Living in a Micro-Apartment Is "Like Living in a Closet"

Residents of the City's Newest, Smallest Residences Talk About What It's Like


$1350 a month for 220 square feet is criminal. Seriously? How can any of us live here anymore?
Roger Valdez might be fine with outsourcing the food preparation and social spaces necessities of short-term low-rent housing, but it won't be long before long-term low-renters start moving in. I'm not OK with returning to SRO shuts-ins. Nor is HUD -- which won't qualify these units for Section 8 subsidies.
Somebody let Roger know he's been ripped off! I'm paying 1400 for a really nice 750 sf apartment in the CD. It even lets me have pets!
I can understand wanting to provide cost effective apartments but apodments (and the like) suck. Even this article shows that the only person that really likes living in them is someone who is paid to convince other people how great they are. At best, they are a great stepping stone for someone new to the city who hasn't decided where they actually want to live.

I'm not saying that micro-apartments can't work but every time I see pictures of one, I am disappointed by the lack of design and lack of intelligent layout. Also, those prices are not that cheap. If they were going for $500 per month, then maybe it would be cost effective.
I've got 750sq/ft 2 balconies, fireplace for $1220 in N.QA/Interbay. Why would anyone pay $1350 for 220sq/ft?!
"They don't see their apartment as the be-all and end-all of their living space."

Yes, there's always their cube at the office where they work for 70hrs a week to afford $1350 a month while saving up a real down payment on a home in Everett.
220 sq ft, lofted, and a view of the space needle
Sounds like one of these places…

I do find it amusing they'll waive the 2x income requirement for full time students who pay a deposit of 1 month rent (basically, pay an extra month in advance).

Two (2) times the rental amount based on current marketed averages
"How much space do you need for one human?"

obviously not much if one "spends most of his downtime playing video games like Borderlands and Dragon Age."
@3, careful. You'll notice the weasel words of "moved into a 1350-a-month unit" rather than "Mr Valdez pays rent of 1350 a month for a unit" Dollars to doughnuts the (difficult to rent it's so pricy and constantly turning over) apodment is a part of his compensation as a lobbyist and he would not be paid the $1350 in addition to current take home pay if he chose to live elsewhere.
This is depressing...
One of the criticisms of micro-housing (voiced by folks like Bill Bradburd in the CD) is that it's transient housing. People constantly coming and going with nobody putting down roots in the neighborhood. This article supports that argument. This is just another version of an Extended Stay hotel.
@10 I agree.

The depressing part is what these closets cost. I thought they were supposed to be affordable. How the hell does anyone afford to live in Seattle?
Roger Valdez sounds like an idiot. He's overpaying for that space and still has to spend top dollar to go out to eat because he has no kitchen. Hmmm. Something is rotten in the state of micro-housing.
Maybe we should also ban extended-stay hotels.
Congratulations America!! Capitalism has gone so far to the right you've become the Soviet Union!!

Why doesn't anyone talk about building affordable one bedroom apartments or ....and this is CRaZy!!...smaller bungalow style homes that we used to build that were affordable for folks just starting out?

The idea that the main critique of aPODments is for their size is complete developer spin.

Small unit living is perfectly fine and necessary for urban culture.

There problems with aPODments are developers getting breaks on the false premise aPODments are "affordable."

They are NOT affordable. $750 for 176 Square Feet equals $51.14 per square foot.

$51 god damned dollars per square foot. Let that sink in.

So developers get to skip certain design reviews, community impact/enhancement obligations, and get tax breaks to cram as much profit onto as little a foot print as possible.

The other problem is aPODments encourages the concentration of temporary tenants of the youngest non-voting cohorts in our most vulnerable areas who have no roots or investment in these neighborhoods.

This thus further weakens community involvement. The sort of involvement that helps keep police, political and developer abuses in check.

It would be one thing if most of the aPODment developments were more spread out. But the Hill, CD and lower income areas are seeing more than their fair share. People have had enough of high priced apartments for rich 20 year olds who will only live here a year or two at best driving up rents.

And there is zero evidence that $50-$70 per square foot aPODments will lower, or even stabilize, rents.
I'm not against these, I just don't think Seattle needs them. At least, it doesn't need many of them.

Keep investing in public transit, keep developing those newly accessible areas replete with empty parcels and parking lots. Seattle needs quality Studio, one and two bedrooms that will provide stable (no pun intended) housing to those that want to make a life in the city.

I get that if you only got $750, you only got $750; but per sq ft those are luxury condo prices. There's a train stop in Tukwila now where you get get a nice 2 bedroom for $1,100. This is how boring areas can become great.
For the same price you should be able to get a decent Studio with a kitchen (including stove, oven, sink, garbage disposal, and dishwasher) and bathroom with a sink. We are only talking another 100 or 200 square feet of space. The working class shouldn't have to suck it in and endure 200 square feet or less.

Maybe if we had a few less rich assholes with palatial mansions in the middle of town we could do it.
This IS depressing. I live in a 370 sq foot studio for $695 a month in Seattle, and even that feels too small.
@16 Er, $750 for 176 sqft is $4.26/sqft, not $51/sqft. He would have to be paying like $9,000 a month for it to be $51/sqft.
I would never live in such a closet for the $ they want you to pay. Since when did having your own bathroom and kitchen become a luxury apartment? Also, how do they get away with building these rat traps since they in no way comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. No one like me (who uses a walker, leg braces, and sometimes a wheelchair) can climb up a ladder to sleep in a bunk) and for me and complications with my disability - I need a private bathroom.

It's amazing to me that when I moved to Seattle in October 2002 landlords were BEGGING you to move into their apartments on Capitol Hill. I paid $650/mo for four years for a huge studio in the Biltmore apartments. (I was not disabled then).

My last apartment in Seattle, which I had to leave in October 2007 when I got sick cost $790/month and then they added $65 in water/sewer/garbage and then they raised the rent $25 on top of that and by the time I was headed out the door they were showing people the apartment and quoting $965 as the rent (not sure if that included the $65 for the w/s/g) and that apartment was on 1/3 of the size the one I lived in in the Biltmore. And the Biltmore? They rent that apartment I lived in for $2400/mo now. Complete insanity.
Whoa, I had no idea these little coffins were such total RIPOFFS!! Holy crap. I pay like 20 bucks less per square foot than that, in the heart of Capitol Hill. Whenever I pass by these buildings I just assume the rents must be in the $300-500 range. Those fuckers are just preying on hapless newcomers.
@1 --

How can any of us afford to live here? We don't live in Capitol Hill. Come up Lake City Way -- $1350 a month will get you at least 700 square feet, and probably a 2-bedroom. I know, it's not cool enough for the youngsters. But eventually, most people choose a decent place to live over location.
@14 Nope. Extended Stay hotels are in commercial zones where they belong, not low-rise residential neighborhoods. Total difference.
@20, in the real estate biz, square-foot rental costs are computed on an annual basis. And it comes to $51/SF.
You have to know what you are doing, but having lived in a Camper and a tent, I know how to use the space efficiently. One problem most of these tenants seem to share is that they are not making the space their own. You need to add touches to personalize it. Keeping it sanitary is not the way to go.
@25 interesting, did not know that. the wording the original person used was a little misleading since it left out the "a month for 12 months" part of "$750"
If you have a "normal" income and want to live in a really expensive neighborhood, then this allows you to do that. So, are all the anti folks saying they don't want people to have that opportunity? Realistically, there has to be a sacrifice somewhere, and if you want to live alone, then it's going to be space. Nobody said these were low income units, they just provide a price point that a "normal" job can afford, and without them these people would have to live in a neighborhood they don't find as desirable. Too many people are infected with magical thinking when discussing housing.

If you don't like really small spaces, then don't live in micro housing, it's that simple.
You know, if Dominic were still here, this article would be fucking glowing with how great aPodments are. He was like Roger Valdez, glowing with praise.

Meanwhile, neither the author of this piece, nor Dominic, wanted to realize that these jacked up prices ARE NOT FUCKING HELPING. They just raised the bottom cost for a livable apartment (these are not livable), instead of creating a new bottom.

Maybe people are starting to wake up.
These prices are crazy. Also, to the people who always say " Move out of the city if you can't afford three trillion dollars to rent a crap studio apartment" I say, " If you work in the city many buses will not get you where you need to be in a timely manner. Or at all, from outside of the city. Also, it ain't cheap to commute. Living and working in your neighborhood used to be the best thing about Seattle. It created community." I support micro housing. But, holy crap. Those units should be $300 a month.
My son lived on Capital Hill until a few months ago in a 900 sf apartment in a beautiful older building, fairly quiet location, for $900. This price makes no sense.
I lived in one of these for awhile. .not to bad but they do include all utilities and wifi..
Obviously many of you are smarter than the people who live in micros and know what is good for them.
Good to know that.
I find it so funny and weird and sad that you all think you know what I should spend and what I need.

It's like I walked up to you and said "how much did you pay for that shirt?" and you answered, and I said, "you got ripped off!" Same thing is true for your car, your drink, your dinner, or whatever.

Shut the hell up. I don't want to live where you live. I don't want a giant apartment for less money in West Seattle. I love where I live, I pay for it, and until something changes it's home.

You are certainly welcome to criticize my views, my job, and even my whole life. But Jesus, c'mon. Think for a second before opening your pie hole and making normative pronouncements about what people should and shouldn't be paying for housing.

Valdez had been quoted in every article about microhousing in the past year and is certainly coming of as a shill. And bro aint just living there to prove a point either, let me tell you.
@34 Hey, look one of our Developer shills created another one comment sock puppet! And a stupid as fuck one at that.

Okay dumb shit let's parse your feeble babble for a second.

Oh no. People are unfairly criticizing your right to spend a ton of money on what you want? Is that your spin... er... read on this. Seriously?

I'll use simple terms so you understand. Nobody cares about how you want to live. You can live in a grocery crate for ten trillion dollars an hour if you want.

It's not how stupid or wasteful you as an individual are, mr. Sock Puppet. It's not about what YOU a renter are happy to pay.

It's about the exponential rental increases landlords and developers are attempting to charge.

Because those increases impact the lives of other people around you. People who maybe don't have money to burn.

When $50-70 per square foot aPODments come into a neighborhood with a current average rental rate of $26-$32, uh, guess what? The average rental rate has just gone up and the pressure for landlords to increase non aPODment rents goes up faster than it would otherwise. Regardless of the increae in housing stock. Get it.

aPODments are a fucking scam. Not because they're small, but becuase how they're being favored, via skirting reviews and getting tax breaks, as a solution to affordability.
@20 & 27

Have you never negotiated a lease? That's how per square foot rates are calculated.

Full disclosure: I OWN rental properties.

If I was as unethical as these aPODment landlords, knowing people were this ignorant, I too could be fucking RICH! But alas I am cursed with a conscience and actually care about my community.
And, btw, one of reasons rents are so high isn't really becuase of restricted housing stock. Adding more housing stock in a growing economy has never --NEVER -- lowered rents. Only economic contraction or government interference in the marketplace does that.

No. One of the big reasons rents are so high here is beause a handful of property management groups, investment buyers and banks own most of the new developments. It's a monopoly.
If these are, in practice, extended stay commercial enterprises then what are they doing in residential neighborhoods?

What was the described intent of Calhoun Properties?

There should be a review of the amount of time people are actually staying.
Are these people living in these residences long enough to establish residency?
If not, then stop making more, there. Put them where they are zoned to be, commercial areas.
Understand what causes somebody to stay some place long enough to establish residency, and do that.
What it appears to be, anecdotally, is not workforce housing. So, let's not litter the city with these things pretending they are something that they really are not.
We actually need workforce housing for people that actually intend to work and stay.
Hey everyone,

I was just trying to figure out what to dinner. I don't want to get ripped off again (thanks for point that out. God was I stoopid or what?).

What should I do? I was thinking about going out but someone said that was too expensive. All I have is a microwave. Mini microwave corndogs.

Then again, I could Uber over to Canlis for their slider (mmmmm) and a glass of Pol Roget ( it was Churchill's fav!).

I'm so stupid and compromised I will just do whatever you say! I'm your sock puppet!
@39- Why should we have "residential" neighborhoods? Mixed neighborhoods are a much better development path. Unless you just love traffic.

Also these prices are craycray. I'm paying $800 for a one bedroom in Wedgwood. It's not swank by any means but at least I don't have to keep my bikes in the shower.
@41, development path of what?
A collection of disassociated strangers isn't a community.
Extended Stay, and the like, serve a specific business purpose. If those people want to permanently leave the community they are temporarily Stay-img away from then they will move again, just like the examples in the report.

Communities provide broader and longer term support and benefit for a city or town.
The transient nature of the people staying is to minimize their short term costs so they can maximize their long term investments somewhere else.
They do not have a vested interest in the community where they are temporarily staying.
It's the difference between choosing to tax yourself for a long term investment, like funding metro, and choosing to tax others that are enjoying the community but do not intend to stay, like the hotel tax.
Extended Stay buildings are generall not planted in the middle of mixed use housing. They are often in or near commercial districts, on major thoroughfares (that's their selling point, low cost + access to business).
What should be happening is that we should choose to tax the short term stay folks and the businesses that rely on them, for the long term benefit of the community, by directing those funds toward the mass transity this community provides. It increases transit capacity for the short term and long term riders.
That's why.
@41, I've reduced traffic by taxing short term residents and spend that money on transit, increasing transit capacity. More buses means fewer rental cars on the road, or more bike lanes and bike parking/storage.
The guy with the bike in his shower might rent a bike locker it it were very close to his short term stay apartment. Investment to make that long term infrastructure is something communities do. Choosing the most appropriate source for those funds is a matter of finding the appropriate nexus. Short term workers and businesses that rely on them need/consume a specific resource that has a direct impact on the long term community/society.
An annual impact fee on the short timers to be spent on the transportation system they, too, rely on would be my preference.
Or raise the B&O tax to pay for traffic mitigation.
Or both.
I live in a micro apartment on first hill for over a year and pay 1025 for a loft. One thing that people seem to fail to mention. These places include ALL utilities including internet.

I have looked for apartments in this area and for a studio or a one bedroom ranges from $900 to $1100 respectively. These places don't include all utilities or internet. You are lucky if regular apartments offer w/g/s and electric.

I feel this article is anti-micro apartment rhetoric. These places are needed, because without a place like this I would need a roommate or be forced to the edges of Seattle or further.

I really lucked out because my place is within walking distance to where I work.

I don't understand people's adamant hatred for these places. It's not like they are telling people to live in a micro apartment, but it's a great option for people that choose to live in one, because it's prohibitively expensive to live in Seattle, especially on the hill. If you found a cheaper place in the city. You are lucky and good for you, but it's not so easy for people looking for a new place, especially for someone who just moved to the city.

@42- Sorry but you seem to have mistaken the city for the suburbs. People move a lot in the city, especially a rapidly growing city like Seattle. Staying in a neighborhood doesn't mean staying in an apartment, and if you don't have entry level housing in your neighborhood then you have single income-level neighborhoods. If you don't have housing for single people then you only have families. If you don't mix business and residential then everyone needs some sort of vehicle to run the simplest errand or get to work.

The costs of these microapartments is awfully steep, but then the cost of any new apartment in Seattle is awfully steep. These places fit more people into neighborhoods that have jobs, restaurants, and shops all in walking distance. It's a hell of a lot better for the residents than living in an extended stay hotel in Seatac and it's better for the whole world to have them centralized rather than out on the periphery.
@1, it IS criminally inhumane and money-grubbing. It feels like living in a closet because that's pretty much what it is. It's also cold, sterile, lonely, and depressing. Nice going, Seattle.

Roger Valdez is nothing if not self-serving, but he's craftily decided to walk the talk just long enough to sell this ridiculous idea, knowing he has enough money to buy a proper home in Cap Hill or anyplace else he wants. He is ruining Seattle but he has a lot of help.

Check out the taxes these developers don't have to pay. What a racket.