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Williamsburg Woes: Where Will You Be when the L Line Shuts Down?

Real Estate Developments

“R160 L Train @ Broadway Junction” by MoskFPS at English Wikipedia licensed by GNU Free Documentation License 1.2.

If you live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, you have probably heard that your main link to Manhattan is about to shut down for fifteen months.  Starting in April 2019, the L train will shut down in order to allow for extensive tunnel repairs due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.  Some residents are already planning alternate routes to work.  Others are simply picking up and moving.  If you are in the latter group, rest assured that developers in other parts of the City are prepared to welcome you with open arms.

So where should you move?  One spot that is seeing a surge in development is South Williamsburg – particularly areas near the J, M and Z lines.  These trains provide a viable alternative for commuting, if you can look past the neighborhood’s less-developed cultural scene and grungier thoroughfares.  Midwood Investment & Development recently completed the Williams, an eighty-two-unit luxury rental at 282 South Fifth Street.  Many new Williams residents are taking out two-year leases to protect against impending price increases when the L train closes.  Just down the road, the Dime, a combined effort from Tavros Development Partners, 1 Oak Development, and Charney Construction & Development, will be opening in 2019.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn is also being targeted by developers due to its location on the G line.  The G line may not be your best option for commuting, considering it does not go all the way to Manhattan, but developers are betting on the rising popularity of Citi Bikes and Uber.  Development company Mortar recently purchased two lots in Greenpoint close to the G line.  Saddle Rock Equities Sales and Eisner Design are confident enough in this location to start selling their newest project, the Gibraltar, at fifty-percent above market rate.

If you liked Williamsburg before it was “cool,” check out Sunnyside, Queens.  It may not be the hippest location yet, but it has a small-town feel without the gentrification that pushed former residents out of Williamsburg.  Prewar buildings still reign supreme here, and prices are generally much lower.  However, AB Capstone is currently constructing a new retail and residential building at Greenpoint Avenue and 48th Street – likely an early indicator of development to come.

One final suggestion for those looking to vacate Williamsburg: the tried-and-true Lower East Side.  This neighborhood was Williamsburg – back before Williamsburg was Williamsburg.  Appropriately, like a fine wine, it has aged itself into opulence, pushing out many of the hipsters who established its culture (to, among other places, Williamsburg).  But if a few thousand extra dollars each month is not a big concern for you, you might find a home in Central Construction Management’s new building, 265 East Houston, or BFC Partners’ Essex Crossing.

The closing of the L line is going to be a major inconvenience for Williamsburg residents.  Of course you could stick it out, as will many locals.  Indeed, it is worth mentioning that development companies are skeptical about the long-term effects of this transit closure.  Appraisal firm Miller Samuel argued that any uptick in development in places like Greenpoint and Sunnyside was destined to happen anyway.  However, if you live in Williamsburg, or were thinking of moving to Williamsburg soon, perhaps a change of location is in your best interest.  Developers across New York City are working hard to accommodate you.

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