Lights Are Back On, But When Will NYC Buildings Be Fit For Occupation Again?

Although power has been restored to much of Lower Manhattan, tenants of many of the area's residential and commercial buildings face a long and uncertain recovery before they can return. What will be the long-term effects on waterfront development?
December 31, 1969, 4pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With their lights back on and elevators operating, the easy part of repairing the many commercial and residential buildings in downtown Manhattan that suffered flood damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy is complete. However, according to N. R. Kleinfield, "the full extent of the damage to these buildings, which include major office towers along Water, State and Front Streets, remains unclear. Many owners are still furiously pumping out water, some of it contaminated by toxins."

With "mechanical and electrical systems destroyed by millions of gallons of water from swollen rivers," and special cleanups required to clear contaminants, residents and office tenants like the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Morgan Stanley, The Daily News, and the Department of Homeless Services are learning that they may not be able to return to their homes and offices until Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or long after that.

With the potential adverse impacts of living and working near the city's waterfront now clear, Michelle Higgins looks at the prognosis for continued waterfront development. "Although real estate experts say property values are unlikely to suffer in the long term, it is possible that new zoning and planning regulations - and buyers' expectations - could reshape how residential housing along the water is built, marketed and sold."

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Published on Monday, November 5, 2012 in The New York Times
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