320-Square Foot Apartments Coming to 9th Street

by Shilpi Paul

320-Square Foot Apartments Coming to 9th Street: Figure 1
1250 9th Street NW. Courtesy of PGN Architects.

Another DC developer is gambling that there is a market for very small studios in DC.

CAS Riegler, the firm behind The Standard Eleven and The Flatiron, is planning on creating a handful of apartments as small as 320 square feet in their newest project at 1250 9th Street NW. The 70-unit apartment building is one of many developments planned for the burgeoning 9th Street Corridor.

The move enforces the thinking that some DC residents are willing to live in very small spaces, and represents a continued push to deliver them in the city. As we reported in July, a 24-unit Douglas Development project at 600 F Street NW comprised of 275-square foot units was nixed at the last minute. And a few weeks ago, it was reported that The Wharf development will offer 330-380-square foot apartments at one of its new buildings.

“We had been reading about Bloomberg’s micro-unit challenge up in New York and thought it would be cool if we could try a few out here,” CAS Riegler’s Director of Development Robin Bettarel told UrbanTurf. “A few developers in DC are testing the waters and time will tell if there is a strong market for them. There have been a lot of studies done that seem to suggest that younger generations are far more committed to living urban lifestyles than older generations before them.”

320-Square Foot Apartments Coming to 9th Street: Figure 2
Floorplan for 320-square foot unit.

The decision to move forward with the very small units was the result, in part, of a dictate from the Historical Preservation Office: the fifth floor needed to be set back from the floor below it. This requirement both lessened the square footage and created outdoor terraces on the top floor of the former Fight Club space. As a result, cramped residents can easily step outside when they need breathing room.

While the units don’t quite qualify as micro — generally thought to be be between 275-300 square feet — they are small enough to require creative design solutions. For example, a bed pulls out from underneath a slightly elevated living area to create a bedroom only when needed, giving the layout enough room for a separate dining area. And though the layout is narrowly rectangular, the windows line the longest side of the studio to provide plenty of light.

Beside wanting to be close to urban amenities, Bettarel believes that more folks are considering their carbon footprint when looking at homes. A smaller home means a smaller area to heat and cool, as well as a general trend towards minimal consumption.

“If these trends continue, I think we will absolutely see more of this type of housing being built,” predicts Bettarel.

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See other articles related to: smalller homes, micro units, cas riegler, 9th street

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/320_square_foot_apartments_coming_to_9th_street/6256


  1. Alexa said at 9:43 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    I agree with Bryant in that the space has to be liveable, but this layout is not inviting. I hope the developers can take into account features that make small spaces work better, including high ceilings, thoughtful storage, and plenty of natural light. I'd love to see these units being sold as a cost-saving option as opposed to another high end, overpriced rental. Saving money is one of the main reasons I've chosen to live in a 270 sq. foot space. I bet I'm not the only one. I'm writing about small space living here: youandmeandwalliemakethree.com
  1. tom said at 10:17 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    I would live in a small apartment. But, it would have to be in the right location. I can't get too excited about living in a shoe box in some of the more sleepy residential neighborhoods. But, 9th street has potential if it’s built up a little more. It's close to Gallery Place, and Logan, it just needs more amenities/activity in the immediate area. Currently, I’m always surprised at how dead 9th is. Seems like it should/can rival Barracks Row or 14th in activity.
  1. Bryant said at 9:06 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    I don't love the floor plan shown; I'd much rather have the sleeping area in the back, more secluded area instead of right beside the kitchen, and overall it seems the public/private split should be arranged differently. That aside, I love the fact that we're getting more options for those looking for more affordable and smaller spaces. That doesn't change the need for larger apartments for families and those who aren't young singles, but it's still an encouraging step in diversifying the city's rental market.
  1. Mars79 said at 8:50 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    It's like living in jail with better accomodations. Sheesh!
  1. Paul said at 8:56 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    Why is this terrible idea, the new "it" movement? Why not hallway's of pullout drawers a al Seinfeld.
  1. Eric said at 9:05 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    People complain about the increasing rent in DC and then complain when people try to create ways to make it affordable. The units are indeed small, but will be priced accordingly, I presume. Also, young people want to live in cities these days and this is an affordable way to do it. While certainly tight, there will be a demand for these units.
  1. LisaJ said at 8:17 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    Let me guess....it's a luxury building which means each closet-sized unit will be about $1,700/month? No thanks.
  1. Richko said at 11:12 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    >I’m always surprised at how dead 9th is. A certain 1,500 room hotel at 9th & Mass should give it a boost... and then there's CityMarket at (9th &) O... just give it a bit more time.
  1. Richko said at 11:13 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    Make that 1,200. But still...
  1. Dodger said at 11:28 pm on Tuesday November 6, 2012:
    what does this project want to be? Every week there is news but it is all different news. Do these guys have a plan for the project?
  1. Billy said at 5:56 pm on Wednesday November 7, 2012:
    This will be taking the place of a lovely urban garden center. :(
  1. Payton said at 8:17 pm on Saturday November 10, 2012:
    Yeah, I would also prefer that the living and sleeping areas be flipped. However, the pull-out bed is an inventive, non-gravity-defying alternative to the usual Murphy bed. Since housing is often priced per square foot, the units will be cheaper -- to a point, of course.

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