Plans to raze the 2-story San Francisco Fire Credit Union building at 12 Mint Plaza are in the works. And as envisioned by Prime Design for Elsey Partners, which is the Kansas-based team behind a couple of contentious micro-unit developments in the Mission, an eight-story, 160-bed “pod hotel” could rise up to 85 feet in height upon the Mid-Market site.

Inspired by the pod-style hotels first seen in Japan, but with a bit less privacy, each pod in the six 690-square-foot “sleeping rooms” would be outfitted with a blackout curtain, fold down desk, storage bin, charging ports, individual lighting and temperature control.

Shared bathrooms at the end of the six pod floors would be outfitted with three showers, three toilets and four open sinks, with a basement-level spa, an eight-floor bar/breakfast space and a 750-square-foot rooftop terrace for guests.

We’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Cody

    I wonder if this little building will be squeezed between the neighboring building during an earthquake.

    • Posted by Irving f

      Do you ask yourself the same thing when thinking of 130 Bush?

      • Posted by Cody

        yes I do & I have been inside of the little gem at 130 Bush. I have a nice book about making buildings safe. Adjoining buildings in an earthquake can cause damage to one another when moving side to side during an earthquake.

        • Posted by socal

          Almost every building in San Francisco is “joined”

          • Posted by Notcom

            I’m pretty sure Cody doesn’t have the only copy, so we needn’t worry. And there’s more to it than proximity, IIRC the major issue is buildings with different natural frequencies will pound each other; my (admittedly inexpert) eye would worry most about the left side, where it adjoins a five-story building…but, again, this isn’t something novel.

  2. Posted by Neighborhood Activist

    Who is the market for these pods? Not tourists, as there isn’t any place to put luggage.

    In Japan, the capsule hotels are mostly used by businessmen who have missed the last train home after a night of drinking. But I don’t really see that as a viable market here. Maybe I’m missing something.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      There are storage vestibules on each pod floor as well, as shown on the plans in the gallery above. And according to the project team, the hotel will target “single travelers on a budget” and provide “a unique stay in San Francisco’s Market Street area.”

      • Posted by Dave (Seattle dude)

        Is anyone looking for a unique stay in mid-Market? Please – I know you were saying that sort of tongue in cheek. Let’s get real, the only “stay” associated with mid-Market is “away from.”

        • Posted by Notcom

          I believe the [quotation marks] indicate it was taken from promo material; sad that a link wasn’t provided so we could bemuse ourselves more thoroughly.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      All over the world there are budget hostels where multiple people sleep in the same room and share a bathroom.

      • Posted by jimbo

        yep, this is basically a hostel

  3. Posted by aha

    I recently watched a video about a pod hotel in Australia. In that case, the individual pods had more privacy and seemed like they had lockable doors (hatches?). These just seem like bunk beds with a blackout curtain. As in, this looks like not much more of an upgrade than a garden variety youth hostel of 80s and 90s, like the kinds I used in Europe when I was bumming around after college.

    It’s all groovy with me, but I think it’s a stretch to call these pods or call this a “hotel.” If you look at the pod hotels in Japan or elsewhere, the pods are much more substantial in terms of self-contained privacy, security and function.

  4. Posted by Foggy Goat

    If I am not mistaken, when a guest stays in either a conventional hotel or SRO room for longer than 30 days they become a residential tenant and receive the same protections under city law as a tenant of a residential building. Does anyone know whether the same would apply to guests who stay in a “pod” for longer than 30 days? This project strikes me as away to build a residential SRO that fits through a pod shaped loophole in tenancy laws.

    • Posted by heycarlos

      Yes, after 30 days they would become a tenant of the pod.

  5. Posted by c_q

    seems like a hostel more than a hotel. or maybe a train sleeper car.

    how much are they hoping to get per night for these “accomodations”?

    • Posted by ttt

      Ya, this is definitely a hostel. Current hostels are asking ~$40/night, so if this is shiny and new, $50/night is probably a reasonable estimate.

  6. Posted by unlivablecity

    Remember how after the crazy rezoning schemes in the Mission in the early 2000’s everybody just changed their buildings into self storage? This has the same kind of “park your money into as asset with some cash flow” odor as parking lots and self storage.

    • Posted by Plugger

      Seems like too small of a footprint for land banking?

  7. Posted by MyOddCommentHandle

    New spin on a hostel (ala residential motel). Geographically, right there off Mission. I predict it will be a magnet for residential tents.

  8. Posted by citizenkarma

    POD=Plan On Drugs. Methinks a disconnect exists between the anticipated and actual target market.

  9. Posted by JoJo

    Covid will love this!

  10. Posted by Bluntcard

    Back in the olden days, this kind of situation was called prison.

  11. Posted by Pablito

    I think affordable pod hotels are a cool idea. Hopefully whose time has come to SF. But unless there are some pretty strong conditions put in I could see it becoming a substandard SRO….

  12. Posted by DJ

    Argentina has tons of buildings built at this form factor. Super tall and small lots.

    Loved the pod hotels I stayed in, in Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh. We should have more hostels for a city this size.

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