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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 84, no. 2175: November 20, 1909

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November 20, 1909 RECORD AND GUIDE 897 ESTABUSHED-^ ttARpH 2m^ 1668. DnM* 10 R^L EsTAn.BuiLDifJG iS^Rfjf iTEerui^E .Kouso/ou) tewnpiH; Birsiiftss AffoThemes of GE|teRAl IKter?si^ PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Comrauni cat Ions should be addressed to C. W. SWEET Publisfted Every Saturday By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F, W. DODGE Vlce-Pres. ft Genl, Mgr., H. W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 Eaat 34tli Street, New York City (Telephone, Madison Square. 4430 to 4433.) '•Entered at the Post Office al Nao York, N. Y., as second-class matter." Copyrighted, 1909. hy The Record ft Guide Co. Vol. LXXXIV. NOVEMBER 20, 1909. No. 217.^^ THERE is every reason why the Board of Estimate sliould act at an early date and in a favorable sense upon the proposal, now before it^ to extend Seventh avenue to - Varick street and to widen Varick street to a junction with Broadway. Of all the street improvements proposed for Manhattan this project offers the most seductive advantage of small expense combined with great public benefit. The expense would be small, because that part of Greenwich Vil¬ lage through which the line of the proposed improvement runs remains almost entirely undeveloped. Real estate values are low and there are no modern buildings to be bought and torn down. The purpose of the project is not to relieve any existing congestion of traffic, but to develop business by open¬ ing up a now neglected district. Greenwich Village has been neglected in the march of improvement, partly because its sti-eet system cuts it off from the important centers of busi¬ ness in Manhattan; and the object of the proposed improve¬ ment is that of providing a new thoroughfare through the heart oE the district, directly connected with Broadway and Canal street on the south and Broadway and Forty-second street on the north. Not only, consequently, would the expense be comparatively small, but the city would he reimbursed for its share thereof, by a rapid increase of tax¬ able values in the neighborhood. If a certain part of any city remains dead in spite of the fact that it enjoys the same advantages of accessibility as other parts of the city, the local government is under no obligation to spend money on its resuscitation, but Greenwich Village has been killed by the defects of the street plan, and the improvement there¬ of is not merely a matter of expediency, hut of Justice. The property owners in the vicinity are absolutely united in favor of the plan, and now that the city has money to spare for the purpose, there is no reason to delay its authorization and execution. way in the viciuity of Canal street and rejoin it at Forty-sec¬ ond street, and from Twenty-third street north, it would run within striking distance of the busiest part of the middle dis¬ trict. The Hudson street-Eighth-avenue thoroughfare serves no similar purpose, because it starts at an inconvenient place, and does not reach a really central point until it runs into Co¬ lumbus Circle. Thus, a Seventh avenue thoroughfare would constitute a peculiarly valuable addition to the general street system of Manhattan. There are other considerations also which should have weight with the Board of Estimate. Seventh avenue from Fourteenth street to Thirty-fourth street is des¬ tined to be used hereafter for comparatively important busi¬ ness purposes. At the present time a considerable numher of twelve-story loft buildings are beiug constructed between Sixth avenue and Seventh avenues, and this number will be doubled during the coming year. Within flve years a similar process of business improvement will be taking place between Seventh and Eighth avenues. Seventh avenue itself is des¬ tined to become an active centre either of wholesale or of retail trade. All this will mean a considerable growth of local traffic aud will increase the desira.bility of providing some better means of reaching and leaving the district from the south. In fact, the business development of tbe whole part of the middle West Side is fore-shadowed as one of the certainties of the next ten years. If Seventh avenue is ex¬ tended now this necessary process of business development wiil be encouraged at a very small expense to the city. If on the other hand it is delayed, the district will he retarded without being prevented, and when the extension is finally made as ultimately it must be made, the expense to the city will be considerably increased. NOT only are there no vali(3 reasons for delaying the au¬ thorization of the Seventh avenue extension, but there are certain urgent reasons why its execution should be hastened. The cutting of a continuation of Seventh avenue through to Varick street and the widening of Varick street would be of great assistance to the city in the laying out of a lower West Side rapid transit route. One of the difficulties connected with a Seventh avenue subway has always con¬ sisted in the lack of a really satisfactory extension of Seventh avenue south of Eleventh street, and this difficulty would be removed by the proposed improvement. The new subway would then have the benefit of an inevitable and straight route as far south as Canal street or thereabouts, and this would accelerate the running time of the trains, cheapen construc¬ tion, and enable it to serve its purpose in every way more effluently. Express trains could be run all the way Irom the Pennsylvania station to Cortlandt street without a single 'stop, and by so doing bring a most important centre of busi¬ ness down town within about five minutes of the most im¬ portant centre of business in the middle district, and the advantage which the extension would be to a West Side Sub¬ way affords an indication of the advantage which the whole street system of Manhattan would derive from a new longi¬ tudinal thoroughfare. Such a thoroughfare would relieve the pressure of traffic on Broadway and other parallel avenues; and it would serve this function with peculiar efficiency, be¬ cause Seventh avenue would then start from a central point and virtually end at a central point. It would leave Broad- ALTHOUGH the total vote has not been finally and satis¬ factorily counted, it is certain that the proposal to amend the constitution for the purpose of allowing the city, if necessary, to build self supporting subways, has heen accepted by the electorate, and the city is to he congratulated on this result. Its immediate effect will he to increase the city's borrowing capacity by the equivalent of the cost of the ex¬ isting snbway and certain docks. But that is its least de¬ sirable effect, because, the subway question apart, the city is already able to borrow as much money as it really needs for other purposes. But its ultimate eiTect will be to enable the City to extend its subway system as fast as the expansion of business and population warrants. It is to be hoped, however, that city stock will not he issued for subway construction, pro¬ vided private capital can be obtained on fair terms. No doubt the legislature will impose conditions on the issue of new subway municipal securities that will effectively guaran¬ tee their employment on remunerative enterprises, hut the plain fact is that the security market has for the last ten years heen deluged with a much larger supply of city stock than it could absorb with economy. It is desirable, cju- sequently, that the issue of new stock should be kept at the lowest possible point until the city's credit has in some meas¬ ure recovered. Undoubtedly Jt would be more economical to pay even more than four per cent, for borrowed money, rather than lease subway privileges on unfair terms, because in that event the loss on the subway contract would balance auy gain that might accrue to the city from its ability to bor¬ row at a lower rate of interest. But there is no reason in the world why the city's credit should he used, provided new subways, over which the city obtains effective control, can be built with the credit of a private company. And according to indications, at least two private companies are willing to build new subways with their own money. A formal offer is in existence, which obligates certain capitalists to construct the new Broadway-Lexington avenue route under the fair conditions laid down in the new Rapid Transit Aet; and there are good reasons for believing tha-t the New Haven R. R. Co. stands behind this offer. Only last week President Mellen of that company stated to a Massachusetts commission that the suburban traffic of his railroad made it necessary to secure an entrance by subway into the heart of Manhattan. In the same way the interborough Company stands ready to build with its money extensions along Madison avenue north of Forty-second street and along Seventh avenue south of Forty-second street, and the progressive improvement in the credit of that corporation will douhtless make it still more willing ito 'continue the same policy hereafter. It is to be hoped consequently that the additional power, enjoyed by the city to borrow money for subway purposes, will be held in re¬ serve rather than actually used, and indications of the policy to be adopted in this respect hy the new administra¬ tion will he awaited with interest.