Any twenty-something who has hunted for an apartment knows finding a home in Downtown requires compromising on either quality or affordability. Solving that conundrum is the goal of WE, a concept for micro-housing on Casino Center Drive and Utah Street set to open next year.
Christina Roush (co-owner of Portfolio Investments, whose property includes Prickly Pear Apartments) has enlisted the Bunnyfish Studio architecture firm (Inspire Theater, John E. Carson Hotel, Gold Spike) to design the complex. She is seeking a tenant base of young people fresh out of college or renting their first apartment.
“The product [will be] modeled after markets in the West like L.A., Seattle and Portland,” Roush says. “Las Vegas, like with many other things, is late to the race.”
The micro-housing trend is seen more in big coastal cities where space is limited and rent is expensive. The average rent for a one-bedroom unit in Las Vegas is about $800 a month. Few Downtown options hit the pricing sweet spot for young renters, between $750 and $850, and are in a good condition, Roush says. The monthly rent for WE micro homes, which will include utilities and Wi-Fi, has not yet been determined.
Communal amenities will make up for the lack of space in individual units, she says. The animal-friendly, gated WE will have 48 units, each about 350 to 450 square feet, surrounding a courtyard with a pool, cabanas and barbecue pit. A large central kitchen, a common room and laundry room are featured. Similar to Downtown Project’s 211, each space will have a small bathroom and kitchen area. The bottom floor will have large patios about the same size as the units themselves.
Roush is uncertain whether she will renovate the old youth hostel where WE will be located or start from scratch. But she’s certain of this: Whether they’re small, smaller or micro, more residential spaces will be welcome in Downtown.