On the Market: More Money Funds Fewer Homes and Other Affordable Housing Catastrophes

Morning links from the New York Observer.

Thomas Hawk/flickr.
Thomas Hawk/flickr.

Although residential construction spending is expected to rise 50 percent this year, up to an all-time-high of $10.3 billion from $6.8 billion in 2013, Crain’s reports, citing a New York Building Congress study, but that money will actually be producing less units, a mere 20,000, as opposed to the 30,000 highs that were hit during previous building cycles. The problem, apparently, lies in those monies being directed to larger, high-end luxury units for a select few wealthy New Yorkers and investors. The disparity between money spent and units built would seem to undermine the argument of many developers that the impediment to building more is money. Either way, it presents a daunting challenge to de Blasio’s goal to construct or preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing.

To wit, a Dutch company, Brack Capital Real Estate, just paid $105 million for a defunct commercial building at 627 Greenwich Street, in the West Village, according to Crain’s. The property had been rezoned prior to the real estate crash, but was foreclosed on by the Royal Bank of Scotland, who sold the site for $30 million less to Criterion Real Estate Capital in April. The apartments that rise at the site will, the paper reports, be high end of course.

Meanwhile, ABS has sold off a Tribeca development site at 353 and 355-357 Broadway for $73 million, the Post reports.

But pricey penthouses aren’t only to be found south of the Arctic Circle! Real estate prices are climbing past the million-dollar mark in Tromsø, a small Norwegian city with stunning views, The Wall Street Journal reports. Homes now regularly sell for more than $1.3 million and upcoming sales are expected to exceed $3 million. What’s the appeal 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle? Views, views, views. Also, skiing and fishing. But mostly views.

So what’s a New Yorker to do? Apply for an affordable apartment in Penn South, or at least, that’s what between 30,000 and 50,000 New Yorkers did when the co-op complex opened up its housing lottery, DNAInfo reports. Only 1,200 people will ultimately land spots, though, and those lucky enough to be picked will not get apartments automatically, just a spot on the complex’s years-long waiting list.

In the Bronx, Gothamist reports that 500 families are facing eviction from homeless shelters as Aguila, their operator, attempts to shut them down in protest of the city’s attempts to cut costs at shelters. Now the city is contesting the eviction notices and families have no idea what’s going on. All of which is rather awkward as the city just awarded Aguila $15 million in new contracts.

So New York is no longer a city for the poor, the middle class, or those who like porn DVDs, apparently. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York reports that adult entertainment venue DVD Depot at 45th and Eighth has been ousted by Thor Equities, which bought the building it is located in for $12 million last year.

Atlantic Cities thinks you should consider the pros and cons before you go and try to live on a sailboat in the Carribean. Wait, there are actually cons to living on a sailboat in the Carribean?

Compared to the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Gracie is a snooze. Gothamist offers a long, delightful history of Eliza Jumel, and her Washington Heights mansion, which she now haunts (supposedly). Among other things, Jumel was probably born in a brothel, kicked out of France, married to Aaron Burr, became America’s richest woman and returned to her mansion as a ghost. As the executive director of the house, now a museum, says: “Knowing how meticulously she kept her records, I would say that if her ghost did remain here, it is because she was so house-proud.”

Brokerage battle! Citi Habitats has sued Urban Compass, alleging that its proprietary database was accessed by computers at the start-ups offices and is stealing trade secrets, The Real Deal reports, which may or may not be connected to the Citi Habitats brokers that Urban Compass has poached in recent months. A judge has issued a temporary restraining order barring Urban Compass from accessing the database in the future and expedited the discovery process to see what, if anything, has been taken.

The city will start ticketing cyclists for breaking traffic laws–running red lights, riding the wrong way down a one-way street–as part of its Vision Zero plan, according to The Wall Street Journal. Cyclists, however, point out that traffic routinely breaks cycling laws, parking in bike lanes and cutting cyclists off.

Finally, we couldn’t say goodbye without this quote, courtesy of The Times, which chronicles the transformative journey of one Murray Hill resident from embarrassment to acceptance: “Ms. Parness said she no longer glosses over the name of her neighborhood when asked. ‘Now I’m very proud to say I live in Murray Hill.’ “

On the Market: More Money Funds Fewer Homes and Other Affordable Housing Catastrophes