MinnPost | Will micro apartments go macro in MSP?

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by Brad Schaeppi
April 13, 2015
Category:   Multifamily News

Last month, Village Green Development presented its plans for a new downtown residential high rise to the Minneapolis Neighborhood Association. Nothing terribly novel about that, except the proposed 18-story apartment complex would include 22 percent micro apartments. The development community was abuzz at the prospect of teeny living units at S. 10th Street and Marquette.

“Shrinking a traditional studio apartment to 250 to 350 square feet requires creative design,” adds David Graham, architect and principal with Elness Swenson Graham Architects, Inc. (ESG), Minneapolis. Several years ago, ESG worked on a residential project that included micro apartments and took the proposal to the Minneapolis Planning Commission to garner support for micro-units.

“With 550-square-foot alcoves renting for $1200 [in the Twin Cities], I think the time for micro units in Minneapolis is ripe,” says Robert Loken, an architect with ESG. Adds Graham: “The fundamental reason for micro units is obviously to allow affordable housing primarily for singles — or for couples in an urban setting where they rent a small unit and live big with all the conveniences.”

“The main driver of smaller apartments is that household size continues to shrink throughout the U.S., including in the Twin Cities,” Loken argues. City of Minneapolis statistics show that people live alone in 43 percent of households.

“People are staying single longer than in the past,” Loken continues. “If they do eventually marry, they’re waiting longer to have children and are having fewer children. When new apartment projects open, the first units to lease up are the studios.”

Gulstrand can attest to the speed at which studios are snapped up. When 7West opened, “studios were the first to go. People are always calling our properties in Uptown and the North Loop, looking for studios, and we don’t have any.”
[Link to Article at MinnPost]