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Tiny apartments big hit in Santa Monica

March 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
We all know how tough times are right now. Money is tight and some folks are struggling to pay the rent. But here's a surprise: cheap rent in Santa Monica. But there's a price to pay for that low price. The Olympic Studios loft apartment complex is brand new with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, 17-foot ceilings. All this for ...

"Approximately $1,327 per apartment," says architect John Arnold.

Thirteen-twenty-seven a month, in Santa Monica. But there's a small catch. Small being the operative word here. The whole apartment, bedroom, living room, kitchen and bath , spans just "Approximately 375 square feet," says Jim Andersen, NMS Properties.

Basically, take the average-sized American home, divide by six, and throw five-sixths of it away.

"It is small. However, it is very efficiently laid out, so it is easy to live there and we do have couples living here as well," said architect Arnold.

Less space up there could translate into more space at the street level. Affordable housing could mean people who work in Santa Monica may actual be able to live in Santa Monica, getting more cars off the road.

"Lots of our residents don't even have cars, because they walk to work, we're blocks away from major employment centers, we have a supermarket about half a block away," said Andersen. "So you're in a location where you don't have to get in a car to do what you do to live your life."

But not everybody can live here. Olympic Studios is considered affordable housing, so if you earn more than $42,000 a year, or $60,000 for a couple, you won't qualify. But the 100-unit complex is still filling up.

"So far we're about 80 percent leased and have about 20 left to go," said Andersen.

And 65 more units will be available this summer. Proving that small is big these days.

The micro-apartment concept isn't limited to just Santa Monica. NMS Properties is working on similar complexes throughout Southern California.


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