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Living on Lower East Side

Emily Zhu 6-25-2021

The Lower East Side is coming of age. It was a prime destination for immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a large influx of Eastern European Jews. It later suffered from abandonment, drug and crime before starting to rebound in the 1980s to be one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city – young, vibrant, fun, cool and hip. The new condos, many in contemporary buildings with large glass windows set near 19th century red-brick tenements, are drawing a mix of investors and affluent young professionals. It is a reminder of the past, but also the beginning of a new future.

One strong appeal of the Lower East Side to condo buyers is that you can walk to many of the priciest downtown neighborhoods, such as Tribeca and Soho, but the units’ asking prices are significantly lower than in those areas. That means there could be more potential for the value of a purchase to rise. Still, new projects, with their stylish kitchens and large windows, typically are priced above the neighborhood benchmarks at over $2000 a square foot, which works out to more than $1.4 million for a 700 square foot one-bedroom apartment.

To tamp down purchase prices, some developers are creating more studios and one-bedroom apartments than they would in other neighborhoods and keeping square footage low. At 208 Delancey, a lovely 12-story building of ‘curved edges’ going up next to the Williamsburg bridge, 71% of the 85 condos are a mix of studios and one-bedroom units. The project should be quite attractive to buyers and investors, especially if studio units start in the low $600k and two-bedroom units average under $2mm. Bentley Zhao, president of the project’s developer, New Empire Corp., said the goal was to keep price points and carrying costs low while delivering a pretty design. New Empire, who has done lots and lots of projects, is very good at scaling the finishes and value engineering appropriately to the price point.

Super convenient, situated at an east and south corner site with amazing Northern views of Midtown. Private outdoor spaces are in many of the units as well, giving many apartments a unique selling feature to distinguish it from its neighbors.

A winner. Location first, privacy second and a great price point.


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