What Can Other Cities Teach New York About Micro-apartments?

Images courtesy Patrick Kennedy

San Francisco

Building: SMARTSPACE SoMa
Price: Not publicly available
Size: 300 square feet

At 300 square feet, architect Patrick Kennedy calls his SMARTSPACE SoMa apartments “supersize macros.” In San Francisco, as in Manhattan, space is at a premium. Studios can rent for upwards of $2500 a month. And yet, bemoans Kennedy, apartment size minimums are getting in the way of development. In November of last year, the city modified regulations so that apartments as small as 220 square feet could be built in San Francisco — but capped the number of micro-units at 375.

Kennedy didn’t disclose how much the 300-square-footers are renting for this year, but says that it is 25% less than a typical studio in the SoMa neighborhood. His reticence to give a hard number might be due to the controversy (a running theme with micro-units) that the project created with affordable housing advocates. Even so, demand for these apartments has been high. The first tenants will start moving in this week. Many of the units are being leased by California College of the Arts, presumably to house students or faculty.

Like the New York apartments, the SMARTSPACE units feature queen Murphy beds that convert to tables. Kennedy claims that the apartment can fit a dinner party of six (though he didn’t mention what people say instead of “just drop your coat on the bed”). Kennedy says that San Francisco’s thriving tech scene draws young people to the city who don’t have many possessions, and who spend most of their time at the office or networking in bars and coffee shops. Kennedy doesn’t live small himself, but says “If I were 29 and single, there’s no question I’d live in one.”