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Micro-units no longer just in Asia, now coming to New York City

Micro-Living: Mayor Bloomberg put out a call to architects for creative, responsible ideas that would put a city block in New York City’s 335 East 27th Street in Manhattan to its highest and best use and give it a bit of a micro-burst, if you will.

micro units in nyc

micro units in nyc

Micro-units and Bloomberg’s popular competition

Over thirteen hundred downloads of request for proposal for the ADapt NYC competition were performed after Mayor Bloomberg made his initial call for action and then thirty-three firms actually competed in the RFP process, which was ultimately won by Brooklyn-based nArchitects with their ‘My Micro NYC’ proposal. This exciting competition made possible by Bloomberg and the New York Department of Housing Preservation and Development, HPD, was looking for something a bit different that they feel will help the City of New York gain a new perspective on the housing market and the way that people live in their homes. HPD wanted nArchitects’ vision of their micro-apartment.

What is a micro-unit?

HPD’s definition is that “a micro-unit is an innovative apartment model, which includes a kitchen and bathroom, that is smaller than what is allowed under current regulations.” Describing these micro-units to a solider might stir up memories of living in shared temporary housing whilst being deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, minus the creature comforts. These micro-units are far from that sub-two-hundred square feet that they would harken to.

In the case of the nArchitects’ version of this vision: two-hundred and fifty to three-hundred and seventy square feet of living space is all you need  in the fifty-five pre-fab apartments designed to promote the feeling of “living large” while living in less. What makes the spaces highly livable, is that they are incredibly creative in their multi-functional purposes. Do you think you could live in a micro-unit or do you think that is too utilitarian for your style?


Utilitarian= Multipurposing

Utilitarian doesn’t mean dreary and drab, it means multi-purposing. There will be drop ins, and drop downs and shelving galore for storage essentials that double as closets or tables or desks, etc. Murphy beds are an absolute must in a space of this size, and those pesky space-eating  tables will fold up and be able to disappear… Micro-unit homes are ideal for those who are single or living as a couple.

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Interestingly enough, HPD states that in NYC, “1.8 million one and two person households (more than 60 percent of New York City households) and only one million studios and one-bedrooms to meet this housing demand.”

Further, according to the most recent census in 2010, “the growth rates of the one- and two-person household populations (in NYC) exceed the growth rate of households with three or more people.” The team at HPD are hoping that these so called micro-units will be great for this burgeoning market and specific housing demand.

Sustainability and the Micro-Unit

The fact that sustainable, transit oriented homes, of the quality that nArchitects proposes to build with their pre-fab construction team from Navy Yard based Capsys will be available in NYC for their projected price-point is astounding and exciting to those who know of the project.  This is why this ADapt NYC has been ooh’ed and ah’ed about on Fox Business and NBC’s Today Show.

Bringing a highly functional, usable space that gives the resident exactly what they need to take in all the finest that New York real estate has to offer, while minimizing the minutia, is an incredible accomplishment – and no small feat. NYC’s average cost per square foot is $1339…. eek. When you can spend $250/sf elsewhere in the nation and possibly have a mansion on your own private  lake… if you know your market, then you know the drill.

A micro-unit that is sustainably constructed, is seen as a fantastic solution to what Mayor Bloomberg’s original call to action since the City requested that the RFP teams be cognizant of materials and the site itself as well as that at least there were market rate units mixed with low-income units.

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The January 22, 2013 press release from HPD stated that, “twenty percent of the apartments (eleven units) will be reserved for households with incomes not exceeding 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI); nine percent (5 units) will be reserved for households with incomes not exceeding 145 percent of AMI; and eleven percent (6 units) will be reserved for households with incomes not exceeding 155 percent of AMI. The remainder of the units will be market rate, along with one superintendent’s unit.”

From construction concept to the proposed market rate distribution, you can see that this project is quite interesting and will be something to watch! The micro-units  are on display at the Museum of the City of New York through September of 2013. Groundbreaking for construction is slated to commence by the close of 2013 and residents are projected by 2015 to take occupancy of these pre-fabricated micro-units.

Written By

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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