New York City has been experimenting with innovative policies to meet changing housing needs and to mitigate increasing rents, which rose 11 percent between 2005 and 2012. There are currently 1.9 million one- and two-person households in the city, but only 1.25 million studio or one-bedroom apartments, according to the New York City Mayor’s Office.

In 2012, as part of the adAPT NYC Initiative—a program implemented to address these issues—the city requested proposals for a micro-unit development to be built on public land in Kips Bay, Manhattan. The city received 33 applications, one of the largest responses the city had ever received from a request for proposals. The winning design, Carmel Place, features 55 pre-built micro-units, each between 250 and 370 square feet in size. Because the development is being constructed on a city-owned site, the city was able to waive zoning restrictions that would have inhibited the micro-units’ construction, such as density limits, lot coverage maximums, setback restrictions and the previous minimum unit size of 400 square feet.

Carmel Place was constructed off-site in the spring of 2015 and then assembled at the Kips Bay site. About 40 percent of the units are classified as affordable, with 11 of the studios offered at $950 a month and four at $1,492 a month. The remaining, market rate units are to be rented at rates from $2,000 to $2,500 a month, which while still expensive for lower-income households is more affordable than the average Manhattan rent of approximately $4,300 for one-bedroom apartments and $3,000 for studios.

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Monadnock Development LLC
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