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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 67, no. 1736: June 22, 1901

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June 22, 1901. RECORD AND GUIDE. 1093 ^ ESTXBUSHEU"^ (^UlpHaiuV 1868. DEvfrjED pD I^L Estate . BuiLoif/o Appt^rrEcrui^E .HouseKoid DEOtufiwt, Bi/s[iIess Alto Themes Of GejIer^I Ij^iehesi, PRICE FER YEAR IX ADVANCE SIX DOI,I.ARS. PubtiiJiei everv Batvrta^, TELEPHONE, COmXLAKDT 1370. CommuDlcatlone should tie addressed to C. W. SWHMDT. 14-16 V«sey Street. /. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager. "Entered at the Poat-Offtce of Xew Torli, N. T., at teccnd-etats matter.'' Vol LXVII. JUNE 22,1901. No. 1736. IN the Stock Market dulness increases as the holiday season approaches, and, on the whole, prices suffer as a result. If the professional contribution to the activity were withdrawn, it would he a very dull market indeed, as dull even as the commis¬ sion brokers' offices are. The news is not discouraging—quite the contrary. The flattering reports from the field of railroad operations are proof of the continued activity in business all over the country. The return of Missouri Pacific to the dividend ranks after an absence of ten years is an event of considerable importance, inasmuch as it speaks of new and stabler conditions in the country that supports it. Cheery reports, too, come from the agricultural sections. Still the speculative puhlic have left Wall Street, apparently for some time and without them prices will not hold well, no matter how good the news; their return will probably be postponed until liquidation has created a new and more attractive basis for a new movement. The predominat¬ ing characteristics of the European situation continue to be: Cheap money, poor business and fears of consequences of over- speculation in the late boom. XS a dividend about to be declared on U. S. Steel Common? is the question agitating the mind of "Wall Street just now. It is confidently asserted that the dividend on the preferred wil be at once put upon a 7 per cent basis and believed that a 1 per cent will be declared on "the common, either at the same time or soon after. The basis of this belief is statistical, no official announce¬ ment can be found to sustain it. Such lai'ge profits have been reported from the steel concerns in the company that it wili look very absurd if the small dividend named cannot be spared to the common stock. The reference books say that the total profits of the constituents of the company for 1900 were $108,000,000. The company's interest chai'ges are in the neighhorhood of $20,000,000, and 7 per cent on $550,000,000 preferred stock is equal to ?38,- 500,000, or total charges ahead of common stock dividends of $58,500,000. If results of operations this year have been as good as those of last year, there ought to be a surplus large enough to provide a dividend for the-common stock. It is well, however, to bear in mind that appearances are very deceptive in this case. Provision for depreciations in the iron and steel trade, have to he made upon an enormous scale and the common stock repre¬ sents the largest quantities of water added to capitalization in consolidations upon consolidations made during the last de¬ cade until a sort of corporate Chapeau d'Eau has been created. When the U. S. Steel Co. was formed no less than $171,000,000 of stock that had never paid dividends was put in, and the induce¬ ments to the stockholders of the various companies the organ¬ izers desired to control were quite generous. It was a consolida¬ tion, not a reorganization, that was effected. With all this, there is still room for believing that the common stock will get a div¬ idend; if it does not, the public will have to change their opinion of the prosperity in the iron and steel trades. TF the new Long Island Railroad tunnel is ever built as pro- ■A. posed, Manhattan will be connected with Brooklyn and Queens in a most complete and satisfactory manner. The four bridges and two tunnels will provide at convenient distances for almost every kind of communication, which the inhabitants of the three boroughs will need. The bridges will knit together most completely the surface railway systems of both sides of the river, and will very considerably relieve the extreme pressure of the tenement house population on space which makes the East Side of Manhattan so overcrowded. The tunnels, on the other hand, will both of them depend for their usefulness upon the underground system in Manhattan, and are really designed to articulate with that system. A tei-minus in Mauhattan, for Instance, hetween 23d and 50th street, would not be much of" an outlet to the Long Island road, unless there were quick transit between 50th street and the City Hall. The effect of all these improvements will be, of course, to remove in large measure the natural disadvantages under which New York has always suffered, and give the city's population an opportunity to spread out as freely to the east as to the north, and their completion will result in the improved economic efficiency of the greater city. Tenement House Legislation. T T may he noted with satisfaction that there is at least the be- -i ginning of a movement to construct the big tenement that the Tenement House Law of this year was passed to encourage. Our Building News contains notice of the intentions of some builders in this direction. Naturally the experiment is to be first made in the Bronx, where land is cheap and where light and ventilation may be economically as well as generously supplied. At the same time there is some premature crowing of the part of advocates of tenement reform measures, because all the evils predicted as a consequence of the passage of the tenement house law of this year have not yet shown themselves. We are all obliged to hope that the results of that act will be as beneficial as its friends believe, but some years must elapse and a good many things occur before we can know. The weakness of the friends of tenement reform lies decidedly on the practical side of the question. This is shown by a recent article in "The Evening Post," in which figures taken from The Record and Guide of Apri! 20th last—without acknowledg¬ ment—are freely used. The writer endeavors to show that in course of time huilding tenements upon a 25- foot lot under the provisions of the new law will become a paying industry. He argues that the cost of the lot has dropped (owing to the new law) from $20,000 to $18,000; that the cost of building, by reason of the cutting off of a story in height of the building that must be erected under the new law as compared with that allowed by the old, will be reduced from $20,000 to $18,- 000, making the total investment $36,000; that the new house will accommodate eighteen families, three families to a floor, paying from $14 to $16 a month each, and so forth, with a final result of 8 to 10% return on the investment. This looks very pretty, but it unfortunately does not consider some quite important mat¬ ters. One is found in the query: Supposing a new demand should spring up for 25-foot tenement lots, would not prices recover the loss occasioned by want of demand? Then the cost of construc¬ tion is too low, and the allowance for the loss of a story too high, for the reason that you cannot divide your estimate by the num¬ ber of stories to obtain the actual cost of any particular story. Then rents run from $12 to $16. and not from $14 to $16 in good tenement sections; and, flnally. eighteen tenements cannot be got in a 25-foot house, such as that evidently referred to, which can only accommodate three tenements on a floor, because the new tenement law requires that any tenement having a frontage 40 feet or less and exceeds flve stories in height shall be built flreproof. These little items it will .be seen make hash of "The Evening Post's" estimate, and, consequently, also -of its deduc¬ tions therefrom. Something of an idea of the real effects of hasty and injudi¬ cious meddling with tenement conditions may be seen in a report that has lately come from Boston that a committee of the Twen¬ tieth Century Club has recently discovered that while the pop¬ ulation of Boston is growing rapidly the construction of tene¬ ments for the poorer classes has practically stopped. According¬ ly, to our informant, "The American Architect," the reason given by the committee for this is that at North End, where the poor¬ est population is collected, the value of land has risen so as to make it unprofitable to erect tenement houses; while in other parts of the city the character of the population is changing so fast that it is imprudent to undertake new ventures." Our con¬ temporary does not accept this explanation, hut says: "It is hard¬ ly necessary to observe that neither of these considerations would have much weight with people who really had in mind an investment of the sort. There is plenty of land to be had at the North End, at prices at which an investment of the sort would be reasonably profitable; and no change In the character of the population can seriously affect the need of families for decent places to live in; and the real reason for the disinclination of people with money to invest in real estate to use it for building tenements is, in all probability, the apprehension of sentimental legislation, or of competition from charitable enterprises, either of which might at any moment convert a reasonahly satisfactory investment into a heavy loss." The building requirements for tenements in Boston are much less strict than they have been in New York for some years, but