As a response for the need to help the poor, I’m all for ‘micro-units’, which are essentially very small apartments, often with a communal space. Without the political will to build subsidized housing, we need something to replace what used to be called flophouses–though they should be more humane and safe (i.e., private bathrooms). But this project, designed for D.C.’s Blagden Alley is just stupid (boldface mine):
Proposed back in 2014, the two-building development would sit mostly along Blagden Alley and partly on 9th and M Streets NW. Approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board last year, the development aims to attract a high-earning, young professional demographic that is looking for shorter-term stays than a traditional year-long lease.
“We’re targeting a slightly higher-income, more upscale, sophisticated tenant than a typical micro-unit might be targeting,” Brook Katzen, formerly of SB-Urban, said in 2014. “Our demographic is single, urban professionals aged 25-35 earning $150,000-$200,000 a year. That income level is based on the fact that these units will be fully furnished, all utilities included.”
In a city with a severe housing shortage, we need permanent housing, whether it be rental or for purchase. Worse, what this building will become is a ‘during the week’ hotel for people who work in D.C., but who commute back to ‘home’ on the weekends. On the weekends, there will bea dead zone that no one uses, all the while taking up prime real estate, depriving the neighborhood of street life.
This isn’t the only such unit being built: right on Dupont Circle, there is another such ‘micro-unit’ building being constructed, though it might have a bar/restaurant, which could alleviate some of the dead zone concerns.
D.C. needs housing for middle-class people who intend to stay for the long-haul, not long-term hotels for the gentry class.