Saturday, September 25, 2021

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    Lower Manhattan rebounded after 9/11, but the pandemic erased profits

    The Amish Market opened in 1999 behind one of the few grocery stores in the southernmost part of Manhattan and the World Trade Center, one of the deli for residents and workers. Two years later, the September 11 terrorist attacks collapsed the 110-story twin towers of the complex, pouring burning debris and ash into the store.

    Shuttering after the attack, the market reopened in a new location a few blocks away about five years later. Lower Manhattan has been transformed into one of the country’s largest business districts, a vibrant residential area, and joined the victorious comeback with the addition of the National Memorial and Museum on September 11.

    The Amish market was also booming, with staff doubling to 200 employees and weekly sales skyrocketing to over $ 160,000.

    But since 2001, its growth has evaporated within a few days in a much different crisis that has wiped out much of Lower Manhattan’s interests.

    When the coronavirus rushed to New York in March 2020, the neighborhood suddenly emptied and Armish Market revenue plummeted to $ 24,000 in just one week. This is not enough to pay rent, salary and overheads. The store stalled until it closed completely last September.

    More than 350 retailers in Lower Manhattan have closed in the last 18 months. The new mall, built after the terrorist attack, had few shoppers and the landlord sued retailers for not paying rent. Seven hotels have been completely closed and other hotels have not yet been reopened.

    Employment in the private sector has fallen to 221,000, a reduction in the workforce compared to the months before 2001. During the first seven months of 2021, downtown’s busiest subway station had only 6.3 million passengers per day, down 82% from the same number of passengers. The 2019 period, according to an analysis of subway passenger data by The New York Times.

    According to real estate service firm Newmark, more than 21% of Lower Manhattan’s office space is rentable, a record high of more than double the pre-pandemic vacancy rate.

    “When a terrorist attack happened, it was a question of how long it would take to rebuild,” said Mike Jording, a former general manager of the Amish market. “This is another enemy-it’s longer and worse. It’s a slow death.”

    The darkness that has prevailed in the downtown area over the past year has been intensified by the rise of the Delta Variant, which has hindered the city’s recovery, reminiscent of a time when the ruins of the tower were still smoldering, and some people never had Lower Manhattan. Does not recover.

    According to critics, no one will ever want to work or live in a skyscraper. Within a few months of September 11, 2001, approximately 4,500 neighbors have moved.

    But the spill soon turned into a wave of newcomers, fascinated by the federal financial incentives to live downtown. By 2005, Lower Manhattan’s population had exceeded 43,000, an increase of 25% from 2000.

    Most freshmen were young college graduates, many of whom were employees of major financial institutions who remained downtown after the attack. They filled an apartment in a remodeled building from an office and patronized an ever-growing collection of bars and restaurants in the square mile district at the bottom of Manhattan.

    In the next 20 years, Lower Manhattan was not only restored, but reinvented. At least $ 20 billion in public and private investment has helped transform into a thriving region. Recovery has become a symbol of the resilience of the city.

    Next to the former tower, a new building was built, including the iconic One World Trade Center. With a height of 1,776 feet, it is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Three other towers will be built on the premises, including a waterfall monument and a $ 4 billion transportation hub connecting new shopping and dining destinations under an architectural landmark known as the Oculus. it was done.

    “20 years is a very long time and downtown needs to remember everything that happened 20 years ago,” says Peter Poulakakos, who owns several restaurants and other businesses in Lower Manhattan. I did. “At the same time, they need to be aware of how far they have come in the last 20 years.”

    By the end of 2019, more than 253,000 people were in private sector jobs, more than just before the attack, according to the Alliance for Downtown New York, a business improvement group. Since 2005, more than 900 companies have moved to Lower Manhattan, including the city’s largest and most influential companies, including Condé Nast, Morgan Stanley and Spotify.

    Tyler Morse, CEO of the MCR Hotel, which has an office on the 86th floor of the One World Trade Center, said: “Downtown has great physics and good public transport.”

    Tourists flocked to the area at a level not seen before 2001, attracting 14 million visitors annually and fueling the hotel construction boom.

    However, the pandemic claimed many lives from Lower Manhattan.

    Manveen Singh said he was forced to close the 27-year-old Indian restaurant Tandoor Palace on Fulton Street after a pandemic robbed a dependent downtown office worker. After the first city-wide blockade, she attempted to reopen, but “Lower Manhattan had no soul,” she said.

    Shin is afraid that the district will not rebound soon. “If businesses don’t come back in earnest, downtown won’t come back in earnest,” she said.

    Companies continue to abandon downtown office space and ask tenants to take over the lease. JPMorgan Chase is about to unload 700,000 square feet of office space on Water Street. Condé Nast-owned media company Advance Magazine Publishers also withheld nearly $ 10 million in rent during a dispute with the landlord at the One World Trade Center.

    Advance began paying overdue rent this summer in a resolution with the landlord, Dust Organization. The Dust organization has agreed to help find another tenant that occupies more than 200,000 square feet of office space that no longer requires advancement.

    Dust owns approximately 10% of the One World Trade Center, but manages and leases the building on behalf of the Port Authority of New York and its main owner, New Jersey. Last year, the agency collected $ 243 million in rent from buildings on the World Trade Center site, including the One World Trade Center. That’s $ 58 million less than expected.

    Roger Lynch, Condé Nast’s Chief Executive Officer, said:

    Eight years ago, advertising firm Barker moved to Art Deco’s skyscraper, 30 Broad Street, which was one of the tallest buildings in the world when it opened in 1932. However, no employee has set foot in the company’s double-decker penthouse. 18 months.

    Still, the company’s founder, John Barker, said he has continued to pay office rent (more than $ 1 million since March 2020) as a symbol of his commitment to the neighborhood. He wants to use the office again, but he doesn’t know when that will be possible.

    “This is the beginning of New York and the shopping district that created the country,” said Barker, who moved a short walk from his office in 2017. “We have a clear belief in the future of Lower Manhattan.”

    Despite the tremendous challenges facing Lower Manhattan, such as the rise of telecommuting, Carl Weiss Brod, a former chairman of the New York City Planning Commission, said the region was in a good position to rebound. It states that there is.

    Weiss Brod, founder of Alliance for Downtown NY, said the initiative to attract neighbors, which began before 2001, revitalized the local economy while companies postponed plans to return to offices and alienated tourists. He said it should help to make it.

    “We have to jump carefully about how much conclusion this latest crisis will come to,” Weiss Brod said. Throughout history, we’ve seen the charm of cities, the charm of density, and the charm of exchanging ideas in places where human talent is central. “

    On the streets of Lower Manhattan, workers have announced a mixture of resignation and optimism.

    On a hot Wednesday afternoon, Ilmagib sits on a concrete bench near the South Pool at the 9/11 Memorial and does not work at his home in St. Albans, Queens, where he has been in the office since March 2020. It was. The human resources work of the city’s homeless service department had just begun to arrive at the offices of the 4 World Trade Centers every other week. She said there were only three people in the office, but previously there were more than 250.

    “It didn’t come back,” she said of the neighborhood, citing restaurant time savings and “all businesses closed.” She especially misses the Century 21 discount department store, where she was shopping before the chain filed for bankruptcy in September 2020.

    In the shopping mall under Oculus, indie rock was played on speakers, so there was little traffic on foot. Opened in December, Brik + Clik beckoned shoppers with carefully placed craftsmanship shelves, from vegan cheese pies to detoxifying charcoal cleansers.

    The store’s co-founder, Hemant Chavan, said his activities in Oculus were the reopening of the city, the Tribeca Film Festival in June, more PATH and subway riders coming in, and some tourists returning. He said that it was exciting this spring.

    “We always had foot traffic,” said Chavan.

    Poulakakos has closed all five locations in New York for pastry shop Financier, including two in downtown. He and his partner have also closed Pier A Harbor House, a restaurant near Battery Park.

    However, Poulakakos is already preparing to replace the financier on Stone Street in Lower Manhattan with a cafe. Stone Street, a cobblestone-paved outdoor dining destination long before the pandemic epidemic, is showing signs of regaining its former vitality, he said.

    “The idea that everything goes back to normal with one finger doesn’t happen,” he said.

    During a recent visit to Lower Manhattan, Mr. Jording, a former manager of the Armish Market, noticed that more people were shopping, eating and walking around. But there is nothing like before the pandemic.

    “The streets were packed from bumper to bumper,” he said. “If we were to open, we wouldn’t have enough business.”

    Sean Piccoli Contribution report.

    Lower Manhattan rebounded after 9/11, but the pandemic erased profits

    Source link Lower Manhattan rebounded after 9/11, but the pandemic erased profits

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