Financial District = Residential Mecca?

According to Ryan Chittum of The Real Estate Journal Wall Street is starting to feel more like home:

The south side of Wall Street from the exchange to the East River is almost all residential now or being converted to it. The fusty former headquarters of J.P. Morgan is being converted into Downtown by Philippe Starck, where condo units go for a minimum of $1.2 million. The new HermËs is moving into the first floor. Tiffany will set up shop next door at 37 Wall Street at the base of the former Trust Co. of America building, now being turned into luxury apartments.
Down the street model Naomi Campbell, actor Bruce Willis and movie producer Harvey Weinstein are moving into the former 55 Wall Street, which once housed the stock exchange, last was a luxury hotel and now is being souped up as the pricey Cipriani Club Residences. Last week real-estate broker Dolly Lenz flew to London to host a lunch for the Duchess of York and 80 of her closest friends — to promote the Duchess’s coming book and to help sell luxury condos at 55 Wall Street. By the end of a seven-hour event that also included breakfast, tea and cocktails, Ms. Lenz sold two luxury apartments at the building to friends of the Duchess.

This is an excellent article! In my 15 years in the business, I have never heard more promises about “the next frontier” than I have about Wall Street and its surrounding areas. My skepticism, fueled by the lack of retailers in the area, appears to be unfounded.
According to Chittum’s report, since 9/11 the residential population of the area is up 61%. Retailers are paying attention to these numbers as well as the current luxury condo projects hitting the market. It appears that a Financial District renaissance is finally well underway.
That said, it is going to take much more than a BMW dealer, a Tiffany and Co., and a Bobby Van’s Steakhouse to create of full fledged “neighborhood” surrounding Wall Street. I have sold in that area and my friends and colleagues who live in the area maintain that it still feels like a ghost town at night. Many who live there claim to like it, while others are looking for more services to stay open past the early evening hours.
Perhaps the time has come with such residential growth that area merchants and retailers will seize the opportunity to capture the “evening” marketplace? That will likely spur more growth and a true “neighborhood” feeling around the stock exchange. Who’d-a thunk it?

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