18 Cadogan Place, London
AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis
The Associated Press reports on the sale of a 77-square foot (or six square meters, depending on who you ask) apartment space, formerly a servant's quarters, in a fashionable Knightsbridge section of London, that is currently on the market for the equivalent of $335,000. It has been used for little more than storage in recent years, and could use a paint job, not to mention electricity. An additional $59,000 would be necessary to make it habitable.
It has a "coffin-sized" shower, and two hot plates with a sink for a kitchen.
When I lived in Georgetown, my landlady carved out a space roughly that size in her basement as a residence for her son. I found a combination kitchen unit in a Sears catalog that she bought for it, and the whole thing looked nice and cozy. And it worked.
Such conversions in a residential basement could provide an additional source of income for families, and on a massive scale, help to alleviate the severe shortage of housing in the USA, which especially suffers from a lack of single-room-occupancy (SRO) units. A complete kitchen would not be necessary. If you simply do not put in a complete stove, what is described here could be listed with many zoning boards as a "pantry." I should know, because that describes the studio apartment where I lived for eleven years. Of course, it was bigger than 77 square feet. The occupant would have to keep possessions to a minimum. Most homeless have no choice but to do that anyway.
Since the Party of Compassion otherwise known as the Democrats completely dominate political life in Arlington County, I'm surprised there are not more of these types of units, which would likely be much more affordable than our London example. Perhaps there should be, with tax incentives for those residents who provide them out of part of their basements. Then again, maybe they prefer seeing panhandlers.
Beats the hell outa me. More stories like this will appear in weeks to come.