After months of closed businesses, repairs, and insanely loud generators across Lower Manhattan, the Post-Hurricane Sandy recovery effort is almost complete. Today February 28th, the Downtown Alliance’s president Elizabeth Berger has released a report on the Post-Sandy recovery efforts in Lower Manhattan. The conclusion: “Lower Manhattan is Back to Business.”
At a morning panel discussion co-sponsored with the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), Elizabeth Berger delivered the highlights of the new report (will be available online at www.downtownny.com). The report’s data shows that, below Chambers Street, between 90-99% of all commercial, residential, hotel, and retail space is open.
Verizon for example, whose property took in significant damage during Hurricane Sandy, has upgraded its Broad Street switching station and replaced its copper infrastructure with new fiber optic cable. Verizon is also placing its central equipment at its substations above ground and out of flood-endangered zones.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, 60,000 residents went without power and 20% of units were offline. However, by mid-November, only roughly 8% of Lower Manhattan units were still offline. Four months later, that number is down to just one percent.
However, despite the damage and the prospect of future storms, CitiHabitat data cites a seven percent increase in the average price of residential rents to $4273 residential leases. On the commercial front, since Hurricane Sandy, 1.23 million square feet in Lower Manhattan was leased in 2012 Q4 and zero lease terminations were transacted. This leased commercial square footage is up 16% from Q4 2011.
It was courage and determination of commercial property owners, individual small business owners, and organizations such as the Downtown Alliance that allowed Lower Manhattan to recover. With 90% of retailers, 99% of residential and commercial units back up and online, the Lower Manhattan recovery is all but complete.
However, through all the data and anecdotes, one fact will remain clear: Hurricane Sandy was one big lesson in that Manhattan must be prepared to better protect itself from future storms and for future recoveries. Let’s see how it all turns out after the next big storm.