Real Estate Panel Says ‘New’ Manhattan Emerges Amid Pandemic with Housing, Retail Opportunities

Real Estate Panel Says ‘New’ Manhattan Emerges Amid Pandemic with Housing, Retail Opportunities

NEW YORK—After an unprecedented year of shutdowns, New York City is open for business and Manhattan’s residential real estate market is showing renewed signs of strength. That momentum is only expected to increase as the cultural and entertainment revival continues and new developments lure buyers back to the city, according to a panel of real estate and urban planning experts who participated in a Sept. 9 virtual panel.

More than 200 industry professionals registered for “Getting the Deal Done: The New Manhattan,” which featured Sherry Tobak, senior vice president, The Related Companies, New York City; Paul Massey Jr., CEO, B6 Real Estate Advisors, New York City; and Michael Samuelian, founding director, Jacobs Urban Tech Hub at Cornell Tech. The panel was moderated by Brian Tormey, NTP, president of TitleVest and was hosted by Richard Haggerty, CEO of HGAR and president and chief strategic growth officer of OneKey MLS. The program was sponsored by TitleVest, a New York City-based provider of title insurance and related real estate services.

“The Manhattan market is up significantly,” said Haggerty. “What’s interesting though, for the regional market, is the closer you get to Manhattan, the stronger the numbers become. Westchester is significantly higher this August compared to last August, as are Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. It seems as though in terms of proximity to the city right now, the market’s healthier.”

Tobak, who oversees the luxury residential portfolio at Hudson Yards, agreed. “It’s active. It’s exciting. It’s busy. It’s New York,” she said.

Tobak noted brisk activity over the summer at Hudson Yards, the 28-acre mixed-use neighborhood in Manhattan, with 38 apartment sales ranging from $4 million to more than $50 million apiece. “The pace of sales is tremendous right now. The restaurants are crowded; the stores are crowded. … I see New York really coming back.” Hudson Yards has generated a total of $1.25 billion in sales between the two Hudson Yards residential towers at 15 and 35 Hudson Yards, Tobak revealed.

She related that 15 Hudson Yards, which has 285 apartments, is nearly 80% sold. The 35 Hudson Yards tower will feature 143 apartments.

“Sales (at Hudson Yards) are brisk and we are hitting marks that I’ve never seen in all my years in the industry, being able to have bragging rights of over $1 billion in sales in a short period of time,” Tobak said.

The hour-long session focused on residential sales, office/work and cultural trends, commercial development and New York City’s long-standing ability to survive and thrive amid adversity.

“I’m always struck by the resiliency of New York, and how we continue to bounce back,” said Samuelian, of Urban Tech Hub, who is also an urban planner and real estate developer. It’s time to “rethink the model of how we work,” he added.

“We need to think about a reckoning between our old way of living and where we are now,” he said. “I agree office culture is not dead at all, but I do think we should consider the rebalancing of how we work.”

Samuelian also recommended giving “more thought and consideration” to the adaptive reuse of older office buildings into housing.

Massey, of the commercial brokerage firm B6 Real Estate Advisors, cited a need to get retail tenants back in business. “There’s an exuberance and life has come back, but we need to focus on the office market and retail surrounding it,” he said. “Retail is a critical aspect of our daily urban life and the delay in getting back to work has really hurt a lot of those tenants.”

Massey said there’s a “massive” opportunity for retail tenants, with low rents and high demand for personal services paving the way for “good times ahead.”

“Getting the Deal Done” is part of the “Be Your Best” webinar series created by HGAR and OneKey MLS, to help Realtors and agents navigate a changing landscape amid the pandemic.

OneKey MLS has 44,000-plus subscribers and serves Manhattan, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Orange, Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. It was formed in 2018 by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors® and the Long Island Board of Realtors.

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors is a not-for-profit trade association representing more than 13,000 real estate professionals in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties. It is the second-largest Realtor association in New York, and one of the largest in the U.S.

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