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Downtown’s Seven Magnetic Powers

New York

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Construction fences may keep laymen from recognizing Downtown’s massive transformation, but once those come down, New York City will see a community that has transformed "overnight.” Here are the more subtle signs, according to panelists at Bisnow's Future of Downtown event yesterday at Brookfield Place, that it’s well on its way.

1) Awesomeness by Association

Downtown’s Seven Magnetic Powers

Frank Gehry's 8 Spruce St established Downtown as a true residential market, says GFI Capital Resources and GB Lodging's Allen Gross (whom we snapped with Howard Hughes Corp's Chris Curry). Allen and Albanese Org prez Chris Albanese call for a resurrection of the expired 421(g) tax abatements that encouraged conversion of office to resi. Allen similarly called the historic tax credit the single biggest impetus for developers to work on older buildings rather than build anew. That's delayed as the IRS inexplicably drags its feet on safe harbor guidance, says Maury Golbert, our moderator and a tax partner with sponsor Berdon.

Downtown’s Seven Magnetic Powers

Conde Nast also made the area cool, says Douglas Elliman's Leonard Steinberg: "When Anna Wintour heads south, other people head south." An area becomes a real neighborhood once real New Yorkers are living it it, he told the crowd of 300, and an entirely new set of eyeballs is shopping for condos Downtown. Leonard, who will be marketing the 101 Murray and 140 West St condos, says in general, lower floors still offer relatively affordable prices, say $1,100/SF, compared to The Residences at W, where rooms with views are going for $2,500/SF. He also says buyers are shopping by total cost rather than by price/SF, and units are shrinking to bring those total costs down.

Downtown’s Seven Magnetic Powers

Chris Albanese (right, snapped with Manhattan Sailing School's Dan Fahy and Lynn Sexton and North Cove Marina's Michael Fortenbaugh) says Downtown residential no longer is just for Downtown workers. 30% to 40% of the tenants in his company's 1M SF of Battery Park City apartments work in Midtown.