In New York City, where buying and selling real estate is a high-stakes endeavor, the topic of historic and landmark designation is frequently raised. There are heated discussions on the subject of listing neighborhoods or buildings on the State and National Register of Historic Places or having them designated by the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. It’s important to know what those organizations do and the distinctions between them. You could even be eligible for significant financial aid for your renovations if you own property in an historic district.
The city’s preservation groups have reported that the results of a series of studies, prompted by the 50th anniversary of the city’s Landmarks Law, have put some numbers behind the claim that landmarking doesn’t harm, and may actually improve, the economic balance of neighborhood development and growth. According to Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, “This is the first time which preservationists–who tend to be from the humanities and subsequently math-averse–have put real data behind anecdotes.” The combined reports represent the most comprehensive study to date of the impacts of historic preservation in New York City.
Broadway between 26th and 27th Streets, part of the current Madison Square North Historic District, via Wiki Commons
Over the past few years, NoMad (north of Madison Square Park) has been the subject of countless articles looking at its rise to becoming a go-to place for culture, food, business, and residential opportunities. In fact, as we reported last June, since 2009 the neighborhood has seen price-per-square-foot averages rise by 40 percent. But not everyone looks at this neighborhood as the next frontier. Local residents and preservationists see the area as a relic of the late 19th century, when it was home to the city’s most opulent hotels and mansions and brownstones occupied by New York’s elite, as well as of the Roaring Twenties, when the community boomed as a commercial hub. For these cultural reasons and for NoMad’s wealth of industrial and gilded architecture, a proposal will be heard tonight in front of the landmarks committee of Community Board No. 5 to extend the Madison Square North Historic District.
NoMad property owners and developers don’t agree with the proposal, citing that the area’s building stock has been significantly altered over the years. As the Wall Street Journal reports, “The face-off is significant because it is centered in an area that has seen hundreds of millions of dollars of private investment, with new hotels and apartment buildings breaking ground, and new stores and restaurants opening almost weekly. In the eyes of real-estate executives, it would freeze growth in a rare section of Midtown Manhattan still ripe for development.”
Between hyper-developed hotspots, main drags in up-and-comers, and those genuinely avoidable areas, there can often be found a city’s “just-right” zones. They aren’t commonly known, but these micro-neighborhoods often hide within them real estate gems coupled with perfectly offbeat vibes. Continuing our Goldilocks Blocks series, this week we turn to Brooklyn.
The culturally rich, architecturally stunning Brooklyn neighborhoods of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill need little introduction. The Brooklyn Navy Yard to the north is busily growing as a start-up business incubator and creative and commercial hub. An “in-between” zone—the sort of area that engenders a question mark and a furrowed brow when perusing neighborhood maps—lies just north of Myrtle Avenue and south of the Navy Yard.
Known as Wallabout, the area was named for Wallabout Bay to the north, much of which was filled in to create the Navy Yard in the 19th century. Unique among its neighbors, a block-long stretch of this border district feels more like a small-town side street than a growing urban crossroads.
New York socialites Avi and Savar Leigh just became the proud owners of apartment #5D at 73 Worth Street. As of May 19th, the Strategies of Wealth financial planner and her businessman husband put down $2.8 million to become the new residents of the Worth Building in Tribeca’s Historic District.
Their gorgeous new 1,925 square-foot loft, listed by Danny Davis of Town Residential, features solid oak floors and large windows throughout. There’s a large great room situated perfectly for entertaining, and an eat-in kitchen with custom cherry wood cabinets, black granite countertops and the stainless top-of-the-line Subzero refrigerator that has become an essential to any chef’s kitchen.