Category Archives: Real Estate

High Costs of NY Construction

The high cost of construction in New York long been an undisputed fact.  But now – with two schools being built at the same time in neighboring states (one in New York and one in New Jersey), the exceptionally high price of New York construction is being evidenced even more noticeably. 

The Bronx school – serving elementary age students – will be built next to the South Bronx Educational Complex and will feature four floors, 15 regular classrooms, 2 district special ed classrooms, a reading room, speech resource rooms, 4 re-K classrooms and 3 kindergarten classrooms. That is costing approximately $70m

The Jersey City School – BelovED Charter High School – is expanding 53,000 square feet to serve a further 480 students will cost around $12.5m. This means that per square foot, the school expansion in New York is more than $1,500 per square foot and the New Jersey one totals just $250 per square foot.

Even though the New Jersey school is run privately it received tax-exempt bonds to finance its construction using local labor and wages. Co-founder and head of marketing at  Stephen Smith Real Estate, a New York based real estate firm said:

“The city is very difficult to work with. The pool of contractors and vendors is not as large as in private construction. High cost in construction is a problem at every level of government in New York. And there seems to no interest from politicians in understanding these high costs.”

Indeed, it does appear that New York construction costs are ranked as some of the highest in the world.

Dayton Kingery on Staying Active While Staying Safe

The health regulations and recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19 are constantly changing. But one message has remained consistent throughout: remaining physically active is important for the long-term health of both the body and mind.

Dayton Kingery, a Connecticut native and fitness enthusiast, says that the real estate market in his area is busier than ever. “People are looking for safe ways to be outdoors and be active. Nobody wants to be cooped up in their small city apartment. They want to escape the virus and the deserted city streets. Here we have more space and plenty of outdoor venues for exercise and exploration.”

Dayton Kingery- deserted city streets
Dayton Kingery says city dwellers are heading toward the suburbs in search of safety and space

People from across New York, who own or rent summer properties in Connecticut, say that riding out the lockdown orders, social distancing regulations, and work-from-home expectations is much easier in less densely populated areas. “Bike riding has always been a popular form of transportation in the city,” Kingery says, “but now it has become a form of relaxation and self-care.”

Dayton Kingery bike trails
Dayton Kingery recommends cycling as a safe and fun activity

Longtime Connecticut residents and other city “escapees” should all consider taking up a new hobby or activity; these pursuits are important ways to combat loneliness, remain mindful, and stay busy. Kingery recommends enjoying the many hiking trails, walking paths, and nature reserves across the state and taking in as much of the great outdoors as possible.

Dayton Kingery- nature trails
Exploring local parks and being outdoors is key to wellness, according to Kingery

Mom and Pop Stores: Do They Exist in NY?

It’s common knowledge that small, individually owned businesses—affectionately named “mom and pop shops”—have been replaced by large franchises.

New York, like many big cities, has experienced this trend. Rising real estate costs have driven out many small business owners. As these stores vanish, they often take personal histories with them.

One NY couple, Karla and James Murray, have been documenting this evolution through a project titled Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York City. This couple have compiled pictures and interviews of mom and pop stores since the 1990s.

“And sadly in 2018, it’s over 80 percent that are closed now that are included in the book,” Karla says sadly.

The couple have also created a sculptural installation of mom and pop stores inside Seward Park in NYC.

Other New Yorkers, who develop friendly connections with personnel at larger chain stores, are unfazed by this phenomenon. “Some franchising gets a bad rap, but that person is still a small-business owner,” said John Armstrong, the owner of the franchising consulting firm FranNet of New York City. “They’re still putting in their capital, time and effort — they’re just going a different route.”

Manhattan for Rent

Office leasing for Manhattaners is finally becoming easier.  Landlords are offering significantly sweeter deals these days to make it more attractive for business people to find space to lease.  This is a response to companies reducing the space they want to rent as well as the addition of new buildings throughout New York.

The Savills Studley Report showed that in the last three months there was a 32 percent increase in Manhattan leasing to 9.1 million square feet (substantially greater than the historical 7.5 million average). As such, asking rents dropped 2.2 percent in Q3 2017 to $73.21 per square foot.

Recent Business Transactions

It is hoped that by June – 18 months early – the purchase of Citigroup’s $2 billion headquarters (Tribeca’s 388-390 Greenwich Street) will be completed. SL Green is already the largest office building in New York and will use the money it receives from the sale – around $1.8 billion in proceeds – to pay back part of a corporate credit line, retiring the property’s $1.45 billion mortgage.

Citigroup will be charged a $94 million fee since it is terminating its lease so much earlier than scheduled.  It started consolidation of its offices into the buildings after giving up its 399 Park Avenue headquarters, located in Manhattan.

In other news, blockchain startup Digital Asset Holdings (DAH) announced its most recent achievement in bolstering transaction privacy.  With its procurement of Elevance digital Finance AG (technology firm that has produced a service giving fiscal bodies the capacity to “model and executive with certainty and finality”), DAH will be better equipped to efficiently serve its customers via its very own Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML), which goes over and above the smart contracts protocol that self-executes contractual negotiations for it.