The Real Deal New York

Bloomberg’s “affordable” micro-apartments don’t come with micro prices

August 15, 2013 09:30AM

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Rendering of the new micro-unit development in Kip's Bay

Rendering of the new micro-unit development in Kip’s Bay

New York City’s micro-apartments aren’t really all that affordable, and in reality are geared toward the upper-middle class, the New York Observer reported.

“We must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative, to meet their needs,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, referring to young New Yorkers in search of an affordable home, last year when announcing “adAPT NYC,” the city’s pilot plan to build micro-units in Kips Bay. Monadnock Development, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation and nARCHITECTS eventually won the competition to build the micro units, and are putting up a 55-unit building on East 27th Street between First and Second Avenues.

But of the 40 percent of units in the building that are slated to be affordable, half will ask rents of $1,800 per month. The number, relatively high for an “affordable” unit, is derived from the entire metropolitan area’s median income, which includes wealthy suburbs in New Jersey, Westchester and Long Island.

On a per-square-foot basis, the rents are higher than the average free-market rents for the neighborhood, which are $53 per square foot, according to the latest Douglas Elliman rental report cited by the Observer.

An “affordable” micro-unit is only about a 15 to 20 percent discount over a typical studio for the neighborhood, and is about 30 percent to 50 percent smaller than Housing Preservation & Development’s recommended dimensions for studio apartments, according to the Observer’s calculations. [NYO]Hiten Samtani

  • LibertarianNewYorker

    “We must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative, to meet their needs,”

    There is no “we” when it comes to creating affordable housing. Affordable housing is created by free markets, not politicians. This city will NEVER be affordable unless all of the systemic impediments are removed (rent regulations, zoning restrictions, numerous building regulations, etc).

    Furthermore, nobody has a “right” to live anywhere. If people are priced out of an area, then so be it. Commute or move. Your “right” costs other people money which negates it as a “right” and qualifies it as an “entitlement”.

    • Monica realtor

      I totally agree. And I’m a realtor!

      • HCHARRY

        Surprise surprise….of course you want to sell higher priced properties Monica McKickback

    • Ann

      there has to be a “we” or we are lot as a society. the “i” is not working well by any means. this is the only nation of people in the world who is always looking to screw someone else so that “I” can have more. Tell Mr. Bloomberg to go live in his micro apartment and give up his townhouses.

    • Y

      Spoken like a true conservative, who does not care about people or the community at large. People should not have to move out of their communities because it is being taken over by those that only care about setting the rents so high that only the rich can afford it. When you rent, you have a contractual right, it is not an “entitlement.” You talk about doing away with “building regulations,” “zoning regulations,” and “rent regulations,” without any regard to what that would really mean to those that rent. The minute you start becoming flexible with building, renting and zoning regulations, that’s when building tragedies occur. I know, because I have spent my adult life in the field of housing development and housing law, so I say this with complete sincerity, you do not know what you are talking about.

      Furthermore, you are clearly speaking for a one segment of society, which happens to be the rich, without no regard for the vast majority of people, many of whom have lived in their neighborhoods for decades or many years, and are not in a position to just up and move, like you so cavalry suggest.

      Think before you speak.

  • anon

    Manhattan isn’t affordable for anyone but the upper-middle class? Good…. make it like Monaco and get rid of all the affordable housing and poor people.

    • Monegasque

      It already is the Monaco of North America! Except that Monaco is clean and everybody speaks English!

      • NYCHomesforSale

        G-d forbid. There is no real estate market in Monaco. You have to beg and wait and overpay to MAYBE own there someday… Maybe. NYC is 23 miles long, 3 wide, and a world class place to live as well as one big awesome TV and movie set!

    • Ann

      it is people that think like you that screw up this city. you might want to leave

  • John Mccullagh

    Why not just build more prison cells for people to live in. They come with a meal plan and a gym membership.

  • Lars

    Of course these new apartments are more expensive per square foot than average rentals in the area — they’re brand spanking new! I’d love to have an elevator.

  • Ann

    the free market will never understand that REASONABLE means. GREED is at the heart of what the free market does. The sooner the masses understand that and stand up for themselves the better. We cannot trust the media and we cannot trust most of the politicians who claim they are doing what is best for us and we certainly cannot trust Mr. Bloomberg who became even richer since he became mayor

  • A Concerned American

    We need to stop sending these stupid people to run our government. They are completely out of touch with how the people who work each and everyday to keep this city “moving” survives each and everyday on low wages higher cost of living and nothing left for saving. What has become of those of us who have finally made some money? This city is going to shut itself down with stupidity and greed!! do you see more “businesses on wheels” happening? I do!! some of those same businesses will and have taken their ideas to other cities where they can survive!! that’s because these small businesses cannot afford the extremely high rents. More and more people are moving away from New York and the next thing will be businesses because their rents are getting higher and more costly to do business in this city. More tax credits for big business is not the answers. It won’t work. there has to be sensible thinking not stupid quick fix ideas that eventually do not work. We are not China or Japan or London or any other country you can think of. We are a unique people and should behave as such. We use to be the compassionate ones. Who are we now? The greedy heartless hate filled don’t give a damn people?

  • M

    One can easily live in a 325 square foot home. When I attended law school, I moved from a very large home into a 300 square foot apartment and I thought it would be impossible, but it turned out to be a great experience. I down sized and loved finding new ways to make my space really livable and I did. As a result, I have continued to live in small places. My current studio condo, by most standards, is considered to be small, but it is 675 square feet and I cannot image living in a larger place now. I have full size living room furniture, bed, bookcases, a number of other pieces of furniture, four large closets, a huge kitchen and a nice size bathroom. I have fantastic views of the Chicago river and the beautiful skyline, so yes, people can live happily in small spaces. Everyone that comes into my place, always says that they are amazed at how nice and livable it is.

  • Jay Gal

    I have a “right” to live in this area of Manhattan. I am a Columbia University Grad Student, and I am poor- but VERY smart! I am the first in my family to attend college- and it’s very very sad and frustrating to be forced to live in a drug infested neighborhood (I commute nearly an hour and I have a roommate) with my housing costing me more than 1100 per month. I can barely afford to eat, and I occasionally walk 50+ blocks to or from school because I cannot afford that days train ticket. I-and others like me- have earned the right to be able to live in affordable housing (anything less than $1,000 per person) in a SAFER area. It’s sad, really.

  • Aaron

    550 a month? I want a link to this. I can’t find anything except for 2500 a month modern looking micro apartments.

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