A $12 million East Village micro-apartment project incorporates a Victorian home that was taken apart piece-by-piece and reassembled with the exterior restored.
Designed and built by Nakhshab Development & Design, Inc., Ezabelle, 454 13th St., has 46 micro-apartments ranging from about 200 square feet to 300 square feet in a seven-story new building that wraps around the 900 square-foot older home, said Soheil Nakhshab, CEO of Nakhshab Development.
The older home was broken down into panels that were numbered, moved off site, then brought back and reassembled after construction of the new building was finished.
While the exterior of the home was restored and preserved, the interior was completely redone to incorporate the space into the new building.
“There really weren’t any historic finishes on the interior because it had been remodeled so many times over the years,” Nakhshab said.
Because the apartments are so small, “Everything is built in, we built in all the furniture components,” Nakhshab said.
That includes queen-size Murphy beds that fold down over a sofa, built-in kitchen tables that fold down, and stackable washer/dryer combinations.
“It’s like a Swiss army knife. You get all these cool gizmos and gadgets. That’s what we tried to build with the apartments,” Nakhshab said. “The floors are all polished concrete so you get sound attenuation.”
The walls between the apartments also are independent from each other and further soften the sound.
Squeezing the building into the site was a challenge, with a 4,200-square-foot lot that measured 42 feet wide by 100 feet long, Nakhshab said.
“We carved out a courtyard in the middle of our property to allow for the units to have natural light and ventilation,” he added.
First Approval Under New Regs
According to Nakhshab, Ezabelle was the first building approved under new city regulations that allow for no parking spaces in transit-oriented projects.
“We felt confident that a building like ours would be successful in this neighborhood without any parking,” Nakhshab said. “Many of our tenants don’t have vehicles, so it’s not an issue.”
Ezabelle also is adjacent to a trolley station and a block away from a bus stop.
As of mid-March, the apartments in Ezabelle were fully leased, with work continuing on the commercial portion of the project that will include the interior of the Victorian home.
Monthly rents range from about $1,400 to nearly $1,900.
The first floor of the Victorian home will tentatively have a group of kiosks for people who are moving from a farmers market setting to something more substantial, Nakhshab said.
“We’re providing more flexibility because we want to incubate small businesses,” Nakhshab said. “The idea here is it’s almost like a little marketplace with multiple vendors. This is more of a permanent location for that type of business, where they’ve outgrown that farmers market and they want a more permanent location in the city.”
Planning for More
The building is LEED certified for its use of energy saving features in its design and construction. That includes using construction materials that have fewer chemicals in them “so you’re not getting all these crazy toxins and chemicals in the building,” Nakhshab said.
The apartments also have low-flow fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchens, and large windows and balconies to allow for natural lighting and ventilation.
“You may be in a 200-square-foot space but you’re getting that direct contact with the environment so you’re not losing your mind,” Nakhshab said.
Nakhshab said that he’s found that building small apartments is “a great idea and concept” for infill developments in urban neighborhoods.
His company is planning to build another micro-apartment project in Mission Hills with 54 apartments.
“I’m not sure if the model really makes sense for large developers. For companies like ours, the smaller boutique developers, everything is vertically integrated. We do all the construction in house. We’re the developer and then we property manage these projects,” Nakhshab said.
Nakhshab Development & Design
CEO: Solheil Nakhshab
Headquarters: East Village
Business: architecture, engineering, design, development and construction
Notable: Firm was awarded the 2019 Small Business of the Year Award by the California State Assembly.