Welcome to affordable San Francisco! Here is your $1,000-a-month basement “sleeping pod”

A Kansas developer said it’s the cheapest market-rate project they could draw up

TRD NATIONAL /
Jan.January 25, 2020 02:00 PM
(Credit: SimsWiki, Unsplash)

(Credit: SimsWiki, Unsplash)

A Kansas developer has a concept for below-market-rate housing in San Francisco, but it isn’t exactly pretty.

Helsey Holdings wants to build two apartment buildings with 200-square-foot micro-apartments asking $2,000-per-month and 88 basement “sleeping pods” starting at around $1,000-per-month, according to Fast Company.

For context, a one-bedroom unit in San Francisco costs on average about $3,700-per-month.

Helsey’s Chris Elsey said the concept was borne from a goal to build the most affordable market-rate building possible without the need for government subsidies. The alternative option for providing affordable housing is building a traditional project with larger units and subsidizing some of those units with government dollars.

(Credit: Elsey Partners via Fast Company)

(Credit: Elsey Partners via Fast Company)

At first glance, the basement pods in particular seem dystopian and at second glance they still seems rather dystopian, but Helsey’s Chris Elsey said it’s a better use of that space than using it for parking or storage, like most other buildings.

The pods would be made out of plywood and several would share a common living space about the size of a traditional one-bedroom apartment. The center courtyard of the building is dug out to allow for full-size windows in each basement subspace, per city code.

The micro-unit concept has only gained popularity in the U.S. in recent years, but they’re an established model in some housing-strapped cities. Hong Kong has had micro-apartments for years and they’ve proliferated and become even smaller recently.
Helsey Holdings has submitted plans for the two apartment buildings to the city, but they haven’t yet been approved. [Fast Company]


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