Hostel developer aims for ‘something different’ in SF

A $16 million plan to turn a century-old building into a hostel could bring more backpackers to downtown San Francisco and increase choices for travelers.

With 22 hostels in The City, project sponsor Simon Johnson said he hopes to introduce “something different” to the mix by converting the historic Grant Building at 1095 Market St. Its proximity to Union Square, the Castro district and BART should be a draw for tourists, he said.

“I don’t anticipate any of these guys or girls having cars, it’s cost prohibitive,” Johnson said. “So being able to jump on BART from any airport and be 35 feet from the hotel when you get to The City is key.”

Johnson, who is originally from Australia, said he’s traveled to dozens of hostels and knows many travelers. Travelers often complain that San Francisco hostels lack a common meeting space and a feeling of safety, Johnson said.

To address these concerns, the proposed project will feature a 2,500-square-foot restaurant, a 3,500-square-foot entertainment area and two rooftop terraces, totaling 8,500 square feet, according to documents filed with the Planning Department. It will have a women-only floor for those not wishing to be in a co-ed situation.

The front of the 61,000-square-foot building will be renovated to look like the original building from when it was constructed in 1904, Johnson said.

Adding variety to choices for travelers is beneficial, said Patricia Breslin, executive director of the Hotel Council trade group.

“It is so great that San Francisco can provide a place to stay — and rooming preference — for people for whatever their means are,” she said.

However, Danielle Brumfitt, executive director of Hostelling International — which has three hostels with 620 beds in The City — said there is already a wide variety of choices in San Francisco.

“I do think there is a certain variety and availability now,” she said. “With the economy now, there has been a dip in tourism. I think we have a variety of choice and availability.”

Johnson’s project, if approved, will take up to two years to complete. Johnson said he hopes to begin the project in 2012. It is scheduled to be discussed at Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting.

akoskey@sfexaminer.com

Accommodations

61,000 square feet Building space

9 Stories

94 Rooms

486 Beds

2,500 square feet Restaurant

3,500 square feet Entertainment area

8,500 square feet Rooftop terraces

Source: Planning Department

SF Examiner
Share
Published by
SF Examiner

Recent Posts

St. Ignatius hires new head varsity baseball coach Brian Pollzzie

The St. Ignatius athletic department announced on Thursday that they have hired the new head coach for its varsity baseball…

55 mins ago

Warriors announce training camp signees, still no Patrick McCaw

The Golden State Warriors, who begin training camp on Tuesday, have officially announced the signings of Marcus Derrickson and Alfonzo…

1 hour ago

School board member proposes scrapping student assignment system for focus on ‘community schools’

A resolution to reimagine San Francisco’s current student assignment system with a focus on “community schools” at the elementary level…

1 hour ago

DMV outage leaves customers waiting for hours

The San Francisco Department of Motor Vehicles office, along with approximately 70 other offices throughout the state, was unable to…

3 hours ago

Man killed by alleged drunk driver remembered as beloved panhandler

The man killed by an alleged drunk driver Tuesday was a well-known panhandler who had lived on the same South…

4 hours ago

Former SF building inspection commissioner sued over alleged fraud

The former president of the Building Inspection Commission is facing a lawsuit from the City Attorney’s Office for allegedly committing…

5 hours ago