When we took a tour of the under-construction micro-units at the Panoramic, developer Patrick Kennedy's upcoming 11-story building in SoMa, California College of the Arts had already signed a lease to rent out the bottom half of the building for student housing. At the time, the top half was still set to be rented out on the open market. Now the San Francisco Conservatory of Music has leased the building's top five floors, meaning that the Panoramic will be one big—and very artsy—dorm. The building is located near many of the city's art hotspots, including the San Francisco Symphony, the opera, the ballet and SFJAZZ Center. And it's just as well. We were having trouble imagining normal civilians deciding to live above five floors of dorm, even with the prospect of half-naked yoga on the roof deck.
Photo via Patricia Chang
Designed by Dwellwell (now Workshop1) with Kwan Henmi, the project consists of 160 apartments with an average size of 354 square feet—though 120 will be smaller than 300 square feet. A typical studio will be a mere 274 square feet.
If those units had been rented out on the market, their diminutive size would have put them among the smallest rentals in the city. As student housing, however, they will qualify as very nice. Each unit has its own kitchen with a dishwasher, fridge, microwave, and two-burner ministove. There are Murphy beds and flat-screen TVs provided, bike parking downstairs, a bike-repair station, a fireplace, and a roof deck with planter boxes and a barbecue.
The building's status as student housing also means that it can take advantage of a law passed in 2011 that allows developers who build student housing to bypass the usual affordable-housing fee developers must pay. The law is intended to spur developers to help address the city's student housing shortfall, which the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition estimates at 50,000 beds. Kennedy, long a developer of student housing in Berkeley, is the first to take advantage of the law.
Construction will wrap up in June 2015, in time for the start of school in the fall.
· A Sneak Peak At the Panoramic's Partially-Finished Micro-Units [Curbed SF]
· Conservatory Leases Student Housing in SoMa, a Rarity in SF [SFGate]
· A Micro-Unit for Two Is a Slumber Party That Never Stops [Curbed SF]