An 11,775-square-foot building with 23 micro apartments is being wedged onto a 3,750-square-foot lot between two other buildings in San Francisco’s SoMa district.
Construction has begun on an infill project at 38 Harriet Street in San Francisco that its developer, builder, and module supplier believe could determine whether micro apartments remain a highly publicized curiosity or are seen as legitimate housing alternatives for young urban professionals seeking cheaper, greener, and walkable living spaces.
“There are a lot of eyes on this project, a lot of interest,” says Naomi Porat, president and co-founder of Zeta Communities, whose factory in Sacramento, Calif., is close to completing the 12- by 65-foot modules that will be used to construct an 11,775-square-foot four-story wood-framed building squeezed onto a 3,750-square-foot lot in this city’s South of Market Street (SoMa) district. That building will contain 23 micro apartments measuring around 300 square feet each, with nine-foot ceilings, kitchens and baths, washers and dryers, and multipurpose built-ins for storage and workspaces that can convert to sleeping areas.
These apartments reflect a “Smart Space” concept that the project’s developer, Panoramic Interests, created with a team of architects and designers to address the needs of millenials poring into urban job centers where affordable housing is perennially in short supply.
“In San Francisco, 8,000 new tech workers have been hired this year alone,” says Patrick Kennedy, the owner of Panoramic Interests, to illustrate the potential demand for micro apartments. His firm test-drove its Smart Space design with a 160-square-foot prototype it built in a warehouse in Berkeley, Calif., and housed an MIT grad student for three weeks who provided feedback about what he thought did and didn’t work.
Kennedy told the San Francisco Chronicle that prospective residents of micro apartments are looking for a “launching space as they get established.” In an interview with Builder, he described micro apartments as “a return to more collaborative communal living.” He observed that millenials view apartments in the context of a lifestyle that is more socially and technologically defined. “They’ll trade 100 square feet of space for 100 more megabytes of Internet,” he quips.
And with monthly rents expected to start at $1,500 (with five of the 23 apartments being offered at a below-market rate of $910 per month), these micro apartments should be available for significantly less than the $2,000-plus per month an under-500-square-foot studio apartment fetches, on average, in San Francisco.
John Caulfield is senior editor for Builder magazine.
The 300-square-foot apartments will feature 9-foot ceilings, kitchens and baths, storage, and flexible built-ins.
These renderings show how renters can manipulate the space inside the apartments to turn a sleeping area into a work or eating space.
- Panoramic InterestsLarge windows and high ceilings give these tiny spaces a more capacious feeling.