Thursday, March 5, 2009

Slow Economy, Great Opportunity

I came across an interesting article in Crains, an influential New York business newspaper. Not often do you get too much about Staten Island in there, but what I found today echoes what I have been saying about how opportunities abound in bad markets.

The article focuses on the infamous Teleport buildings in the Bloomfield section of Staten Island. The buildings were built in the late 1980s, and were occupied by AT&T until they abandoned the property in favor of a location in New Jersey in 2002.

For the last seven years the property has been vacant. Silverstein Properties, of World Trade Center fame has owned the property until local developer Richard Nicotra bought it from him last December. For $25 Million. That's not all; Mr. Nicotra is spending up to $15 Million to renovate the sprawling property into Class "A" office space.

So what does this mean to you and I, the average Joe, and residential real estate?

I think there are a couple of things think about from this article. The first is that wee should be proud that Staten Island isn't nearly the backwater that the other boroughs often portray us as. After all, if Mr. World Trade Center Larry Silverstein thought enough of Staten Island to buy up a giant multi-million dollar chunk of it, then there must be something alluring about Staten Island, some hidden opportunity.

The second thing that I take from this reflects what I have been saying recently -- that the down economy is a great time to buy because there are great opportunities to be had. Mr. Nicotra opened his successful Hilton Hotel just days after 9/11 and suffered through some of the worst years for the hotel industry. He is someone that realizes that despite the hard times we are in now, time marches on, things change and that now is the time to get in on the ground floor. In times like these, $40 million dollars is a helluva lot of money to spend, but it is also a vote of confidence for Staten Island's future, and probably a great investment.

Looking at the residential market, New York City has been growing at amazing rates over the last decade, and every year there is a demand for up to 60,000 units of housing. We build only 20,000 or so every year. Even if that demand were halved, we would still not be building enough housing in the five boroughs to satisfy the need for housing. As people get pushed out of the other boroughs because of cost, whether "native" Staten Islanders like it or not, homes will still be a hot commodity. I think someone unsure about getting a home should think hard about taking a page out of Mr. Nicotra's book, and get in on the ground floor.

Digg It!
Buzz Up!
Add to Stumble
Add to Delicious
Twit This
Add to Facebook
Google Bookmarks
Sphere: Related Content