The demand for housing in cities has led to the emergence of "micro apartment" blocks, like Carmel Place (formerly My Micro NY), which typically offer cleverly designed compact homes at a lower cost that standard-sized apartments. It's claimed that one such development in Houston, Texas, will be the largest of its kind.

Developed by Novel Creative Development, the Ivy Lofts will be located in the East Downtown, or EaDo, neighborhood of Houston, close to the city's cultural and business centers. The development uses a variety of space-saving features to minimize its apartment sizes, with the stated aim of allowing residents to live affordably in a popular area of the city. Indeed, starting prices of US$139,900 are significantly cheaper than the $170,300 listed by real estate firm Zillow as Houston's average home.

The building will house more than 500 apartments across 24 floors, ranging in size from around 350 sq ft (33 sq m) to over 1,000 sq ft (93 sq m). The residences are styled to be simple, sophisticated and modern, with hardwood floors, granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. They will also all boast floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize natural light, LED lighting and walk-out balconies.

The interiors of the apartments are designed to be adaptable to meet the need of residents. Sliding doors allow spaces to be opened up or closed off from each other, while transformable furniture is used to make the most of space. The Ivy Lofts list three types of Murphy Bed (or fold-down bed) as being available, for example, variously combined with a sofa, a table or a desk.

Among the other space saving features used at the Ivy Lofts are all-in-one washer-dryers, storage space above bathrooms and, in some residences, kitchen islands with pull-out tables.

Each residence will have a ductless air system that can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet. In addition, they will be pre-wired for high speed internet, TV, phone lines and home automation tech, as well as for the installation of electric solar shades or curtains. Partnerships with Zipcar and Houston B-Cycle, meanwhile, will provide residents with access to drive-as-you-need vehicles and subscription bike rental, respectively.

Residents will also have access to green spaces, a sky lounge, an outdoor courtyard with cooking spaces, a pool and a fitness center. There will be 24-hr concierge and security services, free Wi-Fi in communal areas, electric car-charging stations and a backup generator for communal areas and elevators in the event of power outages.

The sales center for The Ivy Lofts opened earlier this month, with construction expected to begin in June and the project due for completion in 2018. Prices range from $139,900 to $584,900.

The video below provides a look at one of the apartment types.

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