Tiny houses are becoming a hot trend as many people are choosing to downsize and get rid of all their extra 'stuff.' A local developer wants to bring that trend to downtown Tampa in the form of micro-apartments.
The apartments would be 300-400 square feet. Lots of big windows. They'd have all the necessary appliances. Even a murphy bed that folds up into the wall during the day to save space. There would also be a large common area for times when you wanted to hang out with friends. The rent is about 800 dollars a month.
It's being marketed to young professionals who work downtown and decide to live here too. They could really save some money if they don't have a car, which would be key because parking is the biggest issue for this project.
The plan calls for renovating the building at 220 Madison in downtown Tampa. The first floor would stay retail, but the upper floors would become the micro apartments, with a common area and balcony on the third floor.
However, the city has a rule that there has to be at least one parking spot per bedroom,
and with no existing parking garage here and no plans to build one, the developer is in a bit of a pinch. Omar Garcia is manager of Urban Core Holdings LLC. "The intent of this project, micro apartments in urban markets is really to make it so people do not want or have any need to own a vehicle and that may be a requirement we would like to offer up or negotiate in lieu of the parking requirement."
I went straight to Tampa's Administrator of Economic Opportunity, Bob Mcdonaugh, to see if they would consider changing the rules to make these apartments a reality. "What we do is we look at the past history of the building, when it was permitted and exactly what parking rights it had and you know we're trying to be creative and figure out a way to make this thing work, because I think it is a great idea."
This is still early in the process, the developer currently has a contract to purchase the building. However, this is generating so much interest, that he's taking online reservations starting today for people who might be interested in living in these micro apartments without a car. If all goes as planned, the apartments would be ready to rent in 8-12 months. Here's a link to their website.
And Road Warrior Hilary Zalla says there are options if you don't have a car. All the cyclist/pedestrian advocates she talked to in Tampa say the city is still too car-centric and there is still a long way to go until we're a bicycle/pedestrian friendly city.
With that said, there is a lot of progress happening and the tiny apartment project is a great example of that lifestyle change. The developer of the project is pushing to have Zipcar right out front of the building. It's $7/month, you reserve a car, and have a designated parking space. Of course, we can't forget about Uber and Lyft, too. There will also be a bike rack right out front.
If you didn't know, Tampa is adding more complete streets downtown. These are roads with separated bike and car lanes. They're working on roads like Bayshore Boulevard and MacDill Avenue.
Finally, we can't forget about the Downtowner shuttle, trolley, and the bus system."
© 2017 WTSP-TV