Tiny Downtown apartments offer trendy spaces.

Tiny Downtown apartments offer trendy spaces.

Imagine coming home to a space that is between 250 and 310 square feet-about the size of an average master bedroom these days-and loving it. The microliving trend has hit Downtown Columbus, with tiny rental units starting at $749 a month at 260 S. Fourth St. This post-recession phenomenon likely spawned from the tiny home movement and the trend toward more Spartan lifestyles. Smaller living spaces mean fewer material belongings.

Microliving is certainly not for everyone, but it appeals to many people, says Erin Zehnal, a commercial property manager and microliving project manager with Connect Realty. The living space may be small, but demand thus far has been big. Units at this South Fourth Street location are rented as soon as construction is completed.

"Our target audience is millennials who don't spend a lot of time at home, so they don't need a lot of space," says Zehnal. "Columbus is also a hub for big business, so there are certain people that need a little space in town because they have a home elsewhere."

In a section of town that once featured only boarded-up businesses, there are now several bars and restaurants within walking distance of the Fourth Street brick apartment building that includes Hadley's Bar and Kitchen at street level. "Location might be the biggest draw," says Zehnal. "There's nothing else like this in Columbus, and people like being part of something that has never happened before."

Connect Realty, a Columbus-based development company owned by investor Brad DeHays, purchased the building in 2014 to transition this formerly low income housing establishment to microliving apartments. (The company honored low income residential leases until they expired.)

Zehnal says the building was perfectly designed to be used for this new concept. There are currently 51 units and the building is nearing capacity, she adds. Construction on remaining units is expected to be completed early this year. Because the space is so small, Connect gives tenants the option to rent Murphy beds, which are installed in the walls and can be folded up to conserve space when not being used. Tenants can also rent TV stands, shelving and coffee tables. Some units have lofts, which can be used for storage.

Connect has recently purchased another building Downtown, which will also be converted to residential units that will include micro-apartments. The building, located at Long and Front streets, was the former home of the Saigon Palace restaurant. This project is not expected to be completed until 2018. Zehnal says that because the building is historic, construction will take longer in an effort to preserve as much of the original building as possible.

For more information, visit microliving.net.