TVIarch 24, igoo.
RECORD AKD GVIDB.
BtfsDfcss AifoThemes of GEjfcR^ IjftEUfST^
. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS. '
Piiblisheil fiirry Sotiirday.
Tel&fbone, . CrtRTLANDTJ-lS'TOi "
Communicalions should be addressed to ' ■'
C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street. "
J. T. UNDSEY, Business Manager.
"'Entered ai the Post-Office at New York, N. Y., as second-class matter."
MARCH 24, 1900.
SO we are to have a Currency Act boom in the Stock Market
after all. This is proper and according to precedent. We
use the word boom in the limited sense in which it is employed
In. the Street to characterize any upward movement of good
proportions. This particular one starts off well, and is dis¬
criminative, as it ought to be. Naturally the railroad list has
the most attention because it represents more directly the gen-
■eral prosperity of the country. The stocks most in favor are
those from which most is to be expected, the great trunk liners
and the roads that have briUiantly worked out their redemption
■from the adTersity of '93. The cutting that was then done on
capitalization, and tbe steady work of economizing on expenses
,and building up physical conditions since, are now reaping their
reward through the advances in the prices of preferred ancl
common stocks. The coalers occupy a favorable condition
through the effects of manufacturing industry on the coal trade.
In referring to this matter some time ago, we said Great Britain
was the largest producer of coal in the world; but, since that
time the figures of production for 1898 have been issued, show¬
ing a comparatively small difference between that of the United
States and of Great Britain, and as that of the former grew so
tremendously since, it will doubtless be found, when the '99
figures are out, that the United States has forged ahead of Great
Britain in the production of coal, as it did a few years ago in the
output of pig-iron. So far as their effects on the prospertiy of
' a nation are concerned, it is better to be the greatest producer
■of iron and coal than of gold and silver. The former by their
greater usefulness finally bring the latter anyway. Local trac¬
tion stocks are awaiting the results of assessment under the
franchise Tax Law, which will be announced soon, and there ia
a hesitation to touch the Industrials speculatively while Con¬
gress is in session and the fear of adverse legislation is kept
:allve. As soon as an assurance is received that no menacing
legislation will be offered against trade conbinations, we will
Bee a revival of speculative interest in this line of securities
THE Confession of Judgment bill, so-called, which has been
passed by the Legislature, unfortunately contains a clause
that is, in our opinion, quite objectionable. This is that the
Corporation Counsel "shall not institute any proceeding for
acquiring title to real estate by condemnation proceedings, ex-
■cept for opening streets, unless the same shall have been ap¬
proved by the concurrent vote of all. the members of the Board
■of Estimate and Apportionment upon a statement to be fur¬
nished said board of the valuation of such real estate as as¬
sessed for purposes of taxation." It is not the condition of the
approval of the board that we object to, but the requirement that
It shall be unanimous. This would put it in the power of any
■one member of the board to obstruct any or all the improve¬
ments, except street openings, that may be proposed hereafter,
3nd might result in serious mischief. The charter gives the
toard the right to pass upon indebtedness ci-eated for the pur¬
pose of carrying out improvements, but requires only approval
of indebtedness for the repaving of streets to. be unanimous.
"Even this is unnecessary and dangerous. After an improvement
Tias gone through the various initiatory and Intermediate bodies
that have a say in Its adoption it ia altogether unnecessary to
T>ut such a check as unanimous consent in the final approving
"body, for the reason previously given, that it may give a nega¬
tive control of all to one individual. All parks, bridges, docks
:and buildings, including schoolhousea, flre and police stations,
■would be affected by this clause. Mayor Van Wyck also ei-
Itressed this view yesterdar at a hearing on the bill in question,
aiul it is one that ought to lafloence fatore action upon it by the
Effects of the Building Code.
CONTINUED BUILDING OF SEVEN-STORY APARTMENTS AND A
SPECULATIVE MOVEMENT IN STREET LOTS.
-p HE brokerage i-eports of theweek do not reveal any access of
■^ acti^vity in the real estate market. The volume of business
was hardly half the normal average at this season of the year.
Private houses and elevator apartments, and lots suitable for im¬
provement.with the one or the other of these housings, continue
to enjoy a steady, though by no means large, demand. To some
extent, low-priced lots outside the flre-limits in Bronx appear to
be having a similar experience, But in respect of all other sorts
of property there is at the moment either no market at all or tha
market is extremely irregular.
The continued production of elevator flats, despite high cost
of construction, is partly'accounted for by the new building
code. The speculative constructional movement in elevator flats
dates back some two years, when one of the electric companies,
began to supply power for elevators on the West Side. Since
then the extension of the electric power service has progressed
with extraordinary rapidity, the West and East Sides and Har¬
lem being already in a position to choose between the alternat¬
ing current of one company and the direct current of another.
During these two years, however, the great majority of the ele¬
vator apartments erected were erected on the avenues ahd cer¬
tain wide streets. Central Park West and the Boulevard, for
example, were transformed as if by magic. Lot quotations on
the avenues and on streets over 60 feet wide advanced by leaps
and bounds, astonishing observers whose vision did not pene¬
trate beneath the surface. The narrow streets were compara¬
tively neglected. On the other hand, since the new building
code went into effect by far the greater number of the elevator
flats for which plans have been filed have been projected on
street sites. The new building" code permits the construction of
7-story semi-fireproof flats, not above 85 feet in height, without
regard to the width of the thoroughfares. The act of 1885, regu¬
lating the height of dwelling houses, provided that dwellings
intended to be used for more than one family, when not flre¬
proof, should "not exceed 70 feet upon all streets and averiuea
not exceeding 60 feet in width, and 80 feet upon all streets and
avenues exceeding 60 feet in width." By an amendment of 1897
it was intended to permit semi-fireproof dwellings not exceeding
75 feet in height on streets and avenues of whatever width, but
the Building Department interpreted the amendment illiberally,
ruling that the permission to build 75 feet applied only to streeta
over 60 feet wide; on 60-foot thoroughfares a height of only 70
feet was permitted, except in flreproof construction. Elevator
service in a 6-story flat was not an inviting proposition from the
investor's and, consequently, from the builder's, point of view,
although attractive enough in a 7-story flat. It was impossible
to get seven stories in 70 feet of height, but seven stories were
by clever planning obtainable in the 75-foot elevation, which,
by the way, the framers of the law had intended merely as a
liberal altitude for a 6-atory structure.
The new building code expressly allows semi-fireproof con¬
struction up to S5 feet, regardless of the width of the street, the
number of stories, however, being limited to seven or less. The
effect of this provision has been to open up to builders of the
now typical 7-story semi-flreproof apartment house a great body
of cheap land, that is, cheap by comparison with the land on the
avenues, which was not before available, and which has had, in a
sense, the effect of offsetting the rise in the cost of construction.
Owing to the new building code we have, therefore, a speculative
movement in street lots in the choice flat-house sections, while
for two years past activity was confined chiefly to the avenues.
It is safe to say that the building code has added 25 per cent, to
the intrinsic value of lots in uptown 60-foot streets. This fact is
not yet generally recognized by laymen who have lots for saie,
and until it is builders and building loan operators will continue
to enjoy the legitimate fruits of their professional knowledge.
The'sale, as brokers, by R.L Brown's Sons of some 35 lots, com¬
prising part of the old Fleetwood Park Trotting Track, in Bronx,
would seem to indicate that speculative building may prove in¬
viting even at the present time on low-priced lots outside tho
flre limits. The rise in coestructional cost has not been so high,
relatively speaking, in the case of a frame house as in the case
of a 5-story flat. Last fall, too, a canvass of the borough re¬
vealed the fact that the renting demand for 2-family houses and
low-priced private dwellings was considerably in excess of the
supply, and builders have uniformly succeeded in selling this
sort of housing as soon as completed. The buyer of the lota
sold by R, I, Brown's Sons Is a builder, who wlllno doubt erect
one and tiro-famlly houses, preisumably of frame, as tbe proper¬
ty Ues oatBlde the flre limits. This bolldine operatlcm Till b*