Second Avenue Subway Is Really Opening!
This is a follow-up on what I had written earlier in the year about the L train, along with some new thoughts on the Second Avenue Subway.
If you’ve not been on the East Side in the last couple of months, the future really is almost here.
The subway entrance/exits are here, and we may very well see subways running along Second Avenue before the end of the year!
With that thought in mind, the L train and its pending 1-2 year+ closure is on my mind.
One door opens as another closes?
Follow me here, as I’m going to talk about a lack of vision that most buyers have, and then talk about neighborhoods.
In short, as soon as the 2nd avenue subway opens, all of a sudden there should be a surge of sales.
Despite the fact that the subway opening is imminent, it just won’t happen until it’s real.
A Lack Of Vision
But let’s back up- I often tell my sellers, and buyers, something about the lack of vision people have.
That is, if you’re a seller, you need to do everything you can to help a buyer see themselves in an apartment, and to help them understand what an apartment would or could look like with work being done.
To do just enough to remove imagination from the equation.
What does that mean?
Change old light switches, add pretty light switch covers.
Paint walls neutral colors.
Remove old light fixtures and put in even boring Home Depot fixtures that disappear.
Screen hardwood floors.
Remove old carpets.
Spray paint old bathtubs, aka “reglazing.”
So far, we’re talking about investment of less than $5000 usually, even in large apartments.
Paint jobs don’t need to be A+.
These things alone will usually pay back ten times (that is, $5000 gets you $50,000 on sales price, assuming more than a 1 bedroom unit)
If staging is a bridge too far for you as a seller, I encourage taking these types of actions at the very least.
Though staging 99% pays for itself.
When sellers skip doing these things, they are probably leaving money on the table.
For buyers, this represents an opportunity to get an apartment at a bit of a discount, provided they can see through what wasn’t done.
A Surge Along 2nd Avenue
And so, we’re back to the Second Avenue Subway.
Assuming we’re on track for a December opening, we’ll see a roar in prices East of 2nd avenue in January.
The L Train
What does that have to do with the L Train?
Well, the thought is that we’ll likely see a few things happening once the L train actually closes in 2018:
- Increased Ferry Service from Greenpoint and Williamsburg
- Increased Bike Use
- Increased G Train Use, and increased service to get people to Long Island City as the connector
- Lower Rents along the L Train
- Slowdown of sales along the L Train
That is, people simply lack the vision to see this as actually happening until it’s, well, happening.
So, the question is really what happens as a result of the L Train Closure beyond some of the basics.
- I’ve talked about other parts of town that will benefit, but I still think the immediate areas will see gentrification sped up along the G Train.
- Long Island City will, finally, come into its own as a result.
It’s only been a discussion for 15 years.
It is happening.
As a hub, many more people will come through via the G train.
Increased retail, people will move in, it’ll get very interesting, in a hurry.
One day, an overnight sensation, after 15 years…
- Bicycle Use will be less of a fad, and will become more of a real thing, for many more people.
Necessity being the mother of invention and all of that.
Yes, the weather is an issue, but this feels like it will be a structural shift, this notion of taking bikes to work.
I doubt Mayor de Blasio has the mandate to take on any kind of congestion pricing to help speed this along (aka bringing fewer cars into Manhattan each day), but given the expansion of the parameters of the city, ease of use, better folding bikes, and even neat new folding bike helmet
designs, I can buy into this as a biking town, perhaps even year-round.
All I’ll add is this- what if the L Train closes for 3 years, 4 years?
Does the neighborhood die?
I’ll be very, very curious to see how well all of this happens, especially when there’s a mayoral election happening NEXT YEAR.
I’m not optimistic, given past performance.
On-time records are not the strong suit of the MTA.