Built in 1913 and opened as the Keystone Hotel, roughly half (81) of the 168 hotel rooms at 54 Fourth Street, which is now ‘The Mosser,’ were subsequently reclassified and rented as residential units without kitchens (i.e., SRO units) which average 142 square feet in size, thirteen (13) of which remain occupied by permanent residents, four (4) of which have been occupied by the same tenants for over 20 years.

As proposed, sixty-eight (68) of the SRO units will be permanently converted to tourist hotel rooms, which are expected to fetch rates of up to $599 per night, with the thirteen (13) rooms occupied by permanent residents to remain as “residential” units for now and the aforementioned four (4) to receive lifetime leases.

Rather than providing replacement SRO units on a one-to-one basis, Mosser Companies is planning to pay a yet to be determined “in-lieu fee” to an affordable housing fund in order to move forward with the conversion.

And while the conversion will result in a reduction in existing SRO units, which are affordable by design, it will also result in more market-rate hotel rooms and “contribute to [the economic health of San Francisco] by creating jobs at the hotel” and meet the needs of tourists whom are “more likely to spend money in nearby restaurants, bars and retail shops,” as noted in the project’s application.

22 thoughts on “More Tourists, Fewer Residents as Proposed”
  1. Does this mean that other SRO operators who want to “go out of business” can pay this fee and market to folks who “are more likely to spend money” (read NOT poors)? Because this would be a disaster for folks who need these types of units.

  2. Seems like encouraging a new hotel on top of the Cole Hardware next door (which I love, but is a stupid awful use of space) or on top of the block long parking garage on Mission would be better for the economic health of SF.

    1. Why is a hardware store a “stupid awful use of space” or do you mean a taller structure, possibly with a hardware on the ground floor(s), should be there?

  3. Do all rooms have windows? Is that even a requirement for an SRO? The windows on two sides of the building appear tiny (and of the lot-line variety in some cases).

  4. $599 per night for the Mosser? Maybe “up to” means on the weekend that the Superbowl is in San Francisco, but I fail to see how increasing supply will cause prices to quadruple.

    Just looking at Booking.com for the Saturday of Feb 24, I see the following rates:

    Hilton San Francisco, $161
    Hyatt Regency, $199
    Palace Hotel, $205
    The Mosser, $135
    Hotel Nikko, $176

    If we change dates to Saturday, May 26, we find:

    Hilton San Francisco, $229
    Hyatt Regency, $199
    Palace Hotel, $199
    The Mosser, $180
    Hotel Nikko, $280

    1. And I’m sure that if you booked a room at the Hotel Nikko, The Hilton, The Hyatt or Palace, your room would be larger, on average, than 142 ft². Someone at the Mosser Companies needs to ease up on the bong hits.

    2. We’re not sure how “up to” is interpreted as the rate one could find for an average room. Regardless, room rates in 2018 are projected to range from $159 per night for the Mosser Twin with a shared bath to $379 per night for a Deluxe Queen, with suites priced up to $599 per night. And yes, the proposed conversion is slated to yield a few executive suites.

      1. Well, of course. The rack rates are what you can tell the Police when someone stays in the room an extra night and refuses to pay. You can argue that you suffered a damage of this amount because it’s the amount posted on the door of the room.

        But Hotels are not able to move inventory at rack rates, so that number shouldn’t go into your business model, for example when determining if an upgrade pencils out.

        Bottom line, if someone tells you that you need to pay $380 to rent a small hotel room with a bathroom (Deluxe!) in a seedy part of SOMA, then you should not listen. Lots of great hotel rooms to be had in much better neighborhoods for $200 and a bathroom is included.

  5. So the project applicant says that more market-rate hotel rooms will “creat[e] jobs at the hotel”. According to Glassdoor, a hotel housekeeper in San Francisco earns an average salary $31,395.

    If I were a Commissioner, Administrator or what have you and this project came before me, I’d have to ask the applicant: does the economic health of San Francisco depend upon creating more jobs that pay less than the cost of living so that a few members of the petty bourgeoisie can make more money?

    1. Yep. That’s exactly how a large portion of our economy works. Those people that own a large part of the Central Valley employing all those field hands? Those people live here in San Francisco. And it’s been reflected in the City’s land use planning for the last 100 years.

  6. Good. There should be a clear path for property owners who want to convert. We should be focusing on translating them to permanent affordable housing that’s built to code and well maintained instead of clutching onto old substandard SRO housing.

    1. – Affordable to people living in them.
      – built to code and well maintained.

      Any of those rabbits you can pull out of your hat to make these mutually exclusive things happen?

      1. That’s easy – SF has a solution for that. We just hit all the other development projects with $100k in impact fees and ‘design reviews’ per unit to subsidize ‘affordable’ housing (that costs more than the housing stock of 90% of the rest of the country) and voila – all our ‘middle class’ housing is now unaffordable.

        Wait -darn it – that’s not how it supposed to go….

        SF has the Same number of homeless people on the street now – 7,000 – as it did 20 years ago. “Transitioning them to permanent affordable housing” by taxing the heck out of everybody else has been an abject public policy failure when measured by results of the # of people living on the streets.

        It’s also ethically questionable to help only a few people (5%?) a year with really fancy permanent housing while ignoring the other 95% still sleeping on the streets. We should be building more affordable SRO’s – and giving everyone an equal opportunity to get off the street. That would be good planning.

      2. Pablito, the absolute number of number of homeless people on the street compared to 20 years ago is not a defensible measure of whether or not a public policy is working. You’d have to compare the ratio of homeless to the total population two decades ago to the same ratio now.

        I don’t know what the numbers are, but if it was true the number of homeless is the same as it was 20 years ago and the total population increased over 15% during the same time period that means the policies in place aren’t “an abject public policy failure”.

        And the implication that allowing more (presumably privately-developed) SROs in lieu of permanent affordable housing would provide everyone an equal opportunity to get off the street is laughable.

        1. The City’s numbers show the ratio of homeless to total population have been pretty consistent over the past 20 years. The City had 776,733 people in year 2000 of which 5,376 were homeless. 2017 we have 870,887 people of which 7,499 were homeless. So no progress there either.

          The City used to have a large number of affordable privately developed SRO’s. It’s a fact – they existed for 70-80 years. They existed until the City – as public policy – had many of them torn down under the guise of redevelopment. They could exist again if Planning flavored it.

          I still think it’s ethically questionable for the City government to help only a few people (5%?) A year while ignoring the other 95%. SF used to be a democracy – not a special interest oligarchy.

          1. Land is far too expensive today. Just look at San Jose’s plan for microunits to house the homeless…100 sq ft units that cost $73,000 each.

          2. 100Sf units for $73k is a bargain compared to what SF is doing now. We could house 5x or 6x as many people as we do currently and actually build our way out of the problem instead of treading water for 20 years. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *