Bloomberg: 275 sq. foot apartment is big enough for New Yorkers
The city thinks half a subway car is more than enough space for some to live in.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a plan Monday for an apartment building in Kips Bay that would be made up of about 80 "micro-units" measuring between 275 and 300 square feet. That's about half the size of the subway cars that run along routes including the E, F, L and Q lines.
Citing high demand for studio apartments, and the fact that more than 75% of Manhattanites live by themselves or with one other person, the city is looking for a company to buy a parking lot it owns on E. 27th Street and fill it with the tiny living spaces.
The mini apartments, which would rent for under $2,000 per month, would have a bathroom and small kitchen, but residents would have to sleep on a foldout futon. Bloomberg plans to waive current rules requiring new apartments to be at least 400 square feet for the building.
"There is a huge shortfall of studio and one-bedroom apartments in the city," Bloomberg said Monday. "This, we think, is one way to create more of them and to make more of them more affordable."
"We want people to come here, to start their careers here," he said. "Young people...don't have a lot of money."
But New Yorkers who spoke with amNewYork yesterday said they wouldn't want to move to the new Kips Bay building.
"I work in a cubicle all day -- I wouldn't want to live in a cubicle also," said Julie Thaxton, a 39-year-old legal secretary from Marine Park. "Your home is supposed to a be your haven, and not another closet."
Elizabeth Wallach, a Pace University graduate student who lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment in Stuyvesant Town, likened the city's planned building to a dorm.
"I lived in a small room in college," said Wallach, 23. "I don't want to do it again.
The city is accepting proposalsr, hoping to select one by the end of the year and begin construction in 2013. If the pilot issuccessful, Bloomberg said it can be done inother areas, particularly places with easy access to mass transit -- though that would require a change in the law.
Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, called the city's idea "smart," and expects them to be popular among young New Yorkers.
"I definitely think there will be a market for it," Malin said of the small apartments. "No apartment in Manhattan that's livable goes unrented -- especially if it's at the right price point."
"There are certain people whose goal is to live in Manhattan and they are wiling to make a lot of sacrifices to do so," Malin added. He believes people trying to save money or pay off student loans will rent out the tiny pads for a year or two.
(With Ariam Frezghi and Ivan Pereira)