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NYC Multifamily Dollar Volume In October Surpasses $1 Billion For Second Consecutive Month

New York City multifamily dollar volume in October surpassed $1 billion for the second consecutive month and only the fourth time this year, according to Ariel Property Advisors’ Multifamily Month in Review: New York City for October.

Multifamily Month In Review

Dollar volume in the multifamily market reached $1.173 billion in October, a 59 percent jump from $735.818 million in October 2013, however, transactions declined 30 percent to 57 from 81 in October of last year, and building volume declined 12 percent to 99 from 113 during the same period. October followed an unusually robust September that recorded 74 transactions comprised of 151 buildings totaling $1.848 billion.

“The New York City multifamily market saw a strong kickoff to the fourth quarter and we’re expecting the year to end on a high note,” said Shimon Shkury, president of Ariel Property Advisors. “We’re aware of a number of major deals that are scheduled to close before December 31st and a multitude of new contract signings suggest that this momentum will carry into 1Q2015.”

The following is a breakdown of the October 2014 volume by submarket:

Northern Manhattan. Northern Manhattan led the city in multifamily volume in October as the sub-market saw 23 buildings trade across 14 transactions totaling $554.773 million in gross consideration. The $465 million sale of a 1,677 unit multifamily portfolio in East Harlem played a major part in October’s activity. The price translates to $245 per square foot and $277,608 per unit. In Washington Heights, an elevatored building located at 672-674 St. Nicholas Avenue transacted for $13.5 million, or $320 per square foot.

Manhattan. Manhattan saw a 19 percent increase in dollar volume year-over-year to $299.440 million as 14 buildings traded across 10 transactions. Of note, two mixed-use buildings located on the corner of 9th Avenue and 14th Street in Chelsea that sold for a combined $105 million, and includes some development rights. Investors are expecting major local attractions such as the High Line and Chelsea Market to continue to drive rents higher.

Brooklyn. Brooklyn experienced a solid month with 18 transactions comprised of 34 buildings totaling $168.079 million in gross consideration. A 46-unit elevatored building located at 1030 Carroll Street in Crown Heights sold for $9 million, which represents $220 per square foot and a cap rate under 4 percent. In East Williamsburg, a portfolio of three contiguous newly-constructed walk-up buildings at 168-172 Meserole Street sold for $15.25 million, which translates to just under $700 per square foot.

Queens. Queens saw 14 buildings trade across seven transactions totaling $116.503 million in gross consideration. The most significant deal was the $88.5 million sale of a newly constructed 214-unit elevatored building located at 12-27 Broadway in Astoria. The building sold for $613 per square foot, which represents a 40 percent increase from similar new construction buildings that sold last year.

The Bronx. The Bronx had a quiet month as it saw eight transactions comprised of 14 buildings totaling $33.875 million in gross consideration. In Bedford Park, a 55-unit walk-up building sold for $6.2 million, which translates to $113 per square foot. Another walk-up building in the Kingsbridge Heights section of the borough sold for $5 million, or $149 per square foot.

For the six months ended in October 2014, the average monthly transaction volume increased to 65 transactions per month. The average monthly dollar volume increased to $997.825 million.

The multifamily transactions included in the analysis occurred at a minimum sales price of $1 million, with a minimum gross area of 5,000 square feet, and with a minimum of 10 units.

More information is available from Mr. Shkury at 212-544-9500, ext. 11, or sshkury@arielpa.com. For a copy of the report, please see http://arielpa.com/newsroom/report-MFMIR-Oct-2014.

Our Observations For the Week

NYCHA has agreed to sell a 50 percent stake in nearly 900 Section 8 apartments to L+M Development Partners and BFC Partners, the WSJ reports. NYCHA and the developers will form a partnership that will own the properties but NYCHA will continue to own the land and retain the right to remove the developers from managing the properties if dissatisfied. NYCHA will receive $150 million initially from the developers, another $100 million over the next two years, and an additional $100 million in revenue over the next 15 years. The developers will invest $100 million to renovate the complexes, which are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan, and will be able to sell tax-exempt bonds and use federal tax credits under a 30-year agreement.

City Planning Commissioner Carl Weisbrod said capital budget requests from city agencies are being reviewed by the de Blasio administration through the lenses of “equity, growth, resiliency, sustainability, and geographic coordination,” Crain’s reports. The goal is to encourage development in underused areas near mass transit and to ensure that the infrastructure including schools, open space, sewers, the transportation network, and libraries can accommodate population growth. The commissioner identified the neighborhoods of East New York, Coney Island, the eastern half of the Bronx, and the Sunnyside rail yards in Queens as possible areas for growth.

The city’s proposal to upzone a new Bronx neighborhood called “Cromwell Jerome” and target it for affordable housing development has been met with resistance from some local residents, Next City reports. A recent outreach event conducted by the Department of City Planning was disrupted by protesters concerned that gentrification will price out longtime residents. Other barriers to development include the elevated rail line running down the middle of Jerome Avenue, which has pillars that make it difficult for pedestrians to cross the street, and the possibility that jobs will be lost if auto repair shops along the commercial corridor are forced to close.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. said he wants the borough’s housing policy to include new development for professionals and skilled workers who will leave the Bronx and “take their employment status and their salaries with them” if they aren’t offered housing alternatives, citylimits.org reports. “We don’t subscribe to the notion that gentrification has to be about pushing one community out to bring another one in,” he said, adding that there are a handful of people who oppose change and want the borough to stay as it was in the 1990s. Between 2005 and 2013, the share of Bronx households making more than $100,000 a year increased from 15 percent to 20 percent.

The president of the Chamber of Commerce in Sunnyside, Queens, and other local residents are circulating a petition opposing the development of Sunnyside Yards because the local infrastructure (subways and schools) won’t be able to handle the influx of new residents, the Sunnyside Post reports. Former Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff has proposed a 3.1 million-square-foot convention center over the rail yards with 14,000 residential units, half of them affordable. The chairman of Amtrak Anthony Coscia also said his company was considering developing sections of the yards.

Travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has named Queens as its top U.S. travel destination for 2015. In an article announcing the ranking, Lonely Planet praised the borough’s emerging hipness; global food culture that has produced a wide array of world cuisines for food lovers; its art scene that includes the Queens Museum and Museum of Moving Image; and the beaches of the Rockaways.

The Landmarks Preservation Commission has designated 40 blocks of Ridgewood, Queens, containing 990 buildings as part of the Central Ridgewood Historic District, Brownstoner Queens reports. “Representing a cohesive collection of speculative urban architecture, the row houses in the Central Ridgewood Historic District retain a high level of architectural integrity and represent an important part of housing development in New York City,” according to the Landmarks Preservation Commission. It is the third historic district for Ridgewood and the 11th for Queens.

Although no longer the domain of the counterculture and punk movement of the 1970s, the East Village still attracts a large share of young people with almost 40 percent of its 72,000 residents between the ages of 20 and 34, according to a NY Times profile of the neighborhood. Destination nightclubs, destination celebrity chef restaurants, and chain retailers have replaced local mom and pop shops in the neighborhood, which is bounded by 14th Street and East Houston, the Bowery, and East River. Rents in the area include studios from $1,850 to $2,300 a month; one bedrooms from $2,300 to over $4,000; and two bedrooms starting at $3,500 but typically more than $4,500.

Apple signed a long-term lease for a store at 247 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the NY Post reports. Renovations for the 20,000-square-foot store, which will be Apple’s first in Brooklyn, are expected to be completed in April 2015. An opening date hasn’t been announced.

The Elliman Report released its November rental report for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
• In Manhattan, median rents rose 4.4 percent to $3,235 in November 2014 compared to November 2013, and average rents increased 2.6 percent to $3,993. Year-over-year, the listing inventory fell 11.4 percent to 5,426 and the vacancy rate fell to 2.31 percent. Year-over-year in the top 10 percent of the market, the number of new rentals increased 19.7 percent to 286, median prices increased 1.9 percent to $8,661, and average prices rose 2.2 percent to $10,585.
• In Brooklyn, median rents rose 5.3 percent to $2,948 in November 2014 compared to November 2013, and average rents increased 6.5 percent to $3,259. The listing inventory jumped 30.2 percent to 1,959 year-over-year.
• In Queens, median rents declined 8.2 percent to $2,525 in November 2014 compared to November 2013, and average rents declined 9.5 percent to $2,681. The listing inventory for November 2014 totaled 242.

U.S. Gains 321,000 New Jobs in November

This week we’re highlighting positive macroeconomic news, a ruling by the Court of Appeals on rent overcharges, and several new city housing and economic development initiatives.

U.S. payrolls grew by 321,000 in November and the economy is expected to add more new jobs this year than any time since 1999, the WSJ reports. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 percent. Of the new jobs created in November, 86,000 were in professional and business services, including 23,000 temp jobs. In addition, nonfarm payrolls for both October and September were revised upward by 243,000 and 271,000, respectively.

Bank lending for multifamily and commercial properties in the U.S. increased by $15.5 billion in the third quarter to a total of $1.4 trillion, according to an analysis by Chandan Economics. Mortgages for multifamily properties accounted for more than half of the new lending in the third quarter. In addition, the default rate on multifamily and commercial mortgage portfolios fell to 1.3 percent in the third quarter, which is the lowest level since the second quarter of 2008.

Economic growth in the Federal Reserve’s New York District “has picked up to a moderate pace” in recent weeks, according to the Fed’s Beige Book. Since the October 15th report, the service and manufacturing sectors have improved; labor market conditions have continued to strengthen; general merchandise retail sales have continued to trend up moderately; the office markets have been generally steady; the market for industrial space has strengthened; tourism has remained robust; but auto sales and the housing market have shown signs of softening. Finally, banks report increased demand for commercial mortgages, narrowing loan spreads for all types of loans, and continued declines in delinquency rates.

Wall Street workers who were awarded deferred bonuses of company stock during the financial crisis will be able to sell those shares in January, Crain’s reports. In 2009, Goldman Sachs gave employees $3.6 billion worth of shares that have risen in value to $5.1 billion because of a 40 percent jump in the share price. In 2012, Morgan Stanley granted $1 billion in stock that has doubled in value. Last year, Wall Street-related activity accounted for $13.2 billion or 19 percent of the state’s tax revenue, and $3.2 billion or 7 percent of the city’s tax revenue.

A ruling by the New York Court of Appeals will allow New York City tenants to recover rent over charges on a class-wide basis, Legal Newsline reports. “The plaintiffs’ claims arose out of this court’s decision in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Props., in which the court held that a landlord receiving the benefit of a J–51 tax abatement may not deregulate any apartment in the building pursuant to the luxury decontrol laws,” according to the article.

Affordable housing advocates are asking that $1 billion of the settlement funds the state received from the country’s largest mortgage servicers be set aside to help develop and preserve affordable housing. The funding could be used to protect Mitchell-Lama buildings that are eligible to be removed from the program by providing owners with the funds to upgrade their buildings while maintaining the units as affordable.

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development has issued a Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The M/WBE RFQ is part of Building Opportunity, HPD’s multi-pronged initiative aimed at increasing opportunities for M/WBEs to compete to participate in HPD-supported development projects. Though this RFQ, HPD will evaluate and compile a roster of prequalified M/WBE developers with the necessary experience and capacity to develop, maintain, and manage high-quality affordable housing.

Office buildings in Long Island City are attracting major investors and tenants seeking low-cost alternatives to Midtown and Midtown South, the WSJ reports. Vornado Realty Trust announced plans to buy the Center Building, an industrial building converted to office and retail space, for $142 million or 70 percent more than the sellers paid almost two years ago. Last summer, RXR paid about $110 million for the Standard Motors Building, almost three times what it sold for six years ago. In some LIC buildings, offices rent for $30 to $35 a square foot compared to Manhattan where office rents averaged $64.91 in the third quarter.

Broadway Stages, the Brooklyn-based production company that purchased the Atlas Terminal Industrial Park in the Glendale section of Queens, plans to convert existing warehouses at the site into TV and film studios, Brownstoner Queens reports. The property includes 500,000 square feet of building space over 11 acres, 21 buildings, and parking lots. Broadway Stages also plans to create rental space for mom and pop retail businesses. The complex was purchased for $19.5 million.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has targeted several areas in the borough that would be suitable for affordable housing development, the WSJ reports. About 700 units of affordable housing could be built on the parking lot of the Brooklyn Army Terminal in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn. Other potential sites include the Broadway Triangle, 31 acres on the border of Bedford Stuyvesant and Williamsburg that has been in litigation since it was rezoned for residential development in 2009; Gowanus Green, a proposed 700-unit mixed-income development in an area requiring environmental cleanup; and city-owned parking lots in Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, and Midwood where about 2,000 affordable units could be built.

Oil Prices Fall Below $70 a Barrel for the First Time in Four Years

This week we’re highlighting the falling oil prices, New York City’s recognition as the world’s top financial center, an analysis of the Manhattan office sector, a study of undocumented residents in New York, and updates on local developments.

Oil prices fell below $70 a barrel for the first time in more than four years after OPEC members voted to maintain their current target and produce 30 million barrels of oil a day, the WSJ reports. Oil futures jumped above $110 a barrel earlier this year. Since June, gas prices have dropped from $3.68 a gallon to $2.80 a gallon, which economists estimate is equal to a $75 billion tax cut in the U.S. OPEC members have refused to cut production further because they fear losing income and market share, and noted that a spike in oil prices might incentivize the U.S. to produce more shale oil.

New York City was voted the top financial center in the world by 59 percent of the nearly 300 finance professionals surveyed by Kinetic Partners, Bloomberg News reports. London received 38 percent of the votes. “This shift from just two years ago is a testament to the resilience of the New York market,” said Julian Korea, chief executive officer of the London-based Kinetic. “New York has proven that it can draw and maintain institutions that believe it is the best place to grow their businesses.”

The Costar Group is estimating that more than 14.1 million square feet of office space will be built in Manhattan by 2019, “the most over a five-year period since at least the early 1990s,” the WSJ reports. In the last four years the occupancy of Manhattan office space increased by 4.8 million square feet, compared to an increase of 28 million square feet in the four years ended in 2007. The vacancy rate stood at 8.1 percent at the end of the third quarter, compared with 5.4 percent in 2007.

Of the estimated 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, 873,000 live in New York State, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The majority are from three regions: 35 percent are from Central America, which includes Mexico; 22 percent are from Asia; and 20 percent are from South America. The study found that 65 percent are employed with 19 percent working in the arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and food services sector; 14 percent in construction; 13 percent in educational, health, and social services; and 12 percent in retail trade. It’s unclear how many of these residents will be covered under President Barack Obama\’s executive order, which will allow nearly 5 million illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. without the threat of deportation.

The Bronx nonprofit SOBRO has released another study that nearly doubles the number of residential units planned for a Bronx waterfront development from 2,100 apartments to 4,000 apartments, welcome2thebronx.com reports. Under the plan, the residential space would total 2.8 million square feet; commercial space would total 2.3 million square feet; and community facility space would total 1.0 million square feet. The project is now called the Lower Grand Concourse Waterfront instead of the Special Harlem River Waterfront District.

The five-mile long Grand Concourse in the Bronx is undergoing a revival, the NY Times reports. The six-story primarily Art Deco apartment houses that line the boulevard were built in the 1920s and once housed immigrants escaping the Lower East Side. Today they are attracting residents seeking affordable housing and a 20 minute commute to Grand Central. Along the Grand Concourse, barren lots at East 138th and East 153rd Streets have become urban farms, theater workshops are taking place in Poe Park near East Kingsbridge Road, the Andrew Freeman Home at East 166th Street hosts art exhibits, the Bronx Museum of the Arts offers free admission, and developers that recently bought the Bronx General Post Office at 149th Street are planning a restaurant and retail complex.

The West Side has the High Line and now the founders of a local nonprofit are proposing the Lowline, a subterranean park in a 116-year-old abandoned trolley terminal on the Lower East Side, the AP reports. “Street-level solar collectors would be used to filter the sun about 20 feet down to bedrock, turning the dank, subterranean space into a luminous, plant-filled oasis,” the article said. More than $1 million has been raised for research and design for the project, which is estimated to have a total price tag of $60 million.

If the planned 31-story and 15-story residential towers aren’t built at Pier 6 of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. could “go broke in 10 to 15 years,” according to Regina Myer, president of the nonprofit, which is responsible for maintaining the 1.3-mile waterfront park, Crain’s reports. A local group, the People for Green Space Foundation, has tried to block the new construction contending that the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp. can run the park with income generated from its current projects. Ms. Myer said the group’s financial analysis is full of errors.

Permits have been filed to build a 12-story building with 26 apartments at 269 Fourth Avenue between Garfield Place and First Street in Brooklyn, DNAinfo reports in a round-up of projects on the commercial corridor. Other Fourth Avenue projects include an 11-story, luxury rental at 275 Fourth Avenue and First Street; an 11-story building at 107 Fourth Avenue near Baltic Street; an 11-story building at 153 Fourth Avenue and Douglass Street; a 12- to 14-story doorman building at 470 Fourth Avenue near 11th Street; and an 11-story building with 148 units and retail at 535 Fourth Avenue.

Appeals Court Rules Rent Regulation a “Local Public Assistance Benefit”

This week we’re highlighting the Court of Appeals ruling, the city’s falling unemployment rate, Fed concerns about inflation, and proposed city development proposals.

The Court of Appeals of the State of New York ruled that tenants in rent-regulated apartments can file for bankruptcy without losing their homes, the WSJ reports. “In the 5-2 decision, the court’s majority found that rent-regulation protection was a ‘local public assistance benefit’ protected from bankruptcy, even though it wasn’t specifically listed in a state law enumerating assets exempt from bankruptcy,” according to the article. At the center of the case is an 80-year-old woman whose rent stabilized apartment was considered an asset by the bankruptcy court after she filed for protection in 2011 to escape credit card debt. The woman, who had lived in the two-bedroom unit in the East Village for 50 years, then sold the rights to her apartment for $140,000 to the owner who agreed to allow her to live there for the rest of her life.

New York City’s unemployment rate fell to 6.4 percent in October from 6.8 percent in September, marking the city’s largest three-month rate drop since the state began keeping records in 1976, according to the NY State Labor Department. The city’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent in October 2013. Private sector jobs in New York City grew by 2.5 percent to 87,200 between October 2013 and October 2014. New York State’s unemployment rate is 6.0 percent and the U.S. unemployment rate is 5.8 percent.

Although the nation’s job market is improving faster than expected, Fed policymakers plan to keep interest rates at near zero because of concerns that inflation isn’t rising at a “healthy pace” and fears about possible deflation, the NY Times reports. Inflation has been less than the targeted 2 percent for 29 months and recent declines in energy prices are expected to suppress inflation in the near term. Observers believe the central bank will start raising short-term rates in mid-2015.”

City officials are considering asking the NY State Legislature to increase the current 1 percent tax on housing sales over $1 million and using the revenue to fund affordable housing development, the WSJ reports. The current 1 percent mansion tax generated $259 million for the state in fiscal year 2013. However, Housing Preservation and Development Department Commissioner Vicki Been said when she goes to Albany, she will be pushing for changes to the 421-a city tax break for new development and the J-51 tax break for renovating apartment buildings; strengthening the city’s rent laws; and changing certain tax exemptions, the article said.

The Department of City Planning will study upzoning sections of western Flushing in Queens in addition to East New York and the Cromwell-Jerome neighborhood in the Bronx, Crain’s reports. The goal is to identify neighborhoods that would be suitable for affordable housing development. Rezonings will take between two to three years to plan, review, and implement, according to City Planning Commission Chair Carl Weisbrod.

New York City Council issued a comprehensive report that proposes new approaches to reinvigorating New York’s manufacturing districts as engines of economic opportunity. The report proposes the following long-term goals: a specially zoned Industrial Employment District; a Creative Economy District for technology, media, arts, and design; and a Real Mixed-Use District that includes residential. The report notes that “industrial companies currently employ nearly 350,000 New Yorkers-approximately 10 percent of the city’s private sector workforce. In Brooklyn and Queens, jobs in manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation, warehousing, and utilities pay an average salary of $51,000 annually – more than double the average salary of service sector jobs.”

Elected officials and community leaders who have been meeting with stakeholders in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn for the last 16 months have released a draft framework called “Bridging Gowanus” that provides a framework for development in the neighborhood. City Councilman Brad Lander reports. “Bridging Gowanus” includes the following five core values: investing upfront in the local infrastructure; creating a manufacturing zone to preserve manufacturing businesses and jobs; creating a new “mandatory mixed-use zone” that will require a balance of light industry, artistic, and cultural uses, retail and housing in appropriate locations; preserving and creating affordable housing and requiring mandatory inclusionary zoning for any new development; and taking steps to ensure responsible growth.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and local Councilwoman Margret Chin continue to oppose a residential tower at the South Street Seaport even though the developer, Howard Hughes Corporation, redesigned the proposed project and reduced its size from 650 feet to 494 feet, or 42 stories, Capital reports. The building could be 350 feet tall without special zoning but the developer said the tower as proposed subsidizes planned infrastructure and public improvements (including affordable housing, a public middle school, extension of the East River Esplanade, a new marina, new piers, restoration of the Tin Building, and a market) and has been reduced to the smallest size possible without jeopardizing the project. The Hughes Corporation is already redeveloping Pier 17 but may abandon the proposed tower next to it if more concessions are demanded, the article said.

Barry Diller has announced that his family foundation will provide $130 million toward building a $170 million park near 14th Street on a platform 186 feet off the Hudson River shoreline with a series of wooded nooks and three performance venues, including an amphitheater, the NY Times reports. The project, which has the support of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, will receive an additional $39.5 million from the city, the state and the Hudson River Park Trust. Mr. Diller has also agreed to run the 2.4-acre park and cover its operating expenses for 20 years.

Five Bronx projects were among the 10 largest developments filing for permits in New York City in October, the Real Deal reports. Permits were filed for the following large projects: 848 East 149th Street, the Bronx, a 163-unit, 501,764- square-foot, 14-story affordable housing project; 155 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, a three-story 316,608-square-foot commercial building next to the planned Ferris wheel in St. George; 54 Noll Street, Brooklyn, a 403-unit, eight-story residential building, one of the 10-buildings planned for the Rheingold Brewery complex in Bushwick; 123 Melrose Street, Brooklyn, a 385-unit, eight-story residential building, also part of the Rheingold Brewery complex; 948 Myrtle Avenue, Brooklyn, a 166-unit, 10-story residential building with commercial space; 1825 Boston Road, the Bronx, a 108-unit, eight-story affordable housing building with commercial space; 1680 Pelham Parkway, the Bronx; Stagg Group is building a 130-unit, seven-story residential building; 1440 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan, a 48-unit, seven-story, mixed-use building with retail; 1028 White Plains Road, the Bronx, the NYC School Construction Authority applied for a permit to build a new five-story public school; 1969-1971 Washington Avenue, the Bronx, a 49-unit, 46,597 residential building.

Simone Development Companies officially opened the Throggs Neck Shopping Center in the Ferry Point section of the Bronx at the intersection of Lafayette Avenue and the Hutchinson River Parkway with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by elected officials and community leaders. Anchored by a 165,000+ square-foot Target department store – the retailer’s third Bronx store – the Throggs Neck Shopping Center features over a dozen new stores and restaurants including TJ Maxx, Famous Footwear, Sleepy’s, Petco, Skechers, Metro Optics, BX Sports and Super Wines and Liquors, and coming soon, T-Mobile and Starbucks. Restaurants in the center include Applebee’s, Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Subway and Sarku Japan. The shopping center also includes secure free parking for over 600 cars directly in front of the stores.

Luxury residential development that has been part of the landscape of Long Island City, Astoria, and Flushing for years is now moving into Elmhurst, Queens, the NY Daily News reports. Developers Steve Wu and Harry Miller are transforming the St. John’s Hospital site on Queens Blvd. opposite Queens Center Mall into 150-unit luxury rental apartments that they expect to rent for $45 a foot per, which translates to $2,500 for a one-bedroom. Nearby at the Elm East, a luxury rental completed by Pi Capital in 2013 at 85-55 Broadway, all 83 apartments leased quickly at rents of $40 a foot. Across the street, Pi Capital is building Elm West, a $125 million six-story building with 130 luxury apartments. In addition, a 69-unit residential condo tower at 70-32 Queens Blvd., near the Woodside border is being developed by Bayside-based investor Steve Cheung.

Developers aren’t the only ones who have discovered Queens, renters and buyers seeking value are moving there too, the NY Times reports. Rents are $3,831 for two-bedroom apartments in new developments in Long Island City where more than 10,000 units are planned. Although Long Island City lacks retail, young couples and families appreciate the area’s close proximity to Manhattan. Buyers seeking reasonably priced condos are finding them in Kew Gardens, Forest Hills, Flushing, Jackson Heights, and Elmhurst.

New York City Multifamily Dollar Volume Jumps 111 Percent in September 2014 Compared to September 2013

Multifamily dollar volume jumped 111 percent in September 2014 compared to September 2013, and soared 191 percent compared to the previous month, according to Ariel Property Advisors’ Multifamily Month in Review: New York City for September 2014.

Multifamily Month In Review

In September, New York City saw 71 transactions comprised of 138 buildings totaling $1.790 billion in gross consideration, compared to September 2013, which saw 64 transactions comprised of 143 buildings totaling $849.315 million in gross consideration. In August, 85 buildings traded across 57 transactions totaling $614 million.

“Due to an increase in institutional transactions, multifamily dollar volume in September surged, surpassing the July and August totals combined and contributing to a strong third quarter,” said Shimon Shkury, president of Ariel Property Advisors. “We think the September activity is a harbinger for a very strong fourth quarter.”

The following is a breakdown of the September 2014 volume by submarket:

Manhattan. Manhattan spearheaded the city’s strong month with 20 buildings trading across 15 transactions totaling $1.055 billion in gross consideration. Two Upper East Side packages specifically pushed dollar volume. A package of mixed-use elevatored buildings located on East 88th Street and 2nd Avenue sold for $485 million, or $592 per square foot. Another package of elevatored buildings located on East 89th Street and 1st Avenue sold for $270 million, which translates to $749 per square foot.

Queens. A $216 million portfolio sale in Kew Gardens, Queens, contributed to the submarket seeing 27 buildings trade across 9 transactions totaling $273.242 million in gross consideration. Another notable transaction took place in Flushing, where an 86-unit elevatored building sold for $17 million, or $239 per square foot. In Hollis, a four building walk-up portfolio sold for just over $17 million, which translates to $112 per square foot.

Northern Manhattan. Northern Manhattan experienced a solid month as the submarket saw 35 buildings trade across 12 transactions totaling $165.092 in gross consideration. Of note, a Colorado-based REIT sold a 17 building, 259-unit portfolio in Central Harlem for $66 million, which translates to $314 per square foot.

The Bronx. The Bronx had a strong month with 20 transactions comprised of 31 buildings valued at $159.996 million. One significant transaction was a 200-unit East Tremont portfolio that sold for $24 million, or $126 per square foot. Taking a look at pricing metrics, the borough’s 6-month trailing average for cap rate dipped below 6.00 percent for the first time, sitting at 5.99 percent.

Brooklyn. Brooklyn saw 25 buildings trade across 15 transactions totaling $136.550 million in gross consideration. Several portfolio transactions took place including a 52-unit package of walk-up buildings located at 107-113 Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint, which sold for $23.75 million, or $616 per square foot. On Flatbush Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, three mixed-use buildings sold for $4.75 million, which translates to $283 per square foot.

For the six months ended in September 2014, the average monthly transaction volume declined slightly to 66 transactions per month. The average monthly dollar volume decreased slightly to $886.560 million.

The multifamily transactions included in the analysis occurred at a minimum sales price of $1 million, with a minimum gross area of 5,000 square feet, and with a minimum of 10 units.

More information is available from Mr. Shkury at 212-544-9500, ext. 11, or sshkury@arielpa.com. For a copy of the report, please see http://arielpa.com/newsroom/report-MFMIR-Sep-2014.

Our Observations For the Week

In 3Q14, NYC’s Real Gross City Product grew at an estimated 4.0 percent annual rate, the fastest growth since this quarter last year, an analysis by NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer shows. The report highlighted that the NYC private-sector added 47,000 jobs in 3Q14, a seasonally adjusted annualized growth rate of 5.4 percent, a record gain. City Personal Income Tax withholdings rose to $1.6 billion, the highest ever third quarter level. The Manhattan office vacancy rate, including sublease space, fell to 10.2 percent in 3Q14, and new leasing activity totaled over 7.6 million square feet, the best third quarter in eight years. The unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent in 3Q14, the lowest quarterly average since 4Q08, when unemployment was at 6.6 percent. Local startups are gaining momentum, with record venture capital investment in the New York metro area surpassing $1.7 billion in 3Q14, more than double the $0.72 billion invested in 3Q13. Hotel occupancy in Manhattan averaged 92.6 percent in 3Q14, and over 3 million people attended Broadway shows, 12.7 percent more than in 3Q13.

The City Council’s Land-use Committee approved the 1,700-unit, 2.2-million-square-foot Astoria Cove project in Queens after the developer agreed to increase the number of affordable units from 20 percent to 27 percent. No subsidies will be given to the developer for 25 percent of the affordable units, but the City pledged to fund the remaining affordable units from its capital budget. A family of four making from about $51,000 to $110,000 a year will be eligible for the lower cost units. The City Planning Commission approved the project with 20 percent affordable units, but housing advocates were demanding a 50 percent set aside. Going forward, city officials said each inclusionary project will be tailored to meet the needs of the communities in which they’re located.

The City Council voted to cut greenhouse gas emissions in New York City by 80 percent by 2050. The initiative will build on former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PlaNYC, which called for a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 using tools such as planting trees and retrofitting city buildings to make them more energy efficient.

The Elliman Report released October rental figures for Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. In Manhattan, the median rental price increased 3.0 percent to $3,246, and the average rental price increased 3.4 percent to $3,994 percent in October 2014 compared to October 2013. Listing inventory in Manhattan fell 6.5 percent year-over-year to 5,432, and the vacancy rate for the month was 1.96 percent. In the luxury market, the top 10 percent of the Manhattan’s units showed a median rental price increase of 6.3 percent to $8,500, an average rental price increase of 9.3 percent to $10,565, and a 12.3 percent increase in the price per square foot to $74.72. The number of new luxury rentals in Manhattan fell 2 percent to 348 in October compared to the same month last year. Year-over-year, median rents in Brooklyn increased 5.9 percent to $2,858, and average rents increased 2.2 percent to $3,187. Listing inventory in Brooklyn increased 27.4 percent to 1,875 in October. In Queens, median rents increased 3.5 percent to $2,743, and average rents declined 5.2 percent to $2,718 in October 2014 compared to October 2013. Listing inventory in Queens totaled 192.

Foreign investors, estimated to make up about 40 percent of Manhattan’s condo buyers, are changing strategies and looking for residential units outside of core Manhattan, DNA Info reports. In the last six months, the strengthening dollar and rising prices have contributed to double digit increases for new Manhattan developments. Outside of Manhattan, apartment investors are looking in Brooklyn-Downtown, Fort Greene, Bushwick, and Prospect Lefferts Gardens; above 96th Street in Manhattan; in Queens; and in the Bronx. The article noted that for countries lacking political and economic stability, the exchange rate is less important.

The $1.4 billion,180,000-square-foot Fulton Center transportation hub opened at 200 Broadway on the corner of Broadway and Fulton Street. The center will serve up to 300,000 commuters daily and connect nine subway lines to the PATH train at the World Trade Center. More than 65,000 square feet of the Fulton Center will be used as retail and commercial space.

Facebook has opened a New York City office on three floors at 770 Broadway, a building constructed in 1906. The New York City office currently employs 500 staff members in engineering, marketing, news, and recruiting, and will eventually occupy 185,000 square feet of space in the building, which also houses other technology and advertising firms including AOL. Facebook hopes to be a catalyst for the city’s tech industry and is expected to have a positive effect on local retail and businesses.

Simone Development Companies announced that Montefiore Health System, the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine, opened its new Hutchinson Campus – a 12-story, 280,000 square-foot multi-specialty care center developed by Simone Healthcare Development. Montefiore’s new campus is one of the largest ambulatory surgery centers in the New York metropolitan region. The tower’s core and shell were constructed by Simone Development to Montefiore’s specifications and Montefiore completed the $152 million interior-fit out of the new facility. The complex offers free parking with more than 1,100 spaces and a free shuttle service to nearby subway lines.

The NY Times profiled the Brooklyn neighborhood of Vinegar Hill, which is nestled between Dumbo, the East River, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and BQE. The neighborhood includes warehouses and industrial buildings, pre-Civil War era brick and frame houses, the “acclaimed” Vinegar Hill House restaurant, and as Dumbo pushes eastward, new condominium developments. Condos average $800 per square foot but one unit at Kirkman Lofts resold last summer for $1,300 per square foot.

City parks, traffic squares, and plazas are attracting encampments of homeless people, the NY Times reports. The homeless population reached a record high in November with 57,676 people living in shelters, and in January the “so-called street homeless” increased by 6 percent to 3,357. In the last month a task force created by the de Blasio administration has identified 25 sites where the homeless are gathering and is dispatching outreach teams to engage them. Also, community groups are working with local authorities to address the issue.

U.S. Economy Creates 214,000 jobs in October; Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.8 percent

This week we’re highlighting the positive U.S. jobs report, the Fed’s latest remarks about when interest rates could rise, and what the recent election results will mean for landlords.

In October, the U.S. economy added 214,000 jobs and in a separate survey the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 5.8 percent, the lowest level since 2008, the Labor Department reported. In September and August employers added 256,000 and 203,000 jobs, respectively. The share of Americans with jobs compared to the total population rose to 59.2 percent in October, up a full percentage point from a year earlier.

“If all goes according to our forecast and the U.S. economy continues to make progress towards the Fed’s dual mandate goals of maximum sustainable employment and 2 percent inflation, the Federal Reserve will likely begin to raise its federal funds rate target off the zero lower bound sometime next year,” New York Fed President William Dudley said in a speech to central bankers in Paris. He warned investors and foreign central bankers to prepare for “some heightened financial volatility” when interest rates rise.

Republicans won control of the New York State Senate on Election Day, which means Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “plan to restore New York City’s authority over its rent-control laws is likely a nonstarter,” the NY Times reports. The Republican majority could also mean that the mayor will face stiff opposition to other parts of his agenda. “In almost every Senate swing district, Democratic candidates lost, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by the mayor and his supporters,” the article said. The “victories were fueled in large part by ads tying Democratic opponents to someone who represents the epitome of big-city liberalism: the mayor of New York.”

Increased water and sewer rates, threats to mandate more investments in energy efficiency, a law to publicly shame landlords, and a 1 percent annual increase in rent stabilized rents, which is the lowest increase since the city created the Rent Guidelines Board in 1969, are among the reasons landlords are unhappy with the de Blasio administration, the NY Times reports. For many landlords, especially small ones, it’s a challenge to maintain their buildings when property taxes, fuel, insurance, and other costs are rising. “Politically, I’ve never seen a climate more dangerous than I’m facing now,” said Jimmy Silber, co-president of Small Property Owners of New York, a landlord advocacy group.

The nonprofit Citizens Housing & Planning Council released a report highlighting five major demographic trends that took place in New York City between 2000 and 2010. 1. By 2010, the low-income Hispanic cluster became the city’s largest population cluster–the only one with more than 1 million people. 2. Between 2000 and 2010, the city saw a 5 percent drop in its black population, with the decrease concentrated among high-income blacks. 3. Citywide, the white population decreased by 3 percent between 2000 and 2010, but the remaining predominantly white population clusters increased in neighborhoods where incomes were higher and homeownership more prevalent. 4. The majority white/high-income singles and non-families cluster had the largest percentage growth with a 44 percent increase in population and a 32 percent increase in geographic area and were concentrated in neighborhoods with new construction like Long Island City, Williamsburg, and Downtown Brooklyn. 5. The Asian population increased from 9 percent of the city’s population to 12 percent in 2010.

Last week, 175 employees of Conde Nast were the first office workers to move into the $3.9 billion, 104-story One World Trade Center. They will be joined by more than 3,000 of their Conde Nast colleagues over the next few months. One World Trade Center overlooks the National September 11 Memorial Museum and the memorial plaza’s reflecting pools in the footprint of the Twin Towers, which were destroyed in the terrorist attacks more than 13 years ago.

Some developers with a history of building contemporary high-rise residential towers are switching their focus and converting smaller existing structures into luxury condos, the WSJ reports. The reasons include the difficulty assembling development sites in Manhattan and lenders balking on loans for big projects because of high land prices. One development on East 12th in Greenwich Village will feature six units ranging from $9 million to $32 million, and another is a 13-unit condo built next to and over a garage at 21 W. 20th Street in the Flatiron District that will offer two-bedrooms ranging from just under $2.5 million to just over $3 million and four penthouses ranging from $12 million to $23 million.

Broadway Plaza, a two-story, 133,000-square-foot retail development at 5532 Broadway in the Bronx has officially opened. Retailers at the site include the Sports Authority, Party City, TJ Maxx, and Aldi’s Supermarket. Developed by Equity One, the project has already created 200 new full- and part-time jobs and is expected to create another 100 full- and part-time jobs when it’s fully leased.

Two developments in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn were recently completed and 11 more are underway, which will add more than 1,000 apartments to the neighborhood, DNA reports. At 93 Waverly Avenue, 17 rental units have been leased; apartments in the seven-story, 35-unit building at 96 Steuben Street are renting for $2,500 for a one-bedroom to $3,800 for a two-bedroom; the Daten Group is planning a 38-unit, 40,000-square-foot mixed-use building at 840 Fulton Street; two eight-story, 240-unit residential buildings are planned for the former post office at 524 Myrtle Avenue and a site at 492 Myrtle Avenue; a seven-story, 32-unit building at 112 Emerson Place is currently leasing; a four-story, three-unit building is planned for 266 Greene Avenue; a five-story, 38-unit building with 19 parking spaces is under construction at 535 Classon Avenue; plans for a seven-story, 23-unit, mixed-use building have been approved for 978 Fulton Street; a seven-story, 18-unit building is under construction at 516 Classon Avenue; a six-story, 28-unit building is planned for 1047 Fulton Street; a seven-story, 35-unit building is scheduled to be completed in 2015 at 1035 Fulton Street; and the former White Castle site at 533 Myrtle Avenue will be developed into a five-story, 27-unit, mixed-use building.

New York City Multifamily Dollar Volume Jumped 46 Percent in 3Q 2014 vs. 3Q 2013

New York City saw a resurgence of institutional deals in September, propelling 3Q 2014 multifamily figures to the strongest quarterly sales volume since the 4Q of 2012, according to Ariel Property Advisors’ Multifamily Quarter in Review: New York City, Q3 2014.

Multifamily Quarter In Review

Multifamily dollar volume jumped 46 percent to $3.258 billion and transaction volume increased 16 percent to 213 in 3Q 2014 compared to 3Q 2013, which saw 184 transactions totaling $2.234 billion in gross consideration.

Figures in the third quarter also surpassed the second quarter of 2014 showing a 26 percent increase in transaction volume, a 7 percent increase in building volume, and a healthy 74 percent increase in dollar volume in 3Q 2014 compared to 2Q 2014, which saw 307 buildings trade across 169 transactions totaling $1.873 billion in gross consideration.

“Third quarter volume was buoyed by 12 institutional level deals in September at prices over $20 million, including three transactions that were over $200 million,” said Shimon Shkury, president of Ariel Property Advisors. “This is unique in that the summer months were primarily dominated by smaller deals and, consequently, deal flow in the third quarter exceeded our expectations.”

Mr. Shkury continued, “With global instability pushing rates lower and sustained demand meeting constrained supply, we expect this market strength to carry into the remainder of the year.”

The following is a breakdown of the third quarter 2014 volume by submarket:

Manhattan. Several very large institutional transactions took place in the Manhattan, helping spike dollar volume year-over-year and quarter-to-quarter to 40 transactions totaling $1.48 billion. Notable transactions include the sale of two Upper East Side packages; a $485 million package of mixed-use elevatored buildings located on East 88th Street and 2nd Avenue and a $270 million package of elevatored buildings located on East 89th Street and 1st Avenue. These sales translate to $592 and $749 per square foot, respectively. Pricing in Manhattan remains stronger than ever, as the six-month trailing average price per square foot has increased 31 percent from a year ago, from $647 to $844 per square foot.

Northern Manhattan. Volume increased across all metrics in 3Q14 for Northern Manhattan, as the sub-market saw a 41 percent increase in transaction volume to 45, a 29 percent increase in building volume to 88, and a 36 percent increase in dollar volume to $508 million year-over-year. A package of two Central Harlem buildings located at 2053 Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 300 West 112th Street anchored the sub-market’s strong quarter, selling for $30 million, or $465 per square foot. It should be noted that this property also included air rights that can be utilized for future development.

Brooklyn. Brooklyn dollar volume jumped 50 percent to $505 million and transaction volume rose 15% to 54 in 3Q 2014 compared to the 3Q 2013. A 52-unit package of walk-up buildings located at 107-113 Greenpoint Avenue in Greenpoint recently sold for $23.75 million, or $616 per square foot, highlighting the borough’s surge in pricing. In Clinton Hill, a 65,000 square foot building sold for $28.6 million, or $440 per square foot. The new ownership plans to renovate the units in an effort to focus on catering to the nearby student populations of Pratt Institute and Long Island University.

The Bronx. The Bronx continued its strong 2014 in the third quarter, as dollar volume increased 24 percent to $415 million year-over-year and remained steady quarter-to-quarter. A slew of transactions over $10 million, including the sale of2230 Grand Concourse for $10.2 million, or $166 per square foot, solidified the borough’s strong quarter. In terms of pricing, the Bronx has seen an impressive 128 basis point drop in its 6-month trailing average cap rate from last year, decreasing from 7.48% to 6.20%.

Queens. Aided by an enormous $216 million, 1,269-unit portfolio sale in Kew Gardens, Queens experienced the highest increase in both year-over-year and quarter-to-quarter dollar volume of any sub-market, growing 165 percent and 355 percent, respectively, to $347.78 million. A handful of other institutional transactions over $15 million in Elmhurst, Hollis and Murray Hill helped the Queens figures improve as well.

The multifamily transactions included in the analysis occurred at a minimum sales price of $1 million, with a minimum gross area of 5,000 square feet, and with a minimum of 10 units.

More information is available from Mr. Shkury at 212-544-9500, ext. 11, or sshkury@arielpa.com. For a copy of the report, please see http://arielpa.com/newsroom/report-MFQIR-Q3-2014.

Our Observations For the Week

Real gross domestic product -the value of the production of goods and services in the U.S.- increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the third quarter, according to the Commerce Department. The third quarter estimate showed increases in personal consumption expenditures, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending, which were partly offset by a decline in private inventory investment. In the second quarter, real GDP increased 4.6 percent.

The Federal Reserve voted to end its bond buying program this month because of the improved labor market and renewed confidence in the U.S. economy, but plans to maintain short-term interest rates near zero for a considerable time, according to FOMC minutes. “However, if incoming information indicates faster progress toward the Committee’s employment and inflation objectives than the Committee now expects, then increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated. Conversely, if progress proves slower than expected, then increases in the target range are likely to occur later than currently anticipated.”

The share of Americans owning their own homes fell to 64.4 percent in the third quarter, which is the lowest level since 1995, Bloomberg reports. The share of first time buyers fell to 29 percent in September, compared to 40 percent historically, because of tight mortgage standards and slow wage growth. The homeownership rate peaked at 69.2 percent in June 2004 but has fallen since the recession and demand has shifted to rentals.

“We’re not just building housing, we’re building neighborhoods,” according to HPD Commissioner Vicki Been, the WSJ reports. In Brownsville, for example, the city has unveiled a 100-day initiative to create a cohesive strategy for the neighborhood that includes a pop-up market, new bike lanes, a refurbished a playground, and Pre-K slots. The initiative, 100 Days to Progress, is bringing together 19 city agencies as well as the state and federal governments and about a dozen community groups to work on 40 community improvement projects in neighborhoods over several months. Others argue, however, that crime and unemployment are the greatest obstacles to progress in the community.

REBNY’s Broker Confidence Index increased to 8.80 in the third quarter from 8.75 in the third quarter of 2013, but declined from 8.88 in the second quarter. The Residential Real Estate Market Confidence Index in the third quarter of 2014 was 8.23, a decrease from last year’s index of 8.30. Concerns included lack of inventory, specifically for middle-income housing, and the proposed tax on pied-a-terres. The Commercial Real Estate Market Overall Confidence Index in the third quarter of 2014 was 9.38, a small decline from 9.45 last quarter. Growth in the TAMI sector and activity in Midtown South has continued to create strong demand and diminishing supply.

The $1.4 billion dollar Fulton Center transit hub in Lower Manhattan, which will serve 11 subway lines at six different stations, is scheduled to open November 10, the Daily News reports. The “Grand Central of downtown” will include a glass and steel entrance at Fulton Street and Broadway that “features a 90-foot-wide oculus-a circular skylight at the apex of the structure-that allows sunlight to filter down to the two mezzanine levels, below street level.” The center also will include retail and commercial shops.

Apartments in the Bronx that sold for $160,000 several years ago have appreciated to $300,000, but the borough is still a bargain compared to the rest of the city, DNAinfo reports. Buyers that have been priced out of other New York City submarkets are finding affordable co-ops in the Bronx and an excellent commute to Manhattan. The neighborhoods of Concourse and Kingsbridge are among the most popular.

A building permit has been filed for an eight-story residential project at 2351 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard on the site of the old Harlem Renaissance Ballroom building, NY YIMBY reports. The 115,000-square-foot building will include 134 apartments, a 22,000-square-foot community facility to be used as a church, and two commercial spaces totaling 18,000 square feet. Abyssinian Development Corporation bought the property 20 years ago and BRP Development Corporation paid $10 million for it in May.

Young people 25 to 34 are moving to the Ditmars section of Astoria Queens, with young singles renting in multifamily homes and families with young children buying homes, the NY Times reports. About 47,500 residents live in the area bounded by Grand Central Parkway on the south, the East River on the west and north, and La Guardia Airport on the east. New cafes, bars, gyms and boutiques have opened along Ditmars Boulevard and 23rd Avenue, with some businesses opening on 24th Avenue. A single-family home runs from $700,000 to $775,000; a two-family from $900,000 to $1.1 million; and a three-family from $1.2 to $1.3 million. Rentals are $1,600 to $1,800 a month for a one-bedroom, $2,000 to $2,500 for a two-bedroom and $3,000 for a three-bedroom.

In recent years, new bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues have joined the Peter Luger’s Steak House on Broadway between Kent and Driggs Avenues just south of the Williamsburg Bridge, the WSJ reports. At 175 Broadway, the old Williamsburgh Savings Bank reopened in late 2013 as an event space. Last year, a 16,000-square-foot upscale grocery store called Urban Market of Williamsburg opened at 11 Broadway on the ground floor of a mixed-income, mixed-use building completed in April 2013 by L+M Development Partners. The price gap between North and South Williamsburg is disappearing and buyers can expect to pay roughly $1.4 million for a two-bedroom condo, and between $800,000 and $900,000 for a one bedroom. Rents average $5,000 for two bedrooms and $3,200 for one.

The Italian developer Est4te Four, which is developing 160 Imlay in Red Hook where studios and one-bedrooms are selling for above $1 million and penthouses for $5 million, is planning a commercial complex in the Brooklyn neighborhood, NY YIMBY reports. The project will include 1.1 million square feet of office space and a waterfront promenade in an area bounded by Coffey, Ferris, and Wolcott Streets, and New York Harbor. The developer has experience with office projects targeting creative companies in London’s Victoria district and in Milan.