Micro Apartments Offer Small Slice of City Living

Despite zoning issues, micro units are in the works in several U.S. cities.

Living room of a micro apartment model at Factory 63 in Boston.
By + More

Buildings with micro units are also in development in Seattle, San Francisco and Portland, Ore. In addition to requirements about square footage, many developers face parking issues in areas that require buildings to provide a minimum number of parking spots. That's why Rushman says micro units often work best in areas that have good public transportation (his Jersey City site is a 12-minute walk from the ferry). "I don't believe it works well if you're going to have to provide a substantial amount of parking," he says. Some buildings provide spaces for car-sharing vehicles or bikes instead of parking for each resident.

[See: 6 Ways Retiring Can Be More Affordable.]

While many micro-housing projects are marketed to millennials, the style of living may also make sense for empty nesters who want easy access to city culture and may be interested in a second residence. "Maybe they would have that for their city place and a smaller country place rather than the big suburban home they've had in the past," he says. "Independent seniors who are further along in the aging spectrum [might want a micro unit]. It can appeal to more than young professionals."