706 Polk Street

The renovation of the former New Pacific Hotel at Polk and Eddy, a 66-room residential hotel, or “SRO,” which previously served the indigent and otherwise homeless, is nearing completion.

And the project is positioning to re-open as “San Francisco’s newest boutique hotel,” dubbed “EPIK.”

According to Planning, however, a change in use hasn’t been approved for the property, which means the project will remain a residential hotel, only one that will now be targeting “professionals” to fill the remodeled rooms and shared baths [see UPDATE below].

Hotel EPIK Room

The search for a hip, or dare we say trendy, operator to fill the vacant restaurant/bar space adjacent to the hotel’s lobby at 706 Polk Street is underway.

UPDATE: According to a note from the developer, 55 of the hotel’s 66 rooms were previously licensed for tourist use and they’re planning to operate them as such, while maintaining the remaining rooms as an upscale “SRO.”

If all goes as planned, Hotel EPIK will open mid-summer.

46 thoughts on “Game Changer: Polk Street “SRO” Going Upscale”
  1. @Alai Assuming it was being run akin to other vagrant hotels I can’t imagine that anyone had paid more than a month in advance… / was likely on month-to-month.

  2. What’s causing that glow on the floor around the bed’s perimeter? LED strips attached to the bottom of the platform? Snazeeeee.

    1. This is quite common in higher-end hotels around the world. They have either night/mood lighting below the bed or the nightstand. Unobtrusive yet highly practical so guests don’t stumble around in the dark looking for the bathroom when jet-lagged and unfamiliar with their surroundings.

  3. It was just a matter of time before this happened. SRO owners can remodel, and so long as their use stays the same, there is nothing illegal about rerenting to Professionals. This may be exactly what the City needs to finally clean up the TL and 6th Street.

  4. I can only hope many of the smaller SROs in the Mission see this and start investing in their properties in a similar way. Unfortunately we are still stuck with the 200+ unit place that Tenderloin Housing slum lords over while siccing their lawyers on small time owners for having a tiny crack in the plaster in a 100 year old building.

  5. Given the record high hotel occupancy rates recently, it might work better as a lower cost “trendy” hotel. Agree this is a nice change for the hood.

  6. I’m a social worker that had many clients living in that hotel and yes, they evicted everyone. A $500 pay out can be very enticing when you only get $850 a month in social security. It’s almost impossible to find an SRO in SF right now for under $800 even when the rooms are swarming in roaches, lice, and bed bugs. When that hotel closed rooms had been renting for $650. This is a major loss for low income housing.

    1. What is the basis for eviction? I guess there was no eviction, instead, the tenants might have chosen to take money from owner and moved out. In that case, it is called buy-out, not eviction.

      I do not see any excuse the owner could use to evict the tenants.

  7. UPDATE: According to a note from the developer, 55 of the hotel’s 66 rooms were previously licensed for tourist use and they’re planning to operate them as such while maintaining the remaining rooms as an upscale “SRO.”

    And if all goes as planned, Hotel EPIK will open mid-summer.

    1. In years past on epic motorcycle trips I have stayed at some normally pricey hotels that had a couple rooms without an in suite bathroom, usually because of landmark status. They would go for something like 25% of a normal room rate.

      New Sheridan Hotel (Telluride); The room was right across the hall from the spa which you were given access to.

      Old Faithful Lodge (Yellowstone NP); the “Old House” rooms have real log walls and an in room sink; showers and toilets down the hall. I had a direct view of the geyser while in bed. $60 compared to a $250 room with sheetrock walls and a bathroom.

      The only issue was packing a bathrobe on a motorcycle….

    1. If I was living month to month with no savings and someone offered me enough money to make a two month deposit on a real apartment, I would probably be pretty tempted too.

      1. Except it is likely that the new apartment will be significantly more expensive than the old rent controlled apartment. If the tenant is living to month-to-month at the low rate there’s no way that their new apartment’s rent will be sustainable. Unless it is located far outside of SF.

  8. no one asked the obvious question. Who the heck would want to live on Eddy and Polk besides the current type of SRO tenants. Its a horrible location and you can’t leave your hotel room at night without fear of mugging, stepping on poop or a used syringe.

      1. Actually, there are a lot high-rent paying people inhabiting most of the (apartment) buildings around here. Rents in the TL in general are skyrocketing. I could see young, single workers loving this idea.

  9. Can someone explain the rules around use of an SRO? Are the tenants limited to staying there for no more than 30 days consecutively? If so, maybe that is how the developer got rid of the tenants – because they had to leave anyway? I am also curious as to what the limits are on SROs going upscale.

    1. I believe the actual cut-off time is 28 days. Any successful SRO operator moves people right out into the street on the last day, if needed.

      Anybody who stays longer is a tenant and gains many, many rights and privileges under the law.

      1. SF sues SRO hotel owners for housing violations (May 12, 2014):

        “The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office filed a lawsuit today against the owners of 15 single room occupancy hotels for housing violations.
        The defendants … own or control over a dozen SROs in the Tenderloin, SoMa, mid-Market and Mission areas.

        The City’s lawsuit alleges … a practice called “musical rooms” to force tenants to vacate their rooms before accumulating 30 consecutive days of residency, which would qualify tenants for rent control and legal protection from certain types of eviction. The practice is illegal under state and local law, as well as The City’s rent ordinance.”

  10. maybe the rich people will get community housing partnership and tenderloin housing
    to clean up the drug dealers and trash they leave behind

  11. THIS is what SROs were made for: Young professionals moving to the city with nowhere to go. (It’s their historical intended use). They don’t need to be “boutique” but modest, clean, and safe would be a great start! Students and people getting their start in SF would love SROs. They should be cheap and modest, not dirty and drug-filled. The more SROs that get cleaned up, the better for everyone.

  12. that’s exactly right. I live in an SRO that originally was all working people when I moved in. Most SROs were built for working people back in the 1930’s for longshormen, etc. The great lie perpetuated since then is that SRO’s are for welfare people. Randy Shaw of tenderloin Housing Clinic said this, that ‘the gentry do not want to live in SRO’s‘.

    what Randy Shaw fails to mention is that all these SROs orginally had working people in them and that his organization spent the last 15 years bullying and harassing those working people out so he could take over 15 of those SR0s and make them 100% welfare contracts with the city of SF

    It’s now at the point where most people associate SROs with mayhem and drug dealing because most people don’t remember what SROs were like before the Patels bought most of them and non profits contracted them out to the city welfare department

    This is really the first time that an SRO owner is restoring an SRO to the type of occupancy it originally had back in the 1930’s, likely when it was built – except for the tourist bit and the SRO ordinance

    I personally moved into my SRO at the Seneca on 6th street when it was all working people. It was very nice and I simply didn’t want to have roomates, and I’m still in the same place. The only problem was the original owners sold it to the Patels in 1998 and overnight it turned into crackhead housing, and the THC took over master lease 2 years later and it’s still a crackhead hotel. But I’m one of the few people who were actually here at this SRO when it was all working people, and it was very nice back then

    There is no reason why more SRO’s can’t do this if the owners want to, as long as they stay within the SRO ordinance, owners of SROs do not have to rent to dope fiends. They are perfectly allowed to rent to working people. An owner wouldn’t necessarily even have to make it upscale either. Even a decent SRO would be coveted by many young tech workers today – as long as it didn’t have dope fiends banging on their door at 3am – the real reason why working people usually don’t want to live in an SRO

  13. Market forces dictate change. No politician has ever been successful in preventing that. If the people don’t want drug addicts, violent offenders, and homeless, the neighborhood will change.

  14. Why does SF love homeless people? Why does SF need to support them? They are a blight on an otherwise magnificent city. I love to visit and shake my head at the human feces on the sidewalk and the subhuman crackhead zombies that produce it. It is a slice of Mogadishu in the first world. How can the cit’s citizens tolerate the politicians that allow this situation to persist?

    1. Beats me other than there is a large group of people who make their living off the backs of the homeless. In other words, if there were no homeless, they would not have a job.

      That is also why there are segregated and distinct neighborhoods in SF: old money vs. new, liberals vs. conservatives, white vs. minority, Asians (Chinese) vs. other minorities

  15. Eh I disagree with the general congratulatory sentiment on here. Flophouse turned boutique hotel isn’t particularly gutsy it’s just a money grab. For all the hatred directed toward the TL it’s only a small area. Like five blocks by four blocks. I don’t think EVERYTHING in the city of SF has to be upscale but I guess others disagree.

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