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.
Meet 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.
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
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.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.