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Micro-apartments coming to Denver

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Highlights:

  • Nichols Partnership developing Denver’s 1st micro-apartments.
  • They will open in the former VQ Hotel near Mile High.
  • Studios will average a mere 330 square feet.
nother view of Turntable Studios, the first micro-unit apartment tower in Denver.

A view of Turntable Studios, the first micro-unit apartment tower in Denver.

Micro-apartments are finally arriving in Denver.

Nichols Partnership, a high-profile company that among other things  developed the Spire condominium tower in downtown Denver, next year will open 179 super-small rental units in the former VQ Hotel next to Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The plan to convert the 13-story, 94,000-square-foot  hotel into micro-apartment units was first reported last September in a front page article in the Colorado Real Estate Journal.

Nichols Partnershippurchased the property in Jefferson Park last month for $9 million in a partnership with Realty Capital Group.

“The micro-apartment unit idea is one that is sweeping the country and these type of projects are becoming popular in many other big cities, especially those with high rental rates,” Randy Nichols, the president of his namesake company, told CREJ.

“The whole idea is that we don’t really need that much space,” he continued.

Nichols elaborated on that on Wednesday.

“Denver has been been ranked as one of the top destination cities for Millennials since 2009, but we have a disconnect with housing affordability for these young professionals,” Nichols said.

The hotel, built in 1967 that at one point was a Holiday Inn, has been renamed as the Turntable Studios.

“We intend to change that at Turntable Studios with our efficiently designed studio apartments that will rent for less than $1,000 a month.”

While rents are low, it has a premium location, Nichols said.

“Turntable Studios is perfectly located to access LoDo, Highland, Platte Valley and the Platte River/Cherry Creek bike trails,” Nichols said.

“Proximity to the Sports Authority Field at Mile High light rail station and immediate access to I-25 conveniently connect Turntable Studios to everything Denver has to offer,” Nichols continued.

“To be able to experience all of this for under $1.000 per month is an irreplaceable opportunity.”

“Randy is the genius that came up with the Turntable Studios name,” said Melissa Rummel, a project manager with Nichols Partnership.

Not only does the cylindrical-shaped building look like an old record player and remind Nichols of the Capitol Records building in Hollywood, but it is a Turntable Studios is a play on words, she said.

Turntable Studios will be the first micro-apartment units in Denver. It is being designed by JG Architects.

Turntable Studios will be the first micro-apartment tower in Denver. It is being designed by JG Architects.

Some 168 of the units are former hotel rooms that are being converted to studios. Each studio unit is 330 square feet.

They are small, but they will have a lot of curb appeal, she said.

“They will be very “sleek, modern apartment units with very high-end finishes,” Rummel said.

Although apartment units have been getting smaller in Denver as rents have been rising, a micro-apartment studio at the Turntable is less than half the size of a typical new apartment unit, which is hovering around 750 square feet.

With new apartments units commanding prices of $3 or more per square foot, the monthly rent of many new apartments can top $2,000.

Many people, especially young professionals and students at the nearby Auraria campus, want to live near downtown, but are price out of the market, Rummel said.

Even the one-bedroom units at the Turntable will be 650 square feet and a handful of two-bedroom units will be about 820 square feet, she said.

There will be 150 parking spaces.

“It’s not quite one for one, but we are near two light rail stations, we’re by the Cherry Creek trail and we will have ample covered bike parking,” Rummel said.

They also will be encouraging and promoting car sharing, she said.

“We are really appealing to a multi-modal generation,” Rummel said.

Melissa Rummel of Nichols Partnership is thrilled to bring micro-apartments to Denver.

Melissa Rummel of Nichols Partnership is thrilled to bring micro-apartments to Denver.

“A lot of young people don’t feel like they need to have a car,” she said.

Councilwoman Susan Shepherd, who represents District 1, which includes the hotel, was thrilled to learn about micro-apartments coming to the Turntable.

“Honestly, I think it is a great idea,” Shepherd said.

She said several developers have approached her about developing the hotel, but Nichols Partnership came up with what seems to the best solution.

“I could see this be very appealing to students and young people who can’t afford to rent downtown,” Shepherd said.

Many previous developers who looked at the tower planned to demolish it, and replace it with expensive, market-rent apartments, according to Eric Roth, who sold the hotel with fellow CBRE brokers Martin Roth, Dan Woodward and David Potarf.

“We really need affordable housing like this,” Shepherd said.

Amenities will include a swimming pool, a work-out facility on the first floor, a community room, a dog park area, and a penthouse  “city-view lounge” for all residents.

The lounge will replace the top floor bar, a favorite get away for decades for those seeking privacy accompanies by postcard-perfect views from the 13th floor perch.

Boutique Apartments will manage and lease the apartment units.

“We’ve asked them to start a waiting list immediately,” Rummel said.

Turntable will open in two phases.

The bottom half will be open by next July and other top half next fall.

“We want to be open by the time school starts,” she said.

JG Johnson is the project architect and I-Kota is the project general contractor.

Interested in buying a home in Jefferson Park? Please visit COhomefinder.com.

Have a story idea or real estate tip? Contact John Rebchook at JRCHOOK@gmail.com. InsideRealEstateNews.com is sponsored by Universal Lending, Land Title Guarantee Co. and 8z Real Estate. To read more articles by John Rebchook, subscribe to the Colorado Real Estate Journal.