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Those tiny Tampa apartments are out, regular apartments are in

By Susan Taylor Martin
A Tampa company originally planned to convert the top eight floors of a downtown building into 120 "micro-apartments'' like this of 300 to 400 square feet apiece. Now it's scrapping that plan in favor of regular apartments geared toward students. [Courtesy of Urban Core Holdings]

TAMPA ó Goodbye micro apartments, hello regular apartments.

Urban Core Holdings has scrapped its plans for 120 teeny apartments at 220 Madison Street in favor of 48 more conventional ones geared toward students.

Although the micro apartments drew an enthusiastic response when they were announced in April, the construction costs and parking requirements ultimately doomed them, Urban Core manager Omar Garcia said Tuesday.

"We went back to the drawing board and said, ĎHow can we continue to use this property as residential because we think itís the highest and best use,í" he said of the 12-story former office building. "So we came up with the student housing concept because itís a great location for University of Tampa students and also weíll have 800 (University of South Florida) medical students who will be living in the downtown area in 2019" when a new medical school building is finished.

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Instead of micro units for about $850 a month, the two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments will range from $769 to about $990 including all utilities, cable and 300 Mbps internet per person. That will make them "absolutely the cheapest" apartments downtown, Garcia said.

Though bigger than the micros, the apartments still will be relatively small. "Younger folks donít have that many things," Garcia noted. "They donít have albums; they donít have CDs ó all that stuff is on their phones. The No. 1 demanded amenity for students is really, really fast internet."

The city requires developers to provide one parking space per apartment or pay a $26,500 fee per space instead. Scaling back from 120 to 48 apartments cut the parking requirement to just 48 spaces "and we can mitigate some of that requirement with bike racks," Garcia said. Urban Holdings will also save money by not having to put in nearly as many kitchens.

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More than 90 people paid $50 each to reserve the micro apartments. Refunds are to be issued this week.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate