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Jan. 29, 2013

NYC Gets its First Micro-Unit Community

Photo credit: Ledaean

New York—The Big Apple is going small. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has selected Monadnock Development LLC, nArchitects and Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation’s proposal to build the city’s first micro-unit apartment building.

The project, called MyMICRO NY, will be located in the Kips Bay neighborhood in Manhattan. The building will include 55 new micro-units, 40 percent of which will be rented below the rates offered in the rest of the building. The micro units will measure between 250 and 370 square feet. The community will be the first New York micro-apartment building built on city-owned land, and it will be one of the first multifamily communities to use modular construction. Because of this, it will not be necessary to utilize a city subsidy to offset affordable rents.

The individual units will be set up in two separate zones, such as a “toolbox” containing a kitchen, bathroom and storage and a “canvas” with flexible space to serve as the primary living and sleeping area. There will be a 16’ overhead loft space and a full-depth closet for storage. The kitchens will have a full-height, pull-out pantry; a full-height refrigerator and range; and space for a microwave.

Courtesy nARCHITECTS

“The premise of nArchitects’ concept splices efficient living into 22 percent ‘canvas’ and 78 percent ‘toolbox,’” Elisa Orlanski Ours, vice president of planning and design, Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group, tells MHN. Corcoran Sunshine was the marketing consultant for the MyMICRO NY proposal. “The canvas allocates approximately 130 square feet to a versatile living space liberated from the 160 square feet toolbox accessories of bathroom, kitchen and storage,” she says. “The result is an environment inhabitable with a sophistication that belies scale and attests to the unexploited potential of intelligent planning.”

Shared amenities in the community will include a multi-purpose space for rehearsals, performances, lectures and other activities; a café; attic garden; ground-floor porch with picnic tables; den areas; and a multi-purpose lounge. Additionally, there will be a laundry room, residential storage space, bike room and a fitness space.

So what kind of renters does Corcoran Sunshine envision living in MyMICRO NY?

“The inherent agility of this concept is tailored to a broad target market that ranges from pied-a-terre professionals to young locals,” Orlanski Ours says. “Corcoran Sunshine collaborated to define market expectations and nourish the priorities of the private residential domain supplemented by meaningful collective amenities.”

The micro-unit concept could be something that gains in popularity throughout the country because of its cost- and environmentally friendly features.

“Micro units afford a unique opportunity to fill a void in the physical and speculative urban residential domain,” Orlanski Ours says. “This competition alone has elevated a critical dialogue and exceptional innovation. As such, MyMICRO NY serves as a national and international case study to challenge and expand standards of housing, density, affordability, residential programming, urbanism, construction and design excellence.”

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