Real Estate News from November 2011

  • Subway Dreaming: Connecting the L to the 7 By Kimberly Milner | November 30, 2011

    With dusty construction creating eyesores and heartbroken storeowners on 2nd Avenue, gossip of the MTA’s newest subway line often overshadows other MTA subway projects. But with the city less than 2 years away from completing its 7-line expansion designed to finally pick up stranded Javits Center passengers, a buzz started by concerned commuters has disregarded the Transit Authority's comical budget woes and suggested a left-field extension of their own.

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  • As Development Continues, Manhattan Stands Strong By Phil Ryan | November 28, 2011

    In a trend that we at Elegran continue to note, Manhattan real estate, particularly the new development and luxury sectors, continues to stay strong in contrast to much of the rest of the country. At the regional level, Manhattan has seen growth in every neighborhood, with an average rate of 8% per dollar per square foot when compared to last year, almost unimaginable in any other metropolitan area. However, these changes are more pronounced and nuanced in individual neighborhoods, and new data allows us to see why certain areas are seeing population increases and “trendy” monikers, while others seem to be slowing down unexpectedly. So why is this happening, and what does it mean for luxury real estate in New York City?

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  • Forget the Olympics: The Near-Downfall of Hudson Yards By Justin Spees | November 28, 2011

    For decades the Far West Side - the space west of Eighth Avenue between 30th and 43rd Streets - has been a stagnant and underdeveloped area inhabited by old factories and parking lots. But over the past few years there’s been a renaissance of development in the area. Manhattan's Far West Side is currently home to 15 residential towers and 12 hotels built since 2005, and there are tentative plans to develop a 51-story office tower in the area, complete with a Coach store. What’s more, New York City is two-thirds of the way done with an L train extension that will bring subway service to 34th St. and 11th Ave., and next year it plans to begin construction on a tree-lined boulevard between 10th and 11th Avenue.  But this booming development might not have happened at all if Mayor Bloomberg's initial plans had been approved. Ladies and gentlemen, New York City would like to present to you its newest business district, Hudson Yards, the inadvertent result of Michael Bloomberg’s failed 2012 Olympics bid.

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  • Planned Construction on Track to Make WTC Manhattan’s Biggest Mall By Justin Spees | November 28, 2011

    While construction of the civic buildings near the World Trade Center is at perpetual standstill, the World Trade Center retail construction project is on track to become part of the biggest indoor shopping mall in New York City. The Mass Transit Authority announced late last month that it would lease 70,000 square feet of the storied Fulton Street Transit Center to a retail operator that would populate it with stores.

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  • Columbia's Manhattanville Development Already Generating Controversy By Daniel Muhlenberg | November 22, 2011

    Earlier this month, Columbia University began construction on its Manhattanville Development Project, a massive undertaking that will take decades to complete. The ambitious project has barely gotten off the ground, yet already storm clouds have gathered on the horizon: Community Board 9 passed a vote of no-confidence for the West Harlem Local Development Corporation, a new non-profit responsible for distributing $150 million in funds, over its failure to disclose it finances.

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  • Brazil, China, Russia: Meet the New Face of Manhattan Real Estate By Daniel Muhlenberg | November 22, 2011

    The world’s nouveau riche love Manhattan. Foreign buyers flush with newly-achieved status and the power to purchase anything their heart desires come to New York City with cash in hand, ready to pay up and move in as soon as possible. Considering that New York City has always been an international city, the symbol of the American Dream, and an alluring destination for aspiring people everywhere, this is unsurprising in and of itself. What’s surprising is that most of these foreign buyers come from countries like China, Brazil, and Russia i.e. the nouveau riche of the world economy. Buyers from these countries are keeping the high-end real estate in Manhattan market afloat, eagerly filling the void left by affluent New Yorkers who are biding their time by renting.

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  • Bad News for the World Trade Center 9/11 Museum By Justin Spees | November 21, 2011

    When the World Trade Center Memorial opened to coincide with the 10th anniversary of September 11th, it seemed to a lot of people like the first sign of progress on a rebuilding effort that had stalled in bureaucratic purgatory since it began. Not the case. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the bureaucratic agencies tasked with putting the memorial together agreed to set aside a disagreement they were having over money in order to get the memorial done in time for the 10-year anniversary. Now that they’re finished, it’s back to squabbling.

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  • Line Between Rentals and Condos Grows Hazy By Daniel Muhlenberg | November 17, 2011

    Back in the day, it used to be that you built a condo strictly as a condo, and if times really got tough, then maybe you started renting to tenants instead of selling to buyers. And if you built a rental, it was definitely going to stay a rental. All of this has changed. Surviving in today’s uncertain environment has required innovation, risk, and even a little failure on the part of developers and real estate professionals, so many of the old standards have fallen by the wayside. Some adaptations haven’t panned out, but one of the one that has provided some much needed breathing room for developers is the strategy of building condos that can be easily converted to rentals and vice versa, thus conceding the fact that this change will most likely be necessary.

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  • 421a is a Property Tax Exemption With an Aftertaste By Justin Spees | November 17, 2011

    The New York Times ran a story on Friday about an obscure property tax exemption called 421a, a property tax exemption that was signed into law as an incentive for developers to build on unused or underused land. The program provides temporary tax exemptions for New York City condominiums that are built in locations the city wants to see developed. Buildings that meet these criteria are virtually tax-free for a while, creating additionally desirable conditions for prospective condo owners in Manhattan.

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  • Renting vs. Buying: Manhattan Absorption and the Winter Market By Justin Spees | November 15, 2011

    Floating around the web circles of real estate watchers is a chart that analyzes trends in absorption rates for both rentals and sales in the Manhattan housing market over the past four years. The chart reflects a lot of overall economic trends since 2008 that we’ve written about before, but there are a few interesting key exceptions. Most significantly, this chart lays to waste the common wisdom that sales and rentals in Manhattan go up and down at inverse absorption rates.

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