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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 85, no. 2204: June 11, 1910

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June II, 1910 RECORD AND GUTOE 1241 CTABUSHED^ WARTH ai>^ 1S68. .tteATEDioRy»J.E^xre.BmLDir(G AR,c^nx(rrin^E.KoiiSEiiou)DE(^ Bi^sd/ess Alb Themes of GEjiEi^V 1Kter.est., PRICE PER YEAR IN ADV.ANCE BtGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET published EOerg Saturdag By THE KECORD AVD GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, F. W. DODGE Vice-Pres. & Genl. Mgr., H, W. DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Nos. 11 to 15 Easf 24tli Sfreet, New York City (Telephone, Madison Square. 4430 to 4433.) "Entered at the Post Off ce at New York , N. y.. OS sccoiid-elnss matter." Copyrigbted. 1910, by The Record & Guide Co. Vol. LX x: /■\r JUNE 11, 1010. No, 2204 THE real estate market of 1909-1910 has undoubtedly proved to be a disappointment in respect to tbe volume of business it has developed; and this disappointment has been particularly prevalent during the past month. Not only has there not been so many transactions consummated as there were last year, but, until recently, the demand for gilt-edged property has been smaller. Throughout 1909, for instance, perhaps the most salient phase of the current real estate news was the continued acquisition of important cor¬ ners by large business interests, which wanted to secure iu perpetuity the benefit for their business of some particularly advantageous location. During the early months of 1910, on the other hand, this tendency -was checked, and a number of important transactions, for which negotiations were well underway, were never consummated. The cause of this check probably was that the retail trade was proving to be a disappointment. Business men who had assumed heavy flxed charges for particularly desirable locations were not finding their new stores as profitable as they expected, and conditions, consequ,ently, were not so favorable for the financing and consummation ot large deals. During the last week or two, however, for whatever reason, the market has been improving io this, if in no other respect. While tbe total volume of business has been sm,all it has included some very large transactions. The largest of them was the ac¬ quisition of a plot on the west side of Broadway between 35th and 36th streets and extending almost to Seventh ave¬ nue by a syndicate headed by the Shuberts. The property so acquired constitutes a peculiarly good location for a de¬ partment store, and in all probability it will eventually be used for that purpose. Either Marshall Field & Company, or the United Dry Goods Stores Company are likely to con¬ trol it. Plots of this kiud are difficult to acquire, and are more needed by department stores than by any other line of business. Two other smaller plots in the same district have also been sold or leased recently as sites for hotels, and this fact is peculiarly interesting. It points to a re¬ vival of hotel building in the neighborhood of Greeley square, and if these new hotels are built and are successful there will follow inevitably a revival of interest in the building of restaurants and theatres in this vicinity. These proposed new hotels constitute tbe first evidence of the investment of large amounts of capital in this district exclusively as the result of the changes produced by the Pennsylvania Ter¬ minal, The same cause will probably be responsible for many similar transactions during the next few years. -------------«------------- IN the last number of the Record and Guide Mr. Wright Barclay suggested two minor changes in the street sys¬ tem of Rtanhattan, which would tend to relieve the existing congestion of traiiie. One is the extension of Madison ave¬ nue to Union square aud the other the extension of Lexing¬ ton avenue to Fourth avenue. Both of these alterations in street lines have, of course, heen suggested before, and both belong to the class of street improvements, which would be relatively inexpensive and useful. The extension of Madison avenue might be particularly helpful in relieving the congestion at the south end of Madison square and in diverting traffic from Fifth avenue. If it could be united with the widening of the roadway of Madison avenue, it would undoubtedly help to attract traffic to that less con¬ gested thoroughfare. Eventually the roadway of Madison avenue will have to be widened from 23d to 59th streets; but, this consummation wiil not be reached for a great many years. When it comes to be seriously proposed it wili be fought bitterly by the owners of private residences between 34th and 42d streets; and it certainly would be a hardship in case these people were forced to abandon their stoops iu order to make the avenue more available for busmess and traffic,—a consummation which the property owners on this part of Madison avenue wish at any cost to avoid. In the long run, however, they will be obliged to yield. Sixth avenue cannot be used for the relief of Fifth avenue, because of the encumbrance of the elevated road. Madison avenue Is the only thoroughfare parallel to Fifth avenue which is available for through trafflc, and the city should deliberately encourage its use. It should, as Mr. Barclay suggests, extend Madison avenue to Union square and it should widen the roadway wherever this could be done without any excessive damage to private property. Such a widening is particularly necessary from 42d street north, because along that stretch it is too narrow properly to accommodate both cars and vehicles. THE Board of Estimate has done well to order the widen¬ ing of the roadway of 42d street from Park to Eighth avenue, by diminishing the width of each of the two side¬ walks by seven and one half feet. In the case of these con¬ gested cross-town streets the widening Is even more neces¬ sary than it was in the case of Fifth avenue; but, at present the space between the curb and the cartracks is very narrow and particularly in snowy weather throws much of the traffic iuto the center of the street. It is entirely just, more¬ over, that the expense of removing the stoops, wherever they still exist, should be placed on the shoulders of the property owuers. They have been occupying municipal prop¬ erty for years without paying any compensation, aud now that an essential public interest requires the revocation of the privilege they have enjoyed they have every reason to accept the resulting expense without complaint. They have benefited largely from the conditions that have made the widening of the roadway necessary; and they will to a cer¬ tain extent benefit from the freer movement of traffic, which will follow from the Improvement. The same considerations apply to 34th and 2 3d streets, and as little delay as possible should attend the application of the same remedy. In the case of 2od street, it is proposed, however, to extend the widening from Eighth avenue to the River. No sufficient rea¬ son can he alleged for this increase of the scope of the im¬ provemeut. The vehicular traffic that goes to and from the West 23d street ferries is not very heavy and will be very much diminished when the Pennsylvania station is opened. This part of the traffic can usually take the Hue either of 24th street or 22d street quite as conveniently as it can the line of 23d street, and as a matter of fact it frequently does do so. The two blocks on 2 3d street between Eighth and Tenth avenues are improved with old private dwellings which have been converted to business uses iu only a few cases, and it will be another ten years before business will assume possession of these blocks. Under such conditions the revocation of the stoop privileges between Eighth and Tenth avenues would be a real hardship and an unnecessary one. The property affected by it is not particularly valuable. It has not Increased in value to any considerable extent of late years. The expense necessitated by the removal of the stoops, wherever they exist, would be a total loss to the great majority of the property owuers; and it would be a loss Ior which they would not be reimbursed for a long time. The widening of 23d street should not go any farther* than Lexington avenue on the east and Eighth avenue on the west. PROPERTY owners in Manhattan and the lower regions of the Bronx can regard with a good deal of complacency the recent Increases in the commutation rates charged by tbe New York, New Jersey and Long Island suburban rail¬ roads. For years commuters have enjoyed an excessively cheap service owing to the deliberate policy adopted by the railroad companies of encouraging the building up of the territory tributary to their lines; and by these means a great many thousand families have been induced to migrate to the suburb, many of whom would otherwise have occupied apart¬ ments in Manhattan or the lower Bronx. That the rail¬ roads should have adopted this policy was undoubtedly a good thing, both for themselves, for the territory they served