This article originally appeared on Multifamily Executive.
The average Class A studio apartment will cost renters in Washington, D.C., somewhere around $2,000 per month. But with its latest property in the District, Atlanta-based development firm Wood Partners is providing studio units at a lower price point—and smaller size—than other offerings on the market.
The company opened The Belgard earlier this summer, a 346-unit luxury property in D.C.'s NoMa neighborhood. The development is dedicating 10% of its unit mix to micro-apartments, the largest of which measures only 386 square feet. Residents can choose from three micro-unit models—two 386-square-foot models or a smaller, 374-square-foot layout that features a full walk-in closet. Rents start at $1,770.
The team at Wood Partners was committed to making the small units live large. To let in natural light, each unit has floor-to-ceiling windows, and some micro-units are designed with patios. The micro-units even come with a full-sized washer and dryer in unit; a full-sized, 33-inch refrigerator; and full-sized ranges, though smaller dishwashers are installed to save space.
"We spent a lot of time moving walls inches here and there and figuring out the best layouts so that none of these small units made you feel like you were trapped in a micro-unit," says Scott Zimmerly, regional director for Wood Partners in Washington, D.C. "We needed to find ways to make sure that while we were sacrificing space, we weren't sacrificing functionality, and the large appliances are one way we did that."
Storage was also a key factor to maximizing living space in the micros. The units feature ample closet and pantry cabinet space to keep clutter out of sight.
Wood also partnered with online interior design service Havenly, which specializes in small-space design, to outfit some of its micro-models so prospective residents could understand how the space would look when complete, hopefully easing any potential wariness residents might have about a micro-unit being too small.
"With Havenly, we were able to model each unit with a good mix of different furniture pieces to showcase how the space could be used," says Tara C. Huckabee, property director at The Belgard. "Everyone who lives in a micro-unit doesn’t necessarily have a desk, table, couch, and a bed, but someone might come in and say, 'I can fit two or three out of four of those pieces that I need in here and not feel cramped.' "
Residents have the option to work with Havenly to furnish their own micro-units after renting.
The rest of the building comprises one-bedroom units ranging from 565 to 1,060 square feet and starting at $2,120, and two-bedrooms measuring 888 to 1,060 square feet and starting at $2,900.
The building is packed with amenities, including an outdoor courtyard; a fitness center with yoga space and Wellbeats virtual training programs in addition to weights and exercise equipment; a large package room that operates on the ButterflyMX smartphone video-intercom system; a pet spa; a bike room; a library; an outfitted clubroom with lounge space, teleworking space, arcade, and board games; a resident bar with a double-tapped keg and private liquor lockers for rent; and a luxe rooftop complete with an infinity-edge saltwater pool; private, South Beach–style cabanas that can be rented out with refrigerators and, in some cases, TVs; and grilling stations.
The building also features ground-floor retail space. In September, local coffee shop Sweet Science announced it would open in The Belgard in 2019.
"The luxury amenity spaces are a lot of what helps drive the appeal of micro-units," says Zimmerly. "We have all of these places to hang out, so the idea is that you're not in your unit all the time."
Residents can also access a number of services provided by The Belgard, such as pet grooming or dog walking, dry cleaning drop-off and pickup, car detailing, and a white-glove concierge.
The building is 25% leased since opening for move-ins on July 1 and has leased 10 of its 36 micro-units.
"There are only a few other properties in the city that have true micro-units, and there are a handful of buildings in NoMa that have a few micros or smaller units, but The Belgard has stacks of them in the building," says Zimmerly. "How quickly the micro-units are moving tells us that they are in demand and renters are excited about them."