In 2014, we heard a lot more talk about micro-apartments than we saw action. Nonetheless, a few developments promise more than words in 2015. These are the notable projects that will be completed in 2015, or have gone through approvals and construction is expected to be well underway in 2015.
The Panoramic; SoMa, San Francisco
In 2012, Patrick Kennedy’s Panoramic Interests completed a 23 micro-unit project built offsite, which did much to pioneer the development of micro-apartments through the “SmartSpace” brand. Kennedy expects to complete a 160 unit project across from Twitter’s headquarters in June, 2015. 120 of the units will be 275sf studios, with the remainder being micro-suites All units have been leased to local colleges.
My Micro NY; Kips Bay, Manhattan
The media outside of New York often portrays micro-apartments as a “trend” or phenomenon sweeping New York. The truth is, New York City is allowing only one, relatively small micro-unit project through it’s Adapt NYC competition. Instead of updating it’s zoning to legalize the clearly needed product, New York chose to allow one “pilot” project to test the viability of a concept – as if small apartments in New York City is a new innovation.
The winner of the competition was Monadnock Development, which is currently having the 55 micro-units built in a factory in Brooklyn. This year, we will see the units delivered to Manhattan and assembled on the Kips Bay site. Assuming the “pilot” is successful, will the city legalize micro-apartments where 46% of the inhabitants live alone?
WeLive; Crystal City, Arlington, VA
In 2014, Co-working juggernaut, WeWork announced plans to partner with commercial real estate behemoth, Vornado to redevelop a 12 story office building as WeWork’s first venture into residential. The project, which approved in July is planned to include 252 apartments, many being 360sf or less. The units would be organized to share large communal spaces with commercial-grade kitchen appliances. I think the layout and the concept is very compelling. I don’t know much about Crystal City, but I’ve heard some skepticism about the vibrancy of the location.
Latham Hotel; Georgetown, Washington DC
In October, Washington DC approved a new 140-unit micro-apartment development that will include the redevelopment of the Latham Hotel along with an addition. The apartments will be, on average, 330 square feet apiece, and they’ll come furnished. SB Urban is committed to the micro-apartment concept, and plans to bring two other small apartment projects to market: the 90-unit redevelopment of the Patterson Mansion at DuPont Circle, and a 125 unit development at Blagden Alley
Also keep an eye on:
The whole scene in Seattle: While New York makes news by allowing one micro-unit project in the vast metropolis, Seattle has built hundreds of small studios within larger units because of quirks in it’s zoning. However, just months ago, Seattle City Council passed new rules regulating the development of micro-apartments. Developers had thousands of micro-units in the pipeline, and cried that the regulations would significantly throttle development of new units that provided a much need option for single renters. It will be interesting to see how the regulations affect future developments.
Flats #800; Gold Coast, Chicago: Cedar Street Companies recently purchased The Bush Temple of Music, and announced it’s intention to develop it as micro-apartments as part of its Flats brand. Cedar Street has renovated several Chicago SRO buildings as micro-apartments, which have leased up successfully. It should be a challenging renovation, especially if zoning approvals are needed.
The Wharf, Washington DC: According to the developer, Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, about 6 percent of the residential units in the $2 billion waterfront development are planned to be micro-apartments. This means we should expect about 170 total micro-apartments to be completed by 2017.
Turntable Studios, Denver: Nichols Partnership announced they will be converting a hotel near the Denver Bronco’s Stadium into micro-apartments. 168 of the 179 units will be 330sf studios, with the remainder to be small one and two-bedroom apartments.
286 Varick, Downtown Jersey City: When New York created a stir with it’s AdaptNYC competition, Rushmon-Dillon Partnership went right across the Hudson River to find a sight for micro-apartments instead of participating in stiff competition. In September, a judge approved the project after determining the city had improperly pandered to community opposition. The project is expected to include 87 micro-apartments all less than 400sf. I intended to make this project the 5th “Project to Watch,” but information was sparse. If someone has more information on this project, please let me know.
Which projects are you most excited about? Did I miss any important ones?