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San Francisco May Allow 150-Square-Foot 'Shoebox' Apartments

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) - San Francisco's smallest apartments could soon get even smaller. In a proposal before the Board of Supervisors, a developer's group is proposing the city change its building code to make the smallest living space in an efficiency apartment 150 square feet, down from the current 220 square feet.

Patrick Kennedy of the development firm Panoramic Interests showed CBS 5 A life-size model of the tiniest apartment allowed by the state. It's a little smaller than the one being proposed for San Francisco.

Rents would start at about $900 a month.

Kennedy said there are about 50,000 new college students and 8,000 new workers in the tech field coming into San Francisco every year. For the most part, the would prefer to live in South of Market or Mid-Market. With very few apartments in the area, Kennedy said they end up going to other areas where families have traditionally lived, and driving up the rent.

"On the other hand, if we can build several thousand new units specifically for that demographic - single students, single techies, then we can relieve pressure on the areas outside and on the existing housing stock," said Kennedy.

Sara Shortt of the San Francisco Housing rights committee wonders if the tiny apartment will become the new affordable housing option.

"We fight all the time to make sure that renters live in decent housing conditions," said Shortt. "What we're concerned about is the precedent that it sets. That it's okay for people to live in these very tiny shoebox apartments - some of them the size of a parking space. And what does that mean for quality of life?"

Supervisor Scott Wiener has proposed the new changes. His colleagues will decide whether to approve the apartments at a supervisor's meeting two weeks from Tuesday.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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