Last year I covered the residential, commercial and residential expansions of the area below Chambers Street covering three distinct neighborhoods: Financial District, South Street Seaport and Battery Park City. We can now observe significant changes and an even more positive outlook for the years to come.Residential Q1’14 vs Q1’13 figures look very healthy. Condos average ppsf increased by 25% to $1,106, and the median price by 36% to $968K. The increasing demand for larger units (3-bed) with an average price that amplified by 30% to $2.350M is partially responsible for driving the prices upward. New Developments with 225 Rector as a Star product following by the W Downtown (pic below) and 75 Wall Street have a ppsf that increased on average by 30% to reach $1,391/sf and a median price who increased by 48% to $1,214M.

W Residences

Once stalled mixed-use luxury condo/retail developments such as 50 West Street is finally going up after securing a $400M debt/equity deal mid2013. The Top 30 floors of the iconic Woolworth tower are being converted into condominiums that will average over $3,000/sf. The Four Season hotel and residences on Church and Barclay Street is under construction (below) and 22 Thames Street is slated to become the tallest residential tower in Downtown.

FourSeason_Downtown

Knowing that the cap of residential construction has been reached in BPC, and the Financial District residential inventories have dropped by 42% in the past year, these developments will help accelerating the residential life in the neighborhood.The retail activity and prospects are showing signs that very few New Yorkers could have ever imagined just a couple of years ago or even months following Sandy: on the Battery Park City side, Brookfield Place $250M renovation is revamping the entire market place of the World Financial Center (see rendering below) and is now connected underground with the World Trade Center Path Train Station and Fulton MTA transit center. Le District, a French food marketplace is slated to open later in 2014, along with Umami Burger.

Brookfield place

On the other side of the highway, Westfield, who owned the retail space of the WTC recently announced the signature of Eataly at 3 WTC, which follows high end designers (Breitling, Canali, Montblanc) setting up retails next to the 17,000sf Victoria Secret store in the 365x115ft long main hall known as the Oculus (see bottom pic), described as “an elliptical fish-tank-like area with a movable glass eyelid on the ceiling”. Tom Ford, Tiffany and Armani are also eyeing space at 3 WTC

Calatravas-Oculus

Westfield place

The commercial landscape is also transitioning: the high rent and low vacancy rate of Midtown and Midtown South have pushed startup firms in need of quick, cheap and efficient set up to the Financial District that has been deserting by financial services and is now being invaded by tech, media, and Internet companies. Several drivers have pushed to this direction. First, the MTA Fulton transit hub converges more than 10 subway lines which will facilitate the commute of the many Brooklyners employed by these creative companies. Second, the price of $52.49/sf versus $66.24/sf for midtown south combined with flexible workplaces is an attractive feature. Also, some tenants are acting as magnets such as Conde Nast’s media empire who has taken over 1 million sf of office space at 1 WTC, the hot ad agency Droga5 who settled on 90,000 sf and collaborative space provider WeWork who took over 300,000sf on Wall Street. Finally the area has 20 new hotel projects under construction which will bring about 1,700 rooms to facilitate tourism and business travelers’ needs. 

 

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