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What it takes to design NYC micro-apartments fit for families

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The seven-story building has 57 micro apartments that come in two and three-bedroom variants instead of the typical studios

Alexander Severin

In Long Island City, developer Ranger Properties is looking to expand the definition of micro-living. Instead of your typical studio or one-bedroom micro home, Ranger’s The Lanes on Crescent Street has two and three-bedroom homes that are geared toward young families or for shared living.

The Fogarty Finger Architecture-designed rental recently opened its doors to tenants, and as a result we now have our first look inside the seven-story building. The Lanes has a total of 57 apartments, and while none are presently on the market, prices on these two and three-bedroom homes varied anywhere between $2,500 to $3,950, according to StreetEasy.

Typical two-bedrooms here measure 490 square feet and three-bedrooms measure 735 square feet; comparatively a traditional two-bedroom measures about 900 square feet, and a three-bedroom is about 1,200 square feet.

In one sense, this type of micro-living is more space efficient that traditional micro-unit buildings, John Zimmer, one of the directors at Fogarty Finger, told Curbed over a phone interview. Where a typical micro-unit studio would have its own kitchen, bathroom, etc., these two and three-bedroom homes are sharing all those spaces.

Zimmer conceded that micro-living doesn’t scream family living, but was hopeful that this project would chart a new course. In order to make them more livable, the apartments have all been fitted with large windows, and fully appointed kitchens (with a microwave, four-burner range, dishwasher, and oven), among other features.

“I always like to stress the livability of these apartments,” said Zimmer. “Your first impulse to micro-living is usually that it will be cramped or that you’ll have to cutback on your lifestyle, but that’s not the case here.”

The amenities here have been designed to appeal to both individuals and families, and they include a rooftop terrace with sweeping views of Manhattan, a co-working space, a fitness center, a billiards area, and a courtyard designed for screenings and live music. There’s also building-wide Wi-Fi, a laundry room, a library, and a bike room.

Parking space was one of the biggest challenges for this type of development, but in the end the architects were able to get about one parking spot per unit, Zimmer explained.

From when the project was first announced in March 2015, the development has taken less than three years to reach completion, and now Zimmer says their firm is fielding more requests for these types of micro developments.