Conjure up a picture of a New York City SRO in your mind. Or, at least, the general public's picture. That's right: itinerant men; filthy shared bathrooms; cage-like ceilings; general sketchiness. Micro Week has proven that while some of the city's circa 15,000 Single Room Occupancy buildings may have been seedy in decades past, they were wonderful homesand continue to serve as such to this day. (Don't forget about the 90-square-foot apartment. That's an SRO, too.)
In 2013, when developers Seth and Matthew Weissman spent $1.4 million on a five-story apartment building full of SROs at the corner of 135th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, they decided to revamp it for the modern renter. Out with the peeling paint, the dated fixtures, and the rundown vibe; in with fancy, space-saving Resource Furniture piecesa bed that folds down over a couch, a tall cabinet that acts as a dresser without taking up too much floor space, and flat-screen televisions, to name a few. The first five units the Weisssmans renovated, on the second floor, went fast, leasing for between $1,099 and $1,475 in early 2014.
"The apartments in this building are big enough that when you decorate with the right furniture, it's a really nice option for people," said Matthew Weissman. "It's a great starter apartment, for people aren't making that much and don't have parents who can guarantee their apartment." Especially when the alternative is "living in the deep Lower East Side with three or four roommates in a fifth-floor walkup." Pricing is similar for the five newly redone units Curbed toured earlier this month; the fifth-floor microdwellings range from 175 to 400 square feet and have rented for between $1,250 and $1,400. There's one unit left, for $1,200/month. Also, one of the first-generation renovated rentals is back on the market for $1,150.
· 2299 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard [StreetEasy]
· Five New Harlem Studios Offer Cheap Rent, Shared Bathrooms [Curbed]
· All 2299 Adam Clayton Powell Junior Boulevard coverage [Curbed]
· Remembering My Years in a Small, $550/Month Chelsea SRO [Curbed]
· What Is a Micro Home? And What Does It Mean in New York? [Curbed]
· Micro Week coverage [Curbed]