So this is what New York City has come to. It’s now considered “good” news when a high-end condo development displaces long-time residents and small businesses – including the oldest continually operated bowling alley on the East Coast – and the rich people who are snapping up the multi-million-dollar apartments are actually – are you ready? – New Yorkers!
“It is a New York building, for New Yorkers,” developer Billy Macklowe proudly tells Bloomberg, referring to his 23-story luxury condo tower now rising at 21 East 12th Street, at the corner of University Place in Greenwich Village, on the block where beloved Bowlmor Lanes used to stand. “The people buying are going to live here.”
This is a contrast to all the foreign investors who bought overpriced condos on Billionaires’ Row uptown. Translation: if you buy an apartment 21 East 12th Street, you won’t have to live next-door to a rich foreign investor who’s rarely in town; instead, you’ll get to live next-door to a rich New Yorker who’s always in town.
Despite all the talk that the appeal of high-end New York real estate has evaporated, Macklowe’s building booked more than $60 million in contracts last month – including the sale of two duplexes to a single buyer listed for a combined $23.5 million, the developer says. About two-thirds of the project’s 52 units have found takers, most of whom already live in New York. The lowest-priced apartment to sell so far went for a paltry $2.3 million.
Deals such as the record-setting $100.5 million penthouse sale atop Midtown’s One57 tower, on the other hand, have been largely driven by investors making discretionary purchases, says Nancy Packes, a marketing and design consultant who is not involved in the Macklowe project. “They have many homes and they don’t need another home,” she says. “When they see signs on the horizon that there could be turbulence ahead, they don’t buy.”
All those New Yorkers and their moving vans are expected to start showing up at the corner of East 12th Street and University Place in late 2018.
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