What if you took the SmartSpace idea and pushed it to the limit to create
a 200sf apartment?

This could be just big enough for a bathroom, window, closet, bed/couch,
tiny fridge, and laptop (which is also your TV, DVD player, stereo, phone,
bookshelf, mailbox, and thermostat).

Now pack a ton of these into a building with a really nice communal living
room (pool table, piano, home theater), library, health club, kitchen.
Storage lockers in the basement. Rooftop garden too. Kind of like a dorm
for adults. Building-owned bikes, mopeds, and maybe zip cars for you to

The whole thing would be super high end and very comfortable. Really nice
design & details. Concierge. Dry cleaners. Pickup/drop-off laundry. $10
Maid service (clean the shower and toilet, change the bed [drop off the
dirty linens at the laundry, pick up the clean ones], wash the window). On
site chief prepared foods delivered to your door in 5 minutes. Free high
speed internet. Free movies/music on demand. Free phone service.

Everything would also be green. Bamboo floors (40sf per apartment). Super
efficient windows, maybe electrically darkened. Geothermal. Solar.
Actually useful recycling systems. But the real greenness would come from
the density. The number of people per ton of building materials used, the
number of people per square foot of ground space used, number of people
per ton of cooling load needed, number of people per kilowatt of
electricity consumed - all would be off the charts.

You could rent them for like $500 a month or sell them as condos for $50K.
No extra bills for stuff that normally adds up. No cable bill, no phone
bill, no electric bill. Living there would be as financially smart as it
is socially responsible. Live alone in the center of Manhattan cheaper
than having five roommates in Queens. It would open new worlds of
possibility to all kinds of people.

Living there would be a statement and a life style. Very cool people would
want to live there and they would be very happy. Young people who just got
their first job, out of work actors, starving artists, MBAs who only want
to work three hours a day, retirees on fixed incomes, people who live in
London but come to NYC often enough to make it worth having a pad here...

You could do many different developments and give each a theme/flavor. One
with a Japanese Zen garden in the center of each floor, vegan cafeteria,
and 24/7 continuously running yoga class downstairs. One with studios
downstairs complete with drums, guitars, and recording equipment (need a
fill-in drummer for the night? The doorman knows all 25 in the building),
and a 100 seat performance space you can reserve for your upcoming show.
One with a giant doggie daycare atrium where you drop Mr Snickers off
every morning and pick him up every night (but it is hard to pull him away
from his friends) to go eat in the onsite pet friendly restaurant where
you both order the (species respective) specials. You get the idea.

You'd get huge press. Every newspaper and magazine would want to write
about it. To sell them, just build a couple sample apartments inside a
small storefront sales office- or build a sample apartment in the back of
a truck and drive around and park in a different place every day. At such
low prices, I think you'd be oversold before you started construction.
It is a perfect project for AvroKO, you guys are cool enough to make _it_
cool and pull it off. You'd make a ton of money and make a real impact on
the concept of efficient urban housing. BMW Minis are now cooler than
Range Rovers. AvroKO SmartSpaces should be cooler (and better) than
floor-thru lofts.

The only downside is that you'd have to fight the City. But it would be a
very fun fight that you could win. Your argument is "We are trying to make
affordable housing in NYC possible again. These are not slums, SROs, or
tenements. These are nicer than a 5 star hotel. These save money, save
time, and are staggeringly energy efficient. They are good for the
residents, good for the City, and good for the environment." Who can
really be against that?

Click these links to get ideas...







12/3/2005 12:28:00 AM


UPDATE 2015-12-12:

Leasing Begins for New York’s First Micro-Apartments