Is a city still a city if urban living is a luxury good?
SAN FRANCISCO — The roof deck of this new apartment complex is over half of an acre, and currently a concrete construction zone. But soon it will have a grass lawn, benches, hammocks and 20 planter boxes that residents can use to grow vegetables.
It’s the size of a larger-than-average backyard in a subdivision of a nice suburb with a name like Pleasanton or Pleasantville that’s a 30- or 45-minute drive from the city.
But this airborne backyard is at the Landing, a building in Dogpatch, a still-industrial part of San Francisco near the waterfront and known for its warehouses and dive bars. It’s pretty far from anyone’s vision of classic tree-lined cul-de-sac suburbia.
“The suburban life in the city is what we’re going for,” Roman Speron, a member of the building’s development team, told me on a recent tour of this oasis in progress. The 263-apartment development has been arranged with multiple elevator banks and outdoor space in the middle to create small clusters of residences. Marketing materials describe the setup as a “suburban village within the city of San Francisco.”
Your own slice of suburbia within city limits is a concept that developers and retailers across the country have been pitching a lot recently, subtly or not. The pendulum swings of socio-economic and demographic changes over the past two decades in some thriving cities are partly behind this shift.
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Ms. Jackson writes frequently about real estate.