In search of reasonable rent, the middle-class backbone of San Francisco — maitre d’s, teachers, bookstore managers, lounge musicians, copywriters and merchandise planners — are engaging in an unusual experiment in communal living: They are moving into dorms.
Shared bathrooms at the end of the hall and having no individual kitchen or living room is becoming less weird for some of the city’s workers thanks to Starcity, a new development company that is expressly creating dorms for many of the non-tech population.
…These are not single-family homes that are being used as group houses.
Instead, Starcity residents get a bedroom of 130 square feet to 220 square feet. Many of the buildings will feature some units with a private bath for a higher rent.
…Starcity’s target demographic makes $40,000 to $90,000 a year. Most of the residents, who range in age from their early 20s to early 50s.
…The Starcity community manager (a.k.a. the building manager) is extremely involved in household affairs, dropping off care packages when someone is sick and organizing birthday parties. If tenants sign up for premium services, Starcity will do their laundry for $40 a month, clean rooms for $130 a week and even arrange for dog day care.
…Wearing muddy leather boots, black jeans and a hard hat, he examined Mason Street, formerly a residential hotel that served homeless and low-income people in the Tenderloin neighborhood. It will soon be 71 Starcity units.
The Tenderloin, a traditionally working-class and diverse neighborhood with a large arts scene and a sizable homeless population, has been slowly gentrifying, leading to rising tensions. (Most of Starcity’s residents are white.) On the sidewalk outside Mr. Dishotsky’s construction zone that morning, there were used needles and several tents.