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Until demand for tiny apartments picks up, BRA wise to move carefully

RE “LET developers think small, creating new housing for all” (Editorial, June 23): The “micro-units” the Globe advocates are in effect small studio apartments, 300 square feet or smaller. A micro-unit costs $30 to 40 per square foot more to build, since they have a bath and a kitchen, components that account for a major part of the cost of any apartment.

With less than 50 percent of the square footage of a normal apartment, the big savings is in the acquisition cost per unit. Almost twice as many units can be constructed in a given building. But that saving is in the range of $30,000 to $40,000 per apartment. That reduction in cost cannot produce the rent savings some would want to happen. The majority of renters do not consider the convenience of a small apartment worth the nominal reduction in rent.

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The Boston Redevelopment Authority is wise to proceed cautiously with these units. The jury is still out. It will take several years to determine whether renters accept these units.

Harold Brown

Chairman,
The Hamilton Company

Allston

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