Wall Street’s Bear Market Extends to Condominium Prices
The pandemic Covid-19 virus and stock market meltdown are accelerating a trend that was already gripping Lower Manhattan: declining property values. The prices for condominium apartments Downtown peaked in late 2017, and have never since recovered their previous highs.
In one telling (if anecdotal) indication of the direction that pricing dynamics have taken, a three-bedroom apartment in Battery Park City’s Cove Club condominium (located at Two South End Avenue) recently sold for $990,000. Sinking beneath the one-million-dollar benchmark for such an apartment (which was originally listed $1.375 million) is a milestone not seen anywhere in Lower Manhattan in recent years.
In a separate development, three Lower Manhattan neighborhoods recently made a “top five” list of communities throughout New York City in which homebuyers have the upper hand, in an analysis by online real estate database company, StreetEasy. The report found that the Financial District, Tribeca, and Battery Park City were the areas where condominium purchasers have received the biggest discounts in recent months, on homes valued at $1 million or more.In all three districts, buyers have been negotiating discounts such that closing prices amount to between 92 and 93 percent of asking prices.
Even so, the torpid market for condominiums apartments in Battery Park City had begun to recover slightly before the onset of the novel corona virus and the bear market. A January analysis from Platinum Properties, “The BPC Report: 2019 Quarter 4,” noted that the average sale price for the 25 units sold between September 1 and the end of last year was $1,383,960. This represents a 20.1 percent increase from the corresponding figure ($1,152,36) from the third quarter of 2019, but was still 8.5 percent lower than $1,513,442 average price from the fourth quarter of 2018.
In the Financial District, according to “The FiDi Report: 2019 Quarter 4” (also from Platinum Properties), the average sale price for the end of 2019 was $1,154,738, showing a 9.85 percent jump from the third quarter’s average price of $1,051,204, but a 10.11 percent decline from the fourth quarter of 2018, when the average price was $1,284,670. These findings were based on 26 apartment sales.
But a separate report, from Halstead Property Company, identified an invisible elephant in the Downtown condominium market.
That analysis found that, after a binge of luxury development that began around 2010, Manhattan as a whole has unsold inventory of more than 7,000 new luxury condominium units. Some 6,000 of these apartments have never been offered for sale, by builders who are afraid of flooding an already-sluggish market with excess supply. The largest share of these are located in Lower Manhattan, where only 96 such new units are listed as being available, out of an inventory of nearly 1,000 completed (and unoccupied) apartments. The Halstead report concluded that it may take up to six years for the market to absorb such a backlog inventory. Whether developers can wait that long before offering radical reductions in price, or going bankrupt, remains to be seen.
Child’s Play at the Battery
Local kids help break ground for the Battery Playscape
Joined by elected officials, Lower Manhattan leaders, and a couple of excited Downtown kids, the Battery Conservancy broke ground on March 12 for the Battery Playscape, an unusual playground for children of all ages and abilities. To open in Spring of 2021, the Battery Playscape will feature resilient design that evokes five geographical zones created when water shapes land: bluff, marsh, dune, meadow, and riverbed. Each of the zones will offer unique play elements, such as large granite slides; multilevel, interconnected playhouses, including an ADA-accessible treehouse; and an improv/puppet theater.
The Battery Playscape is designed by BKSK Architects and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, and is located across from the SeaGlass Carousel. On March 12, three-year-old James Callegari and his one-year-old friend Cecilia Petrilli, helped shovel dirt at the construction site. “James didn’t want to stop shoveling!” noted his mom Angela Callegari before she whisked him off for a thrilling ride on an iridescent fish in the SeaGlass Carousel.
Photos courtesy Angela Callegari
Employees of Three Local Firms Test Positive for Pandemic Virus
Staff members at three local offices have become the first confirmed cases in Lower Manhattan of the Covid-19 virus that is triggering paroxysms in the health care system and the financial markets.
On Monday, in a story first reported by Bloomberg, an employee at Brookfield Asset Management (located at 250 Vesey Street, within Brookfield Place) was confirmed to be suffering from the highly contagious disease. This was followed yesterday by news (first reported by Crain’s New York Business) that a staff member at Meridian Capital Group, based at One Battery Park Plaza (at the corner of State and Pearl Streets) has tested positive for the sickness. Hours later, news broke that employee of an unspecified firm at 100 Church Street (at the corner of Barclay Street) was the third confirmed case Downtown.
CB1 Mulls Tolling Plan, While Albany Feuds with Washington
Dr. Betty Kay: “The bottom line is tolls must generate $1 billion per year. The idea is to encourage people not to bring their cars in.”
A recent meeting of the Transportation Committee of Community Board 1 became the forum for a heated discussion about the merits of the congestion pricing plan that is slated to bring tolls to vehicles entering Lower Manhattan (including those of residents) as soon as next January.
Committee chair Dr. Betty Kay began by outlining the rationale for the plan, saying, “there are some benefits to doing this. The State’s Climate Leadership law requires that we reduce carbon output to 40 recent of 1990 levels by 2030. And the Department of Transportation says that the transportation sector is responsible 35 percent of the State’s carbon. It’s transportation that has been lagging, while buildings and waste have already made cuts. So we need a lot of cuts to transportation carbon.” Other projected benefits of congestion pricing, she noted, “would include reductions in air pollution and noise pollution.”
I usually never, and I mean NEVER read the paper which is common for a teenager like myself, but today was different. I was working as a security guard in Tribeca today, and a guy came in to deliver your papers to the residents and to my surprise he handed me a paper for myself to read.
I opened the paper and a section immediately caught my attention and this section was called “Affordability Elsewhere” by Matthew Fenton. To start off, I do not live in Manhattan, I live in the Bronx and while living in the Bronx for so long you become very aware that it is way easier to find an affordable apartment there than in Manhattan, but nobody would look at statistics or the facts to back up this statement.
With that being said, I want to thank Matthew for his section in your paper and I hope he and the Broadsheet overall continue to make more sections like this and continue to shine light on the problems in finding affordable housing especially in Manhattan; Although I am unsure if the Broadsheet cares about who reads and doesn’t read their papers, I want them to know they have gained a new reader, a young one at that!
Aren’t taxis already paying congestion fees? – they are charging passengers for it!
There was a time when police officers rode free on subways. Guess that was when they also LIVED in the city they served.
Friday Night Art House Classics: The Harder They Come
Battery Park City Authority at 6 River Terrace
The best art house cinema is characterized by filmmakers with uncompromising vision. This series features courageous films inspired by the civil rights movement. The Harder They Come is a 1972 Jamaican film that features Jimmy Cliff as an aspiring young singer from the countryside who travels to Kingston to pursue musical stardom. After being victimized by an unscrupulous record producer, the local drug trade and corrupt police, he fights back and becomes an inadvertent folk hero. Free popcorn will be served, and a discussion will follow the screenings. Mature audiences only.
Arrivals & Departures
Cruise Ships in the Harbor
Sunday, March 15
Anthem of the Seas
Inbound 5:30 am (Bayonne); outbound 3:00 pm
Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Inbound 6:15 am; outbound 3:30 pm
Port Canaveral, FL/Bahamas
Monday, March 16
Inbound 9:15 am; outbound 4:30 pm
Many ships pass Battery Park City on their way to and from the midtown passenger ship terminal. Others may be seen on their way to or from docks in Brooklyn and Bayonne. Stated times, when appropriate, are for passing the Colgate Clock and are based on sighting histories, published schedules and intuition. they are also subject to tides, fog, winds, freak waves, hurricanes and the whims of upper management.
Today In History March 13
14th Street, New York City, “just after the storm”
607 – 12th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet
1519 – Cortez lands in Mexico
1639 – Cambridge College renamed Harvard for clergyman John Harvard
1677 – Massachusetts gains title to Maine for $6,000
1759 – 27th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet
1888 – Great Blizzard of 1888 rages
1900 – In France the length of the workday for women and children is limited to 11 hours by law.
1925 – Tennessee makes it unlawful to teach evolution
1930 – Clyde Tombaugh announces discovery of Pluto at Lowell Observatory
1938 – Anschluss – Austria annexed by Nazi Germany
1943 – Failed assassin attempt on Hitler during Smolensk-Rastenburg flight
1970 – Digital Equipment Corp introduces PDP-11 minicomputer
1980 – Ford Motor Co found innocent in death of 3 women in a fiery Pinto
1986 – Microsoft has its Initial Public Offering.
1991 – Exxon pays $1-billion dollars in fines and cleanup of Valdez oil spill
1993 – Blizzard of ’93 hits north-east US
2003 – Human evolution: The journal Nature reports that 350,000-year-old footprints of an upright-walking human have been found in Italy.
2012 – Encyclopaedia Britannica announces that it will no longer publish printed versions of its encyclopaedia
2013 – Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected as the new pope, taking the papal name Pope Francis
1855 – Percival “Percy” Lowell, US astronomer (predicted discovery of Pluto)
1913 – William J Casey, headed CIA during Iran-contra scandal (1981-87)
1939 – Neil Sedaka, Brooklyn, American singer/songwriter
1961 – Pablo Picasso marries his model Jacqueline Rocque
1842 – Henry Shrapnel, British soldier and inventor (b. 1761)
1938 – Clarence S Darrow, Scopes Monkey Trial attorney, dies in Chicago at 80