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: $3,300.
Where exactly is the “heart of the Mission,” or for that matter the heart of any neighborhood? According to this ad for a one-bed, one-bath apartment on 23rd Street near Bryant, the heart sits suspiciously close to the edge of the neighborhood, closer perhaps to Potrero Hill than what most people would think of as the Mission’s center—but they do say home is where the heart is, so maybe it depends on who you ask? While this building has a fetching curbside exterior with corner turret and bay windows, the unit in question is actually around back via the more utilitarian entrance; since hardly any rental listing is complete without the promise of a remodel, this place is advertised with new floors and living room. And a price to match: $3,300 per month, no pets allowed.
“Prime Pacific Heights” is a similar verbal tic that almost every rental ad in this neighborhood uses. Then again, maybe every home in Pac Heights is prime—it is Pac Heights, after all. Here’s a vintage 1920s, 16-unit building at 1890 Washington offering a one-bed, one-bath apartment for the apparently prime price of $3,300 per month, complete with the promise of high ceilings, hardwood floors, and a fresh paint job. There’s garage parking too, but that’ll drive up the rent by an additional $300. The bathroom and its sea foam green tile work are apparently a remodel. No pets.
Whereas nobody ever makes a bid to be known as the heart of a neighborhood like Rincon Hill—here the alleged exclusivity is a big part of the selling point, particularly in the case of this unit at 399 Fremont, high atop the blue glass-studded tower with its views of the Bay Bridge. This place is just a studio measuring all of 450 square feet, but still commands $3,300 with the promise of quartz countertops, Bosch appliances, walnut flooring, and walk-in closets. At least the steep price tag allows renters to come with pets. Note that this listing is skimpy on visuals—the only photos provided are of the amenities rather than the apartment, which the leasing agents apparently feel people will be interested in sight unseen—such is the alleged allure of high-rise condo living.
Whereas the principal appeal in Glen Park is peace and solitude, or as this listing puts it, “a picture of serenity,” this picture figured in the form of a “detached studio cottage” near the terminus of Castro Street. One thing that’s not-so serene is the daring day-glow green and purple color scheme on the exterior, which is expertly hidden behind hedges until you turn a corner and get an eyeful of the whole thing. The interior is much more conservative and decidedly classy, with lots of woodwork to go around, along with 700 square feet, eleven-foot-tall ceilings, and stunning aqua tiles in the bathroom. No mention of pets.
Last of all, this single-bed, single-bath Nob Hill apartment touts its “crown molding dining room [with] classic look,” and indeed, one look at all the paneling and built-ins beneath the moldings on the other side of those square arches is enough to make this one a keeper—for anyone who has $3,295 per month to spare, that is. Still no pets allowed, though.
Which rental would you choose?
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Pac Heights Apartment
Rincon Hill Condo
Glen Park Cottage
Nob Hill Apartment