Residential projects bringing new life to New York's oldest neighborhoods
New residential projects and amenities are making Downtown Manhattan a great place to live, not just to visit.
Lower Manhattan, a.k.a. Downtown, is reclaiming its position as the trendiest place to live in New York City. Once the capital of counterculture, neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village and Soho have upscaled in recent decades, but remain a creative Bohemian enclave in one of the world's most powerful cities. Now, new residential developments and amenities are attracting more young professionals to live in the financial district rather than commute.
Changes to zoning laws and more than US$30 billion investment in property and infrastructure over the past decade have made Downtown Manhattan a more viable place to live, not just to work or visit. The residential population has tripled since 2001 to over 61,000 today, according to data from the Alliance for Downtown New York. The median age has dropped to 32 as cheaper office rents attract start-ups away from Midtown, fueling a growing innovation economy.
Offering high returns on investment for the past 25 years, New York's real estate markets have long been considered safe havens for foreign capital. China and Hong Kong are two of the biggest overseas property investors in NYC, according to research from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), and this new wave of residential projects with enviable addresses offers plenty of opportunities for long-term investment gains.
Where to invest in Lower Manhattan
At the southern tip of Manhattan Island, these neighborhoods were the first to be established in New York and have always been on the cutting edge. Long stifled by zoning laws, urban redevelopment is now in overdrive across the financial district. New apartments, offices and hotels are rising up between renovated historic buildings, with world-class restaurants and transport links on the doorstep.
From Edgar Allan Poe to Bob Dylan, artists have always felt at home in Greenwich Village, the birthplace of the Beat Generation, counterculture and the LGBT movement. While struggling artists would struggle to afford today's property prices, the Village's character has been preserved with historic brownstones, pre-war apartments and converted factory lofts sharing blocks with modern glass and steel structures.
Rich in cultural credentials, with esteemed theaters, jazz clubs, art galleries and independent cinemas, simply walking is a pleasure in Greenwich Village, home of the 9.75-acre Washington Square Park. Families with children are well catered for by highly-rated public and private schools and two notable colleges, New York University (NYU) and the New School.
Named for its location 'South of Houston,' New York's Soho rivals its London namesake as one of Manhattan's trendiest locales. Long a favorite of artists, today Soho's galleries share the streets with independent boutiques, designer fashion brands and fancy restaurants.
As in Greenwich Village, but even more extreme, Soho's rising property prices and resulting gentrification over the years coined the term 'Soho effect.' With restrictions on residential construction being lifted in 2005, today's affluent Soho residents have a wide choice of vintage loft apartments and sleek new builds.
On the intersection of Greenwich Village, Soho and Tribeca is a small and peaceful neighborhood that's gaining popularity with overseas property investors, not least because new build apartments are less than half the cost of those in surrounding areas. Formerly New York's printing district, new condominiums, parks and restaurants are establishing Hudson Square as a competitive destination for affordable luxury living in the heart of the city.
Many of these new builds have been carefully designed to blend seamlessly with the area's historic townhouses and brick factories, such as Greenwich West. This 30-story tower by Strategic Real Estate offers full-service amenities and Hudson River views on the corner of West Soho, just a few blocks from the new Google and Disney headquarters. Scheduled to complete in 2020, apartments at Greenwich West will be available for forward purchase soon.