Kyle Werstein, a 25-year-old software developer and musician, practices his music in his apartment at The Ray, a new apartment building in St. Paul's Midway area, on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Werstein has lived in the 455-square foot apartment since the end of July. (Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press)

EXCERPT: “When Brad Johnson pitched the idea of building micro-apartments to his two younger brothers, the Johnson Brothers went their separate ways. The family, known for its liquor wholesale business and commercial and residential developments, came to different conclusions about the viability of installing 78 housing units on a half-acre parcel of land tucked behind St. Paul’s Lyric and Carleton Lofts. It didn’t help his case that Johnson quoted his siblings rents of roughly $1,000 a month for 400 square feet of studio living. ‘It was the same questions that the banks asked: Who is going to pay those rents to live in a tiny house?’ he recalled . . . Michael and Todd Johnson washed their hands of their older brother’s vision but agreed to sell him the one-story warehouse at Charles Avenue and Carleton Street, near Metro Transit’s Raymond Avenue station along the Green Line. The nondescript storage building had housed dry ice and truck washing equipment . . . In late July, the building known simply as ‘Ray’ debuted 78 units of market-rate housing, with most apartments ranging in size from 372 to 505 square feet, at monthly pre-lease rents of $890 to $1,100 before utilities. By late August, 60 of those units were occupied, and all but the three model units had been rented out. Prices have since gone up.” FULLSTORY: