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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 78, no. 2011: September 29, 1906

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September 29, igo6 RECOKD AND GUIDE 517 i^ftiiii. ESTABUSHE3)'^^(WiRPH2l«V 1668. Dev^tiD p Rej^l Estate . BuiLoif/o *;R&ifitectui^ .^{obsa^oul DE(3aR^TioiJ, Bifsii/Ess Affc Themes of GEficRftl I^ter^est . PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Published eVery Saturday Communications should be nddrcsaod to C. W, SWEET Downtown Oflice: 14-16 Vesey Street, New York Tolepbouo, Cortlandt 3157 Upto-vn Oflice: 11-13 Enst 24th Street Tolophono, Madison Square 1898 ''Entered at the Tost Office at New York, N, second-olast matter.' Vo!. LXXVIIl. SEPTEMBER 20, 190(i. No. 2011 INDEX TO DEPARTMENTS. Advertising Section, Page Page Comsnt.....................xxiii Law........................xi Consulting Engineers..........x Lumber.................xxviii Clay Produ(;ts ..............xxil Machmery ..................iv Contractors and Builders......v Metal Work...............xvii Electrical Interests ........viil Quick Job Directory ........xxvii Fireprooflng ..................ii Real Estale................xiii Granite..................xxiv Roofers & Roofing Mater'Is..xxvi Heating ...................y.x Stone....................xxiv Iron and Steel ............xviii Wood Products ...........xxviii REAL ESTATE transactions for the week now closing have the color and tone of health and good spirits, and have fiirnisheti a number of evidences that our large capitalists are returning from their vacations and taking up the strings of business again. In the first half of the week a remarkable In¬ terest was being shown in dwelling-house properties of the West Side, and latterly to this was added important transactions in the business district, and also in the money market. Private house buying on the west side of Central Park has become a de¬ cided feature after five years of inactivity. Several builders are carrying forward large operations, hut more than this, is a new demand for old dwellings as well. Business prosperity has evi- i3ently turneti the thoughts of many heads of families to the subject of private houses and for several weeks more dwellings have been soki on the west Side than on the Bast. During the current week also two particularly large loans were made, one for the new Hendrik Hudson apartment house on Riverside Drive and the other for the new Brunswick offlce building in Madison Square, affording some evidence of a loosening of the money market and also of the truth of the announcement re¬ cently made that at least some life insurance companies proposed hereafter to loan funds ou real estate direct. Attention was again attracted by important sales and leases in the district be¬ tween Fourteenth and Twenty-third streets, Broadway and Sixth avenue, where a remarkable rebuilding movement is in its final stage. Soon tliere will be no dwelling houses remaining in that once fashionable quarter. So far as the departments of real estate and finance are concerned, we consider the improving tendencies permanent rather than temporary, and look for a continued enlargement of business, but probably within more conservative guidance. Secretary Shaw has at last come to the relief of the money situation by releasing some $26,000,000 of the U. S. Treasury's cash surplus, some three millions of which is allotted to New York, a sum no larger than is assigned to Chicago, and quite too small to make us feel particularly grate¬ ful. But while real estate trading is showing improving ten¬ dencies, building projects are unmistakably diminishing: the plans filed for new buildings this week were very few in num¬ ber, and the brick market is wavering again. However, the amount of work actually in hand is so immense that it will last for a long period without receiving many accessions. THE quarterly reports of the New York traction companies make an exhibit which is not creditable to their present tnanagenient. During the year the cash fares on the elevated roads increased seven per cent., while the car mileage decreased nearly three per cent. The Subway carried an increase of 38 per cent, in the number of passengers, but did not enlarge its car mileage more than 12 per cent. On the surface railroads the receipts were larger by three per cent., but the car mileage dim¬ inished by five per cent. It is no wonder that the patrons of the various lines are beginning to complain again; and it is surely most extraordinary that the management of the consolidated company can adopt such a short-sighted policy. It is not simply that good business reasons should urge them to offer the best possible service, because the public immediately responds to an improvement of accommodation. Neither can the unwisdom of such a policy be wholly traced to the fact that Inadequate transit service tends to divert population to the other boroughs. On both of these grounds it is foolish not to increase the service as fast as the traffic increases. But there is still another con¬ sideration which ought to weigh even more with the manage¬ ment of the consolidated company. That company is dependent on public opinion for any increase in its franchises; and it may be dependent on public opinion for the continued enjoyment of some of its existing opportunities. It is consequently the merest prudence for the company to deal fairly and generously with its patrons, and it will most assuredly reap the fruits of its recent economies at some future time when it stands most in need of public confidence and goodwill. A CORRESPONDENT, writing to one of the daily news- ■^*- papers, gives the result of his experience with rents in Manhattan during the last six years. In 1900 he rented a seven- room fiat on Manhattan avenue for $30 a month, which was typical of the rents prevailing in the rest of the house and throughout the neighborhood. The owner valued this house at $28,000, for which sum he sold it in 1902 to a speculator. This house has since 1902 been bought and sold four times, and every time rents have been raised, so that the flat which was at first lented for $30 a month now brings $42, and the house, which was valued at $28,000, is now offered at $38,000. The correspondent atU'ibutes tlie increase entirely to unwarrantable speculation, and he cites the case of a neighboring house, bought by an in¬ vestor in 1899 for $27,000, in which the rents have been very moderately raised, and whose flats are always fuliy occupied. But surely a speculative movement which succeeded in actually increasing the value of a house $10,000 in four years cannot be entirely without warrant. Undoubtedly there has been a per¬ vasive speculation taking place all over the city, particularly in old law tenements and apartment-houses; but this speculation would have been utterly unsuccessful if conditions had not justi¬ fied it. In 1900 flat and tenement-house property in certain sec¬ tions was unduly depressed. Since then many conditions have contributed to make it more valuable, and the speculators have merely taken advantage of these conditions. It is possible tbat in certain sections of the city they have gone too far, and that during the next few years many tenants will follow the ex¬ ample of the correspondent, and seek pleasanter homes and lower rents in the outlying boroughs. In that case we shall witness another readjustment of rents and values, which ought to place them upon a more permanent level; and in that case the speculators will suffer from their bad judgment, just as they have in the past profited from their good judgment. But in any event the speculator cannot make real estate values. He can only anticipate them. He takes his risks and he makes or fai.s to make his profits. It is true that he is generally a bad landlord, for his ownership of the property is only temporary, and he is averse to making improvements. It will be a good thing for tenement houses in New York and their occupants when they are less frequently owned by speculators than they are at present; but we imagine that during the next few years tlie speculator will become a decreasingly important factor in the renting situation. For the present the speculation in tene¬ ment houses is over. THERE is no doubt that one of the crying evils of the day in connection with Ihe congested teneraent districts with its half million school population is the paucity of play grounds for children. They have but the pavements of the streets and avenues, wbich are necessarily full of danger to life and limb. More small parks and recreation piers should be provided by our city authorities in convenient and accessible locations, as a writer in the Tribune puts it, "Wherein all, both young and old, can enjoy amid inviting surroundings, heaven's pure air and cooling breezes. To bring the country to them is what we all would like to do. As we cannot give them the reality let us strive to furnish them with as near an approach to it as possible." A good beginning has been made, but many more of these playgrounds are wanted. Libraries, school houses and hospitals are, of course, indispensable, but there must be op¬ portunity for healthful out-of-doors exercise for school children. It appears that Brooklyn is likely to get a new children's playground without cost to the city. Borough President Coler has discovered that a burial ground adjoining the New Lots Dutch Reformed Church, at the junction of Livonia avenue and New Lots road, East New York, is apparently not owned by any one, and accordingly he has appropriated it on behalf of the city, to be used for a children's playground. The plot con¬ tains about eighteen city lots; but the little ones of New York should not have to depend on disused graveyards for addlr tlonal recreation groujid^.