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May 13, 2014
How the High Line Has Changed Manhattan: Part 2
A long time ago when the High Line was an elevated freight railway, investors and apartment seekers judged a property's quality by how far it was from the tracks. Now that it's a preeminent park, it boosts values of neighboring properties, even on side streets. We continue our tour of the park below (see Part 1 here).
Plenty new is going up, but we'll start with a historical building. Our tour guide, New York Historical Tours'Kevin Draper, is among those trying to get this one landmarked. In the High Line's heyday, cattle cars pulled up right next to the building, and the animals went straight from the cars to these hooks. Before you get too grossed out, remember that this is, after all, the Meatpacking District.
We also snapped this street-level retail opp at Real Estate Equities' 461 W 14th St. It's across the street from Youngwoo & Associates' planned SuperPier, a redevelopment of Pier 57, and will benefit from a 14th Street exit from the High Line (14.5 million visited the park last year). It's also next to an old Oreo factory turned Food Network office building and studios. (Shouldn't that building be landmarked for incredible importance to dessert history?) Eastern Consolidated's Adelaide Polsinelli, who also joined our tour, tells us the Real Estate Equities property has gleaned interest from all kinds, from Starbucks to sports cars.
The Titanic's destination, Kevin tells us, was Chelsea Piers, but when the survivors first set foot on dry land, it was three blocks south, via Pier 57, above.
Heading north along the High Line, new resi development begins in earnest at 17th Street with Related's Caledonia, the earliest of Chelsea's luxury residential buildings. Adelaide reminds us that developers that got in early, and thus at a low-enough basis, can make rentals work. In the area's pioneer days, she says, condos sold for $1,000/SF. Now they go for $2,000/SF to $3,000/SF.
Back in 2002, Adelaide tried to sell a Tenth Avenue corner building in the teens streets, but she couldn't get anyone to come this far west to even check it out. Now, the building's sale is imminent, she tells us. And Brodsky is redeveloping the General Theological Seminary, which runs from Ninth to Tenth into condos (we snapped the Tenth Avenue frontage, two buildings north of Moran's). The High Line has become a huge amenity, and even side street resi is worth more out this way when it offers a view of the park (High Line view is the new river view, she says).
We've never seen holly in the form of a tree (only around candles at Christmas). Kevin tells us evergreen and holly dot the park's landscape, an effort to provide greenery year round. He also says the Friends of the High Line have taken pains to preserve the flora that had grown on the tracks since trains stopped running 24 years ago. The plant profile up there is truly unique, Kevin says, owing to seeds from all over the country that clung to the train cars or were deposited via bird droppings (icky but makes sense, considering the West Side is part of a popular migratory route).
This post-catnap stretch is what we call beingone with nature.
Coming up next: Part 3 of our tour, in which new developments are sprouting faster than bird dropping-spawned foliage.
Google's Real Estate Priority
Google employs more than 4,000 in NYC, and its biggest real estate concern is adaptability and scalability, says the company's Molly Zinzi, whom we snapped with IBM Global Business Services' Joe Phillips, Magnify.net CEO and #Waywire.com chief curator Steven Rosenbaum, and RE:Tech's Ash Zandieh (also of ABS Partners). She also calls NYC's built environment an amenity. Almost all Google's 135 offices worldwide include a gym, she says, but in Manhattan, multiple ones already exist near Google's 111 Eighth Ave.
Rudin Management, well known for long-term ownership, concentrates on making its buildings competitive and relevant, says CEO Bill Rudin (who, like the panelists at left, spoke Friday at the NYC Tech Forum at McGraw Hill). That push started with a $40M investment in the '90s to make its 55 Broad St office building tech ready. The effort translates to modern day with initiatives like a smartphone app for keyless building entry, being beta-tested at the 345 Park Ave office property.
Michael Weiss contributed to this issue.
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