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Real estate record and builders' guide: [v. 89, no. 2287]: January 13, 1912

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INFLUENCES THAT MAKE FOR GROWTH IN BROOKLYN, Rapid Increase of Population and Expansion of Business Assured by Coming Water Front and Subway Improvements—A Shopping Center for Long island. THE local influences that make for activity in Brooklyn real estate are just now especially notable and interest¬ ing. The indications are that these In¬ fluences will materially alter the tradi¬ tional lines of development of the bor¬ ough. Since consolidation, Brooklyn with its 50,000 acres of land, much of it unoccupied and essentially su¬ burban, has grown most rapidly as a residential subdi\-ision of the city. Its business and industrial interests have expanded relatively slowly. But the great natural resources of its water¬ front are now being brought into ade¬ quate use by modern improvements, as¬ suring to the borough an expansion of in¬ dustry comparable with its growth of population. The growth of population, like the ex¬ pansion of industry, is bound to be on an enlarged scale. It lias been achieved in the past despite an isolated transporta¬ tion system. That system will presently be extended into the heart of the city. Passengers on the Brooklyn elevated lines, as well as on the new Brooklyn subways, will be taken direct to their destination in Manhattan at a single fare and without change of cars. For the greater part of Brooklyn the cost of transportation will be reduced from 10 cents to 5. This will mean an increase in the capital value of all the real estate affected by the change. The rate of growth of population and industry will be multiplied by the com¬ ing revolution in subway and elevated transit and by the equally radical change in waterfront and railway shipping facili¬ ties. To these new factors bearing on the prosperity of the borough will be added a third of hardly less importance, namely, the determination of its leading citizens to co-operate in securing a harmonious physical development of the borough on" a plan devised hy recognized authorities on city planning. Brooklyn, in a word, will be far more pleasant and convenient to live in than it has been, and it wil! offer warehouse, factory and shipping faci¬ lities unparalleled by any other waterfront neighborhood not already occupied. Recent Factory Exitaiision. To estimate what this will signify in the way of growth, one must bear in mind that the density of population per acre in Brooklyn is less than one-fifth of the density in Manhattan, and that its per capita land value is but $475 as against $1,201 in the central borough. Further help toward such an estimate will he obtained from a comparison of the State and Federal census figures for the first half of the last decade with those for the second half. Under the infiuence of such slight changes in transportation as the enlargement of the carrying ca¬ pacity of the Brooklyn Bridge, the open¬ ing of the Williamsburg Bridge and the extension of the present subway to the Flatbush avenue station, the rate of growth of population rose from 16,5 per cent, during the first half of the decade to 20.2 per cent, in the second hal!;. Dur¬ ing the decade as a whole lire rate of growth exceeded that of the greater city. Meanwhile, encouraged by the new freight facilities introduced or promised hy the Pennsylvania, Long Island and New Haven railroads, and by the creative ideas applied to waterfront development Ijy the Bush Terminal Company, the number of factory establishments,; in¬ stead of showing a loss of 2.S per cent, as was the case during the first half oE the decade, advanced during the second half at the remarkable rate of 25 per cent, as against 24 per cent, for the city as a whole. As evidence that the municipal admin¬ istration realizes the importance of the Brooklyn waterfront to the further in¬ dustrial expansion of the city and is in earnest" about the projects which it has in- hand for its development, one may refer; .to. a special report just submitted to Mayor Gaynor by Dock Commissioner Calvin Tomkins. The report is occa¬ sioned by the approaching completion of the city's new pier at 3od street, whicli is now being shedded and will be finished in May. Mr. Tomkins recommends that the municipal pier be used as part of the existing waterfront improvements at South Brooklyn, He suggests that the city consult with the Bush Terminal Company, the New Tork Dry Dock Com¬ pany, the Erie Basin enterprises, and railroad and steamship interests with a \-iew to organizing a joint freight ter¬ minal corporation. To this corporation, he suggests, the city should lease the ood street pier at a rental calculated lo" return 5 per cent, on the investment. Mr. Tomkins' plan further provides for a division between the city and the leas¬ ing corporation of tlie profit realized over and above an agreed maximum profit to the corporation. The Public Service Com¬ mission or the Interstate Commerce Com¬ mission is to have control over the rates charged by the corporation and is lo in¬ sure publicity for its affairs. The cor¬ poration is to have preference as a lessee for the additional docks which the city proposes to construct on its extensive waterfront adjacent to the 33d street pier. AA'nt erf rent Improvements. It is also recommended that Second ave¬ nue and the New York Connecting Rail¬ road be extended over the Gowanus Creek to the New York Dry Dock Company's property at Atlantic Basin and that the city acquire property for docks, a general railroad yard and car approaches, all to be leased to the proposed freight terminal corporation, Mr, Tomkins advises the insertion of a recapture clause, to be¬ come effective upon an agreed indemnifi¬ cation if tlie city takes back its property. The general purport of his recommen¬ dations is to avoid the entry of the city into a mutually injurious competition with the private interests now engaged in supplying waterfront sliipping, warehouse and factory facilities. The 33d street pier is the longest pier in the city. It meets the requirements of deep sea craft of a class lor which there is no ade¬ quate docking elsewhere in the city. The shore and water conditions at this point are exceptional. The neighborliood has a growing industrial colony of recent origin, the development of which would be fur- tliered by the adoption of the plan recom¬ mended by Commissioner Tomkins. Tlie prosperity of that colony would be cer¬ tain to react not only on Brooklyn but upon the entire city. The extensive waterfront of Brooklyn embraces several industrially distinct sec¬ tions. Furthest south is that containing the factories and piers of the Bush Ter¬ minal Company and the giant municipal pier at 33d street. Next in order comes the Gowanus Canal region, with its coal pockets and Its brick and lumber yards. Between the Gowanus Basin and Manhattan Bridge are to he found ware¬ houses, grain elevators and adjacent piers, where freight steamers from West Indian and South American ports load and un¬ load their cargoes. North of Manhattan Bridge as far as Newtown Ci-eek the river front is given over to big industrial en¬ terprises that extend inland for several blocks—light and power plants, refiner¬ ies, paint works, the Wallabout Market and the Navy Yard, Under the traffic conditions which pre¬ vail in the harbor this great stretch of Brooklyn waterfront may be said to be separated into two main divisions, with the Gowanus Basin as their dividing line. The waterfront south of the basin is espe¬ cially adapted for sea-going and Hud.=on River traffic. The waterfront north of and including the Gowanus Basin is more convenient for Canal Barge. East River and Sound traffic. The State has fixed upon the Gowanus Basin as one of the terminals of the Barge Canal. This se¬ lection is in harmony with the ideas of the Federal, State and city oflicials who have m charge the interests of the port of New lork, ideas founded on a recogni¬ tion of the necessity of setting apart dif¬ ferent sections of the waterfront for dif- erent kinds of traffic in order to relieve the present congestion of the harbor. In conformity with these ideas the New York State commission which has been appomted to investigate port conditions and pier extensions in the harbor will probably recommend the adoption of the suggestion made by the Secretary of the Navy that the Brooklyn Navy A'ard be discontinued. The abandonment of the yard would enable the city to provide wharfage for large numbers of Sound steamers and other craft engaged in local traft'ic that are at present forced to find dock room further down the East River and on the Manhattan side. The chief argument against the proposed abandon¬ ment is the fact that many laborers em¬ ployed in the Navy Yard have invested their savings in small homes nearby It is evident, however, that these invest¬ ments would not be impaired in value as the establishment of a great and populous mduslrial colony in place of the Navy Yard would create an extensive demand tor housmg. The New York State com¬ mission is composed of State Engineer John A, Bensel, Dock Commissioner Cal¬ vin Tomkins. and R. A. G. Smith. One of the chief hindrances in the way of the establishment of certain important classes of manufacturing in Brooklyn has been the absence of adequate facilities for the transportation of freight within the city. A largaproportion of the manufactur¬ ed products of tlie city is sold in the whole¬ sale and retail stores of Manhattan. The cost of carrying such products from Brooklyn or from any of the other out- lymg boroughs has heretofore been vir¬ tually prohibitive. The first important step towards reducing it may be said to have been taken by the Bush Terminal Company, which applied the co-operative Idea not only to the housing of factories, but to the distribution of their products. Ag yet. however, no public measures have been taken to bring about the diffusion of manufacturers throughout the city, but it IS recognized that to bring it about a belt Ime freight railway, connecting the vari¬ ous sections of the waterfront of the har¬ bor with the mercantile district of Man¬ hattan, is necessary. A project of this character is now under consideration by the city authorities. The railway would probably pay a handsome return on the investment In the form of increased tax¬ able values. In any event, it would tend to check the present emigration of indus¬ tries and population to New Jersey. The chief gainer from the railway would of course be the borough of Brooklyn with its considerable areas of unoccupied land available for factory sites, areas separ¬ ated hy no great distance from the mer¬ cantile district of Manhattan. Residentiai Prospeets. Turning from the industrial to the resi¬ dential prospects of the borough one finds the subway situation to be the most im¬ portant of the local factors. The city is now building the Fourth avenue subway m Brooklyn a four-track road four miles long. The contracts for this work aggre¬ gate about $ir!.000,000. 11 has been under way since November, 1900, and the sub¬ way will be finished during the current year. The city is also building the Man¬ hattan end of the Brooklyn loop subway, a four-track road, a mile and a half long, connecting the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. This work began in 1007, and is finished with the exception of one section, the end of which lies be¬ neath the- new Municipal Building. This subway will cost about $10,000,000 and will also be completed in 1012. Both of these subways will form part of the Broadway-Lexington avenue route,