Minature Digs

Beth Winegarner | October 11, 2012 | Story Real Estate

Here’s a rental notice that might surprise even the most jaded of San Francisco apartment hunters: “Studio, 300 sq. ft., $1,500 a month.” Yes, that’s $18,000 a year for a home the size of two parking spaces. But such pint-sized digs are scheduled to hit the market in SoMa this month, thanks to Patrick Kennedy, developer of SMARTSPACE. (Kennedy won’t confirm any prices, but sources have reported anywhere from $1,300 to $1,600.)

Kennedy, who has lived in cramped quarters himself, including a 78-square-foot Airstream, says it’s time for San Francisco to adopt a more “continental” attitude toward housing. “Europeans and Asians have always lived in much smaller spaces,” he says. “If you’re a student, or you’re working and partaking in city life, you’re just looking for some place to sleep, recharge, and entertain on a small level.” Besides, Kennedy points out, these units are about $1,000 less per month than many other SoMa studios, which are only slightly larger.

To get the most out of these limited but efficient spaces, dining tables slide away to make room for queen beds at night, and kitchen appliances rub shoulders with the clothes closet. Kennedy’s next such development, a 180-unit complex at Mission and 9th St. near Twitter headquarters, will at least also offer some communal spaces (a roof deck, a lounge lobby, a cafĂ©) for residents who may be prone to cabin fever.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Scott Wiener is backing legislation that would shrink the minimum size of a San Francisco apartment even further, to 220 square feet. But would Wiener be willing to live in something that small? “Well, if it meant the difference between staying in the city and leaving, I would rather stay,” he says. “I live in a condo right now that’s 490 square feet. It’s just me and my cat.”


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