New York City renters have long made a habit of sacrificing square footage to save money. Now, the government wants to help them move into even smaller spaces.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg is inviting developers to propose ways to turn a city lot into a building filled mostly with micro-units of no more than 300 square feet.
The pilot program could lead to a change in regulations that currently require new apartments to be at least 450 square feet.
Bloomberg said Monday the shift will help accommodate the changing population. He says young professionals are waiting longer to start families.
Currently New York City has 1.8 million one- and two-person households, but only one million studios and one-bedrooms.
"Developing housing that matches how New Yorkers live today is critical to the city's continued growth, future competitiveness and long-term economic success," said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement. "People from all over the world want to live in New York City, and we must develop a new, scalable housing model that is safe, affordable and innovative to meet their needs."
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is using the pilot program to lead to the design, construction, and operation of a micro-unit rental building on a city-owned site located at 335 East 27th Street in the Kips Bay neighborhood of Manhattan.
At least 75 percent of the units in the building will be micro-units, which are expected to measure approximately 275 to 300 square feet. The units would include kitchens and bathrooms.
A pre-submission conference for potential design teams will be held on July 31, 2012 at the American Institute of Architects' Center for Architecture. The deadline for proposal submissions is September 14, 2012.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.