96th Street: The New Development Frontier

New developments on 96th street in Manhattan increasingAs Manhattan’s population continues to grow, so does its supply of new construction. In turn, new and old residents alike seek affordable luxury, and in doing so sometimes catalyze the redevelopment of even the most unlikely of neighborhoods. Nowhere is this more obvious than East 96th Street, traditionally the boundary between the Upper East Side and East Harlem, two almost completely different neighborhoods. Yet what is just an unwritten barrier to many is a significant obstacle to new development, but that is changing rapidly.

While 96th Street may still demarcate neighborhoods, the area north of it is seeing a drastic increase in residential supply. One of the first, and most highly sought-after in the area is, luxury condominiums 1212 Fifth Avenue, a pre-war conversion that used to house medical students. Taking advantage of the neighborhood’s adjacent location to Central Park, 1212 Fifth Avenue is a demonstration of how new construction in Manhattan can overcome strong neighborhood perception by using the simplest of tools: an address, coupled with nearby subway access.
This is a pattern that has been seen across Manhattan, but without such a strong division that exists between the Upper East Side and East Harlem. Perhaps the most obvious -- and controversial -- is the development of the Lower East Side, one of Manhattan’s most well-known neighborhoods, home to low-lying, historic brick tenement structures, which now stand side-by-side with post-modern glass condominiums such as 38 Delancey. Again, this type of development capitalizes on location, but in this case the trendiness of a neighborhood rather than out of geographic necessity.
Overall, Manhattan’s supply of new, luxury construction will only continue to increase. The reasons for this are varied, from growth to demand to new neighborhoods being discovered and turning trendy. How they fit in with the surrounding landscape, as evidenced with the burgeoning development scene above 96th Street, is fascinating and intriguing.