Micro-units may be Austin’s next building trend

Construction in Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The city of Austin is hoping tiny apartments will help solve the big problem of affordable housing.

They spaces, called micro-units, are apartments with 500 square feet or less. They may soon be Austin’s next building trend.

Natalie Shortt’s humble abode is only 290 square feet and just minutes from Downtown Austin.

“I’ve loved it, I’ve absolutely loved living here,” she said. “Well it’s cozy, and I have just enough room to do the things I need to do.”

With such little space, Shortt has clothes in her bathroom and shoes in her pantry, but says her small unit is everything she needs.

Austin City Manager Marc Ott is now researching how to get more micro units in the downtown area. He is expected to bring his findings back to the Austin City Council on Feb. 27.

The city says the goal is to get more singles closer to town by offering affordable housing and encouraging less driving.

“Having more options for people where they can get on a bike or walk to get to places where they used to drive to, you are doing things to help traffic congestion for everyone,” said city council member Bill Spelman.

In August, construction started at 11th and Trinity streets downtown to build 135 affordable and small apartments that only cost about $500 a month.

“They’re very small, about 400 square feet,” said Walter Moreau, executive director of Foundation Communities. “It’s your own space with a kitchenette, bathroom, and fully furnished.”

Natalie Shortt says she is hoping more even more Austinites will soon get the chance to turn a shoe box, into a castle.

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