The Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, Inc. (HGAR), OneKey® MLS and TitleVest hosted a virtual panel recently featuring real estate industry leaders who discussed New York’s ever-evolving public space streetscapes, skylines and neighborhoods.
“Getting the Deal Done: Shaping New York’s Ever-Evolving Landscape” took place May 11 and featured speakers Christina Prostano and Vickey Barron, associate real estate brokers at Compass.
Leah Caro, president of Park Sterling Realty in Bronxville and board manager of OneKey® MLS, hosted the event. Brian D. Tormey, NTP, president of TitleVest, a leading NYC-based provider of title insurance and related real estate services, served as program moderator.
The panel explored some of New York’s major neighborhood changes – past, present and future – spurred by at times controversial zoning, FAR, development and air rights, and transportation proposals, and how these elements continue to influence the city today.
“New York is a city of constant change in styles, trends, attitudes, views and perspectives. And as the times keep changing, so do the views,” said Caro. “Some of the most consequential projects in recent memory, including the High Line, Hudson Yards, Chelsea Market, Brooklyn Bridge Park, or Atlantic Terminal, were all somewhat shocking at first glance and met with skepticism, but are now recognized as irreplaceable focal points and tourist destinations in our neighborhoods.”
“Public space has become a more integral part of development and is almost expected now,” said Prostano. “The revitalization of the Domino Sugar Factory, or Little Island, are prime examples of projects built with the public and the community in mind. It helps the neighborhood; people use those parks and it becomes an integral part of life. And in the wake of Covid-19, there is definitely a desire to return to nature and experience fresh air, and community-focused open space is as close as we’re going to get here.”
“There is going to be change, it’s never easy and the unknown is what frightens people,” said Barron. “Whether you are a fan or not, Hudson Yards is a perfect example. People heard about it, but they couldn’t really fathom what it was going to be until they saw and experienced it. And that leap is credited to the project developers, who had the vision to begin with.”
“It’s absolutely amazing that we live on an island, and even in the boroughs that are very much surrounded by water, and the waterfront was historically a place New Yorkers avoided,” said Prostano. “And that’s because of a number of reasons, the most prominent of which being that subways and popular transit modes were more focused on the interior spaces, but that’s all changing with sweeping transportation projects coming online that account for the modern preferences of residents and commuters.”
“I recently sold a townhouse in Harlem nearby the proposed expansion of the Second Avenue Subway,” added Barron. “All of the prospective buyers anticipated a wave of positive transformations that would soon occur as a result of more transit-oriented development happening in the neighborhood.”
Prostano continued, “Office conversions are probably one of the interesting experiments in terms of land-use currently. A lot of people seem to think it’s feasible, but actually commercial real estate industry leaders are aptly aware of the many challenges, including floor plates that are not designed for residential living. But we have a dramatic shortage of housing inventory, and we have empty offices, at least for now. And there’s a lot of people, very smart people, who think we aren’t ever going to see those office workers return, so let’s see how this plays out.”
The webinar is part of the “Be Your Best” series created by HGAR and OneKey® MLS, to help Realtors and agents navigate a changing landscape. The event was sponsored by TitleVest.
Watch the full webinar here.