Today in unsurprising news: The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection has launched an investigation into those $700/mo sleeping pods on Mint Plaza, which may not be permitted.
When we picked up ABC 7's story last week about those sad little sleeping pods that new-to-town AI engineers are sleeping in whilst not coding or attending pitch meetings, a number of you likely thought to yourselves, "Is that all up to code?"
Well, you were right to ask, and as the Chronicle now reports, some ears pricked up over at the Department of Building Inspection and they are now looking into the building at 12 Mint Plaza — which was formerly home to a San Francisco Fire Credit Union branch on the ground floor.
"We’ve opened an investigation, and we’re going to conduct a site visit to evaluate the situation,” says department spokesperson Patrick Hannan, in a statement to the Chronicle.
The firm operating the pod hotel is called Brownstone Shared Housing, as the paper reports, and Brownstone has previously been dinged for an unpermitted pod-sleeping situation inside a single-family home in Palo Alto. As Palo Alto Weekly reported in September 2022, those pods were renting for $800 per month, and the operation caught the city's attention similarly because of news reports about it. Subsequent inspections by the fire department and building inspectors came up with a list of violations in need of correcting, including the use of extension cords and the need for smoke detectors in each pod and outside of them.
It seems like the Palo Alto pod place was allowed to continue operating, assuming these modifications were made.
We know that an outfit called Elsey Partners has been looking to fully renovate the Mint Plaza property for two years now, with a plan for a Japanese-style pod hotel with amenities, and a total of 137 sleeping pods. It's not clear where that project stands.