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What $2,900 rents you in SF right now

They all cost roughly the same, but are they made equal?

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: $2,900.

If there’s a more pointedly commercial-ready phrase for the SF rental market than “modern remodel on waterfront” it’s hard to imagine what it might be. This one bed, one bath East Cut apartment that’s just a touch under 1,200 square feet carries the “loft-style” billing thanks to the upper bedroom space, the towering wall of windows, and the one omnipresent brick wall spanning the unit. While the ad boasts of the building’s historic pedigree, it doesn’t actually go so far as to name the location or address; nevertheless, the references to Spear Street, its 1857 construction, and its 1996 conversion into condos means this is almost certainly the 46-unit Harbor Lofts building. In a particularly singular bit of salesmanship, the ad also points out that the structure “is located on bedrock and not landfill.” The only thing harder around here is the cash you’ll lay down for it: $2,900 per month, pets included.

Rather than historic, this building in Hayes Valley, located at 388 Fulton, is a fresh addition to the cityscape, opening in 2016 and touted as a car-free hub of trendy micro-apartment living built on a lot once occupied by the now-demolished Central Freeway. The large-scale, dichotomous black-and-white design is a solid giveaway that architect David Baker is behind this one, noting the Feng-Shui compatibility of many of its elements. The apartment listed here is a studio. While there’s no word in the ad about the specs, the building’s micro-studios run about 350 square feet. In keeping with its car-free ethos, there’s no car parking, but the lease includes bike parking. It costs $2,900 per month. Pets are “negotiable.”

Speaking of new additions, even Mission-dwellers who don’t recognize the name of the Vida building will place its unmissable facade and tilted windows, built on a long-vacant plot in 2014. At one point during its January 2015 opening, some of the larger units went for nearly $7,500 per month, but in this case a much more modestly sized one-bed, one-bath apartment less than 500 square feet costs $2,850 per month—still a vast sum all things considered, but still technically deescalation in this context. The combination of dark wide-plank floors and concrete ceiling compliment each other quite nicely. A better compliment: This place is onboard with pets.

In the Outer Richmond, this long apartment, overlooking Cabrillo, comes with one bed and one bath tucked off to the side. This is a top-floor unit (the listing gratefully refrains from calling it a penthouse) has been recently remodeled, replete with new tile, quartz counters, and a custom glass shower. The bathroom also sports twin sinks, which the listing agent is so excited about that it appears in all caps in the ad—who can resist that kind of enthusiasm in this day and age? The $2,900 per month asking price is a little bit harder to get jazzed about, but on the bright side it’s a rent-controlled apartment. “Sorry, no pets.”

Last up, on the Inner Sunset near Judah Street this two-bed, one-bath, 600-square-foot apartment costs $2,900 per month. The ad highlights a “large open plan living/kitchen area,” although in truth the kitchen looks more like a kitchenette set back in its own nook. The listing neglects to comment on pets one way or the other.


Which rental would you choose?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    East Cut Loft
    (111 votes)
  • 5%
    Hayes Valley Micro-Studio
    (14 votes)
  • 25%
    Mission Condo
    (65 votes)
  • 20%
    Outer Richmond Apartment
    (51 votes)
  • 3%
    Sunset Apartment
    (10 votes)
251 votes total Vote Now