A Suburban Enclave in Manhattan: Peeking Into Battery Park City

July 31, 2014

As New Yorkers, we learn to be resourceful. We can turn a tiny patch of grass into a full-on park, double the space of our 400-square-foot apartment with lofted rooms and suspended shelving, and get all of our reading in on the commute to work. But for some, this sacrificial lifestyle becomes too much, and daydreams of suburbia set in.

Not ready to pack your bags for Jersey or Westchester just yet? Look to Battery Park City, a suburban-like enclave that’s just a five-minute walk from Wall Street. The 92-acre planned residential community is the largest “green” neighborhood in the world, with more than one third of its total acreage covered in parks and gardens. Additionally, the area boasts spectacular waterfront views, large apartments, slightly more affordable prices than its Financial District neighbors, and an impressive collection of public art.

Battery Park City, NYC landfill construction, lower Manhattan, historic photos of Battery Park CIty
Image of construction via Wiki Commons 

The idea of Battery Park City was first conceived in the 1960s as a means to revitalize the run-down, poor section of Lower Manhattan. Private developers proposed the idea of using landfill from the World Trade Center construction to build out the island, and by the mid-70s, infrastructural work commenced. Gateway Plaza was the first collection of residential buildings to welcome inhabitants to Battery Park City in the mid-80s. Located at the southern section of the community, it was comprised of moderate-income rentals. Throughout the 90s, more rentals continued to open, but after 9/11 Battery Park City was devastated. Residents were unable to return home for months, and half of the population decided not to return due to concerns of poor air quality and security threats. Landlords offered lower rents and other incentives, and the community rebounded, with population eventually surpassing pre-2001 levels.

Battery Park City, NYC real estate trends, CityRealty, Battery Park City real estate

Battery Park City has seen some of its highest sale prices this year, with condos averaging $1,194/square foot, up from $1,040 in 2013. The most expensive 2014 transactions occurred at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, a 40-story, mixed-use tower that contains 311 hotel rooms and 114 condominium apartments with access to hotel amenities. In fact, the building currently has bragging rights for being home to the city’s most expensive listing—a three-unit combo stretched across two floors that’s on the market for $118.5 million.

The Ritz-Carlton’s closest competitor is the Riverhouse (aka One Rockefeller Park), a 32-story, Gold LEED building known as the “greenest residential building on the East Coast.” It features twice-filtered air and water; low pollution-emitting paints, carpets and acoustical treatments; triple-glazed windows; and a 50-foot aqua-tile lap pool. Though the eco-friendly residence has attracted celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Sacha Baron Cohen, the Ritz Carlton’s average of $2,301/square foot surpasses the Riverhouse’s average sale price of $1,727/square foot.

Battery Park City, Riverhouse, Residences at the Ritz Carlton, Visionaire
L to R: Residences at the Ritz Carlton, Riverhouse, Visionaire

Like the Riverhouse, the Visionaire is another well-known, environmentally friendly building that opened after the Battery Park City Authority published its new green guidelines in 2000. The city’s first LEED Platinum building, it features an in-building wastewater treatment system, solar power, pesticide-free roof garden on which rainwater is harvested, and a charging station for electric cars. The Visionaire has the community’s third-highest sales, with an average price of $1,167/square foot.

Battery Park City, Winter Garden at The World Financial Cente, South Cove at Battery Park City, Lower Manhattan

L to R: Cafes and walkways, The Winter Garden at the World Financial Center; Walkway at the South Cove

Now that Battery Park City’s population is at an historic high, new commercial enterprises are also moving in. By next spring, Brookfield Place will complete its $250 million renovation, which will include 40 high-end boutiques, six restaurants, and a 25,000-square-foot marketplace. Just last month, Brookfield opened Hudson Eats, a food hall with 14 casual dining spots, and throughout the summer they are hosting a wide variety of community events and outdoor performances. This is all in addition to Battery Park City’s current foodie offerings, including three popular Danny Meyer restaurants, North End Grill, Blue Smoke, and Shake Shack.

Battery Park City, Lower Manhattan, downtown NYC skyline

Liking the sound of all this? There are currently 53 units listed for sale in Battery Park City, ranging from a 2,156-square-foot, four-bedroom apartment at the Riverhouse with an asking price of $4.3 million, to a studio at 300 Rector Place listed at $447,000.

[Via CityRealty]

All images courtesy of CityRealty unless otherwise noted

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