Do you have to be tin-eared and ham-fisted to succeed in New York City real estate? Maybe not, but it doesn’t appear to hurt.
Consider the dust-up last summer when a real estate company tried to rebrand the stretch of south Harlem below 125th Street as “SoHa.” Enraged that a bunch of realtors would try to change the name of one of the city’s most iconic neighborhoods, local activists and politicians quashed that rebranding effort.
Two years before that, the developer Keith Rubenstein announced plans to erect two luxury towers in a waterfront swath of the South Bronx he intended to rechristen the Piano District. By way of making a splash, he threw a rave with a “The Bronx Is Burning” theme, featuring supermodels, burning trash cans and bullet-riddled cars, as a way of evoking the area’s turbulent past. Now that’s some sensitive marketing.
Now comes a new seven-story, 47-unit luxury condo in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx called The Joinery. The developer, Tahoe Development Corp., has hung a banner on the unfinished facade, proclaiming that the building is “Making the Bronx Great Again.”
Say what? As you can imagine, not everyone was pleased by a boast that’s tin-eared and ham-fisted even by Donald Trump standards. Writing on the Welcome2theBronx website, Ed Garcia Conde fumed, “The Bronx is already great and we don’t need gentrifying developers’ approval or interest in our borough for us to know that.”
His use of the G-word is warranted. The Joinery will not be finished until next year, but units are already selling for $650 per square foot – more than triple the neighborhood average.
“When luxury housing is built,” Conde writes, “it has a ripple effect in the neighborhood, and landlords begin raising their rents, both commercial and residential, forcing long-time resident out. This is yet another nail on the coffin that will swallow up The Bronx.”
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