Additional Dwelling Units
The ADU program is progressive legislation aimed at helping resolve the housing shortage in San Francisco. It turns off many of the restrictive zoning requirements that prevented property owners from adding dwelling units in the past. The intent of the ordinance is quantity, not quality and allows squishing apartments into places no apartment should ever be. By leveraging decades of experience designing high end residences, we seem to turn out units that grab higher than average rental rates. I have close contacts inside the planning department and help steer some of this program by providing feedback from the front line.
When I first came to San Francisco, I lived in a nice little 1 bedroom with my (then) girlfriend right around the corner from this project. It's my favorite neighborhood in SF, for no reason in particular except that I went through that initial introduction to the wonders of living here. The other thing relevant about this neighborhood is that it's easy to see the cyclical changes that San Francisco has gone through over the last 150 years. The upper apartments in this building are classic Victorians with high ceilings and attention to detail. Over the years they've been hacked and adapted to current needs till only vestigial remnants of the better times persist. The same could be true of this project, favoring more living space over automobile parking and storage. No doubt these apartment will get top dollar when they hit the market in mid 2018.
BASEMENT & GARAGE CONVERSIONS
Basements are the most common ADU. Up until now, most buildings maxed out on either their density or zoning designation for the maximum number of units they could have. The remaining tough issue with basements is getting a window onto open space to meet the mitigated requirements of Sec. 140 for exposure. Exiting from basements is also complicated, especially when exit stairs from above pass through or discharge through a side passage.
The intent of Ord. 162-16 (to be updated again in Sept 2017) is to place dwelling units in under-used parts of the building, producing apartments with shortcomings that will hopefully keep their market appeal in check, and hence the price in the "reasonable" zone. Property owners have different goals, wanting to see a return on investment as soon as possible. Good design, a sensible layout and a few tricks can change the feel of a basement apartment to be comparable with other units, and often exceed their value in income potential.
STAND ALONE GARAGE CONVERSIONS
Stand alone garages offer the greatest potential for interesting units. There is usually better access to light, better exiting, better opportunity for outdoor space or roof deck. This one grabbed the flat roof over the garage for a 325 sq ft private access roof deck. Attention to detail inside includes European white oak floors (very Danish) and a layout that places the bedroom away from the street for privacy and quiet.