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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 75, no. 1931: March 18, 1905

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March i8, 1905 RECORD ANT) GUIDE 56:^ •r^ •* ESTABUSHED^tfWPHSiy^lBsa. ItaiTiDioRfA.LE:srAJE.BuiLDir/o AjK^rrECTURE.Kc'usnlouiDEBCnfllQS, Bl/sijfess wJdThemes OF GEtJER^ 1^tzrF3T. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS published eVery Satardap Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Streei. New YorK 3. T. LINDSEY, Business Manager Telephone, Cortlandt 3157 ••Entered at the Post Office at Neic Yorli. iV. Y.. as second-class matter." ^ Copyright hy the Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide Company. Vol, LXXV. MARCH IS, 1905, No. 1931. THE irregularity which characterized the marltet during the past weelt was doubtless caused by the combination of a high level ol: values and higher rates for money. The specula¬ tive foundation of the constantly higher quotations which have been effected since last summei' has been an abundance of loanable capital, and any forced conti-aetion of loans might cause a great deal of trouble. Tho best opinion apparently is that money will continue easy throughout the summer; but this looks as if the wish might be father to the thought. As in 1902, enormous sums are heing spent on permanent improve- rients all over the country; and the volume of general business increases constantly. It does not seem possible that as much money can be spared in the immediate future for speculation as has been recently the ease. This does not mean any consid¬ erable decline in the values of securities, but it does mean re- < urreut irregularity and perhaps, aiso, a period of waiting before the marliet can take a fresh start. inefficient and far from disinterested. During the next few years many important franchises will have to be authorized by the local authorities, and in case the Board of Aldermen has to b§ placated, it will mean delay in every instance and the opportunity for the intrusion into the question of dubious inter¬ ests and motives. The aldermen do not, either collectively or individually, represent the city. They represent either them¬ selves or at best the district which elects them. Franchises ai'e not matters which concern primarily the interests of one dis¬ trict or a collection of districts. They concern either the city as a whole or one of the boroughs as a whole; and the interests of these larger divisions are fully represented in the Board of Estimate. That body is one of the most efficient pieces of gov¬ ernmental machinery which has yet been devised; and it is fully competent to pass upon the desirability and the value of franchise concessions without ths assistance of Aldermen "Tim" Sullivan and Gaffney. REAL ESTATE transactions continue to be unprecedentedly numerous aud wholesomely varied. The subsidence of the speculation on Washington Heights has not, to all appearances, diminished the volume of transactions. There is a steady ab¬ sorption of business properties in al! those mai'ginai districts in which they continue to be available for improvement; flats and tenements meet with a good investment demand, and private dwellings are selling regularly and at advancing prices. All of these different sources of activity make the total number of transactions extremely large. On Wednesday and Thursday of the past week there were over flve hundred conveyances and five hundred mortgages recorded, which exceeds the usual totals for the first week in May. If the activity becomes stiil livelier later in the spring, it is difficult to see how all these papers can be recorded and how all the titles can be examined without con¬ siderable delays. There seems to be no limit to the increase in rral estate tradings which, during the past five years, has very much more than doubled. Building prospects continue to be very good. The projected buildings consist chiefly of flats and tenements, but there are signs that a continuation of peaceful conditions in the building trades will soon bring out a large Etmount of construction of the higher class. There is no lack of gcod schemes, but capitalists are still hesitating. In the mean- v.-hile it seems certain that somewhere between $60,000,000 and $70,000,000 will be invested in tenements and flats during the current season. Speculation in vaeant lots has been moving up towards the Dyckman tract and into the Jerome Avenue and Kingsbridge sections of the Bronx; but we imagine that it will proceed somewhat more cautiously in the future than it has done ir. the past. Intelligent operators must understand that they cannot keep increasing the values of larger and larger areas of vacant land to a high level without also increasing the cost and necessity of maintaining those values for an indefinite period of years. High prices mean five and six-story tenements, and such buildings only absorb about one-sixth as much land per family s.r do private residences. Increased values consequently di¬ minish the amount of land absorbed by building operations in a geometrical ratio, and if the land is expensive and unem¬ ployed, somebody must pay the bills. The capacity even of New York to absorb tenement house accommodation is limited. 'T^HE bill introduced hy Senator Elsberg withdrawing from ■*■ the Board of Aldermen any control over the granting of fianehises in New York City, should undoubtedly be passed. The city needs above all things responsible, efficient and dis¬ interested government in this most essential matter; aad the aldermen use their authority in a manner W'hldh ig irresponsible, The Brooklyn Bridge Problem. 'T^HE report issued during the past week by the City Club *■ upon the solution of the Brooklyn Bridge problem has the merit of proposing some new ways of distributing the enormous traffic which is now congested at the Manhattan terminal. This report, which has been prepared by a special committee consisting of William C. Redfield, Lawrence Veiller, and William A, Clark, shows the result of careful study, and deserves serious consideration on the part of the Rapid Transit Commission, The object of the study was the discovery of some means of distributing and collecting the passengers without recourse to an elevated road of any kind, connecting the Man¬ hattan terminals of the Brooklyn and Williamsburgh Bridges. The City Club, like every other civic organisation in Manhattan, is strongly opposed to such an elevated connection, no matter whether it runs on private property or on Centre Street; and it is right in taking this stand. The discussion of the proposed temporary elevated road ia Baxter and Delancey Streets, which has taken place since this plan was first sanctioned by the commission, has, in our opinion, absolutely condemned it. A temporary structure costing between $6,000,000 and $10,000,000, is sheer extravagance. There is every reason to suppose further¬ more that when once erected it would become permanent; and as a permanent defacement of the congested East Side, it is not to be considered for a moment. It meets with nothing but opposition in the part of the city most affected; and its construction would he strenuously opposed both in the Board of Aldermen and in the courts. The Rapid Transit Commission must see that it is impossible to go ahead with such a proposal, and that it should not be taken up until every other means of removing the congestion are exhausted. If we must have an elevated road for the time being, it would be far better, as has been already suggested, to construct a wooden structure on Centre and Delancey Streets, which would be bound to come down in a few years. The City Club offers, however, several suggestions which would help to relieve the congestion pending the construction of more tunnels under the East River. It points out, for instance, that none of the plans now under consideration does anything to help the distribution of the passengers who use the trolley cars; and it proposes a subway loop in Manhattan, running under Chambers Street as far west as Washington Street, which would do a good deal to prevent the crush W'hich now occurs every evening on the ground floor. This is, we believe, a very valuable idea which should not be lightly put aside. As regards the elevated traffic, it proposes that the right to run these cars over the Brooklyn Bridge be granted to the Interborough Com¬ pany, and that its service be facilitated by the construction of a loop at the Brooklyn end of. the bridge. Unless we are very much mistaken, this change would do a good deal to facili¬ tate travel without putting the travelers to any more incon¬ venience than they suffer at the present time. There would in that case be no terminal station for the elevated road at the Erooklyn Bridge. The first station on the Manhattan side would be at Chambers Street in the triangular block bounded by Chambers Street, Park Row and Duane Street, Persons travel¬ ing by this method over the Brooklyn Bridge could transfer oa the Erooklyn side to the various divisions of the Brooklyn ele¬ vated roads or surface cars, as might be desired. This would be no inconvenience, because practically all the persons using the elevated trains during the rush hours now transfer oa the Brooklyn side. Neither does the plan present legal difficulties. The present contract of the city with the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Compaay, in regard to the use of the Bridge, is termin- pble at ninety days" notice. The City Club has still another suggestion which it claims