Permits for the city’s first ‘micro-unit’ apartment building have been filed with the Department of Buildings, indicating construction is imminent; the project, at 335 Easy 27th Street, was the subject of a design competition, and the winner was NArchitects. The developer is Monadnock.
335 East 27th Street is important because the size of its units had been illegal due to legislation from the 1980s; the real push towards larger apartments began far earlier though, following the surge of immigration that resulted in the proliferation of slums. Naturally, part of the solution was mandating that new housing had to be above a certain size; in the past two decades, changes to the city’s demographics have made these rules obsolete.
It is obvious that the city has seen major shifts; the most notable is a decrease in the average household size. The chief problem with slums was not the size of apartments; it was overcrowding. On an island where the average household only has two people, that is obviously no longer an issue — and the minimum square footage of new units should see a significant drop, as prices continue to rise.
While New York City has continued to evolve, the laws have not; in a place increasingly dominated by single young professionals, keeping legislation meant to prevent immigrant ghettos no longer makes sense, especially when they prevent small-sized housing units that could actually be affordable. Adjusting for the reality of modern-day Manhattan is important, and 335 East 27th Street is a major step in the right direction.
The development will have 55 units in total, with 27,000 square feet of space for residences — and nearly 700 square feet of retail at the base. The building will stand nine floors and 109 feet, and completion is expected in 2015.
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