By Cory Weinberg, San Francisco Business Times, October 21, 2014:

Developer Forest City is pulling out two effective weapons in San Francisco’s amenity wars: a panoramic rooftop view and a bite-sized mall of local retail and food vendors.

The 88-unit apartment complex at 2175 Market St., where residents started moving in this month, definitely packs in small, pricey units. The building – which straddles the Castro, Mission and Duboce Triangle – is the smallest of Forest City’s string of projects in the city, which includes a proposal for housing, office and maker space at Pier 70 as well as a plan to bring housing, retail and office to the 5M project in SoMa. The company also developed the Presidio Landmark apartments in the national park and the Westfield Mall on Market Street.

At 2175 Market, residents just moved into 30 of the units, and construction is still ongoing. The building will be at full capacity in the next three-to-six months, with a phased move-in, Forest City vice president Alexa Arena said.

“The interest is off the charts,” she said.

I toured the building Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know about the units, views and neighborhood retail space that will become another Market Street draw:

The Residences

The apartment complex includes both a 65-foot tall building facing Market Street and a 45-foot tall building facing 15th Street, with a small courtyard with benches in the middle.

The complex includes a mix of one- and two-bedrooms apartments, with one-bedrooms mostly less than 650-square-feet with a $3,300 price tag. Arena showed me one of 2175 Market’s gems – a one-bedroom on the taller building’s flatiron corner with a wide view of Market Street.

The relatively small rooms (though not micro-units) try to work around the lack of space with pull-out kitchen cabinets and built-in closet shelves. “For the right person, it really works,” she said.

One-fifth of the units are designated as affordable housing – far above the 12 percent onsite that’s required by the city’s inclusionary housing law. “There’s an element of inclusiveness that we like to have,” Arena said.

The retail market

The 3,900 square-foot open market hall on the ground floor now has construction workers hammering way and still has several months to go until it takes shape. The space’s concept, too, is under construction.

Jordan Langer, a local bar-owner who is creating the space, rattled off a list of possibilities for types of companies to fill each of the 10-to-15 50-square-foot vending spaces. There definitely will be plenty of coffee (but not Starbucks or Philz) and alcohol (both a bar and a small liquor store where you can buy the bar’s cocktail ingredients). There could be a dog biscuit bakery or a hot shave barber’s chair. Or, he said, there could be “a blowout bar where ladies and drag queens can get their hair done,” he said. “All of that fun stuff that makes people want to come from 6 o’clock in the morning to 1 o’clock in the afternoon.”

The space, temporarily called the Market Street Market, will be filled by local retailers or small food companies that respond to a request for proposal that will soon go out. Langer’s company will also canvass the surrounding neighborhoods to take the pulse of what’s in demand. The market will give small vendors a chance to take root in a hot neighborhood. “Retail space is becoming so expensive, why shouldn’t we have a roommate for a retail space?” he said. “It’s expensive here, so let’s make it as awesome as we can.”

The views

There just aren’t enough good rooftops in San Francisco. The 4,300-square-foot rooftop at 2175 Market helps fill that void with a truly panoramic view. The Castro’s classic rainbow flag waves in the background and sight-lines of the Mission, downtown, Twin Peaks and Buena Vista Park are highlights.

The building is one of the first to take advantage of elevated heights from the Market Octavia Plan. Plus, the building sits higher on a slope, giving it a higher peak than neighboring buildings.

The amenities on top of the sand-colored rooftop include an outdoor gas grilling, outdoor fire pits, community gardens and hammocks. There are about four separate clusters of seating space, providing “a bunch of smaller living rooms” for residents, Arena said.

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