Bloomberg Announces the Winning Design for His Micro-Unit Dreamhouse

You can build your own tiny house. Or you can try to scoop up one of the 55 micro-studios New York has finally decided on building. Remember when Mayor Bloomberg launched a contest for developers to design a small, efficient space for single people in Manhattan because of the city’s massive shortfall of affordable studio and one-bedroom apartments? Bloomberg announced the winner of the contest yesterday: a team consisting of “Monadnock Development, Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS and a nonprofit that serves creative arts professionals, the Actors Fund Housing Development Corporation.” This is a rendering of what the spaces at 335 East 27th Street could look like:

The bathroom is wheelchair-accessible. There’s a full kitchen with pullout pantry and a space for entertaining (when your Murphy bed isn’t pulled down from the wall). There are large windows, loft storage and a Juliet balcony. There’s also a communal lounge in the lobby and access to a gym. Forty percent of the units will be rented for under market value as affordable housing, while the rest will rent at market value. What does affordable mean to the city? If you earn less than $38,344 a year, rent starts at $914 a month and goes up to $1,873 for those making $77,190 or less.

Would you live in one if you were looking for a single space in Manhattan? In theory, it looks great. I have seen a lot of terrible, poorly designed studios in Manhattan while out hunting for one a few years ago. In Japan, small but efficient living is common. The other problem is that there are only 55 units being built, as Mayor Bloomberg said in yesterday’s press conference: “We have a shortfall now of 800,000, and it’s only going to get worse.” And if you do the math, 40 percent of those 55 units means there will be 22 units deemed as affordable housing. Prepare yourself for a very long waiting list.

Photo: New York Mayor’s Office

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