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City says ‘Yes, squeeze’ to mini-apartment design

10:50 am, January 23, 2013

The city has picked a winner in the competition to design Manhattan’s smallest apartments.

Mayor Bloomberg gets a tour of the winning model apartment.

A development team composed of Monadnock Development LLC, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation, and nARCHITECTS will get to create 55 new apartments measuring as little as 250 s/f and to be known as micro-units.

Forty per cent of the units — to be built at a city owned site at 335 East 27th Street in Manhattan — are to be affordable beyond the competitive market rents.

Called ‘My Micro NY,’ it could be the first multi-unit building in Manhattan developed using modular construction, with the modules pre-fabricated locally by Capsys at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

The Mayor made the announcement at the Museum of the City of New York and was joined by Monadnock Development president Nicholas Lembo, Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation president Scott Weiner and nARCHITECTS principal Eric Bunge.

“New York’s ability to adapt with changing times is what made us the world’s greatest city – and it’s going to be what keeps us strong in the 21st Century,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The growth rate for one- and two-person households greatly exceeds that of households with three or more people, and addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations.”

The development team was chosen through a competitive Request for Proposals to design, construct and operate the city’s first micro-unit apartment building.

The winning design has nine to 10 ft ceilings and Juliette balconies and will measure between 250 and 370 s/f. The apartment design includes storage, such as a 16 ft. overhead loft space and full-depth closet, kitchens with a full-height pull-out pantry, a full-height fridge, range, and space for a convection microwave.

The building itself will has an attic garden, a ground-floor porch with picnic tables, den areas, and a multi-purpose lounge. Programmed interior space comprises 18 percent of the building’s gross square footage. The building will also have a laundry room, residential storage, a bike room, and fitness space.

“The remarkable number of high-quality responses to the adAPT NYC RFP validates the position that developing micro-unit living is both financially and physically feasible in the New York City landscape,” said HPD Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua, who toured the model unit with the mayor.

“Monadnock, nARCHITECTS and the Actors Fund HDC came through with an inventive and striking interpretation of the micro-unit concept. The team’s My Micro NY proposal is reflective of our objectives and signifies tremendous promise for this housing model. Remarkable things can be accomplished when thinking carefully about how people live and how we can program small spaces to integrate individuals’ lifestyles with common, or shared, space. This is the result when government acts as a catalyst for private sector innovation.”

Workers will prefabricate the building modules Brooklyn Navy Yard and deliver them to the W27th Street site..

Workers will prefabricate the building modules at Capsys’s indoor facility in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Capsys is the first NYC-approved manufacturer of prefabricated modules.

After site work, foundations, utilities, and the construction of the ground floor is completed using traditional methods, the modules would arrive on the site with fixtures and finishes already installed. The modules would be hoisted into place in approximately two weeks and the brick facades would be built on the development site. Residents are expected to move in by September 2015.

“We are grateful to the City and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development for selecting our proposal from such a competitive pool,” said Alphonse Lembo of Monadnock.

“We’ve built market-rate and affordable housing in the five boroughs that have given people places to live and make memories, but this is an important opportunity to change the way we think about living space in an urban setting.”

“We’re thrilled at the chance of designing a housing prototype that will give New Yorkers in small spaces a sense of living in a larger social fabric” said Eric Bunge, Principal of nARCHITECTS.

The ‘My Micro NY’ building will provide housing to one- and two-person households across a variety of incomes.

The winning proposal and four other notable proposals will be featured in an upcoming exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York called Making Room: New Models for Housing New Yorkers.

The exhibit, which is co-presented by the Museum and the Citizens Housing & Planning Council, features creative ideas for how to accommodate the changing demographics of New York City’s population.

The adAPT NYC Competition was created to introduce additional choices within New York City’s housing market to accommodate the city’s growing population of one- and two-person households.

Currently New York City has 1.8 million one- and two-person households, but only one million studios and one-bedrooms. The City’s housing codes have not kept up with its changing population, and currently do not allow an entire building of micro-units.

Under this pilot program, Mayor Bloomberg will waive certain zoning regulations at the City-owned site at 335 East 27th Street to test the market for the new housing model.

It is expected that the project will complete the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure for disposition of City-owned land in the fall and break ground on construction at the end of 2013.

Construction is expected to start at the end of 2013.

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