Declining Apartment Rents and Spiking Office Vacancies Signal Soft Property Market
The Downtown Alliance has released its summary of Lower Manhattan real estate indicators for the second quarter of 2022, and most signs point to a slowdown in the sector. This may translate in slightly encouraging news for those seeking to rent apartments, but will offer scant comfort to those hoping to purchase homes.
For prospective tenants, the median rent in Lower Manhattan dropped to $4,000 (roughly equivalent of 2019), a decline of more than nine percent from the all-time peak recorded in the first quarter. That noted, this figure still represents a 7.5 increase from the same period a year ago. This softening follows three consecutive quarters in which rents set new records.
For those seeking to own an apartment, median sales prices rose precipitously, especially given that rising interest rates usually dampen home prices. The median sales price for local co-ops and condos climbed to $1.412 million, a jump of almost 23 percent from the corresponding period in 2021, which more than doubled the change in the same metric for Manhattan as a whole (where prices rose 11 percent). This means that Lower Manhattan median sales prices are now more 30 percent higher than before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alliance report also notes that the residential development pipeline is slated to add 15 percent (or 4,925 new apartments, in 15 buildings) to Lower Manhattan’s current inventory of 33,677 units in 343 buildings. Of these new dwellings, approximately three quarters are planned to be rental units, with the remainder slated to be owner-occupied.
Elsewhere in local real estate, the office leasing market appears to be in serious distress. The second quarter of this year logged 606,000 square feet of such leases—the second quarter for which leasing activity declined in Lower Manhattan. (Lease activity dropped by 31 percent between the first and second quarter.) The only good news on this front appears to be that this fall-off still represents a slight rebound from the same period in 2021 levels. Overall, Lower Manhattan office leases are 45 percent lower than their five-year quarterly average, and more than 20 percent of local Class A office space remains vacant.
“Office leasing activity was certainly slower than expected this past quarter, and it’s too soon to say if it was a temporary setback or if it reflects a new baseline in the evolving landscape,” said Alliance president Jessica Lappin. “We have, however, seen continued demand on the residential front and a response from the real estate community to kickstart conversions on at least five properties within the district to meet that demand.”
When it’s not analyzing local real-estate trends, the mission of the Downtown Alliance is to enhance Lower Manhattan for businesses, residents, and visitors. In furtherance of these goals, the Alliance not only operates the local Business Improvement District, but also provides local security and trash pickup. Among the services provided by the Alliance that Lower Manhattan residents especially prize is the Downtown Connection shuttle, which ferries passengers free of charge between more than 30 local stops that link residential areas with business and shopping districts, as part of a partnership with the Battery Park City Authority. The Alliance and its sister organization, the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association, also produce research, information, and advocacy designed to brand Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st-century central business district.
In “Whose Park Is It, Anyway?” published in the BroadsheetDAILY on September 13, 2022, the View at Battery Park restaurant was described as closed. The View is, in fact, open for business.
A letter to the editor published in the BroadsheetDAILY on September 12, 2022, promoting the expansion of the Fulton Stall Market, stated that Pier 17 rezoning included a requirement for a 10,000-square-foot market. While that requirement was included in a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the City in 2013 as part of a potential mixed-use project on the New Market and Tin Building sites, the project as envisioned in that LOI did not proceed.
Whose Park Is It, Anyway?
City Agency Plans to Fence Off Five Thousand Square Feet of Battery for Storage
The City’s Department of Parks and Recreation plans to commandeer more than 5,000 square feet of formerly public space in the Battery, the historic park at the southern tip of Manhattan, for vehicle parking and equipment storage. The space was previously used as an outdoor beer garden, adjacent to the View at the Battery restaurant. Read more…
Kids in Southern Battery Park City Among Least Protected Against Polio
Amid rising fears of a polio outbreak in New York, southern Battery Park City has the second lowest rate of vaccination for children among any community in the five boroughs of New York City. Read more…
Maybe it would help parents understand what polio looks like so they understand the tragic consequences of developing polio. Growing up there was one girl in our school who had contracted polio. This beautiful middle schooler—her life was turned upside down. No longer able to run and play, her legs were shackled in long steel supports and she used steel crutches. Why would any parent risk that happening to their own beautiful children?
What is going on with this whole war on parks and trees in Lower Manhattan? This USED to be the best part of NYC. Why city/state government is aggressively screwing it up is beyond me. Actually it’s not. The answer is always MONEY.
Keep up the good work!
Eyes to the Sky, September 13-20, 2022
Great Bear, Little Bear, and North Star
As darkness gathers on early September evenings, the Big Dipper appears in the northwest, about 30 degrees above the horizon. Composed of the brightest stars of the Great Bear, Ursa Major, an ancient constellation, the Big Dipper is an asterism, a star pattern made up of stars of one or more constellations.
The Great Bear’s tail is also a guide: follow the arc of the handle of the Big Dipper to “arc to Arcturus,” a red giant star with an orange hue. Read more…
Livestream of Sarah Cameron Sunde’s final performance in the series, 36.5/A Durational Performance with the Sea, in which the artist will stand in a tidal bay in Lenapehoking (Queens, New York) for a full tidal cycle to draw awareness to water, time, and rising sea levels. The Waterfront Plaza at Brookfield Place will be one of many livestream locations on this day throughout the world. Free.
Observe and sketch the human figure. Each week a model will strike short and long poses for participants to draw. An artist/educator will offer constructive suggestions and critique. Drawing materials provided. Free.
Onlin talk, hosted by the Museum of American Finance, with UCLA Law Professor James Park, author of The Valuation Treadmill: How Securities Fraud Threatens the Integrity of Public Companies. Prof. Park will discuss the history of securities fraud regulation from the 1960s to the present. Free.
Cash bar with beer and wine, so 21+ only. Peter Zummo & Friends return with grooves, vibrations and song on the Buoy Deck. Sets at 6:30 and 7:45. Artist Graciela Cassel will discuss her work in the current on-board exhibition.
Discussion about the meals likely served at Fraunces Tavern in the 1760s—food cultivation, preparation, and the role these elements played in Samuel Fraunces’ development of an average bill of fare at the tavern. Participants are encouraged to prepare the Bill of Fare before the program. Free.
New York’s first fully staged performances of Craig Hella Johnson’s epic fusion oratorio, Considering Matthew Shepard. Johnson created the oratorio as “a space for reflection, consideration, and unity around [Shepard’s] life and legacy.” Free.
The elegance of Qin, a seven-string zither, has been well recognized since ancient China. It is celebrated for not only the music it makes, but also the atheistic, philosophic, even moral sophistications it symbolizes. Illustrated presentation and performance. $10.
Lower Manhattan Greenmarkets
Greenwich Street & Chambers Street
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8am-3pm (compost program: Saturdays, 8am-1pm)
Bowling Green Greenmarket
Broadway & Whitehall St
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8am-5pm (compost program: 8am-11am)
World Trade Center Oculus Greenmarket
The Outdoor Fulton Stall Market
91 South Street, between Fulton & John Streets
Indoor market: Monday through Saturday,11:30am-5pm
CSA pick-up: Thursday, 4pm-6pm; Friday, 11:30-5pm
Outdoor market: Saturdays, 11:30am-5pm
Today in History
The building at left (7 State Street, across from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal) is the shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who lived there from 1801 to 1803. The church is next to its rectory, the James Watson House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. On this day in 1975, Elizabeth Ann Seton was canonized as the first US-born saint. Photograph by Jim Henderson.
1741 – George Frideric Handel completes his oratorio Messiah.
1752 – The British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2).
1812 – In the Napoleonic Wars, the French Grande Armée enters Moscow.
1901 – U.S. President William McKinley dies after being shot on September 6 and is succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.
1917 – The Russian Republic formally replaces the Russian Empire.
1959 – The Soviet probe Luna 2 crashes onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.
1960 – The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is founded.
1975 – Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton canonized as the first US-born saint.
2015 – The first observation of gravitational waves is made. Before this, gravitational waves had only been inferred.
2020 – Astronomers report possible signs of life on Venus, after detecting phosphine in planets’s atmosphere by telescope
1388 – Claudius Clavus, Danish geographer and cartographer (d. 1438)
1643 – Jeremiah Dummer, American silversmith (d. 1718)
1804 – John Gould, English ornithologist and illustrator (d. 1881)
1879 – Margaret Sanger, nurse, birth control proponent and feminist (d. 1966)
1937 – Renzo Piano, Italian architect and engineer, designed The Shard and The New York Times Building
1983 – Amy Winehouse, singer-songwriter, born in London (d. 2011)
23 – Drusus Julius Caesar, Roman son of Tiberius (b. 13 BC)
1836 – Aaron Burr, colonel, third Vice President of the United States (b. 1756)
1851 – James Fenimore Cooper, novelist, short story writer, historian (b. 1789)
1901 – William McKinley, soldier, lawyer, 25th U.S. President (b. 1843)
1982 – Grace Kelly, actress; Princess of Monaco (b. 1929)
2009 – Patrick Swayze, actor and songwriter, dies of pancreatic cancer at 57
2021 – Norm MacDonald, comedian, writer, and actor, dies of cancer at 61