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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 18, no. 434: July 8, 1876

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EAL Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XYIII. NEW YOEK, SATURDAY, JULY 8, 1876. No. 4,34. Published Weekly by THE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. C, W. S WEET...............Pbesibent and Tbeasuker PKESTON I. SWEET...........Secketaby. TERMS. ONE YEAR, ill advance....$10 00. Communications should be addressed to C. TT. S'W.-EET, No3. 345 AND 347 Broadway. A WOED TO LARQE CAPITALISTS. We suggest that large capitalists coukl not do better than invest their money in new and im¬ proved varieties of apartment houses, or Paris flats as they are popularly called. We believe there is no question that all of these new edi¬ fices have bronght in large dividends, even in these hard times, to the capitalists who had the courage to erect them. The capitalist who constructed the Stuyvesant House, in Eighteenth street, "builded better than he knew." That made the apartment houses fashionable. It is said there are now a hundred and seventy-eight such houses in different parts of the city; but we judge this to include Sixth avenue edifices and other large buildings erected ^vith stores under¬ neath them, which are properly only a kind of tenementhousefor the middle class, or people who can afford to pay from thirty to sixty dol¬ lars a month. But large, costly houses, which are designed to furnish fine accommodations, pay to-day better than any other real-estate property in New York. Nor is there any present likelihood of its being overdone. Of course, it would not do to mul¬ tiply Haight Houses, Albanies, or Saratogas; but the time has, come when large capitalists should take whole blocks, west or east of the Central Park, and build up magnificent palaces.. The aim should be to add very greatly to the attractions of the present apartment-houses, which can be done, and the tenements rented for what would be in the aggregate a very much larger sum. Why is it not possible to have in one block, not only apartments suitable for families of all sizes, but laundries and cooking facilities in the centre of the block, where the needful household work may be done at a mini¬ mum cost ? Prom 1842 to 1850 the "I'ourrierites" and ether socialists agitated the subject of what they called "unitary homes," in which the peo¬ ple were to live in vast dwellings by some fan¬ cied co-operative or socialistic scheme. They pointed out with a great deal of truth that cer¬ tain economical advantages would accrue. They said, take a block of houses comprising, say, a hundred different families; here are a hundred ranges, a hundred cooks and two hundred othei servants of their wants, all scattered over a space which could, if made into a vast dwelling, ac¬ commodate twenty times the number of persons with, even greater eomfOTtan4actiially leas cost, thus to have one great range, five cooks instead of a hundred, washing done by steam, thereby utilizing an immense amount of human labor, the service of all more efficiently organized, economy in space, whereby ten persons could live on the same area of ground that one person did then. All these considerations had weight; the diffi¬ culty was that the excellent suggestion was simply impracticable as presented. It was sup¬ posed that householders could get together and manage all this matter in the same way that a political caucus could be conducted. Thou¬ sands of attemr)ts were made to realize this dr. am, but they have universally failed. But now comes in the capitalist with the apartment house,-availing himself of the economies sug¬ gested by socialists, and, as a business matter, makes practicable and profitable what was sim¬ ply the dream of a set of weU-meaning en¬ thusiasts. We make this suggestion to capitalists, as we are sure that in this direction is a large amount of money to be made, and the erection of such houses at this time would be a benefit to the wbole business interests of the city. A dozen such edifices under way would not only be certain of success, but would distribute money prudently that is now unwisely hoarded and bringing no return to the community. This will not interfere with private houses. New York has a surplus of them now, and it is bet¬ ter, perhaps, that there should not be much building for one or two years to come. The great majority of families will object to living in apartments, no matter how commo¬ dious or how cheap. The gregarious mode of life which these huge buildings wiU bring about is very attractive to some Americans, especially those who are in the habit of living in hotels, but wiU be naturally objectionable to people who believe in keeping themselves to themselves. In great palaces, such as we suggest, there may be places for social meetings, art galleries, to which all who dwell in the houses should con¬ tribute, and ten thousand luxuries and cim- veniences that it would be needless to enumer¬ ate here, but which any one can sketch out for himself. ------------------» <<»> ♦------------------ AEE NEW BUILDINGS NEEDED? Several of the city papers have jumped at the conclusion that times are reviving because cer¬ tain capitahsts and builders have seen fit to em¬ bark in new enterprises, and have commenced the construction of edifices with a view to fu¬ ture profit. We may as well be candid and ad¬ mit that any building which is likely to take place within the next two years in this city wiU be entirely unwarranted by any immediate re¬ quirement of trade, and wUl be undertaken simply with a view to profit at some fiitttte time. It be borne in mind that the weeding oi%t which is taking place in mercantile circles, the necessity for economizing in the number of com¬ mercial agents which the countryneeds, is elim¬ inating large numbers of the class which stood be¬ tween the producers and consumers. During high prices and times of abnormal commercial ac¬ tivity great numbers of people have been em¬ ployed in the cities as agents or intermediaries betvveen the producing and consuming classes. P)Ut one of the effects of the panic is to dispense with these needless agents, and to send them into some productive emi)loyment ; hence fewer merchants aud a smaller number of clerkf. "VMiile this declination of prices and weeding, out in the number of assistants is going ou, fewer stores and houses are needed in the large cities. A glance at the business streets of Nev/ j York at once tells the story of the ax>pavent diminution of our population. People (both workingmen and employers) have been com¬ pelled to leave the city for country places, where their labor can be made available in some other way than in exchanging goods. New York has a great many idle houses and un¬ tenanted stores, nor is there any class of new structures needed, unless indeed it is the apart¬ ment house. The better class of French flats are to-day the only lucrative building in¬ vestment for capitalists. There is, of course, activity in the altering of old buildings and in the construction of new ones by people who have funds lying idle and who build now, be¬ cause material and labor are cheap, expecting to hold these edifices until better times create a demand for them. And it seems to us that wealthy men are justified in thinking that a wise investment of money may be made by taking advantage of the present depression in prices to construct buildings which will be needed at some not very remote period. But it should be clearly understood that this is a purely specu¬ lative movement, and is, with the single excep¬ tion before indicated, not based upon any real want of the community. Americans, however, are hopeful, and New York capitalists have an abiding faith in the future of the metropolis, which time wiU undoubtedly justify. Kich men, therefore, who hold these views act wisely in undertaking the construction of new buildings; but do not let us deceive ourselves into believing that, as a consequence, times are improving, though of course better times can¬ not be very far off. The liquidation which has been going on is getting rid of indebtedness, and is preparing the way for a better business future. ALLOWANCE AND EEPEREES' FEES FOEECLOSUEE CASES. IN Since our last issue the recent amendments to the Code have been published, and among them are the following: In an action for the toveclosttt'6 of a mortgage the Court ma^ gtgwut