Manhattan Population Continues to Grow Despite Increased Housing Costs

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With a population of more than 1.6 million, Manhattan continues to grow. While there are certainly some positive sides to a growing population, there is one downside to having so many people interested in living in Manhattan: housing.

Unfortunately for those who live in Manhattan or who wish to live in the borough, housing is at a premium. With only so much space available for housing, adding more housing is nearly impossible. Furthermore, New York University’s Furman Center reports that Manhattan lost 3,000 rent-regulated apartments in the last year along. In many areas throughout the borough, the stabilized homes that were typically more affordable are being replaced by “market rate” units. In fact, from 2002 to 2012, the number of stabilized or controlled apartments fell by more than 19 percent, while the number of “market rate” apartments increased by more than 19 percent. As a result, finding an affordable place to live is becoming increasingly more difficult. Even local residents who have lived in the borough for decades are finding themselves forced to leave because they simply can’t afford to stay. Even middle class professionals are finding themselves getting squeezed out by the high prices.

Obviously, no one can blame landlords for increasing their prices. If the market demand is high, increasing prices each year is a great way for landlords and investors to make money. Nonetheless, while this is not a new phenomenon for Manhattan, the issue is reaching what many consider to be “crisis” status. After all, when prices continue to rise and force long-time residents out of the borough, it tears at the fabric of the community. It also makes it difficult for families, seniors and other valuable community members to stay in one place, with many finding themselves constantly moving in an effort to find more affordable housing.

Manhattan and its residents have always taken pride in the diversity that the borough has to offer. In fact, an estimated 29 percent of those who reside in the borough are foreign-born citizens. With rent prices rising 19 percent since 2005, however, even traditionally immigrant neighborhoods are at risk of changing dramatically. Already, the change in population can be seen occurring from Washington Heights down to the Lower East Side. While the change is gradual, it is clear that it will continue unless something happens to change the current trend of housing prices in Manhattan. So, while the population continues to grow, the face of Manhattan’s population is likely to be quite different in the near future.

CA Technologies Moves its Headquarters to Manhattan

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Another major company has transitioned from being located on Long Island to calling Manhattan its home. Last month, software giant CA technologies quietly made the move after unofficially making Manhattan its headquarters for the past several years.

Prior to making its move to Manhattan, CA Technologies was one of the largest companies on Long Island. In fact, the company’s headquarters had been on the island for 22 years. After filing paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, however, the company quietly and unceremoniously listed its address as 520 Madison Avenue.

For those who have been watching the company’s operations, the change does not come as much of a surprise. Many of the company’s top executives have been based in Manhattan for years, and both of the company’s last two chief executives chose to work primarily in Manhattan. In addition, the company had sold its Long Island property in 2006 while continuing to lease the space.

Fortunately for the local economy and for the nearly 1,400 people who work for the company, representatives say there are no plans to reduce operations. Instead, the address change simply reflects the location of the CEO and the company’s executive team. Nonetheless, with a stock market value of around $12.54 billion, the address change does change the local corporate landscape of Long Island. Furthermore, with CA Technologies being a huge part of the technology community, Long Island officials had hoped the company would be a key player in helping to nurture local startups in the area.

Given the business climate in Long Island over the last several years, the area could certainly use a company to take the lead and bring business back to the area. Since 2007, more than 30 Long Island companies have either been bought, moved or failed. Some of these include Gentiva Health Services Inc., Arrow Electronics and American Home Mortgage Investment Corp.

In some cases, the Long Island company changes did not lead to job loss. After moving its headquarters to Denver in 2011, for example, Arrow still employs more than 500 people in Long Island. Nonetheless, when a headquarters leaves, the top executives go with it. This means there are less top executives available in an area to help volunteer at local nonprofits. Furthermore, once a facility is no longer designated as a company’s headquarters, it is more easily shut down when cuts needs to be made. For this reason, some officials are considering giving CA Technologies some sort of incentive to stay in Long Island. Officials from CA Technologies, however, say they are still committed to Long Island. As the company’s second-largest location, it serves as a key research and development hub.

“Big U” Project to Protect New York City While Adding Public Space and Beauty to the City

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Last month, a plan to build a 10-mile barrier around New York received $355 in federal funding. Referred to as the “Big U,” the proposed barrier will defend the city against floods while also serving as public parkland ad gardens for residents to enjoy. If the project is completed as designed, it will extend from Manhattan’s West 57th Street down to the Battery before ending at East 42nd Street.

The “Big U” proposal is one of six winning proposals submitted to the U.S. Department and Urban Development through its Rebuild by Design competition. The competition, which lasted a year, was ultimately won by Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs of the BIG architectural firm. Throughout the process, the team reached out to local community groups in order to get their feedback and support.

In the end, the team designed a system that will reflect the social fabric of each of the neighborhoods through which it passes. In one area, for example, the Big U will be a simple grassy knoll. Another portion will serve as a public arts area. Along the Battery, for example, the Big U will provide public space for sunbathing and picnicking. Between Montgomery Street and Manhattan Bridge, the underside panels will be painted by local artists to provide additional beauty to the area. When these panels are flipped down, they can be used for a seasonal market that is protected by the elements.

Of course, the Big U will be just as functional as it is beautiful. The same flaps that can be brought down to create a seasonal market between Montgomery Street and Manhattan Bridge can also be brought down to create a water barrier. In all, the structure will be divided into three distinct realms. These realms are designed in a fashion that is similar to the compartments of a ship hull. As such, if one of the realms is breached, the other two will still hold strong to keep the city protected. Not only does this design help to ensure the safety of the city during a major water event, but it also makes it easier to build the structure in phases.

The first stage of the construction process is to take place on the Lower East Side. This phase will involve simply creating a berm that is planted with salt-tolerant shrubs, trees and perennials. Future phases are yet to be announced.

Lower Manhattan Gets New Life with Condo Development Plans

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After the housing market crash in 2008, developers and lenders delayed many of their plans to build and finance condos in certain parts of Manhattan. This was particularly true in the lower Manhattan area below Chambers Street. With $1 billion in condos going on sale at 30 Park Place in the region between City Hall and the World Trade Center site, however, it appears that lower Manhattan is experiencing a grand rebirth.

In all, a minimum of 650 new condo units are expected to hit the market this year. These figures contrast significantly against recent rends, with just 34 condo units being completed below Chambers Street since June of 2010. These units popped up when the 58-story W Downtown Hotel & Residences opened in a location that is just one block from the World Trade Center construction site.

In addition to seeing an increase in the number of condo units being built, many of those that are expected to hit the market this year will be in a mix of historic buildings and new towers. The tallest of those currently planned for this year, Park Place, measures an impressive 926 feet tall. When complete, the building will be the fourth tallest tower in the region south of the Empire State Building.

The condo industry isn’t the only one that is experiencing a resurgence in lower Manhattan. A number of new or rebuilt venues with upscale restaurants and stores are also popping up in the area. 18 hotels are also under development, all of which is being at least partially spurred by the $30 billion in public and private investments the neighborhood has recently enjoyed.

When looking ahead through 2017, there are approximately 1,346 condos and 1,500 rental apartments either planned or currently under construction. 157 condos are currently under construction at the 30 Park Place development, where the average price for a condo is $3,200 per square foot. 34 of the condos located on the top 30 floors of the tower are expected to go on the market this fall.

More condos are also planned across from City Hall Park, where a 10-story office building constructed in 1883 will be converted to a condo and hotel complex. A new 46-story building is also expected to be added to the property. 161 condos are also planned for the upper floors of the Verizon Building, which is a 32-story Art-Deco building that was built in 1922. Another 191 condos will soon be going on the market at 40 West Street. The 63-story tower will feature high floors and unobstructed views. Prices for this condo are expected to average $1,800 per square foot.

Manhattan Rental Prices Continue Upward Trend

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After showing a bit of a slow down in price increases in recent months, rental prices in Manhattan are skyrocketing once again. In fact, rental prices are reaching the highest levels they have been at in more than five years.

In April, the media rental price in Manhattan rose by 1.6% to $3,247. These figures represent the second highest prices for rent since February 2009. It also represents the second month in a row in which rental prices increased in the borough when comparing year-over-year figures. Prior to April, Manhattan rental prices fell for six months in a row. According to other reports, the average cost for renting an apartment in Manhattan was $3,420 in April 2014. These figures represent an increase of $18 when compared to the previous month and a $53 increase when compared to April 2013.

Certain apartment categories are also seeing a greater increase in prices than others. For example, studio apartments have seen a significant increase in price. Certain regions are also experiencing greater price increases than others. Harlem, for example, saw the greatest increase in monthly and annual rental prices. This was at least partially spurred by the fact that new rental buildings with amenities were developed in Harlem, thereby increasing the average rental cost up $2,528, representing a 13.9% when compared to April of last year.

The percent of move-in incentives provided by landlords, such as paying the broker’s fee or giving the first month’s rent for free, are also on the decline. According to recent reports, these types of incentives were only included in 9% of transactions in April. In March, they were included in 12% of transactions.

The vacancy rate for residential rentals in Manhattan also went down when comparing April of this year to April of last year, with the 2014 rate being 1.45% compared to 1.58% in 2013. This is partially due to job growth in the area combined with the fact that a growing number of people are moving to in to the city.

Brooklyn has also seen an increase in rental prices, with the median monthly rent cost being $2,805. These figures represent a 3.9% increase when compared to last year. The Bedford-Stuyvesant area saw the highest rental increase in Brooklyn, with the median cost being $2,086. These figures represent a 10% increase when compared to the previous month,

As summer draws closer, these trends are expected to continue. As such, anyone who is interested in finding a place to rent in Manhattan or Brooklyn should be prepared for some intense competition and high prices.

Two Major Shopping Complexes Soon to Open in Manhattan

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While Manhattan is known for the small boutiques that line its streets, Lower Manhattan will soon be home to two large retail centers boasting more than one hundred stores.

One of these retail centers, the World Trade Center retail complex, will feature 150 stores. The other, Brookfield Place, will be located across West Street along the Hudson River. The center will feature a string of luxury boutiques, such as the French dining hall Le District, Hermes and Burberry and more.

To assist with the anticipated traffic to and from these shopping complexes, new traffic lights will be installed along a portion of West Street. Plant-filled medians and crosswalks will also be installed to help make the area more pedestrian-friendly. Brookfield Place, which will be replacing its brick façade with two-stories of glass, will also be switching its entrance so that it faces the street instead of the river.

According to developers, the decision to create massive retail centers in the area was an easy decision to make. With the World Trade Center retail complex being located on the transportation hub of Oculus, millions of people pass by the area each year. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people walk past the area. Furthermore, the area is now how to thousands of new condo and rental developments. Between residents, workers and tourists to the area, there is definitely a huge market to tap into. In all, experts estimate that the spending power within the area is an impressive $5.2 billion, which is a figure that is larger than the gross domestic product of many small countries.

So far, the World Trade Center retail complex has been reluctant to name the retailers that will be located within the complex. Nonetheless, the complex is said to be nearly to capacity and the names of certain retailers have leaked as like tenants. Some of these include Victoria’s Secret, Michael Kors and Apple. The fitness chain known as Track and Field and the cigar purveyor of Davidoff are also expected to be part of the complex.

Regardless of what retailers are located in the shopping complex, the construction itself is quite impressive. Designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the building features ribs made from custom steel that come together to form a canopy. Offering 80,000 square feet of retail space spread out over two levels, the structure will be connected with the help of an underground concourse.

At Brookfield Place, a variety of luxury retailers are expected to fill the space. Vince and Salvatore Ferragamo have already signed leases, while Saks Fifth Avenue is signing as the anchor tenant. Equinox will also be opening a 40,000 square foot fitness club within the complex. While Brookfield Place cannot offer the same amount of foot traffic as the World Trade Center complex, it does boast more street level retail space.

New York Brokers Express Growing Confidence in Local Real Estate Market

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According to a recent survey conducted by the Real Estate Board of New York, real estate brokers in New York are feeling more confident than they did last year. This growth in confidence has been largely spurred by overall improvements in the economy coupled with an increase in residential sales.

While the Real Estate Broker Confidence Index was sitting at 9 during the last quarter of 2013, the Real Estate Board of New York found that this had increased to 9.21 during the first quarter of 2014. This represents a growth trend that was also seen when comparing the third quarter of 2013 to the last quarter, with the confidence index being 8.75 during the third quarter. These figures represent the confidence levels of both residential and commercial brokers throughout New York.

When looking specifically at confidence levels in residential real estate, respondents expressed a confidence index of 8.52 during the fourth quarter of 2013. This increased to 8.8 in the first quarter of 2014. The survey also found that the brokers are just as confident about where the market will be six months from now and that they are more confident now than they thought they would be during the third quarter of 2013. This is at least partially due to the fact that the supply wasn’t available last year, while this year has brought a reduction in demand with rental prices that are greater than what people are willing to pay.

When looking at confidence levels within the commercial real estate market, the brokers had a confidence index of 9.49 during the fourth quarter last year. During the first quarter of this year, this has increased to 9.62. The survey also found that the six-month outlook confidence levels increased as well. Tourism in New York City continues to be a strength for the retail leasing market, while new space is becoming available due to continued growth and expiring leases.

Despite expressing an increase in confidence levels, New York brokers are still expressing a concern about interest rates. Furthermore, many have noted that residential demand is decreasing in 2014 due to the high cost of real estate.

This data is collected anonymously and includes only those brokers who are members of the Real Estate Board of New York. Participants were asked to rank their confidence levels on a scale that ranged from zero to ten, with five representing “neutral.’

What’s the Story Behind the Empty Manhattan Retail Space?

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Anyone who takes a walk through the streets of Manhattan can quickly see that there are several storefronts that are available for rent. While this may seem unusual for an area that is so popular and considered by many to be the shopping Mecca of the United States, there are a few key factors that appear to be contributing to this phenomenon.

Perhaps the biggest factor contributing to the empty Manhattan retail space is the fact that many landlord are asking for a significant amount of money from its renters. With many of the owners of big office buildings and apartments making a good amount of money from the space rented on the upper floors, they can afford to wait for someone who is willing to pay whatever they want for the ground level storefronts. Similarly, as cheap leases that were drawn up 10 to 25 years ago begin to expire, many landlords are asking for a significantly larger rental payment. While no one can blame them for wanting more money in line with current market trends, it is also understandable when renters decide to move to a different space.

The large number of landlords who do not actually live in Manhattan is also a contributing factor. A growing number of buildings in Manhattan are being purchased by investors from Asia and the Middle East. These investors are often unaware of the subtle nuances of the Manhattan market, resulting in lease agreements that are frequently changing and impacting rental agreements. Some are also more than happy to let their buildings sit empty because they how to sell the buildings or to knock down the buildings and replace them with something new.

Many landlords are also being more selective when it comes to determining who they will rent to. For instance, many are giving preference to national chains and other retailers that are well-established. This way, they can be relatively certain there will be no problems with collecting their rental payments each month.

Of course, there has also been a great deal of new developments in the area, resulting in thousands of square feet of new retail space that needs to be rented out. In the Wall Street area, for example, dozens of banks were repurposed for store or restaurant uses. As a result, the amount of growing retail space has outpaced the demand.

Unfortunately, some of the buildings are sitting empty because their owners are caught up in litigation. After condo apartment corporations sold their retail space to amateur investors, for example, some of these investors found themselves unable to find renters quickly enough. As a result, they defaulted on their loans and the buildings remain empty as ownership remains in limbo.

Spa Castle to Open Facilities in Manhattan

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With a current facility located in College Point in Queens, the popular Spa Castle has announced plans to build a sister facility in Manhattan that will be known as Spa Castle Premier. The 38,000 square foot facility will be located in the mixed use building at 115 East 57th Street, which is the same space that was once leased by the New York Racquet and Tennis Club.

Occupying the 8th, 9th and 10th floor, the Manhattan Spa Castle will offer many of the same facilities and services as the one found in Queens. While full details have not been released yet, the company has stated that all three floors will feature spa facilities. In addition, there will be an outdoor sundeck. The company has also stated that all three of the floors will be gutted and refurbished, with the swimming pool and outdoor sundeck that is currently located on the 8th floor being converted to a Bade Pool with a partial sundeck.

While the remaining details are currently unknown, the new facility is sure to offer much of the same experience as the Queens facility. This facility is known for providing the perfect blend of luxurious European spas and traditional Asian saunas. The company claims that its facilities are designed “to promote the health and well-being” of its clients by surpasses the health and wellness standards that are currently established within the industry. The company also strives to build, own and operate hospitality facilities and urban resorts in various metropolitan destinations throughout the country. Some of the amenities found at the other facility include:

  • Lockers and Bath Area – the gender-specific locker and bath area features separate shoe and clothing lockers, a vanity area, a lounge area and an ornate traditional bath-house area.
  • Body Treatment and Beauty Spa – this area offers a variety of services, including Golden Caviar Facials, raw Korean Scrub treatments and Hand and Foot Reflexology.
  • Sauna Valley – features various saunas made with materials that are known for their medicinal powers, such as the Gold Sauna that is made from 95% real gold because gold is thought to help regulate blood pressure and sooth sore limbs. Each of the saunas is built to offer specific healing affects.
  • Indoor/Outdoor Bade Pools – these indoor/outdoor pools feature strategically placed aqua-therapy jets that are positioned to massage different parts of the body. The experience is meant to help enhance skin tone, circulation, digestion, joint tension and muscle tension.

The Queens facilities are open year-round, and the new facilities in Manhattan are likely to follow suit.

NYC Real Estate Share

The Famous Folks You’re Likely to Come Across in New York City

There’s no doubt the bustle and attractions of New York City are intriguing and exciting. In the last decade alone, roughly one million new people have moved to New York, bringing the population up to just over 8 million. New York has long been a center of culture, business, international relations, and the arts, and boasts one of the most diverse populaces of any city on the planet, bringing together a community that defines the term “melting pot.”

The fascination with this city is compounded by the fact that some of today’s hottest celebrities call it home. Good food and amazing theatre opportunities aside, one of the strongest lures to the Big Apple for many is the chance to brush up against their idols. The mere possibility of seeing Denzel Washington, Anne Hathaway, Neil Patrick Harris, or Carmelo Anthony walking down the street is enough to inspire some to move to New York in a heartbeat.

Depending on where you live in New York, the number of celebrity sightings can vary greatly. The vast majority of celebs live in the Upper West Side, making up 71 of the 237 celebrities tracked by Rentenna. A large number of actors also make their home in the Upper East Side, Greenwich Village, Tribeca, Soho, and Chelsea, with between 14 and 20 celebrities living in each neighborhood.

Do you want to know who lives where? Let’s look at some celebrities you might see out and about on the streets of New York, as well as some details about the amazing apartments they call home.

Upper West Side

Celebrities living in the Upper West Side

Average rent per month in the Upper West Side for apartments with a doorman run $3,350 for a 1 bedroom and roughly $4,800 for a 2 bedroom. Robin Williams, one of the residents of the Upper West Side, pays $15,000 every month for a 4 bedroom apartment. This is 11% more than the average price

 Other celebrities in the Upper West Side include:

  • Al Pacino
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Antonio Banderas
  • Angela Bassett
  • Glenn Close
  • Diana Ross
  • Robert DeNiro
  • Matt Damon
  • Sting
  • Judy Garland
  • Tina Fey
  • Bono
  • Denzel Washington
  • Steve Martin
  • Steven Spielberg
  • Tiger Woods
  • Faye Dunaway
  • Harvey Weinstein

 

Upper East Side

Celebrities on Upper East Side

The average rent in the Upper East Side is $3,200 for a 1 bedroom and $4,600 for a 2 bedroom. For an apartment building without a doorman, the prices are roughly $1,000 less. Kelly Rutherford, one of the inhabitants of the Upper East Side, pays $10,500 for a 2 bedroom, a price that is 128% higher than the average.

Other famous Upper East Siders include:

  • Bill Murray
  • Joan Rivers
  • Mia Farrow
  • Spike Lee
  • Christopher Walken
  • Donald Trump
  • Drew Barrymore
  • Ricky Martin
  • Tom Brokaw

Greenwich Village, East Village, and West Village

The average rent in the East Village for a 1 bedroom with a doorman is $3,300, as compared to $4,200 in the West Village. Prices increase as you move west through the Village, but celebrities continue to pay well over the average where ever they are. Jim Carrey, for example, pays $25,000 a month for a 2 bedroom apartment in the West Village. This is 381% higher than the average monthly rate.

 Some other famous tenants in the Village area include:

 Greenwich Village

  • Alec Baldwin
  • Julia Roberts
  • Anderson Cooper
  • Leonardo DiCaprio
  • Tom Cruise

East Village

  • Britney Spears
  • Cher
  • Amanda Seyfried
  • Alan Cumming

West Village

  • Daniel Radcliffe
  • Brooke Shields
  • Sofia Coppola
  • Liv Tyler

Tribeca

Tribeca Celebrities

For an apartment building in Tribeca with a doorman, the average rent for a 1 bedroom is $4,200. For a 2 bedroom apartment, the average is $5,800. Some of the famous celebrities who share this neighborhood include:

  • Jon Stewart
  • Billy Crystal
  • Beyonce
  • Meryl Streep
  • Jay-Z
  • Jennifer Connelly

Soho

In Soho, the average price to rent a one bedroom apartment in a building with a doorman is $4,500. The average price for a 2 bedroom is $6,000 dollars. Dakota Fanning pays $10,000 for her 2 bedroom apartment, which is almost twice the average. Other famous people making their home in Soho are:

  • Daniel Craig
  • Kelly Ripa
  • John Mayer
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • John Bon Jovi
  • Justin Timberlake

Some rather famous celebrities can also be found outside of Manhattan, in the Park Slope, Brooklyn Heights, or Williamsburg regions of Brooklyn. These include Patrick Stewart, Steve Buscemi, Kerri Russell, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, to name a few. Some of these actors are reportedly looking at property elsewhere, but for now Brooklyn remains their home.

 Paul Giamatti is a Brooklyn Heights resident who moved into his apartment building back in 2010. At the time, he was able to buy his unit for $1.3 million dollars. Today, a nice 2 or 3 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn Heights can cost anywhere from just under $1 million dollars to $2.5 million. One 8 bedroom townhome on Clark Street is on the market for $7.8 million dollars.

 Some recent rumors flying around Brooklyn say that Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are both selling their homes in Manhattan to move to Brooklyn. They are reportedly converting two townhomes in preparation for the move.

 Two actors who also live in Brooklyn are Patrick Stewart and John Turturro. Turturro has lived in Brooklyn or Queens his entire life, and now lives in Park Slope. It is said he can often be spotted at a di la Trattoria, a Brooklyn restaurant serving northern Italian cuisine. Patrick Stewart, on the other hand, just bought his $2.5 million dollar condo in Park Slope last year.

 When walking the streets of Manhattan or Brooklyn, keep an eye out for some of the most famous celebrities in the country. You’re sure to spot more than a few browsing in shops or dining in restaurants of the areas they call home.

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