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ABI

Billings Index continues strong form, ending first quarter on a high
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has continued its surge as the first quarter of the year ended and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported a March ABI score of 54.3, up from 50.7 the previous month. The new year ABI hangover (now seemingly customary) is now all but a distant memory as the ABI established a two-month-long positive streak. Last year, the ABI score for January was 49.6 but the following six months were all positive scores. Additionally, the new projects inquiry index was 59.8, down from a reading of 61.5 the previous month, while the new design contracts index dipped from 54.7 to 52.3. So let's not get ahead of ourselves. The ABI is the leading economic indicator of construction activity. It reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average. The index runs on a scale from 0-100 and scores above 50 suggest growth while anything below implies negativity in the market. “The first quarter started out on uneasy footing, but fortunately ended on an upswing entering the traditionally busy spring season,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “All sectors showed growth except for the commercial/industrial market, which, for the first time in over a year displayed a decrease in design services.” Key March ABI highlights: • Regional averages: Midwest (54.6), South (52.6), Northeast (52.4), West (50.2) • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (54.6), mixed practice (53.7), institutional (52.9), commercial / industrial (49.8) • Project inquiries index: 59.8 • Design contracts index: 52.3
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Back in the black

Architecture Billings Index witnesses resurgence after bad start to 2017
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is over its little January wobble. As early 2017 indicated a slow start to the year, the dip into the red proved only temporary as the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the February ABI score was 50.7, up from a score of 49.5 in the previous month. December, by contrast, produced a score of 55.6. The score suggests that January was merely a minor blip, following the trend of recent years where the first month of the year was the only negative among positive scores. Last year, the AIA reported positive results for the following six months after a sketchy start to 2016 and this year looks on track to emulate this. The ABI is the leading economic indicator of construction activity. It reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average. The index runs on a scale from 0-100 and scores above 50 suggest growth while anything below implies negativity in the market. “The sluggish start to the year in architecture firm billings should give way to stronger design activity as the year progresses,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker in a press release. “New project inquiries have been very strong through the first two months of the year, and in February new design contracts at architecture firms posted their largest  monthly gain in over two years.” Key January ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: Midwest (52.4), South (50.5), Northeast (50.0), West (47.5)
  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (51.8), multi-family residential (49.3), mixed practice (49.2), commercial / industrial (48.9)
  • Project inquiries index: 61.5
  • Design contracts index: 54.7
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New Year Blues

Architecture Billings Index indicates slow start to 2017

This isn't fake news, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has dipped, and no, Jimmy Kimmel isn't here to rectify the mistake. The bad start to the year comes off the back of what had been a positive end to 2016 for the ABI. In January, the AIA reported an ABI a score of 49.5, a contrast to December's 55.6.

Indeed, the last month of 2016's score indicated the largest increase in design services for that year, but perhaps it is an unjust comparison to make. The previous two January scores were slightly negative and came after positive December scores. Last year, the ABI score for January was 49.6 but the following six months were all positive scores. So perhaps we shouldn't be too worried, yet.

The ABI is the leading economic indicator of construction activity. It reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average. The index runs on a scale from 0-100 and scores above 50 suggest growth while anything below implies negativity in the market. “This small decrease in activity, taking into consideration strong readings in project inquiries and new design contracts, isn’t exactly a cause for concern,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker in a press release. “The fundamentals of a sound nonresidential design and construction market persist.” Key January ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: South (54.2), Northeast (53.0), Midwest (52.4), West (48.8)
  • Sector index breakdown: institutional (54.6), commercial / industrial (53.4), mixed practice (48.1), multi-family residential (48.1)
  • Project inquiries index: 60.0
  • Design contracts index: 52.1
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Architecture Billings Index

No drama as ABI ends on much-predicted positive note

When the AIA said the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) was honing in on a positive note to end the year, most people believed them. The ABI had been on an upward trend two months prior and December's continuation of this wasn't all that unthinkable.

A December score of 55.9 to cap the year off was up from November's (also positive) score of 50.6 and marked the third positive score in a row off the back off a two-month slump before hand. December's score for the ABI indicates the largest increase in design services in 2016. Though project enquiries came down from 59.5 to 57.2, design contracts rose to 51.2 from 50.2.

The ABI is the leading economic indicator of construction activity. It reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average. The index runs on a scale from 0-100 and scores above 50 suggest growth while anything below implies negativity in the market.

The sharp upturn in design activity as we wind down the year is certainly encouraging. This bodes well for the design and construction sector as we enter the new year”,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD in a press release. “However, December is an atypical month for interpreting trends, so the coming months will tell us a lot more about conditions that the industry is likely to see in 2017.”  

Key December ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: Midwest (54.4), Northeast (54.0), South (53.8), West (48.8)
  • Sector index breakdown: commercial / industrial (54.3), institutional (53.3), mixed practice (51.9), multi-family residential (50.6)
  • Project inquiries index: 57.2
  • Design contracts index: 51.2
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Ending on a high(ish)

Architecture Billings Index clings on to positive score as 2016 comes to a close
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is honing in on ending the year on a high note, albeit while whimpering over the line. November saw a positive score reported for the month—the second in succession after a previous two-month slump. The score indicated a subtle increase in design services. The new projects inquiry index was 59.5, up from a reading of 55.4 the previous month. The overall score for November was 50.6, marginally less than October's 50.8 The ABI, the leading economic indicator of construction activity, reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average. The index runs on a scale from 0-100 and scores above 50 suggest growth while anything below implies negativity in the market. “Without many details of the policies proposed, it’s still too early to tell the likely impact of the programs of the new administration,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “However, architects will be among the first to see what new construction projects materialize and what current ones get delayed or canceled, so the coming months should tell us a lot about the future direction of the construction market.” Key November ABI highlights: Regional averages: South (51.3), Midwest (50.9), Northeast (50.8), West (48.6) Sector index breakdown: Multi-family residential (51.7); Mixed practice (51.3); Commercial / Industrial (50.4); Institutional (49.5) Project inquiries index: 59.5 Design contracts index: 50.2
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Cortex

220-unit residential project in St. Louis bioscience and technology complex unveiled

Kansas City–based architect el dorado and developer Silliman have released schematic designs for a mixed-use commercial and multi-family residential project as part of a larger development, Cortex 3.0, a bioscience and technology research community in St. Louis. The project will include 180,000 square feet of residential and 20,000 square feet of retail throughout seven stories. The approximately 220 apartment units range from studios to two bedrooms and balconies are nestled in setbacks along the building facade. Though materials have not yet been designated, initial renderings envision the project wrapped in corrugated metal, referencing the site’s industrial past. The growing Cortex district will also include a hotel designed by Boston-based Group One and a new office building designed by the St. Louis office of HOK. El dorado’s project is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Architect: el dorado Client: Cortex Location: St. Louis
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Cabinet of Curiosities

Trump choses Dr. Ben Carson to lead HUD
President-elect Donald Trump has tapped former neurosurgeon and Republican Presidential nominee Dr. Ben Carson to lead the Federal government’s Housing and Urban Development (HUD) agency. The announcement was made in a statement released this morning, according to The New York Times. In it, President-elect Trump said he and Dr. Carson “have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities.” Throughout his campaign, President-elect Trump portrayed America's inner cities as a disaster that he vowed to fix. Dr. Carson has no expertise in housing, and while the Times reported that he spent part of his childhood in public housing, that was later disproved by CNN. Initially, it seemed as though Dr. Carson wasn't interested in a role in the Trump administration. According to ABC, just last week one of his advisors said he wouldn’t accept any cabinet positions in light of his lack of government experience (which also raised eyebrows, considering he initially ran for the nation’s highest office). But Dr. Carson also remarked to The Washington Post  that, “I’ve said that if it came to a point where he absolutely needs me, I’d reconsider. But I don’t think that’s the situation with these positions.” Created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” program, HUD has a $48.3 billion budget which goes toward objectives such as: disaster relief, reducing homelessness, working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combating housing discrimination, and building and maintaining single- and multi-family housing across the U.S. To assume the post, Dr. Carson will need to be approved by the Senate in a simple majority vote.
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Seeing the Big Picture

Building-sized mural will cover the latest L.A. Arts District development
Downtown Los Angeles—based Togawa Smith Martin Architects has revealed renderings for a new mural-clad, 12-story multi-family housing tower in L.A.’s Arts District. The project, Arts District Center, would contain 129 live-work condominiums, an 113-room “art hotel,” and 70,000 square feet of retail space along the ground floor. The project will include a public “art plaza” at the corner of Fifth and Seaton Streets and include a 10,000-square foot of art gallery and event space plus a 3,000-square foot artist-collaborative space known as “CoLab” meant to incubate aspiring designers and artists. Renderings shown on the firm’s website and the Arts District Center's website depict a rectilinear tower set atop a double-height, brick-clad retail podium with the public art atrium anchoring the building’s commercial spaces to the street at the corner. The tower is set back from the street line in order to accommodate a terrace at the base of the housing component that overlooks the street. The building features neat rows of punched window openings and is clad on at least two sides by an architectural screen wrapped in large-scale murals. The eastern portion of the building is clad in floor-to-ceiling expanses of multi-colored glass and features projecting floorplates. Renderings also depict a large porte-cochère as well as a rooftop terrace. The Arts District Center is the latest in a long line of multi-family residential and mixed-use projects for the booming area on the eastern edge of Downtown Los Angeles and follows high-profile projects like the 6AM project by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron and a slew of more modestly-scaled proposals like Studio One Eleven’s 2110 Bay development. For more information on Arts District Center, see the project's website.
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HUH?

Ben Carson to lead HUD?
Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former Republican Presidential nominee contender, may lead the Federal government's Housing and Urban Development agency. Just yesterday, President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted the following:   Whether Dr. Carson may take the job is unclear—according to ABC, just last week one of his advisors said Dr. Carson wouldn't accept any cabinet positions in light of his lack of government experience (which also raised eyebrows, considering Dr. Carson initially ran for the nation's highest office). But Dr. Carson also remarked to The Washington Post  that, "I’ve said that if it came to a point where he absolutely needs me, I’d reconsider. But I don’t think that’s the situation with these positions." Created in 1965 as part of President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" program, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has a $48.3 billion budget which goes toward objectives such as: disaster relief, reducing homelessness, working with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, combating housing discrimination, and building and maintaining single- and multi-family housing across the U.S. It's unclear what Carson's qualifications or relevant experience(s) would be for this position, but according to Fox Business, we can expect to hear his answer after Thanksgiving.    
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ABI

Back with a bang: Architecture Billings Index rebounds after a two month dip
After a two-month slump, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has come back with a vengeance, storming to a score of 50.8 in October. In the months prior, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported scores of 49.7 and 48.4 (for August and September respectively). While this may be good news on a national scale, the only region to report positive figures was the South—an area which hasn't seen a dip in billings growth since June 2012. The ABI, the leading economic indicator of construction activity, reflects a 9 to 12 month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The national index, design contracts, and inquiries are calculated monthly, while the regional and sector categories are calculated as a three-month moving average. The index runs on a scale from 0-100 and scores above 50 suggest growth while anything below implies negativity in the market.
While numbers for inquiries remained typically strong (the last figure below a score of 50 was in July 2009 in the aftermath of the recession), design contract figures dropped into the negative after a three-month streak. Billings for "Residential" typologies were also the only sector to post positive scores for the month too. Institutional and Mixed Practice remained negative from the previous month meanwhile, Commercial/Industrial figures dropped from a score of 50.4 to 49.8.
“There was a collective sense of uncertainty throughout the design and construction industry leading up to the presidential election,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Hopefully we’ll get a sense of what direction we will be headed once we get a clearer read on how the new administration’s policies might impact the overall economy as well as the construction industry.”
Key October ABI highlights:
  • Regional averages: South (53.7), West (49.7), Northeast (47.3) Midwest (46.8)
  • Sector index breakdown: Multi-family residential (51.2), Commercial/Industrial (49.8), Mixed Practice (49.5), Institutional (49.1)
  • Project inquiries index: 55.4
  • Design contracts index: 48.7
Due to small sample sizes, the regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average. On the other hand, for the national index, design contracts and inquiries are monthly figures.
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18-Hour City

Kirkland Urban development outside Seattle breaks ground
Construction has started on the Kirkland Urban, an 11.5-acre mixed-use development designed and master planned by Seattle-based architects CollinsWoerman for the Seattle-adjacent city of Kirkland, Washington. The complex, a redevelopment of an existing shopping mall, is being redesigned around the notion of an “18-hour city,” a designation typically reserved for the mid-sized metropolitan centers that offer the density of amenities, jobs, and housing present in larger cities but do not necessarily run around-the-clock. The model relies on the mixed-use configurations to maintain a more balanced streetlife than prototypical purpose-built business districts, which typically shut down after business hours. In a press release for the first phase of the project, partners PGIM Real Estate, Talon Private Capital, and Ryan Companies, US detail their plans for the first phase of Kirkland Urban: 390,000-square feet of Class-A office space, 140,000-square feet of retail, 185 apartments, and 1,700 parking spaces. The office spaces will take the form of a pair of six-story towers resting atop a multi-tiered retail podium. The developers are in the process of filling the towers with tech workers—tech companies Wave and Tableau have already signed on as anchor tenants—and plans also include a 50,000 grocery store to be operated by Kroger. The complex aims to include public art-lined “multi-family open spaces” and will feature a series of plazas oriented toward an adjacent recreational park, Peter Kirk Park. The residential component of the project, housed in a brick-and-balcony-clad apartment block, will be designed by Seattle-based Weber Thompson and feature a roof deck, club room and fitness center. Seattle-based firm Hewitt will provide landscape design services for the project. The developers and architects are aiming for LEED Gold certification for the project. The second phase of the Kirkland Urban has not yet been announced, but phase one is scheduled for completion in 2018.
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Micro-Scope

Are micro-apartments a revolutionary trend? Or are developers exploiting an out-of-control market?
The situation was dire: People were flocking to cities for work, but scarce land and lack of new construction were driving up rent prices. Middle-income residents couldn’t afford the high-end housing stock, nor did they want to enter cramped—sometimes illegally so—apartments. Luckily, a new housing solution appeared: In exchange for small, single-occupancy units, residents could share amenities—like a restaurant-kitchen, dining area, lounge, and cleaning services—that were possible thanks to economies of scale. Sound familiar? It should: It’s the basic premise behind Carmel Place, a micro-apartment development in Manhattan’s Kips Bay that recently started leasing. The development—whose 55 units range from 260 to 360 square feet—was the result of Mayor Bloomberg’s 2012 adAPT NYC Competition to find housing solutions for the city’s shortage of one- and two-person apartments. Back then, Carmel Place needed special legal exceptions to be built, but last March the city removed the 400-square-foot minimum on individual units. While density controls mean another all-micro-apartment building is unlikely, only building codes will provide a de facto minimum unit size (somewhere in the upper 200 square foot range). What does this deregulation mean for New York City’s always-turbulent housing market? Will New Yorkers get new, sorely needed housing options or a raw deal? In a way, this deregulation is a return to an old, widespread, and subsequently outlawed, real estate formula. In New York City at the turn of the 20th century, converting hotels into apartments, and offering single-occupancy units with communal amenities, helped alleviate a housing shortage. These “apartment hotels” were wildly successful until legal changes in 1929 largely eliminated them. Now, it seems, the pendulum of history is swinging back: Carmel Place also offers shared amenities and services through a company named ollie (a wordplay on “all inclusive”). The project’s developer, Monadnock Development, has brought in ollie to facilitate weekly house cleaning, limited butler service, and more, to the building’s 25 market rate units and eight units for veterans with Section 8 vouchers. Those units will also come with space-saving furniture; the other 22 units are affordable but not serviced by ollie. While micro-apartments haven’t yet proliferated, there is a fundamental economic formula that makes them appealing for developers. It boils down to the difference between rent per square foot and chunk rent. The former is what developers use as a metric for market demand and revenue. The latter is the monthly rent the tenant pays. “Ollie is a sustainable housing model for attainably [sic] priced, high-quality housing, and we're really exploiting that understanding that the consumer is paying on a chunk rent basis and the developer is driving their model on a dollar per square foot basis,” explained Christopher Bledsoe, ollie’s cofounder. Furthermore, because rent is less a strain on residents’ finances, they become more reliable and long-term tenants. This dynamic isn’t just conjecture. Before ollie worked on Carmel Place, it renovated and leased micro units in an old Upper West Side building to demonstrate demand for smaller apartments. (The company didn’t offer its standard suite of amenities and services, so the development wasn’t branded “ollie.”) “One of the surprises is that this [micro unit] market is far broader than Millenials,” said Bledsoe. About 30 percent of the building’s renters were over age 34; they included empty nesters, retirees, those seeking to downsize or own pied-a-terres, long distance commuters, and many young couples, not all of whom were Millennials. Units in that building ranged from 178 to 375 square feet; demand was so high rent shot up to around $2,250 for the smallest units, $3,000 for the largest. “Over 40 percent of the tenants coming in [to the Upper West Side micro units] opted for a lease longer than 12 months. That's huge,” said Bledsoe. In light of this, Carmel Place is a more mature experiment in micro-living: What combination of amenities, services, and architecture can upend the long-held real estate belief that square footage determines what people will pay? This is where ollie’s pitch comes in: “For every one square foot I can eliminate from the apartment, I can give back $50 a year to the tenant in services,” said Bledsoe. Bledsoe sells ollie as essentially doing two things for renters: First, it leverages its purchasing power to provide economies of scale to its residents. Space-savvy products from Resource Furniture, WiFi, cable, Hello Alfred butler service, housekeeping, and social club membership through Magnises, are folded into the tenant’s rent. Bledsoe argues that those expenses are frequently hidden in rents, so including them helps tenants save time and keep Carmel Place competitive with nearby comparable units. Furthermore, he added, “It's not just about services and amenities, it's about the community.” At Carmel Place, a live-in community manager helps arrange social events ranging from BBQs to lectures by guest speakers. While ollie was hired after Carmel Place was designed by New York–based nARCHITECTS, the building’s design facilitated ollie’s mission: Carmel Place features a long, open, “main street” lobby, a ground floor gym, and on the top floor, a communal kitchen, dining area, extensive terrace, and outdoor grills. The walls between the top floor’s private terraces can even be swung aside, creating one giant shared terrace. ollie’s vision for a communal, dorm-like experience also recalls WeLive, WeWork’s coliving experiment (which, unlike a true apartment, doesn’t offer leases beyond 30 days). Rent at Carmel Place isn’t cheap: At the time of writing this article, unit 6H, furnished and 265 square feet, is going for $2,720 per month. If and when less expensive micro units are built, don’t count on the same quality furniture: Carmel Place’s Resource Furniture can quickly transform a studio into a one bedroom, but it’ll dent your wallet (a standard Carmel Place Resource Furniture setup costs $13,465). If micro-apartments proliferate, isn’t there risk that some won’t be able to afford that kind of hardware? “Yeah, absolutely,” said Frank Dubinsky, vice president at Monadnock Development, who added that, “In the future what will likely happen is there needs to be more furniture out there that works in these spaces. Resource's stuff is great but it's not inexpensive.” And what about affordable housing—will the next generation of New York’s affordable units be bare, 260 square foot apartments? Thankfully, on that count, no. When it comes to the city’s new MIH (Mandatory Inclusionary Housing) program, where developers must set aside 20 percent to 30 percent of a residential building’s floor areas for affordable housing, an affordable studio can’t be less than 400 square feet and an affordable one-bedroom can’t be less than 575 square feet. Furthermore, the mix of affordable unit types (studios, one-bedrooms, etc.) must match the ratio of market rate units. Combined with density controls, it’s very unlikely a residential building would use all its floor area for micro-apartments. MIH policies are currently only in effect in the recently rezoned East New York neighborhood but, overall, the program is a major part of the de Blasio administration’s plans to build or preserve 200,000 affordable units over the next decade. There’s also the unpredictable law of supply and demand to consider. California may offer some insight: In the 1980s, in a push to increase affordable housing stock, San Diego passed a legislation to allow micro-apartments. The practice subsequently spread to L.A., San Francisco, and beyond. “To a certain extent, you have to let people vote with they wallets,” said David Baker of San Francisco–based David Baker Architects. Baker’s firm recently designed an upscale condominium development in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley; half of its 69 units are micro-apartments. “If it doesn't rent, people won't build them. If you have more competition, they'll be better and rent for less.” Monadnock and nARCHITECTS created voluminous, bright, airy interiors for Carmel Place units. “Those things are not required by the zoning code—tall ceilings and big windows—but I think they're part and parcel with this becoming a replicable typology in New York City,” said Dubinsky. Only time will tell if New Yorkers avoid less generous micro-units, a fact that isn’t heartening to those were excited to see so many innovative housing solutions—including a full-scale, Resource Furniture-equipped micro-apartment interior—at the 2013 exhibition Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers at the Museum of the City of New York. Perhaps mid-tier micro-apartments will appear, along with lower cost furniture to match. Conversely, there’s the possibility that micro-apartments will remain a niche market in select cities where housing stock is short and a few urbanites will trade “space for place.” “At present, and for the foreseeable future, micro units are such a small segment of the new multi-family housing supply that's coming online in cities that it's highly unlikely they're going to have any material impact on rent,” said Stockton Williams, executive director of the Terwilliger Center for Housing at the Washington, D.C.–based Urban Land Institute (ULI). But in terms of how micro-housing is already evolving, ollie’s next two projects, one East Coast, one West Coast, may presage what form it’ll take. The first, in Long Island City, is 42 stories. Floors two through 15 will contain 426 ollie-served micro-apartments. They’ll have the same basic suite of amenities found at Carmel Place (Resource Furniture, WiFi, Hello Alfred, etc.). However, the conventional apartments can also opt into ollie’s services. The second development, in downtown Los Angeles, involves—in a twist of historical irony—a hotel. Located on a 192,000-square-foot site, the project will feature 30,000 square feet of amenities and retail. The 300 ollie micro-apartments will have access to the hotel’s amenities: “Rooftop pool, gym, lounge spaces, food and beverage, essentially what you'd expect to find in a trendy hotel amenities program,” said Bledsoe. “We're even talking about putting recording studios in the basement, doing some fun things that are more local.” Some of the micro-units will actually be micro suites (micro-units with a shared bathroom and kitchen), a model that a 2014 ULI report identified as being even more profitable for the developer. Maybe cities will find new reasons to dislike micro-apartments—when cities emptied in the 70s, their Single Room Occupancy (SRO) developments deteriorated, became stigmatized, and were vastly cut back. But this time around, there’s growing awareness among developers that communal living is marketable and desired by tenants. “For a lot of people home is the happy place, but more home doesn't equal more happy. I think more home equals more money and more maintenance,” said Bledsoe. But the exploration of micro-apartments’ future is just beginning. As Baker explained, they’re popular among seniors, not only for being cheaper, but simply “It's a lot less to clean… and they want the bathroom to be closer.” Seniors’ micro-apartments with rooftop shuffleboard? Middle-class micro-apartments paired with a Motel 6? Who knows. But if the micro-apartment does indeed take this many forms, maybe the pendulum of history won’t know which way to swing.