Lower Manhattan: Nearly a Decade after 9/11, a Growing and Vibrant Community

Published on Aug 1, 2011

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Manhattan rental apartments throughout Lower Manhattan have, over the last five years or so, steadily become some of the most attractive properties in the entire city... and not just as pied-a-terres for bankers, either. Families, creative types, and professionals of all sorts have been flocking to the Financial District (FiDi) of late, enticed not only by some of the most exciting new luxury rental buildings constructed (and converted from office buildings) in past few years--New York by Gehry, Dwell95, 40 Gold Street, and 25 Broad, to name just a few--but also by the increasingly rapid development of public green spaces, schools, retail and restaurant options, as well as the planned tenancy at the former World Trade Center site of such dynamic (and non-financial) companies as the publishing giant Conde Nast.

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In the past decade the population of Lower Manhattan has risen some 101%, and if two huge new projects announced last week are any indication, that number's only going to bigger, and soon. The 66-story, recently landmarked tower at 70 Pine Street--the fifth tallest building in the city!--was purchased by Metro Loft Management, who's planning on converting the million-square-feet contained therein into luxury rentals. And another developer, Pink Stone Capital, announced that it's building a 55-story luxury rental high rise at 111 Washington Street, a couple of blocks north of Battery Park.

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Other signs of continued growth and renewal for residents of Financial District apartments: six new public schools and one private school have opened in the neighborhood since the attacks of nearly a decade ago. The restaurants of Stone Street--a terrific pedestrian-only three-block stretch of cobblestones and historic buildings that always feels like a mini-vacation to us, and features some of our favorite pizza in all of New York City, at Adrienne's--are bustling even on weekends, and not just with tourists and traders.

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The first section of the $165.9 million East River Waterfront Esplanade was officially opened last week, and it is fantastic, a beautifully designed and landscaped park that runs, for now, from Wall Street to Maiden Lane and is part of the Mayor's Office plan to ring the island in public green space. The Fulton Street Transit Center is in full construction mode, which, when combined with the lovely Santiago Calatrava-designed transit station on the former World Trade Center site, will provide a hub for 11 subway lines and the PATH train. And if you haven't been downtown for a few months, the progress made on the Freedom Tower is jaw-droppingly amazing, and is in some ways the most tangible proof that Lower Manhattan has already entered a new era as a work/play/live neighborhood.

Whereas in the past, housing in Lower Manhattan was concentrated in Battery Park City (and it still remains popular, with new buildings like Liberty Luxe and Liberty Green), more and more people are opting to live in the Financial District itself, and developers have been opening new developments to meet the demand.

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