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This Neighborhood Has The Highest Multifamily Price/SF In Manhattan

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The West Village has historically been one of Manhattan’s coolest neighborhoods, both in terms of character and real estate activity. 

This Neighborhood Has The Highest Multifamily Price/SF In Manhattan
The West Village, Manhattan

Although its multifamily buildings commanded $1,420/SF on average last year, 40% higher than the rest of Manhattan's walk-ups, its asset turnover is relatively low. It tends to attract the type of interested party inclined to buy and hold rather than improve and flip. The six West Village multifamily buildings that traded in 2016 comprised only around 3% of Manhattan's multifamily transaction volume last year.

“It is a distinctive and special place, and consequently has a strong appeal,” Besen Group executive director Amit Doshi said. “The buildings, the neighborhood; they just don’t make them like this anymore.”

These properties, many of which were built in the early 20th century, have survived some of the most tumultuous and vibrant periods in New York City history. Greenwich Village developed a reputation as a bastion of bohemian culture as it fostered a rich, artistic community where counterculture ideas took root and grew into movements.

This Neighborhood Has The Highest Multifamily Price/SF In Manhattan
Manhattan's Greenwich Village in foreground juxtaposed with its Financial District in background

Preservation efforts and legislation have checked redevelopment and allowed the neighborhood to retain its distinctive façades with historic charm.

“People almost look at real estate in the West Village as they would an antique, Besen director Jackie Himmelstein said. “When you buy something built in 1908, it is almost an antique, and you treasure it and treat it as one.”

In March, she and Doshi arranged the sale of the six-story rental building at 65 Bank St. at $1,210/SF. Great Neck-based investor Soheil Khayyam paid $31M for the property, acquiring it from Benchmark Real Estate Group.

This Neighborhood Has The Highest Multifamily Price/SF In Manhattan

“About five years ago, I had gone to contract with this buyer on a property similar to this in the West Village," Himmelstein said. "On that deal, in the end, for whatever reason, we couldn’t find middle ground, but I knew he wanted to buy here.”

So, Himmelstein and Doshi produced the buyer for the 37-unit, 26K SF building who really appreciated the energy of the West Village. Many of its 34,000 residents, with the slight majority (55%) under 40, were similarly drawn to the area by its rich history and intangible cool factor.

“The Village was cool before it was cool to be cool,” Himmelstein said. “To be part of that, there are people on the sixth floor paying $6k/month to live there, and it’s a walk-up!”

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