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Jul 5, 2017

One of the top stories of the past week is the continuing monetization efforts of Zillow owned StreetEasy. Less than a week after industry leading StreetEasy announced that it would begin charging brokers $3 per day per rental listing advertised on its website, the Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, has announced that it’s launching its own listings syndication feed. The service will be free to REBNY member firms. REBNY is hailing the service as a means for agents to more efficiently list properties and deliver them to consumers.

REBNY is seeking to launch the feed on August 1. BOND New York, Brown Harris Stevens, Citi Habitats, Compass, The Corcoran Group, CORE, Fox Residential Group, Halstead Property, Leslie J. Garfield & Co., Stribling & Associates, TOWN Residential, and Warburg Realty have all already signed on to list with the service.

 

New York City tourism is expected to reach a record high in 2017, with close to 62 million visitors expected to roam the Big Apple this year. That’s 1 million more than last year, and the sixth consecutive record-high year for tourism in the city and the first year where visitors broached the 60 million mark.

 

The city’s moving on expanding its tourism office—even Queens has a tourism council now—that’s pushing tourists to visit destinations like St. George on Staten Island, this according to NY Curbed.

 

In NYC transit news, the summer of hell is almost upon us at Penn Station, as repairs will begin July 10 and last until September. There will be major service disruptions on Long Island Rail Road, New Jersey Transit, and Amtrak itself. The good news is that by the end of the six-week period of repairs, service should be improved to the point where derailments and massive delays could be a thing of the past. Amtrak’s aging infrastructure has been a problem for years, but things came to a head earlier this year, when two trains derailed near Penn Station. While no one was seriously injured in either accident, they brought to light the major flaws underground; the more than 40-year-old tracks, coupled with a huge increase in riders over the years, have put a tremendous strain on the station’s infrastructure, this according to NY Curbed.

Staying with transportation, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the problem-plagued MTA following a series of high-profile failures within the transit system. "We know the system is decaying, and we know the system is decaying rapidly," Cuomo said at a press conference last week, adding that he will sign an executive order declaring the state of emergency to allow his office to "expedite many of the normal government processes.”

 

He also announced plans to commit an additional $1 billion in the transit authority's capital plan "so the MTA has the resources they need to get that done."

Cuomo oversees the MTA through appointments to its board, but has blamed the current problems on "decades of under-investment, deferred maintenance and deferred modernization" of the system compounded by increasing ridership.

 

The governor noted that subway cars are designed to be on the tracks for 40 years, but that more than 700 cars in the system are past the expiration date — with some of the oldest subway cars in use for 52 years. The MTA announced it's launching of the Genius Transit Challenge, a straphanger competition aimed at improving signals, modernizing subway cars and upgrading communication systems, this according to DNA Info.

 

TAMI tenants, which stands for Technology, Advertising, Media, and Information, have been drawn to midtown south in the past decade, are now flocking to the Downtown office market, pushing the average asking rent to a record $62 per square foot in May, this according to the Real Deal. The submarket has seen a “steady increase” in rents, the report said. Despite that uptick, average asking rents are still well below the Manhattan average asking rent of $75 per foot and some 23.5 percent below Midtown, where asking rents are in the low $80s per square foot. Downtown has more than 1.2 million square feet of available space asking $50 per foot or less, and 4.2 million square feet available asking between $51 and $60 per foot, according to the brokerage’s report. TAMI tenants accounted for nearly 30 percent of leasing activity in the Downtown submarket this year.

 

In Brooklyn news, sales opened last week at Greepoint’s first condo skyscraper — a 40-story waterfront tower featuring luxury amenities like a BBQ beach, hammock grove, speakeasy and basketball court — with one-bedroom apartments going for nearly $1 million. The Greenpoint, at 21 India St., is slated for completion by summer 2018 and will followed soon after by a series of towering apartment buildings, as the residential boom along the Brooklyn waterfront continues to spread north. The project includes 95 condos starting on the 28th floor, as well as 508 rental apartments on lower floors and in adjoining, lower-rise buildings — 140 of which will be subsidized for moderate- and low-income New Yorkers. The project also includes a 29,000 square foot public park, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson of Harlem's Red Rooster is slated to open a massive restaurant in the building.

 

The Greenpoint-Williamsburg waterfront was rezoned under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2005, allowing for an explosion of mostly luxury housing development along the North Brooklyn waterfront. Projects like Greenpoint Landing, which is under construction a few blocks north of The Greenpoint, are expected to pull thousands more residents into Greenpoint in the coming years, this according to DNA Info.

 

Heading south to Fort Greene, The public plaza at 300 Ashland Place opened to the public last week. Located at the corner of Flatbush and Lafayette avenues, the elevated plaza gives the public access to open space at the center of the busy cultural district.

The southern section of the development is yet to open, which will include additional green space and a 50,000 square foot space that will be dedicated to cultural organizations. These will include a branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, BAM Cinemas, the Museum of the Contemporary African Diasporan Arts and 651 ARTs. Also still under construction are the retail spaces planned for the base of the tower, including a 365 Whole Foods store and Brooklyn’s second Apple store. The lower-priced Whole Foods spinoff is slated to open by the end of the year, this according to Browstoner.

 

In Queens news, the Durst Organization is moving forward with yet another rental project - a 63-story building on Northern Boulevard in Long Island City.

The developer filed plans on Friday for a nearly 1-million-square-foot mixed-use project, which will include 763 rental units across 786,355 square feet and 8,702 square feet of commercial space. According to DOB records, the project looks to be one of the largest residential projects in Queens by unit count. Durst paid $175 million for the site last year, The Real Deal reported at the time.

 

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