Bloomberg Announces the Winning Design for His Micro-Unit Dreamhouse

You can build your own tiny house. Or you can try to scoop up one of the 55 micro-studios New York has finally decided on building. Remember when Mayor Bloomberg launched a contest for developers to design a small, efficient space for single people in Manhattan because of the city’s massive shortfall of affordable studio and one-bedroom apartments? Bloomberg announced the winner of the contest yesterday: a team consisting of “Monadnock Development, Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS and a nonprofit that serves creative arts professionals, the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation.” This is a rendering of what the spaces at 335 East 27th Street could look like:

The bathroom is wheelchair-accessible. There’s a full kitchen with pullout pantry and a space for entertaining (when your Murphy bed isn’t pulled down from the wall). There are large windows, loft storage and a Juliet balcony. There’s also a communal lounge in the lobby and access to a gym. Forty percent of the units will be rented for under market value as affordable housing, while the rest will rent at market value. What does affordable mean to the city? If you earn less than $38,344 a year, rent starts at $914 a month and goes up to $1,873 for those making $77,190 or less.

Would you live in one if you were looking for a single space in Manhattan? In theory, it looks great. I have seen a lot of terrible, poorly designed studios in Manhattan while out hunting for one a few years ago. In Japan, small but efficient living is common. The other problem is that there are only 55 units being built, as Mayor Bloomberg said in yesterday’s press conference: “We have a shortfall now of 800,000, and it’s only going to get worse.” And if you do the math, 40 percent of those 55 units means there will be 22 units deemed as affordable housing. Prepare yourself for a very long waiting list.

Photo: New York Mayor’s Office


20 Comments / Post A Comment

MuffyStJohn (#280)

Man, I would live there! It’s heads and shoulders above my current place, which has about 100 more square feet but isn’t nearly as well designed. And it seems the rent would even be lower based on my income too.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@MuffyStJohn Wait, I take that back. It’s the same size as my apartment. Just BETTER.

@MuffyStJohn I, too, would totally live here. As someone who makes around $38K, I’d be delighted to pay $925 in rent AND live alone.

The joys of non-profit work in NYC. Also: hey kids: don’t get a PhD!

ATF@twitter (#1,471)

If something is well designed, living in a small space is fantastic. I’ve lived in a small 1br (less than 450sq ft) in the North End of Boston for 5.5 years now but it the most efficiently designed space I’ve ever encountered. My building is +100yrs old but the apartment itself was completely gutted and renovated before I moved in.

I’ve got a small bathroom with a shower, a rectangular combined kitchen/living room space that has tons of cabinets in the kitchen part and a wall unit that has two closets and a middle section for my tv. There’s track lighting in the ceiling that was designed to never cast a shadow when all the lights are turned on. I even have a dish washer and a washer/dryer.

The bedroom is just off the kitchen/living and they’re separated by a pocket door, which makes it feel like the bedroom is its own space. The bedroom is small but again, it has one wall that’s basically just floor to ceiling closets. The closet even has a section that’s just for my shoes.

I love it. I have more storage than most of my friends and the small size means it’s really easy to keep up after.

ThatJenn (#916)

@ATF@twitter Yes – I second this about well-designed small spaces. I’m now back in my 1200 square foot house now (which is gigantic and actually feels more like 1600+ because it’s pretty well-designed), but when I was getting divorced I lived in a 525 square foot 1 bedroom apartment that felt really quite big because it was so well-designed. (I mean, 525 sf isn’t “tiny” by any stretch anyway, but given that I was moving from a series of multi-bedroom houses that ranged from 1200 to over 2000 sf, I worried it would feel stiflingly small.)

And actually, in that apartment I had more storage than I’ve ever had, with a pantry you could stand in, a coat closet, and two closets in the bedroom. That’s actually more closet space than I have in my entire 3-bedroom house. I even found a floorplan online just now: (The craziest part is that I didn’t even pay as much as it says on the floorplan that they charge for it – I moved at the right time and did some negotiating. Guys, it is hella cheap to live down here, you should all consider it.)

Spinach Party (#253)

@ThatJenn Yes, I live in a 350 sq ft studio and it’s just the perfect size for me! (I will also add that I pay $925 for that space and will go cry after looking at the rent in your link…..)

eagerber (#1,958)

Sorry, I don’t live in NYC, but have seen my friend’s tiny apartments: aren’t all NYC apartments relatively small? The contest’s square footage “goal” seems pretty normal for old NY living — is this not typical of newer NYC construction?

In my mind, this contest just provides contrast to the new-ish, unaffordable-to-most, Gehry building.

Maybe I need to take a closer look at the contest…

Mike Dang (#2)

@eagerber Current New York laws require that construction of new units exceed 400 square feet, so special permission to skirt around these rules were needed for these micro-units, which had a target of 300 square feet.

eagerber (#1,958)

@Mike Dang Oh, OK. I wasn’t aware of those building laws. Thanks for clarifying, Mike!

emilies (#956)

Maybe it’s because I make $1k/year over the threshold for the higher rent, but that seems a little unfair? Can a person making $39k and someone making $77k both REALLY afford to pay $1,800 in rent?

Of course, if I could afford it, I would totally apply for one of these.

@emilies Sliding scale!

julebsorry (#1,572)

@stuffisthings And $1800 is still pretty much an entire paycheck for the $77k, these units are STILL tiny, unaffordable, and won’t work for anyone that wants to start a family.

Ugh, New York I love you but you’re bringing me down.

If everybody would just stop moving to Manhattan for… 36,000 years or so, then Bloomberg could get the city all caught up. I mean jeez, just be patient people!

@stuffisthings Incidentally, DC has something like 10,000 new units coming online in the next four months. In a city with 600,000 residents. Rents are actually expected to FALL next year — take that, NYC!

emmabee (#2,008)

I lived in a tiny but well-designed apartment in Barcelona once. It was probably about this size, and it was amazing. If I were still single, I’d totally live in one of these–as long as it was actually easy to do the day/night change even when exhausted and/or drunk. (I could see this potentially being a problem with this design.)

@emmabee My fiance, who is from Paris, (/humblebrag) had a good laugh at this “tiny apartments” article when it first came out. Then again Paris is also comparatively quite affordable even for normal-sized apartments — her mom earns well less than the low-income threshhold for these apts and she OWNS, outright, a nice 3-bedroom condo in what could be considered roughly the Paris equivalent of Queens.

@emmabee Also, per your other point, New Yorkers: expect more “graphic designer, 23, killed in tragic murphy bed accident” headlines in your future!

hellonheels (#1,407)

Not to be the French-language police but I think you might mean de rigeur? De mode isn’t really an expression. Démodé is, but it means out of fashion, which I assume is not what you are going for.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@hellonheels Maybe he meant a la mode? (I’m assuming these apartments come with ice cream on top, otherwise $1800 is a bit steep.)

andrewstati (#4,780)

I would love to check the interior design of the micro-apartments designed by Monadnock Development, my son wants to rent an apartment in Manhattan and this kind of apartments would be perfect for him. He stayed in an apartment for three years, he even made Bathroom Remodeling Owings Mills but he lost his job and could not afford to pay the rent, now he is looking for cheaper alternatives.

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