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

August 15, 2013 09:30AM

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