A grand a month (utilities and groceries included) to live a block away from Alamo Square is an impossibly good deal no matter how you slice it. The catch is that you’d be sharing a room with 5 other people, and the entire house with 38 more.
Is it worth it? Well, literally dozens of San Franciscans already think so, for whatever that’s worth.
The tenants of 860 Fell, a thee-story, 14-room Victorian circa 1894 between Fillmore and Steiner, took out a Craigslist ad for new roommates this week. The house is an old-school commune, where $1,000-$1,400/month covers room and board, food, utilities, the works.
The higher the rent, the fewer people you’re splitting a room with. They’re dividing ten bedrooms and 11 and a half baths between nearly 40 people, so you can do the math on that one.
Others have called called Chateau Ubuntu (as the kids named it, combining French and Bantu words) a "nightmarish, hug-based living community." Or dubbed it the "Millennial hippie commune of your nightmares."
But for the most part it doesn’t look much different from the way bohemian San Francisco commune types have lived for decades. The house Instagram account and YouTube channel feature a fair amount of guitar playing and fire dancing, and it goes without saying that there’s yoga and frequent use of phrases like "sharing with intention."
There’s a 35 question survey to fill out if you want to move in, which does included questions like "What does community mean to you?" But most of the queries are about references, move-in dates, and house chores. The last one is whether there are any other questions you think ought to be on the survey.
Rather than the hippy dippiness, the thing that seems most likely to give applicants pause is whether they want to live with this many people in the first place, and whether the $1,400/month is worth it.
But with rents in the city still the highest in the nation and evidencing little desire to dip, Vegas odd are that Fell Street house won’t have trouble cobbling together some applicants.
The enormous house (reportedly designed by Albert Pissis, the man who brought Beaux-Arts to the city) sold last year for $3 million. Previously, it sold in 2005 for only $321,000. That’s just under $400,000 after inflation, less than a third of the price of a modest condo in the same neighborhood today. Let that sink in.
Check out some scenes from inside the million dollar-plus commune, should you be inclined to live there.
- 860 Fell Street [Chateau Ubuntu]
- Community Living, Lower Haight [Craigslist]
- SF Mansion Offering Nightmarish Community [SF Gate]
- Hippie Commune of Your Nightmares [SFist]
- Good Morning Ubuntu [Instagram]
- Chateau Ubuntu [YouTube]
- House application [Chateau Ubuntu]
- Which Tech Workers Can Afford SF? [Curbed SF]
- Exhaustive Neighborhood Price Map [Curbed SF]
- Restored Vic Near Alamo Square [Chronicle]