11/21/2014

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Small lot. Tiny apartments. New trend.

Small lot. Tiny apartments. New trend.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Seattle architect wants to turn one big house into a lot of tiny apartments in Northeast Portland. It's a trend around the country that's coming to Portland.

It's also a trend in tiny living meant to reduce the carbon footprint and solve the housing crunch.

The building that could go in near Trader Joe's on Northeast 41st Avenue would have 56 units on a 5,000 square foot lot.

The house currently on the property would come down and the new, four-story building with the apartments will go up, squeezed between the old houses that are now homes to businesses.

One like it is scheduled to open in the Pearl District next summer.

The biggest of the apartments is just 10 feet by 20 feet. Renters will have a bathroom but not a kitchen.

At Hollywood Bowl, across the street from the proposed complex in Northeast Portland, head bartender Mark Harvey thinks if somebody wants to live in that small of a space, that's up to them, but he would like to see the area keep its "homey" look and feel.

"It does look like a neighborhood, and I think it takes away from that," he said. “But I think they're thinking, it's right next to light rail and that's one of the pluses. And as time goes on you want to try and get more things next to light rail to make it easier for people to get around.”

That is the idea of the planners. The apartments will be mainly rented to students, or people visiting on business. The average stay is 3 to 12 months.

The units are furnished with a bed, chair, small closet and table. There's a shared kitchen area on each of the four floors.

Already, neighbors have told the architect they'd like to see less metal and more wood for the building. Some people are concerned about the potential for more cars in the neighborhood.

The developer says up front that parking won't be available. The architect thinks people who get around by light rail or by walking don't need a parking space.

While small, the units aren't cheap. The rent will be $650 to $1,000 a month. That's as much as $5 a square foot where the average cost of rent is about a $1.25.

According to the city's development services, there hasn't even been an application submitted for the building yet so it's far from a done deal.

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