These $1 million San Francisco apartments have random support beams running straight through their kitchens

Google Street ViewAbove: A street view of 1488 Harrison St. in San Francisco’s SoMa neighbourhood where a number of apartments have structural support beams running right through the space.

  • A handful of units in a San Francisco apartment complex sport a unique interior feature: structural support beams running diagonally through the space.
  • All of the units have sold for about $US1 million a piece.
  • The kitchens of three units are all interrupted by a beam running from a cabinet to the middle of the kitchen floor. The beams in two other condos run parallel to the wall, which seems more convenient.
  • Despite the mockery from Twitter, there’s a good reason for the beam: converting old industrial buildings into apartments requires extra structural support.

San Francisco’s real estate market is rife with peculiar home listings. Some homes had their interiors ravaged by fires and still sold for $US2 million. Some sell for $US1.6 million over the asking price.

Now, these San Francisco apartments are attracting attention – and ridicule – because they have structural support beams running straight through their kitchens.

The apartments are located at1488 Harrison St, in the city’s lower SoMa neighbourhood. By looking through listings on Redfin, we found at least four units in the building where structural support beams run diagonally through the space.

That obviously didn’t affect sales, though, since the units are all sold and occupied. Their owners shelled out about $US1 million for each, records show. In the apartment sold most recently, in June, the unexpected beam runs from the bottom of an overhead kitchen cabinet to the middle of the kitchen floor.

On Twitter, FOO VR chief executive Will Smith claims that he is a previous occupant of one of these units, and that the beam in the kitchen is indeed a constant source of pain and frustration.

The kitchen in a unit two floors down is also interrupted by a beam. Developers were a little more creative with how they incorporated it into the floor plan.

A unit on the second floor is in the same boat, and two more in the complex also sport an out-of-place slanted beam – only they’re positioned a bit more conveniently, parallel to a wall.

Twitter users had some fun speculating on the beam’s puprose: Some hoped it had a whimsical purpose, like a cat tunnel that the owners’ pets could shimmy through for fun. The real reason, however, is less outlandish.

Strange structural circumstances like these aren’t uncommon in San Francisco, when converting old industrial buildings into lofts. Developers need to comply with building codes that require adjustments to be made when converting old factories into living quarters. This Reddit thread provides good context.

Those adjustments can include extra beams for structural support. Furthermore, they were most likely installed before these specific floor plans were designed, making the kitchen situation an unfortunate side effect.

Nevertheless, San Franciscans can’t always afford to be too picky with where they sign a lease. The city’s housing market is so competitive that a random beam running through your kitchen might not seem so bad.

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