93 Cumberland as the centerpiece of the Neighborhood
Intended audience: potential patrons of the Neighborhood, who would like to see such a space exist.

The goal of the Neighborhood is to build a Florence in San Francisco. It’ll have two main features: your best friends within walking distance, and a culture that makes you 30 IQ points smarter.

Concretely, think 200+ friendly ambitious nerds living within a square mile in coliving houses, homes, and apartments in downtown SF (exact location TBD, see +Choosing a location for the Neighorhood). A mature Neighborhood will feel like a lively college campus, and will have a culture roughly like the Archive’s: warm and loving, earnestly nerdy, intentional, growth-minded, and with borderline-psychotic self-efficacy

By the way, the organizing team for the Neighborhood is Kanjun Qiu, Josh Albrecht, Rose Wang, Taylor Rogalski, Arram Sabeti, Tina Kim, Amanda Ngo, and myself (Jason Benn). You can learn more at https://jasonbenn.com.

Vision for this space

93 Cumberland would be a semi-private solarpunk library, coworking/hangout space, and the centerpiece of the Neighborhood. It’d be the default place to spend your weekends: bump into friends from the Neighborhood, dive into a book, join impromptu picnics at Dolores Park, or walk two blocks to Valencia St for coffees or a meal.

It’s one of the four units in this epic former church:
This unit’s entrance is more discreet than those front doors, as it’s off to the left side on a side street. There’s also private underground parking.

Imagine this space as a solarpunk library and hosting space:
A solarpunk vibe feels like this. I imagine full-sized trees and hammocks in the corners.

It’s directly on Dolores Park, so on sunny days you just walk outside and probably run into friends from the Neighborhood, who will be here all the time. Or go two blocks south to get on Valencia and 19th, where you have Souvla, The Beehive, Media Noche, and other Mission favorites. Or Dolores Park Cafe for breakfast burritos and coffee.
It’s 4BR, 3.5Ba, 5,332 sqft. It could support a small coliving community of 4-8, or it could be a live/work space for a small startup. Alternatively, we could charge a monthly membership for friends and Neighborhood residents that want to use it as a hangout/coworking space, or solicit patrons to subsidize rent to enable a place to exist as a community center.

Here’s the layout:
The lower level “Family Room” could be used as a quieter alternative to the Great Room, for more intimate conversations:


The house has been on the market for 6 months for about $6M. 

If investors purchased the home at asking price with the intent of operating it as landlords, then they could charge $20K per month in rent to earn a cap rate of 4%, which is normal for SF real estate. That’s $5K in rent per bedroom. The organizers of the Neighborhood would be able to find any or all tenants.

Rent could be subsidized — or further incomes for the owners raised — by charging a membership fee for access to the space, or by hosting events for a profit. 

Unusally, the seller’s agent informed us that they are offering “creative financing options” including “acting as the bank”. We are not entirely sure what this means.  @Kanjun Q is asking for more information, but we think this probably means:
  • Giving us the mortgage loan himself, but with a lower down payment than a bank?
  • A rent-to-own arrangement? One way this works: we rent the unit, and if we decide down the road that we love it and want to buy, then the price would be a pre-agreed price minus our rent payments.

In any case, it seems that the seller is quite keen to sell soon.

Feel free to share this doc, especially with investors aligned with this vision.

Also please feel free to contact me (Jason Benn), at 703-350-8758 or at jasoncbenn@gmail.com.