NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There is a new initiative to help New Yorkers live small and more affordably. Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants to build "micro" apartments, one-third smaller than what current regulations allow.
As CBS 2's Marcia Kramer found out on Monday, in New York, smaller equals cheaper.
Bloomberg's new housing plan is not for claustrophobics, but he does have a down-sized approach to the new apartments he wants to build for small nesters.
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"Today, there are 1.8 million one- and two-person households in our city, but there are only about 1 million studio and one-bedroom apartments. You notice the mismatch," Bloomberg said.
To deal with the problem the mayor is thinking small. He launched a pilot project seeking designs to build apartments that are only 275 to 300 square feet in size. Current zoning laws require apartments to be at least 450 square feet.
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"Our design guidelines stipulate that the apartments have simple access, have ample access to fresh air and sunlight, that development teams also think of making good use of shared space in the building and we expect the apartments to be more affordable than many Manhattan studios," Bloomberg said.
Believe it or not the billionaire mayor lived in a $140-a-month studio for 10 years before he made it big. And he wants to attract other up-and-comers to the city by making apartments affordable.
"I cooked my meals, did the same thing you did. I did my laundry in the basement. How else do you live?" Bloomberg said, adding when asked how big his apartment was, "We think it was about 600 square feet, but I would have taken a smaller one if I could possibly have found it. I didn't have that kind of money. I didn't have a lucrative job like you, at least not at that time."
The city has set aside land at 335 East 27th St. – it's now a parking lot -- for the new micro apartments and the hope is that 80 apartments will be built there.
Rents for these micro apartments are expected to be about $1,400 a month.
The deadline for architects to submit proposals is in mid-September. The city said it hopes to select a winner by the end of the year.
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