For New Yorkers who already feel like they’re living in an expensive shoebox stacked into buildings with tons of other shoeboxes, it might come as no surprise that Mayor Mike Bloomberg is trying to downsize yet another part of city life. First it was sugary drinks, and now the mayor has launched a competition for plans to develop dozens of “micro-units.” In other words, teensy tiny apartments.
The competition is seeking designs in the hopes that these cozy living quarters won’t feel like actual shoeboxes. But at around 275 to 300 square feet, such cramped living quarters aren’t allowed under New York’s current city zoning laws, reports the Wall Street Journal. Apartments now must be at least 400 square feet for the most part.
But under Bloomberg’s pilot program, officials will waive regulations at a city-owned site in the Kip’s Bay neighborhood of Manhattan to test this micro-unit thing out.
There are currently 1.8 million households with only one or two people living in them, but only a million studio and one-bedroom apartments available, say city officials. That lack of housing has led to a lot of illegally subdivided apartments.
The winner of the competition will develop a building of around eight to 10 stories with about 80 of the micro-units. Officials say 20% of the units will be restricted to low-income residents, and the rest would rent for below the market value of $2,000 per month, per shoebox. Oops, per micro-unit.
Don’t worry about feeling claustrophobic though, as Bloomberg points out about the idea of the micro-unit: “This has windows. This has a separate bathroom.”
City seeks Lilliputian Living Units [Wall Street Journal]