.ass.millionaire at December 10, 2013 11:05 PM
^Futurist, several others.
Posted by: anon at December 11, 2013 9:34 AM