As we first reported last year:

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.

The hotel as proposed would total around 16,000 square feet, which is roughly 5,000 square feet larger than the base zoning for the parcel would allow.  But the purchase of Transferable Development Rights (TDR) would allow for the floor area of the project as proposed and Planning’s preliminary review of the plans didn’t raised any red flags.

That being said, we’ve been notified that a different entity, BD Hotels, has not only trademarked “THE POD HOTEL” but is seeking to enforce an exclusive right to the use of the word “POD” in connection with hotels, which is likely to result in a redesign of the proposed Mint Plaza project’s facade, at the very least.

12 thoughts on “Proposed “Pod-Style” Hotel Challenged, but Not By Planning”
  1. The sweet smells of [other people] and socks all night. A truly wondrous SF experience coming our way…and the quality of life continues to slowly slip away.

      1. You don’t always need money. I’ve stayed in a 4,200 sq. ft. presidential suite at the Shangri-La Bangkok and a 1,700 diplomatic suite at the Park-Hyatt Tokyo. Didn’t cost me a cent.

    1. I am not sure how a downtown hotel for tourists has anything to do with the “quality of life” of residents of the city? This sounds like the typical sort of tourist hostel that one can find in many European cities. It is not the sort of place I would choose to stay in, but I am fortunate enough to have the money to stay in an upscale hotel. I recognize many (probably most) other people do not have the same resources that I do, and I would certainly not judge anyone for choosing hotel accommodations they can afford. I see nothing wrong with the proposed project.

  2. an exclusive right to the use of the word “POD” in connection with hotels

    Then perhaps they have an out, as some grammarians will argue no “hotel” is involved here…

    1. Unfortunate that a USA firm has trademarked “pod”. That term has been in use at least since the 1980s for the Japanese product.

      Maybe this is a harbinger for a USA firm to trademark “love” in the context of hotel. With all of recent PoS automation available these days it is even easier to vend room keys directly at the front door with no human interaction.

  3. Pod hotels in Japan don’t have any privacy unless you pay for the premium units (which kind of defeats the purpose)…

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