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San Francisco Building Inspectors Probe Tiny-Bed Pods for Techies

Written by Joshua Bote and Kevin TruongPublished Sep. 26, 2023 • 4:33pm
A San Francisco residence located in Mint Plaza in SoMa went viral on social media. | Source: Courtesy Christian Lewis

The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection has opened an investigation into the Mint Plaza pod housing complex that received widespread attention on social media and local news media last week.

A case was opened up Tuesday as city officials determine whether the developers had the proper permits to build sleeping pods inside the Downtown San Francisco building, which was previously a location of the San Francisco Fire Credit Union.

"We are aware of the issue and have opened an investigation to determine if there is a code violation," said Patrick Hannan, a spokesperson for the department, in a statement to The Standard.

The department is also looking into whether additional work has been done on the property without proper permits.

Brownstone Shared Housing, the firm managing the development, opened up the complex sometime in June, according to social media posts by the company. The company already has similar short-term pod housing properties in Palo Alto and Bakersfield. Last year, the Palo Alto unit was cited for multiple code violations.

Brownstone did not respond to a request for comment.

The Downtown San Francisco property currently has around 20 pods on the top floor of the three-story structure—with a mixture of AI founders, other technologists, artists and retail workers currently renting out the pods. The other two floors have common areas, a stove-less and oven-less kitchen; there is a bathroom on each floor. It costs $700 a month; internet and utilities are included.

The property is currently listed on the market as an office building for $3.3 million. The owner of the property is Kansas-based Elsey Partners, a developer who previously submitted plans to develop an eight-story pod-style hotel on the property.

Markus Shayeb, a real estate broker with TRI Commercial listing the property, said those plans stalled and Elsey signed a one-year lease for the property with Brownstone.

“We had a very strong disclaimer when we did the lease,” Shayeb said.

This is a developing story.

Joshua Bote can be reached at
Kevin Truong can be reached at

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