New construction, high prices and a younger crop of renters and buyers hit Alphabet City
- Last Updated: 10:55 PM, July 12, 2012
- Posted: 10:17 PM, July 11, 2012
New Yorkers who know their ABCs know to keep away from the D’s.
Naturally, we’re talking about Alphabet City. Those two words have an uncanny ability to summon up sordid images of Tompkins Square Park in the 1980s, with its infamous homeless encampments and crack vials. And violent crimes and graffiti. And the musical “Rent.”
Like in every neighborhood in lower Manhattan, real estate developers flirted with the idea of gentrification, but observers had three assumptions about the neighborhood:
1) Prices would never get too crazy.
2) It might lure hipsters, but you could forget about well-heeled professionals.
3) While Avenue A or B might be OK, no luxury developer would put up anything past Avenue C.
But it also looks like all three notions were seriously flawed. Take Arabella 101. The brand-new rental building is opening its leasing office next week and happens to be on Avenue D, across the street from public housing. Arabella 101 has 78 apartments (half of which are market-rate, the other half affordable) set atop the new Lower Eastside Girls Club.
“Starting prices [for market-rate units] are about $2,500 for a studio, $2,900 for one-bedrooms,” says Drew Spitler, director of development for the Dermot Company, Arabella 101’s developer. “And they’re going up from there.”
And the building isn’t a mere shiny box: The eco-friendly development is shooting for LEED certification, and it promises amenities like a gym and a roof deck.
Dermot is not alone in tackling this heretofore unloved part of Alphabet City.
At 316-318 E. Third St., which hugs Avenue D, the Brody Amirian Group is putting up an eight-story, 33-unit building with studios and one- and two-bedrooms; it should be finished in the fall of 2013. Yearly rents are going to be north of $50 per square foot (probably around $52 to $54 per square foot), which works out to over $4,300 a month on a 1,000-square-foot apartment.
“We were told you could get $58 to $62 per square foot if you really hit the market right, with the proper finishes,” says David Amirian, co-principal of the development firm. “But we’re not looking for those kinds of aggressive numbers.”
Amirian says that a deal was in the works for the empty lot directly across the street by a developer, and another project adjoining his (with frontage on Avenue D) is going to be a rental with both market-rate and affordable units.
Older, walkup apartment prices are also on the upswing.
“We were [trying] to stay under $3,800,” says Rebecca Newman, 22, a recent Barnard graduate, who went looking for an apartment in Alphabet City with two friends at the beginning of the month.