Architecture and urban design critic John King has penned his official thoughts on The Jasper, that 40-story tower on Rincon Hill that's just opening up for renters, and he sounds sort of disturbed. He stops short of critiquing the design, either of the units or the tower itself, but talks instead about the array of amenities that await tenants paying $4,000/mo and up for a one-bedroom.
He also visits the Lumina, the new sister complex to the Infinity towers that is also separated into two towers, and which unlike the Jasper is a condo building. And he goes to the Azure in Mission Bay, another concierge-style rental complex with many amenities, like a demonstration kitchen, a park, and grilling area.
The Jasper is one extreme of what I call Extreme Living: the packaged lifestyles being dangled before potential residents of all those buildings taking shape above the streets of the city’s northeast corner. We long-timers may resent blocked views, or be dumbfounded by the prices. But the past decade has proved that people who want to live in San Francisco and can afford it an important distinction aren’t just looking for Victorian charm and bohemian funk. For many of them, modern amenities are as seductive as that little cafe around the corner. ...
Ultimately, these residential complexes offer the vision of an urban life without urban hassles. In the middle of the action, but above all the fuss. Surrounded by cosmopolitan stimulation, but curated for you alone. Where panhandlers and traffic fade from view while an app fulfills your needs.
He suggests that this new breed of sterile, high-rise, high-end luxury complexes are part of a New San Francisco that is "isn’t the San Francisco that most of us know," and, he adds, "it has a two-dimensional feel."
As we noted last month, the Jasper and the Azure are just two of multiple high-end residential buildings seeking out renters this fall, with 2,249 new units already on the market and 6,000 more rolling out in the next few months. Will they be able to sustain rents that start in the $3,000 range for studios without views? Time will tell. But given the demand we're always hearing about, and the bevy of newcomers suffering through life in hacker hostels, chances are yes.