Originally published in The New York Times, May 26, 1985:
NOT since the turn of the century, when modern Broadway was created, has the stretch of the avenue between West 79th and 96th Streets seen such intense development and heady price spirals.
In five years, rents for commercial space and sales prices for apartments have increased fivefold, with much of the rise in the past 12 months. ”Until a few weeks ago, when the market began to soften, prices were rising every day and it was difficult for even the best of brokers to appraise property,” said Betsy Dean, who is in charge of apartment sales at Austin K. Haldenstein Realty.
Building sites, primarily the two-story commercial structures that dominate the west side of the avenue, are coming under intense development pressure. ”My personal opinion is that the whole world is buying and flipping contracts,” said Joshua A. Schulman, a financial analyst for acquisitions with the Progress Group, an active Manhattan developer. He was referring to the practice of speculators who sign contracts to buy property and then sell their options to other buyers at higher prices, who may, in turn, resell until eventually a developer buys the land and builds.
”The Belnord has a formal carriageway, central garden, cast-iron lampposts and ornate entranceways.”Michael Decourcy Hinds