A seven-story building constructed in place of the old Home restaurant on Church and Market streets has gone up in lightning-speed, by San Francisco standards. But the 60-unit building — which includes eight apartments at below-market-rate rent — isn’t going to be occupied by people living there full time. Instead, as Hoodline and Curbed report, it will be leased for short-term rentals through a company called Sonder.
Sonder advertises itself as a “next-gen hospitality company,” which offers a “boutique living service” for those interested in renting short term. The company told Curbed that it plans to lease units in the 2100 Market St. building for an average of six months to a year. Each unit is furnished: from the street, you can see beige sofas lining the large windows that look over the Safeway parking lot.
“Sonders are located in the kinds of vibrant neighborhoods where we ourselves want to live, in cities across North America and Europe,” the company’s website states.
But Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who oversees the district where this new building was built, is not happy about the development.
“San Francisco neighborhoods never signed up for corporate hotels masquerading as rental housing,” he wrote on Facebook Thursday morning. “Since learning about the developer’s plans to operate 2100 Market as an extended stay hotel earlier this week, my office has been in contact with the Planning Department and the City Attorney’s office to determine whether these units are allowed under existing law. If they are, we need to change the law and close this loophole.”
It appears Sonder is only the latest company to act first and ask later. But it does hint at a potential trend: Have other developers advertised their buildings as apartments only to list the units as temporary rentals once construction is complete?