Billions to build: Condo developers to change NYC’s skyline

Editor’s note: Annie Murphy Paul and I recently debated condominium development in a blog on, though we differed on how to proceed. Read the original debate here. We are here to answer your…

Billions to build: Condo developers to change NYC's skyline

Editor’s note: Annie Murphy Paul and I recently debated condominium development in a blog on, though we differed on how to proceed. Read the original debate here. We are here to answer your concerns.

Although an estimated 10,000 condominiums will rise in the New York City metro area over the next five years, not everyone is thrilled about the news. Many Manhattan dwellers feel the changes will affect their quality of life, be it for the better or the worse.

Arguing for condos, author and Fox News contributor Ron Josephs, author of Property Values (Harper Collins, $15), believes that “a small portion of the population looks upon a large percentage of the population with disdain. There’s enough animosity between them already, especially when it comes to real estate.” Josephs argues that residents will not welcome the construction and that condo owners will be long gone before they are replaced by another group. Josephs says that this project will dampen the quality of life in the entire region.

Susanne D’Arcy, managing partner of SBSM, an international network of architects, interior designers and builders, believes that “condos have a positive effect on the quality of life. People have a place to go, set up house, and have a sense of community.” D’Arcy believes, though, that the negative impact will be felt most of all in the West Village, and she says “condos don’t belong here.”

Desiree Pizano, public policy director of Preservation Brooklyn, “we’re concerned about the effect that more high-density buildings will have on the nearby historic sites. A density of that scale can displace people.”

Martha Lee, president of Historic Districts Council, feels differently. As a preservationist, Lee emphasizes that, “condos can help to preserve the character of the Historic District. This is not just downtown, this is the whole city. There’s always the danger that it’s cookie-cutter. I think that you have to protect the special essence of the city, and that includes historic districts.”

David Rusnock, president of the U.S. division of Colliers International International, said he’s not concerned about condominiums on their merits. “There’s not a huge number of people who, frankly, can afford them.”

Josephs agrees. He says there may be an unintended consequence to this development. With so many condominiums due to rise, “There are going to be a lot of developers whose projects are blocked and they will be forced to increase their prices. People would rather buy something small and relatively high-end than something big and middle-class.”

Paul says that condos give people a chance to “move out of the poor part of town.” According to the N.Y. real estate market website Trulia, the median price of a two-bedroom in the city is $1.1 million. Paul says, “Really, there’s nothing less attractive than somebody down the block, whoever that’s going to be, who’s really trying to figure out how they are going to make ends meet.”

Josephs says, “Affordable housing for the homeless or the hungry, for people in the neighborhoods where I’m a citizen, should take precedence.” He suggests that the city could provide mortgages to the lucky New Yorkers who are able to find these homes and then let the building owners manage the debt and pay back the government.

Doug Short, writing for Real Estate Forum, says that the impact of condominiums will remain up in the air. He asserts that it will take decades to discern their true effect.

Kathy Griffin interviewed architects and preservationists as well as the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Listen to what viewers had to say in this 90-second Fox News Poll!

“Mr. Short, from New Jersey, disagree with your statement that nothing can really be known about the impact of condominium development on downtown New York until it has taken place.”

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