Alphabet City Urban Transformation, from A to D

In a city humming with real estate development projects, one area showing great promise is now poised for explosive growth. Alphabet City, the eastern-most stretch of Manhattan’s East Village, is the new frontier for development that is pushing inexorably to the East River.

A streetscape of pre-war low rises that has long been neglected, Alphabet City is undergoing major gentrification. The area is sandwiched between 14th Street and Houston Avenue to the north and south, and points east from Avenues A, B, C and D to the massive Jacob Riis and Lillian Wald public housing projects on FDR Drive.

The principal asset of Alphabet City is that the area offers plenty of light and air. Most buildings, including the pre-war tenements that define the neighborhood, are low rise. Alphabet City is off the beaten path, with many charming tree-lined blocks, and anchored by two parks: Tompkins Square Park, a 16-acre oasis between Avenues A and B that has been considerably spruced up in recent years, and East River Park on East 12th Street, 55 acres on the river at FDR Drive.

Now that the real estate industry is taking notice of Alphabet City, many condominiums and cooperative projects, as well as new rentals, are in the planning stage or under development throughout the area.

Prices are rising, but still moderate as compared to space in other, well-developed neighborhoods. Generally speaking, rentals in new properties go for $40 to $43 per square-foot. Rents on Avenue A, one of the more sought-after sections, continue to climb but are still some 20 to 25 percent lower than what the market rate is for comparable space elsewhere in the city.

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