1500 15th Street Site

Plans to redevelop the used car lot on the northwest corner of South Van Ness Avenue and 15th Street have been drafted. And as proposed, a “group housing” project with up to 184 units of rental housing could rise up to eight (8) stories in height across the Mission District site, assuming a State Density Bonus is approved.

If the density bonus isn’t approved or abandoned, the project as envisioned would still rise up to six (6) stories in height with 138 units.

1500 15th Street Rendering

From Prime Design, the architects of the project which is “intended to have the feeling of openness and community in its design expression”:

“1500 15th street is a project that utilizes the sharing economy embraced by Generation Y as they have popularized Airbnb, Uber, and Gofundme. The project will have bedroom suites surrounding a common community kitchen/lounge/great room on each of its levels for a total building height of [either 58′-0″ (as rendered above) or] 75′-0”.

Each suite will contain a convertible murphy bed, bathroom with shower and toilet/vanity sink combo, compact fridge, bar sink, and microwave.

1500 15th Street Unit Plan

The shared community area on every floor will have a full size entertainment kitchen and lounge. An accessible bathroom will also be located on each floor.

1500 15th Street Floor Plan

A rooftop outdoor space will provide exercise equipment and a sundeck lounge for the residents.”

And as proposed, each of the bedroom suites would measure 198 square feet apiece, “providing an affordable private living arrangement for people.” We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by feralcockapoo

    Effing awful.

  2. Posted by MDG399

    so they want to build a bunch of dorm rooms – which will them become some sort of modern SRO. NO EFFING WAY.

    • Posted by Zig

      They are just efficiency studios. normal around the world in dense cities.

    • Posted by Tony

      God forbid the poors live next door to you.

  3. Posted by Sierrajeff

    Why is there a “common bath” too – such wasted space, they could have squeezed in another hovel. And what’s with that expansive manor at Unit #23? Effing bourgeoisie, having to have over 200 square feet to live!

    • Posted by Elitist Pig

      Oh, ha! Maybe that is how they get around unit bathrooms that don’t meet accessibility requirements.

    • Posted by thedude

      I think #8 is reserved for the developer!

    • Posted by Zig

      It’s easy to have this attitude when you got yours. I know trying to get my own place in SF during the dot com bubble it was pretty awful. And it is way worse now. These units are much better than living with creepy master tenants

      • Posted by Some Guy

        Hey, what do you got against us creepy master tenants (err, landlord, in my case). By the way can you take out the trash before you head off for work, and don’t forget to wipe around the burners each time you use the stove. Thanks!

      • Posted by Sierrajeff

        uh, do you get sarcasm *at all*?

    • Posted by Chris

      I’m guessing it has something to do with a certain number of units needing to be more wheelchair accessible.

  4. Posted by Elitist Pig

    Providing an affordable private living arrangement for people… starting at $3500 a month.

    I would love to hear how this project is meeting accessibility requirements.

    • Posted by curmudgeon

      It will ultimately be what the market will bear, and will doubtlessly be the most affordable new studio apartment available.

      • Posted by Sam

        On a price per square foot basis I suspect this will actually be the most expensive housing in the city.

        • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

          Possibly. But this is natural and is expected for all housing. The real estate price tend to fit the formula

          price = a x size + b

          b is positive number. Smaller place do have higher price per square foot than larger place. People are surprised because they expect price per square foot to be a constant, i.e. b=0. They simply do not have an accurate perception of the reality.

          • Posted by Lives lightly

            Your formula is bogus, b isn’t unique. Price per sq. ft. is a fundamental parameter

            Its the same as price = a x size + (b/size) x size
            price = (a + (b/size)) x size
            price = c x size

    • Posted by Zig

      So simultaneously we are critical because these are SRO hovels but there is so much demand they will be $3500/month

      We know better though than those who want these units

  5. Posted by curmudgeon

    Well I will contradict the crowd and say we need more of this. This is housing for people. And it gives people the privacy and dignity of having their own space, while also having some communal space as well. Frankly we need more dorm room type environments, and not just for students.

    • Posted by Mark

      would you live here?

      • Posted by HousingWonk

        I wouldn’t. But if someone else wants to, that’s their business. Its not my business – or the governments or the general public via the zoning code – to dictate people’s lifestyle choices. As long as the unit is safe from a building code perspective, that’s where it should end.

        Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, the central cores of our nation’s cities regularly featured small living units for singles (almost entirely men at the time) – rooming houses, board houses and the like. The SRO is perfectly legitimate mode of housing. Or at least it was, until 20th century middle class NIMBYs pressured local governments to outlaw them.

      • Posted by anon

        Over having multiple roommates? Eff yeah.

      • Posted by curmudgeon

        that really doesn’t matter. Someone will. But I will say that I could have conceived of living there when I first moved to the City as a young man, and I could also conceive of living there as a pied a terre after I retire.

        • Posted by SFrentier

          Oh F no, hanging out as a retiree with a bunch of cheap and transitory 20somethings? But then again, yoga pants city could make the common area entertaining.

      • Posted by Zig

        I would have at 21 happily

        Today I’m 40 with two kids so no

        I like choices

    • Posted by mike

      yes, more of these. if people don’t like them they don’t have to live in them.

    • Posted by Hunter Oatman-Stanford

      agreed – there are many people who live in shared rooms in larger apartments that would prefer a private space like this. As long as they are priced more affordably than current studios, this is a good option to have.

    • Posted by Harvey

      I like the idea as well. But why would you provide only those tiny little windows??

    • Posted by Zig

      So much better than living with creepy master tenants

  6. Posted by dan

    I agree with you curmudgeon.

  7. Posted by Joe

    Why are they not allowed to use the state’s affordable density bonus which is already law and has survived judicial challenges?

  8. Posted by Footie

    So it’s either use the microwave in your unit or share a small kitchen with 22 other units? Yikes.

    • Posted by Alai

      If I lived there, I’d get myself an induction hotplate. There are also microwave convection combo ovens, which seem like a logical thing to put in.

    • Posted by jenofla

      One can do quite a bit with a decent toaster oven, hot plate, and crock pot.

      • Posted by Rebecca Skinner

        Whether or not you can be creative, this is not a full kitchen. You’d be spending much more money on heating up purchased prepared food than with a full kitchen.

  9. Posted by Bobby Mucho

    Living like this is pretty common in almost every other high density or housing restricted city in the world. I’m pretty sure SF (which very clearly could use the living space) can deal with a handful of these scattered throughout its central neighborhoods—regardless of whether some of you don’t feel they’re luxurious enough for yourselves.

    • Posted by dan

      exactly.

    • Posted by Zig

      And actually people in SF used to live this way. Many SROs and hotels were once respectable places that single men (maybe women) lived who had jobs. At least into the 1970s and maybe 1980’s my father worked with single men in SF who still had this lifestyle.

    • Posted by Lives lightly

      I agree and its pretty much how thousands of younger people without children and older people in assisted facilities live right now. And it’s likely the way many of the “ick” commenters here will too.

      The bottom line is the physical space is only one aspect of what makes a place wonderful or terrible to live in. This concept is extending the concept of a sharing economy to personal space. I don’t know if it will be widely acceptable to Generation Y and beyond. If it isn’t, it will eventually become dilapidated and housing for marginal and indigent.

  10. Posted by Mark F.

    No thanks. But maybe if they were renting for $300 a month I might be interested.

  11. Posted by jenofla

    Seem perfectly fine for those who are young, in transition, or trying to simplify. I can see them as short-term rentals as well. Maybe work/city apartments for those with weekend homes. Maybe rentals for those who spend most of their time at their partner’s place but not ready to “move in.” Maybe a retiree wanting to experience an expensive city for a few years (this is probably the best I could afford if I decided to spend a few retirement years in, say, Manhattan).

    There’s a need for this kind of space in a city, if priced right. I don’t see how it’s any worse than my friends’ situations, couples living in one bedroom of a 4-bedroom house in Bernal Heights or Mission Terrace (with 3-6 other housemates).

    • Posted by BobN

      I bet everyone in that Bernal Heights home can sit in the living room at once.

      • Posted by jenofla

        So what? Worth sacrificing to have your own sofa, bathroom and kitchenette. Trying sharing a fridge and two toilets with 7 other people.

  12. Posted by around1905

    The interior units will have only a tiny window looking out on the interior ‘lightwell’ (not clear if it even opens to the sky above). Also not clear either that all of the units along the exterior walls of the buildling will have windows at all.

  13. Posted by tom

    um…perhaps they’re just intending master lease the building to a local college and it gets converted to student dorm rooms…which are also needed.

  14. Posted by AnonAnon

    Am I the only one that is a little grossed out by the toilet/sink? Why not attach the microwave on top of that for the triple threat.

    • Posted by anon2.5

      Agreed. They can easily stick a proper sink in that bathroom if they made the bathroom door a pocket door.

      • Posted by EBGuy

        So you’re one of those folks who believe the high watermark (pun intended) of civilization is our ability to render potable water undrinkable by combining it with human waste.

        • Posted by anon2.5

          I am not sure what that even means but sure . . .

          • Posted by Anon

            Not sure either, but the drawing shows a pocket door already.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            EBGuy is referring to the built-in graywater recycling that combo sink-toilet implements. The water you use to shave ends up being recycled as flush water. Nice to have in a city that must import water from hundreds of miles away.

          • Posted by Some Guy

            Better be sure to poop AFTER you shave and brush teeth. Otherwise, if you rinse your razor and spit into the tank and leave it there over the weekend, it’ll be nice and ripe by the time you get back.

          • Posted by EBGuy

            For anyone who wants to try this at home, Sink Positive has a retrofit option.

        • Posted by AnonAnon

          I prefer to not have fecal matter spraying from a flushed toilet into the sink where I brush my teeth. But to each his own, I suppose we all have our own standards of cleanliness. I rarely make my bed for instance.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            Easy solution: close the lid before flushing.

          • Posted by AnonAnon

            “Easy solution: close the lid before flushing.”

            And when you pee? Are you always such a sure shot or do you pee sitting down?

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            If you’re that concerned then yes, sit down. Anyone that concerned with minute amounts of contamination will find that a minor inconvenience. But they’ll still live a tortured life in public.

            Which reminds me of a great quote from The Ice Storm, a movie about social change in the early 1970s. Elijah Wood plays a boy maybe too sensitive for his age:

            “Because of molecules we are connected to the outside world from our bodies. Like when you smell things, because when you smell a smell it’s not really a smell, it’s a part of the object that has come off of it, molecules. So when you smell something bad, it’s like in a way you’re eating it. This is why you should not really smell things, in the same way that you don’t eat everything in the world around you because as a smell, it gets inside of you. So the next time you go into the bathroom after someone else has been there, remember what kinds of molecules you are in fact eating.”

          • Posted by AnonAnon

            Well at least you are finally acknowledging the contamination that you previously denied.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            I didn’t deny that there’s contamination, just that closing the lid would solve the problem. Closing the lid in this graywater toilet might even produce less contamination compared to a more traditional bathroom where the toilet flushed with the lid open is separate from the sink, but in the same room.

            The message here is that a sink on top of a toilet is not a health hazard. Well, maybe it is a mental health hazard.

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            Hate to break it to you, but there is sh** all over every surface of your house. As one scientist once said, if sh** were fluorescent, the whole world would glow.

            I have two friends in with the toilet tank sinks in split bath Victorians. And every place I’ve ever Airbnb’ed in Japan has one (and believe me, the Japanese are as squeamish about germs as anyone on the planet). Those things are a great way to squeeze a sink into a tiny bathroom space.

    • Posted by Crinny

      Question have you talked with a Japanese friend about the difference between a Western bathroom and a Japanese bathroom?

      • Posted by Kento

        Thank you! I live in Tokyo and SF and this kind of stuff is common in Tokyo and other cities. These closed minded people think that their way of life is the only option. TRY TO THINK OUTSIDE YOUR BOX.

    • Posted by Kento

      Um… ever been to Japan? MUCH cleaner place than SF and these toilets are in many homes and public places. PLEASE OPEN YOU MIND AND THINK OUTSIDE YOUR TINY BOX.

    • Posted by Easy

      These are quite common in Japan…

  15. Posted by ohmy

    …”embraced by Generation Y…’

    Until they reach 30 yrs.

  16. Posted by Anon

    There is a kitchen sink and the door locks from the inside – it’s an upgrade!

  17. Even prison cells have separate sinks. This kind of housing should be a crime. Allow buildings to go higher and create humane spaces.

    • Posted by Crinniess

      Have you ever been to other countries that already got these working and they don’t mind, like Taiwan,Singapore,Malaysia,Thailand,Japan,South Korea or evenly the friends who lives overseas in these Asian countries?

  18. Posted by BobN

    Oh, yeah, “communal living” for 23 (or 46!) people, with four bar-counter dining seats and a couch that can seat seven, with a kitchen sink and a stove!

    Prisons have more communal space.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      “Prisons have more communal space”

      Maybe because prisoners don’t have the option to step outside and walk to Zeitgeist or Dolores Park or …

  19. Posted by two beers

    If there’s any prison comparison to be made on that corner, it’s the maximum-security Sternbergian Pelican-Bay-in-the-Mission luxury-loft compound right across the street.

  20. Posted by scott f

    Did I miss the part where it said SocketSite commenters will be forced at gunpoint to live here? Because that would explain why so many of y’all are freaking out about OTHER PEOPLE THAN YOU having an affordable option to stay in a city otherwise outside of their financial means.

    If there’s no forcing at gunpoint, then maybe chill and consider not telling other people how to live.

    I welcome this and will defend it from NIMBYism by every legal means possible.

    • Posted by heynonnynonny

      I think this gunpoint idea deserves serious consideration.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Please. Are you unaware of San Francisco development politics? It is 100% our business to tell other people how to live their lives!

    • Posted by Futurist

      I don’t welcome this and it has nothing to do with Nimbyism.

      This building really is acting like a “drug”, a cheap street drug to lure people to live here in SF, EVEN when they really cannot afford it. They’ll get hooked on this insanely small housing, thinking it’s the real thing; all the while struggling with their $15 an hour wage, still not really “making it” in SF, yet getting buzzed on the “cheap” housing.

      Wait til these units, in the next project are reduced to ONE kitchen and ONE bath per floor, and the living space is 100 square feet. The next group will be so addicted they’ll think they’ve really arrived.

  21. Posted by [soccermom]

    How much will these rents for? Anyone know?

  22. Posted by SFist

    This stinks as another SRO. There are too many SRO’s in this neighborhood as it is.

    If you want group housing – clean out the disgusting SRO’s that exist, they could really do w/ a makeover.

    Clean up this area and add family housing please, not subsidized, not 100% affordable, just 100% market rate, then build that market on the corner of 16th/Mission.

    No micro units wanted in the Mission.

  23. Posted by Amewsed

    Wasn’t there a building like this with micro-units a few years back (the first of its kind) which started out for sale as mini-condos, then rentals, and finally entire building went into foreclosure only to be picked up for a corporate entity? Forgot the name of it but I think this development will share a similar fate.

    • Posted by Orland

      You’re probably thinking of The Cubix on Harrison.

      • Posted by Amewsed

        Yes, that is the one. So this experiment has been tried and failed before.

        SF isn’t remotely like Tokyo in terms of density, population, or business. I am used to small spaces growing up in Hong Kong. SF is nowhere close to Hong Kong

        • Posted by anon

          How did it fail? The building is still there and quite full last time I checked. Perhaps the developers failed to make money, but who cares? People live there now, it shouldn’t be the city’s job to make sure that every developer makes money on every project.

  24. Posted by Anon Atelier

    So anyone in a wheelchair will have to use the communal bathroom for bathing, I don’t think the non accessible bathrooms in each unit are going to pass legal muster with the building code, otherwise we’d have seen a lot more of this already.

  25. Posted by Brad

    Great to see some creative thinking. Not for all, but good for some, and certainly better than a garbage-strewn fenced-off lot.

  26. Posted by Raina Mast

    wait, is this the indentured servant teacher housing?

  27. Posted by Out of Town

    If this is the housing standard in SF we really need to get better transportation (e.g. bullet train) so people can live in more affordable and spacious areas of the state

    • Posted by anon

      Why? I don’t need a big place, I’d rather not have to take a bullet train to some big house that I don’t need.

      • Posted by Anon123

        If there were more (and better) options at a reasonable price you wouldn’t get overcharged as badly for this little cell. Let others take the bullet train to better housing.

        • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

          Easy solution: close the lid before flushing.

  28. Posted by Njon

    This type of housing could be extremely useful as transitional housing for formerly homeless residents. A lower point of entry for those either completely dependent on public assistance or transitioning into a more self-sufficient means of support. A supplement to our outdated and limited supply of SRO units.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      I doubt these developers have such altruistic goals in mind when building these. What you suggest is likely going to be developed under some kind of private/public collaborative effort where profit is low to none.

      • Posted by anon

        Developers are looking to make money. Who cares if their goals are altruistic if it leads to housing that can meet the needs that Njon mentions? Build more housing like this and it allows city vouchers to be used for cheaper housing such as this.

    • Posted by scott f

      Sounds like what Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic wants to do. Beyond Chron just wrote a piece on it.

  29. Posted by SFrentier

    These dreamers from Kansas (developers) expect $1500/month in rent for these POS soon-to-be-SRO-fails. For gods sake even newly arrived/wet behind the ears 20 yo millennials aren’t dumb enough to live in this train wreck for more than a few months on average. And once the easy jobs tech gravy train slows down, this thing will have permanent vacancies, as tech wanna bees scatter back to their hometowns. No wonder some typical SF lefties like THC are for this. They know it will be sold/foreclosed on during the next economic hiccup, and they can pick it up on the cheap (who else would buy a bldg with layouts like this?). Then they can fill it up with their clients in need, former homeless, etc. Not that that’s a bad thing, but there are already tons of SRO’s nearby. This thing will be a fail just like that Cubix dorm room project. Bottom line- this is a greed-dream fantasy that will become a true SRO in the near future. No thanks.

    Oh and BTW, comparing this dorm nonsense to 3-4 roomies in typical SF flats/homes is ridiculous. Most households like that choose their cohabitants by interview. It’s 3-4 people for one kitchen and 1-2 bathrooms. Usually they bring in friends of friends, and as long as they have their sh!t together they all get along quite well, and have a nice shared living experience during that phase of their lives. Doing that with 20+ random people chosen for you by a clueless developer from Kansas? I don’t think so.

    But I do think that this story will be an entertaining one to follow…as the Dev gets their ass handed to them, courtesy of SF sureal estate politics. Wonder how much cash they’re spending to “tie up” this property? I can tell ya, I’m sure the family that owns this thing is happy to be playing along.

    • Posted by anon

      Why would they be vacant? If the developers really need money they’ll just lower the price – the building will be built, they’ll rent it out.

      • Posted by SFrentier

        Of course they could lower the rents. Da problem is…will the owners then be able to cover their monthly obligations?

    • Posted by Spencer

      I think it will be half full of air bnb’ers looking to party in the mission with “locals”

  30. Posted by Vikings didn't really have horns

    “No micro units wanted in the Mission.”

    So you’re saying they will sit vacant once built? Care to put your money where your mouth is, because I’ll take any bet on that. 10/1 odds OK?

  31. Posted by Hellen

    Too small for my 20 something daughter & dangerous. Maybe 500 to 600 Sq ft but not 198, too small; no leg room. These kinds of small places exist in the orient & should not be built in America the land of the free.

    • Posted by Some Guy

      They call it “asia” I believe now, ma’am. New-fangled modern terminology I guess.

      • Posted by SFrentier

        Perhaps she just got off a good Graham Greene novel…

  32. Posted by Joshua

    Nobody says “Generation Y” anymore. That was a term conjured up as a placeholder for the generation after Gen X, the very forgotten generation.

    Young people, aka everyonein SF are much more cool with this kindof living. Some even appreciate communal spaces as a means of greater socializing. That’s why people join frats/sororities. The worst thing it could do to you iis help lower rent across the city. Shut up, nobody is making you live there.

    My 2 cents, I like the micro-space concept. I don’t like the community space. What a pain in the ass cooking/cleaning issues will be among so many. They should have cut out the community spots for say 220 sq. Ft. Per room instead with a micro kitchen each. Then one big lounge for the entire building.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      i say generation Y, as do most people I know. When was the bulletin sent out saying there is no more Generation Y?

      • Posted by Joshua

        It’s Millenial. A much cooler term. Generation Y doesn’t mean anything. It was just a placeholder.

        • Posted by emanon

          I thought they were the Mimi generation, as in “me me me me me!”

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          i think gen y is the preferred term for research.

  33. Posted by weezy

    My buddy in Paris (France) lives in one of these. He’s a cop for the National Police, 25 years in the biz, age 48. Toilets and kitchen are communal. It’s actually a nice place. Two blocks from the Seine. Super convenient to everything. He likes it and has been living there for 15 years and saving money for retirement. A chacun son gout.

  34. Posted by Sara Short

    Pack them in like rats. That’s what happens when you have to pay the cost for your unit and someone else’s subsidized unit too…. So while you only get to live in 198 Sq feet, you have pay for 300 Sq feet. Isn’t social “justice” grand ?

  35. Posted by gentrified is a dirty word for clean

    There’s most definitely a market for this type of housing. But hey, if a bunch of [people] on a message board who will neither live in it or pay for it, then I guess it shouldn’t be built.

  36. Posted by Joshua

    This design needs work. Much more has been done with less. A current SF homesless housong project fit a whole kitchen in 160 sq.ft. I think you’re looking to pinch pennies and maximize claimed space size with these pointless community spots. Give everyone a kitchen Either put in more units or expand them. Nobody needs a community bathrom further away than their own from a lounge. Nobody needs a communal kitchen

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Without communal bathrooms, kitchens and lounges, the project would not qualify as “group housing” and would have to be completely redesigned and the number of units reduced.

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