Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $6,400.
Is there anything more San Franciscan than the phrase, “four-plus bedroom, 2.5 bathroom Victorian apartment for rent?” Well, how about the fact that this Franklin Street building is in the Western Addition on the west side of Van Ness—even though the ad wants renters to believe it’s in Lower Nob Hill and Lower Pac Heights? Oh Craigslist. The ad also promises “high ceilings” (notice the coved design in most rooms) and a whopping 1,700 square feet of space. There are also a few nice touches not specifically singled out, like the pocket doors and built-ins in the living room. Although the headline teases the idea of “four-plus” bedrooms—suggesting that perhaps some other room in the unit might double as a bed for folks who want to split the rent five ways—it’s hard to tell where that might go. In any case, the price is $6,400 per month. No pets allowed.
A similar hard sell is happening with this “stunning home built [in] 2016” and its “ultra Sunset location.” For those trying to find the ultra Sunset locale on their internal map, it’s around 20th and Irving, though most people would call that the Outer Sunset, or perhaps Central Sunset. “Newly built three-story home shows utmost in pride of ownership and epitomizes elegant living at its finest,” the ad promises, dangling the likes of “unparalleled finish quality, sophisticated palate and material richness.” Although from the street this pre-2016 place looks virtually identical to the facade today—and city records date the structure to 1910—building permits reveal that what’s renting is an entirely new unit built onto the back of the original building three years ago. It measures 1,600 square feet and comes with three bedrooms (the ad floats the idea of using the living room as a fourth bedroom) and three bathrooms. It costs $6,300 per month. Again, no pets allowed.
Speaking of new construction, the VELA building at 2353 Lombard markets itself as a “modern San Francisco apartment building” that’s “filled with the latest in technology,” including keyless entry and “multi-zone heating and video intercom systems” in all apartments. This building also finished construction in 2016 and is angling for renters for $6,395 per month for one of the site’s two-bed, two-bath condos. The ad even references the proximity to the nearby Apple Store on Chestnut Street. Though the sales pitch leans heavily on the trendiness of living in the Marina, this spot is, in fact, just south in Cow Hollow. Happily, the building does allow pets.
Over in NoPa you can find a remodeled three-bed, two-bath flat with the remains of an old brick chimney running through the kitchen; the living room fireplace on the other side is purely decorative these days. Per the Department of Building Inspection, the advertised recent remodel happened in 2016—a busy year, it seems—and included plans to “replace in-kind kitchen and two baths” along with the plumbing and electrical systems and additional efficiency lighting but “no layout or opening changes.” The final result is 1,700 square feet for $6,295 per month, pets included.
This Alamo Square apartment, located a few blocks east of the previous offering, can be found at what the ad bills as the intersection of “three of the most desired neighborhoods in San Francisco.” The building at 949 Fell (circa 1919) has not been recently constructed, recently remodeled, or much of recently anything. But is renting with “a spacious open concept floor plan,” three beds, three baths, and full permission for pets at $6,199 per month.
Which rental would you choose?
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Western Addition apartment
Cow Hollow Condo
Alamo Square apartment