Micro-apartments are coming to Boston. These small spaces have long been a staple of cities like Tokyo, San Francisco, and London, but they haven’t really been found here. That’s all going to change.
Micro-apartments have very little space and things like countertops that convert to tables, sofas that become beds, even faucets that convert to shower heads. Mind you, our version of micro-apartments won’t be as extreme as Tokyo’s, where storage is regularly found underneath floorboards and steps become sofas, even bathtubs are found in the middle of living rooms. We also aren’t going as far as San Francisco, where the city recently approved homes as small as 220 square feet. But Boston’s lower bound limit of 450 square feet has recently been adjusted to 375 square feet and, frankly, it was Mayor Menino and his last administration who sounded the rallying cry. I think the mayor was properly concerned that Boston is vulnerable to losing a lot of its young talent to more affordable metropolitan areas.
Now developers have started to hop on and are building to the lower bounds buildings, especially in the Innovation District on the Seaport on 63 Melcher Street, 411 D Street, 381 Congress, and Pier 4 on Northern Avenue. That 450 square foot limit had been in place to preclude the developers from satisfying their affordability requirements for new projects on primarily small apartments. But now there is a greater good that is being achieved by accommodating these primarily 25- to 34-year-olds who make up the largest population of people looking for micro-apartments.
It does require a mindset shift to live in a tiny space but apparently it’s not that much of an adjustment for these younger people who, frankly, see the function rooms and common roof spaces that are found in these buildings, as well as the city itself, as an extension of their home and the actual space behind the walls just isn’t that important. Not relative to the cost, not relative to living where they want to live. So Texas may still be a place where you can live large, but Boston is starting to think small.