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New "Microapartments" Could Be Future For NYC

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New Yorkers are famous for living in small spaces, but Mayor Michael Bloomberg is betting that there are people willing to go even smaller, as he unveiled Tuesday the design for a microapartment that will be built in Manhattan. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

Home sweet home. A bed that disappears into the wall. A TV with a bar hidden behind it. And a tall closet where the clothes can be pulled down within reach.

At 325 square feet, it is a small apartment, to be sure. But some New Yorkers will soon be living in newly-constructed apartments of this size or smaller.

"Some people want big apartments and some people just don't, and the diversity of New York is such that there is a market for almost everything," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

As part of a pilot program, the city is selling land to a private developer so it can construct a 55-unit building on East 27th Street in Murray Hill that will include only microapartments. The homes will range from 250 to 370 square feet. They will have nine to 10-foot-tall ceilings and small balconies.

The development team won a city competition seeking design proposals for small living spaces.

"I will say, it's a lot bigger than the apartment that I lived in for the first 10 years," Bloomberg said.

Forty percent of the apartments will rent for below-market rates, anywhere from $940 a month to $1,800. The winning design is featured in a new exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.

The couple that designed the space said they did not have to do much research for the competition.

"We lived in a 350-square-foot apartment for years when we first started, so that was our research," said Mimi Hoang of nARCHITECTS.

Building new apartments this size is a bit of an experiment. Before they could be built outside the pilot program, the city would first need to change the building code. It currently requires all new apartments to be at least 400 square feet.

An apartment this small is not for everyone, but given the level of interest in this project, it's possible that the pilot program will be quite popular, with a lottery for the affordable apartments and a wait list for the others.

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