How small can you live? It’s a question more Portlanders are asking as home prices keep rising.
That’s why the trend of “micro-apartments” is gaining popularity in west coast cities like Portland, Seattle and San Francisco, but it’s been a decades-old practice in larger cities around the world.
The Footprint Northwest building opened this past April, on NW Thurman and 23rd Avenue in Portland. The developer, out of Seattle, bought a run-down, single family home and replaced it with a 54-unit apartment building.
The smallest unit they offer is a new record for the city: 150 square feet of living space.
“Things are changing and you become a lot more thoughtful to what you buy. Does it have dual purposes and do I really need this?” explains tenant and apartment manager Sherissa Berry.
Her unit is 172 square feet. That can fit her full bed, kitchenette, desk and a bathroom. That’s it.
And at just over $800 a month, she loves it.
The Footprint Northwest building says it’s following the demand of a new generation. Young, single people with no car, minimalists who don’t own a lot of stuff, with little urge to cook.
They share a common kitchen on each floor, but most tenants say they normally eat out on popular NW 23rd Avenue, or at the New Seasons Market that just opened nearby.
Starting at 150 square feet and going up to 220, it means Portland has now earned the title of second smallest micro apartments in the country.
First place goes to Seattle, where this same company just built ones with only 90 square feet.
“This is not for everybody,” says developer of Footprint Portland, Jeff Sakamoto. “We can’t make our judgments about what we would personally want because there’s a segment of the population that this is absolutely perfect for and they’re really excited about it.”
Footprint Portland is under construction on a second micro-apartment building in Northeast Portland’s Hollywood district.
The city-allowed minimum for a unit is 150 square feet. City zoning defines units by kitchens, instead of bedrooms, so by clustering eight apartments around one common kitchen, these developers can squeeze more units in per building.