City launches competition for “micro” apartments

New York City’s tight living quarters could get even tighter under a new program announced today by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The mayor launched the adAPT NYC Competition, which is aimed at developing “micro” apartments of between 275 and 300 square feet. That’s smaller than what is allowed under current city regulations.

The reason? According to the mayor, the city’s housing stock of 1 million studios and one-bedrooms has not kept pace with the city’s demographics, which now includes 1.8 million one- and two-person households.

“Developing housing that matches how New Yorkers live today is critical to the city’s continued growth, future competitiveness and long-term economic success,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “People from all over the world want to live in New York City, and we must develop a new scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs.”

To develop that housing, the city is issuing a request for proposals for the design, creation and operation of a Kips Bay rental building that will be either primarily or completely comprised of so-called “micro” units. The building will be on a city-owned site at 335 East 27th Street, between First and Second avenues. According to, the plot is 4,725 square feet, has an assessed value of $553,500 and a market value of $1.2 million.

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The RFP — which will be issued by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development — will state that roughly 75 percent of the building’s apartments should be micro units and that they will include kitchens and bathrooms. It also encourages those submitting bids to provide substantial access to light.

This RFP falls under the mayor’s New Housing Marketplace Plan — the 10-year program aimed at creating and preserving 165,000 units of affordable housing by the end of fiscal year 2014. As previously reported, the project is on track to reach its goals by 2014.

The mayor — who made the announcement with supporters from the business, real estate and architecture industries on hand — did not say in the release how many units the building should have or what the total square footage would be.

The city will waive certain zoning regulations for this pilot program, but will not waive building codes or make any permanent code changes.

The deadline for proposed submissions is Sept. 14. — Zachary Kussin

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