New York Tough: NY Residential Real Estate Set for a Big Comeback in 2022

27 Jan 2022

Melissa Burch, Lendlease Executive General Manager of Development, joined a panel of industry experts on the Realty Speak podcast hosted by New York Real Estate Journal (NYREJ). The conversation centered around the resilience of the diverse New York market, with Melissa referencing exciting Lendlease projects currently under development, before highlighting the importance of public/private sector partnerships.

After the tumultuous year that was 2020, New York’s resilience shone through as pent-up demand led to over 16,000 contracts being signed in 2021, the most in a single year. While the results speak for themselves, Melissa attributes such a ‘comeback’ to the city’s long-standing institutions – their cultural relevancy serving as a drawcard to New Yorkers both new and old.

With Lendlease’s development project ‘Claremont Hall’ serving as her backdrop, Melissa explains how the notion of ‘renewal’ influenced projects born out of the pandemic, with adequate financing playing an integral role: “…in order for a city to recover, it needs to sustain its institutions…[institutions] need to find ways to grow and they need to find ways to fund that growth.” When the project is completed, both staff of the Union Theological Seminary and students in the surrounding area will enjoy a newfound proximity to work/education, an incentive that has seen workers flood back to New York prior to any sort of mandated return to office.

In addition to fluctuating markets, developers are faced with environmental challenges such as rising sea levels, particularly in a city that has 520 miles of waterfront coastline. Lendlease’s history with waterfront developments serve the company well when dealing with complex sites such as 1 Java, a newly acquired waterfront site the size of a full city block in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. For areas like this, that once serviced shipping and docking societies, themes of regeneration and sustainability are particularly evident. Lendlease plans to redevelop a waterfront park for residents and the public on the 1 Java site: “The topic of resiliency and sustainability is critical and key as we think about New York developing a future, not just coming back but coming back better.” 

Sustainable residential projects stand to add even more social value through affordable housing programs. 1 Java plans to accommodate 30% (approx. 250 units) of its units for New York’s affordable housing program. Affordable housing is a prime example of creative public/private partnership that is required to boost economic activity in the city, leading to its full recovery.

A new mayor in New York partnered with a new governor bodes well for a city that has experienced a challenging partnership between private and public sectors for the last 8 years, particularly in real estate: “I’m optimistic because I think there is an opportunity to reset…there’s a new set of players with a new kind of commitment to growth here.” Only time will tell if New York can bring this momentum into 2022, but for now it seems The Big Apple has people singing ‘I want to be a part of it…’ once more. 

Listen to the entire podcast below or watch the panel here!