On the Market: Fears of Vanishing Laundromats and Living in a Two-Tiered Economy

Anthony Fine/flickr.

Anthony Fine/flickr.

Are New York’s laundromats disappearing? So it often seems, at least in the more gentrified corners of the city, but the answer is unclear. WNYC provides a map of laundromats in the city per 1,000 residents, but no indication of how that’s changed over time.

The Morris Adjmi-designed boutique office building at 837 Washington Street is in contract for $200 million, according to the Post, and is poised to set a Meatpacking District record when it closes for $3,158 per square foot. At least TIAA-CREF, which is buying the building from developer Taconic and  majority-owner Thor, has 10 years of guaranteed rent in the form of a decade-long Samsung lease.

Meanwhile, if the Financial District really is as hot an office market as the local politicians and BID claim, why is 180 Water Street turning into a rental development? Yimby spotted plans to convert the commercial building, which is about to lose its only tenant, the Human Resources Administration, into a 610-unit residential building, probably a rental.

Office buildings and churches convert to rentals and rentals convert to condos. It’s all residential! But for those tracking the dwindling number of Manhattan rentals, Curbed has a helpful map of rentals gone condo.

Which is part of the reason why Crain’s thinks that developer LCOR, Inc. thinks it can get more than $100 million for the Williamsburg rental building at 250 N. 10th that it opened last year with rents that were considered steep even for Williamsburg. At this point, few developers are building new rentals in the area.

Ever one to cater to the whims of millennials, which prize both coolness and cheapness, Ikea plans to start serving vegan meatballs, according to Gothamist.

As the authority on all things millennial, Gothamist also reports that they are moving to Buffalo in droves. Cheap rent, cheap houses, cheap everything. The only problem is jobs. And the snow. And also that an influx of relatively well-off white 20-somethings who can suddenly “live like kings” does not necessarily a revitalized city make. As University of Buffalo professor Henry Louis Taylor says: “I’m not convinced that most folks here are anchored by a larger vision of the type of city they want to build. They equate a revitalized city with a bunch of white people doing their thing in it.”

Still, it’s hard to fault ostensibly middle young people for wanting to enjoy the spoils of middle class life—homes, cars, etc. The Wall Street Journal reports that the country’s two-tiered economy, in which wealthy residents are doing very, very well and the middle and lower classes continue to struggle, is reshaping markets from housing to beer. High-end retailers are prospering, which those that sell to the middle-income are struggling along with their consumers. (Low-end, in fact, is doing much better.) “Demand bifurcated,” says one analyst.

Speaking of two-tiered economies, it’s not only New York that is seeing much of its finest real estate pass into the possession of foreigners. In Italy, increasing taxes, rising costs of living and lingering economic malaise mean that many of the country’s historic castles are passing from the hands of Italian elites into the hands of foreigners, according to The New York Times. “It is no longer reasonable to think that the owner of a neighboring castle would buy yours,” a broker tells the paper. “It’s most likely to be a Russian, or a Chinese.”

We hope, at least, that a Wizard of Oz fan will buy Wicked Witch of the West Margaret Hamilton’s charming one-bedroom co-op in Gramercy, which Curbed reports is asking $1.59 million. Period details abound and better even than ruby red slippers is the key to Gramercy Park.

More political corruption revelations: former city councilman, now state assemblyman Erik Dilan, has been fined $9,000 for failing to disclose a conflict of interest after he took an affordable apartment that he made too much money to qualify for from his landlord, Sergio Benitez, then subsequently approving three of Benitez’s projects, The New York Daily News reports.