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Thursday, January 24, 2008

NYU Ante's Up $43 Million For Roosevelt Island Faculty Housing - If You Subsidize, Will Profs Leave Greenwich Village for Roosevelt Island?

Will NYU faculty members prefer renting here

Greenwich Village map Image from New York City 2005

or owning here

Image of Riverwalk Roosevelt Island buildings from Hungry Hyaena

New York University purchased on a bulk basis 58 discounted, pre-construction condominium units for $43 million as faculty housing from the Hudson/Related developers of Roosevelt Island's already occupied Riverwalk Building 4. The building is a combination market rate rental for the general public and condo ownership for NYU faculty. According to the Washington Square News,
"We're trying to create another community on Roosevelt Island," said Sara Goonan, finance director for faculty housing and residential services. "It's kind of like the suburbs in the city. It's so close; it's only 20 minutes on the subway to NYU, but it's so pretty and quiet."
The reason for NYU's Roosevelt Island investment is to:
...free up rentals and provide a new option for incoming faculty, Goonan said. In 2005, faculty housing offered a loan program that was intended to help faculty purchase their own homes in exchange for moving out of NYU rentals. However, only 10 faculty members signed up for the program, Goonan said.
To date only 12 of the 58 units have been sold to faculty members. Is NYU having trouble persuading faculty members currently living in Greenwich Village to hop on the F Train to Roosevelt Island even with below market condo prices?

How will Roosevelt Island residents react to our new neighbors? The Roosevelt Island Residents Association President:
...feels the presence of "professional folk" on the island is an asset.

"I think if [the NYU faculty] can expand themselves into thinking of this as more than just a bedroom community, they will find a very rich society out here," he said.

However, Katz and many other island residents are unhappy about aspects of the new upscale developments that are going up on the island, including Riverwalk.

"We don't want to be a gentrified community," he said. "We don't want to be a gated community."
I say welcome to the hood Profs and jump right in - the water is fine right here.

11 comments :

Anonymous said...

Oh, please. We are in desparate need of some gentrification.

Anonymous said...

Yes! Poster above got it right. RI needs more influx of more affluent people. Now with the Octagon and the River Walk buildings online you can see a difference. Would Starbucks or Duane Reade have come if it wasn't for the new developments?

craig said...

"Would Starbucks or Duane Reade have come...?"

yes. yes they would. RI was one of they few places on earth they hadn't assimilated yet. it was only a matter of time.

i have to laugh that some people view the twin cancers of starbucks and DR as 'progress;' many neighborhoods nationwide view them as just the kind of growth they don't want.

Anonymous said...

That is precisely what is so pathetic about Roosevelt Island -- with the exception of you and maybe one or two others -- people were thrilled to have two normal, if not exciting stores. Have you looked at the rest? They wouldn't be out of place in a third-world country.

Anonymous said...

Neighborhoods that view Starbucks and Duane Reade as the kind of growth they don't want have other choices. We don't.

I'm glad that I can fill a prescription without being barked at as if I'm in the Army.

craig said...

you HAVE other choices - momNpop drug stores and coffee shops DO exist. landlords (private or gubmint) just like to say 'small bidniss is fine... s'long as they meet my rent expectations!' which means small businesses compete with a chain willing to spend 4x what a space is worth just to get 'market penetration' and 'growth.'
i ran a small business for 11 years; then the landlord decided he wanted a chain store in his properties, and i had to match their rent offer or close.

we closed. the chain paid over $3000/week rent, and was gone in a year. empty building now for 3 years. now, who brings more money in the long run, me (and the small stores here) and the small rent i pay, or a chain that pulls out when the market doesn't support their growth model?

and in case you were wondering: trick question. the lawyers and accountants have rigged it so OF COURSE it is more profitable to have an empty building! least it was until our economy started to melt!

and i will say i hear less 'barking' at the gristede's since some form of competition has arrived...

Anonymous said...

We do not have a mom and pop coffee shop on the island, unless you count Trellis. Did you know that the original drugstore on the island was in Rivercross and it was a branch of Bigelow Pharmacy? It was a very nice store, but unable to survive in our wonderful community. I find the Duane Reade explosion on the big island despicable, but I don't live there; I live here. I'm also glad that there is a Chase ATM (although it is the only one I have ever seen go out of order, but, hey, this is Roosevelt Island!

We used to have a real bank,(Chase) but what with politics and all, now we just have...whatever you call it.

Yes, I'm hoping for some gentrification. Maybe the island will eventually develop the way it had been intended to.

craig said...

my point was that you -could- have options available to you, whether a family operation or a chain that HADN'T put 4 stores on every block already; the problem is landlords rarely set their rent points where any but the biggest players can go.

when i lived in phoenix a few years ago, i tried to rent a small retail space; 800 sq ft was going for $5K and up, and the cost of the signage requirements (light up signs of a certain size, placement, etc) would have killed me right out of the box. place was still empty when we left 3 years later.

the island was set up as a bit of a socialistic experiment, which is good and bad (good: affordable housing for all bad: east leningrad architecture); there is no reason why our real estate rules couldn't be written to encourage smaller businesses... rent credits
or sumpin. albany is the main obstacle. which is a big one!

Anonymous said...

I agree that Albany is a problem, but the problem about the quality of stores on the island existed long before Starbucks and Duane Reade opened.

craig said...

i think that relates to captive, small and relatively lower-income audience... and no competition. not much incentive to improve, financially, and certainly no reason to improve due to someone offering a better service. i'm not sure how they could have fixed that, but i don't think they really tried.

but now that the island is growing and diversifying a bit, i would have hoped new yorkers were smart enough to figure out some solution besides 'slap a coupla lowest-common-denominator chains in there; that'll shut 'em up.'

of course, in a country where people WAIT IN LINE FOR DAYS for a freakin' trader joe's to open up, perhaps we are getting no more than we deserve.

ROOSEVELT ISLANDER said...

Craig,
not all developers, but certainly most, seek the financial stability and risk protection of credit worthy chain stores. Even if that particular unit of chain store goes out of business, the parent company will still pay the rent on the premises unlike when a mom and pop goes out of business.
There are developers such as David Walentas of Two Trees Development in Dumbo who will not rent to chain stores like Starbucks and Duane Reade but will leave his retail space empty until he finds the right local or independant store owner.
Here is link to Curbed post on topic.

http://curbed.com/archives/2006/11/17/david_walentas_hates_starbucks_chain_drugstores.php