Those aren’t “micro” (and they’re not deals, either)

Negotiating micro-units in that First Street project in lieu of a more vague “5 percent” affordability component is a great idea.

Too bad these aren’t:

In lieu of providing five percent of the proposed 261 residential units as deed restricted units affordable to low-income households, the Developer shall build out 14 additional Micro Units as Workforce Housing Units. The Micro Units will range in size from 375 SF to 500 SF and shall be incorporated into the three phases of development as follows..

No, sorry, but 500 square feet isn’t micro. Staff knows that, too.

And at up to $3 a square-foot allowable rent (which of course it will be), that’s a lot of dough. More money in fact than what many Burbank tenants are already paying for similar sized units.

Council, insist on REAL micro apartments. A hundred square feet is too small, but 375 to 500 is ridiculous.

In fact, it’s a total joke.


For a real-world (in Burbank) size comparison, 350 square feet constitutes a HUGE single. Those late 20s buildings that we still have around in our older areas with the separate kitchens and big closets (and walls where the Murphy Beds once sat) are about that size. 

Their 50s equivalents also come close. Five-hundred square feet by comparison is a decent sized one bedroom in any 30s through 70s building.

What staff is doing here is allowing Bethunin to pawn off his regular planned singles and smaller one bedrooms as some kind of special “micro-unit” alternative, and at about the same prevailing rent in Burbank. There is no “concession” to the deal on his part — efficiency singles ALREADY go for about $1,100 in Burbank.

And $1,500 for a smaller one bedroom is not on the cheap side here either. In reality it’s about average for the local prevailing rent, if not a little high.

The council shouldn’t fall for this evasive stunt. They need to insist on REAL 150 to 250 square-foot micro units at non- market rates. Otherwise, no concessions.

Who does staff think they’ re trying to fool here? They’re taking a good idea and then cynically manipulating it to the developer’s financial advantage.

Perhaps if you’re making two- or three-hundred-thousand dollars a year you’d think that 375 square feet is “micro.” But it’s not. It’s actually on the roomy side for a Burbank efficiency single.



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12 responses to “Those aren’t “micro” (and they’re not deals, either)

  1. Tom

    They will be great spaces for the little liberal snowflakes. They want to live small and save the planet. Do your part and support this project everybody needs to live here it’s a liberal paradise neighborhood.

  2. Anonymous

    These aren’t micro units. 500sf is a decent size apt. The singles ‘ve lived in over the years were lucky if they had 250 sf. I know the older units you’re talking about and they’re like mansions compared to modern buildings.

    • semichorus

      Yes, and they’re about 375 sq ft. HUGE singles.

      It’s obvious that these are units he’s already planned to go in anyway — large singles and smaller one bedrooms — and he’s trying to pawn them off (with staff’s help) as special micro-units in order to get a zoning deal. And at prevailing rates of 1100 to 1500 a month!

      Micro units are a great idea. But this is a perversion of the concept. Will the council be so gullible tomorrow night as to fall for it?

      Developers nowadays are adding these type of units ANYWAY. They’re quite lucrative. And three bucks a square foot for 375 to 500 square feet is no bargain. It’s about normal Burbank rent for smaller, simpler units.

  3. Citizen Cane

    More justification on why I moved to Nevada. Burbank is killing the quality of life by creating gridlock, congestion, overcrowding, and a pure lack of planning.

    Bring back the days of quiet Sundays, quiet nights, the Grist Mill restaurant, the Copper Penny, and the other classic eat spots from days gone by.

    What was the name of the Burger place across from Olive Park? Nothing better than playing in Sunday or weeknight softball leagues and going across Olive for burgers and those ifevvild pitchers of beer!

    • semichorus

      Don’s Place.

      I’m not sure Burbank can go back to that era, but they shouldn’t be rushing things either.

      And why isn’t​’ it that they never do things right? It’s always the mickey mouse version.

  4. rattlesnakesal

    This is not about micro units, but has to do with building next a freeway.

  5. Daniel

    I agree with you on this but you are not understanding that this problems with this project are the results of the failed policies of the Democratic Party. Those policies have lead us to the point where we are at. Those policies have been embraced and there has been a collusion with establishment Republicans Trump is president because he is American and we the voters rejected party politics and chose to fight for America. The country is waking up to this failed party system, to this failed establishment that has lead to a loss of freedom and decline of our nation. We want our nation to first and foremost support our constitution and stand for freedom. That includes freedom from over taxation and freedom from policies and programs.

  6. Citizen Cane

    Yes, Don’s place. Warm evening sitting on the patio with those ice cold pitchers of beer and good burgers.

    • Anonymous

      Change is a bitch. Good reason to be an atavistic reactionary, eh?

    • Maikal

      Fuck Don’s place. Time to bull doze all the old crap. It isn’t 1948 anymore Burbank. We need more vap shops and when do we get the marijuana stores in Burbank ?

  7. DixieFlyer

    Tim Behunin stuck with it, bought out others who were mere speculators.
    Over the years many Single units were eliminated by Redevelopment.
    Never to be replaced.
    Remember the “Hotel Senate for Men”?
    Tim is adding more units by the “micro’s”.
    He is, once again, investing in our Burbank.
    Springer and her “roof-top” swimming pool made no sense, either.

    • semichorus

      Remember all those singles Dixie that used to be on Third between Verdugo and Providencia? The buildings were actually quite nice. There are still a few between Glenoaks and SF. For now.

      I loved the old SROs in that same area. They once filled a big need. Who knew we’d need them again?

      I know of one SRO left in Glendale — the Maryland Hotel. The Y is about defunct.

      You know Dixie, Paul Hunt has a great blog about local bookstore history where he talks about why and how Burbank Redevelopment totally ruined the downtown area.

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