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The East Village Continues To Evolve As Developers Swoon

The East Village’s many cycles of gentrification are elating developers are horrifying former residents.

By Jeff Vasishta April 4, 2017

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol would probably turn in their graves if they could see the East Village today. The grime, crime and art has been replaced gleaming amenity-filled condos, with residents whose portfolios are more likely to contain stocks and shares rather than photographs and drawings. Gentrification has not only swept through the neighborhood but moved in, taken off its shoes and found a comfortable chair.

It hasn’t been sudden. In 1984, there was a New York Times article all about East Village gentrification and in 1988, the Tompkins Square riots were over the same issue. Now, despite the head-spinning changes, it’s still cheaper to buy or rent than its village neighbors further west. Developers, of course, have been feeding like sharks on a seal pod and the once quirky, charming streets filled with pop and pop stores, vegan restaurants, and seedy bars is now brimming with big money retail. New developments—Steiner East Village at the corner of East 12th Street, and Ben Shaoul’s 100 Avenue A—have brought multi-million dollar condos to the area. The Middle American-isation of New York is no more apparent than with Extell’s development at 500 East 14th Street—future home of the Target. It will have two rental towers, which is bound to push prices up further.

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Gentrification is perhaps most profound in Alphabet City. Once a heady Puerto Rican stronghold of tenement apartment buildings, which in the summertime pulsed with salsa, merengue and neighborhood BBQ’s in Parks and across across the FDR by the East River, developers have  recently swooped in. Rent stabilized tenants have been bought out, buildings have been upgraded to luxury rentals, and plush new condominium projects have sprouted like saplings in a rainforest.

Ari Harkov, a real estate broker with Halstead Property, wrote in the NY Daily News: “The A Building, a ground-up doorman condominium on East 13th St. between First Ave. and Ave. A, was the real turning point for the neighborhood. The first building of its kind for the area, with doorman, gym, and rooftop swimming pool, the project brought new pricing levels to the East Village and a new clientele.”

Related: Minority Owned Coffee Shops—The Blowback Developers Never Saw Coming

In 2007, the building was selling at around $1200 per square foot. Now the number is closer to $2000 square foot. That barrier, Harkov says, was broken by “100 Ave. A, a ground-up doorman condominium on Ave. A between E. 6th and E. 7th Sts., that is virtually sold out at prices averaging over $2,200 per square foot.”

Now boutique condos such as The Adele, 67 Ave C and 324 E. 4th Altes House sit where boutique vintage clothes stores and cheap restaurants used to stand. That said, the East Village is still something of a bargain compared to nearby Soho, Chelsea and the West Village.

David Amirian, founder of the Amirian Group and an active developer in the East Village told the NY Daily News: “I would imagine it may near $2,500 per square foot, and then will stabilize around that level for a few years.”

By that time, all that would be left of the old neighborhood would be photographs and fond memories.

Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Jeff Vasishta

Jeff is a writer, husband and father but not necessarily in that order. As a music journalist he counts Prince, Beyonce and Quincy Jones amongst those he’s interviewed. He's also owned and flipped homes in Brooklyn, NJ, CT and PA.

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