$50-million complex of micro apartments finished in Santa Monica


A $50-million residential and retail complex has been completed at a busy downtown Santa Monica intersection by a local developer that specializes in building mini apartments in urban centers.

The five-story complex called NMS @ Lincoln at the northwest corner of Lincoln Boulevard and Broadway has 97 units and stands next to a sister project of similar size called Luxe @ Broadway that opened last year.

Both properties are composed of 375-square-foot apartments developer NMS Properties calls “micro units.” NMS has built more than 400 such units in Santa Monica in the last decade, President Jim Andersen said.


The median-sized U.S. home is more than 2,000 square feet, according to a Census Bureau report. Micro units are about the same size as a large recreational vehicle and have the same design imperative: Fit as many features as possible into a small space -- but don’t make it claustrophobic.

“It’s like a Rubik’s Cube,” Andersen said during work on a similar complex in 2010. “It’s a geometry problem.”

Santa Monica architect Killefer Flammang Architects designs the diminutive dwellings intended to provide housing for workers and students who might otherwise be unable afford rent in the seaside city where many tech and entertainment firms are expanding.

Young people coming to Santa Monica for jobs and the beach lifestyle should provide a stream of tenants, Andersen said. “We believe the millennials, particularly, will provide a ready market for the foreseeable future.”

The Lincoln property has a Chase Bank and a Starbucks coffee house on the ground floor and is fully leased, Andersen said. Rents start at $1,495 per month.


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