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  #21  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2017, 2:30 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Originally Posted by mrsmartman View Post
Are the ground floor accessible units required to be residential? Are these buildings typically built for sale?
These are usually for-sale units, at least in the case of NYC. The required accessible unit will be the ground-floor unit.

And, as previously mentioned, these are almost always infill, built on the odd warehouse, small residential building, commercial space, vacant lot and the like.
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  #22  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2017, 3:48 PM
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There's quite a bit of room in my area. Dropping fast but still quite a bit.

About 15% of Seattle is zoned for multifamily or mixed-use. Not enough but still significant. This includes probably hundreds of blocks that are or used to be houses that are on the fringes of our "urban village" areas and are often zoned for 45' heights. Plus a lot of low-density commercial.

Often the outcome on those house lots is to tear the house down and build maybe four townhouses in its place, with two in the front and two in back. But townhouse rules have changed due to the worst cases, so they're more expensive. And the townhouses usually need to be separated to avoid Washington's condo liability issue. Meanwhile the land use code and the market have both changed so less parking and sometimes no parking can work well. So a lot of projects are apartments these days, though the townhouse thing is still going strong. You can include a lot of units on a 50'x120' lot if parking isn't an issue.
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  #23  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2017, 4:41 PM
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I think it's important to note where small apartment units are built in the U.S. context - essentially only where there's a relatively small parcel of land in an area which is zoned to allow for multifamily housing.
You mean like these buildings that are 18 ft wide and 120 ft long (squeezed into the remaining right of way after an elevated freeway came down and was replaced by a surface roadway)? They each have 8 2-bedroom units and 16 efficiencies. The peach-colored panels are vertical lift operable screens shading full length windows (the buildings face west).


http://www.envelopead.com/proj_octavia.html
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  #24  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2017, 4:55 PM
ChargerCarl ChargerCarl is offline
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Small apartment buildings naturally pencil out in popular SFR neighborhoods.

We don't allow any development in SFR neighborhoods anymore, therefore, developers don't build small apartment buildings. QED
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  #25  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2017, 5:00 PM
ChargerCarl ChargerCarl is offline
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Palms in LA is a good example of a SFR neighborhood that was never downzoned into oblivion and underwent a gradual densification process like we used to permit across the country:

https://letsgola.wordpress.com/round-palms/
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  #26  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 1:33 AM
sbarn sbarn is offline
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Originally Posted by mrsmartman View Post
Are the ground floor accessible units required to be residential? Are these buildings typically built for sale?
You are either required to have an accessible ground floor unit or an elevator. Most of these smaller infill buildings still have an elevator so they can sell / rent units for a higher price.

In desirable neighborhoods these projects are typically condos, in fringe / gentrifying neighborhoods they are typically rentals.
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  #27  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 1:46 AM
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What should happen is allowing for more 2 flats in single family neighborhoods. So you end up with mostly owner occupied + a rental unit for extra income (helps out on mortgages and high property taxes too). Also owner occupied units will help keep tenants in line, as rentals can be problems for neighbors.

When I was selling real estate, a really nice two flat came on the market. Very rare in my area, its existence was largely due to a glitch in zoning (yup, it was legal). From the street you would never know it was a two flat, looks totally like a single family house. It is on a corner lot, with a nice big front porch. 3 bedroom 3 baths 2 car garage, full basement about 2500 sq. ft. The front door to the rental unit was around the corner facing the cross street. It has 2 bedrooms 1 1/2 baths about 800 sq feet and a carport, and gets about $1300 in rent. Kick myself for not buying it myself.

But yeah, if there were a handful of these types of houses spread through most single family neighborhoods, I think it would be helpful for both tenants and small time landlords. Like it was a hundred years ago.
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  #28  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 6:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Pedestrian View Post
You mean like these buildings that are 18 ft wide and 120 ft long (squeezed into the remaining right of way after an elevated freeway came down and was replaced by a surface roadway)? They each have 8 2-bedroom units and 16 efficiencies. The peach-colored panels are vertical lift operable screens shading full length windows (the buildings face west).


http://www.envelopead.com/proj_octavia.html
Wow that is hideous, and will not age well at all.
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  #29  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 1:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mhays View Post
There's quite a bit of room in my area. Dropping fast but still quite a bit.

About 15% of Seattle is zoned for multifamily or mixed-use. Not enough but still significant. This includes probably hundreds of blocks that are or used to be houses that are on the fringes of our "urban village" areas and are often zoned for 45' heights. Plus a lot of low-density commercial.

Often the outcome on those house lots is to tear the house down and build maybe four townhouses in its place, with two in the front and two in back. But townhouse rules have changed due to the worst cases, so they're more expensive. And the townhouses usually need to be separated to avoid Washington's condo liability issue. Meanwhile the land use code and the market have both changed so less parking and sometimes no parking can work well. So a lot of projects are apartments these days, though the townhouse thing is still going strong. You can include a lot of units on a 50'x120' lot if parking isn't an issue.
AFAIK, the replacement of single-family houses with small apartment buildings only happens to a large extent in Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles. Certainly it's not happening anywhere in the east.

My old neighborhood here in Pittsburgh (Lawrenceville) has finally reached the point where real estate prices are high enough to not only warrant infill, but tearing down old houses and replacing them. The fabric of the neighborhood is almost entirely rowhouses, but there are the odd detached homes built on hillsides, and these are starting to be replaced by new-construction towhouses. For example, this house is slated to be replaced with four townhouses. The neighborhood is mostly zoned single-family attached though. Two mega-apartment projects are going up now (one in the business district, and one in the industrial zone down by the river) but you cannot legally build a two or three unit structure on any of the residential side streets. Maybe 10% of the structures were grandfathered in as multi-units due to being subdivided in the past, but my impression is this number is decreasing because whole houses for sale are more lucrative than renting out a two unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by richb View Post
What should happen is allowing for more 2 flats in single family neighborhoods. So you end up with mostly owner occupied + a rental unit for extra income (helps out on mortgages and high property taxes too). Also owner occupied units will help keep tenants in line, as rentals can be problems for neighbors.
Two flats in my experience are a pretty localized building typology to Great Lakes region and the Upper Midwest. You don't see them in New England (though triple-deckers are a variation on the same idea) and you don't see them much in the mid-Atlantic and the lower midwest (where older dense urban housing tended towards rowhouses). Here in Pittsburgh they were really only built in substantial numbers in the 1920s, and I can only think of a handful of streets in the entire city where I'd say they were the dominant housing typology.
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  #30  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 5:47 PM
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first you need to reconfigure the consumer. single people seem to think they should be living in a 1 bedroom apartment. we have it all wrong. single person used to equal a studio. couple = 1 bedroom. couple with child or live in whoever, 2 bedroom. people are spoiled and think a 1 bedroom apartment in an urban location should be the norm, and then everybody complains rent is too expensive....duh, you've got too much sh!t beavis......
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  #31  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 6:26 PM
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first you need to reconfigure the consumer. single people seem to think they should be living in a 1 bedroom apartment. we have it all wrong. single person used to equal a studio. couple = 1 bedroom. couple with child or live in whoever, 2 bedroom. people are spoiled and think a 1 bedroom apartment in an urban location should be the norm, and then everybody complains rent is too expensive....duh, you've got too much sh!t beavis......
Studios are geared for people looking to enter an expensive area (NY, LDN, etc) but cannot swing the rent or for those who can but don't need or want the extra space but a 1 bedroom apartment is the standard. Unless you have some unique apartment in SoHo with a lot of history and character, don't know too many people over 35 who would opt for a studio over a bedroom door.
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  #32  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 6:31 PM
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^^^that's exactly my point. the single person has a minimum square footage expectancy and think they deserve enough room for all of their stuff. last I checked, most urban center are getting pretty expensive but developers keep cranking out the 1 bedrooms and then everybody cries about affordability problems. we need to reconfigure the studio market share. not micro apartments though. that's still a tough sell. bring the price point down for 400 sq feet and you will probably rent them like hot cakes.
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  #33  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 6:41 PM
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And perhaps add more storage facilities in the area.
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  #34  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 6:48 PM
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^^^that's exactly my point. the single person has a minimum square footage expectancy and think they deserve enough room for all of their stuff. last I checked, most urban center are getting pretty expensive but developers keep cranking out the 1 bedrooms and then everybody cries about affordability problems. we need to reconfigure the studio market share. not micro apartments though. that's still a tough sell. bring the price point down for 400 sq feet and you will probably rent them like hot cakes.
I think the average renter would actually prefer having a smaller one bedroom apartment over a bigger studio. There's just something awkward about having guests over in your bedroom - unless you're going to be sharing a bed I mean.
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  #35  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 6:55 PM
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the average sq. footage of a 1 bedroom is 650 sq ft. bring that down about 200 sq feet, reconfigure to have a smaller bedroom and fullbath with shower only. tah dah.
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  #36  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 7:36 PM
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I think the average renter would actually prefer having a smaller one bedroom apartment over a bigger studio. There's just something awkward about having guests over in your bedroom - unless you're going to be sharing a bed I mean.
That is the point of the "junior 1 bedroom" which has a vestigial "bedroom", often only partially separated from the living room but almost always able to be closed off from it visually, perhaps with some sort of folding or sliding door, when guests are expected. I believe legally in most places if it doesn't have its own closet, you can't call it a full "bedroom".

e.g.

http://thenashnyc.com/new-york-apartments-floorplans/
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  #37  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 7:39 PM
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Wow that is hideous, and will not age well at all.
So you don't like the industrial look.

I'm not a fan either but it takes all kinds.
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  #38  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 7:41 PM
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that seems good. id totally go for a micro-condo movement.
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  #39  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 8:03 PM
mhays mhays is offline
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Originally Posted by pdxtex View Post
^^^that's exactly my point. the single person has a minimum square footage expectancy and think they deserve enough room for all of their stuff. last I checked, most urban center are getting pretty expensive but developers keep cranking out the 1 bedrooms and then everybody cries about affordability problems. we need to reconfigure the studio market share. not micro apartments though. that's still a tough sell. bring the price point down for 400 sq feet and you will probably rent them like hot cakes.
Absolutely right that expectations are a big part of the problem. The US was a land of plenty for the 80% at one point, and now it's not as much, and there's some hangover.

Micros are a massive necessity in expensive cities. It's the only way the market can build units affordable to the low-middle segment. I mean like 120-250 sf. This has always been common in some parts of the world, and works well in US cities when it's allowed. Some people are offended at the idea...do they think people who can only afford $600 or $800 belong in the gutter or a friend's couch instead? But even they think it's ok for hotel rooms and dorms.

In my area, a new, reasonably central 400 sf unit might go for $1,500/mo. That's good for some people but not suitable for a barista. Only a true micro will work for them, or a roommate. In SF the same 400 sf might be $2,500 or more.

Self-storage, restaurants, hotels, libraries, bars, and other services are of course really helpful with micros. Apparently that's a big factor in Paris' cafe culture for example.
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  #40  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2017, 8:16 PM
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Absolutely right that expectations are a big part of the problem. The US was a land of plenty for the 80% at one point, and now it's not as much, and there's some hangover.

Micros are a massive necessity in expensive cities. It's the only way the market can build units affordable to the low-middle segment. I mean like 120-250 sf. This has always been common in some parts of the world, and works well in US cities when it's allowed. Some people are offended at the idea...do they think people who can only afford $600 or $800 belong in the gutter or a friend's couch instead? But even they think it's ok for hotel rooms and dorms.

In my area, a new, reasonably central 400 sf unit might go for $1,500/mo. That's good for some people but not suitable for a barista. Only a true micro will work for them, or a roommate. In SF the same 400 sf might be $2,500 or more.

Self-storage, restaurants, hotels, libraries, bars, and other services are of course really helpful with micros. Apparently that's a big factor in Paris' cafe culture for example.
I've had this theory for awhile when it comes to urban planning and home design that humans have a certain amount of "conceptual space" which is needed, which is not the same as physical space.

The historic norm, until quite recently, was that homes were very small, but relatively little time was spent within the home, which was largely seen as a place for sleep and family meals. Instead, much of the "conceptual space" was rotated to the commons in whatever village/town/city you happened to live in. You spent your day out and about, beginning in childhood, which was generally spent playing in the streets with other neighborhood kids.

This pattern changed with the modern era. Homes got larger, and people spent more and more time within their house. At the same time, the conceptual space retreated from the commons, and people became more socially isolated. It's interesting to note that the major exception to this in the U.S.'s recent history - college, where students often share rooms, and spend a lot of time not within their personal domicile, but outside, even if it's just in the commons of the dorm hall. I don't know about any of you, but I was way more social and outgoing in college when I had a roommate, in part because I just wanted to GTFO of the room as much as possible.

More recently, with the widespread use of computers, the internet, and mobile devices, one can argue conceptual space has rotated again. The commons are retreating into cyberspace, which can (to a certain extent) replace former needs. Hence younger people both seem to go out less and have less need for space than their immediate predecessors.
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