Proposed East Village Historic District Could Raise Rents…Again

Manhattan Luxury Apartments - East Village Historic DistrictOnce a part of a larger, broader Lower East Side, the East Village is one of New York City’s trendiest neighborhoods. Adhering to Manhattan’s street grid unlike its former namesake, the East Village has a vibrant student, immigrant, and artist population, and demand in the area has skyrocketed as a result of being the place to be in Downtown Manhattan. Now, to the chagrin of basically everybody but landlords, rents might increase yet again, but for a completely different reason: the Landmarks Preservation Commission has its sights on the East Village.

In its conspiracy project to landmark all of Lower and Downtown Manhattan attempt to preserve historic architecture from the fate that belied much of the southeastern Lower East Side, the LPC has proposed a district centered on Second Avenue between East Second and Seventh Streets, comprising a wealth of 19th- and early 20th-century brownstones, walk ups, and federal architecture. The aim of this proposal is overwhelmingly positive, protecting a cherished neighborhood from even the smallest possibility of losing character. But what does it mean for rentals, specifically luxury rentals?
The legal ramifications of an LPC designation are surprisingly vast. The first and most conspicuous restriction is that of construction; any modification, new construction, or demolition must be approved by the LPC, which subjects proposals to a rigorous testing system of historic importance, aesthetics, and neighborhood conformity criteria. Interior renovations are allowed, however, but from street level this of course has no bearing.

Yet because of these expenses and limitations imposed on property owners, historic properties are considered both a blessing and a curse. To renters (and buyers), living in a designated apartment connotes a sense of accomplishment or allows for bragging rights, with perhaps the latter being more immediate. And while constantly maintaining the building and dealing with the LPC can be a hassle, historic districts command higher rental prices, enticing landlords to invest in them for higher revenue.

While some inconveniences arise from the creation of historic districts, we at Luxury Rentals Manhattan believe that they play a vital role in conserving the precious urban environment of New York City. Further, these districts indirectly allow for the concentration of new development, which can also bring construction and people seeking non-historic apartments to newer, perhaps undiscovered, neighborhoods. For all that and more, the East Village Historic District might just be one of the LPC’s best moves.