Does New York City have room for more apartments? Sure it does, if they're small. And by "small," we mean 260 to 360 square feet — the size of the efficiency "micro-apartments" in the Carmel Place building at 335 East 27th Street in Manhattan. The units are the first in what promises to be a growing wave of tiny apartment offerings in the city, made possible by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's move to relax building-code rules setting minimum apartment sizes.
The shotgun layout of the Carmel Place units, with a combination living room and sleeping area and an eat-in kitchen placed in-line, is tight, but the apartments have a surprisingly spacious feel for such a small space. And the design concept also supports an innovative construction system: the building's individual apartment modules were framed in a factory off site, then trucked to the site and assembled using a crane. New York Magazine has a full set of photos (see: "Tour the City’s First Micro-Apartment Building").
Leasing began for the apartments in November, the New York Times reported (see: "Leasing Begins for New York’s First Micro-Apartments," by Ronda Kaysen). In the tight New York City market, the tiny flats are renting for real money: the lowest-priced unit in the building will rent for about $2500 (which the Times said works out to a higher square-foot rent than average for studio apartments in the city). As a tradeoff for the relaxed zoning regulations, however, the developer has to provide some affordably-priced units. The response for that offering was huge: 60,000 people applied for the 14 rent-controlled micro-units, or about 4,000 applicants for each apartment.
Smart design and common amenities help explain the rent, the Times noted: "The micro units’ design, by nArchitects, tries to resolve the potential for claustrophobia with ceilings that are more than nine feet tall and sliding glass doors that open onto Juliet balconies. The building also provides communal space, including a gym, two lounges and an outdoor courtyard. A lounge in the cellar will have a pool table and a television, and the eighth-floor lounge will open onto a shared roof deck with a barbecue."
And there's concierge service, project developer Tobias Oriwol of Monadnock Development told Fox 5 NY reporter Audrey Puente (see: "NYC micro-apartments begin leasing"). "It's really a whole lifestyle that we're trying to sell," said Oriwel, "and that's something that doesn't exist on the market right now." Market-rate rents at the building will include an "all-inclusive living experience" called "Ollie," provided by Stage 3 Properties. Explained Stage 3 Properties co-founder Chris Bledsoe: "We provide housekeeping, we provide cable, we provide Wi-Fi, and also a personal concierge service, and a social service as well for programming of different events."