NYC picks first 'micro-unit' developer

Building will include 55 apartments of 250 to 370 square feet and will be the first multifamily building made of prefab units.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jan 30, 2013 3:07PM

Credit: via nycmayorsoffice/FlickrMeet the New York apartment of the future: a 250-square-foot studio with high ceilings, big windows and convertible furniture.

The design, created by Monadnock Development, Actors Fund Housing Development Corp. and nArchitects, was chosen by New York as part of a contest to select a developer for city’s first micro-unit apartment building on city-owned land.


The project also will be the city’s first multifamily building to use prefab modules, which will be made at the old Brooklyn Navy Yard.


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"New York’s ability to adapt with changing times is what made us the world’s greatest city, and it’s going to be what keeps us strong in the 21st century," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a news release. "The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations."

New York is one of several large, expensive cities looking to "micro-apartments" to provide affordable housing. San Francisco also is looking at smaller apartments in the urban core.

The Manhattan apartments will rent for $914 to $1,873 a month and will be available to people making up to $77,190 a year. Average rent for a studio in Manhattan is $2,000 a month, according to The New York Times. These apartments are what the protagonists of "Sex and The City" and "Friends" could really afford.


The apartments will range from 250 to 370 square feet and will have two "zones": a kitchen-bathroom-storage area and a living-sleeping area. The kitchen has room for full-size appliances, and the living area has a Murphy bed. The unit also has a full-depth closet and a 16-foot storage loft. You can see how the apartment can change for various functions here.

The 55-unit building would have a number of amenities to make living in small spaces more comfortable, including a gym, rooftop garden, laundry, bike storage and lounge areas on most floors.


The winning design was unveiled at the Museum of the City of New York, which is including the design in its new exhibit, Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers. The exhibit also includes other micro-unit designs. Curbed: New York has lots of photos.

Feb 6, 2013 2:04PM

Will these 55-unit apartment buildings have generators to power them?

Each small unit will require cooling in the summer.

As only one person will be living in these tiny units, more individual power will

be needed. If Con Edison can barely handle the load throughout the 5 boroughs

now, these tiny units will make the power issue worse.

As it is, Con Edison tells the residents of the City of New York

to conserve energy throughout the 5 boroughs in summer,

particularly the usage of air conditioning.

But, we do conserve energy throughout the year during the other seasons.

The only time we need air conditioning is during the summer season yet we are told to 

conservative energy (when we need it the most).

Then, what good is having air conditioning if you can't use it?

Con Edison has been lowering voltage in the 5 boroughs during the summer thus

air conditioning is not running at its full capacity. This does not promote energy

conservation as we must run air conditioners on high speed constantly, just to feel

somewhat cool.

And the practice of lowering voltage (brownout) can damage air conditioners 

and other appliances.

You know when a window unit is running on low voltage as it makes a grinding sound when

the fan speed is on the low setting.

And even on the high speed, it seems like the a/c is running on low . . . sluggishly.

When portable floor/pedestal fans are running on low voltage, you can see the blades turning (sluggish operation).  With proper voltage, you can't see the blades turning, you just feel the breeze.

I guess it'll be another scorcher this summer with high electric bills for low voltage.



Jan 31, 2013 9:30AM
Give New York to Canada and let them worry about finding places for people to live.
Jan 31, 2013 9:26AM
in about another 7 years dear will be entire family's living in one with 2 working adults barely making ends meet
Jan 31, 2013 9:11AM
Many people live in card board boxes you prudes.
Jan 31, 2013 9:09AM
This will do nothing to drive down rents. In fact all this will do is cause prices to go up. Ask yourself a question there has been a building boom for the last few years and rents have just gone up and up. It will further cause prices to rise for real apartments.  They say that these would go for 1,500 per month what is affordable about that? You will find developers who will subdivide livable apartments in to micro apartments to drive up profits even more (with the help of free grant money in the form of tax payer dollars). Really sad.
Jan 31, 2013 9:07AM
I am 23 and single and I would totally live in one of those if it was offered where I live.
Jan 31, 2013 9:04AM

Just another dumb idea by the little mayor.

Jan 31, 2013 8:44AM
You've got to really love NYC to live in something this small. We have a 1 bedroom apt with 600 sq. ft. and at times we feel a bit claustrophobic. But I guess if you live in a big city there is always something to do.
Jan 31, 2013 8:44AM
First airlines cramming more seats on their planes and now this. Next, stick everyone inside a sardine can. Geez!
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