October 14, 2016 5:52 pm
Updated: October 14, 2016 8:58 pm

Big idea for small living takes hold in Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: How much space do you really need to live? One new apartment building in Edmonton is putting that question to the test. Vinesh Pratap reports.


Ivan Beljan showed off a brand new suite in an apartment building in Old Strathcona.

“So, this is our largest corner unit,” the local developer explained.

The apartment is one of 40 units in a new addition to the Crawford Block, a building that dates back to 1912, located on Gateway Boulevard just north of Whyte Avenue.

What makes the new addition unique is the suites are all micro apartments, which range from only 340 to 450 square feet.

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“The key with small spaces is to make them feel like they’re not small,” Beljan said.

“It’s always hard when you look at something on blueprint and then actually see it in person.”

READ MORE: Could you live in a 350-square-foot apartment? They’re planned for Edmonton

What people can see now is how small living can work; a couple of suites have been furnished for viewing.

The features include 10-foot ceilings and an oversized patio window leading to a juliet balcony.

In one suite, the living room contains a small couch, a side table and a place for a television.

The bedroom is open to the space, but a rod on the ceiling allows a curtain to be hung for separation.

A sliding door leads to a bathroom with an extra-wide shower.

As for the kitchen space, the cupboards are along one wall.  There’s an apartment-sized fridge/freezer combo, a small dishwasher and two burners.

“We didn’t go with the oven,” Beljan explained.  “We didn’t see this demographic roasting turkeys in the oven.”

The expected demographic for the building is people from 20 to 40 years old.

“The whole premise of this is trying to get rid of clutter in your life, trying to get rid of anchors, having freedom, having mobility, not being tied down to a space,” Beljan explained of the building’s raison d’être.

The building has what’s believed to be another couple of firsts for Edmonton, including the fact there is no vehicle parking.

“Yeah, that was the other big risk,” Beljan candidly admitted.

Instead, a space has been set up in the basement for bicycle storage. There will even be repair and wash stations.

READ MORE: New 250-square-foot micro suites coming to Victoria

The most unique feature, though, relates to the main floor retail spaces. The front doors lead to the back alley, which leads to the Old Strathcona Farmers Market.

“We’ve had early meetings with a lot of the stakeholders in the area, and everybody loves the idea,” Beljan said, adding the idea is to animate the alley space; something he’s seen in Australia. “It has some real potential.

“The whole premise of this is trying to get rid of clutter in your life.”

The building already has 30 people on a wait list. As for how much rents will go for?

“So, the rents are going to start at $1,125 a month,” Beljan said.

He admits some people might think it’s too much, but points out it’s a new, concrete building in a desirable area.

“To me, micro-suites really is putting pressure and putting the design to the forefront to really not wasting any space.”

People are expected to start moving in next month.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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