The Upper East Side was once again named the wealthiest neighborhood in Manhattan. One would guess that the price per square foot of property would be the most expensive on the peninsula, yet that is not the case.
Trulia, an online residential real estate firm reported that over the past year, average market price per square foot for properties on the Upper East Side fell from $1,504 to $1,461. In a category of its own is Central Park South, the priciest New York City neighborhood with a median price per square foot of $2,521 according to analysis by StreetEasy. Both Central Park South and the Upper East Side have access to the park, but does being close to Lincoln Center make a difference?
It is hard to imagine, but half a century ago, more than 7,000 mostly black and Hispanic lower-class residents lived in what is now called Lincoln Center, a huge contrast to the majority-white millionaires and billionaires that occupy the gentrified area today. Within the past few decades, Lincoln Center has emerged as an art, music, theatrical, and educational hub. The Metropolitan Opera House, David H. Koch Theatre, Fordham Law and Fordham University’s new complexes, expansions of Juilliard, the School of American Ballet, and the Jazz building at Lincoln Center all now stand in Lincoln Center’s 16.3 acres.
At first glance, it is reasonable for the price per square foot to be higher for areas close to Lincoln Center given the billions of dollars spent on surrounding facilities as well as the proximity and access to Lincoln Center’s vibrant campus. However, one could easily argue that residents on the Upper East Side have an even larger variety of iconic, cultural, and academic facilities along Museum Mile such as the Met, Met Breuer, Guggenheim, Frick Collection, and Smithsonian as well as elite schools such as Regis, Dalton, Brearley, Chapin, and the Spence School. Although it may be easy to link Lincoln Center with higher than average real estate prices in nearby areas, the Upper East Side has access to just as many if not more epochal facilities and its price per square foot is far lower on average.
Jonathan Miller, CEO of a real estate appraisal and consulting firm, succinctly explains why living on Central Park South is expensive: “the rarity of location, expanse of the views, quality of amenities, and the sheer size of these unique homes have all played an important role in attracting the interest of foreign buyers.” Purchase rules that cater to ultra-wealthy foreigners who wish to live, or buy a space as an investment or pied-à-terre drive up demand and consequently raise prices.
Central Park South offers prime location, luxury, and culture – residents can easily access Lincoln Center, Fifth Avenue and Madison Shopping, Columbus Circle, and Carnegie Hall. Hundred and thousand-foot tall pre-war buildings, which have undergone hundred-million-dollar renovations, offer some of NYC’s most opulent, expensive residencies with Central Park views. Ultimately, there is not one but a combination of elements mentioned above that make Central Park South property worth more per square foot than anywhere else. Given these real estate prices, it may only be a matter of time before the street is officially renamed Billionaire’s Row.
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Written by Albert Daniel Shub, Edited by Jack Vasquez & Alexander Fleiss