Des Moines Developers Turning To Micro Apartments

By Donnelle Eller

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Des Moines renters could find themselves in tighter spaces in the months ahead.

The Des Moines Register reports developers like Hubbell Realty and Nelson Construction are shrinking some of their downtown Des Moines apartments to 400 to 500 square feet to help make them more affordable to young renters.

Des Moines’ new micro apartments are part of a growing national trend that’s spinning off ever-tinier living spaces, closing in on 200 square feet in markets like San Francisco. That’s about the size of some walk-in closets in executive homes in West Des Moines.

“We felt there was a market that we were missing,” said Rick Tollakson, Hubbell Realty’s CEO, pointing to the company’s experience with a distressed condo project in West Des Moines that it converted to apartments. It resulted in some small efficiency apartments, about 550 square feet. “We were nervous that people wouldn’t rent them. But they were the first to go.”

“It’s a combination of lifestyle and price point” that really attracted young renters, he said.

Across the nation, lower-cost micro units let young professionals live in vibrant urban cores in Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and New York, where rents can be exorbitant. For example, minuscule units in New York can cost around $1,800 a month.

Living in downtown Des Moines is less costly, but rents are rising, driven by growing access to recreational trails, concerts and festivals, and trendy restaurants and bars.

“It’s not Tokyo or Manhattan, but a lot of people moving here after college can’t find or afford apartments,” said Spencer Shireman, who lives downtown in a 900-square-foot studio with his wife, Hailey.

“If you’re looking to rent, apartments are either gone tomorrow or wildly expensive.”

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Posted by on May 1st, 2013 and filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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