Ballpark figures: Neighbors of Ruth’s House hope apartment prices play catch up

The new Yankee Stadium, completed in 2009

By Holly Dutton

With a host of re-zoning in areas around Yankee Stadium and parts of the North Bronx, developers are looking to go big, and brokers are hoping that residents will follow.

A recent report by Trulia tracked home prices in the neighborhoods near Major League Baseball stadiums around the country, with the most expensive in San Francisco, at a $653 median price per s/f, and the least expensive in Kansas City, at $28 median price per s/f.

The area around Yankee Stadium in the Bronx listed somewhere in the middle range, with a median price per s/f of $198, which the article pointed out may sound expensive to most people in the country, but is inexpensive compared to other parts of New York City.

In 2011, The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation put out an RFI for the development of a hotel and conference center near Yankee Stadium, on a site occupied by a parking structure two blocks from the stadium.

Last year, it was announced that Marriott would be constructing a 125-room hotel in the East Bronx, between the Pelham Bay and Morris Park neighborhoods.
In Kingsbridge, just southeast of Riverdale, a 162,000 s/f shopping center is being developed in a joint venture between Metropolitan Realty Associates and Angelo Gordon & Co.

BJ’s Wholesale Club will be the anchor tenant, and Subway and Buffalo Wild Wings have also signed on as tenants at the complex.

In April, The New York EDC announced the Webster Avenue Vision Plan, a venture supported by several groups including the New York Botanical Garden, the Bronx Zoo and Fordham University, that would help re-vamp Webster Avenue and take advantage of the 2011 rezoning that projected 430,000 s/f of commercial development and more than 950 residential units.

And nearby on East Fordham Road, if the city approves a proposed rezoning of a stretch of the thoroughfare, it could be a huge boost to residential development.
The plan is currently undergoing a public review, the Department of City Planning announced last week, with the first public hearing is scheduled for June 12.

Karl Brumbach is the VP of sales for Massey Knakal’s Northern Manhattan/Bronx Division.

He specializes in the North Bronx, where he’s seen the market getting stronger, but not quite fully recovered yet.

“This is kind of up from nothing,” said Brumbach. “It was just really dead in 2010 and 2011.”

“We’re doing big business in development sites,” said Brumbach. “The North Bronx is primarily an affordable housing development play. There’s some room for market-rate or middle income housing but by and large mostly affordable housing. We’re seeing some positive trends. “

Brumbach and his firm track price per buildable square foot, and from 2008 to 2009, the price per buildable s/f was off 25 to 30 percent. In the next two years, from 2010 to 2012, it was up 8 percent, and in the year to date that number is up 14 percent on average.

Brumbach and his team are seeing strong numbers in ‘hot areas’ like the Broadway corridor, where the 230th Street Equity One site is.

“It’s where you can have good retail and can do market rate apartments,” said Brumbach. “Prices are up $70 per buildable s/f.”

The rezoning of Webster Avenue in February of 2012 set off a string of new development, with the city upzoning the area from R6 to R7 to encourage residential development.

“It worked great,” said Brumbach, citing six to eight new development sites and two schools currently under construction.

“It’s so successful, they’re trying to figure out how to catch up and get adequate retail to support new people coming,” he said.

Ellen Feld is a licensed associate broker with Exclusive Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Riverdale.

When the office first opened on Riverdale Avenue in 2009, there were 13 empty stores along the main thoroughfare. Now they’re almost all filled.

“I think the fact that the restaurants and stores are thriving are a very good sign,” said Feld.

Though the retail seems to be growing, with the addition of hip restaurants like Tin Marin, a tapas bar, and the popular Bronx Ale House in nearby Kingsbridge, which opened in 2009 and has generated a slew of positive publicity, the sales market has not been hot.

“Unlike the Manhattan and Brooklyn market, for the most part, which are really hot markets which are now seller’s markets which are seeing diminished inventory and bidding wars, that intensity has yet to come to the Bronx,” said Feld. “And that includes Riverdale.”

In some of the newer luxury developments , a two-bedroom, two-bath condo could go for between $900,000 and $1.3 million, while more modest condos can be had in the $400,000 to $500,000 range, said Feld.

The Shirley Woods, a luxury condo building on West 238th Street, averages $600,000 for a three-bedroom with full amenities. The building sold out, but it took three years.

Built in 2008, The Solaria is a luxury high-rise condo building on W. 237th Street in Riverdale. Current listings range from $1 million to $1.5 million for two, three and four bedroom apartments, to $2.5 million for a five bedroom pad, according to Streeteasy.

And the nearby Fieldston Lofts in Spuyten Duyvil average in the mid $900,000 range to $1 million for three and four bedroom apartments.

“I don’t know if it’s because we’re not cool, but we’re a lovely area,” said Feld. “And we’re 15 to 20 minutes from Manhattan on the Metro-North. We have a lot going for us, but it’s still a quiet market here.”

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