The Broadsheet – Lower Manhattan’s Local Newspaper
At Debt’s Door
Downtown Developers Go Belly Up on Two Marquee Properties
Above: A rendering for the super-tall tower once proposed for 80 South Street, a property that has now defaulted on its $175-million mortgage, as the financially troubled conglomerate that bought it five years ago scrambles to sell at a heavily discounted price. Below: The tallest Holiday Inn in the world, located at 99 Washington Street, is now delinquent on $87 million in debt, and is facing the possibility of foreclosure, as the developer tries the sell the property for a one-third less than the asking price at which the property was shopped in 2017.
Two Lower Manhattan trophy properties have defaulted on their mortgages, according to multiple published accounts and public records.
China Oceanwide Holdings, the owners of the development lot at 80 South Street, in the South Street Seaport, failed to make a $1.3-million payment to creditors in January, which has spurred lenders to declare the entire $175-million note on the property in default, and to demand immediate payment of the full amount.
As the date for the payment approached, China Oceanwide scrambled to sell the property for $200 million, a fire-sale discount from the $390 million the firm spent to acquire the property from the Howard Hughes Corporation in 2016. But there were no takers, even at the asking price of 48 percent lower than the original purchase.
This marks a dramatic reversal for China Oceanwide’s grand plans for 80 South Street (located between John Street and Maiden Lane), which once included a tower more than 1,400 feet tall, and was slated to include offices, apartments, a hotel, and retail space. Ground was never broken on that project, and China Oceanwide’s only significant activity related to the site appears to have consisted of taking out the loan (now in default) against the property shortly after purchasing it.
In the Financial District, the world’s tallest Holiday Inn hotel, located at 99 Washington Street (on the corner of Rector Street) also defaulted on multiple notes in January. Chinese developer Jubao Xie has missed several payments on $87 million in debt secured by the property, which he is trying to sell for $187 million. This price also represents a steep discount from the $300 million asking price at which he tried (unsuccessfully) to sell the hotel in 2017.
Lower Manhattan Is Fourth-Fastest Growing Community in NYC
Alliance Report Parses Census Data to Show Downtown’s Population Swelled by Five Figures in Ten Years
An analysis by the Downtown Alliance of preliminary results from the 2020 Census indicates that Lower Manhattan boomed in the decade between 2010 and 2020, with the local population rising by 33 percent to 60,803 residents.
This makes the combined catchment of Battery Park City and the Financial District the fourth-fastest growing community anywhere in the five boroughs of New York City, trailing only Long Island City/Hunters Point in Queens (which grew by 198 percent), Downtown Brooklyn/Dumbo-Boerum Hill (67 percent), and the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn (41 percent).
Two census tracts in the Financial District (east of Broadway and north of Liberty Street) grew by 44 percent, adding a combined 5,700 people. At the same time, Battery Park City’s headcount jumped by 22 percent, adding slightly more than 2,800 residents.
During the same period, according to the Alliance, Lower Manhattan overall added 5,300 new households. This comes in addition to 14,100 new dwellings created between 2000 and 2010.
Black History Month: Lower Manhattan Taken for a Ride on Monument It Actually Needs
While the saga of Rosa Parks and the 1956 Montgomery bus boycott has become a canonical American parable, New York played out its own version of the same drama, more than a century earlier. In July, 1854, Lower Manhattan resident Elizabeth Jennings Graham was on her way to church, and boarded a horse-drawn street car at Chatham and Pearl Streets.
Like much else in mid-19th century New York, street car service was segregated, with most coaches reserved for white riders, but some bearing signs that read, “Negro Persons Allowed in This Car.”
In her book Built Up, Patrice Derrington uncovers the roots of the global real estate industry in early modern London and seminal projects of private urban development such as Covent Garden. Derrington synthesizes economic history and the latest planning and finance literature in a work that codifies the principles and activities of real estate development as a foundation for future academic research and practical innovation. Free on Zoom.
Chinese investment in the Caribbean has soared in the past decade. State-owned enterprises, private firms and individuals have been investing in special economic zones, natural resources, ports and passports. The Caribbean’s offshore financial markets have also played a significant role in enabling US investors to invest in Chinese firms and for Chinese firms to gain access to U.S. capital markets. In this online event, two Caribbean experts share insights into China’s growing influence and what it means for the people of the Caribbean—and the United States. $10.
China’s Qing court produced the largest group of surviving paintings of Chinese empresses, many of which were once used for ancestor worship in the private imperial collection. Join us as Daisy Yiyou Wang, who co-curated the 2019 Empresses exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum, explores an extraordinary portrait of Empress Xiaoxian, whose early death broke the heart of the Qianlong emperor. Wang will examine details of the portrait, discuss its remarkable conservation journey, and even share new discoveries about where it used to hang. Wang, who is Deputy Director of the Hong Kong Palace Museum, will also discuss how her institution will look at artifacts from Beijing’s Forbidden City through a modern lens when it opens later this year. Free; online.
Visit the exhibitions and the ships of the South Street Seaport Museum for free. At 12 Fulton Street, see South Street and the Rise of New York and Millions: Migrants and Millionaires aboard the Great Liners, 1900-1914, and at Pier 16, explore the tall ship Wavertree and lightship Ambrose.
2022 marks the 530th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Sponsored and dispatched by the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, Columbus led a fleet of three ships on August 3, 1492 to sail west to search for a direct sea route to reach Asia as an alternative to the overland trade routes.
On October 12 of that year, the ships made landfall—not in Asia, as Columbus assumed, but on San Salvador in the Bahamas. Subsequently he made three more voyages to the New World in 1493, 1498 and 1502, reaching the Caribbeans, and Central and South Americas. Although Columbus always maintained that he had reached the Far East, he never set foot in Asia.
Columbus’s interest in traveling to the East was sparked by the famed Travels of Marco Polo, an account of the author’s travels to China in the 13th century that held Columbus spellbound in his childhood. Columbus treasured the book so much that he brought along a copy on his first cross-Atlantic journey. Travels of Marco Polo fascinated not only Columbus, not also a host of other famous European navigators in the Age of Exploration, including Amerigo Vespucci, from whose name the term “America” is derived, Ferdinand Magellan, who led the first recorded circumnavigation of the earth in 1519, Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by way of Cape of Good Hope, and the 15th century cosmographer Paolo dal Pozzo Toscanelli, who was the first to create a map showing a westward sea route to China and subsequently passed it to Columbus to carry on his first voyage. Marco Polo’s travelogue generated in the West an immense interest in and yearning for Asia in general and China in particular. To learn about Marco Polo’s travels to China and the impact he made, the Renwen Society presents a lecture on February 26 by Prof. Jia Hongyan, an expert on tourism who will discuss Marco Polo’s storied journey to the East, what he saw and experienced in China, and how the legendary book was brought back to China. Online in Chinese. Free.
Join the Museum and Our Travel Circle for a virtual walking tour of Kazimierz, the historic Jewish quarter in Krakow, Poland. Kazimierz was originally an independent city set up outside of Krakow by the King of Poland. As the neighborhood grew, its Jewish residents thrived and established synagogues and businesses. In the 1930s, before the onset of the Holocaust, a quarter of Krakow’s population was Jewish. Our tour guide, Anna, will show us the Tempel Synagogue, the oldest in Krakow; the Krakow Jewish Community Center, which is a hub of the city’s resurgent Jewish community today; and interesting Jewish sites including Helena Rubinstein’s family home. $36.
EYES TO THE SKY
February 22 – March 7, 2022
Leading the Sun at dawn: eye-popping Venus, our solar system’s hottest planet
Planet Venus, an orb of white fire gleaming in darkness, rises above the southeastern horizon in early dawn. Venus is the third brightest object in Earth’s sky, next to the Sun and moon. Similar in size to Earth and our closest planetary neighbor, its brilliance is not to be attributed to its proximity. As described by scientists at EarthSky.org, “Venus is bright … because it’s blanketed by highly reflective clouds. The clouds in the atmosphere of Venus contain droplets of sulfuric acid, as well as acidic crystals suspended in a mixture of gases. Light bounces easily off the smooth surfaces of these spheres and crystals. Sunlight bouncing from these clouds is a big part of the reason that Venus is so bright.”
Local Leaders Push City Hall to Consider the Cat’s Meow
Community Board 1 (CB1) is urging the City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) to protect a colony of feral cats that have come together in the South Street Seaport, at the site of the recently demolished New Market Building.
Feral cats, estimated to number as many as half a million in the five boroughs of New York City, face few threats during spring, summer and fall. Ample trash and New York’s prodigious rodent population provide plentiful sources of food. But in winter, they need shelter to take refuge from the cold, and water supplies often freeze. To read more…
To the editor:
Thank you for your article about the community cats at the seaport.
A lot has happened since the December CB1 meeting. Following the resolution, the EDC swiftly installed four winter shelters on the site. We are now committed to identifying a safe relocation option for the spring and have since launched a fundraising effort to support this: https://gofund.me/31d86024.
It is important to note that these are feral, and unadoptable strays. They were initially trapped and returned last spring, thus preventing many more unwanted litters from being born.
While we’ve had support and guidance from organizations, we are a community group of volunteers who are individually contributing our time and personal resources to feed and care for the cats daily regardless of the weather conditions. While we do not need assistance in feeding the cats, it can cost $1000 or more per cat to relocate them so we do need help with the fundraising for relocation.
We appreciate the interest in our effort and the incredible community support we’ve had thus far.
Kristin Eileen Bradfield
To the editor:
Thank you printing the article and Esther Regelson’s response. Esther should be credited for trying to make downtown a better place to live. Thank you Esther.
CB1 Pushes for Expansion in Use of Monitoring Devices
Community Board 1 (CB1) is pushing for the expanded use of traffic enforcement cameras, the automated monitoring devices that can detect violations of the speed limit and other rules (such as stopping at red lights) on public roads.
The use of such equipment began in New York nearly a decade ago, when then-Governor Andrew Cuomo allowed New York City to launch a pilot program to deter speeding in 20 school zones. The success of that initial deployment in 2013 has expanded to 950 cameras in 750 school zones, where the devices logged more than four million violations in 2020, an increase of almost 100 percent from 2019.
Data from the City’s Department of Transportation document the difference that speed cameras make, with a 71.5 percent reduction in speeding and a 16.9 percent drop in injuries at times when and in locations where they are in use. To read more…
The Curves Are Up
Alliance Real Estate Analysis Tracks Indicators for Rentals, Condos, and Retail
The Downtown Alliance has published its annual report, “Lower Manhattan Real Estate Year in Review,” which contains multiple, significant data points about the state of the community.
According to the Alliance’s analysis, Lower Manhattan currently hosts 33,650 households in 342 residential buildings.
For those wishing to lease an apartment, the news is as daunting as it is encouraging for landlords: Median rents reached an all-time high in the second half of 2021, topping out at $4,200, which surpasses a high last seen in 2019, when median rents hovered around $4,000. It also marks a rapid and steep recovery from the bottom of the rental market, during the first quarter of 2021, when local median rents were $3,000. To read more…
CLASSIFIEDS & PERSONALS
Swaps & Trades, Respectable Employment, Lost and Found
Ethical and respectable gentleman, an IT Wizard, seeks a living/work space in BPC. Can be a Computer help to you and your business, or will guarantee $1,500 for rental. Reciprocal would be great!
Please contact: 914-588-5284
20+ years experience
Providing Companion and Home Health Aide Care to clients with dementia.Help with grooming, dressing and wheelchair assistance. Able to escort client to parks and engage in conversations of desired topics and interests of client. Reliable & Honest
78 year old refined intellectual gentleman having a passion for cruises and travel seeking a male or female caregiver/companion in exchange for all expense paid venture on the ocean. Only requirement is relationship comfort between us and ability to help with physical care regarding the limitations and restrictions of COPD.
Analysis By Housing Group Cites Declining Affordability in Lower Manhattan
A leading housing advocacy organization has completed an exhaustive look at threats to affordability in every community in the five boroughs, and has found that Lower Manhattan ranks among the ten most at-risk neighborhoods by one key metric, while also placing in the 20 most-endangered by another.
The Bowling Green Greenmarket brings fresh offerings from local farms to Lower Manhattan’s historic Bowling Green plaza. Twice a week year-round stop by to load up on the season’s freshest fruit, crisp vegetables, beautiful plants, and freshly baked loaves of bread, quiches, and pot pies.
Fulton Street cobblestones between South and Front Sts. across from McNally Jackson Bookstore.
Locally grown produce from Rogowski Farm, Breezy Hill Orchard, and other farmers and small-batch specialty food products, sold directly by their producers. Producers vary from week to week.
SNAP/EBT/P-EBT, Debit/Credit, and Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks accepted at all farmers markets.
TODAY IN HISTORY
John Quincy Adams 1767 – 1848 Born in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1767, John Quincy Adams, son of John and Abigail Adams, served as the sixth U.S President from 1825 to 1829. A graduate of Harvard College, he was elected to the Senate and six years later President Madison appointed him Minister to Russia.
303 – Roman emperor Diocletian orders the destruction of the Christian church in Nicomedia, beginning eight years of Diocletianic Persecution.
532 – Byzantine emperor Justinian I orders the building of a new Orthodox Christian basilica in Constantinople – the Hagia Sophia.
1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.
1861 – President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland.
1898 – Émile Zola is imprisoned in France after writing J’Accuse…!, a letter accusing the French government of antisemitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus.
1903 – Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.
1954 – The first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh.
1583 – Jean-Baptiste Morin, French mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer (d. 1656)
1929 – Elston Howard, American baseball player and coach (d. 1980)
1931 – Tom Wesselmann, American painter and sculptor (d. 2004)
1447 – Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (b. 1390)
1848 – John Quincy Adams, American politician, 6th President of the United States (b. 1767)
Credit: Wikipedia and other internet and non-internet sources