Boro building growth up so far in 2013

Real estate investment held steady in the Bronx in the past six months. This was helped by activity on Webster Ave., rezoned for more business and residential strips.
Photo courtesy of the Department of City Planning

Steady real estate investment has arrived in the Bronx, though it’s slower than last year’s blockbuster second half.

A mid-year analysis by a property investment firm found the number of deals on multi-family, commerical, office, special purpose and development sites rose a total of 17% in the first half of 2013 compared to the same time last year.

Ariel Property Advisors reported 112 transactions completed by June 30th, compared to 106 exactly a year ago.

But investors weren’t as generous in their price offers this year since total dollar value of sold properties shrunk to $407.5 million from the $467 million it saw the same time last year.

were looked at.

Analysts ranked development sites as the most active when it came to transactions, shooting up 81% by mid-2013, thanks to the Webster Ave. rezoning and the sale of Westchester Square Medical Center to Montefiore Medical Center.

But the number of deals wasn’t as high when stacked next to the second half of 2012, which saw 21% more transactions, a 25% drop in sold properties and a 59% skid in dollar volume.

Scot Hirschfield, vice president of Ariel Property Advisors, considers the recent figures an indicator the Bronx is moving towards firmer financial footing.

“Pricing metrics were strong for all property classes, especially in terms of price per buildable square foot and price per unit,” said Hirschfield. “There seems to be an appetite to build more apartment buildings.”

Bolstering those figures were low interest rates, easier construction financing and several major private and public Bronx projects now underway. These projects are often a vote of confidence for future developers priced out of boroughs like Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Keeping the trend in a postive flow are rezoning efforts by the city. It’s already rezoned Webster Ave., a west Bronx corridor tweaked to make room for more commerical and residential development.

“There were some trades on Webster Ave. where you see the numbers for buildable square foot to be higher,” said Hirschfield. “They’re also trying to incentivize people to open businesses.”

City agencies are in the middle of rezoning E. Fordham Rd., a tiny stretch serving as a nexus for several major Bronx institutions.

“That little stretch there is so right for some new development,” said Hirschfield, adding the area by The Bronx Zoo, The New York Botanical Garden, Little Italy and Fordham University would benefit from a hotel.

The Dept. of City Planning will issue its recommendations later this year.

As for later this year, Hirschfield predicts a steadier increase for real estate deals.

“There was a little bit of a lull in the first quarter, but the second quarter started to pick up,” said Hirschfield. “So it’s going to continue.”

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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