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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 81, no. 2089: March 28, 1908

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March 28, 1908 RECORD AND GUIDE 543 ES7ABUSHED^i?ARpH21M.'*1668. DnfrlEB p REA.L ESTAJI,BuilDIl(G ft^f^IJECTUnE.Ko'JSEllOU) DEGQUfTlOtl, Bl/SIj/ESSAf/DTHErHES or'GEjtoVl l|ftZR,ES7.; PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Fiiblisflad EVery Saturday By THE KECOKD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON 'W. SWEET Treasurer, P. W. DODGE Vice-Pres. «: Genl. Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. 1^ MILLER Noa. 11 to 15 East 24tli Sireet, New Vort City '■ (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433.) ^______•___________________^____^.^____.^_______ "Entered at the Post Office al Nexo York, N, Y., as srciind-rliiss jnoltcr." Coprriehted, 1907, by The Record & Guide Co, Vol. LXXXL MARCH 28, 1908. No. 2089. S THONG support is being given in Harlem and the Bronx by property owners' associations to the movement which has for Its object the elimination of houses hereafter to he erected for occupation by only three families from the operation of the Tenement House Law. The board of trade, the building employers' association and all the organized interests allied with real estate and building in the Bronx, where the movement principally centers, have either reg¬ istered theii: approval or are understood to favor the change. Ordinarily, an appeal made with such unaminity by all the business interests concerned would be effectual, as the pre¬ sumption would he that the reasons were conclusive. In re¬ cent years a state of affairs has arisen iu the Bronx, es¬ pecially, that has interfered ■with the growth of the dwelling- house population. Building sites have become too expensive, in the popular view, for the erection of houses or cottages for one and two families, and the large tenemeut house is the only recourse of the speculative builder under the re¬ strictions imposed by the law. The situation was in some degree explained at a meeting of the Congestion Congress at the Museum of Natural History by a committee of one of the associations named, the speaker being Mr. Bdward J. Mur¬ ray, who, endorsing all that had been said as to the evils of congestion, suggested this change as one practical way of alleviating them. The Sheridan hill, which is the particular expression of the movement, would regulate the construction of dwellings to be occupied by three families, but would not classify them within the legal definition of "tenements," when they shall stand detached and occupy not more than sixty-flve per cent, of the area o£ the lot. If huilt on a full lot such a house would have a frontage not exceeding twenty- two feet; it would be a rather superior house by the force of circumstances, and would appeal to people of refinement and in good circumstances, as the minimum investment per house is estimated at eight thousand dollars. At any rate, the plan appeals strongly to building and general business interests, situated as are those in the Bronx, as a means of making further progress and of obtaining a desirable acces¬ sion in population. WITH no thought of detracting from the proper aims and purposes of the social and offlcial forces working for the betterment of conditions in the congested tenement dis¬ tricts, there is yet a very general belief iu building and real estate circles that the essential principle in the Sheridan bill—that so-called "three-family houses" hereafter erected in a manner prescribed, shall not be classed and treated as tenements—is a proper provision, and one necessary for the further prosecution of building operations and the encour¬ agement of small investors in the outlying districts of the city. It is said that the erection of hundreds of such dwell¬ ings would be commenced immediately in the Bronx, Brook¬ lyn, Queens and Richmond upon the enactment of such a law. The advantages which an owner of a house of this sort would have, from occupying one floor and having two to rent out, would insure an unfailing market among those iiorae-seel^ing classes who consider themselves debarred un¬ der present values and. circumstances from. investing in dwellings of other kinds in the zones which they prefer. Relief from those visitations of inspectors would be appre¬ ciated in a very marked degree, and witli each floor inde¬ pendent in all parts these ttpuses -vvou'ld be sought for aotl rented by people brought up in and preferring to live In private residences, as these would be to all ,intents and purposes. Ownership or tenancy of siich a house, "we can believe, would produce, as is claimed, "thrift, good' citizen¬ ship and civic pride," which are the ends hoped for by tbe friends of the Tenement House law. Doubtless much of the opposition that hag developed against the measure is owing to a false impression, which could be removed if the property owners' associations should undertake a campaign of edu¬ cation among the law-makers. The ambition for home- owning among the people of New York is one which the constituted authorities should take every means to encour¬ age, as it is not so deep-seated in this metropolitan com¬ munity that it can be neglected under a misapprehension that it can altogether take care of itself, when the fact is that the natural tendency of things now is to eradicate it. THE Board of Education has called on the Board of Estimate for a special appropriation of three million dollars to make alterations in 429 school buildings to render them more safe, or more capable of being readily emptied of pupils in case of flre, the holocaust at CoUinwood having served to point out the weaknesses of our own schools, and also an imperative duty in connection therewith. The alter¬ ations will consist largely in rearranging hallways, stairways and, in general, the means of speedy exit. Divided among so many jobs, the sum will be exceedingly helpful to some of the building trades^ in these dull times, much more so than au equal total would be if concentrated into only a few large contracts. The feeling is strong among working people and settlement workers that more thought should be given to ways of providing employment by those possibly in a position to undertake large works, or to make more available the means for carrying them on. With two hun¬ dred thousand men idle at the opening of spring, there is reason for bringing this suggestion to the attention of those who are custodians of vast funds, or the directors of large interests, who might possibly at this time, as well as any other time, put into motion schemes of betterment—some long in contemplation perhaps—that would in the aggre¬ gate set at work large numbers of men. The action of the Board of Education is proof of the possibility of accom¬ plishing a great deal in this direction with concerted action on the part of the well-disposed. This is the feature of the school board's resolution that will be most commended. Though the probability of a repetition of the CoUinwood incident in any one of our schools may be remote, the wis¬ dom of taking precautions can not be doubted. Ag oppor¬ tunity shall offer every schoolhouse of doubtful construc¬ tion, judged by present standards, should be replaced by one built from the most approved plang, which are well known to and have often been exemplified by the architectural staff of the school department. BROKERS see evidences of returning confidence among that class of people who invest their money in real estate. The number of sales reported has been increasing from week to week, and the inquiries from prospective purchasers are growing more numerous each day. This is largely due to the fact that the money market has eased up perceptibly. There is a class of real estate investors who are known as bargain-hunters. After having looked a property over carefully offers are made far below the market value, and at the first sign of trouble these are withdrawn. This is exactly what happened last fall. Dis¬ appointment was the result, except in a few isolated cases. The property was not sold. It was astonishing to the rea! estate interests at large how firm and steady this class oE investment held during the troublous times. With the re¬ turning confidence in the mercantile world, the realty holder is also encouraged to keep his realty for better prices. The argument put forth by those wlio considered prices too high was that there was no market. They claimed it was all very well to ask a fancy price, but it was another thing to get some one to give it. The deals that have bsen put through since the first of the year clearly show that there are people that have confidence in Manhattan realty. It would certainly be a venturous man who would state that prices have reached their apex. Many of the banks, during the recent financial flurry, had a large amount of money in-, vested in Wall Street securities. T;hese were in many in¬ stances sold and the cash placed in the vaults, so that should there be any unusual withdrawals on the part of depositors