What happened to "everything in moderation?"

Micro apartments have been a hot trend in multifamily this year, especially in high-occupancy metros like New York City. But the "micro" apartment line has to be drawn somewhere, and we think we've found it.

In July 2012 NYC's Mayor Bloomberg launched a micro apartment initiative to help New Yorkers live small and more affordably. Zoning laws required apartments to be at least 450-square-feet, but Bloomberg waived the regulations and challenged architects and developers to submit unit designs only 275- to 300-square-feet in size.

The winning architecture firm (Monadnock Development LLC) presented a stunning and fashionable prefab solution, but an apartment building in Harlem featuring 100-square-foot units for $1,275/month has crossed the line from innovative, to basically incarceration.

Shanghai Holdings' has filed for a "single room occupancy" (SRO) status conversion on the apartment building to a regular residential classification (city Housing Maintenance Code requires at least 150-square-feet), but with units only slightly larger than prison cells, the city might not sign off.

Micro units offer a solution primarily for young professionals who don’t make much money or don’t spend much time at home. Especially in metros with high rent rates, micro units can be a relief...but $1,275 a month for 100-square-feet? The size of these units would be better served as transitional housing for recently released convicts.

Check out the video above to see what the prison-cell micro unit looks like, and check out "How Small Is Too Small?" from the New York Times after to see examples of micro units done right.

How small of a space would you live in, or try to attract renters to? Share with us @MFEMagazine