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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 76, no. 1966: November 18, 1905

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November iS, 1905 RECORD AND GUIDE ESTABUSHED-^ OfS^HSe^ 1868, Dd^tiD p Rf\L EsTAH. BmLDI^'G ApafiTECTUKE .HoiisDloLD Vuxs^m^, Birsn/Ess Affe Themes of GEfteRiL Wter^est.. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Published eVerg Saturdag Communications should oe addroesed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 Vesey Street, New York Talephone, Cortlandt 3157 "Entered at the Post Office at New York, N. T., as second-class matter." CopjriElit by the Real Estata Record and Builders' Guide Compnny, Vol. LXXVI. NOVEMBER IS, 1905. No. 1966. INDEIX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section. Page. Page. Cement.................xxv Law....................xil Clay Products ...........xxiv Machinery ................v Contractors and Builders.. .vii Metal Work ................xxi Electrical Interests .........x Stone....................xxvi Fireproofing ..............ii Quick Job Directory.......xxix Granite .................xxvi Real Estate ..............xiv Heating..................xxii Wood Products ..........xxviii Iron and Steel .............xx AT present it seems improbable that the Stocli Marliet will cross the next few weeks without suffering from a sharper decline than any which has yet taken place. It is behaving as if stubborn conflicting influences were at work and that the need of conservatism was not sufficiently recognized by the majority of bullish operators. Moreover, the continuation of the existing troubles in Russia, and the temporary disintegra¬ tion of that Empire might well cause a European financial panic, which would have a severe reaction upon the price of American securities. With such a danger hanging over the marliet, caution is doubly necessary. We do not believe, indeed, that any but a temporary decline need be feared, because the structure of prices is not really vulnerable, except in the cases of some specialties which have been advanced by manipiilation. Por the most part prices are lower than they were last August, and there are not many commission accounts which would be caught by a sharp decline. Consequently, in spite of the Rus¬ sian peril, stocks ought to be a good purchase, in case the gen¬ eral monetary situation causes a sudden break. A SALE in the business part of Sth ave during the past week at a fairly high price calls attention to the fact that such sales have been exceedingly rare of late. "Until the present fall real estate on 5th ave from 26tli to 48th sts had been continually active and advancing in price for ahout five years. Every year brought with it n6w buildings, bigger rents and higher values; and during the season of 1903-1904, which was not particularly prosperous in any other respect, the ac¬ tivity of Sth ave business property did not flag. Of late, how¬ ever, a certain change has taken place. No new retail firms of any importance have followed Mr. Altman's example, and purchased sites upon Sth ave. While there are no indications that prices are weakening or that they will weaken, it is un¬ questionably true that a pause has taken place in the business development of the avenue and of the adjacent side streets. One hears of few speculative purchases iu the neighborhood, and no announcement of new building plans. Such a modera¬ tion of the pace is, no doubt, wholesome; and it is likely to last for some time. It will take even New York a few years to grow up to the existing level of values on the avenue. In the meantime, of course, real estate will not be entirely dead; but for the present prices can hardly become much higher; and there will continue to be a tendency for Sth ave business men to find accommodations on the adjacent side streets. The va¬ cancies created in this way will supply the demand for addi¬ tional business space on the avenue during the next few years. WHETHER or not the owner of the Martinique will suc¬ ceed in purchasing the property on 33d st, adjacent to that hotel, it is not denied that he is trying to do so; and this fact raises the question as to the prospects for new hotel con¬ structiou in Manhattan during the coming year. There are some indications that this year may bring forth a moderate re¬ vival in the building of apartment hotels. For three years now very few of them have been erected, and it is entirely pos¬ sible that this marked abstention will justify during 1906 a comparatively liberal supply of such buildings. Probably, how¬ ever, when the building of apartment hotels is resumed, they will be erected for the most part on larger plots than was customary in 1901 and 1902. The reason why so many of the hotels of that period failed as business ventures was that they were not either large enough or well-enough planned and built to be run eco'nomically. Size is a most important element in the profitable operation of all hotels; and it is particularly so in a place like New York. Moreover, this is all the more the case in view of the changes of policy, which have been forced upon the managers of these hotels. In the beginning they rented their rooms for the most part by the year and imfurnished; but little by little they have been forced to furnish their rooms and fill them with transient guests. The apartment hotel is being assimilated, that is to the ordinary hotel, except that its customers are more likely to remain for a week than for a day; and it has to cater for transients in a way that was formerly quite unnecessary. The prosperity of the best of the family hotels, run in this way, indicates that there is room for more of this kind of living accommodation. TT cannot be claimed that the action of the voters all over the ■I- Union upon proposed constitutional changes has served to increase the confidence of an intelligent man in the principle of the referendum. In all instances ftie vote upon the constitu¬ tional changes submitted to popular approval, and all ques¬ tions offered for popular decision was extremely light. It rarely amounted to as much as half the number of votes cast for candidates for local offices; and in some cases desirable constitutional changes failed of approval, because of the lack of popular interest which they created. In the State of New York the several constitutional amendments proposed were all approved; but it would be ridiculous to assert that this approval meant an intelligent understanding of the questions involved by the people who voted for them. With two exceptions the amendments were quite unintelligible, except to a person pos¬ sessing very special information; and the voters who passed them by can hardly be blamed for so doing. The newspapers made attempts to explain the issues involved to their readers; but it is safe to say that only extremely conscientious voters paid any attention to this editorial explanation and advice. More than half of them were realiy special and technical ques¬ tions, which were meaningless aud uninteresting except to a few people. It is a mere farce to ask such questions of thou¬ sands of indifferent voters; and it is very unfortunate that they have to be asked. Furthermore, even when the question sub¬ mitted is of general interest and can be easily understood, such as the amendment authorizing the expenditure of $50,000,000 on State roads, it is difficult to arouse much interest in them during the excitement of a regular campaign. The abstract question is submerged under the vivid interest excited by the personal appeals of the several candidates. It is a fair inference from the experience of the past election that wherever possible, only broad and easily intelligible questions should be referred to popular vote, and that such votes should be.held at a time some months removed from the flrst week in November. THE authorization by popular vote of the spending of $50,- 000,000 by the State of New York upon good roads will eventually have its effect upon the State system of taxation. As long as the Republicans insist upon collecting all the State revenues from special sources, they are obliged to accept the responsibility of discovering additional sources of taxation, whenever they have to raise additional revenue. Even with the additions of the Stock Transfer and the Mortgage taxes the State income is barely equal to its outgo; and money will have to be raised by other means to pay the interest on the bonds issued to pay for the canal and better roads. Inasmuch as it will be difiicult to find ether sources of revenue, the necessity of inventing them may well lead to a re-adjustment of the whole system of State taxation. Indeed, tax-reformers should work at the present time for the appointment of a com¬ mission, whose duty it would be seriously to consider the ex-- isting State revenues and taxes, its probable needs in the near future and the way in which these needs can be satisfled most equitably and economically. What is wanted in this State is above all, a constant discussion and criticism of our system of taxation; and every means should he taken to arouse such discussion and keep it alive. Comparatively little of the money that supports the present- day activity in real estate buying is said to be coming from the banks and trust companies, a fact which has yet been scarcely noticed. Rather is the most of the enormous total of funds being invested r.he capital of professional operators and the. savings of the frugal that are buying for a home or a ris*.