Sales Market

For cheap(ish) luxury with all the amenities, opt for a tiny apartment

By Virginia K. Smith  | January 23, 2015 - 11:59AM

2015 is already a boom year for new developments opening up, but to anyone who's spent time in the NYC rental market, "brand new luxury building" isn't exactly synonymous with "cheap." This is still true, but for renters still holding out for high-end amenities, there may be hope: developers are starting to offer smaller apartments at a relative discount to offset the cost of a building's pricey extras.

Take, for example, QLIC, a forthcoming new development in Long Island City with amenities like a rooftop pool and media lounge with "stadium seating. Rents are expected to start at $1,995, a bit below the neighborhood's $2,338 average. The catch? The New York Times reports that studios will measure around 420 and 470 square feet, squeezed even smaller than the more typical measure of 500 square feet.

QLIC developers are betting that residents will prize a rooftop pool over, say, an actual dining room. (Photo via CityRealty)

Similarly, is working on a Williamsburg project  at 247 North 7th Street with studios "designed to feel like a one-bedroom" but priced below a standard one-bed, the firm's president David Maundrell told the paper. The so-called "tween studios" or "junior ones" are expected to rent for around $2,800, right in between the neighborhood average for a studio ($2,600) and a true one-bedroom ($3,000). "There is very little fat, so to speak," said Maundrell. "Right now, even a $500 to $100 different in rent per month moves the needle." 

The bottom line: while developers double down on amenities like outdoor pools, dog runs, media lounges, and state-of-the-art gyms to stand out from the competition, they're also betting that budget-minded residents will be willing to settle for less actual living space in exchange for perks throughout the rest of the building. As with all parts of the rental process, there's some compromise involved, and hey, if you happen to be a gym rat with minimal personal belongings, this could be a perfect solution. And if you'd like to downsize even more? Those 260-square-foot "micro apartments" on 27th Street are opening up later this year.


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