The NMS@Lincoln and Luxe@Broadway complex offers apartments geared to a Gen-Y lifestyle.

SANTA MONICA, CA-A mixed-use multifamily complex here is thinking small. As in 375-square-foot apartments small.

The $50-million apartment project has twin buildings, called NMS@Lincoln after developer NMS Properties and its location at the intersection of Lincoln Blvd. and Broadway; and Luxe@Broadway. Both buildings began leasing last year and are 100% occupied.

The micro-unit trend is also catching on elsewhere across the US.

The NMS and Luxe both have 97 units and offer market rate and affordable housing. They were developed by NMS Properties and designed by Killefer Flammang Architects.

The properties feature 375-square-foot “micro-units,” a concept developed by NMS and KFA almost 10 years ago. Since then. NMS has built over 400 micro-units designed by KFA in Santa Monica alone.

The small apartments appeal largely to younger individuals, says Jim Andersen, the NMS president. “We do have some seniors, but we’re predominantly talking about Silicon Beach workers and those between ages 23 and 25 and on up to 35 to 40. They want to be close to their jobs. They’re people that want to be in the urban core and enjoy downtown Santa Monica. They’re using it as a springboard for their lifestyle. They’re not someone who wants to create an oasis. This is really valuable to somebody that lives their life in the community.”

Andersen tells that the new buildings are tweaks of past design experiences in their other micro-living spaces. “We understand space and how you can make space work, and how you can make circulation space usable space.” The units feature a full-size bathroom with a shower and tub, a full-size kitchen, and separation between living and sleeping areas. Some units are actual one-bedroom units, Andersen says.

Apartments range from studios priced at $1,495 to one-bedroom units for $1,708. “We have some units that are priced below those levels,” Andersen says. “We do accept Section 8, but they are mostly just lower income people.”

Some 7,600 square feet of retail space, with street and courtyard frontage, is located on Lincoln and Broadway, with a 2,000-square-foot plaza featuring a large California Sycamore tree. Tenant social areas include a rooftop garden. Retailers on board include Chase Bank and Starbucks. “The corner was notched out to provide a distinctive urban space with two retail frontages, a factor which had significant appeal to the major brands that have leased there,” says Andersen.

Andersen is not sure if more micro-units will be built in the area by his firm. “It’s hard to say. I think in Santa Monica we’ve delivered a number of these units, all completely occupied. We don’t have any availability and they’re very popular and have filled a niche. But the projects that are upcoming I would say are more likely to be conventional site projects. We may do (micro-units) in the future, but in the immediate future, it’ll be more conventional.”

As previously reported by, Killefer Flammang won the Award of Merit in three categories at the Golden Nugget Awards earlier this month.