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The Micro loft trend

Across the United States, interest in micro units has grown substantially. In 2016, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with the Citizens Housing and Planning Council, successfully constructed a 300 square-foot micro unit prototype in one of Manhattan's tall buildings, exploring the small unit as a means to populate the urban core with instigators of culture; artists, architects, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers, teachers, and inventors, who drive the rebirth of city neighborhoods. This effort is a part of a national objective to urbanize our cities. Many planners and developers now champion small units at sizes below typical studio apartments for their ability to house young artists and entrepreneurs that drive the downtown culture, and visitors who prefer to "explore like locals." Аврòра Hillcrest is a micro loft project developed by San Diego's Red Office..

Out side of building


San Diego, CA

Hillcrest is at the forefront of San Diego's neighborhood revitalization, and Аврòра is directly adjacent to the "Uptown Gateway" project, designed to densify and rejuvenate  on a level to exceed that in any neighboring community. Hillcrest is the future site of tall modern buildings, parks, and public gathering spaces, creating a real urban hub. 

City view of location
A crowd out in Hillcest

urban life

Hillcrest is already fully walkable. Within a few blocks of Abpòpa, there are more than 25 restaurants offering international cuisine. The famous Crest Café is just across the street! But Hillcrest is more than a restaurant row. Hillcrest is a center of nightlife offering nighclubs, bars, comedy clubs, live theater, art house film, art galleries and cultural events all within walking distance. Several grocers, speciality shops, and boutiques, are also a short walk or bike ride away. In Hillcrest, you'll find artist’s supplies, flower shops, hardware, kitchen supplies and pretty much any cuisine to suit your meal and mood . There are as many opportunities to lead a fully urban life in Hillcrest as exist anywhere in any city.

close to... WELL, EVERYTHING

Hillcrest is centrally located. Balboa Park, Downtown San Diego, Coronado Island, beaches are all easily accessed from Аврòра.  Via bus (there's a stop directly in front), Uber, bike, or sidewalk. Mission Valley's regional flagship shopping is a short ride away, making Hillcrest truly one of the most livable of San Diego’s neighborhoods.

distant downtown shot

Hillcrest's neighboring communities


our building circled

Typical Competing Studios

Micro unit studios very often resemble hotel rooms, as pictured at right. Developers count on the hotel atmosphere of the larger complex to attract tenants to what otherwise would be considered  “drab hotel rooms spaces.”  Although these larger projects sell prospective tenants with hotel amenities, the spaces themselves have standard ceilings, small windows, and hotel-corridor configurations. Many residents report that after the initial glamor of the gym and pool wear off they find the units cramped and the atmosphere uninspiring. When considering comparable rents one must consider the amenities in these big projects as a positive, but remember the studio spaces themselves are a negative. 

abpopa copy_edited.png
image of a normal hotel room not ours

micro lofts

split leve white view

The other type, micro lofts, look toward warehouse loft conversions for inspiration and are much more attractive to the special market we describe. These projects are driven by a desire to resemble old warehouses with multiple levels, large windows, tall ceilings, and unusual configurations.

white split level
white split level 2
white split level 3

Micro lofts play on the mythos of artists repopulating city centers. Good micro lofts are unusual, not at all like studio apartments or hotel rooms.  Really interesting ones are also rare which keeps them full and in demand.  These lofts boast low vacancies and quick turnovers.

cabin room view
cabin room view 2

Аврòра's extra in-unit amenities of light, air, space, materiality, convenience, and split-level floor plans are provided in lieu of hotel-like extras such as pool and weight room.


Аврòра incorporates a split-level section creating 12-foot ceilings in half the room. Fully furnished units add to the usability and atmosphere of the architecturally thoughtful spaces. Micro lofts offer more personal living conditions, and a truly local experience. 

the beds

Hey - we get it, you want to sleep comfortably! The biggest issue in small units is often the location of the bed, since it has the propensity to make the space feel like a bedroom or hotel room by its placement in the center of the space, or pulled out of a couch. Abpòpa's ample ceiling heights make a better solution, the Murphy bed, available to our guests. Our micro lofts have tall ceilings, split level floors, and some feature ladder accessed, lofted sleeping quarters, allowing for more main, fully-furnished "living room" space. The tall ceiling, large windows and other design elements offer the attributes of an urban apartment in a micro loft.


The Baths

Bathrooms in Аврòра's micro lofts are often broken up in component parts, eliminating the large bathroom one most often sees in studios with all three fixtures enclosed. In micro lofts, the shower, toilet, and/or sink may be sited independently of one another, capitalizing on all main and visual space in the room. The images at right depict a bathroom which folds out of a closet, leaving a large room where typically a large bathroom would occupy the square footage.  When the closet is opened it creates an ample screened-in area. In addition, many Abpòpa micro lofts employ hand-washing sinks in small toilet compartments, freeing up the sink for use as a kitchenette. The best micro lofts have greater floor space with the bathroom in this configuration, and the vanity can be used out side the toilet enclosure as a utility sink. With this layout, rooms with micro square footages  appear unexpectedly large.

The kitchen

Аврòра offers a mix of small kitchenettes in some spaces, and larger kitchens in others. Part of the urban planning purpose of micro lofts is to populate the streets, and we find our particular demographic fully satisfied eating regularly in the many restaurants surrounding Авро́ра, whose ground floor will also house a coffee cafe and eatery.

bathroom 2
bathroom 1
batheroom 3
kitchen view
furnishings cabin cruiser


Style is important. Аврòра's rooms are not the typical blank unfinished space often associated with affordable apartments.  Instead we are proposing a finely designed and decorated space, including ample built-ins including beds, couches tables and carpets.  Wooden wainscots and trim work bring the level of the spaces closer to the detail one would find in cabin cruisers than in a studio apartment. Small spaces require careful consideration and particular furnishings to get the most out of a micro loft.  These lofts will be ready for move in, a better amenity much desired by so many market players.  It’s the fun of the place as much as the efficiency one derives from our kind of micro loft living.  

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