Can New York apartments get any smaller?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg hopes so.
The mayor announced today that he will create an entire building of studio apartments under 300 square feet at 335 East 27th Street, near First Avenue.
The proposed units are so tiny he will have to suspend zoning regulations to do so. City codes do not allow entire buildings of micro-units.
The East 27th Street building will be the wave of the future, the mayor said.
Bloomberg said the micro-units reflect how New Yorkers want to live – in smaller spaces with fewer people. The city has 1.8 million one- and two-person households, he said, but only about a million studios and one-bedrooms to live in.
“Developing housing that matches how New Yorkers live today is critical to the city’s continued growth,” Bloomberg said.
The city is reacting to a demand for smaller places – and New York's limited housing stock. Citywide, the vacancy rate is about 1 percent, according to CitiHabitats real estate firm.
“We know there is demand for this, because we see people illegally subdividing apartments all the time,” Bloomberg spokeswoman Julie Wood told Metro. “Everyone has friends, or them themselves, that got a one-bedroom and put up one of those walls.”
Right now, apartments this small do exist in the city, but according to city housing code, larger apartments must be built to offset them in the same building, she said. Right now, the general minimum for new apartment construction is 400 square feet.
Similar units were proposed in Boston, where the mayor wants developers to consider units as small as 375 square feet.
Architects can propose designs for the apartments, which must all have kitchens and bathrooms, and Bloomberg wants airy, well-lit spaces.
In an example floor plan, a bed is snugly set on one side of the apartment across from a bathroom – and full tub – on the other, with a kitchen and small dining area in between.
Wood said the rent number is up in the air – but they assume it will be below market rate, which is about $2,000 for a Manhattan studio.
Designs will be submitted by September, and they hope the apartment design will be approved by 2013.