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The latest news on New York architecture.

  • Why the Prices of Houses in Historic Districts are Higher Than Most

    Why the Prices of Houses in Historic Districts are Higher Than Most

    The New York City Independent Budget Office (IBO) published a study detailing how the designation of historic districts in the city has affected home prices. The IBO found that prices for homes in historic districts have been consistently higher than those outside historic districts. In the report's introduction, the IBO evaluates the relationship between historic districts and the correlation of higher property values.

    Aesthetic Guarantees

    Potential drivers of higher home prices in historic districts are the guarantee that neighboring homes will remain largely unchanged as the exteriors are protected and federal tax benefits can also be utilized to rehabilitate the historic homes to incentivize homeowners to maintain their properties. In other areas, a buyer could purchase a valuable home only to see other houses on the block torn down or dramatically altered later, changing the look and feel of the neighborhood and theoretically depressing the value of any remaining homes.

    In a historic district, all homes are held to similar requirements and drastic changes to the neighborhood are less of a threat. While the IBO mentions that some homeowners fear the loss of property rights that occur in a historic district, their report shows that those restrictions don't negatively impact home values.

    Tax Benefits

    In many cases, federal tax benefits exist for the purchasing or rehabilitation of homes in historic districts. This incentive not only makes historic districts more attractive to buyers but may also increase the value of the property for resale. These tax benefits should be partially capitalized into the price of the historic property.

    Neighborhood Quality

    The aesthetic and charm of a historic neighborhood gives buyers a sense of quality, something that might be lacking in neighborhoods with mixed housing. Districts that are important to a community's history are more likely to be preserved and may represent a specific style or styles of architecture making it more attractive to some buyers. 

    The report's conclusion notes that while the findings support a correlation between home prices and inclusion in a historic district, "there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that districting itself causes higher prices". However, there are some compelling reasons to believe that homes in historic districts will maintain value despite the restrictions that property owners in those district face. Based on this study, properties in historic districts have increased in price at a higher rate than properties not included in historic districts, therefore property value is more likely to appreciate in a historic district.

    For information on the preservation and restoration of historic homes in New York, contact Scott Henson Architect.

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  • A Win for New Yorkers Trying to Save Tin Pan Alley

    A Win for New Yorkers Trying to Save Tin Pan Alley

    Tin Pan Alley is once again making its way into the hearts of Americans now that plans to build a high rise in its place have fallen through. After the Tin Pan Alley was put up for sale in the fall of 2018 for $44 million, the plan to redevelop the area fell through due to economic turmoil. The historical value and landmark status of these buildings have pushed them back into the spotlight and ignited many New Yorkers' desire to preserve their culture.

    American Culture Revisited

    Tin Pan Alley initially began as an influential residential area and reinvented itself as the spot to set up shop in the entertainment or music industry. Many careers began on these streets some of whose efforts would go on to support Americans through two World Wars and several presidential terms. Thomas Edison's motion picture company even boasted an office on this iconic avenue. Printers, composers, singers, songwriters, and even journalists called this place home for years.

    Notes of the Past

    Throughout the late 1880s and into the 1950s our country's songwriters thrived in this community. Piano tunes and various broadcasts could be heard up and down the road competing for attention. Local journalists nicknamed the area Tin Pan Alley referencing the competing piano tunes throughout the day and night.

    Tin Pan Alley’s musical history contains great songs such as "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by Jack Norwood and "Give My Regards to Broadway" by George M. Cohan. These iconic pieces were penned within these buildings, and it seems fitting that preserving these buildings protects a rich history that is unique to the streets of New York and to the founders and artists of a bygone era.

    A Win for the Tin

    On March 12, 2019 the Landmarks Preservation Commission calendared five buildings on Tin Pan Alley; 47, 49, 51, 53 and 55 West 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Ave. The Commission will research the history of these buildings and determine whether they will be eligible for landmark designation based on a combination of historical, cultural, and architectural significance.

    Back in the Spotlight

    The new focus on this area has presented the history of these remaining buildings in a unique, personal light for both the residents and New York City’s musical culture in general. Recognizing the value of these buildings and their place in history represents the core values of our city and our culture.

    Contact Scott Henson Architect to learn more about the preservation, restoration, and repairs necessary to protect these landmarks and other buildings with significant historical value.

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