It’s called a “lodging house,” and if you live in Portland, Maine, they’re coming your way:
Developers say the lodging houses are a response to Portland’s acute shortage of affordable places to live. But there is a financial angle, too — when you face construction prices at a 10-year high, a lodging house is cheaper to build than residences with individual plumbing, heating and electrical systems.
“You can’t build apartments; they are costing a fortune,” said Bill Simpson, owner of Class Acts Management.
Simpson wants to convert apartments at 1190 Forest Ave. into 20 single rooms. He has plans to put up a new four-story building with 88 rooms at 263 Cumberland Ave. to replace a boardinghouse he already owns there. He also owns another boardhouse next door, at 273 Cumberland Ave.
He plans clean, furnished, low-rent spaces that include utilities, WiFi and security systems. House rules require residents to check in, guests are not allowed after 9 p.m. and there is no drinking in the hallways or common areas.
I’ve been in dormitories like that. (Except Wi-Fi, which didn’t exist back then.)
Simpson thinks he can make lodging houses work financially with just a traditional bank loan and reliable rental income.
In contrast, developers building conventional residences “are having to charge $1,600 a month for a one-bedroom apartment,” he said.
“I don’t think people can afford it, I don’t think it is going to last,” Simpson added. “I think people can afford $800 a month.”
Cheaper than a bunk bed in San Francisco, anyway.
(Via Catherynne Valente.)