339 square feet? People who live in microstudios say it’s actually freeing

Turntable used to be the Hotel VQ, and the 179 apartments there represent Denver’s first microstudios. Expect more of these to be built around the city.

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Doug Glackin sits on the bed of his 339-square-foot microstudio. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Doug Glackin wanted a place to live where he could bring girls over.

“And they’d say, ‘Oh, it’s so cute,’ and then in the morning, they’d say ‘Oh, it’s so small’ and leave,” he jokes.

He couldn’t have done much better than a 339-square-foot apartment at Turntable Studios near Mile High Stadium.

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Glackin leans on his solid oak dresser, his father's from childhood. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Turntable used to be the Hotel VQ, and the 179 apartments there represent Denver’s first microstudios, tiny units that get their affordability from their efficient use of space. Micro apartments are becoming more common, and more developments like Turntable are planned for Denver.

Glackin, 32, has lived at Turntable for 10 months — he might have been the ninth person to move in — and he intends to stay. Plus, his rent is under $1,000 a month.

Property Manager Catherine Davis says that so far, the building has retained about 60 percent of the people whose leases have been up for renewal.

“I think people are realizing that they can live in a small space for longer than they thought,” she says. “It’s more workable.”

Davis started pre-leasing and accepting applications at the end of June 2015, but move-ins didn’t start until September. The residents range in ages, she says, and include some people for whom the studio is a second home.

Within the first three weeks of opening, 90 people had moved in. Six months later, the building had stabilized, with 95 percent occupancy.

“It was a busy first few weeks, and then it never really slowed down until… it didn’t really slow down,” says Davis.

As for Glackin, who works in the restaurant industry, he doesn’t really miss anything from the four-bedroom, three-bathroom place he used to share with roommates.

“I’m kind of a minimalist, and the apartment is very well-functioning for someone who doesn’t have a need for things,” he says. 

Not even a stove. The apartments at Turntable Studios come with a convection microwave and a hot plate for cooking. Anything more and you’ll need to use the gas grill downstairs. Still, Glackin’s made garlic bread and quiche in his space.

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The kitchens have a hotplate and convection microwave. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

The only thing he ended up getting rid of when he moved was an old table from college.

“I sold it for like $10 bucks. I was like, ‘there go all my drunk memories,'” he says.

Glackin gained an unexpected sense of community when he moved in. People say hi to each other here, and he’s made five or six friends in the building.

“The best way I can explain it is … it feels like a home, but it’s also like, ‘Oh yeah, I have mountains, I’m going to go see what the mountains are like today,'” he says.

Don’t forget the Broncos parties. With the stadium so close, you almost don’t have to leave home. That can mean walking over for tailgating, tons of traffic or drunk people in the hammocks outside, depending on who you ask. 

But it’s not the space alone that draws people. Residents of Turntable Studios I spoke with all mentioned the amenities.

There’s plenty to choose from: the lawn, the gym, the fire pit, the fenced-in dog run, the heated pool, gas grills, workspace, free bike storage and a penthouse space on the 14th floor. That’s where William Martin is hanging out.

“The amenities are just ridiculous,” he says. “The thing is, you don’t stay in your room, (thinking) ‘I’m just chillin’ in here today.'”

Martin also says that living in a smaller space is freeing. He used to collect stereo equipment, but now he can use the bluetooth speakers in his apartment or the turntables upstairs.

“We have all this crap, and we don’t really need it,” Martin says. “I had a drafting table that I loved because I’m an artist and like to draw stuff, but I can’t remember the last time that I used it.”

Plus there’s that community feeling.

“It’s like dorms for adults, you might think, because it’s single people,” he says. “But really, they’re all way more mature than I am. It feels that way because we’re all just individuals, but at the same time, it’s chill. It’s Denver, I guess.”

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