By George Capsis
Gail Brewer, our Manhattan Borough President, answered The Times editorial endorsing the selling of Pier 40 air rights for $100 million to save Pier 40 from collapsing into the Hudson by encasing some, if not all, of the pier’s corroding 3600 steel piles, replacing crumbling concrete slabs that form the roof, and also getting into the deal 500 permanently affordable apartments out of the 1500 plus new units.
Gail is for it with a few hesitations…
One of them is: Are we getting the right price?
Manhattan real estate below 96th Street has jumped 79% from the recession low in 2011 to $579 per square foot. A parking lot in SOHO sold for $50.5 million, or $1,375 a buildable square foot. Developers’ profits are now at a peak with buyers of luxury condos hesitating as real estate values hit $2,500 per square foot. We have to assume that our two real estate investment firms, Atlas Capital Group and Westbrook Partners, did their arithmetic and discovered that paying $100 million for 15 acres of air rights was a very good deal indeed.
Gail also asks whether we are getting enough affordable apartments since the Mayor’s new deal, called Mandatory Inclusion, asks developers for 50% affordable apartments in return for years of real estate tax abatement and not the 30% which City Councilman Corey Johnson so courageously negotiated.
Gail ends with concern on how this massive towering “Emerald City” with over 6000 new residents will impact the “historic neighborhood.”
Village restaurants going under as soon as they must sign a new tripled rent lease will welcome those who can pay $2500 a square foot for a condo. Let’s also rejoice in the knowledge that we are getting a great big Trader Joe’s.