395-Square-Foot Affordable Rentals for SoMa

Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests is best known for developing teensy but livable micro-units. However, his newest proposal in San Francisco isn't technically for his signature micro-studios, but instead for very small one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms whose diminutive size is meant to make them affordable by design—and thus cheaper than the average SoMa apartment. Panoramic just submitted a Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA) to SF Planning for a new building at SoMa's 333 12th Street. All of the units, including the two-bedrooms, are set to be just 395 square feet on average, and Kennedy says that the goal is to make them cost at least 30 percent less than typical rents in the area.

Kennedy has developed two different schemes for the site, designed by Mark Macy of Macy Architecture. The first, which is based on the density currently allowed by zoning, would be a five-story building with 203 units. The larger scheme proposes seven stories and 274 units, and Kennedy says that they plan to push for that configuration by invoking the state density bonus law. "[It] gives a 35 percent density bonus provided we side aside a number of affordable housing units," Kennedy explains. Panoramic has previously made use of the density bonus in Berkeley, but this is the first time the developer will try it in San Francisco.

The initial proposal is for 12.5 percent below-market-rate units, but the development could designate as many as 30 percent of the units as affordable depending on what percentage of area median income is used to calculate the price of the units. "We want to produce as much affordable housing as we can," says Kennedy.

In the meantime, Kennedy and Panoramic have begun the planning process for the development, although the purchase of the land has not yet been finalized. Panoramic is in the process of buying the site from Ryan Associates, a general contractor, and decided to move forward with the PPA before the sale was final because of the amount of time it takes to get approvals.

Macy's design is set to fit in with the area's "warehouse/art/industrial context," and facades would include wood siding combined with the "cooler tones" of corrugated/metal materials from the neighborhood. The building would be car-free, with underground basement bike parking. If Panoramic's plans move forward on schedule, construction would kick off in about two years.

credit: SF.Curbed | photo credit: Panoramic Interests