May 28, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
About 60 “micro unit” apartments are slated to join the ever-expanding number of new residences in Long Island City.
The development, to be located at 37-10 Crescent Street, will offer two and three bedroom units that are “considerably smaller,” and therefore cheaper than standard apartments, according to Sheldon Stein, managing partner of Ranger Properties, which is developing the site with Sagamore Capital.
The three bedroom apartments will be about 800 square feet with the two-bedrooms being about 550 square feet, according to Stein’s development partner Charles Dubroff of Sagamore Capital.
The bedrooms themselves will be roughly 14 feet by 11 feet.
“Construction costs have gone up, land costs have gone up. It stressed the economics of development, and there’s a limit to how much rent people can pay,” Stein said. “So micro-units are a little bit of a solution to keeping costs low by offering smaller spaces.”
The developers said it was too early to determine what the rental prices will be.
The Citizens Housing Planning Council estimates that about 250,000 to 500,000 New Yorkers are living in small, shared spaces, although these are often informal, illegal arrangements between strangers, according to Deputy Director Sarah Watson.
Watson said micro-unit developments are “not really a trend yet,” citing the City’s density limits and a 400-square-foot unit minimum, which make their construction difficult. However, she noted, “sharing is becoming a more common part of the culture.”
“So to sacrifice some living space in a location people want to be in – that’s the direction for these new developments,” she continued.
Stein said the Crescent Street micro-units respond in particular to what he sees as “a trend among Millenials” to eschew large private spaces. Dubroff said it will cater largely to recent college graduates and young professionals, with a design that is “akin to student housing.”
“They want less stuff, and they want smaller spaces,” Stein said. “It’s speaking to a community that’s comfortable with downsizing and living slightly more minimalist.”
Developers hope that what the residence lacks in apartment size it makes up for in amenities. The building’s shared space will include a gym, a roof deck, an outdoor courtyard, a community room and a private party area.
“The central concept is small, private spaces to save money, doing reasonably high-quality, modest sized living spaces,” Stein said. “People spend more of their time in the public space, and less in the private space.”
The developers purchased the warehouse property last summer and demolition began this week. Dubroff and Stein said they expect construction permits to come through in the next couple of days, with a ground breaking within two weeks.
They aim to complete the project within 18 months of the ground breaking, Stein said.