January 12, 5:28 PM click here to comment > 19
Micro-apartments: affordable, transit-friendly options for city dwellers
Last week we visited the Solana apartment building located on the growing Jackson Street transit corridor. The Solana is an example of what are known as “micro-apartments”, or as developers Calhoun Properties call them, “aPodments.” The Solana is one of four micro apartment buildings participating in the city’s Multifamily Tax Exemption Program. The MFTE Program provides a tax exemption on the residential portion of multifamily projects in exchange for reserving some of the units for moderate-wage workers.
One great thing about this style of housing is that all of the units in these buildings are considered affordable to individuals with moderate incomes, not only those which are set aside: the average rent will be about $575. The Solana’s 32 units average 170 square feet, and they all have a bathroom with shower. Units like these have appealed to a wide range of folks: workers on a budget, students, and people looking to save up for their own home.
In many ways, it’s what these apartments lack that makes them so interesting. Unlike a typical rental unit, these don’t have kitchens. Each unit has a fridge and a microwave, and access to a cooking space with ample storage and appliances for several residents to share. Apartments at the Solana don’t come with a parking place either, although if tenants want to rent one, they can pay extra. For those who don’t, Metro’s route 7 stops at their front door, and the First Hill Streetcar–we’ll be breaking ground next month–will provide connections to the Broadway and Chinatown/International District Light Rail Stations within two years.
Clearly, micro apartments aren’t for everyone. But our Planning Department continues to hear from builders who are interested in providing them. What that means is that the market is responding to a demand we know is out there: the demand for affordable housing in transit-friendly communities. Our goal is to provide housing options to potential residents at all income levels, and micro apartments are a part of making that goal a reality for many Seattle residents.
Pictures by: Jen Nance
Posted by: Elliott Day