Micro-apartments coming to East Austin

Hundreds of micro-apartments will be made available to renters upon its opening in 2016.

AUSTIN -- Apartments the size of some hotel rooms will soon be a reality for some Austinites.

Spire is set to be the city's largest affordable micro-unit community to date, replacing a building on the corner of 5th and Waller in East Austin with a four-story building containing 400 square foot apartments.

The idea is to help people live large in a tiny space.

"It's becoming more of a national trend," said Taylor Wilson, a general partner with Spire. "There's actually furniture companies that are tailored to micro-units that have adaptable furniture that can take on more than one capacity."

Developers say the small spaces may not only help tackle the city's housing shortage and rising rental costs. They'll also be part of a transit oriented development, just a short walk away from Capital Metro's Plaza Saltillo train station.

"Being in a TOD you can live and work nearby without having to use a car which is the goal of the development, is to reduce traffic," Wilson said.

Makeda Robertson is looking for a new apartment, and said being able to afford one in East Austin is difficult.

"It seems like what they're building is for rich people, and it's like that's not who lives over here, it hasn't been who lives over here," Robertson said.

About 25 percent of the apartments will be reserved for those earning less than the city's median family income, which means rent will be between $400 to 500 a month.

Other unit rents will be decided after the building opens in early 2016.


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