Last spring, ESCAPE cut the ribbon on a tiny home village that offers an affordable alternative to apartment living in Tampa Bay, Florida. Interest in remote lifestyles has peaked due to the coronavirus pandemic-and the development has garnered so much attention that it will expand from 10 homes to 40.
"Little did we know we’d experience such demand so quickly," says ESCAPE founder Dan Dobrowolski. "The opportunity to work remotely, reduce the carbon footprint, and still live in a beautiful home for a fraction of the cost has energized people to consider tiny living."
ESCAPE Tampa Bay Village is currently comprised of ten tiny homes situated on individual lots. Due to popular demand, the village will soon expand with an additional 30 units.
For a little less than the average cost of renting an apartment in Tampa, residents get a tiny slice of paradise in a lush, landscaped setting. Designed by ESCAPE, the tiny homes range in size and can accommodate two to six people. Each dwelling is situated on its own manicured lot, and the village provides all the comforts of a suburban neighborhood: a parking space, privacy, security, and community. Like any neighborhood, the village also offers a garbage and recycling service. At the town’s center are common spaces for working and relaxing.
ESCAPE’s homes go a step further than the stick-built homes of yore, and they’re positively breezy when compared to, say, a cramped Brooklyn rental. The homes feature open floor plans, state-of-the-art appliances, energy-saving LED lighting, USB outlets, thermopane windows with impressive insulation ratings, and in some cases, solar power.
Each home has a 13-foot deck that connects the living space to the outdoors.
An array of tiny home designs are available to renters and buyers, and each comes fully furnished to make move in a snap.
For those looking to own, a small down payment and a modest monthly fee builds equity in a tiny home at ESCAPE Tampa Bay Village. Whereas a renter and a buyer would ultimately spend the same amount each month-around $1,200 on average-after a down payment, half that monthly expense would go toward earning the title of the home, and the the other half would rent the lot.
The offer has attracted millennials and retirees alike, including Tim Mastic, a 31-year-old software implementation manager who works remotely for a New Jersey–based talent acquisition company, and 82-year-old Judie Clark, who retired after traveling the country as a tour bus director for 20 years.
The village offers a community feel for a fraction of the price of traditional homeownership. The state-of-the-art homes are a refreshing upgrade from cramped city apartments.
"The upkeep is simple, and everything is sort of at your fingertips," says Clark, who went from 1,700 square feet of living space to 400 square feet. For her, the village presented an opportunity to downsize without sacrificing quality of life.
The Tampa Bay location is the company’s second tiny home village-Canoe Bay ESCAPE Village launched in northwest Wisconsin earlier last year. While those homes act more like retreats, the ones in Tampa Bay offer easy access to metropolitan hubs, presenting a new lifestyle paradigm for a post-pandemic world. "People want more privacy, an increased sense of personal space, and security," says Dobrowolski.