crown CU Home > Libraries Home
[x] Close window

Columbia University Libraries Digital Collections: The Real Estate Record

Use your browser's Print function to print these pages.

Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 85, no. 2197: April 23, 1910

Real Estate Record page image for page ldpd_7031148_045_00000905

Text version:

Please note: this text may be incomplete. For more information about this OCR, view About OCR text.
April 23, 1910 RECORD AND GUIDE 859 iSTABUSHED-^ *WJ^CH 2lit^ 1868. .DnGrEDpf^L Estate,BuiLDir/o AR,afrrEeTi;ilE,t{ausEifou)DEflaEiAnoil, Busotess Atto Themes or GEjto^^l IKtefiest.. PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addresseil to C. W. SWEET fablished EVery Satardap By THE RECORD AND GUIDE CO. president, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, P. W. DODGE Vice-Pres. & Genl. Mgr,, H, W. DESMOND Secretary, F, T, MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 East 24th Sfreet, New York City (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433.) "Entered at the Post Office at New Yorlv, N. Y., as s-rcund-cJass matter." Copyrighted, 1910, by The Record Se Guide Co, Vol LXXXV. APRIL 23, 1910. No. 2197 AN INTERESTING- FEATURE of the recent real es¬ tate market' has been the evidence it affords that the process o£ reconstruction on the West Side is about to begin in good earnest. That section has hitherto escaped for the most part the attention of the reconstructors. They have been busy converting old brownstone residences south of the Park into business buildings, and similar residences east of the Park into apartment houses or modern American basement dwellings. But on the West Side there has as yet been practically no replacement of old by new buildings. During the past week two such operations have been an¬ nounced. One builder bought a large plot in West 79th street, which is to be improved with a twelve-story apart¬ ment house; aud. In so doing he is only following the ex¬ ample of another builder, who some weeks ago purchased a similar plot for the same purpose on the same street. Still another builder proposes to tear down three residences in West 74th street and erect an eight-story apartment house in their place. There can be little doubt that the beginning made by these operations will be pursued gradually, but steadily, and that little by littie private houses situated either on the avenues or the wide side streets will be re¬ placed. There is every reason why this should be the case. The value of private houses on the West Side has no more than held its own, in spite of tbe fact that their construction has practically ceased. At the same time the value of land available for improvement with flre-proofed apartment houses has become increasingly valuable. The inference is obvious. In spite of the talk that, at least on the West Side, apartments have become more rather than less ex- * pensive as compared with private houses, the demand for them has not been checl^ed. People will not pay more than a certain sum for a West Side residence; and this fact makes real estate much more valuable for multiple than for single dwellings. The old private houses would be replaced witb much greater rapidity than is now the case, were it not for the tenement house law. That statute prevents the erection of apartment houses more than ninety feet high on most of the side streets; and usually it is hard to figure out a proflt from the replacement of private houses with only an eight- story multiple residence. For a good many years this pro¬ cess of reconstruction will be largely conflned to the wider streets and to the avenues. Eventually, however, it will spread to the 60-foot streets, and it will become a much commoner form of building operation, in the case of such streets on the West than it has been on the East Side, On the East Side the private house on the side street has more than held its own, and it will probably continue to do so for another twenty years. ANOTHER REAL ESTATE TENDENCY which has been increasingly conspicuous of late is the growing relative importance of the district north of 34th street for the pur¬ poses of retail trade. Not only is there a continued migra¬ tion of retail houses, from 23d street and farther south to the vicinity of 42d street, the latest instance being that of G. P. Putnam's Sons, but firms which have become well established on 5tli avenue between 23d and 34th streets are also migrating further north. Evidently this part of 5th avenue has been losing; ground as a site for the highest grade of retail store; and it looks probable that in the end the par¬ ticular section will be absolutely dominated by the wholesale rather than the retail trade. It bas already taken possession of 4th avenue and of tais side streets west of Broad-way. It is gradually fastening its grip on Madison avenue, and on the side streets between Madison avenue and Broadway. Eventually it -\\'ill probably occupy both 6th and 7th avenues, although it is possible that Tth avenue may come in for a good many retail stores. Under such conditions it is hardly possible that 5th avenue between 26th and 32d streets will not become less and less desirable for the bet¬ ter class- of retail stores, and, that an increasing number of the best firms will not migrate further north. The whole neigh-borhood will assume a character, which will make it disagreeable and inconvenient for shoppers. The wholesale trade wherever it becomes dominant has an inevitable ten¬ dency to drive away good retail traders. If such should be the result on this part of 5th avenue, a certain recession of values may well take place. The wholesale trade really cannot afford to give much higher prices to real estate than those which now prevail on 4th avenue. The ground fioors on 5th avenue will, of course, continue to be much more valuable than the ground floors of a 4th avenue building; the difference in value will not be as great as the difference in price now is. IF IT DOES PROVE to be the case that retail trade of the higher class will in the course of time be crowded out of the whole district, south of about 32d street, the effect of this migration upon tbe retail section, further north, will he of even greater interest than its effect upon the old sec¬ tion south of 34th St. The additional area north of 34th street, available for the best class of retail business is not very large. Fifth . avenue itself is now occupied almost solidly as far up as SOth street. Many purchases and leases, particularly for interior decorators, have recently been made between 50th and 59th streets on tbe avenue; but evidently the character of the ownership is such that the private resi¬ dences on these streets will be only gradually replaced; and the same is true of the side streets north of about 48th street, Madison avenue frora SSth to 41st street is also, ex- eluded from reconstruction at least as long as J. P. Morgan lives. Consequently retailers who are looking for sites will usually be forced to select them either on the side streets or on Madison aveuue north of 42d street; and the area so available is wholly inadequate to satisfy the future de¬ mand—particularly in case the migration from sites south of 34th street increases in volume. it becomes, con¬ sequently, an exceedingly interesting matter to predict the other streets and avenues north of 42d street which retail trade of the better class will eventually occupy. Any such prediction can only be a guess; but, in the opinion of the Record and Guide the general course of development will be something as follows. During the next few years Sth aveuue and the side streets, particularly 57th street will be gradually occupied, and a large part of Madison avenue north of 42d street will also have been absorbed. In the mean time the work on the Grand Central Terminal will be finished, and thereafter it is eutireiy possible that Park avenue and the side streets, particularly 57th street, will be retail traders who can afford to pay high prices. Fully ten years will elapse before the area defined above will be fully developed. Thereafter what will happen is even more of a guess; but it looks as if Sixth avenue north of 45th street, would necessarily become increasingly valuable for retail purposes at a still more remote time; it is even possible that the Broadway-Lexington Avenue Subway may do something for the retail development of Lexington avenue between 42d aud 59th streets. Real estate operators should study this situation very carefully. The man who can guess the remoter consequences of this migration of the retail trade can make a good deal of money out of a comparatively small investment. IN SPITE OF THE FACT that Buffalo has by a popular ma¬ jority declared in favor of a commission form of local government, there is little chance of the Legislature con¬ senting thereto. The wise constitutional statesir-^" at Al¬ bany who make our instruments of government for us have decided that administration by an elective responsible com¬ mission would be dangerous for Buffalo, and consequently they propose to treat the new Buffalo charter just as they treated the Ivins charter for New York, In both cases the reasons determining their action were the same. The politi¬ cal machine al-^-ays opposes a simplified, efficient and respon¬ sible instrument of government, because its leaders under¬ stand that their power depends upon the maintenance of a complicated, expensive and irresponsible instrument. The allegation that government commission under the conditions