Stalled construction sites spike
The number of stalled construction sites throughout New York City rose by 17 percent between February and November of 2012. This rapid increase in stalled projects has erased virtually all of the progress made in the prior 15 months, according to a New York Building Congress analysis of New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) inspection records.
An average of 691 sites have been identified as stalled during the month of November, up from 592 in February. This marks the seventh worst month since the DOB started keeping track of stalled sites in July of 2009, and the worst showing since January 2011. The number of stalled sites peaked at 709 in November of 2010.
Forty-five percent of the currently stalled sites have been on the DOB’s list since its inception in 2009 while 26 percent (180 sites) were added to the list in 2012.
“This year started on an encouraging note with the number of stalled sites dipping below 600 for the first time since the Spring of 2010,” said New York Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson. “But the momentum quickly reversed as 105 different sites were added to the DOB list in March, April and May, which erased all of the progress that was made in 2011. While it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what happened, it is worth noting that the upturn in stalled sites roughly coincided with a period of rather steep declines in the stock market, as well as a growing uncertainty about the state of the world economy.”
Overall, Brooklyn remains the leader in stalled sites – with a total of 323 (47 percent of the Citywide total). Queens is second with 169, followed by Manhattan (123 stalled sites), Staten Island (50) and the Bronx (26).
The number of stalled sites in the Bronx and Staten Island is unchanged from November 2011, while Manhattan’s total has dropped by four sites. The number of stalled sites in Brooklyn rose from 298 to 323 over the past 12 months, while Queens inventory rose from 129 to 169.
According to further Building Congress analysis of DOB permits and Department of Finance records, residential projects continue to dominate the stalled project list. Of the projects where work was started and subsequently halted, 74 percent are residential (270 total sites). Within the residential category, 153 were identified as multi-family apartments, while 93 were one- or two-family homes. Another 24 sites are projects that will contain street-level retail along with a residential component above.
The Building Congress also found that 45 percent of the stalled sites Citywide remain vacant (up from 37 percent a year ago), meaning that developers have obtained land and construction permits but have yet to commence work.
Taken together, the New York City Department of Finance estimates that New York City’s stalled sites, including vacant land, have an aggregate market value of $883 million (down from $1.3 billion a year ago).
“It is interesting to note that while the raw number of stalled sites has increased, the estimated market value has dropped by nearly half a billion dollars,” added Anderson. “This suggests that the luxury residential market was home to an out-sized percentage of the projects that have resumed in 2012.=
“Having said that, the potential for considerable job creation and economic stimulus remains locked inside the nearly 700 sites that lay still across the five boroughs. The need is there for the City to put together a more comprehensive program of tax incentives, zoning changes and other steps designed to jump-start these dormant projects.”
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