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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 87, no. 2241: February 25, 1911

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February 25, 1911. RECORD AND GUIDE 345 ESTABUSHED^ y^ARCH 21^"^ I66S. Dented TO !^LEsTJyT.BuiLDl>'G%C^n-EeTURE,KotlsaJOLDDEGORAT10lf. Bi:sri^ESS Alb Themes of GEfJERAl lf/TEi\Es"r, PRICE PER YEAR IN ADVANCE EIGHT DOLLARS Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET "Published Every Saturday By THE RECOKD AND GUIDE CO. President, CLINTON W, SWEET Treasurer. F. W. DODGE Vice-Pves. & Genl. Mgr,, H. W, DESMOND Secretary, F. T. MIDLER Noa. 11 to 15 East 24th Street, New l^ork City (Telephone, Madison Square, 4430 to 4133.) "Entered at ilia Post Office at Ncio York, X. Y.. as accond-class n-.citcr." Copjrishtod. 1911. hj Tha Record ut Guide Co. Vol. LXXXVII. FEBRUARY ■2r>. 1011. No. 2241 RELATION BETWEEN LOFTS AND TENEMENTS. A CERTAIN firm of real estate operators, who have in their list of properties no less than six hundred stores, lofts and tenements, which are situated in sections repre¬ senting nearly every part of Mauhattan Island, report as an indication of renting conditions that the proportion of vacancies in their list is hut two per cent. While elevator apartments and the larger Ioft huildings are not included in the list, a very satisfactory state of affairs for other classes of buildings is plainly disclosed. Renting conditions could scarcely be better, as conservative operators and investors cal¬ culate on a larger loss than this. The probability of an early resumption of building operations in tenement houses of the cheaper sort is a natural deduction under the cir¬ cumstances, though the state pf the real estate sales market is a factor to be considered by intending builders. One of the strong influences that have been at work to bring about this result has not heen so apparent as others. During the years that have intervened since the depression of 1907 there has been a cessation in building tenements of the non- elevator description, and also of the smaller lofts; but there has also been in the same period a very large increase In the business of erecting loft huildings of the largest size and most expensive quality. An estimate of the average capacity of modern twelve-story loft buildings, such as have been erected in the new manufacturing district west of Broadway, in the Twenties, is that when fully occupied they accommo¬ date nearly a thousand workers each. The process of ten¬ anting these huge workshops and salesrooms does not mean merely a shifting of manufacturers from one section of the city to another, as some may suppose. It means, what is of more importance to real estate interests, first, an ex¬ pansion of business on the part of firms who have long heen engaged here; second, the setting-up of new concerns, and third, the removal of other textile concerns from various parts of the country to New York City, together with a large immi¬ gration of working people from other cities and countries to this center. Thus, every Ioft building erected means more workers to be employed and supplied with habitations, and eventually, if not immediately, more tenement houses to be erected. It does not mean, necessarily, more congestion in the old tenements on far East Side, because the financial and social condition of factoiy people has so improved that a five- cent fare is not the formidable obstacle to travel that it once was. Trade unionism. State laws and the uplifting power of the American spirit are doing wonders for the factory workers of New York. THE CITY'S GROWTH. VARIOUS predictions have recently been made that New York City will not hereafter maintain the rate of growth in business and population which has been charac¬ teristic of it hitherto. It is pointed out that the city is not keeping its proportional share of the expansion in for¬ eign trade, that immigrants will be diverted to foreign ports, and that even of the local growth a larger fraction will hereafter go across the Hudson River to New Jersey. The Record and Guide cannot see any reason for taking these despondent predictions very seriously. In all probability, the increase in the population and business of New York will not be as considerable in the future as it has been in the past; but if so, the decrease in the percentage of growth will merely be the local reflection of a slower rate of busi¬ ness expansion throughout the whole country. There is every reason to believe that New York's rate of increase in population will continue to be about double that of all th& United States. The city may lose certain of its advantages over othei' manufacturing and commercial centers, but what it loses in seme respects it is just as likely to gain in others. There is no American city whose situation in the economic system of the whole country is so well established. No im¬ portant tendency of business can be pointed out which will deprive it of its distinction as the commercial and financial metropolis of the country. It is true, no doubt, that certain other seaports are taking away from New York a fraction of the foreign trade which it has hitherto enjoyed; but there are good reasons for believing that this tendency may be cheeked. The possibilities of New York as a seaport have never been fully developed. At present the handling of export business on the waterfront is unnecessarily ex¬ pensive, but when improvements now being planned are completed the position of New York as a competitor for the export trade should be decidedly improved. The further de¬ velopment of the South Brooklyn-system of docks and ware¬ houses, and the eventual undertaking of the great improve¬ ments planned for Jamaica harbor, will both tend to keefi down the cost of handling export freight at this port; and the same result will, of course, be accomplished by the carrying out of Commissioner Tomkins' plan for the efficient development of the Hudson River waterfront in Manhattan, It should be remembered, also, that an increasing proportion of our foreign trade will consist of manufactured goods, which will be produced in factories easily accessible to New York, This port, consequently, will never in the future b^ so badly situated as a competitor for export business as it 1^ at present, and the improvements destined to be rhade iii' the machinery for the local handling of freight will be a great help to the future of the port. Undoubtedly the com¬ petition of other ports will be more, rather than less, severe; but New York will be in a better, rather than a worse, condition to hold its own. ; --------------------,-------------------- 1- (■ THE TREND OF THE TIMES. IN these times, when investors and builders are expected to be more discriminating than during boom years, in the selection of plans and locations, it is important to note the good results attending the construction and renting of small apartments. This is said to apply very generally in apartment house construction, but more particularly to the noni* elevator houses. Under former conditions the disposition; both on the part of builders and renters, was to recognize the five-room apartment as the one of minimum size; but the discovery has been made that the four-room apartment, under the State laws governing the size of the rooms, and under the natural demands of the age for improvement, is acceptable to a far larger number of families than is geuy erally supposed. The higher rents have presumably had an' effect in giving rise to the marked popularity of smaller apartments than would have been considered years ago; but it will be evident to anyone who will observe conditions irl houses of first-rate quality, as well as in those whicli are tenanted by people of very moderate means, that the amount of the rent is not the all-important consideration. There are many couples, for example, occupying four-room apart¬ ments in fashionable neighborhoods, who could, for the same price, have much larger suites in localities but little less desirable. The same standard of taste applies to houses. There are various reasons besides the pecuniary one, and it has therefore become the business of builders and operators who would be successful in New York to ascertain the new public needs and tastes and respond to them when it pays to do so. The general tendency of life in New York is to minimize household cares; to live not less luxuriously, -but within a smaller compass. Tbe keeping up of large estab¬ lishments is being more and more reserved for suburban situations, so that the distinction between city ways of living and the ways of living in the country is becoming more and more pronounced. At the same time, there is a steady improvement in the manner of living among the tenement classes, and the demand for smaller apartments is said to be an effect of higher aspirations in some quarters rather than the consequence of the opposite. Renting agents are in a better position to perceive the trend of the times than anybody else, and their advice when a building campaign is being planned is of the highest value to those who must keep abreast of the times.