Hudson Square redevelopment is making the New York high life more affordable
A former printing district has become a firm favorite of overseas property investors looking for affordable luxury in Downtown Manhattan.
Surrounded by famous neighborhoods such as Greenwich Village and Soho, Hudson Square isn't a name most people will be familiar with. But this quiet residential area in Downtown Manhattan is grabbing the attention of overseas investors looking for comparatively affordable property in New York's financial district.
Comprising just 18 blocks over a tenth of a square mile, Lower Manhattan's former printing district has become a residential hotspot since zoning laws relaxed in 2013, allowing new condominiums to be built alongside the historic townhouses and converted factories and warehouses. These are being joined by public parks, schools, shops, restaurants and other amenities to serve the growing community. Major brands including Disney and Google are also relocating to the area.
Offering an enviable location on the banks of the Hudson River and at the entrance to the Holland Tunnel, Hudson Square also occupies the much sought-after sweet spot in pricing for Downtown Manhattan property. Full-service luxury apartments are entering the market for under US$1 million (HK$7.85m), with prices and rents set to rise considerably once projects complete and this flourishing neighborhood becomes more established.
Building a community
Hudson Square as it exists today is a recent invention, the result of the largest private rezoning project in New York's history. Formerly known as the Printing District or West Soho, the landmark rezoning in 2013 lifted the restriction on residential development that had been in place for decades, allowing condominiums and hotels to be built on this prime real estate for the first time.
The old zoning laws had only permitted commercial and manufacturing development, which led to the concrete and steel factories that housed New York's printing companies through most of the 20th century. When printers stated to move out in the 1970s, design and technology firms snapped up the affordable factories and converted them into high-ceiling studios and offices. The area continues to attract tech and media companies today, with the Walt Disney Company purchasing 4 Hudson Square for $650 million in June for its new headquarters.
According to the City Planning Commission, the 2013 rezoning permits the creation of more than 3,300 new residential units, 140,000 square feet of retail space and office space and 75,000 square feet of community facilities. Funding has also been provided for a new elementary school and a US$27 million regeneration is creating new public spaces and improving pedestrian and road infrastructure.
Popular local restaurants such as the Ear Inn, Houseman and Joanne Hendricks will be joined by new favorites as the neighborhood grows, while the boutiques and cultural attractions of Greenwich Village and Soho are within walking distance. For trips further afield, several Subway lines and buses put the city at your feet, less than 20 minutes from the World Trade Center, Wall Street, Penn Station and the Empire State Building.
Hudson Square offers investors and New Yorkers the chance to own luxury property in a well-connected location for significantly less than the Manhattan standard. According to figures from StreetEasy, the average one-bedroom apartment in Hudson Square was on sale for US$1.76 million (HK$13.82m) in early 2018, compared to US$4.12 million (HK$32.34m) in neighboring Tribeca. Rents ranged from US$2,500 to US$7,000 per month (HK$20,000–HK$55,000).
Some residential buildings, such as 70 Charlton and 570 Broome, looked to the area's industrial past to keep the spirit of the Printing District alive in their architecture, with traditional masonry and high ceilings. Others, like 565 Broome and Greenwich West at 110 Charlton Street, combine classic and contemporary design to bring classic New York architecture into the 21st century.
Recently breaking ground in July, Greenwich West's 30-story tower will become a major residential landmark of Hudson Square when it completes in mid-2020, offering views of the Hudson River and five-star amenities at competitive prices lower than the neighborhood average.