Two hot NYC neighborhoods to watch in 2014

SouthStreet
The South Street Seaport gets more residential in the new year. Credit: iStockphoto

Watch these two neighborhoods along the water in the coming year.

South Street Seaport

Along the cobblestone streets of the South Street Seaport tourists and shoppers alike roam the paths once dominated by fishermen. Developers have taken note of the Seaport’s popularity, and it looks like the coming years could see more and more New Yorkers calling the area home.

The last decade has seen residential high-rises fly up all around the Fulton/Seaport area, with the twisting New York by Gehry being one of many developments redefining the downtown skyline. The effects of Sandy may have given developers a scare, but new projects in the pipeline show renewed confidence in building along Manhattan’s downtown shores.

New renderings from SHoP Architects reveal that a 50-story combination hotel and condominium next to Pier 17 is in the works, as reported recently by the New York Times. And even more development is planned: Just up the block, a 75-story tower is going up at 92 Fulton St., developed by The Mavrix Group.

Consumers can expect a new inventory of condos to choose from that historically hasn’t been available, and agents have confidence that their clients will see strong return on their investments.

“The market still offers great value, so your budget gets you further in terms of square footage, and the luxury buildings in the area are known for their abundance of amenities,” explains Ariel Cohen, associate real estate broker at Douglas Elliman. “That and every subway line stops in the Financial District — plus with the ferries and easy access to the FDR and West Side Highway, transportation is a snap.”

Prices may rise in the near future, though, as other new buildings (such as the conversion of the iconic 5 Beekman St.) will bring more luxury housing and hotel inventory to the neighborhood. Combine this with possible plans from the Howard Hughes Corporation to introduce a 40,000-square-foot Eataly-style international food market, and the center of attention downtown could be shifting closer to the water than ever.

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A new rental is going up along the Gowanus Canal. Credit: iStockphoto

Gowanus

Change is abrewin’ along the murky shores of arguably the most polluted water passage in the country. Sandwiched between trendy/family-friendly Park Slope and Cobble Hill, Gowanus and its eponymous canal are poised to be home to an influx of residents following a year that brought the Brooklyn neighborhood’s first Whole Foods Market.

Developers have been building along the borders of Gowanus for the past decade, with Fourth Avenue in particular seeing popular developments such as Arias and 500 Fourth Ave. (though they’re often branded as being in Park Slope). Now the heart of the neighborhood is preparing to see ground break on a mega-project that will change the area possibly even more than any high-end grocery store could: a 700-unit rental project right along the canal.

The Lightstone Group’s plans to take control and develop a former 12-story Toll Brothers project at 365 Bond St. have been met with community opposition. Current residents fear overcrowding and possible flooding issues as a result of the development, though demolition has already begun on the site. While it remains to be seen whether the project will add value to the community, the addition of high-quality real estate is likely to raise property prices.

Dave Maundrell, the founder and president of Brooklyn-based brokerage AptsAndLofts.com, said his company is consulting on four developments in the area.

“The major change so far is the influx of commercial yet creative-type businesses, nightlife, artists taking inexpensive work space and, of course, Whole Foods. Additionally, the area is a focus for hotel development. On the edge of Gowanus we are preparing to launch 316 Bergen St. this spring. I look at that project connecting the Third Avenue corridor a bit with downtown.”

People moving to Gowanus may be surprised to see a greatly changed neighborhood. There’s an upcoming TEDxGowanus neighborhood discussion planned, and venues such as Dinosaur BBQ on Union Street and the multipurpose Bell House, which hosts everything from chili cookoffs to ’90s cover bands, are bringing people from the surrounding areas into the heart of the neighborhood.


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