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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 86, no. 2208: July 9, 1910

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July 9, 1910 RECX)RD AND GUIDE 55 iSTABUSHEp-^ ttjWTH aisj> 1868. "iO RpA^. EsTMt.BmLDlKG'^RfirflTECTJRE .HoUSOfoil) DEaHflBt^^ Bifsotes Alto Themes OF GEHER^l.ItrtERfii.j PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EtOHT DOLLARS Communications shouliS be addressed tO C. W. SWEET Tttblisfied Everg Satardag By THE RECORD AND GTJIDE CO. Prealdent, CLINTON W. SWEET Treasurer, P. W. DODQB VIce-Pres, & Genl. Mgr., H. W, DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MILLER Nos. It to 15 EJast 24tli Street, New York Cltr (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4433.) '' "Entered at the Post Office at Neio Tork, N. Y., (IS sicond-class matter," Copyrighted. 1910, by The Record & Guide Co. Vol. LXXXVl. JULY 0, 1910. No. 220s. THE Record and Guide is vi?ry much afraid that only a small chance exists of the approval by the local author¬ ities of the latest proposal submitted by President Shonts of the Interborougb Co. If the company had made a similar proposition two or three years ago, it would in all probability have been accepted; but at the present time it involves the abandonment of the Broadway-Lexington avenue route, and it has been proved again and again that the Public Service Commission will not consider either any alteration or any postponement of its pet project. The Tri-borough route has reached the stage of being almost ready for the submission of bids. The commission is absolutely committed to it, and it is not to be turned aside. The directors of the Inter¬ borougb Company would have done very much better to iiave recognized this fact, and to have proposed an upper East Side extension along Madison avenue. As it is the commissioQ will not be deterred from proceeding with the Tri-borough route; and the new proposals of the Interbor¬ ougb Company will not be seriously considered, unless the commission fails entirely to receive satisfactory bids for the Broadway-Lexington avenue subway. The claim made on behalf of his new proposals by Mr. Shonts—that the city will obtain in this way a greater improvement of service for less money than by any other means^tbis claim is undoubtedly well founded. The fatal objections to the Broadway-Lexington avenue route have always been its ex¬ pense, the wasteful duplication it involved of existing means of communication, and the fact that it was planned for in¬ dependent operation; aud the Record and Guide has always believed that the commission should have tried first of all to reach some agreement with the Interborougb Company for a lower West Side and an upper East Side extension. But all efforts in that direction have failed, chiefly because the directors of the Interborougb Company have been blind, and the Public Service Commission could only see one thing. The comparatively reasonable proposals of the company have come too late as a substitute for the Broadway-Lexing¬ ton avenue route—although possibly at a later date they may be considered as a supplement thereto. THE new proposals of the Interborougb Company, have been described as "comparatively reasonable" and so they are, but in all probability, they will never be accepted unless modified in some details. The company is prepared to accept a practically indeterminate franchise and the principle of a division of profits, but in otlier respects the terms proposed are less acceptable. The city is to find all the money necessitated by the new construction; it is to as¬ sume all the risks of the enterprise and will be liable for any deficit in operating expenses, interest and sinking fund charges, and it is to get only one-half of the profits. The company generously offers the city all the profits during the flrst five years, when in all probability there would not be any profits at all. The company takes no risk, because the city guarantees the interest on any money it spends for equipment; it takes all the increased income, which the pres¬ ent subway will obtain by reason of the extensions; and yet if there are any profits the company is to receive half of them. In order to make the proposition a fair one, the com¬ pany should share with the city the responsibility for any deficit, and it is improbable that the local authorities would accept the proposal of the Interborougb Company on any other basis. Another cause of difiiculty will be the con¬ struction of the road witti the city's money. This provision would not cause any trouble, provided either the Broadway- Lexington avenue route is not built, or provided that in case it is built, the money is furnished by tbe lessee. But if the money for the construction of the Broadway-Lexington ave¬ nue route is to be furnished by the city, no other subway construction involving the use of municipal credit can be undertaken until after the Tri-borough route is completed aud is being profitably operated. That route is estimated to cost about ?loO,(IOO,000. The city has $00,000,000 avail¬ able for construction. Possibly it could raise the whole $130,000,000 during the next five years. But certainly it could not raise any more than $130,000,000. It stands to reason consequently either that some of the new subways must be built by private capital, or that tbe city must be content to build one subway at a time. We are curious to see how soon the inexorability of this alternative will pene¬ trate the minds of the local authorities. PRACTICALLY ever since the publication of the Record and Guide was begun, over forty-two years ago, an agitation has been carried ou in its columns for the extension of Seventh avenue to Varick street and the widening of Varick street to its junction with West Broadway. Now after all these years, a Board of Estimate has finally been elected -^ith enough common sense to understand the necessity for this change in the street plan of Greenwich village, and enough initiative to adopt the plan. It is one of the few desirable street improvements in Manhattan, whose cost is not prohibitory and the benefit of which will far ex¬ ceed the expense involved. In the opinion of the Record and Guide the benefit to the whole Borough of Manhattan will far exceed any increase in value which will accrue to the local property-owners; and for that reason we believe that a larger proportion of the whole expense should have been borne by the City Treasury, When the assessment comes to be distributed over the property benefitted or supposed to be benefitted, the owners of local real estate will find that their gains wiU be pretty well counterbalanced by their losses. The Elm street improvement was ruinous in its re¬ sults to some of the property-owners supposed to be bene¬ fitted. But, however, local property-owners will fare the advantages to the whole borough are indubitable. New York will obtain what it has long needed very badly—a thorough¬ fare in a comparatively central situation on the West Side leading from the heart of the up-town business district to the heart of the down-town business district. At present Third avenue and the Bowery are too far east, and Hudson street and Eighth avenue too far west. But the new Seventh avenue- Varick street combination is central; it is convenient and it will accommodate an enormous amount of vehicular trafiic. It will probably become the favorite route of people, who travel up aud down town in motor-cars. Of even greater importance is the opportunity which the new avenue will offer for a quickly and economically operated subway. Ex¬ press trains can run from 33d street to Canal street with¬ out a single stop in only a few minutes, and this fact will unquestionably consolidate the position of Greeley Square as the up-town business centre. While the financial district will, of course, never be shifted, it may be confidently antici¬ pated that little by little a subordinate financial district will be established up-town with its center in and about 34th street and Broadway. Certain firms which can do business uptown will find it to their interest and convenience to move, and it will gradually be discovered that other firms can follow their example with advantage to their business and to the comfort of their patrons and employees. The full effect of this migration will not be felt in less than fifteen or twenty years, but something of the kind is plainly foreshadowed. Finally, it is to be hoped that some arrange¬ ment can be made with the Metropolitan Street Railway Company to run a line of surface cars all the way down Seventh avenue. Street cars will be essential for the busi¬ ness development of the new avenue, because the nearest trolley routes on the east and west are too far away. IT is a significant fact that the Bush Terminal Co, has found it necessary to establish local distributing stations in Manhattan for the benefit of its tenants in South Brook¬ lyn. Those tenants have a large number of customers in Man¬ hattan. The existing means of expressing freight to these customers is costly and slow, and this fact makes it diffi¬ cult for the Bush Company to rent its space to firms which do any considerable business in Manhattan. The conse¬ quence is that a series of fire-proof buildings are to be erec-