The Real Deal New York

Could the conflict in Crimea hurt NYC’s skyline?

Russian cold feet couldn’t come at a worse time

April 05, 2014 03:00PM

A rendering of new luxury residential towers on West 57th Street

A rendering of new luxury residential towers on West 57th Street

WEEKENDEDITION The crisis over Crimea could have one potential ramification that few have considered: its impact on the New York City skyline.

“The prospect of Russian cold feet couldn’t come at a worse time, as condominium prices at the high end of the market are surpassing levels reached during the peak of the last real estate boom, and developers are buying up sites at a frenzied pace,” Jonathan Miller, the president of the appraisal firm Miller Samuel, told Bloomberg News.

“New projects, planned with billionaire foreign buyers in mind, are altering the landscape of the city. Perhaps most notable is the spate of super-tall, narrow towers in the works along West 57th Street, their long shapes casting a shadow on Central Park,” he added.

While the timing isn’t good, at the moment it is still unclear what, if any, effect Russia’s conflict with the Ukraine will have on the cosmopolitan mega-rich’s appetite for NYC condos. But according to Miller, roughly 40 percent of the condominium and townhouse buyers in Manhattan are foreigners, and great portions of those foreigners are Russian – along with the other usual Chinese and Brazilian suspects. So West 57th Street developers better hope that it sends Russians over in droves, and that Putin doesn’t decide to try and keep the wealth at home in Mother Russia.  [Bloomberg News]Christopher Cameron 

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