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Lower Manhattan’s gravitational tug on new residents, tourists, and corporations continues unabated, according to a new report from the Downtown Alliance:Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year in Review: 2018.”
Among its findings is that the equivalent of one out of every 25 Americans visited Lower Manhattan in in the year that just ended, with the local tourist tally topping 13 million.

The local residential population grew by approximately two percent in the last 12 months, topping off at just over 62,000 people. (That increase is roughly there times the percentage population growth for the  United States as a whole in 2018.) And there appears to be more to come.

While the Alliance report notes that Lower Manhattan currently contains some 33,245 dwellings in 336 mixed-use and residential buildings, that inventory grew by approximately 1,330 apartments (spread across six buildings) in 2018. This means the number of homes Downtown jumped by four percent in a single year. And the development pipeline (consisting of new apartments currently under construction or in the planning stages) indicates that roughly another 2,900 dwellings will come online south of Chambers Street in the new few years, meaning that a further nine percent expansion is in the works.

These metrics have sobering implications for local infrastructure, particularly educational facilities. The City’s own standard for gauging the need for new schools says that 12 seats are needed for every 100 homes. That formula appears to indicate that the Downtown apartments that welcomed residents for the first time in 2019, along with those that will follow in the next few years, require an entirely new school of 500 seats, in addition to the multiple schools that have opened in recent years, and the one currently under construction on Trinity Place.

Elsewhere, Downtown’s commercial leasing activity jumped to levels last seen in 2014, with a total of 5.5 million square feet rented last year. More office tenants relocated to Lower Manhattan than left for the eighth year in a row, the Alliance report also notes.

“It was an incredible year in Lower Manhattan,” said Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin. “We saw a number of new high profile companies like McKinsey, Casper and Nike choosing to relocate to Lower Manhattan and many more current tenants like Omnicom and BMI choosing to stay. It’s clear that this neighborhood has arrived as a place where companies across all industries want to be located.”

The “Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year in Review” report was produced by the Downtown Alliance, whose mission is to enhance Lower Manhattan for businesses, residents and visitors. Among the services provided by the Alliance that Lower Manhattan residents especially prize is Downtown Connection shuttle, which ferries passengers (free of charge) between 37 local stops that link residential areas neighborhoods with business and shopping districts. The shuttle service is currently utilized by more than 800,000 people each year, and is funded in part by the Battery Park City Authority, which contributes $600,000 annually to the operation.
Matthew Fenton

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