San Francisco approves 220-square-foot apartments

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco could soon be home to some of the tiniest apartments in the country: studios for up to two people that include a bathroom, kitchen and a living area measuring 10 feet by 15 feet.

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved legislation allowing construction of up to 375 micro units measuring a minimum of 220-square feet. Building codes previously had required that apartment living rooms alone be that size.

Several city lawmakers said they were worried that sanctioning apartments so small would exacerbate, rather than help, San Francisco’s shortage of affordable housing by driving up rents for bigger places.

The itsy-bitsy studios are expected to fetch $1,300 to $1,500 a month. The average studio apartment in the city now goes for more than $2,000 a month.

But the board voted 10-1 to allow them as a limited experiment, ordering city planners to come back after 325 of the efficiency apartments have been approved with a report outlining what they rented for and their impact on construction of bigger units.

“Even though they do maximize their use of the space, you are still talking about very small units being very expensive,” Supervisor David Campos said. “If these places that are 200 square feet are going for 1500, what is that going to do to the rest of housing prices in San Francisco?”

Tuesday’s vote was preliminary. The issue is scheduled to come back to the board for a final vote in two weeks.

Supervisor Scott Wiener, a supporter of the proposal, said the tiny apartments would be a worthwhile addition to the city’s housing stock.

“We already have a lot of micro units in San Francisco. They are called roommate situations,” Wiener said. “This will allow people the ability, if they choose, to live alone and to pay less rent than they would otherwise have to get a one-bedroom (apartment).”

More in Herald Business Journal

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Boeing makes investments in future of autonomous flight

“We believe these are … technology enablers that could change the future of aviation.”

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Snohomish, Monroe manufacturers honored for innovation, excellence

Two Snohomish County companies have been honored with Manufacturing Excellence awards at… Continue reading

Remodeled home tours planned this weekend

This weekend, Edmonds-based Chermak Construction will participate in the 2017 Remodeled Homes… Continue reading

Barron Heating to celebrate anniversary at Marysville showroom

Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary from 10… Continue reading

Robots on Wall Street: Slow-footed regulators lose ground

Watchdogs have to figure out how to check computers running lightening-fast algorithms.

Most Read