‘Micro apartments’ planned for downtown

Updated: March 20, 2015 - 9:33 am

A new high-rise development could bring some tiny apartments to downtown.

Village Green Cos. is proposing a development at 10th and Marquette that would include small studio apartments between 350 and 425 square feet, staff told the Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association Monday. DMNA voted to support the project, which preliminary plans show would include an 18-story apartment building with 293 units. 

These “micro apartments” or “micro units” are a growing trend in large metro areas like New York, Seattle and Paris. Village Green Development Director Shawn Zimny told the DMNA that these units would open the downtown residential market to younger professionals with lower incomes and more urban lifestyles.

He said the building would target late 20-somethings and millennials, which may be priced out by many other new projects with larger, more expensive units.

With just 12 parking spaces, the development would attract many residents who use transit and ride-sharing options instead of owning cars. The developer also hopes to upgrade sidewalks and add outdoor green space.

The development would balance smaller apartments with more amenities, such as a fitness center, theater, conference space and outdoor roof terrace.

Zimny said this would be Village Green’s first project in Minneapolis to have units this small, though its Soo Line Building City Apartments on Fifth Street has several small units in the 450- to 500-square-foot range. Coze Flats in Marcy-Holmes, which opened last fall, was one of the first local developments to capitalize on this trend and offers layouts as little as 400 square feet. Minneapolis’ minimum lot area for efficiency units is 350 square feet.

Research on micro apartments published late last year by the Urban Land Institute shows these units usually cost 20 to 30 percent less than their more traditional counterparts. They generally include the amenities and utilities of a studio, such as a bathroom and a combined kitchen and living space.

Micro apartments, typically for one resident, could appeal to Minneapolis where approximately 43 percent of all households are occupied by one person. 

Village Green hopes to begin construction this year.