By Roland Li
Around 15 months ago, the Alliance of Downtown New York, the city’s largest business improvement district, sought a better way to present Lower Manhattan. Its efforts have culminated in the recent relaunch of its website, which streamlines existing information and integrates maps into the design.
The area has transformed in recent years, with a spike in population, and the Alliance seeks to serve residents, businesses and tourists. The new site, developed by design firm I-Site, consolidates a variety of categories into three sections: a list of attractions, including the arts, entertainment, shopping, and culture, along with maps and transit information and services for residents and businesses.
“There are a lot of old perceptions about Lower Manhattan out there,” said Elizabeth Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance and a long-time resident of the neighborhood. “The focus of our marketing, promotion and planning has changed as Lower Manhattan has changed.”
Berger describes the Alliance as the “fulcrum” of the area, providing services to various local stakeholders, while promoting the neighborhood to potential visitors and tenants. The Alliance has also been an advocate for initiatives, including a recent proposal for the redesign of Water Street.
The new site includes a listing of vacant office space, and Berger is confident in the area’s office market, with the World Trade Center complex as one of the few incoming new office developments.
“I think what we have is a new idea what a central business district can be,” said Berger. “The residential helps the commercial.”
New developments will bring another wave of rentals to market.
A 56-unit rental building at 40 Gold Street, which recently began marketing, will have studios, starting at $2,400 per month, and two-bedrooms.
Another 418 rental units are planned at 116 John Street, a converted office building from Metro Loft Management and Hacienda International Realty, Inc.
At 25 Broad, a planned condo conversion delayed by the downturn, 305 rental units will begin occupancy in June. Like many of the residential buildings, 25 Broad is a converted office building, formerly owned by Kent Swig, who defaulted on its mortgage.
Although originally planned as a condo at the height of the market, Safeguard Realty Management, which is the receiver of the property, and its advisor LCOR, found that a rental building was a better option.
“We decided there was an oversupply for condos,” said David Sigman, executive vice president and principal of LCOR. One bedrooms will start at around $3,100 per month, said Sigman, with Rose Associates as the marketing agent.
Despite the competition, Sigman is confident. “We’re expecting it to be pretty successful,” he said.