Friday, April 13, 2007

East Harlem on the move!

I've spent a day this week touring the streets and condos of East Harlem from 110th Street to 129th Street from Fifth Avenue and East to the river. I have to say, my trip was an eye-opener in many ways. Here are some of my observations:

First, I don't recall one block on any street that didn't have at least one condo going up. The amount of construction is surely the greatest in the area in 100 years. Vacant lots are getting snatched up, community gardens are being moved and renovated to make room for development, and old 4 story brownstones are being torn down to make way for shiny glass 7 story condos.

Second, there is an incredibly wide disparity in pricing per square foot. For instance at Roosevelt Lane (111th between 2nd and 3rd), a seven story intercom, elevator building 3 2 year year old apartments were listed with prices peaking at $900/ft.. In the meantime, up at The Ivy on 118th and 2nd Ave, which has a doorman, prices average $660/ft for 2 bedroom units. As a whole, condos in the area largely average in the $600's per square foot. Buyers beware! Shop around and do your due diligence. The positive spin on the higher priced units is that if a few of these sell, you could see a significant increase in asking price per square foot in the area.

Third, I was charmed by an area known as "Pleasant Village" an area from 114th to 120th between First Avenue and Pleasant Avenue. This area is known for it's Italian heritage and there is evidence in the form of 110 year old Rao's and Patsy's Pizza in the area, while in truth there were plenty of Irish and Germans in the area 100 years ago. Pleasant Avenue itself evokes a kind of Sutton Place charm with gorgeous old brownstone lining all 6 blocks. Tragically, the area does not have historic landmark designation. The area is further threatened by a huge development to it's East at the former site of the Washburn Wire factory which will house nearly 500,000 sq ft of retail space including Home Depot and Target. I can only hope that there is no access from Pleasant Avenue, or the bucolic enclave would surely be overrun with noise and traffic.

Finally, one of the best opportunities, aside from buying up condos at $600/ft., would be the development angle. There are buildable 25' x 100' lots, both vacant or with 4 story buildings priced just at and above the $1,000,000 mark. Considering that these lots typically allow 8600sf buildable, a fully built condo would gross around $5,000,000. So, you have $4,000,000. to get from here to there and you keep the change. If you need a lot, feel free to call!

1 comment:

  1. The area is also full of projects and tenements as well as juvenile crime with men who follow women, and sometimes touch, aggressively down the street. The structural geography will never change. Graffitti on new buildings with racial epithets calling for whites to leave the neighborhood go up all of the time. Some guys say things under their breath when you walk past or worse make an obscene gesture just inches away from you. The only thing that keeps things from falling apart are the numerous police officers on the street. Beware of false comfort. Don't try to make this neighborhood into something it is not.