Mixed Use


By Patrick Hedlund

FiDi flying high

Despite the gloom and doom associated with most of the city’s year-end real estate numbers, at least one report has shown steady growth in the Financial District’s residential market.

The average price of apartments in the Lower Manhattan neighborhood jumped nearly 5 percent over the past year as compared to 2007, according to Platinum Properties’ second annual FiDi Report, which tracks luxury rental units.

The cost of studios with and without home offices increased 6.14 percent and 6.69 percent, respectively — from $2,808.08 to $2,980.63 per month for studio/offices, and from $2,299.21 to $2,453.08 for regular studios.

One- and two-bedroom units saw more modest gains of 3.45 percent and 3.26 percent, respectively — or increased from $3,058.47 to $3,163.93 per month for one-bedrooms, and from $4,280.10 to $4,419.45 for two-bedrooms.

Daniel Hedaya, Platinum’s director of leasing and management, in a statement said incentives for FiDi renters were “at an all-time high. This was a year in which many landlords, in order to keep vacancy rates low, were willing to negotiate with renters and offer them between one and three month’s free rent, in addition to other incentives such as waiving the security deposit, owner-paid broker fees and complimentary moving services.”

Other contributing factors to the Financial District’s strength were the influx of 1,200 new units on the market, a relatively low, 0.48 percent increase in the vacancy rate despite the new units, and prices per square foot ranging from about $52 to $55. The area has also continued to draw singles, as studios and one-bedrooms accounted for nearly 70 percent of all leasing transactions.

Sniffing out Truffles

The mystery-shrouded Truffles venture in North Tribeca — developer Jack Parker Corporation’s 291-unit rental project at Washington and Desbrosses Sts. — pulled back the curtain this week to reveal what’s been lurking behind all that glass rising along the Hudson River waterfront.

The development, whose leasing office is expected to open later this month, will be heavy on the studios and one-bedrooms but also feature two-bedrooms and a handful three-bedrooms. The two Handel Architects-designed buildings, 11 and 15 stories respectively, are connected by a glass bridge midway between Washington and West Sts.

The units were priced only recently, said Parker spokesperson Marisa Zafran, and certainly appear to reflect the current state of the economy: Studios will rent for $2,200, one-bedrooms for $3,100, two-bedrooms for $4,500 and three-bedrooms from $8,900. (Hello, college grads!)

Mixed Use took an impromptu tour through the building this week, where designers were busy prepping model rooms for its official public unveiling Wednesday night. Students from Parsons The New School for Design outfitted two of the units on display, with the rest by David Cafiero and Jefferey Povero, and the layouts will vary greatly throughout the buildings.

But the ground-floor, members-only private club Truffles Privé was the real attraction, featuring a gym, bar, game room, screening area and library with river views and embellished almost exclusively with antique furnishings. For an annual fee, residents will be able to peruse literature or play foosball, as well as keep their liquor of choice in a personal locker behind the bar.

Views from the units vary, from the serenity of the Hudson River to the industrial warehouses of old Tribeca, and the development will also contain a private courtyard and roof garden to up the amenities.

We got out before the passed hors d’oeuvres and prosecco starting making the rounds at Wednesday’s cocktail reception, but Zafran said the event “exceeded our expectations.”

“It’s a good sign when you’re shutting down the bar and people don’t want to leave.”

Hopefully it wasn’t because they couldn’t snag a cab on the West Side Highway.