New York planning 250-square-foot apartments

The city normally bans anything under 400 square feet, but it's bending the rule to experiment with 'micro' units.

By Kim Peterson Jan 22, 2013 6:38PM
The Big Apple is getting a little smaller for some residents.

The city is planning for its first "micro-unit" building that features 250-square-foot apartments. The "My Micro NY" building, as it is being called, is the first apartment-style building in Manhattan composed of pre-made modular pieces.

Why so small? Because one- or two-person households are growing faster in the city than those with three or more people, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
"Addressing that housing challenge requires us to think creatively and beyond our current regulations," he added.

So how exactly does one live in a 250-square-foot apartment? That's where the creative thinking comes in. Pantries can pull out of the wall. Beds might fold down. You won't have much space for a party, but the building will have lounges on each floor that can hold up to 40 people, Bloomberg News reports. Each kitchen will have a full-size refrigerator.Image: A rental agreement and two keys on a house shaped key ring -- Epoxydude, fStop, Getty Images

The ceilings will be up to 10 feet high, with loft space overhead for storage, Bloomberg News reported. Some apartments will be bigger, up to 370 square feet.

The building will have 55 units, 22 of which will be rent-restricted and based on tenant incomes, Bloomberg reports. Those units will start at $939 a month, but only for couples earning up to $55,000 a year. Rent will go up to $1,873 a month for couples earning in the $106,000 annual range.

Life is not very comfortable in that kind of cramped space. "I had no room for anything," one woman told Gotham Gazette, describing her life in a studio that measured less than 300 square feet in the Lower East Side. "I ate on my bed, I did my homework on my bed, I slept on my bed. . . I had my small dog, and she just sat around all day in this little box. It was not fair to her."

The city considers this something of an experiment, and if it pans out regulators may overturn a rule that says new apartments must be at least 400 square feet, the Associated Press reports.

More on moneyNOW

Jan 22, 2013 7:37PM
So if you make more you have to pay more for the same amount of space?  Marx would be so proud.  NYC is a fine place to visit, but I'd never want to live there.
Jan 22, 2013 9:39PM
Price based on income? That is absurd!!!  I live in NY, it's ridicuously expensive and this adds insult to injury. Mayor Bloomberg is out of touch with the real world as well...................
Jan 23, 2013 2:41AM

Ah, NYC. Visit for the culture and the food, then get the hell out.


My house cost me $280 K. It has 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, 3300 sq feet, and 2 and 1/2 acres.


Oh, and it's quiet and my kids can play outside without worry. The hell with big cities.

Jan 22, 2013 10:39PM
Looks like Dallas Korben's apartment in Fifth Element.
Jan 22, 2013 8:39PM
You do know that you don't have to rent it, thats what makes it not communist.
Jan 22, 2013 9:47PM
Understood! With The **** Governor  taxing anyone that can afford a real home out of the state. You are all tools. And you deserve it!

Jan 22, 2013 10:42PM
The space doesn't look that small because the footage was shot with a wide angle lens. What a rip-off. I've been living in Brooklyn for 7 years now and watching Manhattan (and Williamsburg which is almost just as expensive) become more and more lame because of all the superficial, image-conscious douchebags moving there who can actually afford it. Whatever, to each his/her own, just saying I still think it's ridiculous..
Jan 22, 2013 11:35PM

Lemmee see....City planners involved, sounds like greasy palms and lobbying going on ??hmm.

13,750 sq.ft.(apx) building takes in about $750,000-1.2 million per year or $75-90 per sq. ft.

Those fold out beds were popular back in 50s for studio apts..If you like living on a bed..?


We live in a big old Farm house, 1 bathroom is 120 s/ft.

Farm kitchen is over 300 sq.ft.

1 Deck upper/lower stepped level with Gazebo is apx. 660 sq.

No, I don't think we could handle those...Living quarters.

And YES, I know we are fortunate or lucky, also we don't live in the City, or Big Apple....

Jan 23, 2013 9:24AM
and they still wanna charge $939 a month LOL!!!!!! Just pack your bags and move down south. You can rent 939 sq ft or buy a house.
Jan 23, 2013 8:48AM
most of the old pre - 1900 lower east side buildings in Manhattan were micro apartments and they weren't just for one person, whole families lived in them.They were in five story heated and not  not heated buildings, two very small three room apartments in the rear and four very small apartments in the front.The toilets were in the hallways ,one toilet for each two apartments. The kitchen had a bath-tub with a steel enameled cover, a sink next to it for use as bath and kitchen use, a small living room and a very small ,one, or two bedrooms. But the nice thing about these buildings is that on the street level  they had two spaces for store rentals so some energetic persons could open themselves a small business, like a grocery, tailor shop, general store ,etc. This small business opportunity is gradually or mostly taken away from the small business  places by the larger chain stores and city planners.
Jan 22, 2013 10:10PM
There's more to come, according to this feature article on the future of modular in New York City:
The best part is the press release where it says, 40% of the units will be affordable to poor and middle income New Yorkers.  In other words, 60% will still cost the moon.
Jan 22, 2013 8:32PM




Jan 23, 2013 11:07AM
Well there are suckers born every minute, and a lot of people will pay big money to say they live in "the city".
Jan 23, 2013 10:54AM

If you want to see tight living quarters get off the "beaten path" in 3rd. World Countries..


Yes, many College Dorms were tight..Where 4 people or 2 shared space, with bunk beds and a common room or two...Then down the hall for shared bathroom and bathing facilities..

And cafeterias..


And the Military, haven't lived until you have been in a tent or foxhole..And all the rest...

Yes, there are many options in Life....Some are chosen, others are not.

Don't people pay lots of money to go camping ??

These type Apartments...Have had many "blueprints" to work from.

Mar 5, 2013 1:21PM
soon to be an American "middle class" reality and not by choice. also see 54 sq ft "home" plans
Jan 29, 2013 4:22PM
Welcome to Communism. That's how the Chicoms, Bolsheviks and European Marxists all lived. Entrapped sheeple.
Jan 26, 2013 2:41AM
Lived there for two years.  What a zoo.  It is unbelievable who in the hell would live like a rat?  These people are jackasses. there may be a lot to do in the Big Apple but you have to figure 4mos of the year you are inside.  I guess its ok if you have NOTHING.
Jan 22, 2013 10:53PM
For decades, populations of Communist regimes have been forcibly crowded into tiny, shoebox size apartments.  Now these waters are being tested in NY, where the population meekly takes whatever the govenment dishes out because they are "progressive" and "enlightened".. they can't be trusted to drink the proper-sized drinks, or order the right things on the menu, or eat what the State thinks they should eat.  Now another creeping encroachment.  The government doesn't think people should have living spaces they have worked for and can afford.  It isn't fair to those who haven't achieved.  You are taking THEIR space.  You reap what you sow.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

Trending NOW

What’s this?


[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished an upbeat week on a mixed note. The S&P 500 shed less than a point, ending the week higher by 1.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (+0.1%) cemented a 1.7% advance for the week. High-beta names underperformed, which weighed on the Nasdaq Composite (-0.3%) and the Russell 2000 (-1.3%).

Equity indices displayed strength in the early going with the S&P 500 tagging the 2,019 level during the opening 30 minutes of the action. However, ... More