Though many people do not realize it, Harlem is actually at the geographic center of Manhattan. This little known fact highlighting how convenient it is to live there,
is just one reason Harlem is one of Manhattan’s most up-and-coming, developing neighborhoods.
Simply stroll 125th Street, selected by The American Planning Association as one of the top streets in the United States, and you will notice the energy and vitality amongst the people and new businesses; businesses like Old Navy, H&M, Starbucks and Le Monde Brassiere.
And the Arts and Sciences are also well represented in Harlem with institutions such as Columbia University, creative outlets including the Apollo Theater, the Cotton Club, famous restaurants, Museums, Libraries, Gospel Churches, countless parks, and famous buildings including former president Bill Clinton’s office. Taken all together, Harlem has a unique charm, character and ambience that simply cannot be found elsewhere in Manhattan.
But it’s not just the cultural, educational and business milieu that have led Manhattan Sky Partners to focus on Harlem and West Harlem: the potential returns from real estate are the most attractive on the East Coast of the United States.
Why does Manhattan Sky Partners focus on Harlem?
- Great housing stock
- The government actively supports real estate development
- An outdated reputation
- It is gentrifying
Great housing stock
Harlem is known throughout the world as the center of African-American history and culture in the United States. At the end of the nineteenth century, Harlem was an enclave of the upper bourgeoisie, and in the beginning of the twentieth century, it absorbed a great number of new inhabitants displaced from midtown.
This era saw the Harlem Renaissance, in which a group of artists, writers, and jazz musicians had an important role in influencing world popular culture. The same period saw a flourishing of architecture and design in beautiful houses, churches, apartment buildings, theaters, and commercial buildings.
In response to recent and anticipated development activity in Harlem, the Department of City Planning in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Departments of Cultural Affairs (DCA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) initiated the 125th Street Study in December of 2003 to generate a development framework for the entire 125th Street corridor between the Harlem and Hudson Rivers.
The Interagency Team worked in close collaboration with the study’s Advisory Committee – a diverse group of over 100 individuals representing elected officials, local civic groups and cultural institutions, stake holders, and Community Boards 9, 10 and 11. The study focused on several key planning areas that include: zoning, transportation, the arts, increased local and regional visitors to the corridor, and public realm/streets cape improvements. The study also reviewed and proposed strategies to develop housing within the corridor, including affordable housing. The actions comprising the 125th Street Corridor Rezoning constitute a key product of the study. Read more…
Outdated reputation creates an opportunity
Early in the 20th Century Harlem was famous for its African-American cultural institutions and night life. Later in that century, as crime worsened, it became for far less positively known. Starting at around the turn of the 21st Century, however, Harlem begun a ‘Second Renaissance’ according to then NYC Mayor Rudolph Guiliani:
“Like the rest of the city, Harlem is experiencing a great renaissance. It seems that most anywhere we look in Harlem, we can see a new building under construction or an older one being renovated. As crime goes down, the economy is going up. Millions of dollars are pouring in from all kinds of companies seeking investment opportunities in Harlem.”
The City’s successful campaign against crime has made Harlem as safe as it’s been in decades. In fact, crime reductions in Harlem have outpaced those in the city as a whole.
This situation presents the astute investor with a great buying opportunity: one can today buy ‘low’ when many don’t realize the great strides Harlem has made and then be able to sell ‘high’ later, after its reputation has caught up to reality.
The gentry are moving in
Harlem, with its cultural history, oversized brownstone town houses, and convenient transport, has evolved past its dangerous reputation into a more desirable hotspot for many wealthy young professionals, families, and ambitious developers to invest and relocate. People are drawn to Harlem for its beautiful housing stock, with numerous family-sized residences that are not as readily available in other locations. Other factors may include the strong rising property values and long history. There is now excellent transportation by the highways, buses and subways to gain easy access into Harlem. There is also mainstream attention due to the revamping of the area as well as the many celebrities who now live or work in Harlem: Bill Clinton, Roberta Flack and Samuel L Jackson to name a few.
Because Harlem and West Harlem offer great value plus great appreciation potential Manhattan Sky Partners focuses its investment strategy in the area. Manhattan Sky Partners tracks all the undergoing condo conversion programs, works closely with developers and seizes the opportunities to buy at the best time, at the best price.