Micro apartments save money, space in Center City

CENTER CITY - August 15, 2013

Joanne Maurer is happy to show off her new Center City apartment - all 250 square feet of it. That's right: 250 square feet.

It's called a micro unit, roughly the size of an average college dorm room.

"It may not be the way you would be comfortable, but this is my life and my choice," she said. "And this is the way I'm comfortable.

The single 59-year-old sales and marketing rep who has two adult children moved from a spacious home in Bucks County to this modest studio in a renovated building on South 21st Street.

"You don't need a lot of stuff in life," said Maurer. "There's people all over the world that do with way less than we do."

You may notice in Maurer's apartment that, yes, there's a kitchen, a hallway and of course a bedroom, but no living room. Maurer says she doesn't need one, because the city is her living room.

"I've done the entertaining. I'm out to get entertained," she said. "Go to the museum. Go see an exhibit or go to a play. It's a waste of time to be in the city and live in your unit and never go out."

Micro units have been popping up across the U.S. in major cities, especially New York City.

In this 19-unit building, Maurer's place costs around $1300 dollars a month.

But there are bigger apartments: 375 square feet, and a 550-square foot apartment which is the largest.

Ryan Sell, the CEO of AMC Delancey, which owns the building, says he expects to see more micro living in this city.

"The urban environment that it creates, and the feel and the electricity of all the people around, will continue to promote the types of units that we're developing," he said.

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