A resident of one of the latest iterations of the pod-style sleeping arrangements we saw during the most recent SF tech boom boasted about the cheapness of his rent on social media, leading to TV media coverage and, now, a city inspection.
Sleeping in a pod, or in some sort of bunk bed situation, is nothing new in these parts. People come to town in a rush, they're all about work, and why should they pay such high rent when all they're going to be doing is coding and sleeping? So, when this story emerged the other week about a new pod-hotel complex on Mint Plaza, all we could say was, "Oh, this again," and chalk it up to the AI boom.
ABC 7 caught the story, interviewing AI startup founder Christian Lewis — who had posted about his new pod home on X/Twitter, as seen below, days earlier.
the downstairs lounges are actually nice. pic.twitter.com/FL56gaVjb2— Lewis (@ctjlewis) September 16, 2023
Lewis noted that he was only staying in the pod hotel for 30 days, at $70o/mo.
The story, of course, caught the attention of SF's Department of Building Inspection, who launched their own investigation last week. And, as it turned out, the outfit renting the pods, Brownstone Shared Housing, had run afoul of building and fire inspectors in Palo Alto, where they are also renting pods to tech folk.
As the SF Examiner reports today, inspectors issued violation notices for "illegally installing 4-by-3.5-feet sleeping pods without a residential building permit and illegally converting a toilet into a shower."
And now, Brownstone Shared Housing has to file permits by November 2, and get them approved by December 2, with final sign-off a month later.
There is also the somewhat scary-sounding issue of a front door that required a key to exit from the inside — and obvious fire-code violation. The company now has five days to get a new door that doesn't require a key for exit.
The company has the option, inspectors said, of returning the building "to the last known legal condition." But we know that they, or building owners Elsey Partners, are looking to make the pod-style units permanent as a legit hotel — something they've been filing permits for since November 2021.