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Is New York Entering the Age of the Micro-Apartment?

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London  New York  Joe Lhota  Citizens Housing Planning Council  Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation  Matthew Wambua  Monadnock Development  nARCHITECTS  Micro Apartments 

Is New York Entering the Age of the Micro-Apartment?

By - Thursday 18 April 2013

Micro-apartments are the new hot property investment project in New York and despite the fact the first building hasn't broken ground yet, there are plans for even more. At a luncheon hosted by the Citizens Housing Planning Council, Matthew Wambua, commissioner at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, revealed new requests for proposals (RFPs)will be issued for more micro-apartment sites.

A spokesperson told The Observer: "We are considering RFPs for two or three micro-unit developments later this year. We’re in the process of vetting a number of city-owned sites, and RFP guidelines will be tailored to the chosen sites." This comes but months after the first micro-apartment building was given the go-ahead, when Monadnock Development, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS were named the winners of the adAPT NYC contest.

The micro-apartment will be constructed using prefabricated techniques and will be located on East 27th Street in Manhattan. It will contain 55 apartments spread over ten stories and will be New York's first building constructed off-site and then fitted together. The size of the apartments will range between 250 to 370 square feet and will contain an open-plan living space with kitchen, separate bathroom, balcony and long storage area. Residents are expected to begin moving in September 2015, with 40 per cent of units available falling within the affordable housing bracket of between USD 940 (GBP 612.10) to USD 1,800 (GBP  1172.10) per month.

Like London, New York is eager to increase its affordable housing stock. During the Citizens Housing Planning Council luncheon, Republican mayoral candidate Joe Lhota explained his view on affordable housing, calling it the city's most pressing concern. If elected, he plans to incentivise the production of projects such as micro-apartments through tax credits, opposed to direct provision. This is something that characterises the Koch administration. Nevertheless, developments like the East 27th Street site will be integral for New York to increase its housing supply and deliver accommodation in-line with the budget of many residents.

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