San Francisco Approves 220-Square-Foot “Apartmentlets”
November 27, 2012
SMARTSPACE SoMa, a recently constructed 23-unit building in San Francisco’s South of Market district, by the Berkeley developer Panoramic Interests. The project includes micro-units of around 300 square feet.
Reinvigorating the tiny dwelling movement with new but perhaps depressing life, San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted to approve a measure allowing 375 market-rate micro-units to be developed in the city. At 220 square feet, the micro-flats will be more spacious than the world’s narrowest house, but you could pack three of them into a single BART car and still have room for a Mini Cooper or two. The previous standards were already minuscule; the minimum unit size topped out at 290 square feet, just under the 300-square-foot dwellings Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed for New York earlier this year. Take that, Manhattan? Continue.
A rendering by Panoramic Interests, an advocate of tiny apartments in San Francisco.
The “units,” which are expected to rent for between $1,300 and $1,500 per month, offer non-claustrophobic San Franciscans a relatively cheap option compared with the $2,075 monthly rent that the average studio apartment fetches. And given that San Francisco has the most expensive rent of any city in the U.S., the downsize does count for something. “To confront San Francisco’s rising housing affordability crisis, we must be creative and flexible,” the legislation’s sponsor, Supervisor Scott Wiener, said in a statement. “Allowing the construction of these units is one tool to alleviate the pressure that is making vacancies scarce and driving rental prices out of the reach of many who wish to live here.” And he does mean many—these indoor parklets permit up to two residents!
The good news is that the cap of 375 market-rate mailboxes apartments will allow the city to test how the units affect the rental economy: will they really alleviate demand or just send the rents for larger spaces even higher? Meanwhile, the number of tiny dwellings low-income individuals, students, and seniors is left open (though there isn’t a mandated number, either).
As with condos, so with micros: San Franciscans looking for a better deal on their mini-pads can always go to San Jose, where the Daily News says a 42-unit building offering 300-square-foot units at $650 a pop has been full up since it opened last spring.
All images: courtesy of Panoramic Interests
[via the San Francisco Chronicle]