New downtown development aims toward living small

New condos offer 'micro-living'

By Tera Roberson - Special Projects Producer

HOUSTON - Imagine a living room, kitchen, bedroom and a bathroom all within a 350-square-foot condo. Living small: That's the message and the idea behind a new development just east of downtown.

“It's responsible, smart living," said Jason Franklin, the lead sales director of Ivy Lofts. "Our main tagline is, 'Everything you need and nothing more.'"

Think of it as "micro-living” with the new condos in East Downtown, also known as “Ea-Do.”

“We only habitat in 300 square feet at a time: your living room, your bedroom, your kitchen," Franklin said. "So if I can transform those spaces to meet what you need it to be at that point, you're really not giving anything up.”

The goal with the condos is to make the best of the space. A table in one of the rooms can be used as a work station, but it also turns into a bed.

James Ihedigbo of the Detroit Lions knows all about getting more bang for your buck in the new micro-condo craze.

“It's catered to people that want to maximize their space,” Ihedigbo said, adding that he plans to purchase several units and rent them out."I have other real-estate properties in Houston, and this is something that was just great for the city in an up-and-coming area," Ihedigbo said.

Having resided in New York for several years, Ihedigbo said the units at the Ivy Loft will offer residents the comfort of city living without the price tag.

“(It's) a great individual space, contrary to traditional condos where you'd have to get three or four roommates to cover the rent. This is more personal. You can come and go in your own time and enjoy your own space,” Ihedigbo said.

Franklin said for a lot of working professionals, these smaller spaces just make sense.

“The growing understanding is, 'I'm up early, I'm gone at work, I come home, maybe I go out for drinks, maybe dinner with friends. I'm only living in my space maybe three, four hours a day,'” said Franklin.

It sounds perfect for millennials, but there's an older demographic showing interest, too.

“We're seeing a major resurgence of empty-nesters coming back into the city," Franklin said. "They've gone to the suburbs. They've done the 3-2-2. They're now walking around in a 4,000-square-foot home with no kids and going, 'What am I doing?'”

The starting price for "the Tokyo" condo is $141,000.

Other micro units will run about $250,000.

The living space might be small, but the building is offering big common spaces for "play."

Franklin described some of the amenities residents will have to look forward to.

“That's 15th-floor outdoor terraces with cooking stations, lounging -- it's our sky lounges with reservable party rooms for people up to 30 for a dinner party, and kitchenette and reservable board (room) space.”

The Ivy Lofts will also have 15,000 square feet of retail space for restaurants, shopping and salons. It will also bring jobs to the area.

“We're using local builders, local architects," Franklin said. "We're looking for a local coffee house, brands that people know, love and understand." 

Franklin is banking on location and amenities as big selling points to prospective buyers.

“It's like being on vacation at home,” he said.

Click here to check out images of the Ivy Loft.

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2