Go Downtown New York

Manhattan is reborn as a magnet for media, fashion and tech firms, with new stunning skyscraper homes to match.
Downtown Manhattan is the place to be this autumn as our favourite American city shifts its focus to the south. Seven miles below Central Park, a brisk 90-minute walk from the high-style boutiques of Fifth Avenue, Lower Manhattan is changing from a soulless financial district of sharp-suited New York bankers into a family-friendly residential area.

Thirteen years after that clear September morning when the world watched the Twin Towers fall, Lower Manhattan is now rebuilt and regenerated. 

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Freedom Tower: the tallest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere will soon be home to media giant Condé Nast's offices

In November, media giant Condé Nast will relocate its New York workforce of 2,500 employees from Times Square to a new home in the Freedom Tower, One World Trade Center. They will occupy 25 of the 104 floors of the newly completed tallest skyscraper in the Western hemisphere.

Condé Nast is the publisher of Vogue and where Vogue goes, the fashionistas soon follow. Design, publishing and tech companies, restaurateurs and big-name luxury fashion retailers including Hèrmes, Tom Ford, and Ferragamo are all hotfooting it Downtown. One and a half million square feet of retail space is poised to open in two large malls, Westfield and Brookfield Place.

A £2.5 billion transport centre, the Port Authority Transit Hub, opens next year linking the malls, pedestrian walkways and the Trade Center site with 12 subway lines, six ferry landings and trains to New Jersey. 

“The biggest change going on in New York right now is Downtown,” confirms Howard Lorber, chairman of estate agents Douglas Elliman. “Going back a few years it was deserted after 5pm and at weekends but now it is alive and people want to move there.” 

These changes were kick-started by tax incentives encouraging businesses and residents to move to the Financial District. Long-term investment and regeneration mean that Lower Manhattan with its 18 parks, attractive river walkways and cutting-edge apartment buildings is redrawing the Manhattan skyline. Families already love Battery Park and more are coming.

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From £965,000: 50 West Street has apartments with one to five bedrooms and views towards Statue of Liberty

“Downtown is New York’s fastest growing residential neighbourhood,” agrees Phillip Hegarty of London-based sales company JP Knight & Partners. “Property sales in Lower Manhattan in the first quarter of this year were up 22 per cent year on year, and with an additional 50,000 new employees expected by next year, demand for homes will only increase. The best new buildings are providing exceptional facilities.”

A good example is 50 West Street, an extraordinary 780ft-tall curved glass skyscraper that JP Knight is selling. It’s a perfect example of the New Downtown. On completion in 2016 it will have 191 flats over its 64 floors including four floors devoted to swimming pools, a 600sq ft gym, restaurant, observation deck and cinema. 

Contemporary interiors by Danish designer Thomas Juul-Hansen feature 20ft-high ceilings and top-quality stone, marble and wood, while the full-height windows provide real stand-and-stare views over the Hudson and East Rivers towards the Statue of  Liberty and Ellis Island. One- to five-bedroom apartments at 50 West Street start from £965,000 with typical monthly service charges and property taxes of £1,750. 

“This is one of the most impressive towers being built in Manhattan and is testament to what is happening in Lower Manhattan as developers provide lifestyle homes,” says Hegarty. “While the top penthouse costs £11 million, it is the good spread of prices that has made this project  successful, with 60 apartments sold in only four weeks this summer. Downtown is New York’s new good-value neighbourhood.”

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From £814,000: The 159 apartments of The W Residences Downtown have superb views over the World Trade Centre site and share the building with the W Hotel

Already completed and occupied, The W Residences Downtown has sold 129 of 159 apartments with superb views over the World Trade Center site. In the same building as the W Hotel, one- and two-bedroom apartments start from £814,000 for 750sq ft, also available through JP Knight & Partners. Once furnished, these rent for £3,000 to £4,800 a month, with monthly service charges of £620.

Another good example of Downtown regeneration is The Beekman, a 10-storey office building dating back to 1883 with a full-height atrium and fairytale turrets, three blocks from the Freedom Tower. Once the city’s tallest building, it became a historic monument in 1998 and is now being converted into a 287-room Thompson Hotel combined with a new 51-floor, 600ft tower. The 68 one- to three-bedroom apartments at The Beekman have full use of the hotel gym, restaurants and bars. Prices start from £723,500.
 
Contacts:
W Residences Downtown and 50 West Street:
JP Knight & Partners (020  7336 6777)
The Beekman: thebeekman.com

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